Donate Button



Donate today BECAUSE Logan will use it to visit the USA in 2017!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

PHNOM PHEN RANTINGS

NIGHTTIME COMEDY

So I am sitting around typing on my computer and I hear an insistent pounding. I'm not sure where it is coming from - or if they are doing construction somewhere but eventually I decide to go take a look.

I figured out that a Cambodian guy who didn't speak much English had locked himself in his bathroom.

I understand that the locks on doors like these are sometimes shitty and may malfunction, but what I couldn't understand is why someone who is the only person in the room should feel the need to lock the bathroom door.

So I summoned the staff and sat around making jokes to a nice girl from Switzerland who lived across the hall from this unfortunate guy while the staff tried to figure out what to do. Eventually, I convinced them that to enter the man's room, they needed the key. The ring of keys the maids use was eventually fetched. The door was unlocked but only able to be opened to the extent of the 'dead bolt' type thing would allow it to go.

Although the trapped man was reassured in both English and his native language of Cambodian that people (a group of six, actually) were working diligently on freeing him from his predicament, he continued pounding on the bathroom door and yelling for help literally the entire time. I am not exaggerating.

Tools were brought to force the locking mechanism of the outer door - including a hatchet. I've never really considered a hatchet as a normal tool for a hotel or guesthouse to have but who knows. Fortunately, a monkey wrench was instead selected and the eventually bashed the lock into submission. From there, getting in and prying the door of the bathroom open was quick work.

The man was grateful to me for summoning help and I smiled and nodded. And went straight to blogging about it.



PONDERING WHAT TO DO

Due to my unemployability in some jobs, I've decided to do the 'lie low' option Adam suggested of travel. Essentially, find a place and just sit there. This is good that I've finally come to a decision on it though I shall follow another of Adam's pieces of advice and keep an eye open for opportunities.

Right now I am in the capital (Phnom Phen) of Cambodia. I've got mixed feelings about it. I'm spending approximately 3/4 of my income per day to keep afloat. It's not great - medicine and such will probably suck up the remainder. Breaking even is much better than continuing my downward money trend, however. But I'm going to need to boost my money so that I can resume travel. I'd still like to see Angkor Wat while I'm in the area but I estimate that will take $100+ with travel and park fees. But it is the big 'bucket list' thing in Cambodia to do.

After talking to a couple of Cambodian guys (see Adam? I do talk to locals - I just normally don't write much about it) I got convinced to check out Vietnam. Frankly, they said Ho Chi Mihn City was cheaper even than here. Sold. Plus, it's a new country. So I'm going to check it out. From there, either Indonesia, back here or who knows where.



VIETNAM EMBASSY

It was a pretty good haul (3-5 KM - they aren't great at maps here and my internet is way too slow to use the internet maps) to the Vietnam embassy. I treated myself to a tuk tuk ride to get there ($3) because it was eight AM before I was ready to go and that is the time the embassy opened. [Note, Cambodia has no public bus systems. Or 'baht buses'. I have no idea why.] I wasn't sure if there would be huge lines and such. There weren't but what the heck. It was about a half hour drive or longer. It turned out they would have the passport ready by 16:30 hrs so I was kind of stuck in and around the area. It made no sense to hike back, touch the building and return. The only thing that bummed me out is that I had to leave my stuff alone for so long. After getting robbed a couple times, I must confess that I've cultivated a bit of a 'guard my shit' mentality and don't like leaving it alone for a long time. Especially not in the place I'm currently staying which has practically no security - though I keep everything locked up as best I can. There are no safes either - but I've learned that even those are not always secure.

Unlike the American embassies I'd visited, entering the Vietnamese embassy is amazingly simple. You can walk straight in from the street. Although the people are working behind the glass (not bullet proof) they are actually Vietnamese - not locals. In American embassies I've been to, you remain uncertain if there actually are any Americans around. They are hidden behind layers of locals - even if you try to talk to them on the phone. Just entering an American embassy you have to go past a lot of fortifications and baggage checks. Apparently, people aren't queuing up to toss bombs into the Vietnamese embassies.

Counting all of the countries I've been through on this trip, ?Vietnam will be my twentieth country visited. I'm uncertain as to how many countries I've been in total and many of the ones I'd count no longer exist.

I'd like to apologize to the readers that I don't have more money to go do interesting shit, write about it and take pictures of things other than piles of trash - but I can only photograph what I can see. I'm in the cheap seats for now but pretty happy with it. Better than being broke back in the ole USA.

When I get to Vietnam, I will have to question the locals to see if their postal system is any better than Thailand's 'oh they seem to have never delivered my package' one. If it is any good, I'll have to send some notebooks to Jana for her Ebay collection.



TOURIST TYPES IN ASIA

I've noticed four distinct categories of tourist that are here in Asia. I appologize if I've brought this up before but condensing it down will be the work of the underpaid and much loved editor.

Dirty hippies: Enough tattoos to make a Yakuza member raise his eyebrows. Enough piercings to make metal detectors short circuit. Dreadlocks that would not look out of place in a reggae band. Outlandish clothing that looks like it may have been saved from the late sixties or early seventies. They have taken non-conformity to such a level that when you see them you know exactly what group they fit into. Irony is pretty ironic.

Fresh faced college students: These are the ones who are either rich enough or motivated enough to go to Asia. The merchants and the especially despicable touting tuk tuk drivers look at them with the same lustful eye as a college senior casts over newly arriving freshmen girls at college. These are the ones who pack Lonely Planet guide books and carefully tick each thing off of the list. Many seem to be in too much of a hurry to do anything except get to the next tourist trap, take a couple mandatory pictures and move quickly to the next. Most are on a limited amount of time (though I suspect parents may be funding many of them) and they know they're going to do the married/family/career/die in debt thing so they've got to get what they can while they can.

Older single men traveling alone. One in six to ten is a woman. These are the people who are either retired or doing well enough they can treat themselves to a bit of a vacation. They seem to wander around, relax and soak in the atmosphere a bit. Minimum age, 40's. In Thailand they are there for a bit of the naughty (I haven't found too many that aren't), mostly absent from Lao and very few by comparison in Cambodia.

White guy, Asian lady. These are married couples, with or without children. What they're up to I have no clue. I think they are either living here, passing through or just on vacation. I have met only one white lady traveling with her Asian boyfriend. She was very nice. He seemed nice but there was quite a language barrier. So the exemption makes the rule!

Over 80% of the tourists I've observed seem (note seem - I don't go around interviewing every tourist I've seen) to fit into one of these four categories. As I may have mentioned in earlier writing, none of the camaraderie between tourists I've seen in Europe seems to be here. Instead it is almost the 'what are you doing here? You are ruining my "I'm the white explorer" experience!' They don't go to places that there is no white people because well, there isn't any tourist stuff to see there.



DOCUMENT DESTRUCTION

My unused Paypal credit card expired awhile back. I shredded it and put the pieces into the open sewer that is in Phnom Pehn. A piece here, a piece there. It will be like a fruitless treasure hunt for someone who is really motivated.





PNP GAMER MEMORYS

Warning! If you are not into PNP roleplaying games, you can choose to skip this section. If you like hearing 'old gamer stories', read on. If you want to submit one that is written up fully and not in 'd00dz speak' with a minimum of typos and bad spelling - something I can just cut and paste, I'll put it in here. If you don't want to take the time to clean it up, stick it in the comments section.


MAFIA MEMORIES by Justin Doyle

So there we were. Two 1920's mobsters who had just been made. Loaded with cash, we decide to buy a mansion in New York, when our (clearly Italian) family decides to throw a dinner party in our house. My uncle, the Don, shows up, and asks me if he can use our telephone. It suddenly dawns on Matthew Lunn and I that we don't have a telephone.

I tell the Don that someone is using it right now, can I get him a drink? He says of course. I run off and tell Matt to make the Don a drink and take his time. I then run outside, run to the neighbor's house (who is, of course, a telephone repair man). I shove a wad of hundreds into his palm and tell him to grab the longest cable he's got while I rip the telephone off his wall and sprint back to outside of our mansion.

During this, Matt has made the Don his drink and has him sitting in the study. Matt's got the window blocked while he makes small talk with the Don, just trying to buy time. It's not working too well.

The neighbor and get the phone to the study window... but the cable is too short! I can't actually get the phone through the window! The Don is getting pretty upset, why is he getting the run-around from his made man?

I hoist the phone up to the window (with the cable stretched taut all the way to the neighbor's house). I hear the Don, very icily, ask Matt where the fucking phone is. I tap the window. Matt asks the Don what he thinks of some artwork on the wall, and opens the window. By the time the Don turns around, Matt is standing there, phone receiver in hand, and asks the Don what number he'd like to call.


DUNWICH BLUES by Matthew Lunn

Same characters/campaign Justin mentioned.

We are in Dunwich, run down town, half the properties are empty. We are exploring the areas around town.

We go to bear hill, get a spot check, Justin misses it, I get it. Right behind Justin's character a massive bear comes out of a bush. I slowly start saying "Sal, whatever you do..." Too late, the bear jumps Justin and tears him a new A hole.
I run back to town, grab the Doc and two guys for the stretcher. They are running Justin back to town, first guy trips on a log and they all go down.

We finally get to the Doc's house, Justin near death. Doc does a wonder of a fix up and Justin is back up and fighting. Right, where to now? Panther gorge? Ok
Spot check, Justin misses, I get it. "Sal, whatever you do..."
I think you get the picture :)

We got our revenge on Logan however when at the end of the Mod we brought half the town up and put in plans to start building a casino. ;)



LOGAN HEALTH

Skip this if you don't want to hear about Logan's medical stuff. God knows I don't want to but I do have people asking me about this stuff so I just find it easier to put it in the blog rather than write it out for interested parties.

Well, my iritis acted up again. This time in the other eye. I tried self medicating but it got worse, not better. I decided it was time to go to the eye doctor. Amazingly, it only cost $10. It appears to be an honest one, not one with a special 'oh, you're a foreigner' price. Good deal. And he spoke English! And he instantly knew what iritis was - unlike some eye doctors I've been to in other parts of the world. Hurray! It turns out that I was self medicating with the correct stuff but just not using enough for as severe of flare up as it was. He doubled the dosage I'd been giving to myself (pred forte) and gave me a special 'now you look stoned because look how big one pupil is, go stare close at people and freak them out and have fun with it for a couple hours' eye drop and sent me on my way. I go back in 3-4 more days. Hopefully it should clear up. Fortunately, it was caught way early enough so that I don't enter the 'lying on the floor wishing for death' phase of pain. It is the kind of pain that once you've had it you immediately know if it's acting up.

I'm confident it is being treated well and so there need be no concern over this. I am actually much more worried about getting hit by an idiot in some sort of motorized vehicle driving like they are a monkey on crack than being incapacitated by this.

In other health news, my right leg is finally totally healed of bloodying up the toe by jamming it in Egypt, burning the calf on a muffler in Thailand and scraping the shin on a boat in Cambodia. I wait to see what new stuff happens to it.



FACEBOOK TRIVIA QUESTION

On Facebook, I asked the question, "In Logan's next blog he compares drivers of a SE Asia nation to "monkeys on crack". Can you guess which nation?"

This is of course a trick question. The correct answer is "all of them".



MISCELLANEOUS

The rules thus far from NCIS. Good stuff.

In order to help pass the time and who knows maybe give me some pleasure and money (it could happen) I have begun working on a book. If people want to comment on it, send me an e-mail (logan9a@yahoo.com) or Facebook private message and ask for it. I will send the outline and first couple pages. I will bug you until my fingers are sore for feedback. The genre is urban fantasy. It is a work of fiction. Some of you will say the work of fiction sentence is unnecessary when I say 'urban fantasy', others will not. I put in the last sentence for both crowds to be happy. I am not Harry Potter and don't own a wand. If it went the route my sunglasses did, it would be broken anyway.



PRICES

1.5 liter bottle of Fanta, $1.25
1.5 liter bottle of diet Pepsi or Coke, $2.50. Guess which Logan is drinking? Sad.

Cross town tuk tuk, $3

5 comments:

  1. "I've never really considered a hatchet as a normal tool for a hotel or guesthouse to have but who knows."

    Actually you came pretty close to being introduced to our hostel hatchet a few times.....guess you were lucky to leave when you did.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Adam, believe me if I was ever to return to the Ukraine, you'd be the reason. We'd hang out lots. True, it might get me thrown out of a convenient window somewhere, but I think it'd still be interesting!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Er - Adam would be interesting. NOT defenestration.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hey Logan! First of all, good to know you're alive. Second, did you get rid of your facebook account? I just realized the other day that I hadn't seen any recent travel posts from Logan. I figured you had taken my suggestion to meet up with a tranny hooker and that they had bludgeoned you to death with their penises or something. Good to know that you either survived the experience, or that you have not, in fact, been bludgeoned with penises. Yet.

    Your pal,
    Andy

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Andy. I still have facebook. Go to my page and you'll see I am posting almost every day. You might have me unsubscribed or something though - check subscriptions and all that. I haven't gotten killed by any hookers yet though the tuk tuk drivers may be plotting on me.

    ReplyDelete

PICTURES

{{2011}} London, GB | Rail N Sail | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Prague, Czech Republic | Budapest, Hungary | Sarajevo, Bosnia | Romania | Chisinau, Moldova | Ukraine: Odessa - Sevastopol | Crossed Black Sea by ship | Georgia: Batumi - Tbilisi - Telavi - Sighnaghi - Chabukiani | Turkey: Kars - Lost City of Ani - Goreme - Istanbul | Jordan: Amman - Wadi Rum | Israel | Egypt: Neweiba - Luxor - Karnak - Cairo | Thailand: Bangkok - Pattaya - Chaing Mai - Chaing Rei | Laos: Luang Prabang - Pakse | Cambodia: Phnom Penh | Vietnam: Vung Tau - Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City

{{2012}} Cambodia: Kampot - Sihanoukville - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat | Thailand: Bangkok | India: Rishikesh - Ajmer - Pushkar - Bundi - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Jasalmer - Bikaner - Jaipur - Agra - Varanasi | Nepal: Kathmandu - Chitwan - Pokhara - Bhaktapur - (Rafting) - Dharan | India: Darjeeling - Calcutta Panaji | Thailand: Bangkok - again - Krabi Town | Malaysia, Malaka | Indonesia: Dumas - Bukittinggi - Kuta - Ubud - 'Full Throttle' - Gili Islands - Senggigi | Cambodia: Siem Reap | Thailand: Trat | Turkey: Istanbul | Georgia: Tbilisi

{{2013}} Latvia: Riga | Germany: Berlin | Spain: Malaga - Grenada | Morocco: Marrakech - Essauira - Casablanca - Chefchawen - Fes | Germany: Frankfurt | Logan's Home Invasion USA: Virginia - Michigan - Indiana - Illinois - Illinois - Colorado | Guatemala: Antigua - San Pedro | Honduras: Copan Ruinas - Utila | Nicaragua: Granada | Colombia: Cartagena | Ecuador: Otavalo - Quito - Banos - Samari (a spa outside of Banos) - Puyo - Mera

{{2014}} Peru: Lima - Nasca - Cusco | Dominican Republic | Ukraine: Odessa | Bulgaria: Varna - Plovdiv | Macedonia: Skopje - Bitola - Ohrid - Struga | Albania: Berat - Sarande | Greece: Athens | Italy: Naples - Pompeii - Salerno | Tunisia: Hammamet 1

{{2015}} Hammamet 2 | South Africa: Johnnesburg | Thailand: Hua Hin - Hat Yai | Malaysia: Georgetown | Thailand: Krabi Town | Indonesia:
Sabang Island | Bulgaria: Plovdiv | Romania: Ploiesti - Targu Mures | Poland: Warsaw | Czech Republic: Prague | Germany: Munich | Netherlands: Groningen | England: Slough | Thailand: Ayutthaya - Khon Kaen - Vang Vieng | Cambodia: Siem Reap

{{2016}} Thailand: Kanchanaburi - Chumphon | Malaysia: Ipoh - Kuala Lumpur - Kuching - Miri | Ukraine: Kiev | Romania: Targu Mures - Barsov | Morocco: Tetouan | Portugal: Faro

For videos with a Loganesque slant, be sure to visit here. You can also Facebook Logan.

If you enjoy this blog, please donate! Help Logan keep on traveling.