Miffy x Ghostly clothing collaboration! Weird Egyptian art at Valley of Kings tombs, Queen Hatshepsut, Luxor temple.

miffy ghostly international apparel line collaboration clothing

Goths adore ghosts… and Miffy the cute bunny… so why not bring the two together?

The twain have in fact now met: Miffy has a spook-tacular fashion collaboration with Ghostly

Let’s start this story with the new Miffy new clothing line. Then, we’ll continue my Egypt Travel Talk adventures by descending into the tombs of pharoahs, and traversing the temples of queens.

miffy clothing line ghostly streetwear street fashion

Who’s that haunting my t-shirt? As you know, I adore Miffy the cute bunny character from the Netherlands. She teamed up with Ghostly International, an indie music, art, and street fashion company, for a clothing collab. (Above is the print on the back of my shirt.)

miffy halloween goth ghost ghostly dick bruna

The merging of Miffy x Ghostly is perfection. Both have cute mascots outlined in black and white, and take a playful, minimal approach to their designs.

miffy bunny cute t-shirt shirts tops

Ghostly’s sceptre logo floats over the center of the top. Can you spot Miffy peeking out from behind the yellow square? (This is a size S unisex shirt, which I hemmed for a cropped look.)

ghostly intl miffy tote bags, hoodies, shirts

The Miffy / Ghostly limited edition collection includes four t-shirts, a hoodie, and a tote bag — I want it all! Everything is printed in the USA, and features original bunny illustrations by Dick Bruna, with a fun Ghostly spin.

Everything’s available on the Ghostly International website; go swoop these up before they’re gone.

acne python platforms, snakeskin chelsea ankle boots

I also wanted to share my early birthday gift to myself… I nabbed these Acne Studios platform python boots! The monochrome snakeskin is easy to match with outfits, and the Chelsea-style ankle booties are easy to slip on and walk in.

These Acne leather platform boots are currently 60% off here, in case you wanted to get a pair and match me… it’s a crazy good deal.

naomi rubin moonsprout station comic

I was also tickled pink to receive a copy of Moonsprout Station — it’s a comic by Naomi Rubin (my First Mate who works with me on our crazy TV productions around the world). She created this hopeful fantasy comic about queer identities and relationships, which takes place in a sweeping, mysterious natural setting.

In her words: “Moonsprout Island is a diverse place where queer characters “just are” and their identity isn’t questioned or stigmatized. I talk about issues and questions that are important to me without harmful fantasy tropes.”

queer lgbt comics, naomi rubin portland artist moon sprout station

Naomi has made Moonsprout Station free for anyone to read online here, “because I want hopeful, comforting queer narratives to be available to anyone.” You can also read the full pages on Webtoon and Tapas.

travel comic books, indie gay narrative comics

She has also published Foggy Mountain Letters, a chronicle of our recent adventures in Asia, as well as shooting with German TV in Tokyo. Above, you might recognize the crazy monster character we featured on the show!

“In the Summer of 2018, I went to Japan for a job with my swashbuckling captain La Carmina, and afterwards we got to travel for a bit around Japan and Thailand. I got to do lots of drawings on the trip but didn’t know how to put them in my comic – so I started mailing letters and drawings about our travels to my own fantasy characters. It got kind of out of hand, and now it can be in your hands!”

queer lgbt comics artists portland artists

I hope you’ll consider supporting Naomi’s art and mission — these comics are a joy to read, and let you peek into our alt universe! The print books also include bonus stories and extras that you can’t see online.

You can get a copy Moonsprout Station here, and Foggy Mountain Letters here. Great news, La Carmina readers have a special promo code / voucher: 2 dollars off each, with the coupon code “basilmrao”!

You can also support Naomi Rubin via her Patreon, a “members-only sketch blog and tool shop, where I post sketches, artwork, and drawing resources that I don’t post anywhere else.”

 weird strange egyptian burial art

Now, let’s hang out with the ghosts of ancient Egyptian pharoahs! While in Egypt with with Travel Talk Tours, I got to see one of the country’s most impressive archaeological sites: the Valley of the Kings.

If you are especially intrigued by strange Egyptian rituals and tomb art, then this burial ground cannot be missed.

valley of kings egypt mountains rock

The Valley of the Kings is located just outside Luxor (the ancient settlement once called Thebes). The Egyptians may have chosen this as a royal burial site because of the pyramid-like peak (on the left) in the Theban Hills.

To this date, archaeologists have excavated 63 tombs here — and many more mysteries lie beneath the sandstone. Every year, they discover new treasures, which lead to more questions than answers.

valley of kings paintings tombs

The Valley contains the tombs of some of Egypt’s most famous pharoahs (Seti I, Ramses II, King Tutankhamun) as well as their wives, children, and some nobles.

Notice the cat in the middle of these god-figures… kitties were considered sacred and treated like divinities back then.

egyptian occult devil horns satan

The art that covers the burial chambers is wild, especially considering that they date back thousands of years (16th to 11th centuries BCE).

Yukiro and I were captivated by the stars that covered the ceilings, as well as the devilish horned gods and Sphinxes.  

colorful paintings ancient egypt pharoah tombs

Since these royal graves were so well-preserved under the mountain, you can still see the original pigment of the bas-reliefs. Most people think of Egyptian wall carvings as colorless, but in fact, they were painted in brilliant shades.

egyptian gods worshipping religion

No wonder the ancient Egyptians are associated with death, aliens, and the occult… just look at these bizarre paintings. Who (or what) are they hailing?

scarab headed god egypt creepy

I focused on snapping photos of the weirdest, creepiest artistic elements for you. The scarab-head god, Khepri, is quite the spooky sight… The ancient Egyptians had quite the imaginative pantheon of animal-headed gods!

day tour valley of kings visit

One of the many benefits of Travel Talk Tours was the ease of visiting sights like Valley of the Kings. Our group arrived here by bus, and our guide got our tickets so we didn’t have to wait in line.

The general ticket lets you visit three tombs (different ones are open to the public at different times; usually you can choose from around 10). If you want to take photos inside, you also have to purchase a photography pass.

photo pass valley of the kings egypt

King Tut’s burial site (KV62) also requires a separate ticket. While most of the royal chambers had been looted over time, the famed tomb of Tutankhamun was discovered nearly intact in 1922 by Howard Carter. You can still see his mummified body inside, but not the famous blue and gold death mask and treasures (those are in various museums worldwide).

Unfortunately, due to a mix-up, we didn’t receive a ticket and weren’t able to enter… looks like the “curse of the pharaohs” lives on…

egyptian three headed snake carving

Nevertheless, we got to wander through three other Valley of the Kings tombs, which were covered in mysterious spiritual renderings. The three-headed snake with legs and ankhs drew our attention.

tickets for valley of kings tombs

Aren’t the rich colors outstanding (and surprising?) Most of the Valley of the Kings tombs were desecrated ages ago, and the treasures have gone missing. However, the decorated corridors remain in remarkable condition.

painted colored hieroglyphics egypt

In their heyday, these hieroglyphics were likely rainbow colored! The ancient Egyptian writing system was remarkably advanced.

boat to afterlife egyptian burial

Most of the tomb artwork shows the dead’s journey through the night, and into the afterlife. The pharoah had to travel safely through the underworld by boat.

valley of the kings tombs open to public

Then, the king would have his heart weighed against a feather. If the scale found his soul to be lighter, Osiris would receive him into eternal life.

ankhs with arms weird

The ankh, which symbolizes life, is favorite of Egyptians — as well as vampire and Goths. These ankhs are so powerful that they have arms!

anubis jackal egyptian tomb art

Egyptian symbolism tends to appeals to Goths, as there are many occult leanings, and deadly or horned creatures.

Case in point: coiled cobras and Anubis, the jackal god of death and embalming.

mysterious alien occult ancient egyptian art

What’s the deal with these headless creatures? And how odd are their poses…

valley of the kings tickets passes tours

I tried out this new “walk like an Egyptian” posture.

I wore a hat from Tenth Street Hats, wide legged pants by Charli Cohen, and a heart Hope bag by Lola Ramona.

Khnum horned egypt god

Ready for the Satanic connection?

The depiction of Baphomet is based on the Egyptian ram god pictured above. He was known as Banebdjed, and had a cult of worship at Mendes; in Upper Egypt, his name was Khnum.

egyptian burial chambers luxor

This devilish ram-headed god is found on the walls of many chambers and corridors.

weird erotic egyptian art

At other Egyptian temples, the depictions of figures is relatively “standard.” However, in the Valley of the Kings, things get literally topsy-turvy.

ancient egypt erotic carvings

Plus, there are racy elements. I think you can guess what got scratched out…

ancient egyptian erotica art

Well that’s an… interesting way to take a shower. (I’m guessing you will only find photos of Egyptian oddities like these on this blog!)

Thoth as a baboon, monkey god egypt

Here’s Thoth as a baboon, hailing Anubis (watcher of the dead) and the horned one.

egyptian cursed tombs mummy burial

The Valley of the Kings let us get a deep look into the esoteric beliefs and rituals of the ancient Egyptians. To this day, we don’t understand all the mysteries in these tombs.

spooky haunted egyptian tombs

Watch out, there’s a scarab dancing on your head! Despite his eerie look, the black beetle god Khepri represented the rising sun and creation of life.

rainbow egypt writing hieroglyphs

Gotta read em all… Most hieroglyphs were phonetic, meaning that a picture-symbol corresponded to a particular sound.

(Yukiro illustrates this with his Pokemon cap — R for Team Rocket!)

ancient egypt sarcophagus jackal

Most of the tombs burrowed deep into the mountain, with the tunnel ending in a shrine to the dead. This one held a giant stone sarcophagus decorated with jackals.

I’m sure you can see why we were captivated by the Valley of the Kings. I’m still wrapping my brain around the wonderful weirdness we encountered.

 hatshepsut temple queen with beard

On the same day, Travel Talk Tours took us to see Queen Hatshepsut’s mortuary temple, which is also in Luxor.

The powerful Egyptian queen ruled from 1507–1458 BCE. While she technically joint-ruled with her young son Thutmose III, you can say she was the one who wore the beard and held the whip! 

chapel of anubis, mural hatshepsut temple

The Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut featured a chapel dedicated to Anubis, jackal-headed god of mummification.

I was glad to have my Tenth Street Hats sunhat to shield me from the sun. My pants are Charli Cohen, and this heart and bow purse is Lola Ramona.

hatshepsut mortuary carvings

The Egyptians were so progressive that Hatshepsut was the third woman to become a pharoah and rule the country. However, she stands out because she was the first to have full power.

Her temple also breaks ground by showing the divine birth of a female ruler through art. 

egyptian ceiling stars, hatshepsut horus falcon art

The funerary temple includes this wall, showing an offering to Horus. Note the stars on the ceiling once again; the ancient Egyptians had a keen interest in astronomy. 

figures of queen hatshepsut bearded

Walk up the stairs, and you’ll be greeted by a row of bearded ladies. The pillars show Queen Hatshepsut as Osiris, god of the afterlife and the underworld.

queen hatshepsut temple columns statues

Hatshepsut is depicted with all the symbols of a powerful pharoah. She wears a false beard, and the “bowling pin” double crown that signifies her power over all of Egypt.

The queen also holds a crook and flail, which were derived from farming tools and show her rule over the people. (They also look quite a lot like dominatrix equipment!) 

 luxor temple obelisk nighttime

We’ll end with a final temple: Luxor after dark. I recommend visiting Luxor Temple at night, as the temperatures are cooler and the statues are illuminated in a haunting way.

This temple was an important religious site, and conveyed the power of Egypt’s pharoah (it was likely the coronation site as well). Imagine how an ancient civilian would feel, standing in front of the colossal pylon entrance, obelisk, and king statues.

ramses ii statue luxor temple

Even in this modern age, you can’t help but feel floored by the gigantic seated statues of Ramses II. He wears a royal nemes headdress topped by the double crown, and has a uraeus (rearing cobra) at his forehead.

luxor temple at night tur

Luxor Temple was constructed by a succession of pharoahs around 1400-1200 BCE, including Amenhotep III, Tutankhamun, and Rameses II.

 pharoah ramesses ii statues temple luxor

Cower past the giant seated statues, and you’ll reach the court of Ramesses II. The pharoah is shown at different ages, and stands stiffly next to the columns.

luxor temple carvings offerings supplicant

As you wander through Luxor temple, be on the lookout for fine carvings. Love the elegant rendering of these flying birds.

Our tour guide also pointed out cartouches, or ovals encircling hieroglyphs that spelled out a royal name.

luxor pharoah court thebes temple

Ramses II truly knew the power of scale, in the temples that he built and number of children that he fathered. (Remember our visit to Abu Simbel, which was dedicated to him as well.)

king tut and wife statue, luxor temple

Our guide pointed out this statue of King Tut and his wife Ankhsenamunat, who was also his half-sister. Tutankhamun, son of Akhenaten, became king at age 9 and died at age 19. They had two daughters together that were stillborn with defects (likely from inbreeding).

luxor temple carving sperm semen

Luxor Temple is enormous, so we were glad that our Travel Talks guide showed us the major attractions, before giving us time to roam freely.

He pointed out this 4000 year old bas-relief of the god Min. Did the Egyptians somehow know about the shape of a sperm, thousands of years before microscopes were invented? (Cue the alien conspiracists…)

visit luxor travel talk tours

Later on, Alexander the Great conquered Egypt. He added a granite shrine to Luxor Temple, presenting his rule as legitimate.

eating ankh ancient egypt carving

What do you think ankhs taste like… birdseed? (This cross-like symbol gives the soul the breath of life, to bring them to the afterlife.)

ramses ii statues standing luxor

With stiff shoulders like this, Ramses II looks like he could use a massage.

pharoah ramses face portrait bust

I hope you’re digging our tales of Egypt with Travel Talk Tours. Their 18-30 something group tours are led by a local, and are a fab way to see the most impressive ruins in the country.

Alas, I only have one post left from this trip, but it’s a good one… Cairo’s Egyptian Museum awaits.

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PS: I was honored to be interviewed by Travindy about sustainable travel! I shared my thoughts on showcasing offbeat sites, issues with over-tourism, and how technology can help combat these problems.

PPS: a clip of my new Acne snake-skin leather ankle boots in motion. They’re crafted in Italy, and have a chunky platform sole / heel for an edgy look.

You can find these Acne platform boots here for 60% off, along with other major reductions on designer fashion right now. Happy shopping!


Bangkok’s weird, crazy theme restaurants! Kid Mai Death coffin, Unicorn Cafe & creative Thai cuisine.

go inside coffin death cafe bangkok

Death becomes her… so don’t you dare wake us from our slumber!

Why are Yukiro and I hanging out a coffin? Because Bangkok’s theme restaurants are strange and delightful. We’ll take you inside Kid Mai, a death-themed cafe…

unicorn theme cafe bangkok thailand

…and the fabulous Unicorn Cafe, which is rainbow cute overload!

For you foodies, we also explored the outstanding restaurant scene in Bangkok. Keep reading to see what we ate at Soul Food Mahanakorn and Pladib, located in the hipster districts Thonglor and Ari.

kidmai death awareness cafe

As Yukiro’s speech bubble says, “Death is a great leveler.”

If you’ve got a Gothic disposition, then you’ve got to visit the Kid Mai Death Awareness Cafe. Follow the signs to Hell, and plop down next to a skeleton on the beanbag chairs.

dr veeranut owner kid mai death awareness project

The “cafe” is run by Dr. Veeranut Rojanaprapa. However, he emphasized that Kid Mai is more of an educational space.

The professor started Kid Mai Death Cafe to celebrate all the stages of life. Located in Bangkok’s hip Aree district, this open-air attraction lets visitors participate in interactive exhibits and ponder death in a meaningful way.

bangkok weird strange death restaurant

Visitors begin by walking through a long dark tunnel with emo messages, like “Is anybody waiting for you?”

The hallway sets the mood of the fascinating project, which brings death to the forefront and encourages you to reflect on typically “taboo” themes.

death museum bangkok festivals rituals

We were intrigued by this display about end-of-life cultures around the world. The food offerings and photos highlighted a variety of rituals, from Swedish death cleaning to Indian cremation at the River Ganges.

buddhist death fans rites

In Thailand, these decorated fans are part of Buddhist funerals. Usually, the fan contains the deceased’s name, and Buddhist scriptures relating to impermanence.

kid mai death cafe menu drinks

Then, you can head to Kid Mai’s cafe area, and slurp on sweet drinks with names like Born, Elder, Painful (coated in red syrup that mimics blood), and Death. Which one would you choose?

elderly classes bangkok

Artist Becky Hawkins made this drawing about our visit to Kid Mai. She shows how the staff offers free educational classes for the elderly.

Cross-generational compassion is a major theme. Younger visitors can put on a weighted vest to understand how it feels to be in an older body.

goths going inside coffin

You can even slip into an ornate Thai coffin and have a friend slide the lid shut… to mimic the feeling of being interred underground! (I felt like Beatrix Kiddo when she was buried alive in Kill Bill.)

death cafe bangkok thailand coffin

Beware, the rise of the undead…

creepy haunted goth restaurant bangkok

How does it feel to be shut into this confined space? Hot and humid… but otherwise, we were quite at home in a coffin.

kid mai ari aree weird cafe

The “birth experience” lets you swing in a red pod, and make your way through Fallopian tubes. (Just watch out for mosquitoes here!)

buried alive coffin theme cafe

Kid Mai Death Cafe is a thought-provoking space, which encourages you to reflect on death from all angles. This Bangkok experience is one-of-a-kind, and gets our Goth stamp of approval.

comic drawing bangkok rainy season rain

During our Thailand trip, my friends and I sometimes split up to do separate activities. Becky shares this comic about how she and Naomi went looking for food, and barely missed getting caught in torrential Southeast Asian rains.

exterior unicorn cafe bangkok

Meanwhile, Yukiro and I pranced over to Bangkok’s Unicorn Cafe! You’ll know you have arrived when you see a winged unicorn statue at the entrance, with front legs raised.

unicorn cafe bangkok thailand restaurant

The interior is total unicorn overload. The magical horned creatures cover every inch of the pastel rainbow cafe.

rainbow macarons cupcakes desserts unicorn cafe

Even the sweets in the display case have horns. Our eyes popped over the cotton candy, cupcakes, and macarons that matched the fantastical theme.

unicorn themed cafe bangkok

At the Thailand Unicorn Cafe, you can also pick up themed merchandise: I got a sparkly unicorn t-shirt. Guests can also rent unicorn kigurumi (full body costumes) to become “one” with the creatures.

menu unicorn cafe, rainbow food

As you’d expect, the menu looks like a Lisa Frank 90s girl explosion. There are both savory and sweet food choices, and many of the dishes are rainbow-colored or decorated with a unicorn horn. You can also order non-themed sides such as French fries.

cute stuffed unicorn toys restaurant

At each table, you’ll find stuffed unicorn toys that you can hold while you snack. The ceiling is also strung with My Little Pony plushies.

rainbow waffles, unicorn mermaid cafe

The Unicorn Cafe brought back so many childhood feels. The over-the-top space is a favorite for Instagrammers.

unicorn cafe bangkok food sweets ice cream

While this looks like a cavity in the making, the Unicorn Cafe’s platters were actually not too sweet, and came with fresh fruit. The birthday cafe flavor of the rainbow waffles was pure nostalgia.

kawaii unicorn themed restaurant thailand

There are no genders for the bathrooms, as we are all unicorns on the inside!

The Unicorn Cafe may be well-known at this point, but it was surprisingly good and worth visiting if you’re in Bangkok.

drawing thailand bakery breads

Now, for some non-themed restaurant reviews!

Bangkok is now known as a world-class food destination, with everything from Michelin-starred eateries to street food. Naomi Rubin drew this scene from a delicious French bakery that we visited.

cute cafe black white line drawing

Becky Hawkins captures a charming Bangkok cafe interior. There’s an enormous variety of excellent food in this city, at all price points and from all regions of the world.

Soul Food Mahanakorn exterior

We wanted to focus on creative Thai cuisine, run by young chefs in the hippest districts of Bangkok.

Soul Food Mahanakorn was highly recommended to me, and lived up to its reputation for serving authentic, street food inspired dishes.

thai izakaya street Soul Food Mahanakorn

The cozy restaurant is inspired by the flavors of regional Thai cooking. There’s an impressive wine and cocktail selection, and the ingredients focus on organic and fair-trade sources (such as small farms in northeast Thailand).

food menu Soul Food Mahanakorn bangkok

Soul Food Mahanakorn is a wonderland of flavors, which makes you realize the depth and variety of Thai cooking (going far beyond what you’ll find on a typical takeout menu!)

We adored the grilled sea bass wrapped in banana leaf, and tender smoked duck larb. The egg dish is Yam Makrua Yao, a smoked eggplant salad with soft duck eggs and a flavorful sauce.

Jarrett Wrisley owner bangkok restaurant

Restaurant founder Jarrett Wrisley sat down with us to chat about his passion project. Becky Hawkins made this sketch of the American food writer, who opened up one of the most soulful Thai restaurants in recent years.

bangkok michelin star restaurants

Onto spicy mains, such a pork belly curry with a side of organic rice. The execution is not too heavy, using local herbs and spices with finesse to bring out the flavors.

thai food dishes drawing

Naomi Rubin drew the aftermath of our meal — you can tell that we enjoyed every bite, and somehow managed to finish all the plates!

No wonder Soul Food Mahanakorn is recommended by the Bangkok Michelin Guide. For a truly memorable Thai dinner, make a reservation here and raise a glass to Jarrett for us.

Pladib restaurant ari aree

In the hipster neighborhood Ari / Aree, we were warmly welcomed into Pladib, a restaurant set in a modern space.

Pla Dib does fusion in a fresh way — marrying Thai tradition with Japanese and European influences. The dishes are presented without fuss or over-seasoning, which lets the quality of the raw fish and organic produce do the talking.

baking oven sketch

Naomi Rubin sketched the pear-shaped wood oven in the back. Pladib is a popular spot for locals to hang out, and share wood-fired pizzas. The space also brings in art exhibits and DJs.

pla dib  ปลาดิบ bangkok

A fresh coconut paired nicely with grilled octopus with black mayo, and creamy mushroom ravioli.

bangkok hip creative hipster restaurants

The melt-in-your-mouth grilled duck salad turned out to be one of my favorite duck dishes of all time!

eating shrimp girl comic

Becky Hawkins illustrates the joys of eating fresh shrimp, and sampling Pladib’s farm-grown vegetables.

trendy restaurants ari bangkok pla dib

We couldn’t decide between the lemon or dark chocolate tart — so we got both, plus lots of berries and extra ice cream.

Pladib is an inventive, modern Bangkok restaurant that I think you’ll love.

mae yui bangkok restaurant food

Bangkok’s Ari / Aree area has become a food and art hotspot. My friends and I had multiple meals at Mae Yui. We ate the food so fast that there are no photos, but Naomi Rubin made this delectable watercolor.

ari aree hipster neighborhood bangkok

Aree’s hipsters love to hang for hours at Mae Yui restaurant, which features a home-style Thai menu. The dishes are nostalgic favorites prepared with a light touch. Our favorites included the tuna salad with Thai spices and herbs, creamy Thai ice tea, and fresh passion-fruit sorbet.

google touring bird bangkok travel tips

If this story makes you hungry to visit Bangkok, then you can find more of my tips about the city here on Touring Bird. I featured a Totoro theme cafe, and other fabulous eateries in Thailand.

You’ll find me all over — I wrote almost 700 articles about insider spots, in dozens of worldwide cities. I hope you’re enjoying this travel resource so far (it’s a project by Google Area 120).

undead goth emerging from coffin

And that’s the final nail in the coffin, for these “Bangkok bitches”… until I come back again!

For more alternative Bangkok travel tips (boutiques, hotels, restaurants etc), you can see all my Thailand stories (from my trips in 2013 and 2018).