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Vesali: Second City of the Rakhine

“Having built a city which is more beautiful and splendid than the city of the celestial beings as if mocking the latter city . . .” – Anandacandra Stone, Verse 21 To hear about a Lost City, one that you’ve never heard of before, particularly when it is older than the one you’re already in,…

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The Chongqing Days: People’s Great Hall, People’s Spitting Ground

The act of spitting is commonplace in China. Easily within your first 24 hours anywhere in the country, you’ll hear the noise of someone loudly collecting every drop of available moisture in their mouth and throat before forcibly expelling it onto some nearby surface. It’s enough of a problem that signs prohibiting the action need…

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The Chongqing Days: Jialing Park and its Oddly Deep Mistranslated Signs

Green space is an uncommon sight inside the city of Chongqing.  Despite being a city built on rocky and hilly terrain, it has adapted with stairs up cliffs, 13-storey pedestrian walkways, and tunnels everywhere.  With all this odd construction in unconventional places, what few parks and gardens do exist tend to be manmade afterthoughts added…

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The Chongqing Days: Coffee at Central Perk

One of the reasons I had accepted a job in Chongqing is that I had never heard of it before. This enormous metropolis directly north of where I’d spent the last three years, and I knew nothing of it. And because of this vague anonymity, it is still relatively devoid of Western-ish establishments in comparison…

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The Chongqing Days: New Year’s Eve in Jiefangbei

With the newly constructed Line 6 bridge of the Chongqing subway going straight into the center of the city, we had an easy ride to the prime location for Chongqing’s New Year’s celebration. Although celebrations were happening in bars and homes all over the city, nothing would compare with Jiefangbei. From the newly opened subway…

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Huay Xai: Crossing the Mekong

The border between Thailand’s Chiang Khong and Laos’ Huay Xai was the most relaxed border I have ever seen. It’s actually harder to get out of Thailand than it is to get into Laos. Chiang Khong itself is a ways from the nearest decent-sized city of Chiang Rai, but the ride is quite a nice…

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Phrae Muang Phi: Phrae’s Ghost City

  Sticking with the theme of random whims and legends, I headed north from Bangkok to the town of Phrae. Overall, it was mostly un-noteworthy except for a scene from a fringed postcard I came across in the back alleys of Bangkok one night. It showed what appeared to be artificial constructs, but like nothing…

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Phrae and the Temple of the Industrial Buddha

On the outskirts of the Northern Thailand town of Phrae are a number of fairly remote and beautiful temples dotting the countryside. One in particular stood out though, not because it was overly attractive, but because its scale stood out over the surrounding fields. But, it strangely seemed as if had simply been walked away…