Daily Archives: February 3, 2009

I’m A Big Deal In Oman

Posted by on February 3, 2009

Me celebrating Oman's victory in the Gulf Nations Cup

The Week, and English language weekly newspaper in Muscat has just published their interview with me. They took a bunch of photos. The one they used was taken in front of the Muscat clock tower, which is sort of the symbol of the city. They brought the scarf and flag :)

Staying Fit On The Road

Posted by on February 3, 2009

One of the biggest problems I’ve had while traveling is staying fit.

I’ve heard many people say that they lose weight while traveling. I can totally understand that. Depending on where you are, you can walk a lot and eat well. When I was in the Pacific and in Japan, I probably lost about 10 pounds. This was because the bad food choices were really limited (and in the case of Japan, I love Japanese food which is good for you) and I was able to walk a lot. If you are on a shoestring budget, you can really cut your calorie intake. In places like Fiji or Samoa, I could go swimming/snorkeling every day, which is a great workout.

Other places I’ve gained weight. Australia was bad because I spent so much time driving and bad food was easily accessible. In Vietnam I could eat like a king for next to nothing. In Taipei there was a 24 McDonald’s a block away, and many of the Chinese food options aren’t necessarily that healthy. I know I’m not a lone in this. Dave from Go Backpacking (who I met in Bali, Indonesia) said he’s also gained some weight while traveling.

My camera bag isnt the biggest thing Im lugging around.

My camera bag isn't the biggest thing I'm lugging around.

The impetus for this article came from a photo posted on Arun Rajagopal’s blog. We went to the Muscat Fest in Oman and he took some photos of me. I am usually alone and there isn’t usually an opportunity for me to have my picture taken. This is one of the few times I’ve been able to have another person take a photo of me that didn’t involve me in a wet suit (and everyone looks good in a wet suit).

It is pretty obvious that I’ve developed a gut. It is not something I’m happy with.

There are obviously a need to do change things moving forward:

1) Buy a pair of sneakers. Believe it or not, I did not pack a par of sneakers with me. My footwear selection was one of the hardest I had to make. I ended up packing a pair of leather Keen shoes. They are find shoes, but they aren’t really made for running. At some point, I should buy a pair of running shoes and send the walking shoes home.

2) Eat better. This is a no brainer, but it is easier in some places than others. The more urbanized and modern a city is, usually the food within short distance of wherever I’m staying is going to be bad. A good rule of thumb (but not perfect) is to eat local food whenever possible. I’ve been trying to consume more fruit and vegetables.

3) Develop a work out routine I can do in a hotel room. I’ve started the 100 Push-Up Challenge and and plan on starting the 200 Sit-Up Challenge. These are both exercises I can do with very little space and zero equipment. Both of these have a related iPod Touch application, which really helps.

4) Try to do more physical activities while traveling. The biggest physical activity I’ve engaged in on my trip is SCUBA diving (yes, it is physical. If you dive 3 or 4 times in one day, you will be exhausted at the end). I haven’t done a lot of hiking. I don’t know how much I can schedule in the next few months, but in the future I’d like to schedule trips around something like this.

If there is anyone out there with suggestions, I’m all ears. The challenges of trying to keep fit with no steady place to live are difficult. If anyone has experienced similar problems, let me know in the comments.

Ban Chiang Archaeological Site

Posted by on February 3, 2009

World Heritage Site #51: Ban Chiang Archaeological Site

Ban Chiang Archaeological Site: My 51st UNESCO World Heritage Site

From the World Heritage inscription for the Ban Chiang Archaeological Site:

The Ban Chiang Archaeological Site is a large, prehistoric earthen mound located in an agricultural area in the Ban Chiang Sub-district, Nong Han District of Udon Thani Province in northeast Thailand, within the watershed of the Mekong River. It is an oval-shaped mound formed by human habitation 500 meters x 1,350 meters and 8 meters high. The site was first discovered in 1966. It has since been extensively excavated and its remains studied by Thai and international scholars. Since 1966 the dating of the site has been adjusted and refined over time in line with advances in the understanding and techniques of radiometric dating. This research has revealed that the site dates from 1,495 BC .and contains early evidence for settled agrarian occupation in Southeast Asia, along with evidence of wet rice agriculture, an associated technological complex of domesticated farm animals, ceramic manufacture, and bronze tool-making technology. The total area of the property is 67.36 ha of which approximately 0.09% has been excavated (as of 2012)

The Ban Chiang Archaeological Site is a prehistoric human habitation and burial site. It is considered by scholars to be the most important prehistoric settlement so far discovered in Southeast Asia, marking the beginning and showing the development of the wet-rice culture typical of the region. The site has been dated by scientific chronometric means (C-14 and thermoluminescence) which have established that the site was continuously occupied from 1495BC until c. 900BC., making it the earliest scientifically dated prehistoric farming and habitation site in Southeast Asia known at the time of inscription onto the World Heritage List.

The Ban Chiang cultural complex is well-defined and distinctive from anything that preceded it. Though it can trace the spread and development of prehistoric society and its development into the settled agricultural civilizations which came to characterize the region throughout history which still continue up to the present day. Advances in the fields of agriculture, animal domestication, ceramic and metal technology are all evident in the archaeological record of the site. Also evident is an increasing economic prosperity and social complexity of the successive communities at Ban Chiang, made possible by their developing cultural practices, as revealed through the many burials, rich in ceramic and metal grave goods, uncovered at the site.

The Ban Chiang Archaeological Site is also the richest in Southeast Asia in the number and variety of artifacts recovered from the site. As such, the property has been extensively studied by scholars as the archaeological “type-site” for the beginnings of settled agricultural communities and their associated technologies in the region.

Ban Chiang is an archeological site where they found pottery and evidence of a civilization thousands of years old. That’s great.

They also have a very nice museum which displays the artifacts they found at the site. However, they don’t allow photography in the museum, I had to check my bag at the front desk, so there wasn’t anything to see.

The only options for taking photos was to roam around the grounds outside of the museum. The jar in the photo is just a copy of the type found in the dig, and I think was used for cigarette butts.

The one notable thing about the museum is that a significant part of the whole museum is devoted to a trip made by the King of Thailand to the site on a single day in 1972.


View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Thailand.

View the list of all of the UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited on my travels.

Last updated: Mar 10, 2017 @ 2:24 am