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Asia Blog 2000




Welcome
   

Origins
Welcome to the new home of the formerly titled as VisnuCraft web site: photographs, audio journals, and correspondences documenting a three month journey, through Thailand, Nepal, and Viet Nam, lasting from September until December of the year 2000. This documentation occurred when email was most popular among the internet cafes of Asia, and travel blogging had not quite broken into the mainstream. Now, nearly 10 years later, it serves as a historical document, so I leave it largely unchanged. Moral rights of creation are asserted on all photographs and audio journals by Tom Visnius. Collage artists are welcome to plunder.   This journey was originally planned in 1988, when our friends from NOC in North Carolina were going to Nepal every year. In 1993, when we married, we considered a honeymoon in Viet Nam, since tourism was only recently re-opened there. Alas, we had not enough money, although we did visit Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize a couple of times. Then when Mona finished school, we chose to drive around the Western U.S. for a couple of months. We recently decided that, after I finished school, we had better try to get to Asia, because who knows how settled down we were getting to be. I finished my MS in 2000, and away we went.
 

Images
   

Journals
There are pictures, sound files, and letters to browse. If you are at work, sit back and take a week to view the entire site. There are plenty of artistic surprises among the images, sprinkled in to keep you looking! Most of the slides from the trek to Mount Makalu were scanned at too low resolution (350 dpi). These files were not worth zooming, cropping, and adjusting levels. Ironically, and unfortunately, they are images from the most awe-inspiring portions of the journey.   There are also plenty of strange experiences in introspection and ambient sound among the audio journal files. UPDATE January 23, 2007: After over six years of serving the soundtrack for VisnuCraft, I have noticed that most of the traffic to the site is just for downloading mp3 files of songs created by other artists. This traffic is placing a heavy load on the server, and is not essential to the VisnuCraft Asia Frolic, so they have been removed. The audio journals remain.
 

Letters
   

Rationale
The text is culled only from our sent-mail from our www email accounts at netaddress.com. We were able to receive email while we were in Asia, because, unlike in the U.S., every other country in the world is brimming with extremely affordable internet cafes. We sent out updates as well as personal messages. In addition to reading entire collections of the email, there are also links to the sections of email that correspond to the pictures in the slideshows. Much of this text passed through only a very slight edit before ending up on this web site. Likewise, the audio journals were recorded as personal reflections, so comments within our email and audio files should be consumed with a large dose of understanding and humility.   Why spend the time putting this web site together? It is a convenient way to share all these media files without putting on a slideshow, or ordering prints, or mailing stuff, and viewers don't have to be bored if they're not interested in the material. The trek with Naghendra Limbu in Nepal, the volunteer time at Ratchathani Asoke in northeast Thailand, and the trek through the Cuc Phuong National Park in northern Viet Nam were rewarding and memorable experiences. They were our best attempts at creating our own experiences in Asia without reliance upon the standard guidebooks and tours.

We met great people, and learned more about their lifestyles than we did when we went to the places most recommended in the guide books. The guide books are very useful for creating your own experiences, and for understanding the latest scams and wastes of time, but there is an obvious clustering effect of travelers, grouped by the guide book being used. Often times, in such clusters, fellow travelers don't want to be friendly, because they are trying to avoid all of their fellow guide book users in their efforts to meet the Real Asia. Consider the range of possibilities when you travel. If it involves sleeping on a clean floor, and eating in someone's kitchen, chances are it will be a great experience! Volunteering and working may be the only way to meet the Real Anywhere.