Category Archives: Travel

Time-out in surrealism

Time-out in surrealism

“Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision.” – Salvador Dalí

Miami and Boston

Miami and Boston

I’ve always looked at going on vacation as an opportunity to discover things outside of where I live, explore new places, and learn about different cultures and histories. But my latest vacation, to Miami and Boston, was more of a chance to get away from my ramshackle personal life, pretend that the drama of Empire: Lebanon doesn’t exist, and attain some peace of mind.

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Española Way, Miami Beach

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The blood moon eclipse, as seen from Collins Avenue, Miami Beach

To a certain extent, it worked. For an entire week, I was alone in South Beach, Miami, doing nothing but lying on the beach and by the pool to work on my tan, walking along Ocean Drive, Collins Avenue and Lincoln Road to do some shopping, visiting museums, and catching up on sleep. I barely talked to anyone, except for two girls who were staying in my hotel, acknowledged those who complimented my latest tattoo, and felt, for the first time in a very long while, completely free. The following week, in Boston, where Shirley flew out from Buffalo to meet me, I relived some of my younger days, going back to familiar places and meeting familiar faces.

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Newbury Street, Boston

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Boston Public Library

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Boston Public Garden

It was one of those vacations that, were the circumstances of my life any different, would have concluded in me coming back to Malaysia well-rested, at peace and missing the life I have here. Instead, it has left me with a feeling of total surrealism, as though waking from an extremely long, extremely beautiful dream — and worse, waking up into the nightmare that I had waited five months for a reprieve from. I used my time there, especially the weekend in Boston, to forget that my life here — and the ruins surrounding it — existed, and when it was over I was left wanting more.


Providence, Rhode Island

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My old neighborhood on Beacon Street, Boston

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My greatest teacher and mentor, Cora Higgins

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My sister from another mister

Two good things to have come out of this vacation, however, are that I now have a fabulous tan, and that I have a clearer vision of what I’m going to do next summer. I know now, without any doubt, that there is so much more to life than what we see within our own four walls, and it can be ours if we just have the balls to reach out and take it for our own. This trip has helped me regain some — definitely not all — of my courage, and I hope it will only be a matter of time before I can snap out of this funk and concentrate on what I need to do for the future.

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Regent Street, London

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Piccadilly Circus, London

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St. James’s Park, London

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The Net-a-Porter hackney cab! Oh, and Buckingham Palace

An alternate universe

An alternate universe

Zante, Zakynthos, Greece
Europe backpacking trip
Summer 2005

As someone who detests crowds (and people in general), I was only too happy to wander the quiet rural villages in Zante during my stop in Greece. There is something so pure and sacred about a place that hasn’t been tainted by commercial tourism that it gives the feeling of having stepped into an alternate universe.

That’s the thing about alternate universes. Once we’ve had a glimpse, a sniff, or a taste of what life could or should be like, our entire outlook changes, and it becomes almost impossible to go back to the life we had before.

All we have left to hang on to is the memory of that glimpse, which alone is more pure and more sacred than any other kind of life that we are forced to lead.

Through the window

Through the window
Seville, Andalucía, Spain Europe backpacking trip July 2005

Real Alcázar de Sevilla
Seville, Andalucía, Spain
Europe backpacking trip
Summer 2005

I’ve been feeling a strong inclination towards all things Spanish of late, probably because of my plans for next year. Looking through my old photos makes me all the more excited for things to come, even though the reason for said things is a tragic one.

They say that when the Lord closes a door, He opens a window somewhere else. But no one thought to mention that even in such dire straits, there still remains a choice between spreading our wings and soaring high into the sky, or closing our eyes and just falling headfirst to the ground below. No one warned that when that window opens, whichever option we go for would be absolute, irreversible and beyond reprieve. No one said how appealing both options can be.