I’m sorry gang, but I’m just not a terribly big fan of Thailand.
Yes, Thailand has my favourite food – spicy, zest-filled freshness bursting with flavour – and arguably some of the best island beaches, lapped by crystal waters teeming with aquatic life. That is certainly true.
And on occasion it holds a natural beauty that is hard to replicate. For instance, you might snap a shot of three young monks looking at a double rainbow, for instance. Pure, travelling gold.
Alas, I’m afraid to say Thailand has been overrun by a scourge that affects nearly every corner of its land: namely, twats.
Make no mistake, Siem Reap is a tourist town. Everything here is geared towards tourists, or towards the infrastructure that the industry necessitates. Only here it is on an unprecedented scale. It feels as big as Phnom Penh as you drive towards its centre, with enormous resort hotels on the outskirts giving way to the bustle of dusty roads and boutique guesthouses further in.
That being said, they’ve done a decent job of it. The restaurants are excellent and varied, the massage parlours are professional, and the bustling night market is colourful and exciting. The night life isn’t too bad either. Continue reading Angkor blimey!→
We had chosen to explore the south coast of Cambodia for one primary reason – to find bioluminescent algae, or plankton, in the ocean. We’d found none in Sihanoukville, while Kampot had its own variety of glow-in-the-dark wildlife, so Rabbit Island, off the coast of Kep, was our last chance.
Only 30 minutes down the road from Kampot, Kep sits on the Cambodian coast close to the Vietnam border. We’d booked a bus, but found the agency had overbooked the mini-van by about 10 people, most of whom were on their way to Ho Chi Minh City. Continue reading A feather in Cambodia’s Kep→
The bus up to the Cameron Highlands is as gorgeous as it is exciting. Winding up the mountains, the road teeters perilously on the edge of cliffs, or meanders meekly through the jungle. The views are remarkable, which is just as well, as the bus shunts from side to side as it corners each bend, rendering a book about as enjoyable as a migraine (which is what you’ll get if you try to read).
He certainly has an imagination, does Mr Miéville. And no more evident and unworldly is it than here, in Perdido Street Station. This bonkers fantasy science fiction is the first of a trilogy set in the world of Bas-Lag, a planet home to a vast array of sentient races, from proud, dangerous cactus folk, to the aquatic, water-sculpting frog people.
The reader is not led gently into this other world. Far from it. We are welcomed initially with the illicit inter-species love affair between fat, eccentric scientist human Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin and his Khepri lover, Lin. The Khepri, we learn promptly, are a sub-species of human-to-the-neck, scarab-for-a-head people. Continue reading Perdido Street Station – China Miéville – [Book Review]→