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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

BARBERS

THE BARBER STORY

When looking for something, I always play a game of "Twenty Questions".  It is different from the normal game in that it is the same question spread out over twenty people.  This is a frequently played game for people visiting foreign countries simply because half the people you ask have no idea and want to be helpful by lying.

Interviewing the older members of society who actually know where things are.  As they possess know knowledge of English but make expansive hand gestures which can be as difficult as interpretive dance to understand.

Eventually, I found myself at what I always think of as a 'manly barber shop'.

Since the 1980's these have not been seen within the USA.  Within them, you can get a straight razor shave while terminally nicotine addicted men lounge about.  These are extinct within the USA having been replaced by either 'fu fu' salons or chain barber shops with their revolving door staff.

In a fairly run down part of town was the barber shop, it's presence being marked by a highly stylized pair of scissors you could only see from the sidewalk in front of it though looking into the barred windows was easier.  After wandering around the building a bit, I discovered the only entrance was through a shop selling eyeglasses.

The sixty year old (he told me) barber was finishing up with his previous customer who sported a fair amount of blood on his neck.  Undeterred, I got a chair.

We spoke in a mixture of English, Georgian, German and sign language - the latter being the most useful.

Shave and a haircut, 10 GEL - half the price or less at a chain store in the USA with a lot more care and quality.

Sadly, the quality part didn't rub off on me, but the barber did the best he could with what he had to work with.

Since I only get a shave and a haircut once a month, my appearance is usually midway between 'basic trainee' and 'terrorist in training'.

Unexpectedly, I found myself back in the Elvis restaurant.  Certainly, I did take the subway there and walk to it but it was the siren call of hamburgers that brought me.

Because I am a perverse person, I instead had a very mediocre steak burger while being freaked out by the numerous statues and pictures of 'the King'.



NERO STORY

The cabana boy story:  Once upon a time, Derek and I went up to Canada.  I don't remember which chapter.

We found some young guy and hired him to be our 'cabana boy'.

Any time we would call out "Oh cabana boy!"  He was to loudly and immediately sound off with "Yo ho ho sir!".

He did literally everything for us - fetching drinks for us, doing our dirty dishes, being ambushed by monsters if we thought there might be a trap.

If we saw him sneaking up on monsters, we would call "Oh cabana boy!" just for the hilarity that would ensue.

Note, for those that are reading this thinking "So you abused this poor low level newbie for the entire event, yes.  Yes we did.  But we did promise to pay him well.  We didn't.  We paid him obscenely well.  We may have left him the richest guy in his chapter.

I consider him a crunchy because he would die very quick.  I have a very broad view of 'crunchies' - they include low level players.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

HIP PLACES TO EAT IN TBILISI GEORGIA

MCDONALDS

Love it or loath it, McDonalds seems to be a fairly accurate representation of American culture.  Though not the best food by a long shot, falling woefully short in anything approaching 'nutrition' and packed with enough calories that a single meal could suffice from the day, all McDonalds serve approximately the same crap and that attracts people in droves.

Years back, someone had submitted a paper stating that no two countries with the McDonalds restaurant had ever been at war.  Guessing he got paid a lot for this but how he padded it out to an entire paper as opposed to a memo remains a mystery.

McDonalds is so prolific if we had a real space program it would be interplanetary.  Perhaps it is the fear of gaining several unwanted kilos keep alien races from first contact with Earth.

The McDonalds in Tbilisi has quite a veneer of hip on top of the normal Georgian business practices which I term "WTF business".  Fashionable chairs, a wooden paneled curving staircase and American street music contrive to give the art deco look to this McDonalds.

The Georgian part comes in with the hiring of four extra pretty women in tight skirts.  Two sit behind a desk while the other two roam the floor of the restaurant.  Their purpose in the restaurant is mysterious - probably just to give the owner more status by employing extra people.  The trendy bathrooms do not include paper towels and to get even ketchup, you will shell out .7 GEL per packet.  BBQ sauce is cheaper at .55 GEL.

Many people habitually eat fast food without apparent side effects, but a resistance can be built up to iocane powder as well.  A bit of sickness and mopery dog me the day after ingesting this processed crap.  It must be done to touch base with the American roots.



ELVIS RESTAURANT

I've always been wary of people who still celebrate Elvis.  Too much Elvis paraphernalia gets my Agent Orange up and I start feeling stabby.  They were rumored to have a tasty burger there and since no 'Big Kahuna Burgers' were around, off I went.

Lots of Elvis stuff around though they didn't play Elvis music over the PA.  I counted myself lucky and figured that the staff would go postal at the 1083rd rendition of 'Love Me Tender'.

It was stylish and clean, an unholy combination of a 1950's diner and 'art deco' stuff made possible with special lubrication.

The burger was alright but nothing to get too excited about.  Sure, it was better than McDonalds but what isn't?



HEALTH WATCH

Logan is up to 125 KG.  Forced inactivity combined with blisters from distressed footwear have moved the weight up a bit though I still look thinner in kilos than I ever did in pounds.


Since Georgian bandages (plaster) contains some sort of acid.  I've had bandages from several countries but these are the first which seem to dissolve the top layer of skin and peel off the second.  It is pretty disgusting.  Hence, we're no longer using those.  Now, I have a giant piece of gauze wrapped around my waist several times, pulled as tight as an overweight girls clothing with my blubber hanging out of the top and bottom.  The spherical surface the wrap is on causes it to roll to lessen the protection.  The doctor did say to keep it covered and that's what I'm trying to do.

The doctor also said not to get it wet from the shower.  In this I have been less successful as this country doesn't stock large sized water proof bandages so as a compromise, showering has become an every other day ritual for awhile.  Can't wait until this scar heals.  I feel like an American football.

Tomorrow, perhaps, the stitches come out.  The second set of stitches, that is.



GEORGIAN HEALTH

Georgia has never been bitten by the 'diet bug'.  Healthy food and exercise have never really caught on here and if someone was so inclined they would have to be rich.  The cheap food to eat is bread and everyone who knows about health knows bread is not your friend.  The average Georgian consumes a staggering amount of bread daily.  Call it a loaf or two.



PRICES

McDonalds or Elvis, 10-15 GEL, depending on what you order.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

POST APPENDIX BLUES

POST APPENDIX BLUES

To set up my latest "WTF is going on in my life" moment, I am going to need to set the stage a bit.

I am working at a hostel in Tbilisi.  The owner and his wife are off touring western Europe.  The owners mother comes in to do things at the hostel while he is away.  There is also a South African girl (the sturdy, competent type named Brigid) who has been working here for months.

As mentioned previously, I had told Brigid I was heading to the hospital.  She was not worried at all.  "You're a big boy" was all she said.

The owners mother went...the other route.  She freaked out.

Freaked the fuck out.

I thought she had just called a bunch of hospitals.

No.

She called the Georgian police.

They looked for me.

On Facebook.

Go take a look at the picture of me on a camel.

Yeah.  The one on my profile.

According to other Georgians, that picture made an appearance on Georgian TV.

So.  To all of those people who make "FML" posts, I think I can say I have one upped you.  Sure, it would suck more if my computer blew up - but having the Georgian police airing a picture of you riding a camel and saying "Have you seen this man or his camel?" on TV is at least a tad more interesting.





TWO DAYS LATER

I was just sitting around.  I'm spending even more time than normal doing that because I don't want to aggravate my wound.

I had brushed my hand over my shirt where the wound is because it was feeling a bit moist.   Behold, my scar had popped back open.

After a brief photo op with a reluctant and grossed out cameraman (Brigid) it was back to the hospital with me.

A local, two stitches and crappily put on band-aid and I'm back.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

FUN AT THE GEORGIAN HOSPITAL

THE BIG HOSPITAL STORY

[Disclaimer 1:  If you are easily grossed out, be advised that this may be as hard to stomach as mongoloid porn.]

[Disclaimer 2:  This is written a bit disjointedly.  I apologize for that.  However, I am still a bit out of it and in considerable pain.]

Throughout the day, I had diarrhea.

No big deal - I am in a foreign country, eating foreign food.  It happens.  I carry anti-bacterials on me for just such an occasion.  I popped a couple and just dealt with it.

This time was different.

I woke up to discover I had 'sharted' myself.  For those not in the know, it is what happens when you thought you'd fart, but shit came out.  This was unusual because I'd done it in my sleep.

OK.  Off to the bathroom to change my pants and clean up.  \

These things happen I suppose but this was a first.

Then, I woke up to discover I had truly messed myself in goo.  And  I had a bit of stomach pain.

Since I had no other clean clothing, I washed these off, put them back on and went downstairs to wake Bridget.  She has been in Georgia for a year or two and might have some useful information.

I asked her to write 'doctor' in Georgian in my notebook.  Since it was 5:30AM, she wrote it in English.  Not a lot of help but she tried.

I went down the hill feeling a bit like a sieve to the small square near the hostel.  There are usually a couple of taxi cabs there.  The drivers didn't understand the words for 'hospital', 'doctor', 'help' or 'sick'.  I should really learn more Russian.  Eventually, I found a friendly Georgian here on vacation from his new home in the USA to translate.

They got me to a hospital.  I had no clue which one.

This was a hospital out of horror movies.  In most hospitals, the emergency entrance has some doctors or nurses loitering around just in case someone pulls up spurting blood.   Although it wasn't blood I was spurting, it would have been nice to see someone.

Instead, there were darkened corridors and closed doors.

The cab driver was nice enough to come in with me and made noise to wake - yes, wake - the staff who were asleep in various rooms to explain my situation to them.

A team of doctors were eventually summoned to deal with this foreigner.  They spoke no English.  Surprisingly, they did speak very bad German.

It amazes me how often that language comes up.  It makes me feel a bit validated for all that time I spent studying it.

Eventually, it was determined that I was American and a couple doctors who spoke very bad English were summoned.

So it became a three way linguistic ho down  - Georgian, English and German.  Yee haw.

After doing a bit of pushing and prodding on my stomach, three different people announced it was my appendix.    Since I know that an appendicitis is an expensive, painful and expensive operation I asked if there was anything else that could be done to make sure.  They smeared goo on the hurty area and rubbed a wand on it so they could see what was up.  Was it an ultrasound?  An MRI?  Magic?  Didn't care.  The results told them it was time for them to cut me open.  It was explained that the diarrhea is a symptom as well.

Cost naturally came up.

I explained to them with great difficulty and only gradually that I have no insurance.  Statements like "Who travels without insurance?" came up.  Well, poor people.

The head of the hospital (nicknamed 'the professor') and five others showed up to argue about the money part.

The price was disclosed to be $600.  Goodbye, savings.  I did get them to agree that this was the 'total price' because they wanted to keep tacking on other crap in the great tradition of hospitals everywhere.

Spending lots of money is worse than accidental death.  Poverty is the gift that keeps on giving.  With death, you're only fucked once.

They brought me paperwork to sign.  It was all in Georgian.  I don't read or understand any of it.  Rather than signing, I just wrote "I don't understand Georgian" in English at each place they wanted me to sign.  This seemed to satisfy the guy and he went away.  Yes, I know that in sue happy America they won't treat you unless you sign their crap but this is a whole different world.

It was the first time I ever walked into a surgery before.  In every other hospital, they stick you into a bed with wheels (possibly a gurney) and wheel you in there.  Here, I walked in.

It might be worth noting they did not give me any other clothing.  I was still in my literally shit stained clothing.

Yeah - I was operated on while still wearing these clothes.

After I laid down on the table, everything started in flashes -

Blacking in and out
In so much pain my teeth were chattering

Eventually, I came around in my very basic room.  There were two gurneys in there with blankets reading "US" on them.  I got one.  This is their idea of a private room.  Unfortunately, the walls were so thin I'm not sure if it actually helped.  These beds were very narrow and about as comfortable as hostel beds.

There are no 'nurse call' buttons.  If you want something, scream for ten minutes.

No food is permitted on the first day.

They had no straws.  Weird - and really a pain in the ass to those who trying to sit up causes them a world of pain.  Heck, there wasn't even any soap or toilet paper in the bathroom.  Bring your own.

With nurses so difficult to summon, I was very curious to see what would have happened if I had to crap or pee.  In retrospect, I'd have probably just had to lie in it.  Glad I didn't need to.

The whole medical  system is set up on the premise you will have your family with you.  Should you need anything one of them is dispatched to get a nurse.  This includes food.  The hospital doesn't serve it.  You have to give a nurse money - she runs out and buys something from the market for you.  Better still, your family brings you food.

The nurses didn't have any monitoring equipment hooked up to me and checked on me only infrequently.  Honestly, the hospitals in India were more modern.

The first day gave me a lot of really vivid drug dreams as well as convincing me that 'Intelligent Design' is utter bullshit.  Not only is the appendix completely useless but if you've ever bitten the inside of your cheek while chewing you have to doubt the competency of any deity you are 'made in the image of'.

One of the things which went  through my head is 'what kind of food would I love to have right now' - assuming eating whatever I wanted wouldn't cause me to die or explode.  The surprising answer was Bert Isla's Thanksgiving feast.  Yeah, that was awesome and all home made.

On the second day, I was permitted bread (cracker crunchy type) and tea.

I spent the entire day lying around in the clothing I'd shit in, then had surgery in.  I smelled fantastic.

The hospital seemed to me very 'USSR style'.

The only cleaning done was by one of the old women wearing all black.  She came in with a mop and did a very perfunctory sweep with it then left.  If something was spilled (it was) on the floor later, tough.  It doesn't get cleaned until the next scheduled time.

One skill which seems pretty basic to me for nurses is how to run an IV.  They had a lot of problems doing it.  At one point, it just leaked out all over the bed instead of going into me.  They shrugged and took off the IV and removed the needle.  Perhaps they figured I was full.

Because I didn't have any phone numbers on me, my only visitor was some old lady who wanted to sell me stuff.

Speaking with the sister of a lady who had the same procedure it turns out that I got charged the same as natives.  That makes me happy.

Somehow, I don't see Georgia becoming a 'medical tourism' destination.

Eventually, it became time to pay.  The best thing to do after really painful surgery is walk for several blocks because the hospital doesn't take credit cards.  No kidding.

After paying, I departed.  I'll have to go back in a week to get my Frankenstein like stitches removed.



RETURN TO THE HOSTEL

Something I totally didn't expect was the reception I got.  The owners mother was freaking out as though I'd been shot and carted off to an unknown hospital.  Bridget, the lady I'd worked with was  completely neutral.  She knew I'd be back when I could.

The funny thing is that the owners mother had gone through my gear trying to find my name and such to give to the police.  It wasn't in the gear.  Logan is a cautious and suspicious person.





Monday, October 1, 2012

CAMBODIA TO GEORGIA

LEAVING SIEM REAP

The torrential rains of the night before seem to have mostly drained away.

I arrived about forty minutes early to the bus station.  The people at the Siem Reap hotel I'd been staying were very sad to see me go.

Even at 7:20 AM, the day was getting very sweaty.

An Aussy dressed in poofy pants, a cowboy hat and a bed sheet in place of a sheet met me at the bus station.  His name was Joey and I spoke with him a bit as we went.  When asked about the bed sheet, he explained that all of his shirts had gotten wet in the previous nights downpour and it was the only dry thing he had to wear.   Instead of purchasing extra shirts as he had intended, he got drunk and bought three different hammocks.  Funny ole world...    



ONE NIGHT IN BANGKOK - AGAIN

It was a dark and stormy night when I finally arrived in Bangkok.

During the storm, Joey wanted to hang out under an awning.  Since I was getting soaked along with my gear it became time to part company.  The bindle was getting heavier and heavier as it absorbed more water.

After diving into an Indian restaurant to eat the best mutton curry ever, I bargained down a tuk tuk from his wildly optimistic 500 THB to 300 THB and took the uncomfortable ride to the Sukhimvit district.   Because of the rain and the time of night, I'd considered just staying in the Khao San Road area.  On their price cards, they usually have one reasonably priced 'simple' room and several other very high priced options.  The 'simple rooms' - if they ever really existed - are always full.

Stopping twice to argue with the tuk tuk driver that he should actually take me to my destination rather than dropping me off in the middle of nowhere and one other time so he could ask someone more competent where it actually was that he claimed to know, I got dropped off at the hostel.

This is the same hostel I had met two people I'd seen in different parts of the world.  Yes, I met someone else I'd seen in a different part of the world there.  Kind of an interesting vibe to that place.

The hostel was - with three notable exceptions - filled with the usual foreigners who liked to alternate between partying hard and sleeping.

Two of the exceptions were an old couple staying at the hostel.  Possibly in their eighties, I thought they were someone's grandparents who were meeting them at a hostel.  They said they had been vacationing and staying at hostels for the last four decades.  Their only complaint was that the young people pretty much ignored them.

Ignoring the old couple, I went to bed early.

Since I knew the partiers would be inconsiderate and definitely wouldn't be carrying flashlights, I just left the light on when I went to sleep.  Easier.

The air conditioner was blasting cold enough it gave me a new cough for a couple days.  Despite that, my body was still hot in that room.  Odd.  I punished the young people by sleeping only in my underwear.  They avoided me after that.

The next day, I awoke early and talked to the third exception at hostel.  He  was an old redneck named Mike.  He has inoperable lung cancer and a two pack a day habit.  He spoke of perhaps quitting smoking.  Since the doctors told him he only had six months to live I said "Smoke up.  Enjoy your remaining time how you want."  He had come to Thailand to live on a beach till death takes him.  That way, he can enjoy himself and not be a burden to his family.

Sounds like a plan to me.

We talked about having both served in the same town in Korea although a decade apart.

After that, I took my leave of him and headed to the airport.

On the way, a couple cops told me to go stand over there, possibly due to my jaywalking.  They were then distracted by several other people jaywalking.  During their distraction, I wandered off.  I didn't feel like paying bribes to the police just then.

After a couple blocks, I recalled I'd left one of my locks attached to an empty locker.  Didn't feel like going back to see if the police were upset with my earlier disappearance and reasoned that buying a new lock would be cheaper than buying two cops.

Off to the airport.

Arrived eight hours before my flight, five hours before I could have even checked in.  Some people would say I could have left my bag at the hostel and gone around Bangkok.  Been there so often there is absolutely nothing I want to do.

The big back is up to 17.9 KG.  Possibly something to do with the new business cards printed in Cambodia.

The Bangkok airport has one of those new 'controversial but accepted because we are more scared of terrorists than keeping our rights' body scanners at the airport.

As readers know, I wear a couple of pouches inside my shirt for money and ID's.  They insisted I put the pouches through the xray machine.  Despite the machine being able to see through my clothing to look at my pathetic little cock, they wanted my security pouches off.

I stripped off my shirt and the pouches and dumped all of that into the xray machine.  Going through dressed in only my shorts, I raised my hands and said "If you need to frisk me I totally understand and am happy to comply."

The Thais stared in horror as the waves of fat rippled like currents in the sea.

A couple other tourists goggled at me and I said "Yeah, they're a bit strict on their security here...  It's almost as bad as in the USA.  At least here I don't have to get naked and have a cavity search!"

My goods were quickly returned aside from a bottle of water and my beloved mosquito killing device.  These were taken away.  Sad.

The best thing about the Bangkok airport is a cheaply priced 7-11 within the airport.  This is a good place to eat and drink while living in the airport.

If I eat fast food, I feel sick for a day afterward.  Not sure why - possibly the low food value and toxins within the food.  Despite this, I did look into the prices of Burger King at the airport.  Drink, burger and fries - $13.  Screw that.

Security and customs took about two hours.   I was told that my bag would next be seen in Istanbul.  I was hopeful.

The lady at the Malaysian Air counter interrogated me about my length of stay in Istanbul.  Started having bad flashbacks about the Philippines fiasco where I had to trash the ticket due to having no 'onward tickets'.

She seemed satisfied with my explanation I'd be taking a bus immediately out to the Republic of Georgia.  I exhaled.

While waiting on the plane, someone else got hauled off for not having 'onward ticket'.

Super.

The flight was one of those 'good news, bad news' things.  The layout of the chairs was two, aisle, five then two.  I got lucky and was in one of the two.  The bad news is that it was a 'screaming baby' flight.

During the flight, some cross eyed kid kept staring at me.  Then again, maybe he wasn't.



WELCOME TO TURKEY

Going through Turkish customs from the airport was dead easy.

I found the line marked 'visa', handed them my passport with $20 USD and got a visa.  No questions at all then a new line to get a stamp and off I went.

The airport in Istanbul is one of those which has a subway under it.  Figuring I'm eventually going to need to head back to Turkey, I hit an ATM rather than getting raped by the money changers.  Figure I'll play the Jason Bourne game with currency.  Since the ATM only gives 100 lira notes, I went to a money changer and got some change.  The currency exchange guy thought that was a good idea.

When I got down to the subway, lo, the machine accepts only 5, 10 or 20 denomination notes.  Go team.

For three lira I got a subway ticket and went ten stops to the 'autogar'.  This is the main bus depot.

When I arrived, it looked like a big open square surrounded by various transport agencies.  Like the center of a flower.  Around this like the pedals and screened by buildings are the actual buses.

Turkish for 'bus station' seems to be 'argument'.

Since plane tickets were selling in excess of 300 euros and going through either Munich Germany or Kiev and a Russian prison term for no visa bus seemed a better choice.  On the plane, a Turk was telling me that a plane would actually be the better option but it turned out he had wildly over estimated the cost of a bus ticket and horribly under estimated the cost of a plane ticket.  Bus wins.

A guy asked me where I was going then took me on a long walk to one of the sellers.  This is a mistake, I should have just sought out the Metro bus office.  Metro is a good line and cheaper than the others.  After taking me to the office the guy seemed to be expecting a tip.  I gave him 5 lira.  He grumbled but took it.  Figured that meant it was about the right amount.

While in Turkey, I couldn't find any Turks who spoke English any better than I speak Arabic, French or Korean (aka 'poorly') but due to the number who have dealings with Germany, it was again German for the win.  I was able to use that at a restaurant.  I suspect they heaped my plate a bit higher as well as forcing a free tea on me because I knew German.  Excellent.

One nice thing about the buses in Turkey is that unlike other parts of the world, they keep them quiet.  Everyone gets their own little TV and headphones.  With the exception of a couple hours near the end, no idiots played their music over the speaker.  I know we have that sort of thing where people are subjecting others to their music in public places but it is hoped that people outgrow it by the time they are done being teenagers.

For Logan, a quiet bus is a happy bus.  I can listen to my MP3's and sleep.

The Turks gave up trying to communicate to me in anything other than Turkish since I seemed to understand them.  Go go body language and voice inflection.



INTO GEORGIA

Compared to entering Turkey from the airport where the 'well heeled' (rich) guests come into the country, crossing land borders is always a bit of a 'cluster fuck'.  Daily laborers going back and forth, people hauling goods, lots of trucks, whatever.

To go through the border, we had to dismount the bus leaving our stuff.  We walked to the place to get our passports stamped out.  After getting our passports stamped (eventually) we waited for the bus to make it's way through the onslaught of trucks.  When the bus arrived, we retrieved all of our possessions so we could go through the Georgian side.  I was carefully told by a border guard who I don't think spoke English "Welcome to Georgia".  None of the Turks were told this.  Perhaps they like seeing an American passport.

If you are coming via the border from Turkey into Georgia headed to Batumi and wanted to save time, you could grab everything off of the bus immediately, walk through both borders and immediately catch a taxi.  That would save perhaps half hour to an hour.

After crossing the border, it was eight more hours (of my 26 total hour bus ride) to get to Tbilisi.  Most of the distance between Batumi and Tbilisi is twisting and winding roads.  I know they have night buses and such but no clue how anyone could sleep on them.  I'd have to be passed out from exhaustion to do so.  There are some pretty scenic parts  to see.

Having traveled without cease or shower, I got pretty ripe after three days.



ARRIVAL IN GEORGIA

What I had expected and what I got were remarkably different.

When I left, the hostel had lots of the owners (multiple owners) friends hanging out here, drinking, partying and so on.  As I understand it, the hostel is now owned by just one of the original owners.  The others have gone off to do other jobs.

There were no excited Georgians around to greet me and chat with.  I was disappointed and miss them.

There is a nice lady from South Africa named Bridget who I will be getting to know well as we'll be working closely together for several weeks.  I also got to go out to have some food and wine (very cheap at 4-5 GEL for a liter) with so I am not complaining.



TURKISH CHARACTER

Compared to SE Asia, the Turks I witnessed seemed extremely aggressive.  I'm not talking about violent or hostile but much like Indians who will cut in front of you in lines and so on.  Their body language and demeanor also seemed to suggest this.



NOTE TAKING

Whenever I pull out my notebook and take notes I get curious reactions from the natives.  Some look at me in amusement, some in amazement and some in horror as though I am making notes to pass along to the secret police on their behavior.



VALUABLE LANGUAGE TRAINING SKILLS

Turkey dubs the American movies they get.  This is why the people there don't speak much English.  Dubbing deprives people of valuable free language training as well as making the movie crappy.



REFLEXIVE ACTIONS

Do you remember when you were young and a doctor took a small hammer and hit you near your knee?  Do you remember how your foot - void of any conscious action on your part kicked him square in the testicles?  How the doctor doubled over and began to vomit?  All of these things are what I am terming 'reflexive actions'.  If you were someone like Travis and pulling out a gun and saying "Try that one more time..."

But I digress.

Reflexive actions.

The next time someone tells you there is a difference between normal heat and dry heat, the reflexive action  should be to backhand them.

Either way, you are miserable.

I've lived in Asia now for about a year and am happy to be moving on tomorrow.  I've been to 'non-hot heat' and dry heat counting at least three different deserts.

Miserable and I am tired of smelling Logan.

Tomorrow, should all go according to plan, I will spend a day in Thailand then heading back to Turkey to make the trip to Georgia.

[As a side note, the last person to slap Travis was the doctor when Travis had just been born.  Travis is still looking for him.  In the doctors defense, as all doctors dealing with newborns they say the slap on the rear is to give  them a general idea as to what they should expect form life.]



MP3 PLAYER

Mysteriously, my MP3 player began working again.  This makes me quite happy because in Siem Reap, you are given two basic Chinese knockoff choices - 2gig for $35 or 4gig for $45.  This seems a fairly unreasonable price to me as they have 8gig for $30 on Amazon.

Who needs so much storage room?

Music can be uplifting, relaxing and inspiring.  However, I usually find it after enough repetition to be dull and trite.  Music teaches me nothing.  Books on  the other hand, can offer much.

Books take significantly more room than a few crooned melodies.

We'll see if better offerings present themselves in Georgia.



INTERESTING  ARTICLE

The Five Best did a nice article on beer drinking.  The number five company surprised me.



SHOE STORY

Yet another sandal has broken.  Sadly, it is always the left one which breaks.  Were it otherwise, in addition to my badly patched clothing mismatched sandals could complete the ensemble.



CAMBODIAN BUSINESS MODELS

There is a restaurant close to the hotel.  It is a pretty pricey place on good real estate.  Looks very nice.  The place can hold about a hundred people.  

There are three outdoor cooks, more in the back - and about ten wait staff.

The owners are opening another restaurant within the even more valuable 'Pub Street'.

What confuses me is that this restaurant rarely - if ever has customers.  I've been there several times in several different months and this is always the case.

How the heck do they make money?



STORY IDEA

Hookers, Ho!

A story of dirty pirate hookers through the ages.  Follow these lusty beauties as they ply their trade upon the Seven Seas pursued by an evil Englishman who is intent on making them all disappear!



LOGAN MEDICAL

127 KG.  I can't recall if that is up or down from previous.  I'm guessing up due to Mexican food.  So good.




CAMBODIAN PRICES

Sandals, $10.  Note, prices before bartering can start as high as 150%.

Bus from Siem Reap to Bangkok, $10.



THAILAND PRICES

An excellent meal in the Khao San district of Bangkok of Indian food, $10.

Travel from Khao San Road (the cut off from the rest of the tourist district by intent so the cab drivers can squeeze the tourists for money) to Sukhimvit district by a filthy smelly tuk tuk, $10.


Sukhimvit to the airport via 'sky train', about $3 USD.



TURKEY PRICES

Plane ticket from Istanbul to Tblisi, around 300 euros or more.
Bus ticket of same, 100 Turkish Lira.   Note, "Metro" is only 90 lira.  Go Metro!

Access to a filthy squat toilet, 1 lira.

Cup of tea, small, 1 lira.

What is claimed to be 'Turkish Fanta' and isn't as good, 2 lira

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 | England: Slough - Lancaster

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