Category: Island Nations

The plane is late, I have to take a taxi to get to the train station and catch one of the last trains of the day. I enter the train armed with a sushi box, let myself fall into the comfy seat and soon we head south at 300 km/h. It feels so good after months of slow and uncomfortable transport. Outside, only the lights of cities and towns are visible. My plane had landed in the north of Taiwan but two-and-a-half hours later, I am already in Tainan in the south of the country. […]

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“Welcome Home” is written in massive letters on a hangar at Nadi International Airport. And to me, it felt like coming home. From previous visits, I knew the airport well as Fiji is the largest of the islands in the Western Pacific and Fiji Airways connects most of the smaller islands to each other. I never spend much time in Fiji but had several stop-overs of up to 36 hours. […]

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The Philippines are a country that I honestly do not understand. Meeting Filipinos around the world they are usually well educated, often working jobs that the locals do not know how to perform. They speak good to very good English and when I look at the country, I mostly see potential. But still, the country is poor, the infrastructure is inadequate and Filipinos are leaving in droves. […]

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I have exactly the same feeling as last time. Again, I am coming to Taiwan from a poorer country and again I am in awe. Getting a SIM card takes 45 seconds from giving them my passport to getting my phone back with the card in it and the whole thing fully working. Shortly later, I browse through a convenience store looking for nice delicacies to try out, one of those lovely onigiris, something else? Hmm, maybe a box of sushi. I buy a digital payment card (no registration, no nothing) to conveniently pay for transport and anything else, I take the metro and soon thereafter I am sitting in the high-speed train heading south. […]

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Writing about the Maldives is writing a tale of two countries. One is the Maldives of the tourists, where people lounge on the beach in revealing (western) swimwear, drink alcohol and eat pork. The other is the Maldives of the Maldivians, where people go to the beach and into the sea fully dressed, where alcohol and pork are forbidden and frowned upon. For decades, these two countries coexisted with only limited contact and only a few employees of the tourist resort would straddle the line. Since 2009, the two worlds have started to mix. […]

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