Favourite ten pictures from travelling around Asia in 2000 and 2001.
One of the joys of digitising old negatives (sorry for some of the scratches) is obviously the reminder of the good times.
1. There are few places more stunning and outer-worldly than Lake Toba on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Devoid of tourists in the autumn of 2000 due to political violence further north in Aceh, Toba (site of the last supervolcano on the globe around 70,000 years ago) was attracting just a handful of backpackers at the time, making it gloriously quiet and a haven for those who wanted to kick back for a few weeks mid-trip. This was the view every morning from the accommodation.
2. At the end of an epic three-day white-water rafting expedition down the Kali Gandaki in Nepal, these two boys were sat at the side of river watching the world go by. Possibly twins - either way, utterly adorable.
3. How do bus drivers clean their vehicles at the end of a dusty day on the roads of Laos? In the Mekong River running alongside Luang Prabang, obviously. A few moments later an incredible sunset could be seen over the mountains in the rear of the picture. Unfortunately the bus had moved on by then.
4. Brutally cold in February, but Ha Long Bay in northern Vietnam is still a stunning destination. This is the view from one of the islands in the bay.
5. The town of Berestagi in Sumatra is home to two active volcanoes. It is possible to (safely) walk up to the rim of the Mount Sibayak volcano and hang out amongst the sulphur vents in the crater. The smell is terrible, inevitably.
6. Nothing like an ad-hoc game of footie at the end of a long day. Here, Europe (err, Germany and England) play against a hastily convened team of local kids from the island of Samosir in Sumatra. In the background is the lake formed when the Toba supervolcano collapsed.
7. Beware the Sadhus of Kathmandu. Within ten minutes of venturing out after arriving in the Nepali capital, zapped with red paint on the forehead. Not impressed.
8. Glorious indoor produce market in the north Malaysian town of Kota Bharu. This was taken from an upper floor unfortunately before the purchase of a wide angle lens.
9. Hanoi is a crazy city. Its wide and often quiet Paris-like avenues on the edge of the city lead to a myriad of tight and frantically busy streets in the centre, making navigation tricky but enjoyable. Consulting my guidebook outside what I didn’t realise at the time was a gravestone shop.
10. Bit of a cliched snap, but few places in the world are like the Angkor Wat complex in Cambodia, where trees grow through the temples after centuries of laying unkempt and forgotten. This is the famous Ta Prohm temple.
Will get around to working on the various inter-rail snaps from the mid-1990s at some point…
NB: Apologies again for the quality of the images. They were taken with a film-based Canon SLR and the negatives only digitised some ten years later.