Author Archives: simmyw

Karen Hill Tribe Trek in Thailand – The Landscape

Though Thailand is smaller in area than the state of Texas, it is home to 70+ distinct ethnic minorities. The Karen group is the largest minority at 400k+ people distributed across almost 2k villages (2003 census). The village women wore colorful more »

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Karen Hill Tribe Trek in Thailand – The Village

In the hills of Northwest Thailand near Mae Sariang, the morning fog rolls through lush forest and over corrugated and thatched roofs, touching cultivated mountain rice fields and retreating by midmorning into blue skies. The Karen tribesmen inhabit these hills, more »

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Daxu, Guilin

The streets are absent of traffic, there’s not a foreigner in site, and no vendor is actively touting  —  only 20km away from Guilin, a Chinese city of 5 million inhabitants. Founded in the Song Dynasty, Daxu’s structures date back to more »

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Bantay Kdei and the Hindu-Buddhist Dynamic

Considering that Angkor Wat was built for the Hindu god Vishnu but has since been a place of Buddhist pilgrimage, I was often confused as to whether I was looking at Buddhist or Hindu structures, even when there were well-preserved more »

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Bus Ride from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap

There must be at least a dozen bus companies operating between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap offering varying levels of comfort, price, reputation, vehicle size, route frequency, and number of stops. We opted to go with Grand Ibis for their more »

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One Week in the Khmer Empire

After precisely one year since we dreamed up this trip, Chris and I are now in Cambodia, known in the 9th to 13th centuries as the Khmer Empire. Last year, after spending the summer working in Israel, we visited the more »

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San Blas Islands

After visiting the Panama Canal  and several port facilities and fulfillment centers, we had an after-party retreat in the San Blas Islands, home to the semi-autonomous indigenous Kuna Indians. Getting to the islands from Panama City was an adventure in more »

Posted in Latin America, Panama | 1 Comment

Panama Canal Expansion Project

Why is the Panama Canal being expanded? Simply put, to keep itself relevant in the face of global trade growth and competition. With the addition of two new locks, one on each end, transiting cargo capacity is expected to double. more »

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Miraflores Locks

The Panama Canal takes approximately 8 to 10 hours to cross with about 40 ships transiting per day. A sophisticated transit booking system provides ships with a choice between either a first-come first-served basis or a premium congestion fee to more »

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MIT SCM Trek to Panama

I am joining the MIT Supply Chain Management Trek to Panama. Ever since studying naval architecture and marine engineering at Webb Institute, I have been curious about maritime shipping and the infrastructure and logistics that move cargo from origin to more »

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The Great Market Hall of Budapest

Walk to the southern end of the touristy pedestrian shopping street Váci utca and you reach the Great Market Hall, an immense indoor market with an intricate roof tiling job by the famous Hungarian manufacturer Zsolnay. Shopkeepers sell produce and more »

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A Walking Tour of Budapest

A few days ago, I arrived in Budapest (“boo-duh-pesht”), capital of Hungary, for a short vacation away from working in Israel and to get a taste of what summer backpacking across Europe is all about. I found a city full more »

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The Israel Saga

In seek of a new twist on my background in naval architecture and marine engineering, I stumbled upon the “water industry,” a world of venture capitalists and public utilities alike, global water resources, and cutting-edge technologies currently being developed at MIT’s more »

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Valle de Angeles

Valle de Angeles, known colloquially as “the valley,” is a municipality in the Honduran department (country division) of Francisco Morazán. At an elevation of 4200 feet and located between Honduras’s mountain ranges, it has the coolest climate in the whole more »

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The Band at La Finca

Alonso, the director of La Finca, loves music and leads a Christian music band comprised of a select few La Finca kids who play drums, base, guitar, keyboard, and sing. Note the kid in jammies in the foreground listening to more »

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Dayana

A few years ago, Jamie’s family met Jose, an old Catholic man who hikes the mountains giving aid to the poor, elderly, and anyone in need. Through him, they were introduced to Dayana, a now fifteen-year-old girl with cerebral palsy more »

Posted in Honduras, Latin America | 1 Comment

La Finca – Introduction

La Finca is a home for abandoned children. It houses about 100 children from ages 2 to 18, only one of which is actually an orphan. Every day when I return to Jamie’s home, I try to write about the children, but more »

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Carmelo Neighborhood

If you leave downtown Valle de Angeles in a southernly direction (no street names around here), walk a mile through pastures past the cemetery and church, maybe take a left, cross a river, and climb a hill, you will find more »

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Tegucigalpa, La Capital de Honduras

To gain the stamp of what was missing the previous day (see 6:30PM from yesterday’s post), we set out for Tegucigalpa the next morning with Jamie and her friends Lillian, Kelly, and Jacky. At the airport, after a customs official more »

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Voyage to Honduras

Since events became increasingly more peculiar and fantastic as the day of my voyage to Honduras progressed, I can’t help but give a detailed account in the time domain. If you want the quick sensational version, skip to 3:30PM or more »

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The Honduras Saga

Ever since my relatives spoke of an orphanage hidden in the forested mountains of Honduras full of abandoned but happy children yearning to meet people and learn, I knew I would someday travel to the children’s home and try to more »

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Making Music at MIT

This past Tuesday, I performed at MIT’s graduate student open-mic. Gaston and I had only one day to rehearse. Within one hour of posting the Led Zeppelin cover of Thank You, I received an email from YouTube notifying me that more »

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Salt Creek Recreation Area

The tidal pools of Tongue Point Marine Life Sanctuary at Salt Creek Recreation Area are among the best in the Pacific Northwest. When you stand beneath the Douglas firs on the coastal edge at low tide, acres of intertidal pools more »

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The Olympic Peninsula – Intro

Before heading south, we explored the tidal zones and old growth forests of Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula.

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Olympia

If you wish to find where the 1960’s hippies settled down, Vashon Island is supposedly the resting ground. But if you ever wondered where the hippies are still being grown, Olympia is the happening place. Amplifying the relaxing Seattle cafe more »

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West Coast Road Trip

This summer, Chris Hooper (Webb Class 2011) and I are journeying on a road trip from Olympia, WA to southern California. My objective in blogging is to convey what it is like to travel by RV down the West Coast. more »

Posted in Pac NW | 2 Comments

Beijing – Jonathan Shaller

Jonathan Shaller, a fellow traveler from the Red Lantern Hostel in Beijing, rendered this pavilion using Autodesk Maya. Jonathan is a professional 3D Environmental Artist with an impressive background. Notably, he’s worked on the graphics for The Chronicles of Narnia, more »

Posted in China | 2 Comments

Back to the States

I must admit that I am now back in New York with my parents and Chris. I will continue to post occasionally, as I still have many places, foods, and cultural oddities to share. Above are impaled sparrows being sold more »

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Shanghai Violin – Recital Piece

AUDIO Recital Replay During the Spring Festival, only one music store near the Shanghai Music Conservatory was open. It had the floorspace of a typical shop window display with about 20 violins crammed inside. A teacher clapped expressionlessly to a more »

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Beijing – Forbidden City – Museum

The Imperial bedroom was the most popular scene in the Forbidden City. Crowds of tourists pressed their lenses up to the glass and peered in to see where the Emperor slept. The symbol on the far wall is “double happiness,” more »

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