this isn’t ‘nam, smokey, there are rules.

this morning as megan and i were leaving our room, we became abruptly aware that something was slightly amiss. it wasn’t the foggy haze in the hallway, nor the crisp aroma of kerosene gently beckoning at my nostrils that warranted my concern so much as the strange man in the black motorcycle helmet wielding the flaming broom. alarms and whistles sounded in my head, replacing what had seconds before been jubilant, anthropomorphous images of dancing muffins, fried eggs and sausage links. ‘WRONG’ my mind told me as i gaped, entirely void of comprehension at the masked man and his broom that was quite literally blazing with sizable orange flames. finding myself unable to let the apathetic grog of pre-breakfast a.m. (did i mention it was morning?) allow me to remain ignorant to this most surreal of good-mornings, i calculated it would be best to investigate the matter. “what are you doing?” i demanded, more calmly than i had anticipated. the anonymous keeper of the demonic sweeper lifted the visor on his helmet to look at me as though i were the crazy one for posing such a ridiculous query. but after a thoughtful moment of careful consideration, he proudly and enthusiastically proclaimed ” i don’t know.” he flipped the visor down as megan and i exchanged semi-exasperated but satisfied shrugs, silently agreeing that the pursuing this investigation was a fool’s errand. moreover, we supposed that there was a halfway decent chance that our hostel would not, in fact, be a smoldering ash pile upon our return, in addition to the irrefutable fact that our breakfast certainly wasn’t just going to eat itself.

that, my darling dears, i think paints a fairly accurate picture of the sort of mishegas to which i’ve not only grown quite accustomed, but quite fond. cambodia is frustratingly hectic, maddeningly hilarious, perplexedly simple and confoundedly beautiful. i daresay it’s near impossible to know what to think or expect from one moment to the next. furthermore susan, i wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to find that there are few places one could so rapidly develop a love-hate relationship with as this turd of a pearl (or pearl of a turd) of asia’s regalia of southeast countries. i’d be lying if i said it was my favorite place i’d ever happened upon, but i’d also be telling a tall tale if i said i wouldn’t consider living here. because i would. maybe. where else do you have to swerve your motorbike (which is likely carrying three+ people) to avoid rear end collision with an elephant in rush hour traffic? where else can you take a motorboat out on a lake and see the last of our world’s endangered, freshwater, irrawaddy dolphins swimming playfully alongside your dingy? where else can you go to a death camp one day and a circus the next? and where else can you be taking a bus trip that turns into a hellish nightmare when your bus nearly fishtails off the side of a hill, becomes lodged in the mud on said hill, obliging the passengers to hike through mud in the rain for an undisclosed length of time, when a military-like truck picks them up and hauls them in a mud-caked, infant-conveying (i was literally somehow handed a baby to carry) muddle to a second bus which then proceeds to break down after an hour or two, leaving the ill-fated, beshitted passengers to wait for yet a third bus to take them to wherever the hell it was they were supposed to be going in the first place? the questions are as rhetorical as the stories are true.

it was actually on our journey from ban lung to cambodia’s capital city, phnom penh, that this aforementioned comedy of errors took place. ban lung is in the northeast region of the country; in a strictly geographical sense, it’s like the new england of cambodia. the ride to phnom penh, which geographically speaking, my american brethren, would put it at about missouri, should have taken around 9 hours. it took us just a little over 14. more than just bus rides and bitching, ban lung is a gorgeous, green and luscious home to some of the country’s most beautiful national parks. there’s also a pristine volcanic crater lake in which we indulged in a decidedly delightful dipperoo–which was nice considering megan’s moto driver dropped her in the mud at least 6 or 7 times on the way there. but aside from being proficient at knocking americans off of motorbikes, our utterly unintelligible guide may or may not have explained to us, during a visit to a minority village, that its perfectly alright for the young men of the village to sleep with single girls as long as nobody sees them and they’ve left by 3 a.m. consequently and certainly most disturbingly, he also may or may not have explained to us that babies born without fathers are promptly buried. i could see no obvious signs of an infant graveyard, but after several ever-futile attempts to breach the language barrier, i opted not to press the matter. another highlight of ban lung was actually the hostel in which we stayed: a utopian tree-top bungalow with gorgeous stone set bathrooms and wrap around porches complete with daybeds and hammocks for your pure lounging satisfaction. there were also three aggressively adorable little resident cambodlings who were more than eager to treat you like a jungle gym at any given time (incidentally, when i was asked to help a representative of the tree-top hostel to try to entice a group of tourists to stay at the hostel one evening, my wholly unintentionally yet thoroughly creepy sales pitch included letting them know that in addition to the charming facilities, there also were “free kids to play with”. let’s just say it didn’t go over as well as either i, or the hostel worker would have liked).

but all things must end, as our time in ban lung inevitably did, and we were back to phenom penh to collect our visas and board our inadvertently privately chartered boat, which would take us and about a dozen bicycles to vietnam. ah, vietnam. like outback steak house: “no rules, just right.” and that is precisely where i write to you from right now, dear reader.* megan and i arrived yesterday in ho chi minh city (formerly saigon) and we wasted not a moment. i assure that i can assure you quite assuredly that we both dig the tourist thing to the utmost, but one of the secrets of globe-trotting, friends, is not to forget how to have fun. so partaking of our own invaluable wisdom, we befriended a group of vacationing brits, and spent the entire day at dam sen water park. waterslides, zip lines, tubing, twisters, fountains and fried food combined with a (most welcome) utter lack of obvious safety regulations makes for a memorable experience for any water park enthusiast. the only time i did get the whistle blown on me, the lifeguard pointed at me, crossed himself and laughed. apparently its against park regulation to look like jesus in the wave pool. after dismounting one particular slide entitled “the kamikaze”, megan waddled over to me and privately likened the experience to a colonic before promptly excusing herself to the little girls room. i tell you, it was just like home but without all the fat rednecks with bad tattoos in heinously unflattering and entirely grotesque aquatic attire. and as if that wasn’t enough, ice cream cones were only 30 cents! i had two.

having been here little over 24 hours, there isn’t much yet to report of this strange new land short of the stupendously entertaining water parks (yes plural. though i can only speak for the one i’ve visited, there are 3 in ho chi minh city) and marvelously inescapable fact that the currency is called “dong.” you wouldn’t be the first to call me immature, but i say it about 20 times a day and it has yet to stop being funny to me. vietnam is however a country with a fascinating and sobering history and, as i’m sure you’re all aware, it’s recent past has greatly impacted the history of our own country as well. i imagine our northbound trek through this country won’t be all ice cream cones and water slides, but it’s certainly not a bad place to start.

it may interest some of you to know that the cambodia leg of our travels is now available in photo form at the following link: cambizzle pics. any requests for more angkor wat pictures or those of you who requested proof of accused ‘tall tales’ with rule #1 compliance should direct themselves to the above link and stop bothering me. jk, girlfriend. i’m happy to answer any and all questions be they blahg-related or not in the comments field below.

so without further adieu, i now present to you the photo portion of this week’s The Prime Directive that i know most of you skip to anyway. cheers.

*and yes i happen to be perfectly aware that this blahg entry begins “this morning as …” and places us in cambodia. congratulations on spotting the discrepancy. my, how carefully you read. tell ’em what they’ve won, rod. but the truth is (and do forgive me for the chronological liberties i’ve taken) that i like the sound of that better than opening with “the other morning.” sue me.

rush hour in phenom penh.

rush hour in phenom penh.

a stupa full of skulls at the killing fields.

a stupa full of skulls at the killing fields.

attack!

attack!

one bus down, two to go. luckily i had some CCR to listen to.

one bus down, two to go. luckily i had some CCR to listen to.

royal palace in phenom penh. wench sold separately.

royal palace in phenom penh. wench sold separately.

the other passengers on our boat to 'nam.

the other passengers on our boat to 'nam.

rush hour in ho chi minh city. needs more elephant.

rush hour in ho chi minh city. needs more elephant.

you don't know what it was like over there.

a cultural outing.

a cultural outing.

you don't know what it was like over there.

Advertisements

11 Responses to “this isn’t ‘nam, smokey, there are rules.”

  1. idk the answers to the rest of your worldly queries, but as far as the below is concerned, the other answer Jeopardy would accept is: “Camp Bisco 8”

    and where else can you be taking a bus trip that turns into a hellish nightmare when your bus nearly fishtails off the side of a hill, becomes lodged in the mud on said hill, obliging the passengers to hike through mud in the rain for an undisclosed length of time, when a military-like truck picks them up and hauls them in a mud-caked, infant-conveying (i was literally somehow handed a baby to carry) muddle to a second bus which then proceeds to break down after an hour or two, leaving the ill-fated, beshitted passengers to wait for yet a third bus to take them to wherever the hell it was they were supposed to be going in the first place?

  2. i’ll take smart-ass responses for $200, alex.

  3. those were supposed to be rhetorical questions, methinks… and who the hell is susan anyway?

  4. i prefer to read the text and skip the pictures

  5. this whole entry tickled me so. I’m pleased, proud and beyond impressed at the way you’ve grown as a writer, Brothercup. same goes for your beard! sweet baby hercules, a mightier shrub I have never seen, not even growing out of the holy brown earth!!

    well. miss you both tremendously. keep on.

    onelove,
    sister.

  6. Chelsea T Says:

    I just got a nasty look from the person next to me for laughing out loud at Megan’s waterslide experience. But it was Oh So Worth it! Hehehehe

  7. you should have seen the nasty from the person next to me when i left the bathroom stall!

  8. baconface Says:

    i love this… pictures/text/smartass answers for $200. but when you’re done, we’re waiting. thank you, that is all.

  9. kids love water slides, they go crazy about it ~

  10. when i was a kid, i really enjoyed going up and down on water slides, it is a very enjoyable experience ~~,

  11. รับจ้างโพส รับจ้างโพสต์เว็บบอร์ด รับจ้างโพสข้อความ รับจ้างลงประกาศ โปรโหมดเว็บไซต์ 1000เว็บบอร์ด2000บาท สนใจสอบถามลายละเอียดที่เบอร์ 0873467837 24ชม

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: