The infamous Beer Can House in Houston, TX
It’s long overdue for me to post photos from my four weeks in Houston earlier this summer. I was there for a work stint but managed to do quite a bit of sightseeing. A major highlight was the Beer Can House which was one man’s project taken delightfully too far. The entire outside of the house is covered in beer cans, including wind chimes that shield the whole front entrance. The chimes can be heard from blocks away! It was worth the small entrance fee to see the inside of the house and take a guided tour, as the John Milkovisch – the man responsible – is as interesting as his creation.
I also took a side trip to Galveston which was a pleasant day. The beach wasn’t terribly impressive and the water didn’t look too appealing, but I had an amazing po’boy and enjoyed learning the history behind the island.
The spectacular view from the Bay of Fires beach
Following my day on the Tasman Peninsula I made a stop at Triabunna, hoping to make it to Maria Island. I didn’t realize I was meant to book the ferry to the island in advance, so I wasn’t able to go. However, I did meet some hilarious and hospitable fisherman in the tiny town and I spent a day playing pool and hanging out on their fishing boat. It’s cliche, but that’s the best thing about travel… you never know who you’ll meet or where the road will take you.
After spending some time in Triabunna, I made my way further north to the Bay of Fires, which is consistently ranked among the best beaches in the world. It’s a quiet place with free camping spots and nearly endless walking opportunities. There are fairy penguins and wallabies and loads of other creatures to see, in addition to the striking red rocks along the beach. Contrary to common assumption, the bay is not actually named for these red rocks but for the fires that the European settlers saw the aboriginals making along the coastline.
A view over the Eubenangee Swamp in Queensland, Australia
The final day of my road trip brought me to Wooroonooran National Park and the surrounding areas. I saw Josephine Falls, the Golden Hole, Bramston Beach, Eubenangee Swamp National Park, and the Babinda Boulders.
The area was absolutely gorgeous and very different from the national parks close to Brisbane. I saw amazing herons and lots of turtles and butterflies. I was surprised at how dense and green the rainforests were. I had thought of Australia as tropical with palm trees and beaches, but somehow never realized it’s home to so many massive forests.
Hanging out at Poona Lake at the Great Sandy National Park
From the Sunshine Coast I headed up to Great Sandy National Park to do some hiking. I intended to get to Fraser Island, but realized too late that I would need a 4WD and I didn’t want to pay such high ferry costs. I feel satisfied with Great Sandy though, as I believe the scenery was similar and it was less crowded and – best of all – free!
I did some hiking around the Bymien picnic area to Poona Lake, a freshwater perched lake that is stained a rusty red because of the nearby tea trees. As usual I took tons of photos of mushrooms, trees, and logs.
Then I headed further down the road to Rainbow Beach where there are lovely red cliffs called the Colored Sands.
A dubious way to transport a ladder in Phnom Penh
I spent 16 days in Cambodia and an average of $30 per day. I didn’t see too many places, just Banlung, Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, and Siem Reap. The buses in southeast Asia were really wearing me down and I was concerned about my budget, so I decided to take it easy. I ended up spending more money than I had wanted to, though, mainly on the delicious western food I found near the beach.
I don’t have a burning desire to return to Cambodia. I found the people there to be a bit too aggressive and untrustworthy. It’s not that I felt unsafe there or like I’d be attacked, but rather that the people I encountered weren’t too concerned about my well-being and were always trying to rip me off. Also, the traffic was terrifying, especially when going for a bike ride.
I suppose if I do ever find myself in Cambodia again I’d like to explore more of the coast. I didn’t get to any of the islands or the smaller towns, and although the beach at Sihanoukville is beautiful, the town completely lacks culture and charm.
The Japanese Covered Bridge in Hoi An, Vietnam
Still feeling a bit lethargic and overwhelmed by Vietnam, I arrived in Hoi An and wasn’t entirely gung ho about sightseeing and taking photos. Despite my mood, the town proved to be a nice place to hang out. The old part of town is a UNESCO site and has some striking examples of traditional Vietnamese architecture. About 5 km away is a surprisingly peaceful beach. Throw in the opportunity to get cheap, custom-made clothes from one of the abundant tailors in town as well as some delicious food and there’s enough to keep a jaded traveler going for a few days.