Author Archives: shamsplanet

About shamsplanet

I like to go places and write stuff about them, usually how stupid they are, although I find the highlights when I can

Hong Kong Hiking

When does a walk become a hike? When does a hike become a trek? Is a hike or a trek bigger? Is hiking just walking off-road? How pretentious do you have to be to call it hiking and buy a headlamp and walking sticks and then tell everybody you’re going hiking?

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An average Hong Kong Street

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New Zealand

‘I’m not gonna be able to fit everyone on, ay.’

It was the first logistical fuck up I’d encountered in my two weeks in New Zealand. Everything had been efficient, well ordered and polite. Even the transvestite bus driver was amiable and full of stories of varying degrees of interest. But now high season in the popular Bay of Islands tourist destination had got the better of a fledgling tour company and 20 people were lining up on the dock to fill five remaining seats in the high speed ferry. After a Chinese family pushed their way past the other patient customers to take the spots I asked how long it would be to send another boat.

‘Well. I’m the driver,’ he said tucking his shirt in to his high pants, ‘and the other driver’s here too, and the boat’s docked at the island. So, at least an hour.’

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Singapore

If Singapore was a person it would be an overbearing mother. One with multiple bachelor’s degrees and qualifications from a life spent studying hard and working harder so she can provide for her children and expect more in return. She would have nets around her children’s trampoline, plastic on the furniture and gates around the stairs. She would petition to have contact sports banned from schools and sporting participation would be more important than winning and subject to grades and completion of homework.

The new and the old

The new and the old

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South America – What I Won’t Miss

still don’t miss this stuff, but would happily endure it again

Sham's Planet

get used to long waits get used to long waits

I have just spent the best part of 12 months in Latin America. From Mexico down to Argentina, across to Chile and up again. I wouldn’t trade this time for anything, and given the time and resources would gladly do it again. I left regretting so much that I was leaving behind. The endless Argentine nights; Venezuela’s daily head-scratching anomalies; the amiable people of Chile; Mexico’s 24-hour tequila consumption and the unique ability to breakout into a party, parade, protest or riot at a moments notice, complete with music, dancing and fireworks. These are a few of the features I will miss.

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Eating in Penang

Penang worried me. Eating was becoming the main pastime and I finished each meal already contemplating the next. I had even taken photos of some of my meals and had almost delved to the lowest depths of travel blogging desperation by posting them. This is what I tried to avoid while travelling, an obsession and fascination with food that overshadows everything else on offer. The purpose of eating is to not be hungry anymore so you can continue on with the rest of your life. It’s not meant to be treated as art or leisure.

the busy chendul stand

the busy chendul stand

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What’s Guiding You?

I’ve been sensing a few grudges and a lot of ill-will towards travel guidebooks coming from the self-appointed ‘travelling elite’ such as professional travel bloggers and ex-pat tour guides who are basically guidebook writers themselves who would be desperate to get a fraction of the success of Lonely Planet.

San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

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USA – My First Thanksgiving

has it been 3 years already?

Sham's Planet

I should have said yes to the ear plugs. It had been a few years since the one and only time I’d fired a gun. Now the ringing in my ears reminded me the blast is a lot louder than on TV. I even forgot where I’d put my beer down as I struggled to regain my equilibrium. Safety first, I’d been told, always put your beer down when you’re handling a weapon. It was time to stop for a moment anyway, I had fired way high and possibly into a distant highway.

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