Updates from July, 2017 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • hardie karges 10:39 am on July 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Blues, , , Dos Lobos, , , Los Lobos, , , religion   

    Leaving LA in the Not-so-Broad Daylight… 

    IMG_2509I’ve been accused of writing country music songs in my spare time, to make ends meet and to fulfill other sporadic random urges, apparently, so maybe I should. Here goes another attempt, one more time, so how’s that howling coyote go? Wa-ooo, wuff wuff wa-ooo, get along little doggies…

    Except that the LA in this case is Los Angeles, not Louisiana, and the time in question is midnight, not daylight, BUT: Hey, it’s better than ‘LA in the Rear-view Mirror, US in the Gutter’, which is how I really feel. Don’t you just love it when happy coincidences converge in real life? (More …)

    • davekingsbury 11:04 pm on September 22, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      The admirable sub-text here is a plea for less commercialism and more community. You do end on a hopeful note, however. I guess the task is to paint a picture of the way it should be – much easier said than done, alas!

  • hardie karges 1:59 pm on March 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Patpong, Soi Ngam Duphli, ,   

    Bangkok on a Budget: Time Travel and Second Thoughts… 


    Soi Ngam Duphli today

    Every budget traveler in SE Asia has heard of Khaosarn Road, in Bangkok, that warren of creepy-crawlers, that rookery of high-fliers, that underbelly of bottom-feeders that all identify as backpackers, or maybe even ‘flashpackers’, travelers—generally young, at heart if not calendar—who’ve made a date with fate and a pact with no backtrack to see it all…

    …or die trying, including beaches, mountains, cities and villages, but especially beaches, as famously immortalized by Leonardo, DiCaprio not Da Vinci, wherever the beer is cold, the bud has flowers, the prices are low, the English language has taken root and at least one enterprising local has mastered the recipe for banana pancakes, sweeten to taste and allow to settle… (More …)

    • Esther Fabbricante 2:11 pm on March 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Sharing with my granddaughter and her husband who are planning a trip to Cambodia and Vietnam.

  • hardie karges 2:41 am on February 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Phnom Penh, Wat Langka   

    Phnom Penh, Cambodia: Time Travel… 


    Shades of Angkor Wat–Temple City–in modern Phnom Penh

    I was first in this town in 1997 and it was pretty bad, little more than a decade after the killing fields, and then Vietnam installed strongman Hun Sen, and you could still see it on people’s faces—fear, abject fear, as if they weren’t really sure if the nightmare was yet really over. With all the current hubbub over Islamic fundamentalists ISIL, Boko Haram, and al-Shabab, we sometimes forget that Maoists and Stalinists were guilty of many similar crimes in the decades immediately preceding, whether China, Peru, Nepal, or Cambodia…

    But Phnom Penh was down at the heels and had been down for more than twenty years by this time. The only tourists were here for sex, cheap and/or kinky and/or under-age Khmer and/or Vietnamese, out at the notorious KM 11 on Hwy. 5, or more civilized pub and disco fare at the famous Martini’s Bar on the outskirts of town, taxis at the waiting, and willing to help avoid cops, who always seemed to need cigarettes and spare change… (More …)

    • Esther Fabbricante 3:51 am on February 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Very well written, Hardie! I want to share this with my granddaughter and her husband who are planning a trip to Cambodia and Viet Nam soon. Any advice?

      • hardie karges 4:12 am on February 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks! Just advise to get accustomed to local food gradually, especially in Cambodia…

    • davekingsbury 9:26 pm on February 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      You bring the spirit of adventure to my sofa-bound existence! Good luck on the hill leg …

  • hardie karges 12:47 am on January 4, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Citibank, credit card,   

    HARDIE’S HYPER-AWARD: Worst Credit Card to travel with in 2016: 

    IMG_1530.JPG…would be PayPal, Debit Card, that is, which I only possessed (past tense) as a convenient option, figured WTH, for withdrawing funds accrued, rather than cycling back through to bank. The good news is that they won’t likely refuse the card as you travel around through weird countries with sketchy histories, but that means that if you’re hacked, then they won’t help you much there, either…

    So while checking my e-mail one morning, I noticed three transactions on my PayPal debit card that were not authorized by me, for a total of almost $800, and I’d be able to report the crime immediately, so should be no problem, right? But Pay Pal won’t even take the call, informing me to log in to the website, then informing me a week later there’s no crime, so talk to the dealer if I don’t like my product or service! Ouch! (More …)

  • hardie karges 12:25 am on December 27, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Chiang Dao, Chiang Mai, hill-tribes, Kwan Yin, Lahu,   

    Thai Holidays Outback Up North, part 3: Six Temples, Two Borders, a Maharishi and a Funeral… 

    Continued from previous…


    Kwan Yin (Kuan Im) festival near Chiang Dao, with many hill-tribe participants…

    So after the funeral in Uttaradit Province, Thailand, I’d like to explore that new border crossing into Laos, but my priest has other ideas, and he’s the boss. I’m the driver. So that means another late night drive from near the Lao border all the way back to the small town of Sarapee near Chiang Mai, finally pulling in to the temple about ten p.m. dead tired and more than a little wired, from twisty windy back-country roads…

    This is all so that we can buy a new truck, to take to the Tai Yai ‘Shan’ people out on the Burmese border where we were last week. Seems they’ve graduated from blankets and dried noodles to new 4 x 4’s. Bizniz is good, I guess. So we do: drive, that is, out again past Pai, into the remote fastnesses of Mae Hong Son province, where foreigners are not usually even allowed to enter, much less drive, but membership has its privileges, I guess… (More …)

  • hardie karges 8:23 pm on November 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 2016, Clinton, election, Trump, vote   

    Jesus of LA, Going Home to Vote, a capella… 

    img_1068End of Days got you bummed? Not sure what to do if/when the rapture comes? You need the new best-seller “Apocalypse for Dummies: 10 Survival Tips for the Future” by Hardie Karges, available now in standard or e-book edition. But first, the news:

    “Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. This was the first census to take place whilea Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone went to his own town to register.
    So Joseph also went up from Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the City of David called Bethlehem, since he was from the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to him in marriage and was expecting a child.
    While they were there, the time came for her Child to be born. And she gave birth to her firstborn, a Son. She wrapped Him in swaddling cloths and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”

    Fast forward two thousand years and we have no more decrees, just degrees, of madness and mayhem, on the threshold of a catastrophe, on the threshold of a dream. And we don’t need a census, per se (that’s Latin), since everyone is registered from the moment of birth, with ugly rumors of conspiracy and data chips embedded within us, and the orders come down from Washington, D.C. these days, not Rome, but… (More …)

    • Esther Fabbricante 9:37 pm on November 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      My goodness – how you do express yourself so well – and keep us informed!

    • hardie karges 11:17 pm on November 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you, Esther, I will do that…

    • davekingsbury 8:16 pm on November 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      A fable for our times given a suitably heavy biblical treatment. Brexit, Trump … you wouldn’t have bet on them, would you?

    • hardie karges 8:50 pm on November 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      You said it. I guess I should have waited a day for this post, but the point is that the damage is done, regardless…

  • hardie karges 2:22 pm on November 2, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Kathina, , Vassa   

    Final Stop on the Forest Temple Pow-wow Circuit: Kathin(a)… 

    img_1034Kao Pansaa and Awk Pansaa are the big deal for the Forest Temples in Thailand, and Buddhist Temples in general, but the entire ‘rains retreat’ season—Pansaa or Vassa—lends itself to priestly gatherings, a time when monks are expected and obligated to stay put at their home temple the entire three months, so it’s a good time to meet up with the Sangha (Buddhist priestly brotherhood), since you know where they are…

    At other times, most of the year, a priest can go anywhere he wants, and many even go ‘tudong‘, walking in the woods wherever they can, on streets where they can’t, sleeping wherever and living off contributions. But many more are more civilized, staying at any temple anywhere, whatever they can accomplish without the usual hotel bookings, rental car reservations, group tours and—money… (More …)

  • hardie karges 1:31 pm on October 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Forest Temples in Chiang Rai: Designated Driver, Expecting to Fly… 


    Wat ‘Jaw Jalern’ stylin’

    One of the benefits of being the temporary driver for a tiny forest temple is that the head priest is anxious to utilize my services to go visit all of his friends, and in turn I get to tour (not-so) nearby forest temples, where I could potentially go for further training, if I wanted…

    “You won’t ever have to pay another cent for lodging in Thailand,” he jokes. And it’s true, if I didn’t mind being out in the middle of nowhere. But if they were closer to civilization, and potential alms-givers, then not only could I sleep free, but eat free, too, as a consequence of making the morning rounds. That’s my favorite part, really… (More …)

  • hardie karges 12:03 am on October 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Araanyawiwek, , ,   

    Thailand’s Real Full Moon Party (My Brilliant Career as Designated Driver) 

    img_0953No, my friends are not all drunkards and reprobates, though a few certainly are. But the group I drive for now is quite different. They only like the orange stuff—and yellow. No, not Lucy in the Sky with Diamond sunshine, or even ‘mellow yellow’–and certainly not Donald Trump. No, these guys are hooked on Buddha, and the Dharma, and the Sangha, the Buddhist brotherhood…

    Every traveler knows about Koh Pha Ngan’s legendary full moon bacchanalian orgies of drugs, sex, and alcohol, right? But how many know about the Thai Buddhist ‘rains retreat’ ‘Pansaa’ season that lasts for three months, and during which every monk returns to his original home temple of ordination for the duration of this Buddhist ‘Lent’ season, with the implication that this is not a frivolous matter to take or leave. It is an obligation… (More …)

    • Esther Fabbricante 3:11 am on October 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Have I missed something – like, where is our better half?


      • hardie karges 3:23 am on October 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Tang? She’s at home, going back to LA soon, then I’ll come back here…

    • davekingsbury 7:07 pm on October 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I suppose the only way to displace the addiction of consumption is to replace it with a compelling angle on the world that opens up its free, simple and natural wonders … oh yeah, Buddhism, and thanks for the front line reports!

    • davekingsbury 6:36 am on October 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Actually, you know, that would make a good idea for a post. … might be a worthwhile contribution. As a Nobel Literature Award winner once sang, ‘You gotta serve somebody …’

  • hardie karges 11:55 pm on October 3, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Chaiya, , ,   

    Wat Suan Mokh: Southern Thailand’s Other (not so) Full Moon (not so) Party… 

    img_0881“The goal of Buddhism is Nirvana; meditation is temporary Nirvana”–Buddhadhasa

    Chaiya in southern Thailand is a place where Gomer and Goober would feel right at home, the one sitting on a bench at the railway station with a mostly-spent inhalant sticking out of his nose to catch the last gasp, while the other tries to manage the business end of an industrial-size pipe wrench without hurting himself. So it’s hard to believe that just down the road ten minutes is a place whose name translates as ‘Temple of the Garden of Liberation’ and attracts people from all over the world…

    And it’s just a long stone’s throw as flies the crow, in another direction, across the bay, about a hundred klicks, to another place that again could not be more different: it consisting of the three preeminent islands for backpack tourism in Thailand: Koh Tao infamous for recent tourist murders, Koh Pha Ngan infamous for its monthly full moon drunken orgies, and last but not least, Koh Samui, the one made famous by Leonardo Di Caprio in ‘The Beach’ as the starting point for the perennial search for authenticity… (More …)

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