I spent my fair share of time in the northern part of Thailand, volunteering at the elephant farm five years ago. I really enjoyed my stay with a local family and learned about their culture and where I began to understand why Thailand is called 'The Land of Smiles'. For some reason, I never had a strong desire to visit Bangkok, probably because big cities are off-putting to me. It’s only now that I realized how much of a missed opportunity this had been and glad to include it in my epic Southeast Asia travel this year. I began my trip to Bangkok with the knowledge I learned from volunteering in the northern part of Thailand where I felt safe.
Right after landing at Suvanabhumi airport and going through customs, I went straight to a transportation booth to ask where I could find a cab to my hotel. Instead of pointing me to the cab waiting area, I was led to believe that I was in the right place. A man pointed me to the clerk at the counter who started preparing a receipt for…
When entering a place that has two names one must watch the streets where we place our feet as both traveler and citizen of the globe a world of extremes gilt domes of temple worship bordering the tents of cities meant to be impermanent but never seem to disappear how the hills are in our hands how the displaced are gems among the treasures and that everything is precious
1. Photos by the author
2. I decided to publish this poem after watching the "Families Belong Together" rallies across the country.
I just had time to muse about my wonderful experience exploring the Inside Passage and some parts of the Tongass National Park while on a cruise to Alaska with my sisters. Our first port of call was Ketchikan, a very small town famous for three things: rain, salmon, and totem poles. So, most of the shore excursions involve rainforest, fish and totem poles. The weather forecast on our arrival was rain, but for a city dubbed as the “rain capital of Alaska”, it was beautiful and sunny when we arrived. The arch sign “the Salmon Capital of the World” greeted us as soon as we got off the ship. I gathered from the sign that Ketchikan was a small enough to explore on our own because only small towns would build or put out signs as tourist attractions to draw crowds. We could have explored the whole town on our own in no time, but we already pre-booked a walking tour. We arrived a couple of hours before the scheduled tour, so we walked around to check the shops out (mostly souvenir …