Which way home?

When should I go home? Is it goodbye when I no longer appreciate the feeling of personal safety here, the affordable public transport, the laid-back national attitude? When I tire of the cheap massages, manicures and mangos? Maybe it will it be the prevalance of sleazy bars, being seated next to one too many dumb…

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No need for nirvana in paradise

It?s the tenth set of squats that sends a ripple of rebellion through the class. There are murmurs and soft but indignant groans as people try to catch each other?s eyes before rolling them behind the teacher?s back. ?And in your own time, twenty more. Remember to breathe and keep those ankles on the ground,?…

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Cutting through red tape

"No! I don’t want any of your stupid little dangly conical hats. I didn’t yesterday, I didn’t this morning when I passed you, and I didn’t when I passed that woman selling the exact same thing five metres back there. Thank you." That’s what I wanted to say to the hawker in Hanoi. I really…

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The grass is always greener

Until landing at swish, efficient Changi airport last weekend, I never realised that Don Muang was such a dump. Sure, I’ve gone to other flash spots from Don Muang before, but usually they’ve been further away – there’s been a few drinks and a nap between my hazy memory of the Thai immigration officials taking…

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Thailand, the Italy of Asia

A little piece of Italy lived in our home every Thursday night when I was growing up in Australia. Dinners were Mum’s spaghetti bolognaise (spag bol in Australian); it was our one night’s respite from meat and three veg, except for Sundays when we’d eat McDonalds, tinned soup or cheese on toast (whatever Dad could…

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Keeping back with the Jones’

Anyone who’s been backpacking has heard or participated in these sorts of conversations. Not the ones where you compete to see who got to that small town in Vietnam when the children still cried to see a strange face on the street, or who arrived at that beach in southern Thailand before it had a…

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Dogs, dumpers and a damsel in distress

Our apartment lies a good few hundred metres from a main road, so to the casual observer, it seems remarkably peaceful for Bangkok. It’s not. Sure, most of it’s typical neighbourly noise, but working from home, I get it all. There’s the driver who regularly pulls up into our dead end soi, turns up his…

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The perils of sitting in a dentist’s chair

The tears erupted as soon as I saw the long chair, surrounded by shining, sharp instruments whose only possible purpose could be pain. My fear surprised me. I’m normally quite tough when it comes to pain – I was one of the few girls in my peer group who could handle using an Epilady when…

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