Donate Button



Donate a dollar. Seriously. You lose more in people's couches and don't care.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

DRAMA IS BAD

DISCLAIMER:  There is a lot of my medical nonsense in this.  I apologize for that.  I put it in because a) people seem to enjoy reading about it - I've no idea why  b) going to a hospital in a foreign country can be a bit scary  c) it may give insight - not complimentary - into the mindset and practices of medical people in other countries  d) it's what I'm up to.  If I have to suffer, you do too.



HOBBLIN' ALONG

My body annoys me.  If there was a way to become the 'ghost in the machine' or cyborg, I'd be interested.  Damn medical science.  (See book reviews below!)

Earlier today, I was feeling pretty good and decided to attempt the walk from Siem Reap to Angkor Wat.  I'd done it a few years ago and wanted to do it again.  It's a long damn walk but I had a good book going on the phone and needed the exercise.   Let's go for it.

Part way there, my foot suddenly said "Nope!" and went back into the massive pain thing.


I suspect it is my full body arthritis.  Last time it happened, I went to a doctor who took xrays and all that and - no surprise - had no medical idea what was up.

So now I'm back hobbling around on the cane.  Very glad I'd bought a collapsible cane a couple months back and kept it with me the last time this shit happened.

I was doing OK until Jana​ exerted some sort of long distance mind control on me causing a unquenchable hunger for KFC.  Hobbled my ass there, ate a mess of chicken then back for 'self medication' (read as alcohol).  More fun than pain killers.



THE NEXT DAY

Note, my life has no zombies in it other than the people attached to their cellphones and what I'm reading.  See also, book reviews below.

Decided it was time to head over to the pharmacy and see what kind of drugs we could get and so forth.  They didn't seem happy just issuing me anti gout medicine to see if it would help so I went across the street to the local hospital.

At the hospital, all of the medical staff had left.  Seriously, everyone.  It was their lunchtime.  The whole idea of revolving shifts and such hasn't come to this part of the world yet.

When I returned from lunch, the staff had reappeared.   I asked for a doctor who spoke English.

L:  "How much for a uric acid blood test?"

Dr:  "Five dollars.  Plus the ten dollar consultation fee."

L:  "What consultation?"

Dr:  "What do you think we are doing now."

L:  "I'm just telling you what I want.  There is no actual consultation going on.  If I need a prescription and you have to look at drug interaction, that's a consultation.  Using the medical knowledge and such.  I'm just asking for a blood test."

Dr:  "Um...  It's just something the hospital charges.  You can get a blood test with no consultation fee outside of the hospital."

L:  "How long for the results?"

Dr:  "Don't know - it depends on how many other people are getting blood tested."

I thanked him kindly and went across the street to the independent blood test place.  Yes, I know where it is.  Been in this town too goddamn long.

Three dollars, fifteen minutes and no strange 'consultation fee' later, I had the results.  Slightly high but not huge (7 is upper end of normal, I was at 7.5).

Yes, I had to order the blood test in French because that's all they had it in.  Though the staff didn't speak French, they spoke English.  Weird but if you need medical stuff, knowing some French is probably helpful.  Not that 'acede de euric' or some such is that far from English.

Back to the hospital.  Apparently, I didn't thank the doctor kindly enough because now he was bitchy and didn't want to consult with me at all.  He pointed out several times that he had the 'right to refuse treatment' to anyone.  No, he had never heard of the Hippocratic Oath.  It was like dealing with a petulant child.  I found a different doctor in the same hospital.

Not  the guy I spoke to, but same expression.

This one sounded knowledgeable and did try to scam me out of some extra money after we'd 'consulted'.  Twenty five.  I gestured toward the front and said "They said it was ten."

He accepted ten and gave me his business card, telling me to contact him if I needed anything else.

Oddly, I paid the money straight to the doctor instead of to the hospital who would then presumably pay the doctor a salary.

This would explain why the first doctor was experiencing drama.

Note that I don't blame the first doctor - I blame myself more.  It was clearly me failing the teaching of "How to Win Friends and Influence People".  Fortunately, he works in a hospital in case someone needs to call the Wambulance.


I suppose another way to look at it is that the first doctor is down a tenner ($10 USD) due to not being in control of his emotions.  Read as 'professional'.  But, there is no faster way to get on someone's bad side than messing with their money or income.

According to the second doctor, one of the meds I'm on might be messing with my kidneys just a bit, causing the release of more uric acid.  The simple solution is to switch medicine.

Unfortunately, I've already got about three months of pills sorted.  Guess what that means?  Right.  It can't be done.  It is simply not possible (I checked) to pick out all of the one pill as all of the pills came from different sources and look different.  In other words, I can't pick out one certain medicine because it may be in five different forms from five different nations.

Well, shit.

It sucks.

Knowing kidneys are involved, I'm going to try to drink more fluids.  I might even try buying a bit more medicine and then alternating days with the new and old drugs.  I'll figure something out.

No way can I say "Well, fuck, let's just throw out a few hundred dollars worth of pills because they're not possible to sort."

The downside of pre-sorted pills.



THE FUCKERY TRAIN

And the fuckery continues!

Despite using my Paypal card a couple times successfully in Cambodia, Paypal suddenly got it into it's tiny automated brain that there was trouble.


It decided to lock me out of everything.

Well, there goes a couple hours I'll not see again, blessed Skype and got on the horn.  (What an expression.  Did we use to use horns to talk?  Some people still use their cellphones as though they think they are...)

It eventually came down to ID.  I needed to show them one.  They didn't like my government issued card - said it didn't have enough information on it.  I figured after all this time my drivers license would be expired and naturally, my passport was still out to the capital to get the visa extended.

I knew the fuckery train had my name on it.  If I said "Oh, let me go get the passport" something would prevent it.  And the Paypal offices would be closed when I got back.  Turns out both things were true.

So, I sort through my small pile of documents, wondering why the fuck it would matter if the driver's license is out of date.  I mean, it is still you, right?  Do you expire?  More bureaucratic crap that doesn't really matter.

It turns out that my drivers' license (lo!) still had a bit of time on it.  Weird.  Those things last for awhile.  I snapped a photo and sent it off.  Everything is apparently fine now.

Went to pick up my passport but wouldn't you know it - today is 'international humanitarian day' or some such.  The fat cat government employees get the day off.  Nobody else in Cambodia (and possibly the world) does but they do.  Result?  No passport for two more days.

I attempted to look shocked so as not to piss off the fuckery train as it passed me by.

When I got back, I tried calling Paypal.  Wanted to find out the date I needed to check back with them to let them know I was still 'on vacation'.  Wouldn't you know it, their offices were...closed...



BOOK REVIEWS


ADRIAN'S UNDEAD DIARY


My one word review:  Addictive.  8/10.  Note, the author told me that next year, three books in a new series are coming out.  Presumably this is set in the same world.

The eight book set is pretty much just one big book.  Anyone wanting to run a tabletop RPG set in a zombie world would be very happy to get ahold of these books.  (Side note:  My spell correct didn't have 'ahold' in it.  Are you kidding me?  Double checked it - dictionary.com thinks it's real.  Apparently, I'm starting to use more archaic words than my spell check comes loaded with.  Makes me feel really sorry for immortal people.)


PLAY TO LIVE SERIES

No, I don't dig the cover art.  Book is better.

You into MMO's?  Reading?  Urban fantasy?

Check this out.

Written by a young(ish) Russian.  His first name is Dmitri though why he shortens it to D. for his English speaking audiences is a mystery.  The Greek rooted name has some famous people named that including a liberator of Moscow.  Maybe he doesn't like Moscow.  Who knows.  A lot of Russians don't.

Apparently, this guy uses his own money to get his works translated into English.  Smart as I'm thinking that is a bigger market.  Through reading one of his crowd funding pages, I discovered that it is 7000-15000 USD to get a book translated.  A good chunk of change.

Now that's a lot of rubles!

Those interesting asides...uh...aside, the series is pretty interesting.  When the author first gets going, he does spend a lot of time giving stats and things like that.  Slows the story down considerably but it did make me pine for the 'good ole days' of EQ1.  Not enough to put myself through that fucking torture again, but a bit of nostalgia.

The story itself I find interesting and it slowly creeps into you.

The basic premise is that they've found a way to get 'deus ex machina' (Latin:  the ghost in the machine).  This time in a literal fashion.  What can first start as a 'plug into the pod and you are there' can lead - for fortunate and unfortunates alike - into 'and you're stuck there'.   While  being perpetually young and immortal can be quite a boon, it is doubly so for the terminally ill, old and disabled.

The other twist - the developers have lost control of the game.  For those who have ever played the old RPG "Paranoia", it's a bit like that but the computer seems less crazy and evil.

The computer is your friend!

There are currently seven books, the first four are out on audio.

Not sure of my rating yet as at the time of this writing I am part way through the second book.  As of now, I'd probably go 6/10.  Given how hard my ratings are, that's pretty good.  Shit, if I get past the first fifteen minutes of listening we have a rare and wondrous flower!

More next time, true believers!




Thursday, December 3, 2015

TALES FROM THE HOOD

TALES FROM THE HOOD

Walking down the street and espied a guy walking the opposite direction toward me. "Trouble", thinks I. "Probably a con man who will try to talk me up."

Sure enough, he stops me and launches into his spiel alternatively telling me I am a 'lucky man' and 'do you know what your trouble is'. Push/pull technique. "Well, I know what unsolicited advice is worth." I retort. He is trying to come off as some sort of mystic who has just happened to run across me and has a message.

[Any real mystics would know the best way to get my attention is to hand me ten thousand dollars and a crossroads to meet at after a couple hours. Gives me time to get to the bank and get the money changed, make sure it is real. A crossroads is still public so I'm less worried about getting rolled.]

Sadly, this guy's English isn't good enough to get more than the very basic responses from me. I'm thinking if you are going to scam someone in a new language you need to get pretty fluent in it. Eventually he needed my input. "Where you from?"

"Say goodbye!" I responded.

It took him a couple of repeats to get it, so entrenched in his anticipated responses. Then, he just left without a word - which was a mercy.

Being able to read people - at least on some basic level (always learning, pity I'm not immortal) is something I'm very happy with.



SIGNS YOUR WORK MAY BE TOO DANGEROUS

You don't feel comfortable cleaning your gun unless a different loaded gun sits beside you.


Notching your gun belt each kill would weaken or destroy the gun belt.

Having so many scars people often mistake you for Frankenstein's monster.



A BIT O RAMBLING

Found out I should not leave my phone in my pocket when applying talcum powder to my torso.  Felt like a pretty 'duh' move.  Did I mention it is damn hot here?  I do feel a bit bad for all of the people who suffer through the cold but apparently they like it well enough not to expat.

In better news, it seems there is a chance that paying for an entire month may cause the price of the room to drop by perhaps a third.  Honestly, I didn't even check on it because the place is so cheap.  It may be one of the few places in Siem Reap with air conditioning for $10 per night.  Aside from the three hour nightly concert of xylophone music (which in the US I think may only be in grade schools and huge concerts) it is a pretty decent place.

They even make sure to give me a couple bottles of water every day.  It could be that I walk in looking like I was just playing the 'who wants to drink from the fire hose' game after wandering around during the heat of the day for a few hours every day.

We'll see after the guy talks to his sister who seems to be running the show.  She seems like a shrewd businessperson and I'm thinking the price won't drop but we'll see.



OTHER TALES

Demon Accord series

Honestly, I didn't expect to like them.  They have painfully overused fantasy elements.  The indestructible super hero, the sexy vampires, werewolf pack mentality, no ugly (read as 'realistic') people etc.

So why did I try it out?  Main answer - it's a series.

While there are some 'stand alone' books I like, they generally piss me off.  When you are done reading, it's over.  No more.  And anyone who has ever met me knows there is nothing more I enjoy than overindulgence.

Why do I like this series?  I have no fucking idea.  I'm up to book four and haven't flagged.  I would compare it to a simplified Dresden or a 'Bill the Vampire' (but without the slapstick) type of series.

Check it out if you enjoy urban fantasy.



Book review, Adrian's Undead Diary series by Chris Philbrook

Normally, I'm not a big fan of zombie books.  The buxom girl looks back while fleeing, trips over something gets eaten.  All that kind of crap.

It will take a better psychologist than I am to figure out why the hell zombie books/TV/movies are so popular.  I suspect it is a combination of first world guilt, boredom with the status quo, the need for massive change and humans desire for some sort of global apocalypse.  Until it happens, of course.  Nobody got real excited about the Black Death when it was under way but there have always been religious nuts who forecast that very soon the apocalypse will be upon us.  And other nutters who listen.

I'm not a huge fan of zombie fiction.

This book is a lot like World War Z (which I didn't like and the movie was a 'WTF has Hollywood done') so if you like that, you may well enjoy this.

I'm not sure why I enjoy this book.  Part of it may be that the main character isn't the kind of tool that you yell 'What is wrong with your brain!' and end up hoping the zombies will messily get.  He strikes me as a calm, thoughtful individual who is doing what he needs to in order to survive.  He has emotions which creep out small ways but he holds himself together admirably.

About a third of the way through the first book and am doing fine in this massive series thus far.  While it may turn to crap later, thus far I'm enjoying the book.  (Update, into sixth book - check out this series if you enjoy zombie stuff.  Even if you don't you might end up getting hooked.)

Also, the audio reader is good.  Very good.

For RPG gamers, this series (or at least the first couple books - not past that yet) should probably be a 'must read' for any GM wanting to run a long term zombie campaign.

One word review:  Addictive.  8/10.



LOGAN'S THOUGHTS ON ZOMBIE STORIES

Zombie Tales:


The downside about zombie stuff seems to be that it follows the same story arc. Since I'm currently reading a zombie book series, I'm going to try to list them here. These may not always be in this order and some of them may be mixed, depending on the plot.

Phase 1: The shit has broken out. Everyone tries to come to grip with the new reality of zombies bite bite biting everyone.  At some point, one or more of the characters will become bitten or infected - usually through some sort of easily avoidable mistake.  When the others discover one of their group has become infected, more drama ensues.

Phase 2: The looting phase. Humans need a huge amount of shit to live. Water, shelter, food, Twinkies, guns and so on. All of this must be hauled back to...

Phase 3: The set up of the fort. In addition to making it zombie proof, it needs to be hidden and human proof because of the...

Phase 4: Raiders! AKA the 'who is the new asshole who wishes to become the next Lord Humungus. Always one will arise with his band of raiders. The always want YOUR shit.

Phase 5: Fighting of Lord Humungus. Lots of fighting. Sure, most of the population of the world has died and zombies are busy trying to infect everyone but by now fighting stupid zombies has gotten old. Fighting other humans is the new red. So to speak.

Phase 6: Resolution of the fight with Lord Humungus and the rebuilding of society.


Phase 7:  Struggle for the leadership of the group.

Phase 8:  Integration of zombies with everyday life; news service.


Note that in most tabletop RPG's, usually only phase 1 and 2 is usually hit. I think there are a combination of reasons why such as the group only meets on the second Thursday of alternative months (ie 'unmotivated gamers') and combat is much easier than story (ie 'lazy or inept GM's/players). Also, maybe the logistics of tracking how many shotgun shells you have left for your aging twelve gauge have just gotten to cumbersome. While I'm sure that there are many gamers who have taken it beyond the first two phases, unless I was GM'ing, I didn't see it in three or four decades of gaming.

Thanks to Kevin D., Stephanie T. and Travis B. for their great input.


Further reading:

If you are wanting to write zombie stuff, this and this may be of assistance.

What other phases did I miss?



PRICES - SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA

Note - all prices given are in USD as that is their currency here.  Many tourists do get suckered into buying Cambodian reil but don't fall for it.  Those are only used for small change (a 1000 reil bill is twenty five cents) or by people who don't know better.

Mexican food at 'Viva' restaurant - 5-9

Lovely margarita in the half liter size (why go for less?) also at 'Viva', 5

Indian food with large bottle of water, 4 at 'India Gate' restaurant though it costs more elsewhere.

Laundry per kilo, 1

Room - I've found that the average cost is about 20-30.  This is fine if you are traveling with another person and splitting the bill (or have more money than this poor author) but a horrible price for me.  Finding cheaper  places takes a day or two.  Booking on the internet is a terrible idea, especially since many of the places are no where close to 'Pub Street' - of which you want to be in easy walking distance.

8% - getting the bank to do a CC transaction, less if you take your chances with the ATM's.  Which may or may not work.

Bottle of cheap wine, 5.

Alcohol, about 50-60% of the price within the USA as they don't have 'sin tax' as they aren't brought up to feel bad about alcohol and tobacco.

Packet of smokes, 1.  This is a bad country to come to if you are trying to give up smoking.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

RUN WHEN THEY GO CRAZY

RUN WHEN THEY GO CRAZY

The place I was staying - and had been staying for awhile - developed problems.

The owner has hit the 'burn out' part of owning his own guest house.

When I first got there, he set the price ($12 per night) and since it was a good price I didn't haggle.  We did agree that after the guests who were in my old room moved out I would retake it since it was a comfortable room.

Then the problems started.  The toilet (or drain?) wasn't working.  Days went by.  First, he tried to clear it himself.  Then, he got a plumber's snake.  Then, he called in a plumber.  Then, he discovered that not emptying the septic tank for four years even though it is expensive is not really a good option.

Either he got sick of me checking on the status of the room I'd been promised once per day or he figured he could rent it for more than the price he had set.  While very drunk he just kept muttering "Maybe you should go find a different place to stay."

Not wanting to be cast out during a time when many of the rooms would be full (boat race festival currently going on), I tried to pay him and tell him I could just keep the same room.  He refused payment.  The next day, I caught attitude from his family as well.

It was obviously time to move on.

Run when they go crazy.

Searched around for an hour or two and found a nice place for $10 per night with mini-fridge, AC, desk, etc.  All the stuff I like.

The only downside is that it is next to a fancy hotel which is pleased to have a nightly 'native music and dancing' show.  This is populated by the kind of tourists who think that sort of thing goes on outside of fancy hotels.

But that's only for a couple hours a night.  There are no barking dogs outside my window.

So this place is looking good enough that I ordered some new glasses.  Since the festival will be going on for about three days, it's going to be ten days until the new glasses are done.  I'm getting two pair of normal glasses (vision has gotten slightly worse), one pair of prescription sunglasses and some reading glasses for $135.

You know you are old when you are excited by reading glasses.

My stomach looks exactly like this - filled with Oreo stuffing.



MOVIE REVIEW

American Ultra

I like quirky spy movies, found this and decided to check it out.

Pretty much the first twenty minutes is the slowest thing ever and can be summed up by:  "The protagonist is in love with a girl, a bit of an apologetic looser and wanting to marry a girl.  His face is in CIA records."

Christ, the first twenty minutes were painful to get through.

It had some good parts in it but overall wasn't quite quirky, funny or interesting enough to be a movie really worth watching.  I'd give it a five, boosted up from a four just from some decent killing scenes.



BOOK REVIEW

"Agent to the Stars" by John Scalzi

The audio book is read by the talented Will Wheaton.  I like him a lot better as an adult than I did on Star Trek: TNG.

Without giving away the plot I can say that it has humor, aliens and movie stars aplenty.  Check it out.

I've got to say that his ability to read, do various characters and so on is mighty impressive.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

BEAR NOODLES OR LINES DEVELOP?

GOOGLE TRANSLATE

"Bear noodle or lines develop?"  The waitress asked me on her phone.  Taking a wild guess at it, I went with making small motions.  She smiled and nodded.  Got small noodles.  I've no idea what is going on with google translate but it doesn't seem to like Thai.

The restaurants were pretty much the only thing I really didn't like about the town of Khon Kaen.  Sure, Thai food is in my top ten but after a couple weeks solid of eating it I really wanted some variety.

The hotel room was lovely and large with a non-Narnia (or dead hooker) wardrobe.

It didn't look as cool as this because Asian creativity seems to be reserved for historical times or I'm staying in places that simply can't afford it.  And there were no children creeping around.  Or goat legged freaks.

The wifi was good at the hotel until about three or four AM when some idiot would turn it off.  Till I went down and convinced them it did not need to 'rest' and the amount of electricity they would save for having it off a couple hours was negligible.

The town itself was OK and I did spend a decent amount of time wandering it.

After a couple weeks there I was ready to go somewhere else.

Because the town is not on the 'tourist trail', that means I got to travel on a series of buses and such like a local.  Cheaper, slower and more crowded.  (See 'costs' section below.)

Eventually we reached the border where a dirty scruffy guy attached himself to me saying I would need his help.  Turns out I did.

The border is poorly organized with the place you need to buy your visa stamp inexplicably far away from the place you get your stamp.  I've no idea why they do this as it is illogical and frustrating.  Also, the building is fairly innocuous and unlabeled.  Maybe they just want a reason for the dirty scam artists to be employed.

But yet...

Soon enough he started in on wanting to get me transport.  Forty dollars.  Oh yes, he was the driver.  Yes, it was a normal taxi.  You would be sharing the vehicle with two other tourists.  All lies, of course.  After I told him I wouldn't be needing transport the price dropped by half.  Note, this is pretty close to the regular price.   Because it was so late in the day (we'd end up arriving at midnight) I went along with it.

The vehicle and company oddly ended up better than advertised.  I was going with a Russian tour guide named 'Oscar' (harder 'ar' on the end than the USA pronunciation) who was getting his ride for free as his company often rented the van.  Just the driver, Oscar and I.  We had an enjoyable conversation and decided to pay a visit to the Mexican restaurant Viva before the kitchen closed.

Over my objections Oscar paid for the food.  I was suppose to hear from him over Facebook and get the next meal but I suspect he got busy.  Some other time.

And now I'm back in Siem Reap.  I'd picked up the extendable 'ordinary' visa rather than the normal tourist visa.  We'll see how I feel about staying here after a month has passed.  If I can tough it out, I may stay a second month to avoid travel during Christmas/New Year.  Bad time to travel if you don't have to.

There's not a whole lot going on worth blogging about right now.  I'm back to having a choice of food and the staff of Viva has taken to tempting me with margaritas.  Oh, the evil.



COSTS

Taxi from the hotel to the bus station, 70 baht
Bus to Kolat, 120 baht
Bus from Kolat to near the border, 155 baht
Crossing the border, 100 baht in a 'tip' to a guy who lied about everything but did help out.
Private vehicle to Siem Reap, $20

Friday, November 13, 2015

YOU CAN'T GET TO THERE FROM HERE

YOU CAN'T GET TO THERE FROM HERE

After sitting around in Khon Kaen for another few weeks, I am really bored of it.  I realize that going back to a city I've spent so much time in (Siem Reap) may get boring as well but the restaurants here are quite frankly not very good.

Great hotel room (aside from no mini fridge) but not great food.

I miss Mexican food.

So on Monday it is 'bug out' time.

I decided today to go to the bus station to find out what the 'real deal' is.  Realize that a lot of what you read on the internet either turns out to be fiction or wildly outdated.  Or just can't seem to happen for you for unknown reasons.  It's nothing like Western Europe where getting around is bloody easy, though expensive.

Any time you want information within Eastern Europe or SE Asia, you will usually consult what I think of as a 'brain trust'.  It is seldom, outside of tourist areas, where you will find one person who is knowledgeable about giving directions to the foreigner.   When you consult someone, they will gather others in.  Much like a beehive, they will all work together to find the solution.

It turns out to be about half an hour, two different dialects of Thai and a lot of arm waving.  Google translate seems about butt useless in so far as translating Thai.  Guess it is just 'too foreign' of language.  Hell, they can't even agree on English spellings of different place names.  You'll find some wildly different ones.  I've no idea why that is.

After consulting with one 'brain trust' at the hotel, a taxi was summoned and he took me to a bus station I'd not been to before.  This was good news as I thought I'd have to go to the half an hour out of town bus station.  This one was in town.  There, we consulted with another four person brain trust.

I just kept repeating I wanted to go to Cambodia.  The consensus was that 'you can't get to there from here'.  Apparently, Khon Kaen is where you can easily get a bus to destinations northward.  Laos, Vietnam, northern Thailand.  No problem.  But, to go to the south, I need to go to a place which might be called "Kolat".

I say 'might be' because I can't find it on a map.  I'm told that the bus ticket is 116 baht.  About $4.

According to Google, Kolat might be Korat (the ole L and R problem Asians seem to have, again) which is also known as Nakhon Ratchasima.  I say just agree on a town name and stick with it.  Not in Asia - it would make things too easy.  I'm sure there is some sort of strange reason going back to 'pre-USA' times for it.  Goat trails and all that.

My plan is just to 'punt'.  Just show up early on Monday, get a bus ticket then when I show up there (wherever there is) work on getting a bus ticket to the border of Cambodia.  And try not to get ripped off too badly.

This kind of 'fuck it, let's just go' travel might not be for everyone but it should be interesting.


If you ever need to travel to Khon Kaen, print out and cut out this business card.  It seems everyone in town knows where this place is.  For 380 baht, you just can't beat it.  I like the hotel very much and the people are very friendly - though they don't speak a whole lot of English.



TV SHOW REVIEW

Blindspot

Girl chemically castrated of all her memories shows up naked and covered with tattoos.

Despite looking like a really thin model, somehow she is a fighting badass.

They team her up with a cop who goes with his instincts rather than procedure and likes to go into dangerous situations alone rather than have any backup.  Because your gut and being alone work out so well.

It's another in the long list of 'buddy' movies pushed out by the lazy writers of Hollywood (or wherever this came from).  Rather than have two guys or two girls, they will put in the 'will they or won't they' factor.  See Bones.

Who did bone.

It's pretty average and worth watching if you are so bored you are thinking about cutting yourself.  Watch this instead of self harming.

Though it may make you want to have shitty tats that are so obscure it takes some cryptographer to figure it out.

In addition to the rather blah main actors, the supporting cast is forgettable as well.

I shall not make any predictions about how long this series will go on because what I like - and what the average person likes - are way different.

I just don't see this as a quality product nor neat enough to push it beyond a 4/10.  You can watch it to get through some time but you won't be excited about it.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

HOW TO TAKE A SHOWER

NIGHT BARBER

Nearby to my hotel is a Thai husband and wife who work at and own a small restaurant I sometimes frequent.  Their English is pretty decent though sometimes a bit rough.

My hair had gotten to where I began to feel like a 'dirty hippy' (about two centimeters) so it was time to get that shit chopped off.

I asked the lady at the restaurant and got confusing directions.  "Go up this street to the traffic jam."  You mean the traffic light?  No, the traffic jam.  Looked at the street, no traffic jam.  Fuck it, I'll find one eventually.


Thanking her, I wandered up the street looking for the turnoff but instead found what looked to be a popular barber.  After scouting around, I went back and sat to wait for the sullen barber to finish his other three customers.

A teen who had just finished up said he would take me to a different barber that was 'very close by'.  Screw it, I thought, why not.  There was some hesitation when he and his buddy got onto their scooters but I figured 'what the hell, I haven't had much exercise today because the foot was hurting earlier' so I climbed on.

They took me to a place near the McDonald's/KFC that looked to be a high volume fancy boutique.  I'm use to getting my hair cut at the kind of place where if you wear long pants and socks you'll want to tuck the pants into the socks to keep the rats from climbing up.  Fortunately, I don't wear socks or long pants.


This place looked way too fancy for me.  "How much is it for a shave and a haircut?"  The sullen barber hole in the wall place we'd just left was 150 baht.  The guy assured me it was 200 baht and even offered to wait for me to give me a lift back.  Since it was only half dozen blocks or so from where I'd started - and my foot was giving me less trouble - I assured him I could make it back.  I thanked them profusely for their kindness.

This is one of the huge differences between northern and southern Thailand.  All of the tourists (including the ones who would be locked up in the USA for their actions) go to southern Thailand.  As a result, the Thais there have been described by expats and tourists as 'mercenary'.  In the north, they haven't gotten so burned out on tourists - you are seen as a rarity.  Like finding a dead leprechaun in your box of Lucky Charms cereal.


The place was run by either a ladyboy or transvestite who had smashed into the wrong side of forty.  I negotiated with her as they wanted to charge me 250 baht.  After getting it down to 200 baht for a 'shave and a haircut', I had all the hair removed.  Any drill sergeant would have been well pleased with my shiny melon.

Approaching her to pay, I said "Am I pretty now?"  "No!"  Not even any hesitation.  Ain't that a bitch?


Another good thing about going to that part of town at night is it seems to be the location of a huge night market - and that means Thai street food.   There were a lot of things which looked like they would have been right at home in the writings of Abdul Alhazred rather than on the end of a skewer.  Since my bowels haven't been acting up too badly lately, I'll take them out tomorrow night.

If you don't know what this is, you clearly haven't read enough Lovecraft.

It's one of the interesting things about SE Asia.  People don't like to go out during the day (other than to work, presumably) so between about sundown and ten PM is when everything happens.  After that, most people head right to bed.  It's a fairly narrow window.

Since I don't enjoy traveling out at night (it's when all the bad shit happens), I normally don't participate much in this.



TRAVELER'S TIP

Need to find someone who can speak English?  Here are some places you might find someone.

Hotels/hostels/guesthouses
Pharmacy/hospital
Computer/phone supply store

Essentially, you are looking for educated people.  Some young people will be able to speak English but are often 'shy' about attempting it.



HOW TO TAKE A SHOWER


This works for anywhere you are staying - especially if it is a cheap place.

Most people like to get into the shower and soak in the water, letting the pulse relax them.  Eventually they get down to the business of soap and cleaning.  Or, applying a lot of chemicals if they are so inclined.

In Asia especially, the order must be reversed.

As soon as the water hits a bearable level, you ruthlessly clean yourself as quickly and efficiently as possible.  After that, you can stand around and soak.

Why?

Because the electricity powering the 'oh god will this electrocute me' device that heats the water (a bit) may suddenly go off.

Or the hot water may suddenly end.

Or the temperature of the water may suddenly erratically alternate between scalding and ice crystals.

Or you may actually begin to get electrocuted.


Don't even think about complaining to the management.  They will either tell you there is nothing they can do, tell you to wait 'five minutes' (a unit of time ranging between twenty minutes and never) or offer to have you trundle all your crap to a different room.  Which will either have the same or worse problems.

Showering in this manner gives you the greatest chance of actually getting 'clean' before everything goes to hell.



BORDER CROSSING - THAILAND TO CAMBODIA

This is a fantastic article.



TV SHOW REVIEW

Limitless (2015)

They took something which is scientifically not correct (the 'we only use 10% of our brain' misconception) and made a movie out of it.  This in turn has spawned a TV show.

It's pretty much a 'buddy cop' drama - one of the few things they feel they really can't beat to death in TV and movies.  Though they do try.

It's OK (5/10 on my scale) but again, the writers are lazy.  For someone who is suppose to suddenly be the 'smartest guy in the area' from taking this wunder drug (yes, I used the German spelling for a double entendre thing there.  If you don't get the meaning, go back to WW2.) this guy is about as clever as spaghetti.  You'd think that it would be the whole 'plans within plans' thing.  You'd be wrong.  Lazy writing.


Even if he isn't the kind of guy who thinks like that, being on the drug allows him instant recall and such - he could simply read 'The Prince' and be in a much better position.



Sunday, November 1, 2015

FIFTY BAHT

BECAUSE FUCK VIETNAM

No Facebook allowing sonsabitches!

But seriously - not even interested in going back.  After listening to a half dozen stories from various tourists who got mugged (as in 'I have a knife - give me your shit') I'm thinking 'yeah - nothing I am even interested in seeing there'.

But Logan, they have Pho!  For those who don't know, Pho is pretty much the only famous food they seem to have in Vietnam.  It's thick noodled soup.  Whoopie fucking do!

It will never look this good.

No.  Not interested at this time in going back.  Perhaps in the future but for now it is all about attempting to defeat my base desires to save money.  Excuse me while I take another sip of my overpriced beer then have a cigarette.  Obviously, defeating these 'base desires' is an ongoing process.  And they have almond M&M's at the 7-11.  Which doesn't fucking help things.

At least they don't have them in cheap kilo bags here or I'd be done.

After spending a couple weeks in a place most tourists spend a couple days in - usually drunk - it was time to move on.  Though my horrible stomach problems (gosh that sounds nicer than reality) had cleared up, my conjunctivitis hadn't and I started wondering if heading back to Thailand might help.  Forgetting for a minute that I'd initially gotten it in Thailand.

Not a picture I took but it does summarize Laos for me.  Drunken white people on inter-tubes.   If they were more drunk and maybe there was a dead body floating down steam in the background, it would be more accurate.

Because I was feeling a bit bored, I decided to ramp up the difficulty on myself a bit and cross the border 'as the locals do'.

It was cheap though a bit confusing and takes more time.

I'd taken the luxury VIP bus (VIP in name only) to Vientiane.  Rather than take the large tuk tuks which were piling ten or a dozen bewildered tourists at a time on - and charging them 50,000 to 80,000 kip each, I wandered around the neighborhood of the bus station for awhile to see what was there.

Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.

It's kind of funny how old west ghost towns have better architecture and building skills than a lot of the places I currently live.  In this picture, we show a tumble weed.  Which they should import to the area near the bus station and just have it blow around to show how desolate the place is.

It is pretty much a desolate no man's land.  Not as bad as the 38th parallel but pretty ugly.  I did manage to find one hotel but they wanted 120,000 kip per night.  Given the remoteness of the location, I thought the price was pretty outrageous.  After getting my fill of wandering around with all my earthly possessions weighing me down, I wandered back to the bus station and checked it out.

Eventually I came across a clean nice (gift from your friends in Japan!  Forget about history, please!) bus which could take me on the same journey as the tourists had for 50,000 to 80,000 for 5000 kip.

Nearly free.

In fact, the bus driver told me that it could take me to Thailand.

Not quite right, but it turned out to be close enough.

Keep in mind that nobody spoke any English.  This was mostly hand signs and a little phone translation.  It seems that Thai doesn't translate well on the phone.  If you translate something into Thai then that back into English it is completely incomprehensible.  Not sure what's up with their language or the translation.

The bus driver kindly stopped the bus in the center of town and directed me to some other buses.  Ticket for this one was 6000 kip and it took me to 'Friendship Bridge'.

Completely uninspiring architecture

 I converted my remaining kip into baht, paid my 50 baht 'overtime' bribe and was checked out of Laos.

No foot traffic is permitted on Friendship bridge - despite the sidewalks.  My guess is so that people get to spend money on the 50 baht bus that takes you the short distance over to the Thai border.  It would be a long walk with all of the gear so I didn't begrudge the bus.

On the Thai side, the only hiccup was I kept insisting I would be staying at an address in Thailand while showing the border guard a Laos business card.  Eventually, the guard got it into his head that I was an idiot.  Eventually, I dug up the correct card.  I don't think they really give a shit about where you are going to be staying but it is more that 'every box must be filled out'.  My guess is that sometime in the past they had an 'incident' (like with the trains and booze - see early blog entries).  They seem very reactionary in Thailand.  Incident, new rules.  Kind of like the USA but with less self serving evil initially.  See also the TSA.

It's all about the money.

 Another 50 baht (they like that number) tuk tuk ride from the border to the not as close as I'd hoped train station and I was off.

Not really - more of buy a ticket, sit and wait.

At first, the man behind the counter wanted to sell me a third class ticket - for about 50 baht.  After traveling as many hours as I had, I knew better.  They didn't have any first class (non-existent) so I picked up a second class ticket for 140 baht.  Aside from more comfort, you also have a much higher chance of sitting with or near people who speak English.  They can tell you many wonderful things including 'this is your stop'.

Needless to say, it was bloody easy to get back to a hotel (50 baht - really) that I had the business card for once I again reached Khon Kaen.

It's kind of sad I didn't have a bunch of 50 baht notes on me.

I'm pondering the idea of figuring out what train stops would be on my way to Siem Reap (Mexican food!) and just hitting those as I go.

Now that's pretty jaded.  I'm just going to a town to eat food that is foreign to it.  And don't forget their margaritas...



TRAVELER'S TIPS

When traveling to Thailand, get an address of a hotel.  The full address.  Be sure to write it down on the forms you have to fill out when entering the country.  It doesn't matter if you will be actually staying there, have ever stayed there or if it even exists - so long as it looks authentic.  Forms like to have every box filled out.


As we've covered before, you want to carry a notebook.  I would go so far as to say 'if you're not carrying a notebook and a pen, you are fucking up badly'.  Jotting down interesting things, writing your memoirs, having someone write the name of a place in the local language to make it easy to show to the non-English speaking cab driver and so on.  The notebook is also super handy for storing business cards, small maps, business cards, etc.  Just be sure to take out these things before handing it to a local to read or they will inevitably dump all of that stuff out.  Regardless of how carefully you try to hand it to them, they will take it by a corner and give it a quick shake.  I've no idea why.  Just keep all of your lose papers in a bundle so you can quickly remove them.  Notebook - small hardback, no spiral.  Trust me.


If you want to travel like a local, the trick is you have to slow down.  Take some time to just sit down and watch how things function.  Spend time wandering around.  You can save a ton of money if you do that.  Most people don't.  They are tired, cranky, in a hurry or just lazy.  Nothing wrong with that but if you want to save money you have to figure out what the 'local track' is and hop on to that instead of the more expensive - but faster, more convenient and a bit more English spoken - tourist track.



LAOS CUSTOMS

While I was sitting around drinking with some Laos guys, I asked why there were no 'public displays of affection' - even between married couples.

The reason they gave is that in Laos (and possibly northern Thailand, not sure on this) there is no 'try before you buy' - IE premarital sex.  So, everyone is apparently 'setting an example for the kiddies'.

Looking at it from the filters of the USA culture, this is baffling in a lot of aspects.  First, in the USA they have a long tradition of teaching 'do as I say, not as I do'.  Also, in the USA a good example would probably not override most teen hormones.

Interesting and confusing to me.




Tuesday, October 27, 2015

BACKHANDING THE LOCALS

SINGING

I don't remember which episode of South Park had it but they spent the show making fun of some tone deaf bint who did the most awful singing ever.

Worse is going on outside and has been all fucking day.

Asian music is bad enough when professionals do it.  When tone deaf people do karaoke of it, it is indescribable.   When I first heard it, I thought people were being ritualistically tortured to music.  Later, I discovered I was the one being tortured.

All this is going on due to some boat races that went on somewhere earlier in the day.  The town now has license to party and the locals are doing so...badly.

Fortunately, I'd been warned of the unofficial holiday ahead of time and despite wanting to leave the small town I'm in decided to put off travel for a couple days.  Never travel during local holidays.



PARANOIA

You know, there are times when my paranoia just flares up.

Like when a pretty girl sits down next to me and wants to rub up and down against me.

Since I look (and weigh) as I do, the first thing I think it 'prostitute'.

And I've not been let down in that assumption yet.

My charm can take decades to work on a lady.  Decades.

So I'm at a bar with a new friend (hi Christian!) and we're having a quiet drink outside away from the overly loud music when some random scrumpet (from Lao) sits down next to me and wants to get all chatty.

Immediately, my arm goes over and stays over my bag.  Pickpockets are not unheard of.

Fortunately, Christian is a German so we share this language.  I tell him (in German) 'she wants to have sex for money'.  He agrees.

She tells a lot of vague lies (most people are not trained in lying) about how she's been to the country Christian is from.  Her lies were pretty transparent.

She wanted us to go to another club with her where no doubt she would get a kickback from the various drinks we were to buy her.  Or we'd just get mugged.  Switching clubs is never a good idea.

In German, I urge him to finish his drink.  It is late enough that things can go 'pear shaped' very quickly.   We managed to extricate ourselves from the young(ish) lady quickly and depart.

For those who wish to loudly bitch 'can't a young(ish) lady have a drink with other people' and 'women should be allowed to dress as they wish' I can only respond "Have you seen me?"  It would take a woman being really blind drunk to think I am physically attractive.  While women might like my mind or perhaps even charisma, there is simply not enough alcohol in the world for anyone to think of my body as some sort of 'sex object'.   It's not like I'm Robert Downey Junior.

"Wait - how did I get sucked into this asshole's blog?"

For people not accustomed to this type of treatment, I must hasten to point out that the way you extricate yourself from this situation is very important.  Fortunately, my friend had the right angle - "We have to get up early in the morning for a bus."  You want them to think you are too busy and possibly self involved to get together with them.  It is never appropriate to backhand them and yell "Begone ye harlot!"

Note, there may be many countries in which backhanding the locals is appropriate but it doesn't strike me as a good way to 'win friends and influence people'.



COSTS

Two vodka drinks with t-shirt, 50,000 kip.  Only available at one bar 'saguro' or some such.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

LAOS - LAND OF THE CAUTIOUS FART AND WATERFALL ASS

LAOS - LAND OF THE CAUTIOUS FART AND WATERFALL ASS


Lao does have a 'special' place in my memory of the worst food poisoning I'd ever received last time I was here.  Last night, second worst.

Because I'd eaten so little during the day, I know exactly which restaurant gave me the food poisoning.  It was a nice little Korean eatery with excellent food.  On the way in.  Whereas I've eaten street food and been fine.



MEDICAL REPORT

Another country, another hospital.

Fortunately, my foot pain seems to have dissipated.  This is odd as I thought I'd have to get a wooden peg and a crutch.


After the hammer and chisel Thai massage, my shins have also gone back to closer to normal size.  It still surprises me that seems to have worked.

Unfortunately, my conjunctivitis is still with me after about ten days and my explosive diarrhea from food poisoning after three long, long days.

So I went to the hospital.

It is suspiciously close to where I am staying which may lead some to assume that I had chosen this place which was a close walk to the hospital.  They would be wrong.  I am just lucky.

They gave me some new medicine to try out and I am back to drinking salt flavored salt (yes, really) in my water to try to regain stuff lost in the toilet.

There was only one other foreigner who showed up as I was leaving and she looked miserable.  I'm guessing either food poisoning, heat stroke or both.

Foreigner price to see doctor, 70,000 kip.  Less than I am paying per night for my room.  Good value.



HOW TO SELECT A PLACE TO STAY

Let's think about it for a minute - what is your most important sense when choosing a place to stay?

Many people would say sight - if the place looks clean and well kept...

But I say it is hearing.

Get it?

After I've established a 'base camp', I will often wander around the town with headphones on, listening to books.  Not so when I am looking for a place to stay.

Hearing is vital.

That may not sink in, so I will state it again:  Hearing is vital.

If you are wandering around, concentrating on something else - like your cell phone clutched in your hand like a new appendage, you lose.

You have to go around and listen.

Why is this?

Assuming you are not some sort of religious nut who isn't allowed to drink any alcohol - or a past alcoholic who is trying to kick the habit, chances are you will want to sleep in.  Perhaps you are not going to get blasted but you want to have a very active day then sleep in.

That crazy Garfield.

If you forego listening to the surroundings you will be rudely awoken early and not well pleased by the experience.

Here are some of the things to keep an ear out for:

Construction (they start early in the morning)
Chickens (they like to crow often and at all hours)
Children (their voices cut through my soul like broken shards of glass)
Churches, mosques and other god-botherers (they tend to call him loudly)

Seriously - all of these are horrible things to be woken up early by.  If the hostel/hotel/guesthouse is within a couple blocks of them, chances are good you will wake up yelling "What the fuck?!"

You won't be yelling "What the fuck?" as well as he, but that's why he gets paid the big bucks.

Avoid them as you would earthquakes or rattlesnakes.

Note that in some towns, it is simply not possible.  In the town I currently am, many locals seem to make their living through banging pieces of metal together, operating band saws and just hammering on various things.  But do your best.



COSTS

Room, somewhere between 50,000 kip and 100,000 kip.  The lower end gives fan, upper end gives AC.  For luxury rooms the the two finer resorts in the area, about $50 USD per night.

Food, 20,000 to 50,000 kip.  Lower end gives you street food, upper end for foreigner run businesses.

Water, about 5000 kip for the small (half liter) one at a restaurant.  Water is cheap.  Might be 5000 for a liter at a grocery store.

Pringles, 20,000 kip.

Emergency room doctor visit, doctor speaks OK English, 70,000 kip.

Mosquito killer, room spray (seriously the stuff you put on yourself is just not enough), 20,000 kip.

Medicine, various - it's cheap here folks.  Under 50,000 kip for eye drops, salt packets and pills for the butt.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

LOGAN IS A BIG PUSSY

KHON KAEN TO VANG VIENG

The problem with being off of the beaten tourist trail is convenience.  The oh so annoying tuk tuk drivers are sorely missed when you want cheap transport.  Nobody speaks English.  They don't seem to read Thai well either.

It's a little harder and you need a lot more patience.

Through a combination of Google translate, sign language and interpretive dance, I was able to convince them there is indeed a Laos consulate and I wanted to go there.  After getting them to agree it might indeed be possible to get there by taxi, I had them call a taxi.

Showed the printed version "Laos consulate" to the taxi driver who said "OK".  After all the crap I went through with the people at the hotel desk this makes me believe they should be told as little as possible.  Just "I want a taxi" and when they keep asking "Where go?" just respond "Yes, taxi!"


The Lao consulate was a treat.  You walk in, give them your passport, one of the dozen small photos you keep of yourself (if you've been reading the blog any length of time and don't, that's on you - see 'traveler's tips' sections) and the money.  Presto.  About ten minutes later you get a visa.  Another nice thing is that the visa itself is good for two months.  You have that long to get into the country and then that starts your total of one month of time within the country.  In other words, you can get the visa - stay in Thailand for say six weeks then go to Lao and you get one month in Lao.  Handy.

Normally, you are able to get bus tickets a few days in advance.

Not so for the 'international bus'.  You have to buy the ticket about an hour before the bus leaves.   Not earlier - the office isn't open.

Note this is a lot handier than getting transport to 'friendship bridge', getting rolled by unscrupulous taxi, tuk tuk and bus drivers and eventually finding other transport into Laos.  Believe me, those assholes are waiting for you at the border.  To use the international bus, you just need your Lao visa ahead of time.  No visa, no ticket.

Before catching the international bus, I'd read a lot about it on the internet - AC bus, non- AC bus, they are luxurious, etc.

What a load of shit.


There is one bus.  It leaves sometime between eight and nine.  Buy your tickets around seven AM.  There is another later in the afternoon if you screw that up.

There is only one bus.  The only time it may have been grand is in the seventies.  Maybe.

Considering it is a relatively short (under five or six hours) trip, it is bearable but not really comfortable.  I turned off and went into my usual 'traveler's funk' where you are either asleep, dozing, meditating or just switched off.

Sometimes, I am difficult to rouse.

The strange thing is that they made a half hour meal stop on what is actually a fairly short bus trip.  I think it was 'fuck it, the bus driver needs to eat and can't be bothered to do it before his shift'.

The strangest and most annoying thing is at the Lao border you need to purchase a fifty baht 'over time pass card'.  Essentially, it is bribery with gates that only open when you put this card in.  If you get there before four PM, Monday through Friday supposedly you don't have to pay this bribe but other people have reported they had to pay a slightly reduced amount.  Shouldn't the government be paying it's employees?   Ah, corruption.


It's annoying but under two dollars.  Be sure to look for the small kiosk that sells this so you can just pick it up once you first get to the Lao side of the border and don't have to go back for it and try to understand people who should be able to express the need for this in English and can't.

We eventually arrived in Vientiene where the tuk tuk drivers were pushing in so close to the door I had to yell at them to move so I could get out of the bus.  Oh, the smell of money.  I ended up just falling on them because I'm clumsy.  My only worry was getting pick pocketed.

After getting a little hosed by a tuk tuk driver, I got taken to a money changer then the mini bus which goes from Vientiene to Vang Vieng.

I'd read a lot about how you have to be at the northern bus station, and how there were various types of buses and all of that.  Sure, that shit may exist, but you end up 'on the tourist trail' and when the tuk tuk driver hears you want a bus to Vang Vieng, they just take you to where the buses regularly leave.

When I say bus I mean 'uncomfortable small assed seats minivan crammed with other tourists'.  The other tourists are great to talk to.  Especially since when they say the ride is three hours, know that they are completely full of shit.  You're looking at nearly double that.

A little like this but much older and shittier.

After nightfall I arrived in Vang Vieng.  It's what I expected after reading it's entry on Wikitravel.  It's a small party town full of kids drunk on being so far from their parents and six dollar beers.   The beer here is freakishly expensive.  I look forward to getting back to Cambodia.

Getting shots is about half the price of beers.  Weird.

RETRACTION:  I don't know if it was the fatigue, lack of food, noise of the music or the thick Irish accent but I misheard 'fifteen' as 'fifty'.  The actual price is still about forty percent (roughly) more than Cambodia but definitely doable.

They have plenty of stores selling various bottles of alcohol.  I know I'll end up drinking room temperature booze in my room later.

After crawling out of the minivan, I got a couple fliers for food, a free drink at the only Irish bar in town and spent the night at an over priced hotel.

After eating a little bit of meat on a stick - my first food in twenty hours - I immediately had ten shots of various things at the Irish pub.  It helped being a bit buzzed but mainly I was punch drunk from lack of proper sleep, food and water.  Slept fine though.

While at the bar, I did meet a guy who had a 'backpackers hotel'.  Tried it the next day but without AC, I just sat there with sweat running down my body.  Said 'fuck this, I am going to be a big pussy' and went to a place I'd found after checking in to the backpacker place and just checked in there.  Surprisingly, I was given most of my money back at the backpacker place.  I'd not really expected to get anything back.

So now I'm hanging out in an AC place, fighting with their inconsistent internet and writing this blog.



CUSTOMS IN SE ASIA

There are no 'public displays of affection' at all.  Even if the people are married, you will never see them kiss, holding hands or violently mount each other dressed only in warpaint.

Be sure to yell "Surprise, mutherfucker!"

So does that mean you can't?  It's up to you.  I like to annoy the locals less.  You might not.  Who am I to tell you not to work them up into some sort of disgusted rage?

And now, for a picture that is easy on the eyes.

Because bewbs...



PRICES  (Thailand)

Laos visa, with small 'rush' bribe, 1600 baht.
The taxi to get there and back to your hotel including wait time and small bribe, 300 baht.
There and back again - a journey to the very inconveniently located 7 KM out of town because corruption wins bus station, 200 baht.


PRICES (Laos)

Large beer, 50,000 kip.  Yes, this is six dollars.  No, I have no idea why people are drinking beer here.  RETRACTION:  15,000 not 50,000.  See above.
Really cheap place, 50,000 kip.
Nice place with AC, 100,000 kip.
Best places I've found here, around $50 USD.  I've not looked at the rooms but for two people (who are not poor backpackers) this seems a pretty reasonable price for the best in the area.

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

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.