Donate Button



Donate today BECAUSE Logan will probably use the money to fund his upcoming RPG. More entertainment for YOU!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

LIVE FROM SIAM REAP

INTER CAMBODIA TRAVELING

I should have probably waited until Monday to travel back to Phnom Penh, but honestly, I was just feeling restless. That, and the internet was so bad at 'Sky Blue' that it was interfering with my travel research. My main purpose in Phnom Penh is to get my India visa and find out more about how that ten year visa works. Given the relatively low cost and huge duration, I figure going for that one is a 'no brainer'. Hell, it can cost $150 to get in some countries for a month. Hello, China!

So, without bothering to haggle with the tuk tuk driver, I paid his $2 fare because he was up at 6AM when I wanted to leave. Early bird got the extra buck.



PHNOM PENH INDIAN EMBASSY

After getting checked in to a pretty crappy guesthouse (The "Okay Guesthouse" isn't!) I immediately hopped onto a motorbike (much to the dismay of the guy who was already on it) and sped off to the Indian Embassy.

What happened there brought to mind a quote from the philosopher 'Jay' of 'Jay and Silent Bob' when he said the immortal words of "The whole world's against us dude. I swear to fucking God."

Despite it being Friday, a gate guard was trying to convince me to 'come back tomorrow'. I think that was his standard line. I've dealt with a lot of embassies and I haven't found any to be open for business on Saturday or Sunday. [Note, after talking with other people at the Indian Consulate this is also the case here.] So, I did not believe him, despite him trying to convince me.

While I was discussing the days of the week with him, I met either the Indian Consul himself or a guy who just worked there. From the way he was dressed and acted, I'm guessing it was the consul (like the ambassador but of a smaller place - a consulate). So, I talked to him.

Disclaimer - no I had not pissed off the gate guards so much they wanted to kill me, climbed the fence and made my way onto the soil of the nation of India and caused the consul to get summoned. For those who don't know me that well, yeah, this is the kind of disclaimer I need to make. I just ambushed the poor guy when he was on his way home from work.

So, I talk to the guy from India a bit. [We'll just call him the consul - it's cooler and shorter than 'he could have been or was just some guy working there'.] It turns out that I wouldn't be able to register until a week from now because they are switching to a new online method that will be just launching then. Instead of filling out forms in person, you get to fill out the forms on the internet, print them off and bring in the forms. It's closer but still missing the mark. Hopefully, they will some day get the system down so you can just show up with a confirmation number as with airline tickets and bickity bam, you get your visa slapped into your passport. Now, I don't know about you but I have seen plenty of software launches and the launch itself rarely goes smoothly. Especially if it is bureaucratic stuff from what some people would call a third world nation.

I don't know if it will work on the twentieth. Or of what month. I do know that my visa is going to be expiring on the 29th of this month for Cambodia and I'd like to be out of the country before that.

In addition to that, the consul does not do the 10 year visa. It was explained to me that it was just a small office. Apparently, that means that only small visas can be issued from there. It makes absolutely no sense to me but he did assure me that Bangkok was where I needed to be. So, within Bangkok we will be playing the 'race the two week visa they give me for crossing the border by land' game. Not cool.

So, I gave it some thought and looked at a map. Siem Reap seemed to be on the route toward a popular border crossing into Thailand. They have five different border crossings from Cambodia into Thailand. Two of them don't seem to get a lot of use. It may be better to take a common one and just blend in with the never ending shuffle of tourists heading to Thailand instead of hacking my way through a jungle.

I was staying in a different part of Phnom Penh than I'd stayed before. It was kind of sad that I knew more about the layout of the place than the first tuk tuk driver who ended up virtually giving me a tour of it before I said "Where the hell are we going? The street address I gave you is near the royal palace dude." Yes, his English was fine - I like to check first. Okay Guesthouse which I'd read about on the internet turned out to be rather sad. Since my business was done (well, unable to be completed), the neighborhood I was staying in rather unappealing and the guesthouse grim, I decided it was time to get an early bus to Siem Reap. I was headed west toward Thailand anyway - why not.

For an extra $2 ($7 total) you can get the fancy 'disgusting don't sit on this' toilet in the bus. Since I still have some problems with Cambodian food from time to time, I'm glad I paid the extra money.

Lets just say the bus ride felt a lot longer than it really was.

Upon arrival, there was the usual cloud of tuk tuk drivers who tried to convince me that $3 was the normal fare. I ignored them and went on foot to the gate where those tuk tuk drivers who were not cool enough to get inside waited. One was happy to get me there for $1. I'm guessing it was the 'soft sell' to get me into his good graces so he could hit me for more money to get me to Angkor Wat. Given he speaks very good English, it might just work.

Siem Reap is the home of Angkor Wat, I discovered that it wouldn't be nearly as expensive to go see it as I'd thought. About a third the cost. $12 by tuk tuk and $20 to get in the park. Not bad - I think I'm going to try to get it done. Check it off the ole bucket list and all that. Naturally, this brings up the question of 'does Logan have a bucket list and if so what is on it?' No, not really but if I did, I'm sure Angkor Wat would be on it. Possibly so would an item off of Austin Powers bucket list.

The only thing I'm not thrilled about is tons of other tourists and people trying to sell me shit that will be there. I've often thought that having people who try to sell me stuff I don't want mysteriously get a rather large jolt of electricity would be such a great super power.

After checking into a pretty dumpy place, I managed to find and negotiate the rate down of a very nice place a few doors down. The new place I am in might be called "Five Star VIP Hotel" but it is rough to tell from the business card. You might call me a pussy but having air conditioning to go back to after sweating my ass off wandering around the city for hours every day instead of getting to sweat more when I get back to my room improves my mood quite a bit. The room also has a list of other things I really like such as a mini-fridge, writing desk with chair, hot water, a big bed, decent (for Cambodia) internet and it gets cleaned every day as well as (negotiated down to half) laundry for $1 per kilo. This is less than I was paying renting out the bug infested basement in Blacksburg, Virginia. It's true that I don't have a BBQ grill out back to play with but I can get a decent meal for $2 or a nice one for $5 to $6. I'm pretty happy. It doesn't have a hip common room but that saves me money from buying beer so I can stay and talk to the interesting people. Plus, it helps me to focus on writing more.

I also did some shopping for yet more medicine as well as a pouch to replace the one I keep my passport in under my clothing. Although I will hold on to it (doesn't take much space, doesn't weigh much) it has about had it. I think wearing it for 8 months or so has really kicked the crap out of it.

The night market has a lot of very aggressive "You buy something?" people in it all trying to sell the usual tourist junk. Some of it would be nifty if I had a house and a house keeper to keep it clean. Little statues, bags, $4 t-shirts, bolts of cloth, weird paintings, etc.



CAMBODIA ALCOHOL

They have a beer called 'Cambodia Beer'. It's so-so in taste. The great thing about it is that if you get so drunk that you forget what country you are in...

One of the lessons Adam taught me was 'When in Rome, drink what the Romans drink'. I could drink my favorite drink which is the 'White Russian' here, but that is fairly expensive. $10 for a big bottle of Kahlua, $8 for a bottle of indifferent or bad vodka and $2 per box of milk - you need a total of three boxes to get through the other ingredients. Hence, $24 for 3 nights of drinking - $8 per night. Oh, and you have to buy the plastic cups - which are about .02 each if you can buy them separately. Although the wiki says that White Russians are served in an 'old fashioned glass', I can't remember ever drinking one from such. Perhaps it was because I'd drunk too many. Hell, the last time I was in Phnom Penh, I do remember drinking them from a bucket. My favorite thing to drink them from are the red solo plastic cups because you never worry about what might happen to the cup itself. And, they're big.

So, I could be drinking for $8 a night, but for half that or less I can drink beer. Hell, I think I'll have one right now. And furthermore, fafdsdagre5v ads adff ahg df... Just kidding.



INDIA NOTES

I picked up some information on India from a girl named Linda who was the first quantum physicist I'd ever met. When I asked her why she studied that, it turns out that unlike most college students I've met she thought ahead to what kind of job she would get. I thought that was pretty amazing. She is certainly smarter than I was at that age and (sadly) probably now as well. She's spent quite some time in India and gave me some information on it which follows:

Poor people have bad karma. This comes from doing bad things in a past life. If you are not poor, you were good in a previous life. If you punish bad people, you get more good karma. Hence, if you beat poor people, it gives you good karma. Therefore, you will get to see some people beat poor people and poor kids. Not everywhere but it does happen.

The head wobble. If you wobble your head from side to side, it can indicate things like confusion, embarrassment, etc. Doing it back to someone who is wobbling their head shows 'it's OK'. With my back and neck condition I will have difficulty wobbling my head a lot. This may be somewhat fortunate as I might be tempted to make clucking noises while doing it.



TV SHOW REVIEWS

Hustle. Thus far, it is like a less slick (and more British) Leverage. Despite the dumbing down of Leverage (like changing 'mastermind' to 'brains' - yes, people are just that simple) a bit, I think it still has more appeal for a couple reasons. One is that the dumbing down has made it more accessible to a wider audience. As opposed to the 'roper' (guy who gets the mark in), the 'inside man' and so on, they just have one con artist, one hacker, one guy who is good at beating other people, a thief and the 'brains'. In Hustle, it's pretty much all a team of con artists. Aside from roper and inside man, I honestly can't remember the other titles. Holy crap - maybe I need the dumbing down too! I do think it is a lot less high tech in Hustle (they seem to ignore a lot about computers) and there isn't the wild 'ass-beatery' that only Americans can bring to the most pedestrian of acts. We are so violent. Good stuff. I think that one of the main things that Leverage has over Hustle is the 'Robin Hood' aspect. In Leverage, people who have gotten screwed by the 'rich and powerful' are aided by philanthropic thieves. In Hustle, they don't have this agenda. It's a way for them to make a living. In this day when people are making the 99% movement and such, it is nice to think that there are people out there sticking it to the bad rich ones.



HOWS THE BOOK COMING LOGAN?

I'm rather pleased with myself. Thus far, I've completed the first seven chapters for now. I know that more editing will be needed but they've been through what I'm calling the 'Amy Wash' where I read them aloud and try to write them to make more sense. (See the third draft below). Generating ideas and even the writing isn't really the problem - the editing and re editing is hell. I think that's where the hard work really is. Discounting the editing, I think that GM'ing is harder work than writing a book is. With GM'ing, you have to figure out a lot of stuff that the players might go after and write for that - as well as be able to wing it if they go completely off course. You don't have any of that with a book. Your characters won't think or act anything you haven't allowed or envisioned. Unless they come to life and come after me. This is always a possibility.

The huge disadvantage to GM'ing is that you get immediate feedback. Even if the players don't tell you what they thought, you can tell by facial expressions, how much they talk about the game, etc. With a book, you sit your happy ass in a vacuum and hope that some of the people you've sent it off to choose to get back to you some day to tell you if it is good or if it sucked. Unfortunately, many people you send stuff to get a chronic case of lazy when they receive it. I figure it's like a virus.

In an effort to stop bugging people I know, I asked Keven Herne who wrote some books I liked what he'd suggest for me to get feedback. He suggested the Absolute Write Water Cooler website. Unfortunately, you have to have 50 posts before you can put up some of your own work for review. Hence, I've been posting like mad. Hopefully, I'll get more feedback there. If not, I'll find and post on other writers boards. Thanks to Kevin for pointing this out, I didn't even think as to whether they existed or not.



LESSONS LEARNED IN WRITING THUS FAR

1. Nobody wants to see your outline or first draft. Wait till you get done with your third draft before sharing.

2. Draft 1 - write whatever you can. Draft 2 - go through it again, clean it up and modify. Draft 3 - read it out loud in a monotone or get someone else to read it to you. Clean it up and modify it some more.

3. Writers block is either being too self critical or being lazy. There is no such thing as writers block. Just write crap until you've gotten all of the crap out onto the paper and just keep writing. Someone more famous and smarter than I am said that and I've found it to be very true. Unfortunately, it means I write about a lot of random crap when I'm just putting out ideas (including some I have to stop and type out for this blog) but I'm confident I have come up with some decent ideas along the way.

It's not much but it is what I have so far.

PS: These are not hard and fast rules, or even necessarily rules for everyone. These are things which seem to apply to Logan and might apply to others as well but I don't know on that part.

4 comments:

  1. How detailed is your outline? 1 line per chapter? Main events in each chapter?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Main events, sometimes with sub events listed depending on if it is something I need to try to remember.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Out of curiosity what do in your experiences so far think it would cost to live abroad as you have so far for an extended amount of time or roughly travelling as you have what each year might ring up?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow, I'm not sure what that question is about. I'm going to guess you are saying "If I was to live in SE Asia , how much would it cost me for a month to live?"

    $20 per day + travel costs. You could go much cheaper if you wanted to rent an apartment (say 100-200 USD /month).

    I have no idea how much it would cost in total to do what I did.

    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

{{2017}} Portugal: Faro | USA: Virginia | Michigan | Illinois | Colorado |

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.