Forest of Spirits: Gap Year Week 30

36 hours of travel later—late night from Singapore, early morning from Manila, lunchtime drive from Davao—our first stop brought us to Eden, the resort, and a silvery kingfisher. Continue reading “Forest of Spirits: Gap Year Week 30”

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Andamans Again: Gap Year Week 25

This time when I landed in Port Blair, the crowds didn’t come as a surprise. I was prepared for the crush around the luggage belt, the humid chaos of the taxi stand, and knew to relish the distance as we left the city behind us, the paddy fields rolling out further and further. My room, open-windowed to green around, felt on the verge of tumbling into forest, and taking me with it. Continue reading “Andamans Again: Gap Year Week 25”

Castles in the Air: Gap Year Week 22

My aunt and uncle and I are eight hours away from the heavy gray blotch where Delhi hides. We’re one thousand and three hundred meters up, high enough to see through the plains, the silver river winding like a question mark through, low enough that thick forests surround our upward drive. Continue reading “Castles in the Air: Gap Year Week 22”

Diving Deep: Gap Year Week 19

I’m not in Singapore anymore. Two weeks ago, I said good-bye to my parents at the airportand left for Sri Lanka. I will admit a certain lack of novelty in the destination: this is my second time in the country this gap year, after a weeklong family holiday back in June. Continue reading “Diving Deep: Gap Year Week 19”

Curlews of Stone

great thickknee

Great thick-knees are distinctly odd birds – a combination of a shoebill stork, a sandpiper, an ostrich, a bustard, with a hint of a brief, scandalous dalliance with a chessboard around the eyes. They move stiffly and slowly through the days, breaking out into short runs if hurried, moving deliberately, as if trying to hold all the different pieces of themself together.

The IUCN lists them as near-threatened due to the rapid disappearance of their riverside habitat. This one appeared on the bank like a ghost, landing silently, staring at us carefully for moments as we drifted away across the river.