Southeast Asia

As the World Turns — By Jennifer Shipp
AsiaMyanmarSouth AsiaSoutheast Asia

As the World Turns — By Jennifer Shipp

Every morning John and I go for a jog together. During the first month of our tenure here, it was over 90-100 degrees Fahrenheit during both the daytime and nighttime hours, but now the air is cooler so we can survive longer runs that take us out into the countryside.

There are several indigenous tribes in Mexico and Guatemala and even in the states that run, not for personal health or ...
Grace — By Jennifer Shipp
AsiaMyanmarSoutheast Asia

Grace — By Jennifer Shipp

 Some stories are like lotus flowers; they bloom in layers with each new set of petals adding a transformative shape to the whole. It’s hard to tell these stories, because they aren’t linear and so they require special treatment in order to overcome the tendency that human beings have toward relegating the ethereal shimmer of sacred things like a magic wand polished by hand oils and passed down through ...
Before and After Life in Bagan, Myanmar — By Jennifer Shipp
MyanmarSoutheast Asia

Before and After Life in Bagan, Myanmar — By Jennifer Shipp

I’ve given myself just enough time to write about 1000 words about Bagan and our lives at the moment. I’ll probably write more than that, but I have other things to do and I need to get on it! I try to dedicate time to learning Burmese every week. As a language that’s not regularized at all and that I’ve never ever heard before in my life, the process is going slow. I don't have a dictionary yet, for ...
AsiaMyanmarSoutheast Asia

Quarter Festivals in Bagan, Myanmar – By Lydian Shipp

This month I’m constantly reminded of county fair season and the yearly parades that I grew up with in western Nebraska. Of course, there’s the Thadingyut candle festival that takes place during the full moon in October, but in every village across New Bagan, Old Bagan, and Nyaung-U (and beyond), each neighborhood quarter holds its own private Quarter Festival to celebrate this month in its own unique way. ...
Rabies Encounters: On Caring for Random Sick Animals in Developing Nations
AsiaMyanmarSoutheast Asia

Rabies Encounters: On Caring for Random Sick Animals in Developing Nations

So, I have this problem. It’s a sort of an obsession or a compulsion that has to do with sick animals. If I see one, I always think that I can take it home with me, take care of it and it will heal and grow strong and be okay. The challenge of bringing a sick animal, on the brink of death, back to life is almost irresistible to me. I’ll throw a fit about walking up 777 steps to Mount Popa because of the ...
Bagan, Myanmar: eBikes, Scooters, Tuk Tuks, and Taxis — By Jennifer Shipp
AsiaMyanmarSoutheast Asia

Bagan, Myanmar: eBikes, Scooters, Tuk Tuks, and Taxis — By Jennifer Shipp

The transportation options in Bagan and in Myanmar are important. In Guanajuato, Mexico, where we’ve lived for the past 3 years, taxis and buses are available, but most of the time we walk everywhere. In Bagan, Myanmar though, the hot weather makes walking unpleasant. Climbing on an ebike and having the breeze blow through my hair is a lot nicer than walking when it’s 100 degrees outside. So we’ve all ...
Adventures in Burmese — By Jennifer Shipp
AsiaMyanmarSoutheast Asia

Adventures in Burmese — By Jennifer Shipp

Yesterday was a long day. We’d decided to try to get air conditioning installed in John’s and Naing Naing’s office space, a necessity in a country that hits over 90 degrees+ every day of the year. We’d put it off as long as we could because John and I needed a break from all the inconsistencies of our daily lives. We’d spent about a week dealing with the heat in order to avoid dealing with people. But we ...
Lydian and Naing Naing: In Myanmar — By Jennifer Shipp
AsiaMyanmarSoutheast Asia

Lydian and Naing Naing: In Myanmar — By Jennifer Shipp

Some stories are like lotus flowers; they bloom in layers with each new set of petals adding a transformative shape to the whole. It’s hard to tell these stories, because they aren’t linear. They’re like Indian epics--Ramayanan characters engaged in famous battles but meanwhile imagining new worlds or earnestly wishing new beings into existence that cast off on digressive journeys of their own. Over the ...
Bagan, Myanmar: Notes on Learning Burmese…
AsiaMyanmarSoutheast Asia

Bagan, Myanmar: Notes on Learning Burmese…

So it looks like we’ll be spending quite a lot of time in Myanmar which means that it could be helpful to learn Burmese. The language, so far, has not been totally impossible to learn, at least the 27 words or so that I know right now. It’s a tonal language, but the tones have proven to be less straightforward than those in the Mandarin language. Some Burmese language systems say that there are three tones, ...
Bagan, Myanmar: Housing and High-Speed Internet — By Jennifer Shipp
AsiaMyanmarSoutheast Asia

Bagan, Myanmar: Housing and High-Speed Internet — By Jennifer Shipp

During the first two weeks of our time here in Bagan, Myanmar, we needed to find a house to live in, furnish it, get Internet (we hoped for higher speed Internet than what was available at the hotel) locate food to cook with, and figure out how to get around the city easily in the heat. We were staying in the Crown Prince Hotel in New Bagan, which had adequate Internet services in the lobby, but we had only ...
Bagan, Myanmar: The Inner and Outer Realities of Place — By Jennifer Shipp
AsiaMyanmarSoutheast Asia

Bagan, Myanmar: The Inner and Outer Realities of Place — By Jennifer Shipp

When John and I were here in Bagan, Myanmar in January, before we knew that Lydian was going to fall in love and get married to Naing Naing, we loved it here. There was something about this place that was just really comfortable to us. It felt like a small town in Nebraska, but not a modern small town...a small town before there were color TV’s, Netflix, and a hundred plus channels in every home. A small ...
Dear Lydian: The Politics of Love — A Short Tutorial on Visas and Immigration  — By Jennifer Shipp
MyanmarSoutheast Asia

Dear Lydian: The Politics of Love — A Short Tutorial on Visas and Immigration — By Jennifer Shipp

Burmese citizens can only travel to a small selection of countries visa-free. And getting a visa isn’t always easy. Often, in fact, for Burmese citizens it’s a process that involves an interview and the final determination can take months. As American citizens, Lydian, John, and I had never really considered how this fact could affect our lives. In fact, systemic political oppression like this affects a LOT ...
Happy Valentine’s Day from Singapore – By Lydian Shipp
AsiaMyanmarSoutheast Asia

Happy Valentine’s Day from Singapore – By Lydian Shipp

Meeting and falling in love with a Burmese boy was not in my plans for this trip. Totally unexpected. I didn’t think in a million years that I’d be going home a married woman. But at the same time that I’m totally shocked, it makes sense. And I’m happy about it. Very happy.

When we started this trip, I was unsure of why the hell I was even going to Southeast Asia in the first place. On ...
MalaysiaSoutheast Asia

Malacca, Malaysia: Coworking Spaces — By Jennifer Shipp

For the past year, we’ve been feverishly working to build a coliving/coworking space in Guanajuato, Mexico. That’s right. Mexico (NOT Malaysia). And needless to say, the project did not follow a linear course. We finished our small apartment complex at the beginning of October and then Lydian spearheaded the marketing of the Guanajuato apartments as vacation rentals on AirBnB and Expedia. And so far, as of ...
The State of Bother-dom: Meteorological Parables from Malaysia — By Jennifer Shipp
AsiaMalaysiaSoutheast Asia

The State of Bother-dom: Meteorological Parables from Malaysia — By Jennifer Shipp

We’ve been in Mexico for two years this January. With the exception of three trips back and forth to the U.S. for various reasons, we’ve been stationed in one place for what seems like a long time. Yes, we’ve traveled within Mexico quite a bit. We’ve been to every state in the country except two, I think. I’m not really keeping track and I’m not really trying to see every state in Mexico. No one cares how ...
Angkor Wat: Photo Gallery
AsiaCambodiaSoutheast AsiaUncategorized

Angkor Wat: Photo Gallery

In 2016 when we visited Cambodia, we went to see Angkor Wat. It was nothing like what we expected... but in a good way. ...
The Thailand-Cambodia Border Crossing: How to Get from Bangkok to Cambodia
AsiaCambodiaSoutheast AsiaThailandTrips

The Thailand-Cambodia Border Crossing: How to Get from Bangkok to Cambodia

We traveled to Southeast Asia in the winter of 2016 (after being in Egypt for two months) to see Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. There’s so much to see in Southeast Asia, it was hard to decide what to focus on, but Bangkok was the most obvious hub as far as flying into the region and Angkor Wat was the most obvious tourist destination that we had to see. After Angkor Wat, we flew from Siem Reap to Vietnam ...
Hualamphong Train Station in Bangkok, Thailand: Photo Gallery
AsiaSoutheast AsiaThailandTrips

Hualamphong Train Station in Bangkok, Thailand: Photo Gallery

We took a taxi from our vacation rental to the Hualamphong Train Station in Bangkok the day before our trip to Aranyaprathet in Eastern Thailand at the Cambodian border. When we arrived mid-day, we found that the station was well-organized and easy to navigate. There was even reserved seating for monks and novices. And snack shops selling things like potato chips and bottled water (a must for when the heat ...
Thailand to Cambodia Train to the Border Crossing
AsiaSoutheast AsiaThailandTrips

Thailand to Cambodia Train to the Border Crossing

This video shows our departure from the Hualamphong Train Station in Bangkok, Thailand. The train from Bangkok to Aranyaprathet in Eastern Thailand at the Cambodian border leaves early in the morning (before the sun rises--at 05:55). It's a very basic train, with no air conditioning (which is probably why it leaves so early in the morning...we arrived just before it got "intolerably" hot on the train), and ...
Khao San Road in Bangkok, Thailand Part II
AsiaSoutheast AsiaThailandTrips

Khao San Road in Bangkok, Thailand Part II

Khao San Road in Bangkok, Thailand is located in the Old City and it's a hub for night-life. When we visited Bangkok, it was the first destination we visited, walking through the city all the way from our vacation rental (Bangkok is relatively safe). In this video, we check out the light vibe of Bangkok and soak it up after having just spent 8 weeks in the more serious social climate of Cairo, ...
Bruised Banana