Monthly Archives: March 2010


Who's the Daddy?

Klaus loves his girls. Not quite as much as he loves his beer, but he loves them all the same. So he likes to keep them on their toes. “I am a Hamburger,” he says. “This I say with pride. To call myself a German, this is not so good. My name is Klaus. Like […]


The Magic of Travel


One of the great things about travelling with Z is the pleasure he takes in the different means of going from A to B. From the night train to Bangkok to trekking through the Cambodian jungle to swan boats in Hue, Vietnam. But for me, this snap of him riding tailgate on a sawngthaew (South-East […]


Bangkok (Not Very) Dangerous


Honestly. Why take the bus when you can take the train?! Even in second class, the night train from Nong Khai to Bangkok is a real joy, particularly after our Lao bus experience the night before. Fold out, curtained bunks with clean sheets which are prepared for you at bedtime, allowing you a seat before. […]


The Best-Laid Plans…


We have hot-footed it — well, night-bused it — back from Luang Prabang to Vientiane, with a sleeper train to Bangkok ahead of us tonight, in quest of the elusive Myanmar visa. Whether because of Z’s performance in the embassy last time around (unlikely) or a verifiable and undeclared, though undistinguished and utterly apolitical, track […]


The Fear Factor

Ascending through rock to the start of zipwire canopy, Tad Sae waterfall, Luang Prabang, Laos

Can intensive, sweaty, pulse-pounding vertigo count towards one’s recommended 30 minutes cardio? If so, I need no more exercise for at least a week… I blame my son. There we are, last day in Luang Prabang, beautiful World Heritage town, all geared up to mooch around and finally visit the oldest temple in Laos, when […]


Pressed Flowers

Lantern made with orange pressed flowers, Luang Prabang, Laos

Z and I loved watching weaving in action the other day. Oh, yeah, and normally I hate tourist markets with a passion. But the paper workers around Luang Prabang, Laos, produce some of the most beautiful objects we have seen on our travels. Like this lantern made with pressed flowers and leaves, which we saw […]


Palanquins and Kings


The generational differences between me and Z never cease to amaze me. We went to the Royal Palace in Luang Prabang, Laos, yesterday, former home of the kings of Laos. We were pacing down a corridor in our bare feet, trying to work out the sense of the legend of the Lao prince who became […]


Unexpected Pleasures


Travelling with children, the best days sometimes come out of absolutely nowhere, and from the lowest expectations. And on our first day in Luang Prabang, Laos, my expectations were pretty much rock bottom. Yet we ended up swimming in the most fantastic set of rapids, having masterclasses in weaving and petanque, meeting an utterly delightful […]


The Pocket Diplomat


Whatever our struggles with formal schooling, Z’s certainly learning a lot as we travel. And he sure does choose his moments to show it. We are literally halfway between Vietnam and Laos, him ceremonially straddling the red line dividing the Laotian end of the (small) bridge from the Vietnamese end, about three stamps and five […]


Up with the Larks

mekong sunset luang prabang

So we’ve arrived in Luang Prabang, Laos, and, as ever, I’m still trying to work out whether the benefits of night buses — saves a day’s travel and the cost of a room — are outweighed by the pitiful condition in which we reach our destination. I’m not sure they’ve quite got the hang of […]