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  • hardie karges 1:56 pm on August 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Cambodia, , insurance, , kidney stones, , Obamacare, , ,   

    Hooray for Travel Insurance! Just keep traveling, fellow Americans… 


    Author’s Note: Medical issues of a sensitive nature discussed here…

    Well, I never thought I’d see the day when I’d write a post lauding the insurance industry, but since I once wrote a ‘sh*t-list’ post on the bad ethics of bad bizniz, here, then I guess it’s only fair that I write a special post for one of the good guys, in this case Aon Travel Insurance, who just wrote me a check for almost $2222 (I’m too lazy to look up the actual number), for what was hopefully the last of a series of ‘pee gravel’ episodes in my ‘Year of the Kidney Stones’. I almost didn’t even file the claim, I was so skeptical…

    Back story: I’ve traveled to some 155 countries, but almost NEVER got the suggested shots, much less purchased travel insurance. After all, some of the shots seemed worse than the disease itself, and travel insurance was only as good as the doctor, and the hospital, and the country, and the policy, AND… (More …)

    • Esther S. Fabbricante 4:22 pm on August 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Oh, my! What a life – and Godspeed.

    • jgf 12:50 am on August 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Keep on truckin’, old man. Love and Bliss from Joketown!

    • davekingsbury 11:34 pm on August 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Studying is a sort of travelling … what’s that line from TS Eliot? I read much of the night and go south for the winter. Or something. Anyhow, best wishes for the next phase …

    • thecityandbeyond 6:40 pm on December 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Definitely looking to get insurance for this year’s travels. Thanks for posting this. Made us finally see the full need.

  • hardie karges 2:11 pm on May 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Cambodia, Chechnya, , , , mob, Papua, snuff, Uganda,   

    Cry for Guatemala: and Cambodia, Uganda, Chechnya, PNG and Afghanistan… 

    Okay, so I can’t play the video that inspired this write, since it’s a snuff film, and I can’t do that, in all good conscience, so I’ll play this one instead. Sometimes I think that maybe we need some rocket-launcher control legislation, since I’m not sure what I’d do if I had one—no, not that, since that’s a sin, and I’m a Buddhist…

    That a sickening ‘snuff film’ made the rounds recently, of a girl being torched in public, by an angry mob in Guatemala, is sickening beyond belief. The fact that she may have committed an equally heinous crime herself is immaterial. Guatemala is a Christian country. I know it well. What has happened to the world as we know it? Can it get any worse than this? Or has it always been like this, and we are just now getting the news because of smart-phones and social media? None of the above or all of the above? (More …)

    • Esther Fabbricante 4:05 pm on May 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      An eye-opener!

    • Anna 11:16 pm on May 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      The world is a sad place.

    • tom 8:45 pm on May 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Some good hot topics. Ill vouch for homosexuality in some muslim countries. As i was approached to partake. Unwillingly of course, in a few muslim countries. I learned that long hair on a man is a sign that you are gay where i was! I feel its Difficult to curtail sexual urges for sometimes 5 to15 yrs. Till a man reaches 30 years or more before he can afford to pay the dowry for a wife. But as youve written , theres shit that happens everywhere.

  • hardie karges 2:03 am on March 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cambodia, , , , , Sen Monorom   

    Mondulkiri, Cambodia, part II: Self-Evacuation—in a Void, Asteroid… 


    Continued from previous…

    Now here I am in the remotest outback of Cambodia, but not THAT remote, and so entranced by the landscape, and my linguistic tribulations, that I’d forgotten that simple requirement of quality medical care. Now my kidney-stone drama of the previous year is back, first in Mandalay, Burma, a month and a half ago, then at the border in Mae Sot, Thailand, about a month ago—and now…

    Part of my undefined gut problems of the past week, I finally realized there was a kidney-stone, ANOTHER one, large enough to cause some pain exiting the kidney, and block some urine flow, before finally passing. But that’s not all. There must have been two. And the second one won’t pass, stuck at the taps, just like the one that caused me so much anguish last year in Tucson and LA. But this ain’t LA… (More …)

    • Esther Fabbricante 2:41 am on March 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      OOh Myyyy.

    • kc 4:02 am on March 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      good luck getting rid of that barbed rock, or few.

  • hardie karges 1:21 pm on March 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cambodia, , , Saen Monorom   

    Mondulkiri, Cambodia, part I: And the wind cries, “… (three ominous tones rising)…” 


    Saen Monorom in Mondulkiri sometimes gets called the “Switzerland of Cambodia”, but in reality it’s more Andean than Alpine, high and dry, at least in this season, more central highland than Himalaya, more Boli­via t­han Burma, more high-plains-drifter than lost-kingdom-of-Shambhala…

    In fact the platitudes of public relations hardly do it justice, simply because it’s sui generis, especially after the sui-genericide self-perpetrated by the misguided Marxists of the Vietnam war era, nowhere safe from its bomb-intensive percussions and repercussions… (More …)

  • hardie karges 2:41 am on February 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cambodia, , 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 12:18 pm on February 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cambodia, Kampot, , Otres Beach, Sihanoukville   

    Sihanoukville and Kampot, Kampuchea: Foreign Arrogance, French Elegance, Khmer Endurance… 


    Serendipity Beach Road barely existed ten years ago…

    First the bad news: Cambodia is the trashiest place on Earth, bar none, so you won’t have to wait for my end-of-year Worst List. And this is not cool for what once was SE Asia’s premier culture, mother to all others and father to a few, too. At first I thought maybe it was just Koh Kong, since that’s where I entered, but no—it’s everywhere. I haven’t seen trash on the street like this since Paracas, Peru, and Africa is infamous, of course…

    Other than that, it’s a pretty nice place, and a far cry from what you would’ve found twenty, ten, even five years ago, when cops would stop you on the street to get paid, and 16-year-old hookers from Vietnam would do pretty much the same. But that was before the big tourism boom, what with casinos, easy visas and ancient ruins the big draws, unless you go for the Dark Side. I’m sure some of that still exists. All that glitters is not Gary… (More …)

    • tom 1:17 pm on February 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Hey travel brother! Its tom here. In 2008 when last at siem riep it seemed to have grown to at least twice its size! And did ya see the mini version of kao san rd bangkok style. By the riverside in town with bars on every corner and pricey pizzarias and loud music and drunkeness? Ill tell ya though those ruins are s.e. asias egypt for jaw dropping sights! Wish i had another few weeks to see mtns and sihanoukeville. To also compare to what i saw in 2008? Still i believe they have the best english pronunciation in all s.e. asia right down to the tuktuk drivers! Keep on truckin

      • hardie karges 2:53 am on February 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        I haven’t been to Siem Reap since 1997, and have no plans to, pinning all my hopes on Saen Monorom in Mondulkiri to beat the heat. Koh Kong my favorite place so far, simply because there are few travelers there, so still ‘authentic’ FWIW. Where are you now?

  • hardie karges 11:55 pm on February 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cambodia, , Koh Kong, ,   

    Welcome to Kampuchea: Koh Kong, Life on the Border… 


    Sunset at Koh Kong, Kampuchea

    …any border, is weird, by definition, sample TJ (Tijuana), TG (Tangier), TK (Tachilek) and TU (Tecun Uman) for starters, and a few thousand others, where cultures clash and vehicles collide and the simple act of of ‘crossing over’ takes on new meaning, not to mention the modern airline-hub Big Meta-Border cities, e.g. Istanbul, Moscow, Dubai, Bangkok, Singapore, Cairo, Jo-burg, Lima, Delhi and others…

    And Koh Kong on the border of Thailand and Kampuchea is no different, Kampuchea (Cambodia) the bastard big brother of Thailand, long ago fallen on hard times and left to fend for itself against the predations of its offspring, only rescued by the noblesse oblige of the Foreign Legion francais…
    (More …)

  • hardie karges 11:17 pm on July 2, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Cambodia, Kamouchea,   

    #Aranyaprathet #Thailand: Swimming to Kampuchea–by Train 

    Train to Cambodia

    Train to Cambodia

    The train from Bangkok to Aranyaprathet on the Cambodian border seems unusually crowded. My British friend Tom and I are lucky to get a seat, and we’re both trying to figure out why—maybe because it’s Friday? Or maybe it’s a holiday. Whatever, by the time we’ve reached the BKK airport on the skirts of town, the train has long been full to capacity, and nobody’s getting off, with still more trying to get on. Nobody seems angry, though, as if this were to be expected.

    I assume it’s because the ride is free for locals. That means people can ride whether they have any business or not, just joy-riding, so to speak. Still, no one’s getting off—anywhere. They can’t all be going to the border, can they? Aranyaprathet is not that large of a town. Unless they’re Cambodian (what is the sound of one light-bulb lighting?). Our seatmates are silent the whole trip, pretty strange for Thais, not known for their pensive moments. They’ve got tickets, though; locals wouldn’t need them. (More …)

    • Esther Fabbricante 12:15 am on July 3, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I don’t know how in the world you describe where you are and what is going on.


  • hardie karges 11:53 pm on August 1, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cambodia, Dengue Fever, , Les Nubians, Sinn Sisamouth   

    Hollywood Babel: Continuity, and the Curse of Cambodia… 

    I love it when films make mistakes, and sometimes they’re so obvious that anyone can spot them, though none of the paid help apparently did. Of course continuity errors are the easiest, and they hire a person just to deal with that, to make sure that when the shooting of a scene resumes on Wednesday, he’s wearing the same clothes that he was wearing when shooting stopped on the same scene the day before, Tuesday, a no-brainer, of course, but they screw up sometimes.

    (More …)

    • Esther Fabbricante 12:23 am on August 2, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      You really know where to find the action and to have a good time and to write it up so we feel as if we had been there.

    • hardie karges 3:22 am on August 2, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      LA has the entertainment, for sure…

  • hardie karges 11:51 pm on June 20, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cambodia, , , , ,   

    Baby, you can drive my tuk-tuk… 

    Homemade tuk-tuk in Phichit, Thailand

    Homemade tuk-tuk in Phichit, Thailand

    Three-wheeled ‘tuk-tuks’ are more than a mode of transportation in SE Asia. They’re part of the culture. Most often found in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia, not only do they provide cheap and reliable transportation–usually–but they also tend to liven up the urban landscape a bit. They are more flexible than auto taxis yet more stable than the motorcycle ones (NEVER!). More than that, sometimes they can even approach the level of an indigenous folk art, not unlike motorcycle choppers in the US and elsewhere. Now if only we could get them to charge uniformly reasonable fares. Maybe it’s time to install meters? They have them on tuk-tuks in India BTW… (Then there are tuk-tuks that are total pimp-mobiles, taking any and all ad money from the highest bidders, like those in Phitsanulok, Thailand)

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