Why India Surprised Me

I didn’t get groped in India on the first day. Not once. On the second day I even took the metro, and forgetting about the women-only car at the front, crammed myself in with all the men. But no groping. One man even accidentally brushed against my forearm and then held up his hand in apology. What was going on?

On the River: Taking the Boat From Sittwe to Mrauk U in Myanmar

Taking the boat from Sittwe to Mrauk U in Myanmar is an excellent chance to see life along the river. The ferry leaves just as the sun is rising through the mist; seagulls follow the boat as it makes its way from the dock up the river, hoping it will churn up a tasty snack. Cargo and fishing boats pass, some loaded down until they’re barely peeking out of the water, and stops at villages along the way make an interesting diversion.

A Wander Through the Back Streets of Hpa-An, Myanmar

I did the tourist thing in Hpa-An. I took a boat across the river and climbed a big hill to watch the sunset. I took a day trip around to all the cave temples and karst scenery. I visited a popular swimming hole. And when I’d done all that? I wandered. Beyond the market, towards the river, I followed a road down a slight hill, into an area remarkably different from the rest of town.

How to Be Chic in Shaxi

If you’re visiting Shaxi, China, you might notice that there’s a very specific fashion trend for women. You must wear a hat. And not just any old hat; my baseball cap with a band logo simply would not do. So here’s my special guide on how to be chic in Shaxi!

Crashing a Batak Funeral in Sumatra

“Go, go!” my guide urged me, “join in, take pictures!” “But it’s a funeral” I said, hesitating, “I can’t take pictures at a funeral!” And yet I did. You just don’t go crashing funerals where I come from. In my culture funerals are generally sad, serious affairs and while the general public is usually able to attend, you normally wouldn’t go to the ceremony for a complete stranger. And if you did, you would never take pictures like a gawking tourist.