Author's posts

Vanishing Rainforest — Sumatra, Indonesia


Wild jungle. Deserted beaches with great snorkeling or surfing. Mountain lakes. Volcanoes. Orangutans. Oh, and did I mention it’s one of the cheapest places on Earth for backpacking? Really, what more could one ask for in a destination?!?

The sad news this week from Sumatra, one of the most seismically volatile regions in the world, has left me wanting to do more to bring attention to this beautiful island and its people. Alas, what follows is but a brief introduction, but I hope that the critical importance of what happens on this, the world’s 6th-largest island, can be better understood as a result.

Take it from the folks at Lonely Planet:

Sumatra is an adventure, the kind of demanding ride that requires a dusty knapsack and tough travelling skin.

Please follow below for a tour of the north of Sumatra, what just may be my favorite place on Earth.

X-posted @ TLP

Laos : Communist Buddhists


Also known as “the land of a million elephants,” Laos is a tiny country in southeast Asia about which most people know less than they do about any of its neighbors (China, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar & Cambodia.)

Join me for a virtual tour of this fascinating nation with videos & pictures galore, and maybe a bit of history and politics too.

Cross-posted @  The Laughing Planet



Fast Facts:


Buddhist 67%, Christian 1.5%, other 31.5% (mostly Animism)

Current/environmental issues:

Unexploded ordnance (UXO); deforestation; soil erosion; most of the population does not have access to potable water


Single-party socialist republic.

The purple asterisks (on the map @ right) can be followed as you read south to north and then counter-clockwise if you care to calibrate along with the photos and vignettes below.