30 January 2015

Meandering in Malaysia: Batu Caves

As I have mentioned in a previous post, while I had Myanmar as my main destination, for economic reasons, I opted to add some stops in other countries. So instead of flying directly from Berlin to Yangon, I opted to fly to Kuala Lumpur instead, as fares were cheaper that way, even if I factored in the extra flight connecting Kuala Lumpur and Yangon. And since I haven't been to Malaysia before, I opted to spend 3 nights in the city and check it out as well. I arrived on December 14 in the evening, and the next day, I set off to explore Batu Caves, easily reached by the commuter train from where I was staying.

28 January 2015

The Anti-Nomad Rant

I had a discussion with an acquaintance recently, who happens to be a travel blogger. This person also happens to be not German, but rather, a foreigner who lives here in Berlin. We somehow remarked that both of us don't like the phrase digital nomad, which is somewhat of a catch phrase for the types of people who are in a constant state of travel, working over the Internet, blogging while doing it, and not really having a long-term home base. They call themselves digital nomads, and basically the idea is that their lifestyle makes long-term perpetual travel sustainable.

Somehow, the phrase digital nomad doesn't sit well with me.

26 January 2015

Meandering in Myanmar (with Stops in Malaysia, Thailand, and Hungary)

So, it's been a while since I have taken a long trip (by long, I mean a trip more than a weekend, lasting between two to three weeks, as we both know that as much as I would love to travel over an extended period of time, I also love the routine I have, plus the familiarity of my own personal surroundings). The last one I had was Boston and New York City, but that was just 9 days of visiting friends and family. Before that, I cavorted with the companion in Italy, San Marino, and the United Kingdom, and I also meandered in Malta. While these trips were utterly enjoyable on their own, I was searching and longing for a particular type of trip, one that involved a significant amount of culture shock, as well as a dose of adventure. And the last time I had one such trip was when I cavorted in the Caucasus. So I figured it was about time.

24 January 2015

Book Review: The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles

Ah, how refreshing. This book is perhaps one of the best books I have read recently. I am so glad to have picked it up.

Anyway, it tells the story of Porter and Katherine Moresby. They are an American couple, from New York, and they opted to travel to the Sahara after the Second World War. They aren't the most enthusiastic when it comes to the destination, and they only picked Tangier as a starting point because that is one of the few places they could go by ship from New York. They hate their surroundings, and sad to say, they also hate each other. After ten years of being married, they are now sexually estranged from each other. And this trip is messing up with their heads.

See, no character in the book is easy to like. In fact, I would go as far as saying that all of the characters are villains, so to speak. Everyone has a flaw, and the author makes a very good job of portraying them as annoying and disturbing people. I like the whole colonial mindset of the book: the travelers are portrayed as the premiere example of the traveler I hate, those people who think that they are better than everyone else, complaining that the "natives" are more primitive, that the "French" are annoying, and so forth, always thinking that they are superior. It makes me want to tell these people that if you really think the others are worse than you, then why did you even decide to travel in the first place? Just stay in your suburb in Baltimore, for crying out loud!

22 January 2015

Berlin Boogie: Neue Nationalgalerie

Back in November, we opted to visit the Neue Nationalgalerie, which is a modern art museum in Berlin. It happens that the museum is scheduled for renovation and will be closed from 2015, for the next three years. So we thought that we better get a peak of the inside before it closes its doors. Who knows, we might not be in Berlin when it reopens.