Saturday, March 14, 2015



Went and did what I have started calling the "Barber Challenge".

Was told I could get a shave for 100 baht (about $3).  Hair - if I notice it, it's time for that shit to come off.  Time for the beard to go.  [Edit:  I am talking about my own hair - I do not shave strangers and other people.]

When I got to the barber, found out it was only 50 baht for a shave.

"If you cut me and I bleed, you get 50 baht.  If no blood, 100 baht."

Never been shaved so carefully in my life.

He 'won' the 100 baht.


Talking to people about town, I found what seems to be a strange thing.

Dollars to Thai Baht, good rate.
Dollars to Malaysian Ringgit, good rate.

Malaysian Ringgit to Thai Baht, good rate.

Thai Baht to Malaysian Ringgit, shitty rate.

Why?  Nobody knows.

So I will be continuing my personal 'Bourne Identity' game and just holding on to my extra Thai Baht.  At least it weighs less than the dollar coins I picked up in South America.



Due to the low cost airlines, passenger ferries have mostly died out.

Decided I'm going to try to do a bit more detailed research for what comes after Malaysia.  Not sure how much (or how little) I will like Penang/Georgetown so it would be a good idea to have the next leg ready.

As always, I would like to avoid flying.  However for less than $100, I can get a 'there and back again' ticket.  That's pretty tempting as opposed to the cramped van with loud music on a shitty road.

The downside is that it is flying in Malaysia - and as lots of people know that isn't a good thing.

Too soon?

Did Fox News milk the shit out of this tragedy?  You bet your ass they did.  With extra crazy heaped on top!

Talking to a Malaysian sex tourist (anyone who can tell you the price of whores1 either is using them or interviews people who are) he told me that Malacca is the place you go from Kuala Lumpur (KL) to Indonesia.  Hence, it may be possible for me to get to Indonesia by ferry after all.

This may be one of the things that I try to arrange when I get closer.  Checking in to the overly byzantine bureaucracy of Indonesia, Dumas is one of the permissible ports to get a visa on arrival from.  I was told the bribe2 cost (if needed) is 10-20 RM.

Hopefully, in Georgetown (Malaysia) enough tourists want to go to Indonesia to where it is part of the 'tourist trail'.3

Any time you are dealing with travel by water, you go back to a simpler time where things like internet presence, updates less than a decade old and even competency were not required.  Finding anything less than several years old on the internet about 'is it possible to get to Indonesia by ferry' doesn't seem possible.  Lots of five plus year old crap clogs up the search engines.

It's looking like I will need to check with travel agents in Georgetown then again in KL.  Even then I may not get the right information as everyone who would actually know has an agenda.

Not really the result I was hoping for.

It appears that in both Georgetown and KL's Chinatown that I should be able to just show up and find lodging.  There were a few warnings about Chinatown cheap lodging being mostly used by sex workers and infested but that's the chances you take when you are traveling cheaply.  Malacca also appears to have reasonably priced accommodations.

Need to do more research to discover which makes more sense - the flight or the ferry/bus option.
Medan to Aceh by bus is 11 hours.  Holy shit - Medan is the half way there point.  Hence, it might be an amazing 24 hours by buses on what are reportedly very shitty roads.

Starting to think the plane might not be a bad thing.

Or, for those who prefer the video version...

Checking out AirAsia, it looks like it will be about $84 (round trip) from KL to Banda Aceh.  Can't get to there from Penang.  So it'll be cheap and convenient.

If this is the third plane to disappear, avenge my death!


Ladies - do you think you've got it rough because the marketing ideal of beauty is thin?

Come to Thailand where it is THIN AND WHITE!

Talk about an unrealistic beauty standard.4

They even sell 'skin whitening' soap.  I've used it (the cheap option), still a white guy - no change in the skin.

In Thailand, people can brown up like a nut very quickly.  This is ironic because there are many women in the USA who would kill to be able to get that great of tan that quickly.  In many parts of SE Asia, you will see people (usually women) working outdoors fully covered in uncomfortable clothing to attempt to keep their skin as white as possible.  Perhaps that's where the phrase 'fair skinned' comes from.


While pretty much everyone on the planet can agree that plastic bags are a bad thing for the environment, for you the traveler they are good.

Keep an eye on what kind of bags you are getting.  If you come across a place that gives you clear plastic bags you will be shopping at, be sure to hoard those.  If not, just offer cash for a bunch when you come across a place like that.

These are better than buying waterproof bags for keeping your stuff in.  You can see what is inside without playing the 'lets open all my bags to find something' game.  In the rare occurrence your bag gets searched (unless you choose to dress as a hippie stoner) it will make the search go a little quicker.

'Randomly selected' for the intensive search.  What am I talking about?  Other countries don't worry about that 'PC' bullshit.  They think you look like trouble and break out the rubber gloves.

And, plastic shopping bags are cheap or free.

Also, don't forget to put anything that could potentially leak - including pens - into a plastic bag.


1Hookers: $30-$50 was the price I was told. The guy from Malaysia considered it 'cheap'. Remembering the far off days of my youth, I consider it not cheap - but cheaper than divorce, marriage or children.  Jerking off to internet porn, still the cheapest and mostly STD free!

2Bribery:  For those who haven't meticulously read my blog (shame on you), a good way to bribe a government official is to ask if there is a 'special fee' you can pay to 'expedite' things.  I'm not rich enough to just put a couple hundred dollar bills in the passport.  [Note, if you do that and they take offence, it means the bribe was too little.  Also, you can just apologize and say it is where you store emergency money.]

3Tourist Trail:  This is not an official path but rather the stuff that the average tourists do within a country.  One of the reasons tourists tend to run in to people they've already met is that all of the tourists generally do the same stuff.  The towns along this 'trail' generally have adequate places to stay and well established transportation lines.  While this is not the cheapest, it is the easiest.  If you can find out where the tourist trail is, you can 'go with the flow' while locals make assumptions like 'from here they will go to this other town' and you get more or less automatically channeled with other tourists.  It is important to know when to use - and when not to use - the 'tourist trails'.  If you are 'well off the tourist trail' finding lodging, people who speak any English, comprehensible transportation and so on may be difficult or impossible.

4Beauty Standards:  For those who become enraged at Logan's mention of beauty standards, it isn't my fault that society has it set up so that men have to make money to be handsome and women have to keep beautiful longer than is practical for humans.  We all have our crosses to bear.  Or, in some people's cases, extra fifty kilos.  If that makes you even madder, it's a joke, not a dick, don't take it so hard.  Plus - have you seen Logan?  Fortunately, being male, an extra five million dollars would make me 'cute' and 'forthright'.  It's a hell of a thing.

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{{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 | Thailand: Bangkok | Cambodia: Siem Reap

{{2018}} Ukraine: Kiev - Chernihiv - Uzhhorod

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