Back in my arms again, my beloved dog Zambo on our farm
I am safely back in the United States, on my farm in Indiana. One of the reasons I am posting this is because several people sent emails to me, worrying about me. They had not read a new posting in a while, and they were worried that something had happened, like, as one person said, whether I was ‘in a Thai jail’. Well, I am not.
I am on my farm, plowing and planting. I have planted 20 hazelnut trees, onions, sunchokes, many greens, potatoes and other root crops. It is still too early for the big three of corn, beans, and squash. We did not get a killing frost this spring, so all the blossoms on my fruit trees will make it. If you look in the background of this picture, you can see a pear and plum tree in full blossom. My problem now is “Where are the bees?” I see none on the trees. I may have to start keeping bees again.
If you look in the background of this picture, you will see a black contraption to the right of me. That is my almost complete solar food dryer. I hope to be using it later this summer.
I will be traveling some more, this summer and winter. If it warrants it, I may blog again.
Best to all of you.
Post #32 from SE Asia
From the eastern side of Bangkok, Thailand
March 15th, 2010
Look at these foods.
In every market, in the evening, you find these selections
whatever direction you turn...
I could have taken 10 more photos like this, at any marketplace
These are from all the just ordinary markets where regular Thais eat daily. You will find this in every town here you visit. This food is as good as any from the best restaurants. The Thais have a food culture here. It appears to me that the poor people eat about as well as the wealthy in Thailand. And Thailand in many ways, is becoming a wealthy country.
#31 from SE Asia
March 16th, 2010
Arriving back in Bangkok, March 16th, 2010
I rolled back into the same guest house that I left from today, March 16th, at noon. I had left here on January 9th. So it was 65 days on the road. I had no major disasters on the way. A lot of challenges, but they were all solvable.
I was waylaid today twice in the terrible Bangkok traffic by the ‘red’ demonstrators. I had to change my route and weave thru the barricades. Apparently, the protesters shut the city down 2 years ago. I thought about putting my bike in a taxi and being carried in. But a taxi would never have made it thru the demonstrators at all. I had a fine feeling returning today. Before I left, I really was not sure that I ‘had it in me’. It’s a high I am feeling now.
#30 from SE Asia
From Eastern Thailand
March 13th, 2010
Warning: This story is gross, without any photos. Read at your own risk.
I have been reluctant to publish this one. Part of me thinks, ‘This is in bad taste.’ Another part of me thinks, ‘Dwight, you have been in bad taste your whole life, so why change now? Go for it.’
Let me tell you a few things that were NOT the grossest things on this trip.
1. Watching people in NE Thailand eat 4″ long deep-fried water bugs.
2. Returning to my hotel in Hanoi after an evening of beer-drinking with an Aussie professor and I stumble down an alley to see some men barbecuing a puppy on a skewer. (hard to believe that this would not be the grossest)
Before I go any further, I am going to quote Jack Nicholson. He said that there are 3 rules that old men should abide by:
1. Always show your kids and grandkids that you love them.
2. Never pass up a bathroom
3. Never waste an erection
Post #29 from SE Asia
March 10th, 2010
Siem Reap, Cambodia
An incredible meal of amok and a seafood salad
There is some fine dining in Siem Reap. Most of the time I eat in the open markets with the other peasants. I can find some great local foods there. But I am trying the national dishes of the countries I visit, and checking out a few recommended restaurants. So I have ordered the national dish of Cambodia, Amok. It is a fish baked in a mild curry and coconut sauce inside banana leaves, with various herbs and vegetables, many of which I have never had before. Along with that I have a seafood salad on lightly steamed veggies and greens, again with unknown herbs. I am amazed from the first bite.
A new vegetable for me, Cho
#28 from SE Asia
from Siem Reap, Cambodia
March 9th, 2010
The Temple of Banteay Srei
Siem Reap is where the Angor Wat temple complex is located. Usually people refer to it as ‘Angor Wat’. But Angor Wat is just the the largest and best preserved of the many temple complexes here.
I do not want to repeat the readily available information about all of these temples and ruins here. But here are some points that stood out to me.
1. The temple complex is simply immense. I bought a 3-day pass for $40, and I needed every hour of it. I rode my bicycle 40 km on the first day just to visit the temples in the Angor Wat complex. This included some serious hiking and climbing. By the end of the day, I was really tired. On the 2nd day, it was a 70 km round trip to visit the Banteay Srei Temple to the northeast. This was entirely worth it. The detail and quality of the work was extraordinary. On my 3rd day, I rode 40 km round trip to visit the Rolous temple complex to the east. I had no regrets afterward about making this trip either.
The 2-directional Tonle Sap River
#27 from SE Asia
March 7th, 2010
along the Tonle Sap river
I leave Phnom Penh at sunrise before the heat of the day. The road traffic is not frantic. I stay on highway 5, on the south side of the Tonle Sap River and Tonle Sap Lake. Within 10 miles, the traffic and street noise has dropped to the level of a country road. The drill is clear to me. Get in as many miles as early as I can, before the heat of the day. I am doing 3 gallons of liquids a day. I will have to do this all the way back to Bangkok, for winter is over here. It is now getting hot. My goal is 90+ kms ahead, to Kampong Chhnang (that is honestly how they spell it in English), where the Tonle Sap River meets the Tonle Sap Lake.
The Tuol Sleng Prison Museum
Post #26 from SE Asia — the Khmer Rouge
March 6th, 2010
pulling into Phnom Penh, Kampuchea
I could feel the difference immediately riding in Cambodia. (They call it Kampuchea.) Slower drivers, much less honking, the roads not nearly so dangerous. More smiles. I knew that I was back in the ”Buddhist belt’”.
You have surely heard of the disasters that Kampuchea has been thru. Just watch THE KILLING FIELDS again to get an idea. Briefly, after the bombing of Cambodia destabilized the country, there was a civil war where the Khmer Rouge came to power in April of 1975. In the next 4 years, the Khmer Rouge proceeded to kill 2 million people, 1/4th of the entire population in one of the most insanely genocidal unleashings of this century. Anyone with any education, who spoke any foreign language, was immediately executed.
Coming into Phnom Penh, in the middle of the street...
Post #25 from SE Asia
March 4th, 2010
Time and travel
Time and Travel:
“‘Inside every old man is a young man wondering ‘Just what the fuck happened anyhow?”
Einstein’s general theory of relativity states that the faster you go, the slower time passes for you. My corollary to that is that the more you travel, the slower time goes. I personally know this to be true.
I have been traveling now for about 10 weeks. Yet, personally, it seems like this is all that I have ever done. Every day is crammed with so many new experiences, events, locations, people, cultures, foods, languages, all coming at me so fast, that it seems like I have been traveling for years. I am learning so much about everything. In a 2 month period, I now know Bangkok, the Mekong River, Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Dien Bien Phu, Hanoi, Hue, Saigon, the Mekong Delta, The Tonle Sap basin, Phnom Penh, 4 new countries, and beginning tomorrow for 4 days, Angor Watt.
#24, from SE Asia
March 1st, 2010
from the Mekong Delta, Vietnam
evidence of road kill all over
An educated Vietnamese told me in Saigon that the #1 cause of death in Saigon and Hanoi is in fact traumatic head injury from motorcycle accidents. It seemed to me that it had to be, given the way they drive. No turn signals, no head checking, left and U turns whenever they feel like it. Both Saigon and Hanoi have 4+ million motorcycles, each increasing at over a 1000 a day. It is a disaster. I am relieved to be out of these cities.
Well, yesterday morning I came upon the remnants of a fresh accident. A badly crushed motorcycle,with oil, gas, and blood on the road. While the cops were trying to stop the traffic, the motorcyclists continued riding thru it. They drove right over the oil, gas, and blood. They probably would have gone over the body, except that it was already gone. The accident scene specialist had already sprayed the positions of the motorcycle and body on the road.