Need backpacker insurance? Save money with this World Nomads Promotional Code!
One traveller's day-by-day account of a year-long journey through Japan, China, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, America and Canada

drastic measures. In this thirty-degree plus climate (to which I've become quite acclimatised now), they cover their bodies from the sun, dressing in hats, face scarves, long silk gloves and Nora Batty socks to avoid a tan. They are incredulous when I point out some Western people actually *pay money* to tan themselves, as back home it's linked to a healthy appearance and a sign of affulence, as it shows you've been on holiday a lot! The dying socialist in me likes to think we'll all meet somewhere in the middle in a shade of murky brown.

Finally, there is the bizarre existence of portable weighing machines. At 11 at night, it's perfectly reaasonable to see a bloke pushing around a set of scales with wheels and a gauge to measure your height. Just quite who would want to know their personal measurements at such an hour baffles me. But if you're so inclined, listen out - they play music of course! - "Auld Lang Sine" and that bloody Celine Dion theme to Titanic are the ones to listen out for. Death to the machines!

That evening I holed up in a Western-style, yet still very much Vietnamese restaurant boasting Foster's on tap like it was some kind of luxury and not the long drink of piss it really is. There was some kind of party going on, and nobody had told me I was the booked entertainment.