Back To School!

It was just the day before Paul and Andrew were due to bid their farewells to the bijou town of Chiang Khan and it’s enchanting Mekong setting that Paul realised he had slightly buggered up the loose itinerary he had planned. It now seemed there was no way of getting to their next port of call without a hugely complicated journey, involving  three tuk-tuks, two cattle trucks and a marathon hike carrying rucksacks! Not to mention the possibility of something going wrong and them missing one of the connections. Or […]

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What Lies Beneath.

Paul woke at 5am and clattered clumsily across the blindingly black room in the ‘See View’ guest house. He fell heavily over a ruck-sack and into something incredibly noisy before accidentally hitting the light switch. A harsh fluorescence flooded the cell like space and for a moment he thought he was in prison. He tried to remember what crime he’d perpetrated, but then saw his life sentence laying unstirred on the concrete based thing the hotel called a bed. Oh yes, that was it, he and Andrew had checked in […]

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Miss Loei.

Loei is a small town in Isaan the region that butts up against the serpentine Mekong in the northeast of Thailand. It is the poorest part of the country and the least visited. Less than one percent of overseas visitors make it here. It is mostly flat and dry by nature, yet it’s people are most certainly not. It is probably our favourite place in Thailand. It remains untouched by the outside world. It is real! At first sight some of the province can seem rather dull and ordinary. Were Isaan […]

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I Miss Saigon.

Her crown may be glitzier, her gown may have more sparkle, yet her face is almost unrecognizable. Lifted, filled and bulldozed to make up an entirely different visage to the one I met here, almost twenty years ago. Lucky enough to be sailing and performing on The Q.E.2., we docked here, on the Saigon River,  on two magnificent occasions.  I recall such a colourful connurbation, full of oriental mystery, not to mention some mysterious orientals. My great friend, Becky and I, had a thrilling time, being pedalled around the ancient, incensed streets, by Ting, our trusty rickshaw pedlar. At once engulfed in narrow, smoky, lanes of boiling, mammoth pots containing unthinkable cuisine. Animals pulling carts of exotic produce, and children and chickens and dogs, and what seemed like a million other vibrant and virulent actors all adding to the richly foreign pantomime.  We fell in love, there and then, with Miss Saigon. It was the Saigon I had imagined a few years before, when I saw Andrew at his brilliant best, starring in the show of the same name, at Drury Lane. Exhilarating, unnerving, dissarming.  And like Mr Kennedy, utterly enchanting. And now, I have returned. I have searched in vain for this former enchantress.  The bygone Saigon.  But she just doesn’t want to show her hauntingly, nuanced face. Sometimes, all cosmetic surgery seems to do,  is mask the true beauty, however uncompromising, that was once plain for all to see. […]

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I Miss Saigon.

  Her crown maybe glitzier, her gown may have more sparkle. Yet her face is almost unrecognizable. Lifted, filled and bulldozed to make up an entirely different visage to the one I met here, almost twenty years ago. Lucky enough to be sailing and performing on The Q.E.2., we docked here, on the Saigon River,  on two magnificent occasions.  I recall such a colourful connurbation, full of oriental mystery, not to mention some mysterious orientals. My great friend, Becky and I, had a thrilling time, being pedalled around the ancient, incensed […]

Read More →