Tag: Culture

Taipei Night Market scene

The Most Important Phrase to Learn in Chinese (and it’s not ‘Thank You’)

I just bought a cup of coffee and it went something like this: Barista: “Next, please.” I step up and he says, “how can I help?” Me: “Hi. Can I get a regular cappuccino please.” Barista: “Are you taking out or sitting in?” Me: “Sitting in, please.” He turns away to make the coffee. As…
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Hoi An Old Town

Not the Hoi An I Had Imagined

Sometimes you can go to a new place without any expectations. Nothing but a name, the place is an empty vacuum until the moment you step into it, breathe its air and look around. Hoi An was not this. Hoi An was a place I had already vividly imagined, a collage of postcards and adverts…
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Ninh Binh

Nobody Goes to Ninh Binh

I was told that nobody goes to Ninh Binh, which isn’t in itself a reason not to go but went some way in explaining why we found it so difficult to find somewhere to eat that first night. After walking the dark, rainy streets for half an hour or so we settled for a pho…
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Yogyakarta: Sultan’s Palace and Saman Tari

Following the disaster of our first trip we tried again to visit the Yogyakartan Sultan’s Palace, this time on a Sunday, in the hope of seeing some traditional Javanese dance. It’s now more than two months since I first experienced traditional Javanese music and dance and I still can’t seem to get the sense of…
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The Blue Mansion of the Seventh Wife

Officially, The Blue Mansion in Penang was owned by Cheong Fatt Tze, one of the most important Chinese businessmen and politicians of the 20th century. Unofficially, and more accurately, The Blue Mansion and all who resided within her walls, belonged to his seventh, and favourite, wife. One of those places that just gets more fascinating…
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George Town and Its Ghosts

George Town is a place with ghosts. For our four-day stay that turned into a week we rented a room in a hundred year old shophouse in the heritage district. Once providing shelter for, reputedly, over seventy immigrant workers at once, the shophouse now provided shelter for the two of us and our Chinese-Malay-Brunei AirBnB…
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