Exploring Anglesey Abbey

The meadow was bathed with sunlight. The grass tickled as I wiggled to wake up my legs. A trimmed lawn enclosed by sharply shaped hedges stretched out from my feet. The landscaping was as neat as the facial-hair sculpting on hipsters. I marveled at the sheer manpower this scene must have demanded. Someone would have had to mow lawns, cut the hedges, trim the trees, organized the gardens, cleared the paths and washed the bizarre urns scattered about the property. Then this team would have had to wrestled back nature again. And again. And again. What kind of awesome power could possibly maintain this idyllic sanctuary?

I leaned back. Ah yes. Money.

So how was I lounging on a rich man’s lawn? Read on dear visitor, read on. Continue reading “Exploring Anglesey Abbey”

Valentine’s Day Versus Anti-Valentine’s Day

Ah, Valentine’s Day, the time that annually awakens two camps as simmering and opinionated as Romeo and Juliet’s feuding families. It comes in flashes, this battle between the Valentine’s Day enthusiasts and their anti-Valentine’s Day counterparts. Posters proclaiming the location and time of Single’s Awareness Day events are pegged daringly next to walls dripping in pink and red. On the Internet people slash at gift ideas, over lattes they parry against the arguments of year-round romantics.

To buy chocolates or not buy chocolates—that is the modern question.

Continue reading “Valentine’s Day Versus Anti-Valentine’s Day”

Cheow Larn Lake, Surat Thani Province

From the mouth of the park to the belly of the beast we travelled. We streamed through the ticket booth (40 baht entry after flashing my student ID) and zipped across the lake, flying towards a horizon broken up by rounded mountains. They lined the edge of Cheow Larn Lake, gnarled like the broken teeth of some Thai elder resting deep in a distant rural region. The boat extended before me as sleek and narrow as a lizard tongue snapping at the air. The air was moist and hazy. The region seemed to be exhaling. The sun hid behind a sheet of clouds—the roof of the mouth was clamped shut. Still, it was a far cry from the absolute darkness of the belly I would stumble through two hours into the tour.   Continue reading “Cheow Larn Lake, Surat Thani Province”

Angkor Complex, Cambodia

“One dollar, one dollar. Two magnets, one dollar. Ok, ten postcards one dollar. One dollar. One dollar. One dollar.”

The child looked up at me, her eyes wide and glimmering. Shuffling the objects in the plastic tray slung across her stomach she pulled up one item after another and repeated the mantra.

“One dollar, one dollar, one dollar. Lady, maybe later? One dollar.”

She looked hopeful, her eyes sparkling with calculations but a tired strain fed into her voice. I could only smile at her. I didn’t want to be rude but I wouldn’t be buying anything.

Continue reading “Angkor Complex, Cambodia”

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

By the feeble light of our phone flashes we trudged on. It was pitch black. I hadn’t experienced that kind of darkness in a long time. It engulfed everything and seemed to eat at the little light we had at our disposal.

Continue reading “Angkor Wat, Cambodia”