Los Angeles to Austin: Austin to Los Angeles

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I moved to Los Angeles almost a decade ago, fresh out of my 20s and still basically a newlywed. I was coming from Chicago, where I’d met my husband, Shawn. He had lived his entire life in Chicago, specifically in the south suburbs. Meeting Shawn and his tight-knit group of friends was like being thrust into the pages of an Andrew Greeley novel. Irish, middle-class, witty, fatalistic … it was something I found hard to relate to at first, since my own experiences were so different. But Shawn was only informed by his past; he was also his future. So when I got an offer out here for a job, he put our persnickety feline, two computers and an aluminum softball bat “just in case we run into trouble,” into his car and we set off.

Los Angeles to Austin: The Follow Up

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I think I am probably “wanted” in West Texas, although God knows where exactly.

The problem started east of El Paso.

  • The first 100 miles: This is so beautiful!! I’m so inspired! So spartan and gorgeous, and unique! I wish I could paint!
  • The second 100 miles: Hmm, interesting. A border control checkpoint. “Yes, sir, I’m a citizen of the USA.” I wonder about the effectiveness of this operation. It’s broad daylight on the main road. Do you think anyone ever says, “No, I am from Cartagena, and I have 50 kilos of coke in the trunk.”? 

Why Such a Fascination for Sky Lanterns (Khom Loi)?

Thais releasing a Khom Loi

Thais releasing a Khom Loi (Joe Grez/Sesame)

Pai, Thailand – I have a dilemma. It has to do with the Chinese and Thai traditions of releasing hot air rice paper lanterns (Kongming [Chinese], Khom Loi [Thai]) into the night sky. Happens quite often in the north of the country now, with numerous lanterns coloring the black, faint white polka doted sky with moving golden orange pixels of various sizes. The first site of it is rather striking and as more people release lanterns into the sky, the night becomes that much more entrancing. So what’s my problem with this?

Travel Review: Where 2 Next Hostel Manila, Philippines

Where 2 Next Hostel Manila

Image Courtesy of Where 2 Next

It’s been long overdue but still in order to review a fine hostel found in the Malate area of Manila. I spent a good amount of time at Where 2 Next(W2N) hostel this past year as it was my value laden launching pad to the rest of the Philippines. Let’s go over the pros and cons of W2N and why ultimately I think it’s a fine place to plan your next move.

The Cost of Campaigning for President on the Environment

Image courtesy of thomasnet.com

So I had a YIM chat with my good German friend Sarah this past Sunday as we like to do from time to time. She asked me if I was nervous about the election on Tuesday to which I responded “No, not really. Whatever happens…well… happens.” But she noted that polls were close amongst both major candidates being incumbent President Barrack Obama (D) and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R). She as well as much of Europe (and world in my humble opinion) are big Obama supports, but I’ll reserve my judgement as Joup will endorse neither candidate. Not that we don’t have our own personal opinions but Joup is attempting to remain impartial in this election as a whole. But what really sparked in our chat was how much each of the candidates traveled on a daily basis. And to what lengths they are going to become the President of the United States of America. How did these individuals impact our Earth’s environment in going to these lengths? I’ll do my best to give an estimate.

Review: Payung Guest House – Cherating, MY

Payung Guest House Cherating Malaysia

Payung Guest House Cherating Malaysia

An Island, Not A Dance

The islands of Nusa Tenggara stretch out due east from Java like beads on a string: Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa, Flores, Alor. The names exotic and evocative. My progress through to the tip of Sumbawa was relatively quick and, for the first time in quite a while, I was no longer the only white person in the bus. All were heading from Bali, via the Gilis (a cluster of islands off Lombok that have become a party favourite), to the port of Labuanbajo on the tip of Flores, from where there are many tours to the islands of Komodo national park. The trans-Sumbawa buses connect to daily ferries linking Sape to ‘Bajo. But to the south, lies an island that many people bypass. Sumba’s attractions are not as obvious as those of Java, Bali or Sulawesi. For Indonesians c is best known for its horses. Not because they are particularly special, but because Sumba, with its drier climate and semi-savannah landscape, is the only place in the archipelago that is suited to them. For us foreigners who have seen horses before and think they are rather humdrum. Instead, thanks to being a generally poor island with few useful resources, the Sumbanese were pretty much left to their own devices throughout the colonial period, an attitude that didn’t really change much with Indonesia’s independence 65 years ago, so tribal traditions are stronger here than almost anywhere else in the archipelago.

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