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Thursday, February 26, 2015

RAZY LACISM

A RACIST GAME FOR YOU TO PLAY

I was directed to a store called "Low-Bee-San".  I double checked twice on the pronunciation.   See if you can guess what name it really is.  Hints:  Not that uncommon of a last name for white people, also there is a song containing it from the ancient days before MP3's.

The answer to this will appear later in the blog.

Also, I found that if I pronounce it correctly, the locals have no idea what I am talking about.



SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA

It's always funny to me how judgmental travelers are of other travelers.

Unless you are doing the stuff they think should be done by other travelers, you are clearly wrong.

I was talking to a Dutch guy I'd met at Viva (the Mexican restaurant).  He asked me "Why did you come to Siem Reap?"

"To drink.  And eat Mexican food."

He's the kind of guy who likes to do 'home stays', eat a lot of local food and so on.

I explained that I've been traveling long enough that I've done all of those things at some time - I just like eating and drinking at that particular restaurant.

And...did I mention where I'd met this guy?


The last night I was staying at the guesthouse I'd been at for three weeks, Mr. Reeet had what started as a small party and quickly blossomed into lots of locals and foreigners.

While I was talking to one of the other guests, she asked how I was able to do something or other.

"Because I am Logan!"

She responded with an emphatic "Fuck you, Logan!"

I just grinned at here.  Should have gone the full Eddy Murphy though.



As I was packing up to leave, my Central American pants finally collapsed into a black hole and pulled themselves through to the other side.  It was sad.  After a couple seconds of mourning, I tossed them in the bin.  That leaves me only with the extremely durable wrap pants.   (See The Harpy & The Hag for all your wrap pants and clothing needs!  Still, one pair of pants is just not enough.  I knew I'd be stuck getting some in Thailand.



When I left on the $28 dollar 'big, fancy' bus it was neither so big nor as fancy as I'd hoped.  The seats weren't as large (or Logan is getting LARGER) and there was no real space in the over head rack.

Managed to get two seats to myself as they had the space and I asked the attendant if it would be OK to move.



BORDER - CAMBODIA / THAILAND

The best thing about the expensive bus is that you get a small placard to wear when you get off the bus at the border.  This lets the bus know who you are.

It also acts as a magical talisman and lets all of the border scam artists (there are many) know you are already with a certain bus.  Rather than attempting to scam you, they just indicate which direction you should be going.

For people unfamiliar with the border or travel, this itself is worth the extra money.

If you don't wear the bus talisman, you can always print out one of these to wear.  Not sure if it will help - let me know.

Unless you can find and hire one of the rare individuals with a push cart, you will be carrying all of your luggage about half a kilometer.  If you can't carry your stuff (by yourself) that far, you shouldn't have the stuff you do.  Oh - and there are some stairs to lug your stuff up.  Did I mention the unnecessary stairs?

Once there, I got a thirty day visa.

This confused me for two reasons though I failed to bring up either to the nice border guard.  First, I had read that people crossing the border by land received only a two week visa.  Second, I thought there was a thirty dollar or so cost for the visa.

I did notice he looked at one of my old Thai visas and seemed happy with that.

And so long as he is happy, I am happy.



BANGKOK, THAILAND

As expected, the bus dropped everyone off at Mo Chit ("Not enough Chit, damnit!  I need mo!") bus station.

Met up with a couple from the same bus.  They saw me dismiss a couple taxi drivers with phrases like "I don't even want to talk to you any more!" and asked what was up.

I was getting a lot of quotes to take me to the train station ranging between 500-800 Bhat.  Didn't want to tell people "Fuck off, thief!" but I was clearly showing my displeasure with them.

"Look", I told them "If you don't want to get ripped off, you have to leave the bus station area.  I am out of here."

They walked with me as far as an ATM (not far) but then the guy announced he wasn't walking "All the way to the road - it was too far."

These were young, healthy people.  As people who are familiar with me know, I have serious medical problems that make it so I can't even stand up straight.  On top of my numerous back problems (not helped by hauling 20KG plus of shit), my legs have swollen up with blood and one foot hurts like I sprained it, causing me to limp.  And I'm lazy.

And these young, healthy people think it's "too far"?

Pussies.

You've got to harden the fuck up a bit to travel.  I don't consider myself all that rugged.  Another thing is I have less money than common sense.  Well, I don't have much money at any rate.  Fuck it, I'm poor.  But why pay double to these rogues?

Ended up not making it all the way to the road before a 'meter taxi' picked me up and informed me it would be 200 bhat.

They do have a place where you can catch 'metered taxis' (ones that use the meter rather than shaft you deep and repeatedly) but there was such a huge line for them and they came so rarely it wasn't even something I considered.

So I decided to take the metered taxi.

And ended up back in the Bourne Identity.

For those who don't know, when I was young (and could literally turn my head) I did a bit of stupid stuff in cars.  High speed chases, car tag (where you bump the other car to tell them 'they are it') and so on.  I've rolled a car and gone through many cars.  No idea how many.  Got taught how to do a PIT Maneuver and so on.

When I got into this guy's taxi, he made me feel right at home.

This was the most aggressive driving I'd come across in a long time.  He didn't quite push people out of the way but did his best to make them want to get out of his way.  Oncoming traffic?  Sure - swerve into that shit.  We didn't quite go up on the sidewalk.  Had they been as small of curbs as in the US and not filled with various merchant's wares I'm sure it would have happened.  But they are steep in countries like this for a reason.

Because I've accepted death as my constant companion (as I typed this I was nearly fatally struck by a car today) and inevitable end, I didn't whine or clutch at the 'Jesus handles'.  Just figured we were making good time and planning my escape if we crashed.


We didn't quite 'drift race' but we did skid to a halt outside the train station.   The meter was only at 150 bhat or so for the half hour race of death but I just gave him the 200 baht he mentioned at the beginning.  He'd earned the tip.

Got on to the train.

When you have the sleepers (even if your trip is brief) you end up sitting across from the people who have the other cot.  There are no compartments.

It was a mother and daughter.  Despite my offering some Pringles, they were both terrified of me and wandered around the train until it was sleep time.

Not nearly so good at making friends as M&M's.

Food does not come with your train ticket.  Your choices include buying whatever crap they bring by (all the same) or ordering off the menu.

I was very excited after they brought me a menu in both Thai and English.  Thai is one of those languages that only people from here or fairly serious about staying in Thailand people bother to learn.  In other words, nearly no one.

Since there was no sign of the mother and kid from the seats facing mine, they set up the small table turning the seats into a booth.

Yeah.  Good fucking luck with that.

Here is the difference, pictorially, between Cambodian food and Thai food.

Cambodian bus food.

Thai train food.  The stuff I really liked was kept warm under the pineapple desert.

Above is the six dollar 'set meal'.  It was amazing.  Better than I've had at many restaurants.  "I don't know what this side dish I'm eating is and have never had it but it was so fucking good I'm spending a moment of silence when it is done in mourning" type of good.

The train appeared to be the 'non-Express' train despite it's name but after the first couple stops kicked in at a good rate.  It was noisy and bumpy.

Not something I felt I could sleep in.

But the journey was only five hours or so.

At seven PM I was told I either got to crawl up in the top bunk (yeah, right) or that I should go to the dining car.

Wait - there's a dining car?

And I could smoke in there.  And drink coffee.

I passed the rest of my trip chatting with train workers, the restaurant staff and armed railway police.  It was excellent.

In both of the Thai trains I've been on, the dining car hours are roughly five in the morning until ten at night.  Despite people getting on at various stops, they really haven't figured out shift work and such here.  Presumably, the staff crashes in the dining car.  The dining car is like a bumpy wind tunnel with all the windows down.  Very retro - very 1980's.


Here's an important safety tip - don't get up and go to the doors leading out until the train has come to a complete and final stop.  Unlike European trains, there isn't much room in there and the train staff told me that pretty much every day someone falls out.  Sometimes they're just injured.  Other times, they break their back or even die.  The train often jerks like a bucking bronco when it comes to it's final stop.  No Americans, you don't get to sue them.  They'd just say "Why you stupid and stand near open door?  You lucky they took you to hospital you so stupid."

Don't be a warning to others.



HUA HIN, THAILAND

14 hours of non stop travel including a 'fancy bus' that wasn't, an insane taxi driver who didn't mind doing stuff I'd previously seen mainly in American movie chase scenes, a train and a bit of walking have brought me to a beach town in Thailand. As soon as I spotted the Burger King and McDonalds I said "Logan, you done fucked up". This town is way too mainstream, hence expensive. Right now I am staying at a $15 shit hole crawling with mosquitoes with 'suspicious stains' on the pillow. I'm going to wander around tomorrow and look for a better spot if I can find one. Probably see the town for at least a day or two. Maybe even eat some Burger King's.

Got to BK's just before the changing of the menu.  Unlike in the states where if you want a burger one second after the restaurant has opened, in the rest of the world you wait until lunch time.  Who could possibly want a burger in the morning?  Besides Americans?

The self loathing is related to the patriotism?  Or is it indigestion?

After the fifteen hours of hell by bus, I decided another twelve by train would be just the thing.  Anything to escape Hua Hin.

It is so expensive there that the tuk tuk drivers won't negotiate.  They look disgusted at any offers less than 100 baht even for a three block ride.  Amazing.

500 baht gets you a tiny tiny room.  There is mosquito netting on some - but not all of the windows.  There is no mattress - just a box spring.  Talking to some other tourists who stayed at different places, I found out they also had no mattresses.   Why they do this is unknown.  And who gets the mattresses?

So what did Logan think of Hua Hin?  The world may never know.

Could Hua Hin have spirit?  Almost certainly.  Spirit beyond "Hey, give me money foreigner?"  Perhaps?



TRAIN HUA HIN TO HAT YAI

Leaves either in the middle of the night or supposedly at 17:17 to arrive at 06:00.

Deciding seven hours hanging out at the train station with all of my bags sounded outstanding.

The train actually arrived at 18:30.

Unsurprisingly, some random tourist took the time to tell me "This train is shit - it came an hour late."  Rather than explain to him I knew and had been waiting the extra hour I smiled and nodded then got on the train.  I didn't mind it arriving an hour late as that should put me in closer to seven.  Note, it ended up being a bit after 08:30 - apparently it is becoming later and later.



HAT YAI

Irony places a surprisingly large part in my life.  This is probably ironic.

The first place I went to I ended up staying - after visiting half a dozen others.  This place is fairly shabby but the others ranged from "You want HOW MUCH for a room?  I don't want to buy the room, just rent it!" to "So you are supplemented by the government to keep prisoners here?"

They have one hostel in town (Hat Yai Hostel - no points for creativity there) but the rooms are basic.  When I say basic I mean they couldn't throw in a table and fucking chair.  Not sure why anyone would ever stay in their private room.  For the same money or a dollar and a half more you can get much better.

With my Stupidcard1 in hand, covered in sweat, unwashed for a day and smelling like it, I took to the streets to find a tailor.

I did - but it's pretty crazy expensive.  I tried to get the same kind of cloth (cotton) that my wrap pants are made from but I am getting charged a bunch extra because "You so fat!"

Fortunately, I found a bunch of places I can eat for about a dollar and a half so I'll be doing that for a bit.



RACIST GAME - ANSWER!

Remember the game before where you had to guess what the locals really meant by "Low-Bee-San"?

The answer is "Robinson".

Yeah.  That one baffled me to when a guy was pointing at the sign saying "You see?  You see?"

Want extra fun?

Watch THIS video.  Any time they say "Robinson", say "Low-Bee-San" in a mechanical voice.

Is it possible to remain sad after doing so?  I doubt it.

And to end with an alarming thought - what if the Thais are the ones actually pronouncing it correctly and in America we've been fucking it up for years?

Mind...blown.

Full credit to Jimmy Carr for the title of this blog.  Go buy his stuff.  I mean anything.  Even if people just robbed his house and are selling his shit on the street - buy it.



DESCRIPTION OF THE BLOG

From the incomparable Kevin D:

"I suggest getting a tetanus shot and wearing rubber gloves before reading any of his articles. The best description of his blog is the T.V. series "An Idiot Abroad| mixed with "Monty Pythons Flying Circus," basically the ramblings of a deranged mind that to your surprise is not on illegal drugs. It is however best read if you have drank a large quantity of alcohol. I am currently in therapy including shock treatment after reading just two paragraphs of his ramblings. I highly suggest checking it out."


Logan's Voyage is more fun than collecting a pyramid of human skulls.  Well...not really.



A SPECIAL THANKS TO JASON P

He made this.

I'm with the army of the 12 Monkeys!



VIDEOS

Evil Spirits 1, 2
Louis Guest House, Hat Yai - very close to train



PRICES - HUA HIN

Burger King; breakfast $4.  Lunch $10.
Shitty room, 500 baht


PRICES - HAT YAI

Custom tailored pants, 2300 baht.  -30 to -50% if you are one of those skinny people.




1 A StupidCard is the business card of the hotel you are staying in.  If you don't get one when you check in, you are stupid.  If you get lost, you use it to show locals so they can direct you back where you are staying.  For this reason, the best cards are in the local language rather than English.  A map on the back is less helpful than one would think because usually the locals can't read a map as there is no money to be had in map reading.

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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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