Thursday, July 27, 2006

Back to Arabville

My brief furlough from Arabville ends today with a flight back to Qatar then on to Kuwait, my albatross.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Back in Bkk

The bus rides from Siem Reap brought me back to Khao San Road around 10. I checked in, hauled my luggage to my room, then hit the street for a quick meal of meat-on-a-stick and a soy milk.

The obvious difference between the wats of Thailand and the wats of Cambodia is that the Thai wats are well preserved and are in no danger of being swallowed by a jungle hungry to reclaim its turf.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Pol Pot Holes

The first leg of my trip yesterday--a bus ride to the Thai/Cambodian border and the last leg--a share taxi from Poipet to Siem Reap brought to mind entering Louisiana from Mississippi on I-45. The highway is Mississippi and in Thailand is a smooth ride past farm fields. Once you cross into Cambodia or Louisiana the smooth ride ends. The road is more pot hole than road.

I have coined the pot holes in Cambodia "Pol Pot" holes.

I arrived at my hotel around 10:30. The desk clerk tried to pimp off a hooker by 10:35. I showed him my ring and politely said, "No thank you. I'm married." I remembered to smile, but he blushed just the same.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Thailand Morning

Meanwhile back in the deserts, this-ism and that-ism disrupt family life and summer sit down suppers. This-ism, that-ism whip up air raid sirens as jets scream overhead. Good God y'all--war. I'm heading to Cambodia tomorrow, grateful to be out of the desert for now.

It is blissful here to wake up late and head down to the coffee shop for breakfast. There is a fragrance and ambience about this scene that I can't quite break down, but it is safe, it's home, it feels like life in full throttle.

It is was familiar to me the first time I experienced it--the sites, sounds and smells of Mumbai, Kathmandu or Delhi; it is the same mix of gas omissions from tuk-tuks,decaying rubbish and noise/ the scent of raw coconut and heavy incense. It's perfumed street life east of the Persian Gulf, west of the Sea of Japan.

I won't be white water rafting in Cambodia because there is no white water rafting excursion available. I hope to opt out for a three-day eco-hike or a raft trip in Thailand. I imagine only two or three days touring Angkor Wat. I have a driver and guide lined up for Day One.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Vacation from Vacation

Domestic bliss and the cat zoo of Kuwait were a nice change of pace from in life in Abu Dhabi, but I need a break from the offensive heat of desert war rumors of war. As the count down to Armageddon clock ticks away in Lebanon, I have beat a retreat farther east with Purgatory to my back. I will be in Bangkok two more nights.

You know you're getting on in years when the first thing you do when you hit Bangkok is Google for a twelve step meeting.

I think I'll stroll down Khao San Road and treat myself to some Baskin Robbins.

The Yin of my trip will be Angkor Wat of course. The Yang probably won't get any more daring than managing to stay on my carbo free diet and shed some of the Homer Simpson gut I acquired in Abu Dhabi last year living alone and living off of convenient store staples.

Ana Zoija had me in aerobics class in Kuwait. The classes helped condition me to carry a 30 pound backpack at a fast clip for up to forty-five minutes. If I trek, I hope I won't slow others down.

I am in the worst shape of my life and trying to reverse that.

Getting to Poipet will be easy--hire a driver to take me to the Cambodian border, hire a driver in Cambodia to take me to Siem Reap.

Avoiding carbs may be a difficult maneauver in a rice and noodle culture.