Tag Archives: Travel

The Amazing Mr. Moon

B68 John cutting Mr. Moon's hair.

(Excerpted from Chapter 22: Chiang Mai to Lake Toba: The Grateful Unrich…)

Lake Toba, Indonesia 5-31-06

Lake Toba has been a highlight of the Southeast Asian trail for decades, so there are tons of guest houses and restaurants here. But ever since the 1997 economic crisis and the ensuing unrest, tourism has crashed in Indonesia. Then came the Bali bombings, the tsunami and the Free Aceh Movement. Continue reading

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CIA In The Andes

Copacabana, Bolivia 1-19-95

(Excerpted from Chapter 17: The Inca Trail: The Grateful Unrich…)

Roads climb out of La Paz in all directions since – despite its altitude – the colorfully pleasant city actually lies in a big bowl. This protects it from the constant plateau winds, but can be a nightmare when there is torrential rain, since all the runoff rushes right into downtown La Paz. Continue reading

The Kingdom Of Cambodia

(Excerpted from Chapter 21: The Ho Chi Minh Trail: The Grateful Unrich…)

Sihanoukville 2-20-06

We’re up at 5:15 AM to catch the 6:00 minibus to Hat Lek on the Cambodian border. As I enter my 34th country, I refuse to pay the 100 baht health stamp. I win this round, but when I insist that I will pay the official visa rate of $20, I am outwitted. I ask for a receipt. The wily border official says, “The department head was just here yesterday and he asked $25 too.” I laugh and pay up. Continue reading

The Crown Down Under

(Excerpted from Chapter 23: Down Under: The Grateful Unrich…)

Darwin, Australia 6-19-06

We land in Darwin at 4:50 AM and catch the backpacker bus to town. The guy who answers the hostel door is rude. It’s a sign of things to come. Australia is a land of irrationally frightened British-bred business shysters and rightfully wary, but hardly bowed Aborigines. Vic’s Bar serves up $1 meals each night to European upper-middle-class youth who are too scared to go to Southeast Asia – or anywhere else not populated with white people – whose parents are footing the bill. They’re playing it safe in a good white country between university degree and investment banking career. Continue reading

The Road To El Dorado

South America 2008 (201)

(Excerpted from Chapter 25: The Southern Cone: The Grateful Unrich…)

El Dorado, Argentina 2-1-08

Often in life one has to hit the bottom before things can improve. This seems especially true of travel. Just when we are ready to start choking every single person in this country, we roll into the small town of El Dorado – 100 kilometers south of Iguazu Falls and the problematic tri-border area where Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay meet. Continue reading

The Chinese Model

(Excerpted from Chapter 14: Chinese Hard Seat Class: The Grateful Unrich: Revolution in 50 Countries)

Yang Shuo, China 1-7-92

When they think they know the answers, people are difficult to guide. When they know they don’t know, people can find their own way -Tao Te Ching Continue reading

Cruising Babylon

(Excerpted from Chapter 19: Cruising Babylon: The Grateful Unrich: Revolution in 50 Countries)

East of the Divide, Montana 7-16-97

We hop off I-90 at Cardwell just as it begins to rain. We follow Highway 2 past the Lewis and Clark caverns, winding our way through steep treeless canyons that look like prime dinosaur habitat. At Three Forks the barren lunar landscape gives way to an oasis full of cottonwoods and willows. The town takes its name from the fact that three rivers – Jefferson, Madison and Gallatin – converge here to form the headwaters of the mighty Missouri River. Continue reading