this week i

generally agree with these sentiments about traveling alone.

made a friend at the cambodian border.  it's easy to do.

continued up the mekong river.


observed other modes of transit too..

zippy cycles

human-powered vehicles

..and tourist dumbos.

explored phnom penh.

saw a statue..

a cambodian idol

otherworldly guardians
a christmas parade
video

and a temple

..or four.






learned some stuff..

kids like pizza

and santa

auto insurance is a good idea
 
elephants are an eye-catching way to sell beer

..and dancing toddlers speak a universal language. of fun.
video

riverboated north to the legendary angkor wat..
..they say it's the journey not the destination..



..but in this case, i think it's both.

followed the guidebook recommendations.  rose long before sunrise.

staked out some photography turf.

appreciate that damn good advice.

spent the day immersed in thousand year-old ruins.


had a religious moment.

smooched the buddha.


hopped between temple complexes via auto-rickshaw.


cannot believe these trees..

..as much a part of the temples as any stone.


wonder what it looked like before they took over.


spotted some kids on the trail..



..these beehive-headed aardvark elephant robots..

..and true-to-life carvings right down to the lion's asshole.


climbed the temple mountainside..

among the crowds
for a late afternoon glimpse


..of the jungle sunset.

ate amok for dinner.

hit the river again.

video

don't understand the mechanics of a delta speedboat motor.
video

love how some homes float and others stand on stilts.

found a reading companion.

taxied to thailand immigration.  notice five human beings in the front of this sedan.  mercifully only four of us shared the back seat.  at one point, the driver alternated between two conversations, one active cell phone in each hand.

traveled in relative safely to the nearest thai town..

also: am i the only person who loves this guy?

rode a ferry out to the thaisland of ko samut.
 
rented half a bungalow.

ate.  read.  walked.  stared.  slept.

watched neck hula hoops, small children playing with fire.

 did nothing, did it well.

took a cozy busride to the bangkok airport.

finished into the wild.  about a recent college graduate who tries his hand at alaskan survival, and dies.  the author feels a great deal of empathy toward him, i do not.  we need to trash this idea of alaska, antarctica, even space as our final frontier.  your choices for that category are: mogadishu, haiti, the slums of bombay, or the favelas of rio.  a real frontier has suffering humanity to make contact with, to share stories about, to eventually shrink the world.  if you need to ramble because it's in your blood, try the ghettos of addis ababa; we evolved a social wanderlust for the ethiopian savanna, not for solitary confinement in siberia.  let's get everyone clean drinking water before you go off on your arrogant little squirrel-hunt.

i wanted movement and not a calm course of existence.  i wanted excitement and danger and the chance to sacrifice myself for my love.  i felt in myself a superabundance of energy which found no outlet in our quiet life.  leo tolstoy 'family happiness'

if you attempted to talk him out of something, he wouldn't argue.  he'd just nod politely and then do exactly what he wanted.

it is easy, when you are young, to believe that what you desire is no less than what you deserve.

when he'd first crossed the river, sixty-seven days earlier in the freezing temperatures of april, it had been an icy but gentle knee-deep creek, and he'd simply strolled across it.  on july 5th, however, the teklanika was at full flood, swollen with rain and snowmelt from glaciers high in the alaska range, running cold and fast.

i'll never stop wandering.  and when the time comes to die, i'll find the wildest, loneliest, most desolate spot there is.

the courage to turn against our habitual lifestyle and engage in unconventional living.

say to that last line: amen.


12/30/10