We spent our fifth fourth of July at home in Hoboken (following the first two in our old Upper East side apartment, one in England and last year in Montana). Various plans and invitations were considered but in the end we had a lazy day doing pretty much nothing, other than cooking a hearty dinner of ribs, corn, beans and cornbread.
After a suitable pause for digestion, we waddled out to see if we could see any fireworks. Continue reading →
As regular readers of this blog may recall we usually travel to the south western states in winter. February is clearly an excellent time of year to visit the desert (at least in the northern hemisphere), but when I had the opportunity to go to Arizona for a June conference I jumped at the chance to spend a couple of days experiencing the summer heat. Continue reading →
Having seen Borobudur at sunrise, it seemed fitting that we should visit Prambanan, Yogyakarta’s other great temple complex, for sunset. Of course, we didn’t exactly plan it that way, but it was one of those coincidences in life which I find disproportionately satisfying, and satisfaction was definitely needed that afternoon. The site’s entry fee was hefty, according to the signs we only had about 40 minutes until closing, and the whole site was swarming with loud schoolchildren and selfie-snapping tourists, so of course I was determined to hate everything about it.
If I were to attempt to characterize Yogyakarta into a short expression, lively organized chaos would probably be the words I’d choose. It didn’t feature on my (lengthy) list of places I want to visit – in fact I don’t think I’d even heard of it until I was invited to speak at a conference there (about which I’ve written more on my other blog) – but that all just goes to show how much I know, because it really was fantastic.
(Interrupting the coverage of our holiday with a post about the long weekend.) Memorial Day is one of the few holiday weekends which coincides with a bank holiday back in the U.K., and it always feels rather nice to be doing long weekendy things at the same time. Unlike back in the U.K., when our bank holidays usually used to involve heading out of town to visit friends or relations, go hiking, or lengthen a trip to somewhere in Europe, here we often tend to use them as an excuse to veg out at home. Not so this time, however, when each day involved something fun with different sets of friends, although we did still manage a decently lazy morning on Monday! Continue reading →
Visiting the historic Buddhist temple of Borobudur was our first stop in Indonesia, which turned out to be a good thing for all kinds of reasons. Indonesia is, of course, quite different to Singapore, and it was very nice to be met at the airport by a driver booked through our hotel. Navigating the Yogyakarta traffic was a fairly eye-opening experience (although it’s actually quite tame compared with some other places), and retreating to a fancy resort hotel softened the culture shock still further.
I’m not really sure why I was so keen to visit Singapore. Family history, the allure of Asia, the Raffles Hotel’s famous Singapore Sling, these all had something to do with it, but even I think twice about travelling half way around the world just to try a cocktail.