Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cowgirls, Chaos and Coconuts

One of the three shirts I'm toting around says this:

need more than an 8 second ride

That has absolutely nothing to do with anything, but I think it's really funny. Very few people bother to read the fine print, so it's kind of a private joke between me and the shirt...


In other news, we have successfully and lazily lazed the days away on the island of Don Det in Si Phan Don; meanwhile, in the outside world it seems chaos was erupting all around...

Here are a few burning questions:

* What the hell is happening in the Koreas??!!?

* How did 410 people get trampled to death in Phnom Penh?!?!

* Will Haiti ever catch a break?!?

* When the time comes, will P and I be able to fly back home on our chosen airline (Korea Air - ha!) or will complete chaos reign?!?

* Should we start immediately procuring alternative passports that do NOT contain the words United, States, or America? Not a popular people, are we...a Lao guy I met called China a tiger waiting to pounce, and I'm pretty sure who's gonna be the pouncees!

* Will we make it to the end of 2012, when magical sparkly fairy dust will gently-yet-with-great-intention sprinkle from the heavens and make it all peachy keen?!?

All these questions and more will be answered on the next episode of  
"What The Fuck!!??!!?"


And now here I sit in a freakishly nice $10/night guest house in Siam Reap, Cambodia, and boy was it a bitch getting here. I've been a lot of places and endured a lot of rough travels, but yesterday definitely ranks among the top three...

We had braced ourselves a rough trip - 10 hours in a shitty bus on partially paved pothole factories (euphemistically called "roads") to get to our destination. Cambodian time-keeping is apparently a bit different, äs we arrived 18 hours later after an absolutely absurd series of events which I do not wish to relive at the moment. The final tuk-tuk race to the guest house was a Death Race 2000 cluster fuck (we lost the race and had to root around for somewhere to stay at 2:00 in the mofo morning!)
All I have to say about this is: private jet, private jet, private jet, oh what wouldn't I do for a private jet! (if anyone out there's got one laying around, feel free to send it on over, yo).


I am now safe and sound and going to go lounge around by the pool (!)  with a mango lassi and finally start reading Siddhartha!

C'mon, Whirled Peas!

...keep it crispy...


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tomorrow Never Comes...


So, Penny and I have been kicking around Vientiane for the past 8 days, excitedly awaiting the grand skydive-fireworks-parades-a'-plenty party celebrating 450 years as the nation's capitol. We thought it was supposed to start on the 15th; no wait, that person says the 16th; oh, this other dude's pretty sure it's the 17th.

This is pretty typical of Lao, so as of yesterday, we have purchased bus tickets down to the waaaaaaaaaaaaay south to a place called Si Phan Don (means "four thousand islands"). That's a picture of it above, and from what I hear, that pretty much sums it up. Looking forward to a few days curled up in a hammock with a good book and a box of wine (zip it - don't wanna hear it!) before we cross the border and tackle Cambodia and our journey to Angkor Wat.

Cambodia is a real shit hole - - we've received warnings not to carry bag straps across our torsos because when the thieves on motorbikes come by to slash the bag, they may accidentally slash us as well. Sounds charming, don't it? This better be one hell of a wat!!!!

Angkor Wat looks like this:

And this:

It's where they filmed Laura Croft: Tomb Raider, starring Angelina Jolie. She is both super-mega-hot and she does all her own stunts, so if the actual wat's a bust, there's always that to fall back on!

Last time I was in Cambodia, it was total anarchy...I had the continual uneasy feeling that I might be stabbed at any moment as a matter of course. It's hard for a country to keep it together when everyone with any sort of education has been tortured and killed.
Stupid Pol Pot.

Pol Pot looked like this:

And he did really horrible things to hundreds of thousands of people who now look like this:


Alrighty then - on that note, I'm off to the happy-happy-joy-joy islands!


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Deep fried chicken heads dream of Good Personal Hygiene

Hello Friends, 

As promised, here are some disgusting food pictures for your viewing pleasure. I wanted to take one of this splendid array of huge, grey and slimy unidentified organs, but the lady with the very large butcher's knife didn't look all that approachable. Anyway, this should do for now until the next disgusting photo op presents itself...
As you may notice, I lack the necessary blog manipulation skills to make all my pictures behave in an upright manner. So for now, just tilt your head leeward and everything will be just dandy! 

Last night I had a dream that I was browsing at REI and I made an impulse buy. Unfortunately, the item in question was a cat. What the hell was I gonna do with a cat - squash it into my backback and feed it chicken heads? It was a no-return policy, too. The lesson here is: don't impulsively buy any felines at REI unless you really mean it!!!

The other day, I finally remembered to wash the sock in which my PStyle resides when not in use. It was a little disgusting (but not in a fried chicken head kind of way), but now it smells like flowers-clad serafim...

Have I told you lately how much I love my PStyle? Life-changing, existence-affirming, pee-off-a-cliff wonderful! It's become such a part of my daily life that I've ceased my once-meticulous photographic documentation of my PStyle usage. 

Seriously, I'd be so sad if anything happened to it...I've peed in alleyways, bus toilets, urinals, public squats, on the side of the road, in the sand, on the rocks; you name it, I've peed on it! I now totally get why you guys just whip it out and do your business whenever the urge arises!

Ladies: hesitate not!
Order a PStyle today!
And I'm not just whistling Dixie!!***

ps - I'm kind of getting tired of looking down at a pink pee canoe all the time, so if you've been asking yourself: "hmm, what fabulous expression of love might I bestow upon Jingles, here's the answer, friends:

Green, purple, orange (just no blue, please. blue is a stupid color and I refuse to engage in it)

Give one to yourself! Your friends! Your mom and your granny!
Really, y'all - it's that good!

(***this message has been broughty to you by the PStyle Corporate Conglomeration of America. Any similarity to actual peers past or present is purely coincidental. No animals were eaten in the making of this testimonial. All Hail the PStyle!!!)

As a side note, I may have inadvertently developed a non-traditional positioning technique in squat toilet usage. In order to protect the squeamish, I won't go into details here (discretion is the better part of squalor), BUT - if you're willing and able to elucidate on your understanding or personal experience in such matters, let's talk.

I'm off to find some eyeball-free food now...


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Rat-on-a Stick

These bamoo grubs were a little snack Penny and I shared recently. They're actually pretty tasty once you get over the idea of putting larva in your cake hole!  However, the rat-on-a-stick that seems to be a favorite here in Laos is just not that appealing. Really, who wants to eat a garbage-eating rodent? (Apparently, a whole lot of Lao...)                           
We have also entered serious dog-eating territory here in Vientiane - there is a reason that there are almost no stray animals here, and I have a theory that the words "buffalo", "beef" and "pork" may be mostly interchangeable with the word "canine-once-known-as-my-dog-fluffy". Pets are clearly marked with clothes, hairdos, manicured nails, and whatever else might distinguish them from food.

Word on the street is that Vietnam will be the most gustatorily adventurous place of all...meanwhile, I'm mostly sticking to eating things without eyeballs, but will make a concerted effort to photograph hyper-disgusting beasties for your viewing pleasure...

The 2-day slow boat trip down the Mekong turned out to be a giant multi-cultural frat party, which kind of sucked for those of us who were hoping for a mellow experience. It was one of those things that you just have to settle into and be thankful for the fact that everything is temporary, like super-long bus rides or sitting through a Catholic wedding!

The boat finally arrived in Luang Prabang, where we stayed for just enough time to find  an excellent crepe place (chocolate mango crepe-mmmmm) and realize that it's basically a Laos Disney Land  for people who don't wanna actually interact with the culture. Such a weird phenomenon.

We've been in Vientiane for a couple of days, exploring the city and starting a visa collection for our onward journey to Cambodia, Vietnam, and back to Thailand.

Vientiane's a trip - there's a baguette shop on every corner and a HUGE replica of the Arc de Triomphe right smack dab in the center of town. The US guilt-gifted a bunch of concrete to Laos to build and airport ("hey man, sorry we carpet-bombed the shit out of you and most of your countryside abounds with unexploded ordenances - here's some cement")  and Laos promptly used above-mentioned concrete to build this thing! It's a big ol' Fuck You, giving America the archy-finger. Airport - ha!

In a few days, Vientiene will celebrate 450 years as the capitol by having a huge 4-day party, kicked off by a shiteload of fireworks, parades, and 100 people jumping from an airplane and spelling out "450 years" with their plummeting bodies...it's gonna be awesome! It's also in the National Stadium, which is right by my new favorite place, a 25-meter damn commie swimming pool, where I have been happily swimming laps on a daily basis, drinking coffee-coconut smoothies with an  ice-cold coconut water chaser, and teaching the locals how to play gin rummy through a combination of French, English, Thai, Lao, and pantomime. Worked pretty well, although the fun really started when we switched to the universal language: Slap Jack.

OK, enough for now...gonna go for a stroll down the Champs D'Elysee and dine al fresco 'neath the arch-port!