So here’s my problem. I take photos. A lot of them. All the time. I’m constantly looking up and away, always fascinated by the happenings around me. Ayi my neighbour doing her morning wash, uncles soaking up the morning sun on my way to work, children, logistics warehouse sorting out their Wednesday deliveries, steam coming up from a crepe pan of the seller making 山东煎饼 for breakfast…that’s to name a few. And they often end up dusty in my hard drive. Unretouched, unreviewed until 11 months later when I’d stumble upon them by chance.

But make that mistake no more, I will. So here are a couple of random shots I took while I was strolling around aimlessly at mid-day, with my camera just happened to be in my bag.

The Old Timers

The Old Timers

Rumah tepi jalan
Road trip in Indonesia, en route to Bandung from Jakarta

I love road trips. And I miss going on road trips. When I was young I used to dread it, forcing myself to sleep through the journey wishing we would arrive 3 hours ago. But as a grown up all I’d be doing (as I would normally be a co-pilot who naggigates) is staying awake, having my camera ready in my hands, while playing music tracks specially curated for the trip with sing-along awesome 80s hits. I mean, who doesn’t love the 80s?!

The last time I went on a long-haul road trip was, well, a very long time ago. While I was growing up, being in the car for 9-10 hours crammed up with the rest of my 4 (and later towards the end of my teen years, 5) siblings was a norm. We’d either be heading up west coast to where my mother’s hometown is, or way up close to the border of Southern Thailand where my father grew up in. Shortly after, when my elder sister and brother were old enough to drive, we’d split into two cars which made it even more fun because half way through the journey we’d swap cars and make silly faces when one overtakes the other.

We did that every single year.

Looking back, I still don’t know how my parents could do the long hours of driving. I myself have never driven any longer than 3 hours straight, what more going for a 9 hour trip with lots of shenanigans to deal with (pee stops, lunch stops, sing-along-songs, endless why questions, pregnant co-pilot, backseat fights over video games or fart accusations, more pee stops…).

Then we all grew up, went to college, some got married, some chose to be a lao wai elsewhere; it became really hard to get everyone together and so just by having the entire brigade at the dining table in the big house was good enough for us. Long road trips suddenly became a very distant memory in the past. Even my father would take a flight whenever he feels homesick and wishes to visit his mother. Time has changed, people get old and they leave the road adventures to the young.

The long-hauls in my life now would be flights instead of road trips, but heck it is nothing like being on a road trip. The most I could get away with is tapping my palms on my lap to my playlist, because even a slight hum is enough to start an in-flight war.

Well strangers, if you and I were on a road trip, you would’ve loved my 80s selection…

Grass is always greener

Curry Prawn | Kari Udang

When in doubt, drink Milo  When in doubt, drink Milo