Category Archives: 90s

THE MEANING OF PURE by Peter Nolan Smith

In the summer of 1995 my baby brother died of AIDS. I sought solace for Michael’s soul the Orient seeking solace for Michael’s soul by visiting the holy sites of Asia. I lit candles before the Buddha in Chiang Mai. I circumnavigated Lhasa’s Jokhang Temple. Despite a lifelong disbelief in religion this pilgrimage comforted my […]

DUST THEN MUD by Peter Nolan Smith

Bangkok was a different city in 1990. Shady trees lined the sois. The klongs led to the Chao Phyra River. Barges transported rice from up-country. After a short stay at the Malaysia Hotel I was ready to head north to Chiang Mai. I booked a 2nd Class AC sleeper at Hualamphong Station. The train pulled […]

Across From Burma

Throughout the 90s I biked up from Chiang Mai to Mai Sai on the Thai-Burma border. A small river separated the two countries. The people on both sides looked the same and the houses were built in a similar fashion. I stayed at the Mai Sai Guest House to the left of the Friendship Bridge. […]

Beyond The Border

My friends’ sons and daughters suspected that my travels are connected to the CIA or some criminal enterprise. My denials only confirmed their opinions mostly because they viewed their parents as strictly 9-5 straights. Recently one contacted me on Facebook and asked if I was in Thailand to transport drugs. Thai police are very strict […]

A TASTE FOR THE EAST by Peter Nolan Smith

My first trip to the Orient was in 1990. My round-the-world ticket had many stops. One was Singapore. The Straits city was undergoing its metamorphosis from a colonial port to a gleaming metropolis of skyscrapers. Raffles was closed for renovations and I stayed at a cheap Chinese hotel in a decrepit godown. The walls climbed […]