Posted by: afterbaedeker | 15 February, 2015

How much would you pay for a Babelfish implant?

A colleague asked me the other week whether I would pay a significant amount of money to have a chip implanted that meant I would understand all the languages in the world.

“A babelfish!” I eagerly interrupted only to be greeted with a blank look.

He was clearly neither a reader of Douglas Adams nor a frequenter of Altavista’s babelfish (the precursor to google translate). Never one to be daunted when my antiquated references* are missed, I quickly and unequivocally assured the chap, “Heck yes!”

What I would miss though would be my valiant (and generally laughable) attempts to mime my away across cultures, countries and languages.

Such an attempt was made last night when, try as I might, I could not find a lift or set of stairs that would take me to the basement of the hotel where rumour has it (not just hit song by Adele) one would find a swimming pool and gym. I asked at the front desk and sadly my Chinese doesn’t extent to “basement”, “gym” or “swimming pool”, and the staff’s English didn’t include those words either. I mimed pressing the elevator button, pointed down, and lowered myself like a 70s sitcom character behind the counter. No love. I then mimed my freestyle stroke and my audience correctly guessed I was after the swimming pool. And so I proceeded to mime swimming to two further staff members until one finally took pity on me and escorted me outside to the external entrance to the stairwell that led to the pool. Success!

Now, it’d be convenient but rather dull if that information was communicated sans charades, wouldn’t it?

 

* It now occurs to me that no Babelfish could adequately translate some of my turns of phrase. I fear a special Baedeker extension would be needed for most 🙂

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Posted by: afterbaedeker | 14 February, 2015

Cup of Joe (update)

Yesterday’s rumblings of discontent about the cost of a café latte are marginally offset by the discovery that the Backyard Café charges ¥23 (AU $4.70 / US $3.70) for palatable cup of coffee.

I must say I prefer any bitter aftertaste to be coffee bean rather than Yuan induced.

Backyard Café: 2 Sanlitun Bei Xieojie, Chaoyang District

Posted by: afterbaedeker | 14 February, 2015

Beijing (or a guide to questioning your basic math)

It’s fair to say I didn’t give much forethought to my time in Beijing. My thoughts were rather preoccupied with the joy of getting to Beijing from Ulaanbaatar by train: Definitely a case of travel for travel’s sake, rather than travel for a destination as such.

But a little over 24 hours into my stay, I can safely say Beijing has defied most of my expectations (both the good and the bad).

Expectations

  • Likely to be hustled
  • Budget friendly cost-of-living
  • Busy (to the point of agoraphobia)
  • Polluted (from smog dense skies to rubbish strewn streets)
  • Bitingly cold
  • Great dumplings

Reality

  • Good naturedly hustled by taxi rort
  • Budget blowing cost-of-living (pang maak maak [มีราคาแพงมาก], or as they say in Mongolia, маш үнэтэй (mash unte!))
  • Quiet
  • Cleaner (than most cities UB)
  • Crisply cold
  • Great dumplings

Bear in mind that my experience is limited to interactions between the central railway station and the Chaoyang District, so perhaps things are busier, dirtier, and cheaper outside this quarter of the city.

Let’s start with the hustle. Have you heard the one about the foreigner approached by two young women who say they’d like to practice their English and offer to take the foreigner to a teahouse, only for the hospitality to cost the foreigner hundreds of dollars for the pleasure? What about the one about the businessman offered an exclusive whisky tasting, only for the bill to be thousands of dollars and an inability to pay resulting in a night in prison? I would normally assign such tales to the stuff of hyperbole but the first happened to a friend (her first-hand account was gripping and stripped of exaggeration) and the second to a friend’s father (another seasoned traveller, more embarrassed than boastful about the misadventure). So, I was wary of how I would get from the station to my hotel relying on the kindness of English-speaking strangers.

I headed roadside and was corralled into a taxi queue which assuaged my immediate concern of touts. I was told it would be ¥350 (Chinese Yuan) – which is approximately AU $72 or US $60  – and thought, “here we go, a special foreigner price.” At any rate, I didn’t have that amount of currency me, and suggested payment could made at the hotel, but alas, cash is king. So off to the bank we went. My poor driver may have ultimately cursed his luck at having me for a passenger as it was 30 minutes and three hapless CMBC bank tellers later that I was at last able to withdraw cash. During this time I had two visits from my driver’s “supervisors” who attempted to speed up the cash withdrawal process. They may well have thought I had never used an ATM before given my inability to use it for its primary function, but never have I been more grateful for the temperamental nature of my banking card which requires a greater level of security than simply PIN and go; interaction with a human is generally required. Limited cash in hand, back in the taxi I went and was joined a block later by one of the supervisors. Cash was handed over and the supervisor chaperoned me to my hotel. I will confess to several flights of fancy where I questioned whether I would arrive at my hotel or not during the 15 minute drive. Needless to say I arrived alive.

For future reference, a taxi should cost ¥13 for the first 3 kilometers and ¥2.3 for each subsequent kilometer. So really my fare should have been around ¥50. But idle taxis charge ¥4.6 per five minutes in rush hour…so make that any extra ¥30.

So, yeah, while I was leaning toward categorising the experience as “bloody expensive”, it might more accurately be filed away as “foolishly ripped off”. C’est la vie.

Now to cost-of-living. For the purposes of this exercise I am going to use the humble cup of coffee as my point of comparison. I have got used to paying ₮ 5,000 (Mongolian Tughrik) for a decent sized café latte (AU $3 / US $2.60) from the charming and reliable Café de Amor, which is less than I’d pay back in Oz, or ₮ 7,000 from the delightful Helmut Sachers Kaffee (AU $4.70 / US $3.60; which is a little more than I’d pay in Oz). Today I went to the hipster friendly Vineyard Café on the River to grab a takeaway coffee that set me back ¥32 (AU $6.60 / US $5.10). In the words Steve Irwin, “Crikey!”

I had visions of traffic-clogged streets, and pedestrian-packed sidewalks, some capital-B Bustle to go with the hustle. Imagine my surprise to fairly zip along the multi-lane roads from the train station, not even the shadow of congestion to impede the flow of traffic. My surprise continued when walking along to Liangma River, footpaths dotted with fellow walkers but we idled past one another, ensconced in plenty of personal space, nary a bump or casual brush of coats. I am tempted to go as far as to proclaim the streets quiet.

I remember my grandmother describing Paris as a “dirty” city, and as a child finding that an odd adjective to ascribe until she clarified that it was the preponderance of canine faeces that dotted the streets that influenced her choice of words. My Aha Moment came over a decade later when I saw a man use a bin in a Parisian train tunnel as a urinal, and noted the aboveground situation was much the same as it was for my grandmother when it came to dog defecation. That said I love Paris. I love the art, I love the architecture, I love the history, I love the food, I love the wine, I love the attitude, I love the grit and the glamour. So dirty is not a deal breaker when it comes to my affection for a city. Which is all a long way of saying it was not with prejudice I assumed Beijing would be dirty – that smoke would congest the air in competition with exhaust fumes, that spit would speckle the sidewalks, that litter would line the streets. Not only is there room to move as a pedestrian, so far I have not seen a single expulsion of bodily fluid, nor a blight beyond an aberrant dog doing its business*. The Liangma River is currently frozen over, and older folks wipe the surface down in the morning – a human Zamboni – preparing the ice for children to skate, and adolescents to pick up sticks and play hockey. It’s all very picturesque, very, very unexpected, and utterly joyful.

As for the cold, China’s got nothing on Mongolia. I expected that much, but I still thought I would face some wind chill to offset the comparative rise in temperature. Pleasantly, the weather has been crisp as opposed to bitter. I even went so far as to walk sans gloves, scarf and beanie, and dared to wander with my down-filled coat unzipped today. Scandalous. That being said, if you were venturing to Beijing from warmer climes (and frankly outside of Antarctica, most places are warmer than Ulaanbaatar in January) the weather is chilly, so best to don layers of cashmere, wool, leather and goretex.

I shall now end with great dumplings. Many a steamed and fried dumpling has been joyfully consumed at Din Tai Fung. Top nosh in plentiful supply, although served in somewhat utilitarian surroundings.

TL; DR: divide by 5 and it’s still how much???

* this post became strangely entangled in documenting dog excrement – this is unlikely to be repeated in future posts (we should all be pleased to note)

™ Oprah Winfrey

Relevant Addresses

  • Café de Amor: Cuban Embassy Building (United Nations Street), Ulaanbaatar, MONGOLIA
  • Helmut Sachers Kaffee: Baga Toiruu west, Ulaanbaatar, MONGOLIA
  • Vineyard Café on the River: 1 Xindong Lu, Chaoyang, Beijing, CHINA
  • Din Tai Fung: 24 Xinyuan Xili Zhongjie, Liangmaqiao, Chaoyang, Beijing, CHINA
Posted by: afterbaedeker | 13 February, 2015

The great electronic wall

Although some lizard-part of my brain knew communication would be restricted in China, I clearly didn’t know. Not really.

My first clue was when my Mongolian sim card couldn’t find a signal in the Chinese skies with which to connect. Curious. Unitel had managed to scramble for local carriers in Korea and Australia, so I had blithely assumed it would do the same in China. Not so, mon frère.

My next clue came when I couldn’t access gmail as the “server was down”. Like a bear with a craving for honey I decided to poke the beehive by trying google. “Server cannot connect.” Well, now I just wanted to see what other servers were restricted. The answer: facebook, youtube, twitter, and The New York Times for starters…but not tumblr, skype, or The Guardian.

As for wordpress, it does eventually load but looks more akin to MS DOS than the user-friendly interface to which I am accustomed.

Posted by: afterbaedeker | 12 February, 2015

The Trans-Siberian Railway

As a general rule, one should always confer with Seat 61 – the guru of train travel – on the how of railway adventures around the world. As an aside, I have been greatly guided by Seat 61 for travel from London to Budapest via Munich; from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and on another occasion to Vientiane; and now from Ulaanbaatar to Beijing.

Purchasing a ticket in advance of travel

Allow me to elaborate on how one actually buys a ticket to board the Trans-Siberian No. 4 train in Ulaanbaatar.

Generally, tickets are sold the day before the train departs. If your travel plans are fairly relaxed then this is not an issue. If, however, like me you have a rather more fixed itinerary, then you may want the peace of mind of having a ticket to ride in your hot little hand more than 24 hours prior to departure. This is where the fun begins…

Tickets cannot be purchased at the train station (at what I later worked out was the “domestic railway ticket office“). Oh, at this point it may help to let you know that there is only one train station in Ulaanbaatar, and hence no further identifier is needed other than ‘the’. I digress.

Tickets are instead available for purchase at the international ticket office. It is located across the road, set behind the offices that face the street, in a faded lemon coloured building.

Source: All Things Go!

Now my number one tip is to venture to the ticket office with someone who speaks Mongolian. I did and it was still an exercise in patience and possible futility.

We were shuttled along from the “Russia train” office (which, fair enough, the train does travel from Russia) to the “China train” office (makes sense, that’s the train’s final destination) and were told that tickets are not sold until the day before departure. Word to the wise: this is true for hard sleepers (ie third class cabins).

The official in the “China train” office explained to my friend that there was a waitlist to (optimistically) prioritise one’s ticket purchase. “Sign me up,” I eagerly requested. To another room we were sent.

In this room I once again made it known (and translated) I was interested in a luxury class berth. A breakthrough was made. It transpires that the Mongolian ticket office has the discretion to sell in advance four first class berths per train (ie once a week). I expressed my firm interest in purchasing one (of the two remaining bunks) then and there and so was redirected to yet another room that looked suspiciously like a bank.

At first the official in this final room wasn’t inclined to sell me a ticket but once it was made clear I had the permission of the woman from the previous room a purchase was indeed made. My passport and credit card were handed over, and for the sum of 255,000 Tughrik (approx. AUD 170/ USD 130) I was issued with a ticket six days in advance.

TBC in The Trans-Siberian Railway Part 2: The Trip

Posted by: afterbaedeker | 30 January, 2015

It’s time to explore somewhere new!

I last left you (my seven subscribers*), with the rather optimistic sentiment:

So, having reflected on the year that was, and looking forward to the travel opportunities for 2013, it’s time to explore somewhere new!

Which indeed I did, but promptly failed to blog about any of it for TWO YEARS!

Of the places I said I would like to explore in 2013 I managed to make it to three out of six of my likely options:

  • Viet Nam: Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Halong Bay
  • Laos: Luang Prabang
  • Thailand: Chiang Rai, Mae Sot

And, not surprisingly, none of my unlikely options:

  • Nepal: Kathmandu
  • Bhutan
  • India: Taj Mahal, Agra Fort

In January I enjoyed a mini-break to Viet Nam where I was utterly unprepared for the chilly climes of Hanoi and Halong Bay. My Bangkok wardrobe was kindly supplemented with some winter pieces from a lovely English couple staying at the same hotel to stave off frostbite. I used g adventures to organise an overnight stay on a traditional junk, and would recommend their services for a fuss free excursion.

April found me in Jamaica – say what? A surprising place I never thought I’d visit in 2013! The highlight was most assuredly visiting Firefly**, the final home of Noël Coward, near Ocho Rios. Directing the driver away from the more touristical sites (Margaritaville and Dolphin Cove) took serious powers of persuasion to head off the main road and up a dirt track to what is the unintentionally hidden home of Noël. But driver and the driven alike marvelled at the view once we cleared the bushland and were treated to the sight beyond Firefly: pristine coastline, blue, blue skies, and 007’s island in the distance.

In July I went on a madcap adventure around Mexico, Belize and Guatemala. Swimming with sharks and stingrays and getting scratched by coral (note to self: hydrogen peroxide is a travel essential). Sunset cruises and rum based beverages. Walking the same side streets as Prince Harry in Belize. Discovering Belize is part of the Commonwealth. (Knowledge fail) Missed busses, dilapidated taxis, domestic airlines. Slamming through three countries in a single day and miscalculating the cost of entry fees, exit fees and bribes. Mexico City, I think I love you.

My final exploration for 2013 was to rainy ol’ Montreal where I glutted on the French Film Festival – and semi-stalked Anouk Aimée and in doing so met the most charming Canadian-Argentinian couple who interpreted her Q&A at Cinéma Impérial for me, and by interpreted I mean made snide comments on the incompetence of the interviewers, and gave the gist of Anouk’s equally cutting and charming riposte – magnifique!) and let my inner teeny-bopper mmmbop with the best of them at Hanson’s Anthem concert.

So, two years late, and a mere amuse bouche of a travel write up, but it feels good to be blogging again. My thanks to Weekday Worker, Weekend Playa for prompting me back into the game!

* one of whom signed up with a work email and has since moved onto greener email address pastures… so make that six subscribers

* note the photographer

Posted by: afterbaedeker | 30 January, 2015

Dear Baedeker…

Hey Gurl!

I’m going to Bangkok for a conference next Friday and I heard that you lived in Thailand for a bit. I have two nights and two full days at the end of my trip free and I want to hit the beach, somewhere easy to get to from Bangkok and a little more relaxed and beautiful (if that’s possible).

Do you have any recommendations? Thanks!

Weekday Worker, Weekend Playa

hey girl - eyes up here

Dear Weekday Worker, Weekend Playa,

You are reliably informed, I did live in Thailand for a bit. My hot tip for an easy access, relaxed getaway from BKK is to go to Ko Samet. And my even hotter tips on how to get there, where to stay, and the best playa action can be found here.

For future reference, and for future trips, check out Hivesters. It’s a social venture startup co-founded by a former colleague of mine that offers interesting Thai travel options that support local entrepreneurs and social enterprises.  When next I’m in Krung Thep I’ll be looking to their suggestions for mini-break inspiration!

Happy travels,
A. Baedeker
Posted by: afterbaedeker | 3 January, 2013

Travel theme: New

Where’s my backpack issued the following challenge: What does ‘new’ mean to you?

I’ll often be overheard proclaiming*, “well isn’t that new and exciting?” but what I really mean is “well that’s unexpected” or “that’s certainly different”. So I suppose that means I equate ‘new’ with ‘unexpected’ and ‘different’.

About five years ago (maybe a little longer), I set myself a personal challenge to visit one country each year I had never been to before, and if I visited a country I had been to before, to explore a different part of that country. Last year I exceeded my wildest travel expectations.

I started 2012 in Sri Lanka, an impromptu destination required to meet up with a friend for Christmas and New Year’s that was chosen because it was between Ireland and Thailand, and somewhere neither of us had been before. So many things to write up properly: late night plane arrivals in Colombo, second class trains to Haputale, ABC Guesthouse (an absolute joy of a homestay), tea country, Lipton’s Seat, World’s End, Unawattana, Udawalawe National Park, Galle hospital…

I went to Singapore in February for Laneway, and although I’d visited the country before I’d not been to the botanical gardens which was  a shady, welcome breath of fresh air from Bangkok, and I’d not tried chili crab either (delicious).

At the start of March I went to Myanmar which was extraordinary. An interesting country, a place out of time, and a trip spent with two wonderful friends. At the end of March I went to Laos for the first time, and really must write up the best options for a cheeky weekend in Vientiane.

In April I was visited by my best friend from home and we went to Malaysia (a new country for him) – first to Penang (where we stayed at the gorgeous Campbell House – if you ever find yourself in Penang you simply must stay here, it warms the cockles of the weariest hearts) and then onto Langkawi  (both of which were places I hadn’t been to in Malaysia) – and then onto Trang via Koh Libong (places in Thailand I hadn’t explored). We had such fun! (And may have watched series one and two of Miranda during our travels…)

I travelled to Jakarta for the first time in June (and I hadn’t been to Indonesia for fifteen years), and sadly didn’t get to see many sights, but ate as much local food as possible. Sambal, I think I love you.

In July I ate my way across Macau (first visit) and Hong Kong (second visit – but my first typhoon) with a mate who acted as my local guide which was fabulous. We may have been on a mission to collect as many Michelin stars as possible…so will write up those gastronomical delights another blog post.

In September I went to Kenya and Tanzania – this spontaneous trip was planned about two weeks before departing (which made organising yellow fever vaccinations and visas a fun imperative). Africa is somewhere I’ll never forget, a truly breathtaking, thought provoking, different place. I really do need to blog this while the memories are relatively fresh: the differences between Nai-robbery (as jaded ex-pats call Nairobi) and the Masai Mara and Zanzibar. Wow.

In October I went to Brunei, an incredibly interesting country, that renewed my desire to travel to Borneo (and to return briefly to Brunei so I can see the proboscis monkeys).

In November I was in Melbourne, and despite a life time of travel to Victoria it was the first time I’d been to the Mornington Peninsula, the weather was spectacular, and lunch and wine at the Portsea Hotel was splendid.

Which concludes the 2012 year in travel review!

Places I would like to explore this year:

[likely]

  • Viet Nam: Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Halong Bay
  • Laos: Luang Prabang
  • Thailand: Chiang Rai, Mae Sot

[unlikely]

  • Nepal: Kathmandu
  • Bhutan
  • India: Taj Mahal, Agra Fort

So, having reflected on the year that was, and looking forward to the travel opportunities for 2013, it’s time to explore somewhere new!

*Yes, I proclaim. I am a proclaimer. This is how I roll.

Posted by: afterbaedeker | 31 December, 2012

Dear Baedeker…

Dear Baedeker,

How was your trip to Myanmar, you know, the one you mentioned NINE months ago? I’m considering travelling there soon, so please update again (or at all, is this blog still active?).

First time traveller to Asia

 

Dear First time traveller to Asia,

Firstly, thank you for asking about my trip, it was lovely.

Secondly, rude! This blog is still active, even if it has been mislabelled as dormant for several months. Let this eruption very much remind you that the blog is alive. But I digress, onto your request for information on Myanmar travels…

March 2012 was an amazing time to visit Myanmar, given the energy the 1 April election generated across the country. It was little things, like trucks that sped along dusty unfinished roads heading west from the Shan State that had decals of the National League for Democracy flag on their vehicles, or small off-road eateries, often little more than plastic chairs under corrugated iron for roofing, that displayed portraits of The Lady, to a pro-NLD street party when we arrived in Mandalay, that made Myanmar fairly pulse with the promise of change.

First time travelling to Asia, you say. Well, Myanmar, is certainly an interesting and potentially adventurous choice. Let me offer some reasons why Myanmar may well be a great first choice:

 

  • Outside of Yangon you rarely bump into other travellers, and even in Yangon you really only bump into other foreigners at the Shwedagon Pagoda. The Pagoda is fabulous, and more than a touch unruly in size…take note of the entrance you use (north, south, east, west) as it took me and my fellow Pagoda goer and I over 20 minutes to find the right exit and reclaim our shoes!
  • Personal safety is high (despite the fact you will have an obscene amount of USD on your person/in your luggage). I felt very safe getting about with another female traveller walking/cycling by ourselves, throughout all hours of the day and night when often we would be the only non-locals.
  • People are friendly and welcoming and not yet of a mind to rip off tourists (so generally take prices at face value, haggle a little at shops or with taxis, but generally, prices aren’t greatly inflated for tourists).
It’s hard to explain, but it’s so very different to anything you’ll likely experience outside of North Korea or Cuba. Nothing is standard: powerpoints can be from any region in the world (so pack a universal adapter); cars range from rust buckets (most taxis) to top of the line (privately owned) and some are left-hand, some are right-hand drive – whatever finds its way past the sanctions; convenience stores (nothing so grand as a supermarket, and certainly not as ubiquitous as 7-11s in Bangkok) stock whatever they can from neighbouring countries that have slipped through and it’s utterly random.
 
 
My hot tips if you do decide to travel to Myanmar:
  • Use a travel agent based in Myanmar to organise at least the outline of your trip (initial accommodation and flights within the country) for you as it’s nigh on impossible to plan/book anything outside Myanmar (or at least it was when I went, I assume the touristification of Myanmar hasn’t fully hit yet).
  • Visit Inle Lake for a couple of days/nights as it’s rather wonderful. Where I stayed was just as lovely looking as the photo suggests.
  • Visit Bagan for a couple of days and cycle around the temples. Oh, and either have a passing knowledge of George Orwell’s Burmese Days, or be prepared to purchase a photocopied version from the many handicraft sellers that have set up shop around the temples. Be warned: if you claim to have read the book these women will test you and likely find your lie wanting.
  • Potentially skip Mandalay other than as an arrival/departure point. I know, I know: sacrilege! Skip the place that Rudyard Kipling wrote about, that Robbie Williams sang about, that Nellie the Elephant packs her trunks for? Yes. Well, it’s what we did. We stayed one night only (like all the great divas) on our way from Bagan to Pyin Oo Lwin.
  • Visit Pyin Oo Lwin – former colonial respite – very nice botanical gardens (the National Kandawgyi Botanical Gardens). We caught a local pick up truck from Bagan, and got to know the locals up close and personal as we squished in the back, and a taxi (as ever, sharing with anyone else who happened to travel the same way) for the return.
  • Get the boat from Bagan to Mandalay (or vice versa). Getting somewhere by water (rather than land of air) is my favourite form of travel. It was lovely to sit under the shaded rooftop deck, watch the lake and the different ways locals use the waterfront, there are many great photo opportunities and pleasantly conducive book reading atmosphere.
  • Ensure you take enough USD for your trip (no ATMs and no credit card facilities) and that the bills you take are crisp, and by that I mean all but freshly printed by the Treasury: no marks, no creases, as close to perfect as it can be without being counterfeited. NB: you get a better exchange rate for $100 notes.
  • I didn’t get to Napoli but if you’re after a beach and seafood bonanza this is the place and other travellers I’ve spoken to rave about it.
Pitfalls
 
  • Starting with the most literal pitfall – the side walk. It’s meant not so much for walking as leaping from one paved area to another and is at its most perilous in Yangon. I was vigilant on my first night in Yangon about walking with my battery-free torch and steadfastly missing all the gaps. Less vigilant on my return and second last evening of the trip when I fell to the drainage system below. This hurts both physically and financially. (Who knew one banged up leg would require so many visits to Bangkok hospitals? Me… and now you.) This is my public service to future walkers of south-east Asia, watch your step!
  • Travelling from one place to another takes a significant amount of time unless you fly (I loathe flying so only did one internal flight Yangnon > Heho (the nearest airport to Inle Lake – still about an hour taxi to Inle and another hour boat to accommodation). We got a private driver from Inle to Bagan – the drive took the best part of the day. Boat from Bagan to Mandalay took about 12 hours. Train from Mandalay to Yangon took about 16 hours.
  • I love train travel but must warn that the overnight train from Mandalay to Yangon has some of the most rickety tracks I’ve felt and it was bumpy from start to finish, sometimes mild bouncing, other times, violent. FYI.
  • No mobile phone reception without a Myanmar simcard (these are reducing in price, but one friend who’s lived in Myanmar for 4 years paid US$2000 for his in late 2011).
  • Limited to non-existent wifi, some internet in major hotels in Yangon.
  • Everyone is precious about the condition of USD regardless of denomination (nothing quite like someone holding US$5 up to the light to check it out).
  • Almost impossible to organise a trip independently, and if you’re planning on travelling without a tour company (like I did) you’ll still have to cave and use a travel agent.
So, First time traveller to Asia, there you go. My random thoughts on Myanmar travel.
Happy travels,
A. Baedeker
Posted by: afterbaedeker | 14 March, 2012

BKK bookclub

Since my last bookclub post I have acquired a Kindle which has reignited my reading drive and necessitated a new coding system. Titles listed as (e) are ebooks, titles listed as (a) are audio books, and titles with no additional indicators are good ol’ fashioned paper books.

Currently reading:

Read:

28 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (e)
27 Sylvester by Georgette Heyer read by the second Mr Baedeker Richard Armitage (a)
26 The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer read by the second Mr Baedeker Richard Armitage (a)
25 Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami (e)
24 Defending Jacob by William Landay (e)
23 Mockingjay (The Hunger Games: Book 3) by Suzanne Collins (e)
22 Catching Fire (The Hunger Games: Book 2) by Suzanne Collins (e)
21 The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games: Book 1) by Suzanne Collins (e)
20 A Tiny Bit Marvellous by Dawn French (e)
19 The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials Trilogy: Book 1) by Phillip Pullman
18 She Walks in Beauty: A Woman’s Journey Through Poems selected and introduced by Caroline Kennedy (e)
17 My Booky Wook: A Memoir of Sex, Drugs and, Stand-up by Russell Brand (e)
16 The Return of the Dancing Master by Henning Mankell
15 11/22/1963 by Stephen King
14 Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
13 The Retribution (aka Why Tony and Carol Will NEVER Be Happy) by Val McDermid
12 Palo Alto: Stories by Mr Baedeker James Franco
11 The Pleasure of My Company by Steve Martin
10 Thirteen Reasons by Jay Asher
9 Seriously…I’m Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres
8 The Happiest Refugee by Ahn Do
7 Precious (based on the novel ‘Push’) by Sapphire
6 Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell
5 Pyramid by Henning Mankell
4 The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ by Philip Pullman
3 Slaughterhouse-Five: A Novel (The Children’s Crusade) by Kurt Vonnegut
2 One Day by David Nicholls
1 On Beauty by Zadie Smith

On the bookshelf to read:

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