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Damn it.

Posted on 2009.07.05 at 12:46
Current Location: Nanaimo, BC, Canada
To those of you not on my other journal...
As you've probably figured out... I am indeed home now.

After I sort out real life I will start working on getting photos online.
I have about 3000 of them, seriously. So this will take some time.

First step, get a job and such... Fun.

Posted on 2009.06.21 at 20:50
Just a quick word again.
Koh Phagnan was... WONDERFUL.
Lisa and I get on really well, and we stayed in the most beautiful place that was nearly abandoned, but still had accomidation and food (unlike my adventure with Mike)...

I'm back in Bangkok. Doing some last minute things...
Airport soon.
Home soon.


Seriously. It's been quite the go this run...
I think I'm ready for my island on the west coast of Canada...



Posted on 2009.06.14 at 12:11
Current Location: BKK
Short hi and goodbye.
Met up with Lisa this morning, bright and early.
We're headed to the market and then on a bus south to Koh Pan...
May or may not send word of being alive while there. We'll see.
As some of you know I accidentally took out all of my money, leaving me with 11bt in my bank account... well, plus my banks $5 fee that left me with nothing. Thanks to Mike I may now have $10? So I've gotta be thrifty. I should be fine though.

Be back in Bangkok on the 21st I think....


See you.


Say it aint so...

Posted on 2009.06.13 at 16:28
Current Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Current Mood: exhaustedexhausted
Current Music: thai children idol?! on tv...
Mike left last night.
We were both so tense in the morning about the split (we're not sure if and when we'll see each other again, and we've become best friends over the last three months, barely been apart for even an hour)... ended up fighting over stupid stuff. Like who kept the toothpaste... hahaha We took a coffee break apart and came back and had a wonderful day. We frolicked around Siam taking pictures (we found this shirt at the chattachuck, I don't want to ruin it, so I'll wait till he sends me the photos) and then saw the movie Up. Which, is adorable and made me nearly cry, and laugh so hard I had coughing fits.

We spent the day pretending nothing was different and then got back to the room and he freaked out. As excited as he is to go home, the lifestyle is so different and he's not mentally ready for it. A bunch of shit happened before he left (which is his, and not mine to share) and I can understand why there is major apprehension. I cried when we hugged goodbye.
I know when I will see most of my friends again... but when you make good connections with people who live so far from you it's hard to know.

I had the hardest time falling asleep last night. The first time I've had a room to myself the entire time I've been out of Canada. There's something soothing about someone else's energy filling up what would otherwise be empty space.

I then proceeded to have the strangest dream.Collapse )

I woke up at 6:30 and left at 7:00 for my second round of Sak Yant.
It was entirely different this time, in good ways and bad.
Instead of feeling full of life and energy afterward like last time I felt completely drained and ill. Different Arjun, different room.... it was way more relaxed and comfortable.
Maybe I'll write about it when I have my energy back.

It's beautiful though. Stunning really...
I'm very happy.

Tomorrow a girl I met in Vietnam (Lisa) is meeting me and her and I are going south for a few days together. She flies out around the same time as me, so we're going to spend our remaining days on a beach... ocean...
An open one that is ;)



Posted on 2009.06.10 at 14:34
Current Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Current Mood: hungryhungry
I just got back to Bangkok.
I'm not supposed to be here...

I'm supposed to be on island paradise soaking up the sun and getting over the last of my sickness...

But instead I am here.
After three days of constant transit.
Three days.

Summed up? In video form?!
Check it out.

To top it off, I was then yelled at about an hour later at the dock by the woman from Letuwaun asking me why I didn't just listen to her and go to the guesthouse she told me to go to. Which I did. Which was closed.
Thanks for that.

My entire body aches. And my sickness has been fully kicked back into high gear.
God damnit.


So sick of being tired, and oh so tired of being sick....

Posted on 2009.06.06 at 18:31
Current Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Dear Canada,

I recently went through quarantine when leaving Cambodia into Thailand and have been severely ill ever since. I filled out forms and had my temperature taken with a device that looked similar to a phaser in Star Trek. Since that day, I just haven't felt right.
My muscles ache, my head throbs, sore throat, stuffed up - crazy sneezing fits, horrible cough that actually makes people get out of my way. Swine flu?

In all seriousness though it's been rough. I got back in time to see Brendan off to America. Mike and I stuck around so we could go to the weekend market today but I barely made it through. There's so many people and its so hot, it's really not the place for someone who is sick as a dog. I think I have the rest of my gifts though... minus a few things... I also found the punk guy there I met two years ago, that was pretty cool.

Yesterday I was so pathetic Mike didn't know what to do with me. It's too hot to just lay in the guesthouse feeling rotten so we sought out air conditioning. We ended up at the mall seeing Blood The Last Vampire. AWESOME. Has anyone seen this anime? Joey, I'm looking at you. It obviously doesn't follow the original fully as my memory has it, it's pretty short... they added the helpless white girl... Oh well, I still enjoyed it. The gore it well done. I love the way Japanese do blood spray... haha

It's weird being in Bangkok at this time of year. I guess uni is out for the summer and tons of people have swarmed here for their break. So many dumb drunk people. My tolerance for stupidity is getting really low. I am getting bitter.

Tomorrow Mike and I are headed to Ranong to head to Koh Chang the next day.
Hello paradise... I'm coming back for round three!
Mike flies out in eight days. I'm not too far behind.



Traveller playing expat.

Posted on 2009.06.02 at 16:27
Current Location: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Current Music: Akon... seriously Cambodia stop it
I am having skateboarding withdraws.
I had a dream last night where there was a gang of street kids (with shorts no shirt or hoodie no pants -- as typical Khmer child fashion goes) skating with sticks and rocks taking over the Baeng Kak area. Jumping around yelling gibberish and drumming? It was a bit too tribal for reality sake, but man, all day I have been jelly legged wishing I had a board.

David and I have been "expat-ing it" as we call it. He's looking for a job, preferably NGO, not bar or teaching... so since Mike left a few days ago that's what we've been doing. Job hunting in the morning, and acting like spoiled rich kids in the afternoon when the 1:30 monsoon hits.

Spent a day at the Orphanage, which was really fun. They usually only want volunteers but every once and awhile are looking for permanent help whom they will pay. We were just going to spend our morning there but ended up in a game of football (soccer?) and got sucked in playing with the kids for a few hours. I almost wish Mike had left earlier and I had just gone there for a week like I was planning. So cute. Forgot my camera and was kicking myself all day. Asian children are so much cuter than white kids... Call me racist, but you know it's true...

This morning we ended up at the Mine Action Center... or... I think that's what it was called. It was an office, and boring... but I bought a teeshirt for a buck, proceeds go to removal of land mines... They only have desk jobs for foreigners because it would look really bad if one of them did something stupid and died. Neither of us were interested so we took off.
Went to this huge NGO office that's kind of a hub for a lot of the organizations in Phnom Penh. He's applying for pretty much anything in the field... I'll admit I'm feeling a bit jealous. I can see myself settling down in this city for a little while doing work like that.

The children selling books have become my best friends and most annoying companions. I refuse to buy more books because I currently have two I haven't read (The Road to Santiago and Slaughter House Five) so they have decided to just pester me while I'm on the computer. Right now I have one singing to me...
"Jesse no good, play football very bad. Jesse not cool, smile not cool. She won't buy book, she is very mean"
Don't I feel popular.

This evening I was taken on wild run by a moto driver with pink eye. He had no idea where the embassy was an took me on a tour. We went all around Phnom Penh and finally I realized it was going to close and gave him directions. Is it bad when I know the area better than someone who lives here?! I had fun though, going through back alleys I'd never been down, and we took a weird turn through the slums/projects...
I am now the proud owner of a Canadian passport with a Thai visa. YES!

"Jesse no good, play internet and ignore me"

singing singing...

Going to meet David for one last beer tonight and hopefully I'll see him in a few years...

Tomorrow I am Bangkok bound.

PS: Mike found it!!
This is the song that we heard seven times a day every single day in Laos.
Love this guy. hahaha


"Why is there a girl charge on my bill?"

Posted on 2009.05.27 at 17:09
Current Location: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Current Mood: exhaustedexhausted
Five days of waiting begin tomorrow morning.

Sopia and I started early again today. Headed out and got photos at a small shack photo store in the middle of Cambodia chaos. I felt like I was at a modeling session. I was taken to a seat in front of a mirror where there was a comb and hair gel... Prepare for photo. I was then posed and tilted, the man took a good 8 photos and then spent five minutes on the computer choosing the best one and another five airbrushing the blemishes off of my face. That's right. I am now the proud owner of airbrushed passport photos. Hahaha.

I think I would like to have a model session done at one of these studios. While waiting I checked the place out. They have amazing traditional formal Khmer dresses and tie dye rainbow backgrounds. Hilarious! I can just imagine shots of me, mohawk spiked in a fancy dress with a psychedelic background on my mom's mantle. Can't you?

There was a slight issue at the office, but it was dealt with. Unfortunately there was another huge posse of African men there on the prowl and somehow one of them ended up with my e-mail address. He was very persistent on taking me out for lunch or meeting up in Bangkok. Ack. I don't know how to decline overly nice people... It was really awkward.

I bumped into Sopia on my way home last night and we switched motos on the side of the highway. I was driving along and he pulled up beside me and so he paid my driver and told me to get on his bike. It was really cute. He apologized profusely and told me how he had gotten a call that his friend was in the hospital so he went to pick up the guys mom and take her there. I told him my story and we had a good laugh. I'm glad to have locals on my side...

So he took me to the market after the embassy where I met up with David and Mike for lunch. The neighbourhood that David lives in is pretty cool. It's low key and there's no tourists. He kind of lives in the middle of this weird appliance/moto repair section... I enjoy wandering through and taking pictures of the things for sale... Like jack hammers...

I am getting really burnt out. I don't know what from but I have been so tired the last few weeks. The heat is draining, and I think my spirit for being out here is starting to dwindle. I can see and experience the weirdest of situations or things and it doesn't seem to phase me as much anymore. How is it that you can walk down the street and note the man in front of you has a hand gun sticking out of his jeans and you don't care. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?
Cambodia, especially Phnom Penh is pretty fucked. And I'm way too used to it.

I've befriended this guy Nam, an Indian from London. Ex drug dealer turned bar owner. He also DJ's every Tuesday... At the end of my day I find myself sitting at his bar and discussing the underworld of this city over beers. There's a lot going on in this neighbourhood (Baeng Kak) alone.

Wow. My quick update just got long. I'm outta here.


Lockdown in the Penh

Posted on 2009.05.23 at 18:25
Current Location: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Current Mood: exhaustedexhausted
Thailand has changed the rules. Since last year the law has changed for visas on arrival. Thailand will now only issue fifteen days when crossing over land. This is to prevent the expats and tourists from doing visa runs. For those of you who aren't too sure of this term, it is exactly what it sounds like. When your 30 days are up, the passport holder heads to the nearest border and crosses over, gets a new stamp and turns around. Spending about fifteen minutes in the other country and basically side stepping the law.
This new rule will stop people from doing this, and others who wish to cross by land and have the full 30 days still can for free, they just have to apply for the visa at an embassy, rather than at the crossing.

This is why I am in Phnom Penh yet again.

Unfortunately there's been a few screw ups.
First day in town I got there just after the office had closed (at 11am). The security guard outside offered to do it for me "just fill in form, give me money and I give to them you pick up tomorrow". After losing my passport once, I decided handing it over to a corrupt official probably wasn't the best idea. Unfortunately I already had and he was now demanding a dollar just to give it back to me. I snatched it out of his hand and said I'd be back tomorrow morning.

Today. Now, that was a whole other experience.
Sopia, my trusted moto man of Boeng Kak (Lakeside, my temp home) showed up at my room bright and early (okay it was 9:30) and took me to the embassy. After some crazy driving (many red lights run, drove on the sidewalk... you know, the usual) we arrived to a full house.
The Royal Thai Embassy is set up in a manner that only Cambodia would think was efficient. Perhaps all bureaucracies are a bit off, but this one...
I get my form and join the mob. Fill in some ridiculous questions but laugh remembering it is no where near as bad as my three page form to enter India. There is no where to sit, so I write it up against an electrical box.
I head inside to take part in the silent sit in inside. Everyone has a number. There is no where to get one. I go back outside, through the gate, around the corner where there is a man in a box who checks my forms and gives me a number. He says I am A-OK.
So the wait begins. I am 20 numbers back. Sweet. Sit sit sit. Make friends with a man from Sudan. I'm curious as to why he is here as he has no forms. There are about 17 men from Africa all over the embassy. They are outside, inside scattered, and only one woman and her kid are holding forms. They all know each other. The guy gets a bit pushy on conversation and what was gentle flirting is now turned mega creepy. My number is called.

I go up to the counter and hand over my paper work, stoked to be on my way out. "Where your photo?"
"The man outside said you could photo copy my passport"
"What? No. Need photo." Now, every border crossing and visa office has been satisfied with photo copying my passport so I'm a little ticked)
"But... the man... there's a photocopier right there" I point behind the woman.
"No, you go get photocopy come back"
I figure I will try the magic phrase of Cambodia "I'll give you two dollars if you just..."
"No. You go. Me busy. You come back. Come back today or" she taps on the glass pointing to a sign that says if you do not get your visa form in today you will have to wait until June 2nd to get your passport back.

I storm outside. I am surrounded by moto drivers. Sopia is no where in sight. I get the drivers off my case only to realize I need one.
I explain my sitch to the nearest guy who speaks english and ask if there's a photo copy place near by I can get to. Yes yes is my answer, and the barter begins. 1000 reil? It's close. Yes? "Moi puan" I repeat in Khmer to make sure he's got it. He passes me off to another driver. He says he knows where to take me and shit is cool. I look at the guy and say "Moi puan" one last time, he nods and we're off.

I get back. Pay my man. Go back to the box around back. Hand in forms.... "Where your photo?" What. This man didn't stop me for not having a photo the first time and now he is giving me shit for my photo copy. "Need color photo. Two." I look at my watch. It is now 5 to 11. I am fucked.

This is where shit hits the fan.

Now I am mad. I am livid actually. I have spent my morning being fucked over by every person I've talked to minus my last moto ride. I have to meet David in five minutes, and Sopia is still MIA. I lean against the wall and inhale.
A man rushes up to me in a rage.
"Excuse me? What?"
"One dollar. My friend." He grabs the man who drove me to get my photocopy.
"No. I don't owe him anything. I paid him, we are done"
"You give him 1000 riel? That is joke. Shit money."
"It was a 10 second drive! That is a fair price. I didn't arrive in this country yesterday... I know what it costs to get around this city!"
"He took you there and back!"
"Well then he should not have agreed to the price! I clarified it before I got on the bike! Ask that guy!" I point to the man I spoke to earlier. He is now shaking his head denying our conversation. Which, all of these men were present for. I am now surrounded. All of the moto drivers outside the embassy have a semi circle around me against the wall.
"You take advantage of poor man! He does not speak english!"
"I said the price in Khmer!"
There is a tap on my shoulder.
"Hey, are you alright?" It's the man from Sudan poking me through the fence.
"No..." I say, a bit shaken. I'm still pissed, and now I'm getting yelled at. I am having a hard time keeping my cool.
The man behind me snaps his fingers and all of a sudden eight guys are beside me. "Do you have a problem with this girl?" he says getting closer to the pack of moto drivers. "If you have a problem, maybe we can sort this for you"
All of a sudden there's this pose of giant African men standing in front of me taking on the moto drivers. I am in shock. I finally kick back in and realize that there is a whole lot of yelling going on on my behalf, both sides are freaking out. I step back in and say its my issue, with this one guy, and that everyone else needs to back off.
Seriously. Where am I? What is happening?
I grab the moto driver and the first confused man I spoke with to translate. I want out. I offer them 3000 reil (making it a buck in total) to take me to the Russian Market to meet David. They try and up the price (it's super close, I'm already offering more than it costs) "Do you really want to stick around here?" I say looking back at the giant men. Am I threatening this moto driver? And we're off.

I was in so much shock, and so pissed from earlier in the office that tears streamed down my cheeks as we rode off on his bike. Hiding behind my sun glasses I gained my composure and headed deep into the market to find David.


David is the hilarious NGO worker we met in Saigon who lives here in Phnom Penh. I adore David. He immediately made everything a little bit better, and we headed out and had a day on the town. His house is surrounded by razor wire. His landlord (this chubby Khmer woman) will only speak to him in French (which he understands less than Khmer). We got chased by the blackest cloud I have ever seen in my life. And ate killer pork sandwiches.

Just think.
Tomorrow I get to do this all again.


Lost and found....

Posted on 2009.05.22 at 03:21
Current Location: Sihanoukville, Cambodia
Thanks for the well wishes... I needed it.

The last few days have been incredibly trying. Phoning around, spending too much money on what should be local calls. Why does it cost more to call the province over than it does to call Canada? Bullshit is what it is. Conveniently all Skype access has been down (so I couldn't make cheap calls) and the internet has been on and off at best.

The guesthouse that I lived in and loved last year is now the hottest night club. So, that discovery was lame. 4am the music is still bumping. Needless to say, we moved... and as nice as our new place is I do miss the staff at Chiva's.

Yesterday Mike did the nicest thing possible. We rented a scooter and he drove me to Kampot on a rescue mission. It ended up being a mission as there are only seven paved roads (we counted later) in the entire country we managed to make a wrong turn when faced with two options. Let's also make clear that there are no road signs, and it was pissing rain.
By the time the passport was in my hands (after messing around in town, because they had taken it somewhere for "safe keeping" way to make my heart stop) it was dusk.
We contemplated staying in town over a quick bite and then decided to just hit the road because we were so exhausted and bitter we couldn't imagine staying in Kampot any longer than necessary. Bad idea.
It got dark and started pouring. I don't mean like nice west coast showers. I mean SE Asia monsoon rains. The head light on the bike was dying, our horn is barely audible, and people still drive like jackasses. We were scared. The road was covered in potholes, and even if we did want to stop to wait it out for a bit, it is all jungle and farms on either side of the road. Occasionally you'd pass through a group of houses (where farm animals became another obstacal), but we didn't have much choice but to keep going.

The only funny part was me squatting to pee on the road (because it was too dark to even see the ditch) and then people kept slowing down to see if we needed help... hahaha
Aaaaaaaand I was wearing a white shirt... we were soaked... It was actually cold.
Driving into a lightning storm is pretty terrifying by the way, I don't recommend it.

Mike is buying is ticket home... starting to plan out my last month... Hmmmm... what to do?

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