A PLETHORA OF COINCIDENCES
* I was in Lombok and thinking about just continuing to hang out in the horrible town of Sengiggi because they have a place with very fast wifi closeby (but not in my room) and the tourist vibe was awesome but a voice said to me "GTFO!" and so I did - fast.
* Dani (in Ubud, Indonesia) had two free rooms. This doesn't happen often. This is the kind of place that 'people in the know' find out about - and generally keep to themselves. He has four rooms total and when he rents them out, they can often be reserved for months at a time. But, he had two free rooms.
* I went to a part of town (still in Ubud here) I'd never been to before. I decided I wanted to purchase some new shoes as my third or fourth pair of sandals had begun the inevitable self destruction cycle.
* I got delayed in specifically when I went there. Had I been there earlier, I'd have completely missed running into -
Sena and Howard! Sena is the German girl who has been traveling by herself for the last ten months. Howard is the tourist from Norway. I had met them both in the Gili Islands. I was surprised to find them in Ubud because I didn't think either of them had any interest in coming here. They were with an Indoneisan guy who was taking them to a place he touted for but I said no, come with me instead.
When they got shown their rooms, told of the price, tasted breakfast and so on, I got to use the line "I know" that I'd seen Dr. Who use in his last Christmas special. Needless to say, they seemed happy with their rooms. Dani even agreed to give them the 'Logan Price'. Formerly the Christopher Price, no relation.
Getting to hang out with them for another couple of days felt like when you're playing a video game, think it's over and you've got an 'extra life'.
All because of a lot of weird coincidences.
LEAVING BALI AIRPORT
In order to actually fly out, you have to pay a shakedown tax of 150,000 IDR. Be sure to have this on you - they accept only IDR. The ATM's are outside of the airport. In addition to getting to play the game of getting through security yet again, not all of the ATM's actually work. The fact they ask for this at all, much less after one would pass several money exchangers and have to go through security again just to use an ATM is all part of the normal SE Asia silliness.
After seeing Sena (girl from Germany re-met in coincidences noted above) off to her plane, I then preceded to begin screwing up. Normally, I move my 'Swiss army' style knife to my checked luggage before I turn it in. Forgot this time. Tried to smuggle it but they found it. Just barely - it was a close thing. They apologetically took it away. I also try to move my extra cigarette lighters to my checked luggage but had forgotten to do so this time. Fortunately, they didn't want those. I think I'm just going to find a bottle opener to replace my knife. It's what got used most of the time.
A lot of people can use a cigarette lighter to open a bottle but I've never mastered that one.
Oddly, my big electronic mosquito zapper is still with me. It's strange that nobody at the airports is interested in it but I do like zapping bugs with it.
Somehow, my 18.5 KG backpack got up to 19 KG without me purchasing anything. I can't imagine being used as a drug mule with half a KG of crap in my backpack. Anyway, for purchasing a last minute ticket I had to reduce the main packs weight to 15 KG or less. Oddly, this was done by just unhooking my windbreaker and sweater from the pack. This is very strange indeed. I know I haven't worn them much since I left Europe though they have made occasional service as blankets and such. This makes me reluctant to throw them out.
Plus I don't have money to replace them.
PHILIPPINES OR BUSTED
Well, I was planning on going to the Philippines. I had my plane ticket and everything. I'd read up a bit on it, talked to people about it and thought I had a bit of a handle on thing. Unfortunately, I didn't read the fine print.
They have two main airports into the Philippines. Manila and Clark. Air Asia only does Clark so that's what I had my ticket to.
Unfortunately, Clark is 'pussy central'. People go there just to get rented love. For this reason they have an unusual rule about going to Clark they don't have elsewhere. Proof of onward travel is required.
And I didn't have time to forge up something nice that would keep them happy. Nor was there an internet cafe at the airport nor anyone bent enough (like in Egypt) that I could get them to print me out a 'sample itinerary'.
I looked - and couldn't find it.
So my options were to throw good money after bad and buy a ticket for another $60 - the cheapest I could get which wouldn't be used or I could try to get a 'real' ticket onward. Real wasn't possible because Air Asia was the only game in town (only counter open, less than an hour to my flight) and they can't alter a ticket within 48 hours of fly time.
I found a nice guy who worked the counter who helped me avoid a psychotic episode in the airport but it was looking like I was pretty well done.
My options were to either spend an extra $60 plus how ever much money it would actually later cost to leave the country (about $150) or just say 'screw it' and spend the $150 now and detour wildly to Cambodia while giving the Philippines the finger.
As a side note, I did go check the wiki travel page for Angeles City (Clark airport). They had no mention of it so I added in this new, fun information. Word from other travelers is sometimes they ask for it, sometimes not. Don't look for consistency in SE Asia.
While I was in the grip of 'what to do', I even went outside (frustration smoke) and unloaded my issues onto some nice Malaysian man. He reminded me I was on an island so a bus trip would be out. He informed me they had no wifi cafe here also so I knew a quick and dirty forgery was out.
BACK IN CAMBODIA
So now I am back in Siam Reap, Cambodia.
So now I am back in the land where if you spend $10 that means you can get a NICE room and they have fifty cent (USD) draft beers during happy hour. Fuck three dollars a bottle.
And I get to do the ole data exchange. Download more entertainment, upload more entertainment.
It sounds odd to say, but cheap booze does keep me happy. I don't think I'll become one of those people that drinks whenever they're awake but an occasional drink is nice. No heavy taxes like many of the countries I've been to lately.
I'm not sure if I can do better than $300 per month. Especially since I'm in a comfortable hotel with wifi, desk, daily cleaning, free water, free coffee mix, AC, western style toilet, free toilet paper, and god knows what else. I don't think I can do better.
So, I'm just going to sit in this town for awhile and work on memorizing it.
As my travel mentor once told me (repeating it till I got it) staying somewhere is cheaper than moving around.
So here I sit, for a bit.
I remember the people at the place I'm staying from last time but I don't think they remember me. I wasn't as wildly destructive as I am when I stay at some places. Like Adam's.
In the traveler's list of iconic SE Asian food, only the Philippines tends to get lower billing than Cambodian food. This isn't the kind of food you normally eat because you want to taste interesting food. It is the kind of food you eat because you want the feeling of hunger to go away and it is cheap.
It isn't as cheap as other Asian food where you can eat for a dollar - here it is roughly a $2 to $5 meal depending on what you get. For example, you can get two meat and veg skewers for either $2 or 2.50 each. They come with a draft beer. Do that twice and you are full with a slight buzz. Salad or fries are sometimes included. Not a bad meal.
They do have various night market street food you can go out to get, as well as various platters of Indian food for $4 or $5. Here in the tourist area, it's a well rounded meal selection but nothing really special.
They have a restaurant named 'Haven' I had found out about when I was in Indonesia. I'd met up with their Swiss accountant named Steff there. She gave me the business card and I retained it. She was quite surprised to see me. Their food is a bit above normal price but eating their hamburger, I did get to do the 'Pulp Fiction' lines of "Now that is a tasty burger!"
In Cambodia, they use American money. They just don't have much of it. If you try to spend a ten on something that costs a couple dollars, invariably you get asked if you have 'small money'. Pointing out that a ten is small money will always smack up against the language barrier.
The most annoying thing about Siem Reap is the tuk tuk drivers. They're basically beggars with autos. Many of them speak very good English - enough to try to pull the 'I've seen you before' scam. Since I don't remember them and wouldn't care to, this doesn't work well on me. My attitude is "That's nice, now fuck off." I don't say this as I don't want to make enemies. I just wander around looking vague and trying to ignore the desperate calls of the tuk tuk drivers. I'm guessing that since there are way too many if I ever do need a tuk tuk I should be able to get a good deal.
GLASSES IN CAMBODIA
Ever since the old days in Cambodia when wearing eye glasses was a death sentence, they haven't been real popular. There are a lot of 'frames plus lenses' for under fifteen or twenty dollars signs.
Well, not for the kind of glasses I need. Naturally. But regardless I can still get glasses for under $50 - the good stuff. Anti glare resistant green filmed stylish extra thin lenses stuff. That's a sixth or so of the prices in Indonesia.
I do feel vaguely guilty that the cheap amount I can get them for is due to a revolutionary who killed off one fourth of the people in the country.
But that won't keep me from getting an extra pair of glasses. Monetary savings takes a back seat to morality every time and in most governments.
JANA'S NOTEBOOK COLLECTION
I don't remember how much it costs to mail stuff within Cambodia but I'm hoping it is a lot cheaper than "I can't believe you're not on crack when you say that price" Indonesia. Mailing off a bunch of these to Jana is just one of the things I need to do in Cambodia.
Due to the extremely cheap quality of notebooks more recently purchased, I've even taken to writing on only one side due to bleed through.
VIDEOS TO MAKE YOUR HEART GROW THREE SIZES LARGER
Some of these videos were recorded 'just ages ago'. I apologize for the delay but it takes a long time to upload videos. Even as I type this, I still have a lot of videos which are getting uploaded by virtue of leaving the computer running 24/7.
This Will Do
Overly Cute Kids
Yeah That Just Happened
Fucking With Fish
Dani Home Stay
Monkey Temple 1
Monkey Temple 2
Monkey Temple 3
Monkey Temple 4
Monkey Temple 5
Monkey Temple 6
Full Throttle 1
Full Throttle 2
Full Throttle 3
Temple A 1
Temple A 2
Temple A 3
Temple A 4
Temple A 5
Temple A 6
Temple A 7
Temple A 8
Temple A 9
Temple A 10
Black Panther beer, .70/330ml can (though I think I can find it for .60).
Food, around $2-3 per meal unless you want something special.
Happy hour whiskey coke, $1.