Sapa, Vietnam. A beautiful town in the clouds and one of the most photogenic places I've ever been to. The whole trip made me want to own a motorbike which I've decided is the only appropriate transport for really seeing a country. One of the best moments of Asia was when my friend Polly and I were listening to "The Cave" whilst biking around the paddy fields. Yep, we felt cool.
Really, really want this parasol!
A really good book I read whilst in Asia is called "Burmese Days" by George Orwell (so of course it was going to be worth reading), not only is the Penguin Modern Classics cover really cool (again with the great parasol) but its an interesting read. It is a satire of the colonial rule of Burma by the British in the 1920's, one of the great quotations of the book is from one of the members of the exclusive white only club described in the novel "after all, natives were natives- interesting, no doubt, but finally... an inferior people".
Throughout Asia I found that though much of the effects of imperialism have worn off the book is still very relevant to modern day with the prosperity of white Westerners compared to the poverty of the people in places like Cambodia. In India and other Asian countries white people are still relatively revered and respected for their skin colour and many look to their charity or consumerism/tourism for their livelihood. The taking of the men in the novel of Burmese prostitutes as mistresses is hardly different to the casual ease with which Western men can take prostitutes in Bangkok. I wonder how many more years before East and West are truly equal, hopefully not many.