Updates from May, 2014 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • hardie karges 12:40 pm on May 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , ,   

    #Takhaek #Laos: Lazy River, Sleepy City 

    Takhek, Laos PDR: Sleepy City

    Takhek, Laos PDR: Sleepy City

     

    It’s a long way—and a tough road—from Xam Neua, near the Vietnamese border, to Phonsavan, Xieng Khoang, on the Plain of Jars, to Takhek on the Mekong River rim, even with an overnight break, down down down through bush and brush, savannah and chaparral, zigs and zags, at times the road degenerating into nothingness, but still much better than previous, with reports of deplorability, like that road back in Bokeo, back there back then, 1997 or so I believe, in the back of a truck, sending me airborne at the slightest drop of an overloaded wheel into mire and muck, at times having to drag the whole darn thing through football fields of impossibility… (More …)

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  • hardie karges 12:56 am on May 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Diary of a coup d’etat/coup de grace, Thai style: Seems they finally got the name right–‘National Council for Peace and Order’–after several permutations from the original ‘Peace and Order Maintaining Command’, a tacit acknowledgement that at least some semblance of English language literacy is necessary for international acceptance, wouldn’t want people to think you just made it up as you went along. Now the curfew has been eased from 2200-0500 to 2400-0400, with rumors of a total lift in tourist enclaves such as Phuket and Pattaya. Myself, I’m more concerned about getting the TV stations back on. I miss the news. Do real non-sex-tourists even go to Pattaya? Personally I hope they maintain the curfew in Bangkok indefinitely. Those four hours of closure just might be enough to discourage even the hardiest hookers from making the trek from Africa, Uzbekistan and the Netherlands to sell their (under)wears in the Big Mango; it’s disgusting…

     
  • hardie karges 10:17 pm on May 27, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Sinking to new lows: according to the scales at the train station in Prachuap, Khiri Khan, Thailand, I am now the proud owner of 75kg (165#) of pure love and affection, or a loss of some 5# per month for the last 5-6 months that I’ve been traveling continuously. At that rate I figure I’ll evaporate, transcending this earthly plane, in less than three years. But it doesn’t work that way, of course. And that’s nowhere near the 143# I came home with in 1978, in my first long stretch of continuous travel, after some ten Latin American countries in almost four months. That’s hard to imagine. Still it points out a major difference between traveling independently (some call it ‘backpacking’) and (group) touring. When ‘touring’ you gain weight; when ‘traveling’ you lose it. Hardie’s Diet Tours anyone? $100/day, not including flights, but including food (warning: you won’t be eating much)…

     
  • hardie karges 6:47 am on May 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Thai Politics, Protests and the World’s Cutest PM: Democracy’s a B*tch 

    This my take a half-year ago:

    streaming consciousness...

    images Thai PM Yingluck Shinawatra

     A primer for the uninitiated: The Thai political troubles of the last six to eight years revolve around the larger-than-life presence of one billionaire-turned-politician named Thaksin Shinawatra, who was elected Premier a decade or so ago and whose only prior political experience was an appointed one in the regime of some fat-ass general whose name escapes me at the moment. After being declared innocent of some minor corruption charges he was allowed by the courts to serve.

    One of his first acts was to limit the competition for his AIS cell-phone company, worth gazillions. Another was to limit public support for the country’s flagship carrier Thai Airways (the better for his Air Asia to flourish). He also declared war on drug dealers with an infamous ‘blacklist’ and orders of ‘shoot to kill’. Unfortunately this list also included some political enemies. Oops, his bad. He also initiated…

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  • hardie karges 3:40 pm on May 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    #Thailand Seems as though the new ruling junta in Thailand, the ‘(National) Peace and Order Maintaining Command’, or…’Council’ or…whatever, needs an English translator, so I’m thinking of applying for the job, could be a good career move. Only in Thailand would ‘progressives’ be celebrating the imposition of martial law and the ouster of a freely-elected democratic government. These are the same people who died for democracy in 1992 BTW…

     
    • Esther Fabbricante 4:50 pm on May 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Are you serious? I have a girl from Thailand in my Sunday School class.

    • hardie karges 10:54 pm on May 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      It’s a serious coup d’état, not serious about a job with them, though…

  • hardie karges 11:22 pm on May 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Sam Neua   

    #XamNeua #Laos: Houses without Windows, Homes with Looms 

    Sam Neua sunrise

    Sam Neua sunrise

    The road winds mountainous and cliff-hanging, serpentine and riverine, casuarina and date palms, causality and circumstance, borderline tropical crossing the twentieth parallel on the road to Hanoi, multiple shades of green featuring an insect symphony soundtrack, measuring the kilometrage in butt bumps, every other house with a loom warped and ready, part of every woman’s day as surely as the family motorcycle’s maintenance is a part of every man’s, wood-axe at the ready to secure firewood, timber and lumber, preempting the Chinese invasion of the forests as a source of fiber in the diet for consumption…

    (More …)

     
    • Esther Fabbricante 2:03 am on May 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I am still having computer problems and was unable to read your complete post. I hope I can catch up soon.
      Exciting happenings here with family – graduations, luncheons, visits, parties, you name it.

  • hardie karges 12:19 am on May 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Saying my goodbyes to sticky rice, you can’t get that down south, cooling off the hot spices and putting a body to bed…

     
  • hardie karges 1:33 pm on May 14, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , Xieng Khoang   

    #XiengKhoang #Laos: Plain of Jars… and Bomb Craters 

    Temple at old Xieng Khoang (Meuang Khoun), Laos

    Temple at old Xieng Khoang (Meuang Khoun), Laos

    Phonsavan is something like the Laotian wild west, born from the ashes of the Vietnam (American) War, the Indochinese (French) War and (Chinese and Japanese) WWII, long before the wars of WWW (dot.com). This town is brand new, replacing the ‘real’ (old) Xieng Khoang, down the road a bit, forty klicks and forty years away, bombed to Hell and back by Americans with more bombs than brains, sons of guns and possessed of riches, dogs of war and sons of… capitalists… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 2:11 pm on May 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Current digs in Laos have free WiFi, but pay TV; finally someone gets the equation right…

     
  • hardie karges 12:07 am on May 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Politeness is a dying art, but I think Laos have got it, friendliness, too, exc that one drunk guy at the new temple on top of the hill, women all dressed in their Sunday finest, some of the world’s best weavings, though Sunday itself is a rather dull affair, barely even notice banks closed now with ATM’s everywhere…

     
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