25 photos to make you re-think China

China is often shrouded in stigmas and stereotypes. From the outside heading in, I had an idea of what I expected to see. However, we found China to be a massive and multifaceted place, full of surprises. Here, we’ve selected some images that might help shift your thinking or broaden your perspective of China 2015.

Highway, Yunan Province: The roads in China are a breath taking work of engineering. Entering from Laos, where the road is so muddy our bus was often going up hills sideways to avoid bogging, the contrast was stark. In China, mountains and valleys are no obstical, the road continues straight, tunnelling through the mountains and bridging over valleys, for kilometers, if that's what it takes. The roadside reading "Descent for next 54km" is probably not in existence anywhere else in the world. They have special emergency breaking areas for trucks when breakpads get too hot on the constantly angled declines.

1. Highway, Yunnan Province: The roads in China are breathtaking works of engineering. Entering from Laos, where the road is so muddy our bus was often going up hills sideways to avoid bogging, the contrast was stark. In China, mountains and valleys are no obstacles: the road continues straight, tunnelling through the mountains and bridging over valleys, for kilometers, if that’s what it takes. The roadside reading “Continuous downgrade for next 54km” is probably not in existence anywhere else in the world. They have special emergency breaking areas for trucks when breakpads get too hot on the constantly angled declines.

Continue Reading →

Laos photostory

We entered Laos (in the middle of July) accompanied by Wendy’s dad Greg, who joined us for a week, rediscovering the backpackers trails of the 70’s. Laos welcomed us in a completely different style – it appeared the whole country, however small, poor and undeveloped, is covered with a network of tourism industry. This, mostly being eco-tourism, has created a barrier between us – visitors and the real life of Laos. Barrier in the form of money, the one thing we believe divides people the most. Barrier high but not uncrossable.

Welcome to Laos Democratic People's Republic!

Welcome to Laos People’s Democratic Republic!

Continue Reading →

Keeping afloat: Darwin to Dili by boat

This morning I woke up to the sounds of coconuts hitting the ground from the tall palms in the backyard and children gleefully playing in a language I don’t understand. For the first time in many weeks I woke with a sense of being refreshed and allowed myself to emerge from beneath the mosquito net when I wanted to. Entering the kitchen, I found Emily pouring a freshly macheted coconut into a pot with ice for the group of chattering siblings from next-door. The smallest girl looks up at me and eagerly begins telling me something excitedly in Tetum. My “la kompriende” must be confusing to a 5-year-old who is speaking so clearly and confidently. I’m stoked to be in Timor.

Tetum lessons

Tetum lessons

Continue Reading →

The trauma

OK, here’s something we need to tell you about. We became victims of immense psychological violence.

The journey itself was absolutely amazing. Another time we might write more about the endless sea, the playful dolphins, the flying fish and the stunningly fluorescent plankton like a fairy dust competing with the sky almost about to overflow with stars, where the Southern Cross and the Big Dipper met at the same place and time.

For this kind of information you might also want to have a look at Wendy’s description of the whole cruise.

Skye Melody crossing the Timor Sea

Skye Melody crossing the Timor Sea

But the captain of the yacht we sailed appeared to be a dangerous, persistently and extremely abusive person. Continue Reading →

The story so far…

Setting Forth

Wendy set off for Sydney in a camper van relocation, giving Jurek the time he needed to tie up the loose ends of his Melbourne existence. After a 14 hour bus journey, the two reunited in Sydney Continue Reading →

Words from a hitch-hiking convert

I was apprehensive about hitch-hiking. On my departure from home, with skeleton plans and no car, my mother, who’s no whimp, asked me not to do it. Her words and the stories of Ivan Mirlat, ‘backpacker serial killer’ of the 1980s, nagged at the back of my mind. But I was traveling with Jurek Lubinski now. And hitch-hiking is his favourite sport. After hitching in places like Romania and Tajikistan, telling Jurek “hitch-hiking can be dangerous”, as we walked to our hitch-wiki suggested point of suburban Sydney, seemed a bit lame. We stuck out our thumbs at the side of a freeway entry ramp and within 5 minutes we were away!

Playing his favourite sport

Playing his favourite sport

Continue Reading →