If you are a veteran inveterate traveler, then listen up and listen up good. The US State Department has announced that it will no longer be adding those 24-page passport inserts that stiffen up our credentials like Viagra and provide many nights of enjoyment, reminiscing over remote borders and intransigent a$$holes with badges on their lapels and our passports in their grubby mitts. So now you’ve got to replace the whole thing when it starts getting full—yuk. At least there is the option of an XXL size with 52 pages instead of the usual 28, but still… you’ve got until the end of this year to add more pages until they discontinue the service, but even that’s not free, like it used to be… bummer…
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Expose yourselves! Celebrate your absurdities! Strange flowers grow in strange places, back to back to the same fence with a neighbor you hardly know, selling tickets to an arena where reality is the only show.
Tijuana, Tangier, and Istanbul define the turf long taken over by Bali, Bangkok, and Bora-Bora, pushing back the borders of consciousness to a neighboring dimension of time and space.
Tourists line up to see the natives sing and dance and otherwise entertain the bored wealthy Europeans seeking novelty and succor.
The world’s sunny beaches are increasingly filled with sons and their bitches occupying space once given to fishermen, and complaining about the high price of fish.
We are all in the same boat, rich and poor, a ghost ship to the future. Don’t rock it, rock out. Time to shake hands rather than fists.
If there’s anything more annoying than gringos speaking incorrect Spanish, it’s—wait for it—Spanish-speakers speaking incorrect Spanish, for the presumed benefit of non-Spanish speakers, creating a mindless muck of incomprehensibility that is more annoying than anything else, as if I would never know what country was being talked about unless the Spanish-speaker said ‘Your-a-guey’ instead of ‘Oo-roo-guai’, which is the correct way, for Uruguay, or ‘Pair-a-guey’ instead of ‘Pah-rah-guai’, as actually happened once, from a Spanish-as-a-second-language speaker before she knew that I could speak Spanish, too.
Actually I’m not sure if she ever acknowledged that I could speak Spanish as good or better than she, even though she had actually lived there a long time, and I never really did. That’s all too often the problem, of course, dueling with dual languages for supremacy and the upper hand at whatever dignity might be at stake. And it’s justified, too, in that anybody should have the right and encouragement to speak the language of whatever country he happens to be in.
Thailand is the worst, though, only grudgingly relenting to speak the native tongue with a farang unless he can physically pass as a brown-eyed black-haired Asian or similar half-breed luuk kreung, insisting almost to the death that any English they speak will be better than any Thai you can speak. The books tell them that. The problem with such a mish-mash of languages is that when you can’t understand something, then you don’t even know what language it is you can’t understand! One must persevere…
…the fractal edge of the universe in the process of expansion, chaos meeting the void, waves crashing on the beach, the fragile border area between existence and non-existence…
This is Interzone, the international zone, the chaotic border where languages fall flat and desires become erect…
Modern standard Pidgin English is the lingua franca, Chinese language torture, the tongue of half-baked smiles, crocodile tears, and alligator pears…
This is science friction; this is World War III; this is reality. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and have no idea where I am…
I search an empty mind for the most recent memory, any memory, anything. What’s a computer without an operating system? Insert boot disk…
Finally a reference point emerges and the rest can be extrapolated. Sometimes I wonder if a different memory had popped up, then maybe the entire extrapolated world would be different?
Is history constantly shifting its point of reference? IS there such a thing as objective reality?
Did you know that you can get a round-trip from Los Angeles to Bangkok this winter for as little as $650?
Yeow! I haven’t seen prices that cheap in ten years! A combination of cheap fuel prices and strong dollar (no connection) mean that it’s a good time for Americans to travel overseas.
The US Dollar and the Euro are closer to parity right now than at any time since the beginning!
C U in Thailand, or China, or Latvia, or Ukraine…
(continued from previous)…
Somehow I survived the night and entered my house at ten in the morning—normal checkout time—and caught the last man out, high fives for sympathetic magic and I surveying the interior for any possible damage—none. I dodged a bullet. But what about the other booking that I have pending in two weeks? He already indicated that it wasn’t the two people as originally indicated, but in fact more—’no more than ten or twelve’ he assured me. What should I do?
But that’s a glitch right there, and cause for concern. So I e-mail him and inquire the final number of lodgers and initiate my pitch that if the plan is to party, then he should make other arrangements. There is an awkward e-mail silence of several days, and I am at the point of canceling his booking, when he finally responds that there will be twelve people, and that they’re all ‘young professionals’ (as opposed to riff-raff, by implication). (More …)