lundi 3 septembre 2012

SOUTH EAST ASIA FEELS NATURALLY HOME


ASEAN…a friendly and welcoming environment
Ever since I became aware of travel, I have always tried to cover regions. The Pacific was my playground while I lived in Australia and even toyed with the idea of living in Fiji when I graduated as a doctor. Levuka and Suva still bring back nice memories, and the Grand Pacific Hotel. An unusual visit was to Tokelau, Tuvalu, Kiribati and Nauru.
(the main street in Levuka, Fiji Islands)
Living in Miami as a postgraduate student, it was time to explore the English speaking Caribbean. Profoundly impressed with the writers from the region, Sir VS Naipaul from Trinidad, George Lamming from Barbados, Derek Walcott from St. Lucia and Wilson Harris and Jan Carew from Guyana with a tinge of fire from Walter Rodney..Lincoln Myers from Trinidad became a good friend and the electioneering visit to Sangre Grande was straight out of Naipaul. Enjoyed meeting many intellectuals, including Braithwaite and Walcott. There was a brief romance with the Cricketers of that time, coming into age with their brilliant sport. Notably absent in my Caribbean travels were French and Spanish speaking islands..Cuba would become home and the most important island later on.
(oracabessa in Jamaica, from spanish Orocabeza,  golden head)
As the island fantasy wore off, Latin America stepped in, beginning with the seduction of Buenos Aires, Brasil with its languorous tongue, Chile and its out island, Easter Island, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Peru and alter on Venezuela. All left many stories inside my heart. Who can forget the bus ride from Boa Vista in Roraima to Leatham in Guyana, through the territories of Macussi Indians?
(maccusi indians who live in Brasil, Venezuela and Guyana. I met them in Guyana)
The current region of great interest, which feels so natural, is the ASEAN.. South East Asia. Myanmar gave so much of itself, KL and Malaysia was warming to the heart, Cambodia to reaffirm your humanity and the new entrant, Indonesia. Yangon, KL, Singapore, Bandar SB, Phnom Penh, Hanoi all have been visited more than ten times, have not explored Thailand or Philippines even though have been to both Bangkok and Manila, twice to Vieng Cheng. It feels natural to be in South East Asia, connected umbilically to Malacca and Kuala Belait.
(along Kuala Belait river, Brunei)
This year it has been a good year of travel to SEAsia. In the first eight months.. Four visits to Cambodia, twice to Indonesia, a nice visit to Malaysia in March and then another in August, Singapore for stopovers and to renew the acquaintances with Zheng He society and its officers!
Without friends and relationships all these places would not have the same sentimental feelings..
Thank You, Merci Beaucoup, Gracias, Obrigado