Churches and squares everywhere 

Chinese New Year in Macau – Day 2 – A tour of old colonial Macau If you don’t go to Macau to gamble or shop, you go to Macau for history. I’m not a gambler – and I’d probably be a poor one even if I tried – and I don’t particularly go in for…

The Forest of Wisdom

Diary of an Autumn Leafer – Heyri Artist Valley & Paju Book City  If you tell a bibliophile that there’s such a magical place as a “Book City”, then it had better live up to its moniker. Add in 8 m high bookshelves and something called “The Forest of Wisdom”, and just point me in the…

A foot into the hermit kingdom

Diary of an Autumn Leafer – DMZ and JSA tour  When in Seoul, I felt that it was absolutely important that I visit the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) and the JSA (Joint Security Area) near the shared border with North Korea. In order to visit inside the DMZ and the JSA, a tour was necessary, and it had…

War, peace, and the surprising beauty of stones

Diary of an Autumn Leafer – Jeju Island Tourist Bus Besides meet up with old friends and colleagues who now work in schools on Jeju Island – and having Mexican food and local Korean BBQ for various meals – there were a few looping tourist buses that run around the island to drop people off…

What to do on Jeju

Diary of an Autumn Leafer – Jeju, South Korea  About a three hour flight from Hong Kong is a small Korean island called Jeju. The island made its living from seafood, and now, tourism – mostly of from China at about 85% of the usual tourist trade. October holiday, a blessed week that we get…

Two days at a desert mirage in Abu Dhabi

When others dream of laying on a beach in a postcard perfect tropical location (not that I don’t – sometimes), I dream mostly of crumbling castles, acres of perfectly mowed green lawns, and the homes of my literary favorites – Austen, Brontes, Wordsworth, and Dickens. Yes, I dream of England. It has become an interesting…

All creatures great and small

When I say I have had a veritable zoo or critter menagerie in my apartment over the year, I swear I am not exaggerating. Such is life in a ground floor apartment, in a village, in the foresty mountain area of Hong Kong. One thing most people don’t realize is that Hong Kong is only about…

An afternoon’s walk through history

Old Saigon <Saigon River hotels to Dong Khoi> – Part 2 I strolled the waterfront for bit, and it took me a good while to find a “safer” spot for me to cross the lane so I could view the hotels away from their curbside location. When I crossed back, I ran like hell before…

A morning’s walk through history

Old Saigon <Tao Dan Park to Saigon River> – Part 1 I began my walk that morning – a continuation of a Lonely Planet city walk in their Vietnam tour guide – down Truong Dihn toward Ben Tranh Market. As I exited my hotel, however, I saw a group of young people kitting up for the Lion and…

Neon lights and Saigon nights

In addition to exploring HCMC during the day time hours, I went back to Dong Khoi and few side streets in the evening to enjoy some of the restaurants and lit up buildings. I’ve included a montage here of nightlife, especially during the Tet holiday. The main streets were packed full of people enjoying the…

Don’t you pho-get about banh mi

When in Vietnam, eat all the pho and banh mi you can find – you won’t get it as good anywhere else, no matter how hard you try. I went on a journey to find pho, the best pho, and the best banh mi. It was hard to try out the pho in the major…