Like any other country at the moment, Myanmar has mixed feelings about their expats and immigrants; feelings ranging from stewing xenophobic tension to glowing admiration. Myanmar’s current policy towards foreigners on working visas mandates that we leave the country every 70 days. For some this is an annoying inconvenience, for me it’s a regular forced vacation to an exotic location every couple of months. Due to our regular visa runs over the last two years, Katie and I have been running low on Asian countries to visit (it’s a tough life). We decided to stretch our visa run distance and length to hop over to Western Australia for something novel. Continue reading
Mandalay is Myanmar’s royal city, and we are Mandalay’s loyal weekend warriors. The ten-hour night busses that take us to Mandalay and back to Yangon make for grueling transportation experiences. On a typical Mandalay trip we will spend two nights on busses and one night at a hostel. When we arrive back in Yangon early Monday morning, we emerge from the bus in a zombieish haze and essentially head straight to work from the bus station. After more than ten trips like this, Katie and I have the details dialed: Our favorite hostel, number of melatonin tablets to take on the overnight bus, cheapest motorbike rental shop, everything is dialed.
A selection of photos from nine months in the Golden City. Brought to you without the consistent drip of sweat, the frequent itch of mosquito bites, or the slow growth of mold on seldom-used shoes. Lacking the metallic exhaust, the savor of bean curry, the snap of burmese, or the curious glances. Yangon in photos.
Hong Kong ➢ Macau ➢ Taiwan
Hong Kong is an island/city/quasi-nation box of cramped high rises stuck between the hills of the island and the channel separating it from the mainland. Also, there are a surprising amount of spiders.
When you climb enough you develop an implicit trust in the gear you climb with. When you don’t climb for a while, that trust disappears and everything gets a lot scarier. Casual, safe falls onto a rope become grippingly terrifying. So, when I got back to the States, after working in Bangladesh for six months, Beans and I decided to take a trip to the desert to get scared on Ancient Art.
There are feathers in my toilet. Have you ever discovered something simple that made you rethink every decision you’ve ever made. I flushed the toilet; new feathers and water replaced the old feathers and water. I turned on my shower. Please, no. . . feathers coming out of my shower. This can mean only one thing. A bird somehow, some-way made my rooftop water tank its final nesting place. [Emergency Recall]: Flashbacks of washing my hands, taking a shower, cleaning out my coffee cup, and NO! NO! you did not rinse your toothbrush off with that dead bird water.
There are two sport routes that I have projected for longer than a calendar year. The first was Monkey Puzzle at North Table Mountain; a 5.9 vertical route topped by an amazing V4/5 roof boulder problem. After I finally sent Monkey Puzzle, I sent several routes of equal or harder difficulty relatively quickly. It wasn’t only that I had finished the route, it forced me to become a better climber. “Chaos” at Anarchy Wall in Clear Creek Canyon was in the same category. I wanted a route that would force me to bump up against my ceiling. Chaos didn’t disappoint; I attempted the route so many times (somewhere between 200-300 burns). It wasn’t just powerful. Due to the infrequency of ascents, several of the key holds had no chalk on them, making the beta difficult to decipher. It was a tedious process, working on a sequence for a couple of weeks wondering if the sequence would take me through the crux, hitting a dead end, and then wondering if it was bad beta or a lack of strength that was protecting the chains. I was constantly doubting, and also doubting which doubt to doubt about. Is it strength? Is it climbing ability? Is it conditions? Is it beta? Adding to the difficulty, the holds are too small to grip when it is warm outside. The ideal temperature window for Chaos is 35-40 degrees; also known as winter.
In said winter, I was finally getting close to sending the route. However, I also had a Myanmar job contract looming. Only a few weeks remained. I had to do it, or I would leave the country with no firm timeline for returning. I started going to Anarchy Wall at every opportunity: after work, in the dark, on the weekends, early in the morning. Whenever I could get Katie, Jeremy, or Erin to come out to the wall with me, I was on it. I really didn’t want to spend months in Myanmar thinking about how close I had been. . . ☟
Bouldering nonsense: video of friends having a ridiculous time climbing in several front range locations: including Rocky Mountain National Park, Eldorado Canyon, Morrison, and Loch Lomond. Loch Lomond is a new area that some of us (mostly Abner, Julia, and Jeremy) developed over the course of the last year. There are several moderate problems in the V4 to V7 range on Gneiss blocks. The blocks tend to be on the shorter side, but the rock is good quality. The problems are fun, and you cannot beat the alpine setting. Check it out the photos, topos, directions, and other details on the mountain project page here: Loch Lomond.
Bouldering Nonsense ↯
Five brief episodes of compiled undeleted scenes from my travels through Southeast Asia. These videos give a glimpse into eight weeks of travel living out of a backpack. Trains, planes and automobiles took me through Bangladesh, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos. Footage taken from 2013-2014. On this trip, I also spent short amounts of time in Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore.
My Adventures in Southeast Asia ⇃
Episode I: Bangladesh
This is a post containing reflections and photos concerning the six months I spent in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. I’m planning on also posting something about my work with the Rohingya refugees after I feel that I have acquired sufficient words to share their story. DISCLAIMER: This post has some potentially disturbing photos of a cow being sacrificed for Eid.
I lived in the far South of Bangladesh in a “seaside tourist destination” called Cox’s Bazar. The term “seaside tourist destination” is perhaps deceiving. Please suppress the images of tourists strolling down white sand beaches in their swimsuits relaxing and enjoying a carefree vacation. Although for Bengali nationals this image is near accurate, for anyone not possessing the complexion of a South Asian, it is far from the truth. For myself and others of a similar complexion, “strolling” on a beach in Bangladesh entails 30 Bengali locals following you, taking pictures of you/with you, asking what your country is, how much money you make, what your religion is, if you are married, and what your father’s name is, Oh yes and would you also like to buy a boiled egg? Continue reading