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Good morning Vietnam, errr I mean Cambodia: Escape from Thailand.

Sunday, November 16th, 2008

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I wouldn’t say that “escape” would be the right word. I guess it was more “forced” to leave as I needed to get Sasha fixed up before she broke down permanently. My route was to cruise along the southern coastline to the Cambodian border. There are beaches along this route, but I was actually going to avoid them as the beaches and islands down South are much better. That didn’t mean I wasn’t going to do some beach time, there would definitely be some Cambodian and Vietnamese surf time, but I was just going to hold off on the Thailand stuff.

Getting out of Bangkok was tough. Out of all of it, the biggest thing I gained was that Sasha was going to be okay. My standards weren’t exactly high after Schwinn II, but after a full day of driving non-stop, I have learned to trust her. Things were going to be okay.

My first stop was the direct entry point to hell, Pattaya. So you haven’t been getting any lately (sex), tired of sleeping alone (sex), worried that your parts are going to rust (because of no sex), and you need some sex (sex). Well, Pattaya is the place to go. This is the ground zero for having sex with old white guys. I mean this place is like the Nirvana for the old white guy hots. There are fat old white guys, skinny old white guys, tall old white guys, short old white guys, hairy old white guys, bald old white guys, there are paraplegic old white guys, and quadriplegic old guys, hell, there are old white guys that I am fairly certain are clinically dead but because of the machines hooked up to them they are somehow still able to function. So if you are dripping at the loins thinking about an old white guy, go on down to Pattaya and get some of that old white guy stuff.

Next was Trat a quiet little town which is described as a “quiet little town”. The place was a gold mine for food. They had a great little market area with a food square which was top notch. I don’t know what it is about Thai food, but I’m hooked. They had a sit down area with a bunch of food carts to choose from. Along its border were two rows of food to go places. This was also my first foray into Thai sweets. One guy was selling a container of mixed sweets. They looked so good I had to give them a try. God I love this country. I have pretty much enjoyed all of the staple foods from every country that I have been. The major difference about Thailand is that there is such a huge variety. I don’t even mean a couple, I mean hundreds. The closest thing I can compare it to is an expensive sushi bar. Stuff is beautifully colored, flavors are mixed creating these vibrant explosive tastes, and it is all prepared hygienically. What’s my favorite? Pork fat. Oh man, where has this stuff been all my life. My staple meal is roast pork with rice. Usually what they give you is slices of marinated pork and along side it, some chunks of soft, melt in your mouth, luxurious pork fat. They pre-soak it in vitamins and minerals so its healthy too. Satellite tv and excellent food, Thailand is hard to beat. Oh yea, old fat white guys too if your into that.

Even with all that, I had to keep moving, so Cambodia, here I come.

Responses to comments

Sunday, November 16th, 2008

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1. Tarun
Umm…it seems a bit confusing to me. Do you mean $30000 or Rs 30000? Logically, It got to be the latter but still would be nice if you write it like Rs X (=$ Y).
Nice travelogue btw.
Steve: It’s an old tout trick. Shoot for the moon when you are dealing with tourists as they are not always the most brilliant when they leave their comfort zone. I ended up only getting Rs, bummer.

2. judy
Excellent ad!! With your ability to organize information, write and now do graphics, you SHOULD write a book!
Hurricane Omar just missed us with very little damage (WHEW!) but hit STX kinda bad messing up about 40 boats, downing poles, trees, flooding and a lot of the island is still without power.
Avocados are in. Yumm!
Good luck in selling the Schwinn. Can’t wait to hear about Asia! Are you going to Japan? And after that? Oh, I’ll wait to hear. Have a nice rest. Cheers, judy
Steve: Writing is like work and work is the devil. Five years in the Hurricane zone and I got nada. The more I hear about Japan the more intrigued I get. We’ll have to see as I get closer.

3. yazeed
dannnnnnnnnggggggggggggggg………..this year has really stretched out huh? two questions: What would you say has been your lesson learned from your world travels?
and two) how has your travel (if at all) changed your outlook yourself and how you fit into the world…
Yazeed
Steve: #1) People around the world are not as different as people think. Pick a continent and the people get up in the morning and go to work or school and look forward to the time they can relax and hang out with their families. They have the same worries (money), care about the same things (religion), and enjoy the same things (food). #2) Once I figured out #1 it took away all the mysteries of this world travel thing. Besides, my comfort zone is not being comfortable.\ Oh yea, did you check out my shaved head back in the Nepal section. I was thinking about you the whole time.

4. FMM
India IS filthy.
India is really just a big sewer.
There are very small pockets of decent and clean areas. Just not enough.
Just take the Local Trains in MUMBAI, CHENNAI.
You’ll know what FILTH really is!!
Steve: Yea, India does have an image problem both real and fictitious. The huge population and probably more impactful, the culture, does cause a bit of messiness. I do agree with the “not enough” part. As India grows economically, I think those areas will expand. Some of the more westernized cities are already there.

5. Marisa
Very cool.
Steve: Thanks

6. Priyank
Hey Steve,
Beautiful pictures of the palaces. Orchha is not on the tourist highway so the town is much more ‘authentic’ or ‘deprived of tourist infrastructure’ whichever way you wanna put it How was your experience with the little town and the people?
Steve: Orchha really surprised me. It is staggering how someplace like that exists without people really knowing about it. Places like that are about the best mix, if you can find them. Places of interest with a quaint little town and zero hassles, priceless. It is kind of two fold as you can spend a day enjoying tourist sites or just hang in town and see real life in the present.

7. Shawn
Steve, beautiful Indian Ringneck Parrot, it’s a male. I had a female as a pet years ago. My Ringneck love me so much she would throw up on me, it’s parrot romance.
The castles in the Middle East caught up to yeah? Staying in Egypt for five months I caught a little Pharaonic fatigue syndrome, I was bumming. If I would have stayed another month I would have ending up in the Egyptian nut house, lol.
Well Steve, you’re the only person I know who is traveling long term like myself. You are right, most people that “travel the world”, travel for a year, which is OK, everyone has different styles of travel.
Maybe we will cross paths someday.
Steve: Good luck with that “Parrot love” thing. Egypt pretty much wiped me out after the second huge Pharaonic hot spot. I think it being the middle of summer added to the fatigue. It was quite a break though coming from Sudan. Maybe we will cross paths, it really isn’ t that big of a world if your moving around in it and not just staying in one spot.

8. Acidspike
Loved reading of your summer adventures. Good luck as your continue on your travels.
Steve: Thanks for the support.

9. Nancy
I think you will be just fine. I loved hearing about your border crossing.
I have never left a comment for you…but i think your travels are amazing. I am a bit behind though…so i am reading all through your past blogs. Amazing….
thanks for writing…i love reading it!
Nancy
Steve: Border crossings are about as close as you get to feeling like a spy. Some of the real tourist crossings are no big deal, but others can be a bit sketchy and challenge your resolve.

10. Rebecca
Great post! I would love to visit the Buddha’s birthplace. Mother Nature is awesome. That’s fantastic that the weather cleared and you had perfect views of the Himalayas. After reading this post, I really want to go to Lumbini as well as Nepal. Rebecca
Steve: I would highly recommend Nepal as it has a great mixture of spirituality and mother nature. Lumbini was both beautiful and awkward as it was about honoring Buddha, but they did it in such a overblown way with these huge gawdy temples from different countries. It’s insane that you have no clue that you are surrounded by these massive peaks until you catch a clear day. I was in Polkara for three weeks and never knew how much of the Himalayas was actually visible. Pretty awe-inspiring stuff.

11. Dan
I think you’re safe. Mother Nature and the Gods have bigger things to worry about than immigration laws and border agents. They’re probably amused by your exploits.
Steve: You have to be careful when dealing with the gods and almost more so when dealing with border guards.

12. Michelle
hey steve! I came across your site and have been glued for about 10 hours straight! Great trip and I love your style and perspective. Can’t wait for more!
Steve: I was wondering how long it would take to read straight through the blog. I’ve got style!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

13. JP gaillard
Dude, I thought I was dropping off the “map” with my trip through Africa, but I realize now that I am merely following your steps! I have read with great attention your Lubumbashi – Kinshasa route which I am doing in a few months!
Best and keep going!
JP
Steve: Once you get out of Southern Africa, I think the map part goes right out the window. When I start getting the itch for something adventurous, my mind always reverts back to Africa. Good luck on the route, let me know if my maps were helpful. Good travels.

14. Mbuta
This is not a new church and is not a modern one ..I was born in Lubumbashi in the 60’s and this cathedral was already there.
Steve: Good info. The place looked in great condition compared to most of Lumbumbashi. I would like to know how the town looked in its heyday.

15. Marisa
Thumbs Up! Enjoy checking out Buddha land! Personally, I could wait and zen out for a long period as long as there was food, water, and shelter. One just has to accept the inevitable when things are out of one’s control. Although I know what you mean about Westerners and their sense of time and patience.
Steve: I can zen for a long time as long as there is satellite tv and meat and girls and Coke and ….

16. Mike

Steve,

Thanks for this excellent and honest synopsis of your time in India. There is really valuable information in your posts for those of us that want to travel there. You did it right, like all of your travels and you continue to inspire us through the virtual world. I’m checking back every 12 hours trying to guess where you’ve moved on to. The suspense is starting to kill me…

-Mike
Steve: No problem, this trip is funded by me so you get me 24/7. Sorry about the delay but I have cut back to just writing when things that are new and exciting pop up, otherwise, my blog would turn into the TV Guide. “Today I watched House…”

17. Dan

That food orgy sounds great. I love Thai food. Check out this web site. It describes good food places in Bangkok, mostly very simple places, and gives their locations on google maps. Maybe it will help you find out what some of the dishes are: http://www.austinbushphotography.com/category/foodblog/
Steve: That kind of info is invaluable. Unfortunately it is taking forever to get through the line of stalls just by the market here. I will persevere however or die of a bloated overweight heart attack.

18. Shawn

Steve you crack me up. The food thing is big when on the road. The Turkish food is quite good, although I just past a Burger King here in Canakkale and I cannot get it out of my head. I stopped eating fast food in 2001 back in America, although traveling a nice big burger and fries always sounds good.

In Egypt my digestion would loosen, although I never got food sickness, I always ate yogurt and bananas the whole next day.

I am wrapping up Turkey after two and a half months, will be heading to Israel for three months.

I met a Russian guy who hitchhikes everywhere, I am planning on changing my style of travel for eastern europe slightly.

Have you ever did any hitchhiking, of course it depends which country?
Steve: Carls Jr/Hardees all meat with no other crap except some cheese (whatever they call it now), that is what got me through Egypt and ready to carry on through the Middle east. After sickness where I had to use antibiotics, I go straight for the nastiest crazy food I can find since my system will still be full of bug killers. I just figure its a crap shoot anyway so why worry, just eat. Israel is a really interesting place, fucked up, but interesting. I found Lebanon to be my favorite in the ME. There is a Russian website where there are backpackers who travel on zero budget. They just go around and ask people if they can stay with them. It seems to work. I’ll have to see if I have the guys card I met in Uganda. A bit too hardcore for this traveler.

19. chris

cool blog mate. where did you stay in Dar?
Thanks. I stayed in one of the cheapest places called Pop Hotel. Nice people and really basic. The nights were freaking hot and steamy but I survived by taking showers ten times at night.

20. Tina

Hi Steve,
I am on a RTW trip with my husband for 1 year and I really enjoy reading your blog. Glad to hear Bangkok is so easy (except navigating it on a small motorbike apparently) as we will be heading there ourselves.
Thanks for the great writing– you make me smile!
Tina (of Tina and Rob’s excellent adventure fame)
Steve: Bangkok was nice, easy, and clean. Although dependent on where you have been before. Outside of Bangkok things became extremely more manageable and stress free. I guess it is pretty much the standard capital city blues vs. small town quaintness. Good luck and good travels on your RTW.\
Steve

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