• Menu
  • Menu

Author - graham

Late Traveller and facilitator looking forward to sharing my travel journey as I backpack around South East Asia and maybe the world.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Learning to adapt to changing times

I had expected to see a bit more of the airport, this time around. We had a longer transfer of 5 hours as opposed to the last one of 3.

What I didn’t expect to see was the cities of Dubai and Sharjah.

But then you have to expect some changes in your schedule when airlines and countries are still trying to understand covid-19 restrictions and regulations as we attempt to return to pre-pandemic life.

Nice flight from Heathrow, plenty of legroom, and not bad food Emirates has a lot going for them. However, their understanding or rather misunderstanding of what is required by each country is still out for debate.

Regardless, the outcome meant I was stranded in an airport hotel ( paid for by Emirates) for 3 days. So I got to experience something new.

Lack of a sim card, restriction to wifi, and no map, I managed as ever to bumble my way around a city for the first time.

Seeing things you don’t normally see, missing the obvious attractions everyone wants to see.

Walking around and across places, you either shouldn’t or where locals question why would you?

All the time gaining valuable lessons that will endear me to the culture and country and certainly make me want to visit again and again.

One thing I will say is that they love to do everything bigger and better than anywhere else.

I drove past the largest picture frame I have ever seen, in the middle of the city.

To sum it all up?

I got to see the Burj Khalifa at night and the incredible water and light show they perform every 30 minutes to the score from the Magnificent Seven.

I visited the largest aquarium in the world and was impressed by the size but I felt Singapore and Malaysia do it better.

I was lost in the Dubai Mall, (then, I do get lost in every mall I visit in Asia) you see, they all look the same.

Everywhere I went from servers to kitchen staff to the guy in charge of the aquarium, I find hard-working Filipinos delivering the best service possible and always with a smile.

March 2022

At last, after nearly 2 years of being in the UK during the Covid-19 pandemic, I have finally been able to get back onto a plane and return to Asia.

It has been a long hard road and for some, it will never be the same again. Losing loved ones, friends and jobs has made the last two years unbearable and will leave indelible scars on families.

However, life must go on and although we may feel guilty about traveling again, I know for a while I did. We must try to lead a normal life. Before Covid I was traveling and working around Asia and whilst this time around it will be slightly different in the way I approach things, I aim to carry on.

First stop, Singapore to see old friends after a transit through Dubai which turned out to be extra long due to misunderstandings with covid restrictions on behalf of Emirates. Then onto the Philippines for much-needed sun and relaxation before finally returning to Cambodia, where I left for a 2-week holiday to England that lasted 2 years.




Davao, Mindanao, The Philippines


Famous for the current President (at the time of writing) of the Philippines, who is just serving out his term before handing over to the next one.

He moved here as a child, and his family name has become a legend here. The people clearly love him, and following in his footsteps, his daughter became mayor of the city.

He was Mayor for over 20 years before sealing victory in the race for the Presidency.

I have heard that Davao city was once famous for being a crime capital, but his tenure as mayor allowed him to transform the city into a peaceful and prosperous place. Giving him the idea of what, he then decided to do a bigger scale as president.

Currently, his Daughter is the mayor, although she is trading that honour in for the vice presidency with another Duerte running to replace her locally.

Tip of the Post

Famous for Chocolate. Davao has now some of the most beautiful tasting Malagos Chocolate, which is now recognised as a worldwide artisan leader
It is also considered the Durian Capital of the Philippines, so apapt that I like visiting here as Kampot my current home is also renowned for the Durian.


What it also has is a high mountain that is on my list to conquer ( I have 4 in total in South East Asia to complete. One already accomplished.)

A lovely coastline and a beautiful little island off the main city. Look out for a post on Samal later.

Lots of hidden little gems like Jack’s Ridge, Eden nature park and resort, along with local parks and of course the famous shopping malls, which are pretty much everywhere.

There is also a crocodile park that is worth visiting, especially if you have kids, as there are plenty of animals and birds to see along with the odd reptile or two.

Did you know?

Davao City, is in fact the largest city in the whole of the Philippines in terms of land mass, and third most populous city after, Luzon and Manila.

Famous Eagle

Considered the largest eagle in the world. Home is Davao and it can be seen in many places as the coastline and landscape is very lush, green and mountainous. But for a glimpse of this national Bird then go along to the Philippine Eagle Nature Center.


March 7th

Almost to the day, I finally can get back onto a plane again and fly to where I like to call home.

Asia, or more to the point southeast Asia. Home to some of the friendliest people I have ever met. I guess that is why I call it home. From my Cambodian sister Kunthea to friends from Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and beyond.

To the many fellow travelers that have like me, settled down and forgot the struggles of the west and accepted the beauty of the east.

The first stop will be Singapore to see a friend who has been kind enough to look after one of the bags I left there over 2 years ago.

How do we see time?

Covid has done funny things to confuse your mind about time.

It clearly doesn’t feel like 2 years have gone by since I last visited Singapore, but this coming week I will get to see what has changed in those two years.

I wonder how many local small food places have had to close due to the pandemic?

After that, I planned a holiday in the Philippines for a month so I can acclimatize myself to the heat and food again.

Then back to Cambodia and return to see old friends.

Promising to be a happier year than the last two.

Let us hope my update at the end of the year bears some truth to that statement.


This holds many great memories for me. It became a welcome retreat from the toils of business for many years. Somewhere I could escape, recharge and unwind.

Something I didn’t get a chance to do as much as I should have.

For a few years I lived in Norwich but the constant commute back to Nottingham every Monday became harder to face. So finally staying where my business was made more sense. But, the escape to a quiet place where no one knows you have always had a strange appeal.

I love exploring and understanding history, I also believe it is more fun and more educational if you are learning about somewhere you have been or are visiting.

As if it somehow transports you back to that time when you can almost imagine yourself in whatever period in history.

So it was nice to return after many years on one of the limited weekends I managed to get away between lockdowns, mask-wearing, and antiseptic hand-washing trips amid covid.

Taking my Mom for the first time was also a nice reward. Although I suspect the extra walking she had to endure, because where I thought the next coffee shop, Pub or restaurant was just around the next corner, turned out to be many corners away I am not sure she appreciated it.

one of the many local establishments my dear old Mom insisted we visit!

Regardless, we had a good few days and even managed a punt on the river, with a cheeky but knowledgeable young student enrolled at the local University.

Many offer their services as river guides I guess to earn a few pennies whilst time off from studying.

The river cruise was a great way to see a different side of a city I love so well.

I learned in Bangkok, Thailand that if a city has a river running through it, you gain a different perspective and appreciation of a place by seeing it from the water.


Cambridge itself is made up of over 31 colleges all managed independently but importantly comprised to make up the university.

Among its former students or Alumni are over 100 Nobel Prize Laureates and nearly 50 heads of state for more information on who, visit here.

Among those well-known around the world to this day are undoubtedly Professor Stephen Hawkings, Sir David Attenborough, Charles Darwin, Lee Kuan Yew, (founding father of Singapore), and our own future King, HRH Prince Charles.

I think those names sum up the motto perfectly.


Hinc lucem et pocula sacra (From this place, we gain enlightenment and precious knowledge).

Cambridge’s wealth was so vast, that until only recently it was said you could walk from Cambridge to Dover without setting forth off land owned by the University.

I guess it has either been divided up or sold off now but the university today still has considerable wealth and is the center of a huge infrastructure of high-tech industry around the world.

March 2021

So some great news from Cambodia Mr. Sok and his wife have had a baby daughter. A year after being married, they now have a family.

I am so pleased and looking forward to seeing them all again hopefully later this year.

Happy Birthday to a few wonderful women for March including Mum.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there!

On a personal note, I have had my first vaccine which now means I will have to wait at least 3 more months in order to have the second dose. But that means I could be flying as early as July 🙂