Time patrol Asia


Guang-xho (Canton) Airport. “When the buying stops, the killing can too.” Campaign to stop the buying of ivory and – hopefully – end elephant poaching. First time we set foot in Mainland China. Impressed.

Close to 40,000 kilometers round trip, more than 60 hours flight. Four or five countries plus stop-overs, this trip to Asia last December was unexpected yet, to say the least, spectacular. Came back delighted. Asia is impressive. There were many reasons to go, one of which was a particular relationship of my family with Asia. Two centuries in India, with my little sister the last one born there in the past century. And the fact that I had lived in Cambodia at the age of 3 to 4. Obviously, don’t remember much except an  encounter with a tiger. So here’s a preview of our trip:


Singapore. Gardens by the bay. Christmas in Asia. Singapore was a shock. In a positive way. A beautiful city. And an idea of the future. Will come back to that.


When you fly into Singapore, hundreds of ships are queuing to stop at the harbour. One of the many reasons Singapore is the richest economy in Asia.


Penang, Malaysia. Georgetown is a lovely city.


Typical Baba-Nyonya house in Penang. The Baba-Nyonya are the Straights Chinese who settled in Southeast Asia, sometimes as early as the 10th century, though the main wave of settlement was in the 15th-17th century.


Craft beer at the China House Café on Beach St, Penang, Malaysia. A respite from the heat.


Sawadee kraaaap! Greetings in Thai. If you’re a woman, you say “kaaa”. The two words one most hears in Thailand: kaaaa and k(r)aaaap. Koh Lanta, Thailand.


Frangipanier tree, Koh Lanta. It’s called Plumeria in English. The flowers have a very delicate fragrance. Reminded me of my African childhood, with the same trees in the garden.


En route to the islands, Koh Lanta. The boats have a very colourful design and shape with a very high prow.


Wat Arun temple in Bangkok, facing the Royal palace on the Chao Phraya river. Wat means temple in Thai. And Khmer.


Wat Arun, detail, Bangkok.

Phnomh Penh, Cambodia, 1956. My father’s work permit in Cambodia.


Angkor Thom. The four faces of Buddha. 2018. (Built between 900 and 1200’s AD)


Apsaras, the divine dancers, Angkor Wat, Cambodia, this January.


Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 1957, little sister Gaëlle and Ayah Kim. It has been a while…

If you haven’t read about my encounter with a Cambodian tiger, follow this link:


Kop khun krap, thank you for flying Equinoxio’s Time-Space shuttle. Scotty has done a full maintenance on the engines and travel systems. There will be more, much more.

My very best wishes to all of you. May this New year be a happy and successful one.  André Malraux in “La voie royale” wrote: “To arrive means the difference between dreaming and action.” Make your dreams come true. Sawadee kraaap.

87 thoughts on “Time patrol Asia

    • Thank you. Working on it. Currently filing the pix by country/place. And thinking of transversal themes to post on all countries. Or specific one country post. Still haven’t decided.

  1. It’s good to see you back and writing. I am excited to see what’s to come with those awesome photos as a prelude. I am so happy you took this trip. I hope it was good for all of your souls. Thank you for bringing a smile to my face today.

  2. Thanks for the visual and verbal reminders of my trip to Thailand in 73! I still have my Air Force issue Thai- English dictionary.

      • Koon sa-by dee! During the war it was. Jets and bombs at my base. I volunteered for Vietnam on 1/26/73 and the Paris Peace Accord was signed 2 days later. I was sent to Thailand in the Munitions Squad to dispose of surplus bombs, which meant a lot of bombing of Cambodia and Laos. But Ubon Thailand was beautiful! Going into Laos was a little surreal. All beautiful country.

      • Yep. I was not quite prepared for that reaction and the – inadvertent – info. that though the war was over, instead of disarming the bombs they just dropped them next door… 😦

  3. Ahoy from the Andaman Sea

    Wonderful to see my current sailing grounds through your lens

    Would love to experience The Singapore Straits from the sky. Sailing into it was a bucket list experience I will not soon forget.

    Wish we’d been able to share a salted caramel cheesecake at Chiba House in Penang. Next time.

    Great pictures 😍

    • Hello! I do find it always fascinating when one crosses steps in the very same spot. China house was great. We sat at the very back, by the pond. Had a Chang, a Tiger, and a Penang. And there was a small band, possibly malay possibly thai or even khmer. Lovely performance.
      I can imagine queuing into that harbour in the midst of hundreds of giant ships. Brrrr.
      Fair winds Lisa.

    • Selamat malam Indah. 🙂 Happy new year. Glad you liked them. The trip was really nice. Only regret: to leave Indonesia out for lack of time. But now that we “know the way”, next trip will be focused on Indonesia. (I remembered you when we snorkeled off the islands in Koh Lanta. Hadn’t done so in years.)
      Take good care of yourself.

      • No, no… unfortunately no. Daughter #2 had stayed 2 months there, but we only had 3 weeks so we had to make drastic choices. I think Indonesia alone could occupy 3 weeks. That will be the plan for another trip. I am very curious to see Indonesia. (And practice my poor Bahasa!)

  4. Looking forward to hear your opinion on Singapore, Brian. To me, it felt a bit too… dystopic. Good to see that the Chinese are beginning to realise that a Viagra pill can do the same job assigned to ivory in their traditional medicine! Hope’s not too late.

    • Hope is never too late. About Singapore… We didn’t stay very long, but my first impressions were positive. I will elaborate in another post. Happy new year. Bonne année. Felice anno nuovo. 😉

  5. Charming mixture of the past and present. Beautiful photographs, beautiful land. The slogan of the campaign against poaching is universal – the same one can tell about children abductions and human trafficking. When the buying stops…

  6. Thai architecture always impressed me, the little I’ve seen in movies or pictures. So many details , so much harmony. Traditional costumes (dancers etc) are also elaborate and interesting.
    Plumeria is wonderful, wish I had one in my garden. Speaking of gardens, those singaporean in the picture are out of this world. 🙂

    I do have a beef with China though. More precisely with the ‘made in China’ crap that’s been invading our markets for too long – lousy quality, sometimes DOA, short lifespan. I guess that slogan should be rephrased as “When the buying stops, the manufacturing and exporting of crap can too”.

    Adorable, Gaëlle, guess Ayah Kim was quite fond of her. 🙂

    Oh and welcome back! 😉

    • Multumesc Mon ami. It is good to be back. I understand the beef with China. And the quality issues. But, nevertheless, flying on China Southern, over Canton at night, landing at the airport, all things that did not exist – zero, nothing – 30 or 40 years ago, does impress me. That and Singapore do make me think there are ways out of underdevelopment. But that is an altogether different issue which I will touch upon later. Take care.

  7. Is there any country on the planet where craft beer hasn’t arrived? A lovely taster of what’s to come, looking forward to seeing more of your travels Brian. I already have a feeling I need to visit Cambodia. Hope the new year is treating you well. All the best, Paul

    • France is probably late on craft beer I guess. Permits and regulations not out yet. Asian craft beer is good. Not to mention Tiger black in Singapore…
      Cambodia? You will love it. Just don’t fall off the stairs like I did. (Last step, nothing broken but many a scratch) 🙂

    • Glad to be back in touch. “thoughtful”? Am I? Aren’t we all? Your posts, every single one, are reflections. 🙂
      Night night.
      (Are the wolves singing to the moon right now?)

  8. Looks like you sure got around over there. I was in Thailand in 1992. I’ve heard it’s completely changed since then. Very nice to see the ad for ending the ivory trade. Very upsetting that it still goes on. Hope you are recuperating well from such an intense voyage.

    • 1992? Has been a while. Wat Arun and the palace are still here. With hordes of tourists.
      Many new modern buildings along the river. The Thai are still extremely nice. Sawadee krap! 🙂
      Recuperation is fine. We did see many facets of Asia. Came back delighted.

  9. Brought my own refreshments because…you know… the service…I HAVE mentioned it once or twice… Trip was marvelous though. Great pics as ever. Such a pleasure your blog. Read today China is stepping up with pet adoption too as opposed to pet sandwiches…so…we’ll see…

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