Tag Archives: Travel Blog

China Express

Tony dropped me off at the station and made sure I was a happy web designer. He is paranoid that I’ll pull the plug on his shiny new website as I haven’t had what could be described as the most hassle free stay at his place, but I’m more pragmatic than that so he’s OK with me, his website will be OK.

The Vietnamese train looked like someone had taken the plans for some posh German hi-speed train and had then had the mutoid waste gang build it for them. It was sleek but patched up and scratched up so I wondered what kind of wars this train had been in. Train wars, trainzilla versus train kong, it’s obvious this train didn’t come out looking too pretty, but that’s the Vietnamese, they might suffer indescribable losses in their scrapes but they win, pretty or not.

So we pootle off to the border where we arrived before midnight. We sat chilly in the cold night air in a cheerless waiting room as we went through customs, some poor women in another glass fronted room peered through a sign that implied she was looking out for people with contagious diseases, she looked like she needed a break.

So after our spartan Vietnamese train we then boarded our Chinese counterpart. A Vietnamese officer checked our passport whilst looking as casual as he could, ciggy hanging from his mouth and his army jacket loose he was trying to be a James Dean to his Chinese counterparts impassive and upright demeanour. They stood close enough at the train door to share a kiss but didn’t swap a word, I guess they are still a little pissed off with each other.

The Chinese carriage was the same design as the Vietnamese one, I guess both made in China, but here the similarity ends. The Chinese train was warm and comfy, carpeted on the floor and with guards that were polite and helpful. I settled into my carriage with three friendly and chatty Vietnamese and after swapping stories, as well as passport necessities with the authorities, slipped into the best nights sleep since I was snuggled up in Streatham.

We stopped in the morning at Nanning where I slipped out of the station and experienced China for the first time (I spent a year in Hong Kong but it was British at the time). I had a plate of Dim Sum and a bowl of noodles that were both delicious, then hurried back to the train where we boarded again. I was woken again at 1.30 as were were soon to pull into Guilin, I arrived refreshed and happy to be in China.

I am now sitting in a youth hostel with a great wifi connection near the river in Guilin. I will head to Yangshuo tomorrow where I will hire a bike and get out into the country side.

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Website Finished

So one thing I have proved is that building a website in the wilds of S.E.Asia is only different from Streatham is that I get someone delivering a never ending supply of beer. Now pinch me now as that seems to be a kind of work nirvana, but that’s me – I am supposing that the average nun wouldn’t hope for the same working conditions when abroad, but you never know.

Tony, the Hotel Gaffer tried to squeeze as much blood out of this stone as possible by getting me to submit his site to all sorts of Hotel search engines, but by early afternoon had had enough. Jackie, Kwah and I all went out to lunch and sat in a little cafe while Kwah laughed and tossed his noodle soup over the balcony at unwitting passers by. He really is a happy kid and is very bright, his disability is purely physical so he should be up to speed soon with the help he’s getting – The Kianh Foundation is the charity if you want to have a ganders.

I said my goodbyes around 4.00 and hopped on a bike with Tony to go to the station – off to China.

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Building Websites

So I start early and spend the day tap tapping away like a web monkey whilst being delivered beer fule by the frantic hotel owner who believes I will not finish his website by the time I leave. Little does he know, I have obsessive compulsive disorder when it comes to finishing jobs like this, I get tunnel vision until I have spent myself, frothing and wild eyed.

I was luck enough to meet Jackie and Kwah towards the end of the day and suggested taking them both out for a meal. Jackie is working for a charity that helps out disabled kids in Vietnam, she has taken on Kwah as his family had him tied to a bed for a number of years which wasn’t doing him too much good. Jackie is a scouser with a wicked sense of Humour and Kwah is a Vietnamese kid that laughs all of the time, a perfect team methinks. They took my mind off of the job for a while as we sat at the coffee shop at the end of the lake and ate, quite frankly, crap food (they have great cakes though so my fault). Afterwards I returned to my slavish and wide eyed tapping until I passed out in the early hours, pissed and overworked.

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Phnom Penh

I’m in a bar making the most of the wifi yet again, I am with the Cambodian president of the football federation, and a couple of fellers from Hertfordshire who are making the most of five jars of Sangria. One of them I met on the boat the other day, he’s a breath of fresh air with that foul mouthed British whit that leaves a vew raised eyebrows around the table. I was gently coerced into making a free website for the Cambodian Football Federation, I don’t mind, they don’t have two pennies and apparently even have to pay TV stations around here to broadcast matches so they need a punt, I might as well help spread the word.

Tomorrow I am off to Vietnam, apparently the internet connections are faster and the food is better, but I have enjoyed my stay around here. I’ll come back and have a better look around, but for now I’m motoring.

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Paris In The Rain

I managed to get most of my daily chores out of the way as the rain pours down outside the Paris flat. I post to a few message boards about SEO and web design issues, and I am trying to get into the rythm of updating this blog daily. So here we are.

My train home is at 14.43 from the Gare De Nord so I want to get some work done before I go. I have an ecommerce store to quote for, which is for an American religious group. I seem to be getting a lot of requests from god fearing folk, which must reflect on my good Kharma so watch this space ;0)

I have also been reading up (Wikipedia etc) on people like the spiral tribe as they came up in conversation with a friend recently.

I worked with one of the founder members (Mark) just before the whole free dance scene kicked off. We worked on a small building site together, only for a short while, but he did make quite an impression because he came across as genuinely lovely.

Mark also seemed to exude an inner confidence that was infectious. I found myself quite jealous of it at the time because I was insecure and not ready to fight the system in the way he did. I spread my wings by travelling the globe for five years, and found my own way of coming to terms with existence later on.

I remember bumping into Mark at a later date when asked for me to donate a flotation tank, which I had bought to set up a business at the time, to one of the spiral tribes indoor events. I said no because I had invested £3000 in it and didn’t want it to be towed off by the police, which in hindsight had probably saved me a few quid, but had I done it it might have led to some great experiences. Having said that I wasn’t really too attracted to the scene chasing free parties through muddy fields, and never really believed that techno would unite us all.

Ecstasy, however, was a revolution in itself, causing people regard each other in an altogether loving way that was so different to the alcohol and whiz fueled punk generation. The kindness it fostered might have been drug fueled, but it changed a generation for the better, and now there is an undercurrent of love that will not go away. Having said that, changing the world comes in larger doses of self awareness. The disillusion caused when the party is over can be as harmful as it was good, so as in all things balance is needed.

I got the feeling that Mark was strong enough to ride the storms. If you get to read this mate (Network23 seem to have a Paris location), let’s meet up for a croissant and a chin wag.

It all is unfolding just as it should.

Right, back to cyber blogs.

I am going to pack up here and head off onto the streets for some 3d contact. The net does have its limitations, and I have done this gypsy’s work for the day.

Paris

It’s deserted here.

The French all go away on holiday for the month of August leaving a skeleton staff in Paris. It’s like some post apocalyptic movie where the streets are ours, tinned goods can be fetched at will from empty supermarkets. I was here only two weeks ago in the blistering heat, when the banks of the Canal St Martin were thick with people. Today we even managed to get into Antoine & Lili’s shop without a fight.

In between trips out I managed to get a little of my redesign done for my website templates store. I am making it a lot more web 2.0, but you’ll see. But all in all I am staying away from my vaio.

So that’s all for now…

Hereford to Paris

Hereford

It’s my last day in Hereford and I have just gotten used to the quiet. It is no longer a roar, but sooths now.

This morning I woke early and popped on top of a hill by the house. A local farmer was collecting what looked like mushrooms. The contrasting light of the morning, the clear air, so different from the London I inhabit right now.

My car (an old Karmann Ghia) wouldn’t start this morning so I had to enrol the locals into getting helping me find some jump leads.

The chap who got me on the road – Gus – happened to have a collection of around twenty vintage tractors in his shed.

As you do of course.

We chatted about tractors for a good while until I felt I needed to be on my way.

Tomorrow it’s off to Paris for the weekend. I stay in a flat just near canal St Martin where I have wireless if I have to work.

But I really would rather not. It’s romance this weekend, but I’ll try and find the time to update this ditty.

The Middle Of Nowhere

Well not quite the middle of nowhere.

I am house sitting in a remote village on the welsh borders. Apparently it was one of the last valleys in the UK to have gotten electricity, but that was a while ago now.

The house I am in was wired up to broadband only last week. There was a connection for a year before that, but the neighbour had it, and he wasn’t sharing.

It is excessively quiet around here. It is so quiet it’s noisy. I am basically being a small scale zoo keeper. Well, I’m looking after two cats that leap cheerfully about like wraiths, looking all cute but killing off the local fauna in large amounts. I see the furry evidence that they leave me as presents.

I have a few deadlines to meet, so am tapping away on my trusty VAIO, still marveling a little that I can move my business with me. As long as I can reach the net, I can be in touch.

I’d like to move to warmer climbs when the frost moves in. that means getting a good client base built up by winter.

Work harder..

Laptop Travel Tips

Laptop Travel Tips
By Elizabeth Lord

Travel laptops require more consideration on top of the usual factors involved in buying a laptop, such as performance, price and warranty. Getting a system that is light is critical. With widescreen models becoming more popular, whilst great for viewing, it just adds weight to the system. If you are not into watching movies or complex graphics, a smaller screen should be fine.

While the price of laptops compared to desktops has shrunk recently, you will still pay slightly more for a laptop. With laptops reasonably difficult to expand or upgrade, it’s a good idea to add more memory or get a bigger hard drive at the time of purchase. Your system should have at least two USB 2.0 ports, as this will be the main way of connecting to external devices.

If you are a frequent traveler and want to use your laptop while flying, there are some other design issues you might want to consider. Widescreen laptops can be a hassle if you are in the coach section, as there is hardly enough room to open the machine. A system with external controls for volume and Wi-Fi can also be good, to avoid annoying other passengers or interfering with the aircrafts navigational system. For really long flights, a second battery is probably the most cost effective way of keeping your system powered up.

As laptops are more likely to be damaged or stolen while on the road, it is a good idea to have a backup plan. Do a regular backup so if something bad does happen, you don’t lose too much data. The easiest way to do this is to buy a laptop with a built in DVD burner. One DVD disc should be more than enough to store your work data. You could also use a CD burner, but you would probably need to carry multiple discs. If you only have a small amount of files you need to backup, a USB flash drive would also do the job.

Laptops that are on the road regularly are more likely to break down. So invest in a good quality carry case to limit any potential damage in transit, and always keep your backups up to date.

Most warranties these days are only twelve months, so if there is a extended warranty available, it may be worth taking up if you are constantly on the road.

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Cyber Gypsy

Have you ever wondered about the possibilies that new technologies offer us for freedom. Are you the kind of person who thinks that work and life can blend in harmony, rather than compete like oil and water. Do you think that work shouldn’t get in the way of life, that remote work, or remote working can be a tool for change, shading those barriers between our ability to fund our journey whilst making that journey!

We will start in London,the home of the free…..now where is that cappuccino?