Wednesday, June 27, 2007

"No" written with a big red crayon

Once upon a time, a long long while ago, I told you a cryptic little story about essays and words. Motivation and the lack there of.

Well, I have an update on that subject. It is a sad and disappointing update that tends to paint me in a rather pathetic light.
That long and difficult essay was a qualifying piece for acceptance into the Masters program at the University of London in the UK.

After many days, weeks, and months of waiting on the results of said essay and associated application I, like so many college kids before me, finally tore open that fateful envelope (actually the correspondence was in the form of an email, so I actually clicked that fateful “inbox” button.)
I held my breath, heart beating, a future flashing before my eyes.

Then I read the words, “We are sorry to…”

I didn’t get in.

I always knew that this was a possibility. I always considered this half of the “what if” scenario.
I always have a habit of ignoring the likely and focusing solely on the long shots.

After a few moments starting at those words and several glasses (bottles) of wine I am happily back on the job market. Looking for my next adventure.

I mean, honestly, Grad school? What was I thinking?

School requires thinking and studying and writing papers (we all know how much I hate that.)
Plus, it takes money that I don’t have and an increased of the student loans that I do.

I am better off without that nonsense.

The best part of my non-root having semi-homeless lifestyle I can look at the many jobs in every corner of this globe.
Like Dubai.
Or Estonia.
Or Las Vegas.

On a lighter and more frivolous note, I am now a full week into my couch surfing summer and have already slept on two couches, a leather non-reclining chair, and an actual bed.
So far so good.

For the record, leather is a bad choice for a sleeping apparatus.

Monday, June 25, 2007


Why is it that now, in the “real world” I have found it near impossible to find internet access.
In Alaska nearly every nook and cranny is wired for the net.
In Asia there is an internet café on almost every street corner.

Airports are littered with wireless.

And yet, here, when I have finally settled down a bit I have had to drive all over the bloody city just to check my email.
That might also have something to do with my homelessness.

Cars are strangely not suited for the installation of an internet service.

Anyway, I have little to actually post at this moment. I am in the process of compiling the “best of Asia” pictures to put up soon-ish. Plus there will likely be a second edition to my report of couch surfing in the modern age.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The last from a distance.

This might be the late post I make from this hemishpere.

I am back in Bangkok for the day and tomorrow morning, all too bright and early, I will be hitting the tarmak yet again. This time for that wonderful 24 hours of flight. Back to the states.

It has been a great trip.

Full of Beaches and temples.
Long boats and fast boats.
Sunburns and motorbike accidents.
Mosquitos and geckos.
Planes, trains, and automobiles.

Language barriers and language lessons.

Chances are that the next time you hear from me I will be sitting in someone's AC-ed home stealing their internet and sleeping on their couch.

Speaking of which... anyone have a couch in need of a warm body. I am hours away from homelessness. I have nothing to offer in payment but pictures and stories and possibly a thai cooking lesson.

As long as you have a strong enough grip on life to risk my cooking skills, that is.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Next up...

Much has happened over the past few days.
I had my soul eaten by mosquitoes.
I almost beat a small child with a shovel.
I rode on a bus for many hours.
I joined a biker gang.
And was almost robbed by a cross dressing crack head.

It’s been an interesting few days.

Let me explain.

The mosquitoes in Cambodia are the things of legends. I have lived in locations with big and plentiful mossis. I have feigned off their fiendish attacks.
I have suffered the ichy-ness.
But never have I seen one with such veracity.

My ankles are covered with the scars of their presence. Huge welts. Much ouchy itches.

There are people in many of the touristy places that attempt to sell you things. Everything from tee shirts to waters, pineapple to bracelets. They shout, they beg, the follow, hopping you will succumb to their words and purchase something.
Maybe a guidebook.
Or a silk bed sheet.
Or a wooden frog.

Sometimes they pimp out their children to do their selling for them. Tiny kids, as young as 5 chasing after you.
“Madam buy a postcard.”
“Only 100 baht!”
“Madam, ok 4 for 500 baht!”
“Buy something!”

One little child came after us . Chasing and begging and not leaving.
We would say “no” and he would continue.
We would shake our heads and he would keep staring.

He followed us for at least 10 minutes, begging and pleading, attempting the same old sale.

We finally lost him, just before the amputee band starting playing.

Eventually it came time to say goodbye to Cambodia. All children and bugs aside I really liked that country. The people were very nice and the landscape was beautiful. Our guest house treated us like royalty.
But one morning the bus came to take us away.

A crowded hot and sweaty bus that took us through the country side.
Across the largely potholed roads.
Past the rice patties and landmines.

For 5 bloody hours.

Then there was a new bus at the boarder, slightly less hot and a bit less crowded.
This one lasted another 5 hours.

When we arrived in Bangkok we were overjoyed at the aspect of having an entire hour and a half all to ourselves before boarding yet another bus headed south.
We ate Pad Thai form the street venders and drank a tasty few beers.

This bus was the best bus of all. It was a double decker with excellent AC (too much even) and a movie for our viewing pleasure.
It was a mere 9 hour ride.

Upon reaching the ocean we were ushered off the bus, we cheered as it drove away, signaling our very last long bus ride.
We were at the beach.

And waiting for the boat.

We boarded a fast boat to the islands.

The ocean is beautiful. Crystal clear. Blue. Shiny.
Pockmarked with islands with palm trees and beaches.

4 hours later we were at our destination. With sunburned hands and feet. (The only bits of me that we exposed to the harsh southern sun.)

We are now on Ko Saumui, an island on the eastern side of southern Thailand.

Think leather chaps and bandanas.
Think hard ass nicknames like “Tiny” and “Butch.”
Think the complete opposite.
Now you have a picture of our biker gang.

We rented motorbikes to tool around the island.
Coordination be damned.

After a few frightening moments involving the exit of the parking lot, we started to get the hang of it.
At least until I ran out of gas.

But once I was refueled, we became rode warriors.

(Don’t worry mom, we maintained a speed far lower than the limit, hovering just above that of the common snail. Plus we were wearing shiny silver helmets.)

Ah, the crossing dressing crack head.
How to begin this tale.
I suppose the only way to start is to begin at bed time.

Sometimes I don’t like pants.
Sometimes I prefer sleeping in just my undies and bra.
And after nearly a month of traveling, my friend and I are comfortable enough to lounge around in only our skivvies.
Sometimes I am lucky if she is even wearing hers.

So we slept.
Until around 5 in the morning.

When something nudged at my subconscious.

Something tickled my thoughts.

I rolled over and opened my bleary eyes to see that there was someone in my room. Someone hunched over my backpack, looking inside.
I jumped up, toes tangled in the bedsheets.

“Hey…. Uh… chick!” I yelled as I threw myself out of bed.

And began chasing her out the door and through the courtyard.
Until I realized that I was dressed only in my undies.

Luckily I had awoken early enough to prevent any thievery.

We found out the next morning that it was less likely that it was a female in our room, and more likely that it was a “Lady boy.”

It has been an interesting few days.

Monday, June 11, 2007


The last time I wrote placed me somewhere in Laos.
Now, I am in Cambodia.

The journey from the one country to the other was planned to have had a bus, well, two buses actually. And those busses were to take us for a 22 hour cross countries trip.

22 hours.
In a bus.
With no bathroom.
And possibly chickens,

After bussing it through much of Laos, we looked forward to the following days buss-y-ness and decided we just couldn’t do.

We bought plane tickets instead.

3 hours after hitting the tarmac we were happily in Cambodia.
No chickens required.

Today we decided to hit Ankgor Wat. Which is a huge complex of ancient temples and palaces and trees. It is so large that we will be going back tomorrow to see more.
Bright and early tomorrow.
My traveling buddy is making me get up at 5, so that we can be there at 6, when the sun comes up.

I think she might hate me.

But, for your viewing pleasure I have a few pictures of what we saw today.
Lots of old things.
Very old things.

A tree like no other

I see you

Faces in the stone



Thursday, June 07, 2007


Something strange in Vang Vien.
There are these little resturants. The tables are very low and placed on a plateform of bamboo. You sit on a bed of blankets and pillows.
All the seats face foward.

Forward towards to the TV's.
The TV's that play nothing but reruns of friends.

All the time.

I can do nothing but shake my head in distain.

Water cave

This is a water cave.
See the little space between the water and the rocks, that space is just wide enough to slip under while floating on an inner tube.

I actually did this.

We traveled far far into the cave, sometimes floating, sometimes swimming, sometimes wading.
It was oppressively dark, the only light comming from the lamps fastened to our foreheads. And halfway through, mine began to flicker.

Vang Vien

These are the mountians in the little town of Vang Vien.
This place is really neat. A bit too touristy, but nifty.

It remindes me of the old west, with the drit roads and style of buildings.
Except it is an old west that got confused and ended up in Asia.

Yet another Buddha

At the top

Once at the top of the stairs we could see the whole town!


These stairs lead to a Wat and a monastary. Over 300 to the top.
We climbed and climbed.

Crossing the border into Laos

Just a View

Laos, from the inside of my slowboat.

Slow boat

When we docked in the town with the chickens and fighting puppies, there were several other boats there.
Here they are, in all thier glory.

Something isn't right here.

Right in the Middle of Change Mai.

We had to stop for a drink.
They even had the waitresses dressed in German grab.
There were many giggles.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


Slow boats are just like they say in the name.

It was a long journey, much more enjoyable than riding in a cramped bus or a hot train, but it was slow.
The mountians and trees and goats and water was great. I will have pictures of that journey soon.
Two days riding the Mekong.

We didn't sleep on the boat, instead we stayed in the truest tourist trap I have ever seen. It was a tiny village with many guest houses. The entire economy was based on the fact that it was the half way stopping point for the slow boats.

Except for being offered a range of illegal drugs from our waiter and the dog fight that took place for several hours outside my window while I tried to sleep and the confused rooster who started his calls at 2:30 am, there is little to report from that particular point of call.

We are now in Lamprang, Laos.

It is beautiful here and without a doubt the most relaxing and clean place I have been thus far. The streets are wide and are without trash.
The people are nice. They don't speak much English though.

Oh yeah, and it seems Monsoon season just started.
I am still wet from walking in the downpour.

Well, thats all the updating I have the time for.
Soon I will have a bit more and a few pictures.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Greetings from the Thai/Loas border.

I just spent 5 hours on a crowded van traveling up to the picturesque edge. To the place where the Mekong river divides the two countries.

Tonight I will be staying in a "quaint" guest house and tomorrow will be boarding a slow boat down the Mekong and into the heart of Loas.
My guest house is interesting.
There are several small lizards living under my bed.

The toilet, though fairly normal at first glance, does not flush. Requiring instead that you ladle water from a bin of questionable cleanlieness.

Good times.

It's actually a better bathroom than some I have seen, one day I'll tell you the story of the train station.
Let's just say there was a hole in the ground, no tissue, and a very wet door handle.

With that heart-warming tale I will leave you to your own thoughts of bathroom fun.

Just remember that the next few days may find me far from a computer, being as I will be on a boat and not on land.

Wish me pleasant lizards, like those from a happy fariy tale and not the kind that eat your toes whilst you are sleeping.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Me cooking is a dangerous thing

Cooking classes

We learned to make spring rolls (as pictureds here) Green curry, pad thai, cashew chicken, and sticky rice with mango.
I am so full I think I might pop!

Funkified Fruit

The market

Sleeping Arrangements

Our journey into the jungle included sleeping on bamboo under mosquito nets.
Here is a nice little view of our hut.

Rice Pattys. Sans rice

Veiw from the trek

Crossing the Bridge to the elephants

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