This post is a little different. It won’t be enjoyed in a few minutes at work. For this experience, you must take some deep breaths and clear your mind. The real experience is in the audio clip at the end of this post.
This is a little snipit of a random night in New Orleans. There’s a little local bar in the Marigny called MiMi’s, that epitomizes New Orleans. Worn down, grungy, musky, but full of energy as all walks of life come together for a drink. I had a few beers downstairs before climbing the stairs to uncover the muffled sounds above. I found a little ragtag brass and strings ensemble in the corner of the little second floor bar room. There were little tables scattered around the room with candles burning down, and tattooed couples two-steping in and around the band. The lights were dim, the spirits were high, and everyone drank and laughed another Monday night away.
In George Town, we found ourselves away from the beach for the first time in a number of weeks, and took to soaking up culture instead of sun for a few days.
To get our history fix, we spent an afternoon on a tour of the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion. Cheong Fatt Tze left China in the late 1800s a 16-year-old peasant without a penny to his name. The story goes American dream style, as George Town was seen as the land of opportunity for many Asians at the time. He built an empire as a trader and banker, and with his empire came many wives, children, and homes. His favorites of all of these were in George Town, and the structure that stands today is a testament to his success and his humble beginnings, as our guide informed us that for a Chinese house it is rather gaudy and lavish.
We also visited the Penang State Museum, a unique collection of artifacts and information about Malaysian history, peoples, and culture set in a beautiful building that originally housed the Penang Free School.
We spent an evening sampling current day local culture walking around the mall that sprawls out from the 65-story KOMTAR building, but were a bit disappointed that you can no longer take an elevator to the top and admire the view. After riding up and down escalators and dodging eager sellers, we were able to sit at a bustling McDonald’s to eat a McFlurry and a sundae while admiring the advertising for the “Prosperity Burger” being promoted for just in time for Chinese New Year. Double the happiness with a double chicken or double beef burger.
The city of George Town on the island of Penang, Malaysia was settled in 1786 by the British East India Company. George Town was declared a free port to compete with Dutch traders, and as such, attracted people from all over the world. The majority populations today are Chinese, Malay, and Indian. They all co-exist [...]
Chiang Mai is Thailand’s shining star of the north, full of culture and the means to help tourists take some of that culture home with them. From a wealth of options, we chose to take a Thai cooking class and over the course of the five-hour session we learned to make some of our favorite [...]
In an attempt to escape the main tourist drag of Northern Thailand, we headed eight hours west of Chiang Mai to the town of Mae Hong Son. 1,864 curves later we arrived to find that our attempt had failed (still plenty of tourists, I don’t know what we were expecting) and the quick bite we [...]
There are loads of Buddhist temples in Chiang Mai, and at least one of them has a program called “Monk Chat” where during certain hours you can go hang out with monks and ask them questions about Buddhism while they practice their English.
We sat down with a monk named Nan at a small, round [...]
Friday was our second day in Thailand and what better way to shift gears from one country to the next than to dive into the adventurously tasty local night market? Early in the day we met a group of French travelers who were also in town for the Surin Elephant Round Up. After “aperitifs” on [...]
We spent most of this week in Siem Reap, where the Angkor Temples stand. From these temples the great Khmer empire ruled most of Southeast Asia from the 5th century to the 14th century. For centuries, many of these temples were forgotten by all of the world save for the Buddhist monks living in the [...]
The day we arrived in Phnom Penh we visited two of the cities most dramatic remnants of the Khmer Rouge’s bloody reign of terror: Tuol Sleng (S-21), and the Choeung Ek Killing Fields.
The experience was chilling. The torture rooms were golden with sunlight pouring in through the windows yet in the middle lay the [...]