Monday, August 10, 2009


Three weeks ago I headed up the 401 to Guelph, Ontario where I usually spend my time from September to April for a music festival known as hillside. After being away for the winter semester at school seeing all my friends was a blast, and the festival was amazing, Saturday and Sunday night were particualrily incredible.

Saturday Night: The main band I wanted to see in Guelph was Tokyo Police Club who were going to play at the main stage, however I had made my way to the very front of a different stage, the island stage, while watching a different band Library Voices. I was torn, there was so much energy at the island stage, I didn't know if I should stay to see this band I barely knew called Woodhands, plus I would have good seats for the final band The Arkell's. In the end we stayed, and Woodhands blew me away. It was the craziest concert I have ever been to. At the end the lead singer/keytarist, attempting to crowd surf, jumped onto my friend Jess and covered her in his sweat. At the very climax of the show a girl beside me fainted. It was insane. And the Arkell's were great too.

Sunday Night: Storm clouds rolled in and it rained for most of Sunday. I was at the main stage to see Final Fantasy, and it had been clearing up but as he started to perform storm clouds could be seen coming our way. In the middle of the show the winds picked up and it started to pour. It seamed the faster Owen Pallatt played the more the wind howled. Thunder and lightning began and the stage manager pleaded with the performer to stop playing. But, Owen Pallatt just screamed back "GIVE ME ONE MORE MINUTE!!" I had a terrible thought that those would be funny last words. The crows was going wild and they finally cut him off with a bit of his song left, but for the time he played the crowd was going wild.

That was hillside for me. Pretty good time.

A New Direction

I've been home for a while now, five weeks I think. I miss blogging a little bit. I'm thinking about continuing with this. Changing from 'travel blog' to 'everyday average life blog', not so exciting I guess. Anyway, here goes.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

One Great City/Homeward Bound

Coming back to Singapore was one of my favourite parts of this trip. Often I used to complain about all the things in Singapore that bothered me. However, upon coming back it was as if all the negative things about Singapore were invisible to me. Doing some last minute sight-seeing (after four months I had never been to see the Merlion) and visiting my friends, all the amazing things in Singapore were more apparent to me. I love that city. It sort of reminds me of a song by the Weakerthans, One Great City, which is about Winnipeg but to me the song is very much like how I feel about Singapore. The song describes citizens of Winnipeg lamenting their city's flaws, but the title to me indicates that regardless of that they still love it there.

Quick thanks to the people that made Singapore so special to me:

Karlijn and Maddy; my best friends in the country, my Swiss room mates; Adrian, Flavio and Simon, The Muddy Grass Ultimate Team at NUS, Kang; who got me hooked on wakeboarding, and Vicki; who took care of me when I was sick recently. Did I use those semi-colons properly?

Now I am in the airport in Hong Kong, one more flight then I am back in Canada and this is all over. That hasn't really sunk in yet for me. I won't be back in Singapore for some time. Strange to write that. Now, as I write this I'm starting to feel slight depression setting in, it feels like a weight in my stomach (or maybe that's H1N1).

Monday, June 29, 2009

Taking Off to Singapore (sorta)

Today, I woke up early to catch my flight to Singapore. At the ticket counter they said they couldn't find my reservation. I was getting really nervous that somehow my registration got lost, then they told me my flight was on July 2. FML.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

DOUBLE POST!! Hue to Mui Ne (That Rhymes)

Lucky lucky, two posts to read in one day.

Hue is a great city and after having my knees in my nostrils for twenty hours on the red bull express I was excited to do some exploring. I broke out my skateboard and went to check out the citadel which houses the purple forbidden city. I was there for about an hour and it's huge, I think one could spend five hours there, but I was feeling a bit sick. That was the end of my sight seeing in Hue, I stayed in my hotel room the rest of the time and punished my toilet. I just want to say that although being sick was a bummer (I've been really lucky not to be so far), it was nice to be sick in a hotel that had satellite TV (the glass is half full!).

When I was feeling better I took a bus to Mui Ne a beach in the south of Vietnam which is close to Saigon so I can catch my flight to Singapore on June 30th, but I was mostly excited for the possibility of surfing. Surf is not up. And this is one of the saddest beaches in the world I think. The water at the horizon is a deep blue, then about fifteen meters from shore turns that nice green colour of tripical waters. Unfortunately the beach is spoiled by the first five meters of water which is a brownish-blackish colour, and the beach is covered in trash.

I did find a area with little trash (but there was a dead rat) and nearly no mucky water to swim. I was just dissapointed on arrival to find a beach in this state after being on buses (in total from Laos) for nearly fourty-eight hours. Tomorrow I continue on to Saigon.

Riding the Bull to Vietnam

The last place I visited in Laos was an area called the Bolaven plateau. It was secluded and beautiful, the area has many waterfalls and nearby to the village I was staying there is an Elephant Sanctuary. Since I haven't done any elephant riding while in Asia (or ever for that matter) it was really excited to see the elephants. The best part was watching them bathe with the trainers. It's almost like a dance, the elephant leads - dunking it's head then its lower back - and the trainer follows the elephant's movements trying not to get dunked in the water, all the while scurbbing the elephant (even behind there paper ears) with a flip-flop (whattaya know flip-flop do have a use after all).

Then after spending a little longer than I would have liked in a town called Pak Se I hopped on a bus to Hue, Vietnam. This bus ride, as I mentioned to my friends, 'is one for the blogs', nearly comparing with my long trip with my deaf/dumb/gay pal to Bangkok.

The only problem on this bus was leg room, these seats were not 'Westerner-sized'. My legs were literally being pressed against from the seat in front of me and my own seat from behind. My knees still hurt now.

We got off the bus for a few hours at the border to Vietnam to wait for the border to open. I slept the whole time because I was having some difficulties sleeping on the bus. I was surprised when I got on the bus and the floor had risen thirty centimeters everywhere, including the place where my feet used to go. The floor was level to some peoples seats! They had shoved cases of Red Bull everywhere on the bus, taking up seats, precious leg room, the cargo space under the bus, and (as I discovered when we were delayed while crossing the border while the border guard counted the number of red bull cases) inside the air vents for the engine.

This bus ride was 20 hours. I'm getting sick of buses.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Vientiane; Bombies and Skateboards

Today was a great day. Blog worthy? Maybe.

In the morning I visited COPE, a NGO in Laos which provides Laotians injured by unexploded ordinances (landmines, mortars, rockets, etc... from Laos' unfortunate past) with prosthetic limbs. COPE has a great exhibit with lots of great information where you can watch documentaries whenever you like. I saw a great documentary called Bomb Harvest which shows how Laos is affected by the UXO today and details how the Laotians are trained to disarm the bombs (and I unfortunately didn't get to see a Canadian one called Bombies which is supposed to be great, anyone wanna watch that when I get back?).

Before coming to Laos I was completely unaware of how many parts of Laos suffered nine years of sustained bombing missions by the United States. The war was widely unknown which is why it was called the Secret War. During the secret war the US dropped in excess of 260 million cluster bombs (or bombies), and keep in mind these are cluster bombs, they have no way of controlling where these things land and who they kill as a result many innocent people were killed. The US legacy in Laos continues today because an estimated 78 million bombs never detonated, and Laos efforts to clean up the mess has only removed 387 645 bombs (0.49%), so even today many people are killed by UXOs.

In the afternoon, I took out my skateboard for a spin to take a look at the city of Vientiane. Sometimes I kick my self, saying: 'why the heck did you bring a skateboard to south east Asia in the first place?'. But, it is days like these that totally justify having one. The roads in Vientiane are smooth which make riding great, and the weather today was hot and sunny (which is lucky because it is the rainy season right now) but not too humid. I rode around to some monuments and really enjoyed myself. One neat thing about a skateboard is it really draws a lot of attention from locals, many want to try and ride it for a bit (or at least spin the wheel with their finger), but from that you get to talk to people who otherwise wouldn't really give you a second glance.

I met a few English people (because of the skateboard) at one monument which was particularly amazing. I joined them for a trip to market where I ate bugs for my first time ever. The cockroaches were the best, satisfyingly crunchy and seasoned really well. It's like eating a really big pop corn kernel but not so hard (but they do get stuck in your teeth the same way pop corn does).

For not knowing if I should write about anything today I really wrote a lot. Sorry.

False Alarm

I am staying! It all worked out.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Im Coming Home

Well, I have had an amazing time in South East Asia. I had a lot of fun planned for my last few weeks, unfortunately I'm not able to extend my travels like I planned. So now I am heading home June 30th. I am in Ventienne the capital of Laos right now and I will be heading to Ho Chi Min City quickly to hop on a plane to Singapore to see some pals before I go home.

I am a bit depressed that my time in South East Asia is finishing up. There is so much I haven't experienced, but I am thankful for the things I was able to do.

Traveling in South East Asia has gotten me really excited about future travels. I've contemplated coming back here as soon as possible and for longer to see some things I missed. Or traveling within Canada, being away from Canada has made me realize how big my country is and how much of it is unknown to me.

Well, I don't know if I will post again before I'm back in Canada. I hope to see you folks soon, and keep checking here for when I put up pictures.

(Oh, and Happy 19th Birthday to my little sister Emily!)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Rope Swing Paradise

Vang Vieng puts all other rope swings to shame. There must be eight or so wings, the tallest of which is so high that when I stood on the platform my knees were shaking and I thought I would vomit. I was pleased when I conquered my fear and dropped from the platform, swung through the air, and plunged into the Nam Song River.

I left Vang Vieng briefly to visit the Plain of Jars in Phonsavan. The jars were a cool site to see with lots of rolling hills around but I'm questioning if it was worth the amount of money I had to spend and the seven hour bus ride each way to get here.

The buses in Laos are amazing for their views as long as you don't get car sick (thank goodness for Gravol). The roads bend and turn as they attempt to cling to the impossibly steep mountains, and the bus itself has to always be ready to weave around a water buffalo or a stray dog, tourists sit with their noses pressed to the glass in awe of the scenery.

Last night the gentleman in the seat in front of me was carrying some interesting cargo on the bus; an AK-47. I noticed it when I was getting back on the bus after eating dinner and he got on behind me, as I was sitting down I saw him lay the weapon against the wall. I wasn't scared because I read that it's fairly common here but it was startling at first to see the barrel of that gun. Though I was surprised that later on he got off the bus for a smoke break and left his weapon unattended.

Tonight I brave the buses again back to Vang Vieng.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Not Much to Report Here

Just and update here, not much to tell.

Chiang Mai was really nice, but there was a sudden decision made to leave Thailand all together and go to Laos. I was nervous I was going to miss some great things in Thailand, but excited to see the things Laos has to offer.

So far, Laos has yet to disappoint me. We (Karlijn, Linda and I) took a two day boat ride from Thailand to Luang Prabang, a city with a strong French influence. I've been enjoying several french baguettes each day from stalls in the streets, where in Thailand or Singapore any bread at all is uncommon. Yesterday I biked with my two travel buddies to a waterfall where we went swimming and played hon a rope swing (jackpot!). I played on the swing for over an hour (my arms are killing me today), but I have to say that although the scenery was beautiful the swing itself doesn't compare to the massive swings at Sharon's Creek in Dorchester, Ontario.

From here I will head off to Vang Vieng for tubing (and hopefully more rope swings) then Vientienne, the capital, for some visa sort of stuff.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Burma, Burma, Bur--CHIANG MAI

OK, so I lied! I am not going to Burma, I should actually already be there right now.

I've heard many mixed feelings from travellers who went there and had conflicting advice from the internet. Some claim that it is difficult to travel anywhere without supporting the government financially, which I really am against doing. I'm also concerned that by going the Burmese government will view this as some kind of acceptance from 'the West' (not that I have so much political sway, but if all travellers boycott the government it sends a message).

The country sounds absolutely beautiful, and the people are supposed to be some of the most friendly around. It would be quite an experience to go there and hear about their stories and perceptions of their situation.

Burma will always be there and I can go back some other time when the authoritarian regime is removed from power (hopefully in the not to distant future), I just wish I didn't already buy my plane ticket and visa.

Instead I'll be leaving Bangkok tonight and heading towards Chiang Mai in the north.

On an un-travel related note; I really suggest more people read about the government's actions in Burma. Human Rights Watch has many reports on Burma's use of child soldiers, it's marginalization of minorities, and of the government's crackdown onpro-democratic protests.

I've only partially read one report called 'CRACKDOWN'. It's over 100 pages long but you should definately check out the sections called The Monks Join the Protests and The Crackdown. The report contrasts the actions taken by the two sides in the fight for democracy in Burma, it also really made me so angry at all the injustices of the world!

I also found a video, (it has a few bloody pictures so beware) I can't tell if it has sound (no speakers on this computer) but it has pictures of the day of the crackdown.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Burma, Burma, Burma

At the advice of my traveling mates I've done more reading on Burma, all urging travelers not to go. I'm starting to question going, I just wish I didn't already have my ticket and visa paid for.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Crocs Eat Flip-flops for Breakfast

Today I went to Bangkok's weekend market, Chatuchak. I wandered around the maze-esque bazaar for hours in fourty degrees and gave into my consumeristic side a wee bit.

At the end of a long day, I realized something; I hate flip-flops. I've owned Crocs for a long time, and I wore them nearly everyday in Singapore, unfortunately I lost them on Ko Tao. When I got to Bangkok I decided to buy flip-flops instead of Crocs, big mistake. I don't understand how people can tolerate flip-flops, the bottoms of my feet are very sore and I have blisters between my toes and on the tops of my feet. Here are my thoughts on the flip-flop/Croc debate:

Firstly, and undeniably, Crocs are more comfortable that the thongs.

Crocs also look ridiculous, which I think is a bonus. I feel like I am sticking it to 'the man' or 'fashion police' when I stroll down the road in my Crocs. I actually had someone say upon meeting me 'are you actually wearing those in plublic?!'. Score one for the fashion criminals!

(I've found the effect is greatly increased on fashionistas when I wear Crocs with socks.)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Best Things in Life Are Free...

Woooooot! I've struck gold in Bangkok! FREE INTERNET!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thoughts on Travelling

Nothing to report really, just thought my blog was being neglected. Here are some random thoughts, and a bit about what I've been up to and what I plan to do.

After grumbling on Ko Tao about not being able to dive and then picking up a new travel partner, we (for those keeping track: Karlijn and I, plus newcomer Linda) headed to Ko Phayam on the west coast. The island was very secluded, and since it was off season we were only sharing the beach and the waves with about fifteen other people, which is quite a contrast from the city-like Ko Tao and Ko Pahangan.

My initial thoughts on travelling: I love it. It's very busy and I don't have much time to think of home so I don't miss it too much (sorry everyone!), except for when I have the occasional bout of home sickness. I also feel like I learn a lot about myself, some travellers are very open and you discuss everything and through that I have questioned myself (in a good way), and learned a lot. I'm learning to be more positive and outgoing and not to judge people right away.

I am currently still in Thailand, been around Bangkok and Pattaya lately, and on the twenty-seventh of this month I will be flying with my two pals to Yangon, Myanmar (if we can get a visa). At first, Myanmar sounded a bit dangerous to me, which is why I was attracted to it I think. On doing some reading it doesn't sound any more dangerous than any other SE Asian country. Most travellers avoid it because it is difficult to get a visa or because they are boycotting the government due to their violent crackdowns on pro-democratic protesters or other human rights abuses. I also considered not going because of the government's actions on peaceful protestors and monks, luckily there are ways to avoid giving the government your money while there.

OK, so I guess I had more to say than I thought.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Bandaged and Bruised Under a Full Moon

The full moon party is a huge party which occurs once a month (surprise, during a full moon) and covers all of Ko Phangan's Hat Rin Beach. I met up with friends, from my exchange program in Singapore, there for one last party to say good-bye. Walking around the day after the full moon party there were several people with bandaged up legs or arms from nasty spills they took falling off a stage or playing hopscotch (with jump ropes on fire), I was one of the bandaged folk.

During the party two of my friends and I were having a splashing fight in the water, and I 'fell' (I still say they pushed me!) onto a rock. I knew my foot was cut instantly, there was pain and with my hand I felt a small piece of skin which was nearly severed from my foot but clung on to my foot. I don't remember who saw my arm first, but when examining my foot it was noted that there was a stream of blood which was flowing from my elbow off of the tips of my fingers and into the Ocean.

A note to my mother; no cause for alarm, I am fine, I got the cuts cleaned at a clinic so no chance of infection. I am changing the bandages everyday. In a few more days, I am told, I don't need bandages anymore.

I am now on Ko Tao (Turtle Island) which unfortunately seems to be the scuba diving capitol of the world, its not really but it seams that way when everyone else gets to dive except you.

Friday, May 8, 2009

School Out and I'm Outta Here!

I finished my last exam and left Singapore on the same day. I am now in Phuket, Thailand for the evening and will be continuing on tomorrow to Ko Phangan. Leaving Singapore was a bit sad , saying goodbye to friends and so on, but I have a lot to look forward to.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


I received this message in my Inbox:

6 May 2009

Dear Residents,


As a precautionary measure against the H1N1 influenza virus, all residents will be required to monitor their own temperatures on a daily basis.

Please submit your temperature reading online by 10am each day, via the following website address: [removed]

Please be informed that non-compliance may pose health risks to our residents and compromise the university’s efforts to keep out the H1N1 Influenza virus.

We seek your cooperation in this exercise and thank you for your patience and understanding.

Residential Services

Office of student Affairs

Seriously!!? I guess to those not living in Singapore this may not seem (initially spelled seam, thanks to my Mom for pointing that out) too extreme. But when a thermometer is put in your ear for nearly every building you walk into on campus, it gets a little tiring. They actually close the library early now (during exams) because they can't afford to keep paying the thermometer people. And, they have cancelled all school trips out of the country.

I feel like this could be dealt with at the airports, they know where peoples flights are from, if they are coming from a flu affected area they could test peoples temperature. Oh yeah, they are doing that too, I got thermal scanned coming back from Thailand the other day. This country can be so hysterical sometimes, but I guess it's better than China which appears to be quarantining people because they are Mexican. Singapore seems to understand its caused by a flu virus, not Mexicans.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Stopped Studying for Stratego

My cousin David loaned me the board game Stratego on Saturday after I visited his house. I saw the game sitting on his coffee table and I was reminded of high school when I would play the game most lunches (I was really cool). I wont go into the full details of my rigorous board game ranking system, but Stratego is my number one 'two-player' board game. I had to borrow it.

In addition to that my good friend Greg showed me that you can play Settlers of Catan online (my favourite '3-6 player' game). That has sucked away a lot of hours from my studying effort as well.

Overall I have not had a short supply of distractions from exams. When my friends are too annoyed to play Stratego any more, I look up strategies online and when I am sick of looking up strategies, I play Settlers or when I'm too tired of even that I blog about it. Okay, now I can study, I have an exam tomorrow morning.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hitting the Books

I'm back in Singapore and have to get back into 'school mode'.  I have three exams to write before I am free again!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Doin' Things the Long Way

I left the Highlands and proceeded to Pattaya, Thailand, to visit my old friend, Jen, from camp.  After some initial missed messages me have met up and I've been having a great time here since.

The bus was my chosen mode of transportation to Pattaya.  I have decided that planes are necessary sometimes, but should be avoided since they release a enormous amount of greenhouse gasses.  Google Maps conservatively estimated the trip to be 20 hours and 34 minutes.  I think Google is incredibly reliable however it was mistaken, the true time on the road was over 25 hours, not counting all the time between the separate buses I had to take.

Generally the buses were quite comfortable and I was able to sleep a lot.  Except for my longest trip (the 13 hour drive from Hat Yai to Bangkok) where I was being pressed against from all sides; the seat in front of me tilted back while mine was stuck completely upright, and a suitcase stored just below my feet kept my knees against my chin for most of the ride.  I was angry that somehow the tallest person in the whole vehicle got stuck in the seat with no leg room.

By far what frustrated me most was the man beside me.  He was deaf, dumb and gay, and apparently interested in me.  He initially came on quite strong, trying to hold my hand, and asking if "I wanted him to suck my penis" (translated by his friends), but finally his advances were much more subtle, like falling asleep with his head on my shoulder and so on.

I really started kicking myself for my stupidity for not visiting Jen when she was back in Canada since she only lives a mere two hour drive from my house in London.  End of Rant.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Cameron Highlands

The Cameron Highlands has rolling hills covered in thick forests with an occasional European-style village along the winding highway through the Malaysian interior. The European architecture of the villages, and the habit of the locals to enjoy tea and biscuits, is a reminder of the English colonization of these parts.

The climate is like northern Ontario, and made me miss home a lot. I felt like I was at camp at the end of the summer from when I was younger. The days were warm but the nights cooled off so that you needed to put on pants and a sweater. Some coniferous trees stood out around the hostel and you share a room with your bunk mates (mine being the two guys who helped me with my wallet troubles). What reminded me most of Canada was the mounties they have posted in the highlands there. Just kidding, obv. What reminded me most of Canada was the air, the high altitude made the air refreshing (a real treat when compared to Singapore's sticky, wet, and heavy air).

The landscapes were beyond words, especially the Tea Plantation I visited. So I will let the pictures do the talking. I've also uploaded pictures from my weekend long trip to Indonesia a few weeks ago, you can see it on my Picasa Web Albums or below.

Oh ya, I also went to Kuala Lumpur, but who cares about that.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Lost and... err.. and... ummm

Whats that last part again? It's probably not that important anyways.

I'm on the road again, and I have had my first travel mishap. I took a bus from Kuala Lumpur to Tanah Rata in the Cameron Highalands. I emptied my pockets of everything for the trip so that it would be easier to sleep. When I got to Tanah Rata I quickly stuffed all my stuff into my bag and pockets and walked off the bus. Now, I am not the most experienced traveler, but here is a tip: ALWAYS check your seat when you get off a bus or train or plane or whatever. Because when I left the bus and put all my 'stuff' in my bag, I left one important thing: my wallet. I didn't realize it until I got all the way to my hostel. By then it was too late, I ran back to see if it was still there but I'm not so lucky I guess.

It had all my money (equal to about 200 dollars CAD, sucks but it could have been worse), my credit and debit cards, and my student visa for Singapore. The visa for Singapore is not such a problem, since I only need to go back for one week for my exams, so a travel visa will work for that time. The money and cards were more of a problem. I was so lucky that my parents were able to help me out and send me a bit of cash, and cancel my cards. Also, two great guys I met Anders and Daniel were able to loan me some money for a few days.

The Cameron Highlands are incredible by the way. Later today I will be doing one more hike and then heading off to Bangkok.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Today was the day I leave for Thailand. However due to an assignment for my Soil Mechanics class, which is due today, I needed to stay and finish it. Hopefully if I get my work done I can leave tonight or tomorrow.

On the brighter side, I just got back from Tioman Island. The Island itself looks like its from the movie Jurassic Park; lots of jungle with steep hills with exotic wildlife like bearded monkeys (made that name up), monitor lizards and velociraptors. The atmosphere at the beach we stayed at was laid back, with backpackers and locals hanging out on the beach until late at night. Tioman is also known for scuba diving, I was able to do four dives and saw a blacktip reef shark, two cuttle fish and a sea turtle.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Hitting the Dusty Trail

On Thursday morning I'll be packing a few clothes, my toothbrush and my lonely planet guidebook and heading out for a quick tour before coming back to Singapore for exams.

I will be diving in Pulau Tioman (an island in Malaysia), and then on Monday morning moving onward to Thailand. I am a bit concerned to go to Thailand because of recent quarrels between the government and protesters. But, not concerned enough to not go I guess.

Monday, April 13, 2009

So Far So Good

As I mentioned in the previous post, coming to Singapore has been an amazing experience.  In that time I have had the opportunity to visit some of the neighbouring countries.  I was able to make quick trips to Malaysia and Indonesia.  As well as longer extended trips to Sarawak (Malaysian Borneo) and Cambodia.  I tried to keep this short, but I compiled some of the most memorable parts of my trips:

Malaysia and Indonesia were great, the people there were incredibly friendly.  Malaysia was my first trip outside of Singapore so everything I saw totally amazed me.  Indonesia was my most recent trip and Asia still continues to blow my mind all the time.  Jakarta and Jogyakarta both have bustling busy streets with tuk-tuks, bike-taxis, buses, and cars occupying of all lanes, yet turn down a gang (alleyway) and you enter a quiet, intimate neighbourhood where kids chase chickens and old woman cook meals for their families or anyone who wants to but some food.

Borneo has spectacular untouched forests, enormous (largest in the world) caves, and blue ocean.  It was my first time travelling alone, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I was happy when my pal Karlijn came to join me midway through.  The eight day trip mainly consisted of winding boardwalks through the jungle which lead to ominous cave entrances.  The caves themselves were homes to bats, swiftlets, spiders, and a lot of guano (bat droppings).  Borneo has so much beautiful nature to offer, with wildlife you can only see on that island, I was sad when the trip came to an end.  The final day Karlijn and I were able to relax by the ocean and watch the sun set, it was a great ending to a perfect trip (well it felt a bit short).

Cambodia was a field trip for my geography class about natural resources.  We had the opportunity to stay with families in a fishing village on the Tonle Sap lake.  There was an extreme language barrier between me and the family I stayed with.  The only words exchanged between me and my host father were ar kun (thank-you), and tuk (boat).  We got along really well, and he let us borrow the tuk whenever we liked, which was essential to see the village since it was literally floating on the water.  The meals were fishy, literally, for supper we ate fish soup, with fried fish and rice, but it was quite tasty.  At night many families from the village came to our house to watch Khmer soap operas on the small TV which was hooked up to a car battery (or maybe they came to see the white kid).  My trip to the Kingdom of Cambodia was really great to see first hand another lifestyle completely alien to my own. 

The Beginning of the End

The exchange students at the National University of Singapore are struggling to get all their final assignments in so they can have a week, or more, of travelling before exams.  Soon after exams they will be going home to their respective countries, or (most likely) embarking on trips around South East Asia.  It is the beginning of the end of the exchange student experience.

Coming to Singapore has been an amazing experience, and I am thankful I had the opportunity to do so.  Alas, I will soon be leaving and travelling around the south-east of Asia (woe is me), which both scares and excites me.  I will return to Singapore briefly before heading back to the Great White North.  Leaving Singapore will be bitter-sweet, since I know it mean the beginning of my travels, which I have been dreaming of for some time.  But, this city (which has both amazed and frustrated me equally) has become my home, and moving is always difficult.

Just like graduating high school there is the excitement of what lays ahead but also the sadness of leaving your friends behind.  There is the chance you will bump into each other again, but it may not be for a long time.

Nearly four months have gone by in a flash, but I still have lots of experiences ahead of me before I hop on a flight to Canada.