Nicole goes to Nepal

I am about to do something amazing. Ever since hearing about the earthquake that happened in Nepal 3 weeks ago I have been open to the possibility of going there to help with relief work, especially since I was already in this part of the world. Now the opportunity has found me. 

This morning I fly to Kathmandu to meet a man named Prakash who will drive me out to join a team building temporary shelters for earthquake victims. I do not know any of these people personally but they are four Americans connected with at least 2 local …

Myanmar: Bagan

Driving into Bagan is an experience. After miles and miles of sweltering, dry grassland, all of a sudden without any distinguishing features dozens of pagodas start appearing. Everywhere. Many in ruin, even more now piles of rubble that the goats graze upon. But some are still standing. Marco Polo, who visited the site after it’s heyday, wrote much about it in his books. “The towers are built of fine stone, and one has been covered with gold a finger thick, so that the tower appears to be of solid gold. Another is covered with silver in …

Mandalay & Pyin Oo Lwin

The following few posts I wrote in Myanmar/Burma, but the internat was so bad I gave up trying to post them. So these are a month old, from before I went to Nepal. Enjoy!
Myanmar: part of the British Indian Empire (and called Burma) until 1947, has only recently opened up to tourism. I think it must be like Thailand was 30 years ago – the land of smiles. Everyone has been extraordinarily nice to us, particularly when they find out we’re American. We keep getting responses like “Obama is great” and “America is the best …

Manila Manila

I didn’t want to leave Manila out of my Philippines story! It was mostly a hub that we came and went from, but in addition to meeting Dilek, our turkish friend, we did see some pretty nice things there, and I ended up rather liking it. 
We took to calling the city proper “Manila Manila” partially as a play on the Filipino habit of doubling words (ex. ice cream is halo halo, and “a lot” was many many), and partially because its what the locals call Manila. We stayed at different places in a part of …

Batad Rice Terraces

In the morning of our second day in Banaue we hired a tricycle to take us up to “the saddle,” the highest point on the road and the beginning of the path to Batad. After hiking down some 400 steps we were all amazed to find the “path” a newly constructed concrete road. One of the magical things about Batad is that there are no roads there – you need to hike in and hike out – which has kept the terraces and the people there preserved. The road isn’t quite finished yet, so the …