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?
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.
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of hitting the road. By van or bus or strapping on your life in a backpack and going by foot. Every town and city, village, hamlet, reservation, township and pit-stop is going to offer adventurous food and curious drinks that will draw you in like a stupid fish to a rusty hook. Continue reading
Head nestled into the chest of the man holding him, he looks comfortable. As if it’s a daily occurrence. Today his twitchy eyes notice there are more people watching as his leg is attended to, but he’s still relaxed. Maybe it’s some basic medical attention or grooming. He’s probably unaware there’s a razor-sharp blade being tied to his ankle so he can be thrown before a baying crowd in a bloody fight to the death. He’s just relaxed. He got up at 3 am to crow and wake up the neighbourhood then strut around like a hero. It’s just another normal day. Now he’s ten minutes from a brutal death or a gory triumph. He is a cock in the Philippines. And the Philippines loves its cockfighting.
Yes. I definitely packed the bag myself. It was only an hour ago before a short cab ride here; a collection of dirty clothes, crumpled pamphlets, a couple of books and a damp towel – the standard inventory after a few weeks on the road. Definitely no drugs or weapons, and I would have been surprised if someone had managed to sneak any in while I wasn’t looking. But for some reason this Filipino airport official had taken a liking to my well-travelled, decade-old backpack.