Laos – Vientiane

DSC_0545 As the capital of Laos, Vientiane is the main gateway for both domestic and international travel.  My impression is that most visitors use it as a stopping off point before exploring or leaving the country.  On a bus, I even overheard one backpacker say “There’s not much to Vientiane – one night maximum.  Just wats.”  She obviously had a different guidebook;  mine declares “at the height of the American influence in the 1960’s, it (Vientiane) was renowned for its opium and sex dens”. Aside from this and its French colonial history, I knew there would be more to Vientiane, so I decided to make a full weekend and explore beyond the wats. Continue reading

Pounding through the paddy fields – Cambodia nash hash 2014


When I started hashing, someone told me “You’ll see a lot and travel if you get into hashing.”  Sure enough, few weeks later I was invited join a group of hashers travelling by bus from Pattaya to Siem Reap for Cambodia’s national hash weekend.  I had never been to Cambodia before, nor seen Angkor Wat, nor been to a national hash, so I signed up.

For those unaware, a national hash, or nash hash, is a weekend event for hashers from national and international hash clubs that want to run together. These events are usually organised by various countries and hash  clubs willing to host and run the events and they are generally very popular.  Phnom Penn and Siem Reap hash clubs jointly organised this weekend, which included three runs, a dinner and lunch, plus a full tour of Angkor Wat.  I was rather excited when I packed. Continue reading

Pattaya Jungle H3 Australia Day Hash January 2014

When I considered moving to Thailand, one of the things I researched was the running clubs in my area. I discovered there was a very active Hash House Harriers community of four chapters (clubs/meets) not too far away.   The most convenient to me was Pattaya Jungle Hash House Harriers (H3), which meets every fortnight on a Sunday afternoon.

I had previously heard about hashing – it is usually described as a drinking club with a running problem. The real deal is a non-competitive running club following different trails each week then afterwards focuses equally on social elements.  Somewhat different to the Abu Dhabi Striders that got me back into running, where weekly predictor runs and regular competitions were order of the day.  Running around my area is a solitary affair with only traffic and vicious, semi wild soi (street) dogs, making dangerous and hostile company.  So last year four weeks after arriving,  I started to run with the Pattaya Jungle H3. Continue reading

A tribute to Clare Francis

I thought long and hard about writing this post as I try not to make my blog too personal.  No one likes to hear bad news. No one likes to hear sad news.  No one likes to be shocked by both, but sometimes it happens and your immediate reaction is disbelief closely followed by “What?” or “Why?”. Bad and sad news is also invariably a taboo subject and people don’t generally know what to say or do. I had a big “What?” moment last week.  My dear friend Clare Francis took her own life on May 25th and I’m shocked and devastated with this dreadful news. Those that have read my blog for a while will remember Clare from my Zanzibar and Tanzania entries as we enjoyed an amazing “holiday of a lifetime” together. Here she is at a viewpoint above Lake Manyara in August 2012 … Continue reading