A damp day at the Trading Post Coffee Roasters, Brighton, UK. Damn fine cup of coffee.

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Whilst the temperatures in the UK teeter above freezing, I’m warming myself up by remembering lying in a hammock, sipping juice from a huge freshly plucked coconut by the tiny island of Hon Mot, a year ago today.

The island is connected to Phu Quoc by the wobbly ‘monkey bridge’, just visible in the far right of the sketch.

Pasty legs and wonky feet are all you need to make life sweet

In between slaughtering chickens, the charismatic café owner gave these two fishermen (presumably her sons) a right ear-bending every time they stopped work to watch me sketch!

No pressure!

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This time last year I was touring the temples at Angkor in Cambodia, which had been a dream of mine for a long time.

The temples date from the 9th Century and cover a surprisingly large area. My first stop was Angkor Wat, the biggest and most well known.

My favourite was Bayon, an eerie forest of multi-faced Buddha’s who stare silently past you.

Then came the Banyan trees in Ta Prohm, aka the Tomb Raider Temple.

Fans may recognise the first tree from the movie – sadly minus Lara Croft. It was early, so I had half an hour pretty much alone, before the non-stop stream of tour groups lined up for their photo opportunity.


I had to abandon the final tree when I nearly passed out from the heat! Having drunk my own body weight in water, I knew lack of salts was my problem.

Disoriented, I gorged on an entire pineapple from a street seller, before flopping into the tuktuk all templed out.

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Even in the endless deluge of monsoon season, the ancient town, and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hoi An is awash with colour.


When I visited this time last year, we spent the days wading through puddles, wandering through the lantern filled shops and of course, getting measured at the tailors.

View from Hoi An Roastery, Japanese Bridge

It’s common for Hoi An to suffer flooding, but that week, the waters of the Thu Bon river stayed safely between the river banks, just teetering on the verge of overflowing.

The only way to drip dry, was to consume huge amounts of strong, smoky, sugar-rich Vietnamese coffee in the various Hoi An Roastery’s scattered around the town.

Vietnam_0012

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This time last year I was stumbling jetlagged and bleary-eyed around the frantic streets of Ho Chi Minh city.

Whilst I love to walk in a city, I’ll never forget the death-defying road crossings through motorbike stampedes to get from the hotel near Tao Dan Park to the highest view point in town, the Bitexco Financial Tower.

Street cleaners in Tao Dan Park

Thankfully no motorbikes in Tao Dan Park!

I opted for the most expensive coffee in town so that I could sketch that great view of the Saigon River through the lazy afternoon smog.

How much is that coffee in the window?

I go misty over you

The Bitexco Tower from the Harmony Hotel breakfast room

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