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  • hardie karges 1:56 pm on August 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , insurance, Kampuchea, 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 2:03 am on March 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Kampuchea, , , 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: , Kampuchea, , 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: , Kampuchea, 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: , Kampot, Kampuchea, 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: , Kampuchea, 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 …)

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