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Sunday, February 1, 2015

CHANGES WITHIN CAMBODIA

UPCOMING PLANS

For some odd reason, I woke up at 7:30 AM.  Fought to get back to sleep and failed.  Guessing it may be excitement for heading to a different country.  This sometimes happens.  Pain in the ass.

The plan for those who are curious:

Tomorrow, Guy is taking me to a train that goes to the airport here in Johannesburg.  We are to arrive there by 6 PM.  The train shouldn't take too long.

Once I get to the airport, I'm going to wait around for a few hours.  Only fools don't arrive plenty early for international flights.

The plane will then take me to Bangkok.   There is a shuttle from the new airport to the old one I must take.  It's free!

Rather than blow a bunch of money (up to $50) for a place to stay connected to the airport, I'm just going to crash in the airport for about twenty four hours.  It's not fun but that's just how the flights go.

Fortunately, I remembered to check that the airports are both open 24 hours a day.  They aren't in some countries in order to drive out the riff raff.

Yes, I realize I may be part of the riff raff.

After a long assed wait in the airport, I fly to Cambodia.  Back to Siem Reap.  Assuming my usual hotel will give me my usual rate, I'll probably hang out there for a month - the normal visa time.  Plus, that is long enough for that town.  Going to eat a lot of cheap Mexican(ish) and Indian food.  Buy some extra cheap ear buds.

After that, I'm really not sure where to head.  Might do some research on various ferries that go to different countries.  While the ferries are pretty dangerous, they seem safer than any flight out of Malaysia - where they have trouble keeping track of the planes.

I'd like to head back to Dani's Home Stay in Indonesia (beautiful place).

Need to research several new (to me) countries to see if they are affordable and such such as Singapore, Timor, Papua New Guinea and Korea.

Use to live in Korea decades ago (still speak some Korean!) and would like to eat a bunch of Korean food.  Good stuff.

Other than that, I'm not sure what else will come about in Asia.  My goal is to stay there for say 15 months.  By the time I'm ready to move out I'd like to be past the nasty winter.

We'll see how that goes.



JUGGER

This is the best thing I found out about in South African NERO.

Here is a video of the sport:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9Zg_aEPME4&feature=youtu.be

Here are the rules:  https://www.teana.co.za/DownloadFiles/Teana%20-%20Jugger.pdf

This is an excellent sport.  As you can see in the video, there are several men and women who like to play it and can compete on a very equal field.  It doesn't require much in the way of props either.  In addition to two sets of short swords, two handed swords and sword/shield, you need a skull and two goal things.  The only other things not really seen in the video is a steel hammer and some large steel thing that is hit at a beat per couple seconds rhythm throughout the game.  If you listen carefully you can hear it behind the music in the video.  Everyone would need either matching t-shirts or tabbards as well.

This is a sport that if people try it out in NERO (in the USA) I'm convinced it will catch on.  It's quite tactical and fun to play and even fun to watch.  (In the video I am the fat guy with the light blue bandanna).

If this catches on as I hope it will in the USA, I could even see NERO chapters having their own jugger teams and challenging other NERO chapters to matches.  This could be big.

[For anyone who cares about such things, I've been told this game originally comes from an old movie called 'Blood of Heroes'.  It may even be played within some other LARPs but I've not seen it at NERO in my over a decade of NERO.  Nor heard of it there.]

My thanks to NERO South Africa (Teana) for introducing me to this very interesting game within NERO!

Note:  Yes, I am aware of the movie it came from.

Note:  Yes, I am sure they play it plenty in other LARPs.  However, in close on two decades of NERO, I've not heard about it.  Neither in the game or in monitoring other chapters boards.  Hence, I discount reports of 'oh, we play it'.  Clearly not enough if it doesn't even make your chapter board.



SWITCHING CONTINENTS

When the time to leave South Africa drew closer, one question I was often asked is "Will you return to South Africa?"

My life is very strange.  Honestly, I can't answer that.

A better question would be "Do you have any desire to ever return to South Africa?"

Mixed feelings there.

Like every other country, there are upsides and downsides to South Africa.

The downsides include feeling like you're living inside of a prison, the $1200 price tag to go there and get back out again, etc.  The upsides include getting to hang out with some really great people.

Hence, I don't know.  If a good enough external reason presents itself, it is possible.



BAG WEIGHTS

Big bag, 14 KG.  The little bag with just the computer shit, 9 KG.

How about that?



WELCOME TO THAILAND, BITCHES

The sources I read on how to get the free shuttle from the new airport to the old were only mostly correct.

For anyone who wants to do it, exit through door 3 (NOT 2) and look immediately to your right.  It's a full sized big white bus.  Good news, the airports are the only stops.


Coming from the UAE there was absolutely no question of 'proof of onward travel' despite many web pages saying Thailand demands this.


Don Muang (old airport) actually kind of sucks to 'bed down' in.  If you need to, I'd suggest hanging out in the new airport then when the time for your flight approaches, catch the free shuttle over there.

While the old airport does indeed have Krispy Creame, McDonalds, Dairy Queen and Subway those are all after passport control.  You can't even get in to the airport proper until six hours before your flight and the good area about three hours before your flight.  Until these times, you stay in the sucky area with shitty restaurants charging $15 for meals they can't even make look appetizing on their own menus.


Playing the "Jason Bourne" game - ie having currency from various different countries - is really neat when you head back to one you actually have the correct currency for.  The rest of the time it is a pain in the ass.


Despite the numerous signs saying that carry on luggage for Air Asia is limited to 7 KG, the check in guy was much more lenient about it.  He encouraged me to keep the cabling with the computer despite it possibly pushing the weight past it's limit.  Not that anyone ever weighed any of the check in bags.  This is a big difference from Ryan Air (the European discount airlines) which only allows you one bag and is ready to charge you more at any time.


Air Asia priority seating, from left to right:  Mummies, old people, people in wheel chairs, pregnant or fat people wearing dresses, people wearing dresses with a monkey lodged in their chest.



BACK IN CAMBODIA AGAIN

Imagine if you will, Logan on heavy sleep deprivation.  Haven't slept more than an hour or two at any one time for the last day or two.  What do you do?

Go drinking, of course.

After getting a kind of shitty hostel, my first stop was to go to Viva Mexican restaurant.

Viva Viva!

They sell a 'bucket' (not a bucket but a half liter glass) of margaritas for $5.  Snagged that up immediately.

While I was drinking, a man with a whiny voice was attempting to grill a waiter on what kind of oil they use to cook with.  He then demanded to speak with the manager about it.  This is the kind of normally powerless twit that isn't really tough enough to go travel.  How he wandered into a third wold country is a mystery.  Hopefully, he won't survive it.



"LUCKY" MAN

After arriving at the airport, I ignored the taxis and headed out to the street to grab a tuk tuk.  They cost less than half.

During the negotiation for the tuk tuk, I mentioned I'd spent a lot of time in country.  Rather than the tourist rip off price, they started at $6.  I haggled down to $5.  If you don't haggle you're either rich or an idiot but most often both.

As we were headed in to the city itself, I reflected at how cool it would be to know hundreds of cities so well all over the world...

I didn't really know the city so well as I'd hoped.

Gone.

My beautiful hotel, gone.  The one which gave me a great room for just $10 per night.  The hotel where I'd bribed the people I'd interacted with.  The people who - last time I was in town treated me like a VIP.

Fucking gone.

New hotel at double the price with the same rooms.  None of the old staff.

Well, fuck that.

The tuk tuk driver took me to about five other places which were actually kind of crappy.  Eventually, I shocked him by giving him an extra five dollars and thanking him for his time.

He called me "Lucky man" because everything was either fully booked, over priced or just sucked.

After checking into a crappy room, I went looking and within an hour found one which gave me an air conditioned room for $12.  Close enough.

Note that most AC rooms are $15 to $20.  The people will tell you there are none cheaper.

They are full of shit.

After checking in, heading to the Mexican restaurant, staggering around for a couple (or few) hours and hitting a bar for a couple quick beers, I eventually decided on a quick nap.

Out like a light for twelve hours.

Twelve.

Sure, teenagers and people bored with their lives can sleep that long but I wanted to go do things and look around.

Like a light.

After waking up, I switched hotels to the one I'd found after sending the tuk tuk driver off.

For some reason, I always have better luck doing these things myself.


The next day, I headed back to my normal stomping grounds near the 'Old Market'.  Found a restaurant which use to be my old breakfast nook.  The owner and his wife still remember me there and were very happy to see me again.

Gossiping with them revealed that the new martial rule in Thailand (where they are actually enforcing the laws now) has been excellent business for Cambodia.  All of the people who were living illegally in Thailand doing 'border runs' to update their visa now have to go actually live for a time in a different county.  This has caused quite an up swell of business in Cambodia.  Also, the possibility of some new EU Asian style has a lot of stuff being built.

Before Anne Rice lost a love one, went crazy and returned to religion (death doesn't become her it seems) she reportedly did things like sleep in coffins to try to 'get into the mind' of vampires.

I do this by just wandering around.

I think vampires would often be depressed at how much areas have changed.  The places they love and the people they knew are always gone.

Boy, that sucks.  Hell, it's been only a year and a half or so since I was here and everything is changing.


The tourist age varies wildly from really young looking kids up to old folks trying to see the world before they die.  Most tourists I've been told stay in Siem Reap from 1-3 days.  Honestly, if all you are coming to do is see Angkor Wat that's probably enough time though the town is not bad.


Reminder - if you decide to head to Angkor Wat, be sure to watch the movie Tomb Raider before you go.  Despite the movie being made as recently as 1991, nobody seems to have heard of it now.  It's always fun to see things you've just seen in the movies.


All of these changes here make me wonder if Burma (now called Myanmar) might be good to head to.  Get that 'unspoiled' thing.  I'm still worried about the currency issue though.  Take in all of the money you will need in perfect condition because there are no ATMs.



THE GREAT ATM HUNT

Nasty shock today.  Tried five ATM's.  No money.

Did they charge my credit card and not give me any money?  Is it a repeat of Central America?

No.

They may have been just out of money.

Yes, this is the kind of country that kind of shit happens in.  Well, it is Sunday...

Fortuitously, the ATM right across the street from the hostel I'm in worked.  It stiffed me for $10 of charges but it worked.  The ATM charges are fixed in this country.  Regardless of the amount you take out, the charges are always the same.  Hence, it is an IQ test.  Do you take out 'just what you need'?  If so, you lose more money.


So what am I doing tonight?

Bottle of rum and movies.



PRICES

Tuk tuk into the famous Angkor Wat, $15 to $20 depending what you want to see.

Winston Lights (cigarettes, pack of 20), .70 (cents)

Big bottle of Glenlivets (whiskey), $12

Can of Coca Cola Light, .60 ($11 by the case)

Can of beer, .60 ($11 by the case)

Bottle of Cuapupo Gold Rum, $9

2 comments:

  1. This might be a useful infographic for you to show how cost of living is around the world (averaged for a country).
    http://www.movehub.com/blog/living-costs-world-map

    ReplyDelete
  2. It wants a lot more information than I want to put in.

    ReplyDelete

PICTURES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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