Saturday, November 12, 2005

party in ottawa

i went to ottawa for a party. my friend jonah bought a house and my other friends dave, mac, jordy, and another guy are all living there. the house warming was awesome. they rented a hottub and dave spun some tunes. just good to see my good friends. here are a few pics.

hey boys Posted by Picasa

ronnie, smoking is bad  Posted by Picasa

what a scarrrry halloween

this was a great halloween!! the second annual halloween bash at the 28 cecil mansion was a big success with well over a hundred people attending (mostly in costume), great decorations and a lot of fun ramblings. thanks to eveyone who came out. look forward to next year's party. i personally enjoyed myself. of what i remember there was a beer bong, some asian guy feeding me imad's vodka, dancin', playing drums for an impromptu band practice with kyle on harmonica, a gorgeous girl in red, landlords disguised as friends, drinking dice games while speaking mandarin, an uncomfortable couch, etc. just check out the pics. if you have more, send them to me.

me and tai, dressed as a pir(l)ate, hammin' it up Posted by Picasa

yo man, ayham you be jammin' Posted by Picasa

halloween - those dolls are creepy!! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 16, 2005

toronto skyline from ward's island on the toronto islands Posted by Picasa

sudbury for thanksgiving

well i haven't updated this thing in a while and the only reason really is because i have become lazy. that and the fact that i am not travelling really right now and i figured that you all who are still checking this blog probably don't care about what is happening with me these days. i would like to recap on my experiences though. since arriving back in canada i have been overwhelmed by many things but mostly by the strange fact that my six month trip feels only slightly more than a daydream and that, were it not for the pictures and scars (and new tattoo) i probably wouldn't be able to remember anything concrete. for this reason i am really content that i blogged the whole ordeal. really, i think that this whole travelling itch people get once they have begun exploring parts unknown stems more from a serious form of withdrawl, much like a night of heavy drinking where you find yourself in a daze, most likely draped over a couch cushion in some random house you don't remember ever being at and realizing that, despite serious blocks of missing time and memory, there is a great sense that you had the time of your life and would do anything to try and reconstruct a similar party with similar friends and have similar experiences. for half a year i have been living a party that has, i will concede, abruptly ended with a 22 hour flight, some sobering facts about my homelife, a city that i don't recognize, a new appartment and an endless job search. who wouldn't want to just jump back on a plane or boat or whatever to start the party up all over again. why does 'real life' have to be built with the uniform grey lego blocks of a 'real job', 'real home', 'real love' and 'real priorities'? anyway, sorry for the rant. it was a wonderful trip and adventure and anyone who wants to ask more specific questions can email me at so...since i have been back i moved into a new place with my pal james, have been interviewing for a new job and just trying to reaquaint myself with friends and toronto and such. this pic is of me and my sis and cousins in sudbury. i have more pics here if you like from our thanksgiving there. it is really good to be back though. except that i want to be back in asia...i am torn...

l to r - my sis kaitlyn, my cousin shannon, me and my cousin sarah in sudbury for thanksgiving Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 18, 2005

pnom pehn

we arrived by boat at cambodia's capital, pnom pehn and made our way to a hostel. it turned out to be a really fun place. we managed to go to the killing fields and the tuol sleng genocide museum (aka S-21), a light day to be sure. the killing fields were eerily peaceful. there nice green lawns, and pools of water where the mass graves are, the decomposed flesh causing the earth to cave and collecting water to create nice ponds. the only problem is that bones and clothing are still surfacing and there are baskets placed around so that if you see a bone you can help collect them. as much as i tried to understand the whole khmer rouge genocide thing i still couldn't figure out a lot. what i got was basically, a minority group named by the french as the khmer rouge decided that they would turn cambodia into an almost anarchich state where there would be no education, no real wealth and a society that basically reverts back to peasants and farmers and stuff. i don't really understand it myself. but they did massacre basically everyone in the country that was opposed to them. sholars, diplomats, women, children, the sick and anyone else they saw fit, was tortured and killed. the total number eludes me but it is rediculous how many people were killed. and this was only in the 70's. not so long ago. S-21 was a highschool converted into a prison and then converted into a museum. many of the torture instruments, cells and prisoner profiles were left behind to create a very authentic and haunting experience. just walking around the cells and seing the pictures of people's scared faces, it was really creepy. anyway, after all this, chris and i went back to the hostel where the family that runs it decided to get everyone blasted on local whiskey. all the residents and the family had a great time dancing, playing pool and singing. we decided to put off vietnam one more day because of our hangover and my legs were hurting pretty bad. here are the pics

young children playing in cambodia's killing fields Posted by Picasa

a dead cambodian at the torture prison. a school was made into one of the worst genocidal camps by the khmer rouge. Posted by Picasa

view of the sunset from our hostel in pnom pehn Posted by Picasa

ankhor wat

after probably the longest, bumpiest and most uncomfortable bus ride of my life (13 hours at 20 km/h in a beat up old bus driving in a rainstorm on a dirt road with the world's worst potholes) chris and i arrived at siem reap, the norther capital in the ankhor region of cambodia. it is here that the khmer people built one of the world's most spectacular series of temples, carving rocks that were carried by elephants from far away lands into haunting, visaged towers that glare down at you from every direction. of these temples, ankhor wat is the most famous and the best preserved. climbing the steep stone stairs to gaze out at the jungle and the beautiful landscape, i was immediately lifted into a state of awe and almost a form of spirituality. pretty cool. anyway, we only spent one day here because we had to move on to pnom pehn. we went out that night and met up with some friends we met then woke up early the next morning. we had to catch a river boat to take the mekong delta to the capital. it left at 6am so we were rushing pretty hard to get there in the morning. at about 5:30am, with the rain falling pretty hard and our tuk tuk (motorcycle with carriage) doing about 50km/h, a dog ran in front of our vehicle and the motorcyle hit it while our carriage's back right wheel ran over the dogs now dead body. the cart flipped on it's left side, which i happened to be on and i was caught inside the cart being dragged along the asphalt. chris, who was sleeping, had no idea what was going on. i on the other hand, witnessed the whole thing: the sight of the dog running into the street, the sick feeling of impending disaster, the cart popping up onto its side, the driver, who's mortorcycle was being turned on it's side by the attached cart, being dragged beneath the bike and then beneath an overturned steel carriage, skidding for 10 meteters and then dark. i stood up and saw that my legs and ankles were bleeding but didn't feel any broken bones. chris it seemed was fine. all i could say to him though is 'is he alive', referring to the driver. he was but hardly. he was pulling himself to the side of the road his back twisted and broken, an arm disjointed, the skin on his face peeled off, his shirt ripped to reveal a rib protruding. he was coughing blood as well. immediately, villagers came out of their shacks to help us. one man began to pour dirty brake fluid on my wounds (for what purpose i will never know other than maybe to cause me more excruciating pain). our concern was for the driver though and we put him on the back of a motorcycle to go to the hospital but....i only gave him about a 20% chance. if he survived the internal bleeding, i doubt he will have full use of his legs. it was probably the most terrifying thing that ever happened to me. i promised chris i wouldn't let his mom know so don't tell her ok. anyway, i decided not to go to a hospital and instead jumped on another tuk tuk and made the boat just in time. i cleaned up and disinfected my wounds when we got to pnom pehn and they are finally healing. maybe i will have a scar. here are pics from ankhor

another temple in the area of ankhor. this is the setting for the tomb raider movie. Posted by Picasa

this is ankhor wat outside siem reap in cambodia. absolutely awesome Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

my leg after a little cleaning on the boat after the accident Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

'come tomorrow i'll be on my way back home'

so this is it. i'm sorry i haven't been able to update this, or more importantly email anyone the last week or so. i went to cambodia and vietnam and had a great time. i luckily survided a pretty messy tuk tuk accident and am still kind of healing from that. the last couple days back in bangkok i have been just trying to relax. but i'm at the end. i am coming home tomorrow and will begin a new life, find a new job and move into new house. i will have a new number so i will pass it along. everything else i hope will be the same but we'll have to see i guess. anyway, sorry no pics and no real story. i will update this last entry when i get home along with a recap of everything. i miss you all and am looking forward to familiar faces and languages. oh and coffee. so that's that. i guess i will see many of you all soon. for those of you i am leaving behind...i'm confident this is not the last time we meet. it has been fun travelling with you but gulliver goes home to tell his story. j

Thursday, September 01, 2005

koh panghan

i figured if it was going to be forty degrees then i would rather deal with it by a crystal blue ocean and sandy beaches than on the sweltering streets of bangkok. so i got up and left for koh samui. on the overnight bus though, i was fated to meet a group of guys and girls that advised me to go to a smaller, less touristy island, koh panghan. we stayed up that night on the bus, drinking beers and sharing stories about our travels. we got a flat tire and ended up making a 8 hour bus ride into a 12 hour one but eventually the two pakistanis (ateeq and ammar), an irishman (kieran) and myself made it to the ferry before i passed out in the sun. on the island, we expierienced a few gorgeous sunrises, a great party, the craziest rainstorm ever, probably the best group massage i will ever enjoy, snorkelling, the worst excuse for a waterfall a brochure can have, fire throwing, buckets of vodka and redbull (echhhh), great food, a twisted ankle (not mine but ateeq's because of the crappy waterfall), the biggest snake i have ever seen, a really cool bar that now hangs our picture, two fun and wacky german girls, miriam and maren and a wolf that was only a dog. so as you can probably imagine, the last few days were actually very busy and void of sleep and that is why i never met up with my friends on samui and am now in bangkok feeling like crap. it was a good time though. check out these pics.

thai guy juggling a fire stick Posted by Picasa

the sunrise on koh panghan Posted by Picasa

we saw the craziest giant snake (boa or python - i don't know but it just ate a chicken) when we were driving back from some town we were at. biggest damn snake i ever saw. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 25, 2005


so i showed up in bangkok after getting the hell out of chiangmai. at least it wasn't flooding here. well, not with water anyway, it was, however, flooded with farang (foreigners) and i had a hard time finding a thai person that wasn't serving me a banana pancake. it took me about two days to get sick of bangkok but i have been having fun regardless. i met up with my friend chris from beijing who is going to school here in thailand. we have been going out quite regularly. he took me to his campus (it is a resort) and we played basketball and hung out. since, i have been to the royal palace, seen a temple or two, shopped, watched numerous movies, ate everything in sight, drank some beer, changed hostels a few times, met some people, and been to china town (i am already missing china too much). now i am finished with bangkok. i will head to the islands and get some sun and relax before meeting chris and taking off to cambodia and vietnam. i will update this thing when i get back i guess, as there isn't much of a chance for me to get online. here are the few pics i took in the last bit in bangkok.

khosan road at night (and balloons) Posted by Picasa

this is one of the temples at the palace in bangkok Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 14, 2005

in thailand

allright, i forgot my swiss army knife was in my carry-on and had to leave it behind at the hk airport. i will get someone to send it to me i guess. anyway, i arrived in bangkok from hk and checked my email at the airport. my friends eddie and jenn had already left and told me where they were staying in chiang mai (thailand's second biggest city). i figured since i was flying out of bangkok in september, i could just skip it for now and booked a flight that same evening for chiang mai. while i waited i got a haircut. i arrived at around 9pm in chiang mai and found the hostel they were staying at but it was locked tight and so i waited at a nearby bar. hours passed and still no sign of them. the bar was closing and i didn't have a place to stay so i ended up staying at the bar in their staff room. it was kind of gross but it was warm. i met up with my friends the next morning and we headed to a small village called pai in the north. we stayed in a really cool cottage-type place with a really big courtyard and medicinal herb garden. the first night we went out and had a good time. the next day we rented motorbikes and eddie crashed with jenn on the back. it was minor but kind of scary. it was all our first time riding bikes. we went through some villages and went to a waterfall. it began raining like crazy and the drive back was nuts. the next day we went on an overnight trek through the jungle with a company that boasted it's non-touristy nature. their motto was that, if you saw another foreigner on your trip, you get half price. anyway, it was a hard trek and our guide was so hung over that he puked every half hour but it was still beautiful. it is the rainy season and we got wet but we saw gorgeous villages and bugs and all sorts of forests. we stayed the night in a tiny village. that night though, it rained really hard and when we woke up the next morning, we learned that the village of pai had flooded and that the bridge to the city was destroyed. our guide's aunt died with numerous others as their houses collapsed. we were stranded in the jungle with no food. and water. we decided we would trek to another camp, a bamboo hut in a bamboo forest. we had to stay there because there were numerous water crossings to get home and the rivers were too high and fast. another guide braved the trip to bring us food and stuff so at least we ate and drank whiskey and sang songs. it turned out to be really great. i built a bamboo bridge but lost the guide's machete when i accidentally tossed it into the river. oops. i bought him another though. we made it back to pai the next day to find it completely destroyed. the few places where the water had receded were knee deep in mud. luckily our gear we left behind, including my laptop were fine. but our guesthouse and the herb garden were anhilated. we cought a bus to chiang mai that morning and arrived to find it flooded here too. half the streets in the city are swimming. jenn and eddie cought their plane out this morning but because all the backpackers in the city were trying to get out, i couldn't find a flight. i have to stay one more day here. at least it gave me a chance to let you all know that we are alive and that our stuff is fine. here are some of the pics.

our trekking group at the end of our journey Posted by Picasa

just as i took a photo of these jungle kids, a swarm of fire ants went up my pant leg and bit me in a million painful places Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 08, 2005


dali was a traveller's paradise, much like yangshuo in guanxi province. the old city is a walled, cobblestone town with traditional buildings and small western-style cafes and restaurants. weed grows wild along the side of the street. the scenery is gorgeous and it is easy to retreat to the hundreds of small minority villages scattered around erhai lake. diab and i loved it. we arrived around 1am the first night from kunming and managed to find a great hostel. we went out for a beer and met a chinese minority girl who is muslim and is dating an english guy with whom she co-owns the bar. crazy. she hooked us up with a chinese girl and her mom for a trip the next day. we went to a traditional market, a butterfly spring, bai cultural dancing and tea ceremony, took a ride on the lake and anything else that seems really touristy to do. the next day i was ill from food poisoning i think. all day i writhed in pain in my bed and diab rented a bike and toured the city and countryside. the next day i was ok and we rented bikes and followed the lake while exploring all the villages. gorgeous i tell you. anyway, we stayed a few days and had a great time. i think that china has left its mark on diab. i am sad to say that i am back in hk for a few days and will be leaving china for good. next stop is southeast asia (thailand first). i will keep you all posted. thanks for staying with me for this long. oh yeah, here are the pics from dali. :)

making incense in a small village outside dali Posted by Picasa

the mountains around dali were gorgeous, the clouds just played around them  Posted by Picasa

the water pump keeper and a child Posted by Picasa

kunming, yunnan province, china

kunming was pretty fun. we were tired from two days and nights of travelling so we decided to spend two days in this city. we were suprised to find that it was so big and clean and actually quite nice. there is a large lake park in the centre of the city and markets as well as nice temples and some sights a little out of the city area. we met with some americans and isreali's and went to a club where foreigners could drink for free. from here it was only a four hour bus ride to dali, which was our main destination. see pics here for nanning and kunming.

the guy in the middle, the one who looks like a ghost, didn't have a shirt on and was wearing these little shorts. when he danced, his dreads swung around like pretty little ribbons :) Posted by Picasa

a temple in kunming Posted by Picasa