Renegade Writings

The collected writings of a Renegade Tourist

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Beautiful landscape

Zhuwei beach, 6:02 pm

The water is a nearly perfect navy blue topped by a faint streak of orange from the warm glowing ball of the setting sun. I lie in the water after my run over the soggy grey sand, letting it cool me down. A wave comes rolling lazily along, slowly lifting me up then gently dropping me down as it passes. I take in the beauty of the sunset and just drift, total relaxation.

Road 14 near Hehuanshan, 12:47 pm

The road follows a mountain ridge, not far from the top, dipping and curving with the contours of the mountains. We are just past the peak, descending into the valley. Though the slope is gentle, it’s enough to keep us rolling, and despite the thin air, I no longer need to fight to keep the bike moving. As the road straightens out a bit, I dare cast a glance to the left and the whole landscape opens up. Beyond the barrier at the edge of the road, the mountain side slopes steeply downwards to the valley below, then rises skywards … Read the rest

Central cross-island highway, 3:42 pm

It’s as if the road has been glued to the mountain side, a narrow strip of asphalt winding its way upwards along the steep slopes. To the right, a low barrier that keeps motorists from careening over the edge and beyond that the ground falls away sharply. The road follows the curve of the river below, the clear blue water cutting a perfect U through the pine clad landscape, and the banks strewn with grey boulders. It’s a picture perfect landscape, almost like driving through a Bob Ross painting.… Read the rest

Tad Fane falls, 3:24 pm

Two rivers, or possible two streams of the same river, flow over the edge and into a large, almost cylindrical hole cutting vertically down through jungle clad cliffs. The left falls tumbles slowly, majestically downwards to the little pool at the bottom. The right one goes bounding over the edge them comes crashing down onto an outcrop of rock where it splits and widens, sending splashes in all directions. The two streams of white water are surrounded by spray thrown into the air as the water hits the rocks. From this distance it looks almost like white smoke billowing around … Read the rest

Nam song river, 3:15 pm

I’m floating down the river in an old tractor inner tube, it has been yellow but the paint has faded and peeled off from use and the black rubber is showing through. The water is a muddled brownish green color and the sun, already sinking lower, is sparkling on the surface like liquid silver. I lean back, raise my feet out of the water and relax. In front of me the spectacular Laotian nature, karst cliffs rising up out the jungle, and behind me the other tubers, all swimming suit clad bodies and yellow tubes, floating lazily along with me.… Read the rest

Lan Ha bay, 10:06 am

All around us are little islets, grey limestone rising up sharply out of the turquoise waters, the tops covered in verdant green plants, against the background of a pale blue sky. Whichever way you turn there is beauty, more cliffs in a variety of shapes, more little islets and more turquoise waters; crisp clear colors grey, green, sky blue and the deep turquoise of a tropical sea. I sit back in my sun deck chair and watch the gorgeous views flow by as our boat chugs lazily along.… Read the rest

Ha long bay hidden lagoon, 3:29 pm 

We are paddling through a cave, the roof so low that the upper end of our paddles almost scrape it. We paddle past shell encrusted limestone formations hanging down from the roof and as we come around a corner the darkness opens up to a small lagoon. Grey karst cliffs rise sharply from the turquoise waters, up towards the pale blue sky. The cliff tops are dotted with greenery, trees climbing the steep sides, their branches hanging down over the water. We stop paddling and glide slowly out on the lagoon.… Read the rest

Ho Chi Minh highway, 12:25 pm

Finally I am here, the real Ho Chi Minh highway. The disappointment I felt two hours earlier is gone, now all I feel is the excitement of being on this road, it’s smooth, it’s curvy in just the right way, and when the jungles along the side open up you get beautiful mountain vistas. It’s everything I hoped it would be.… Read the rest

Fuguo road, 6:11 pm.

Big drops are falling from a leaden sky, pitter patterning against the visor of my helmet. The low clouds have made the backstreets of my evening commute even more dull than normal,  nothing but wet asphalt and grey buildings all the way. I mount the steep slope of the bridge across the highway, and just as I reach the crest, the world opens up in front of me. In the distance, visible only because the rain has cleared away the smog of the city, I can see the mountains; layers upon layers of ever darkening shades of green against the … Read the rest

Toscana

During most of my business trips my parents and I don’t bother to see each other but this time, since my wife joined, they couldn’t resist. So on Tuesday Yini and I took the train north from Napoli to a small town called Chiusi Chianciano Terme in Toscana where my parents picked us up in their rental car. The hotel is in another town not too far away from Chiusi but there are several picturesque little towns in the area so we stopped by a place called Pienza and strolled around there for an hour or so before going to … Read the rest

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