posted 2019-01-06 23:38:18
so much has happened since the last time i posted.
I took a 12 day trip to southeast Asia, Thailand and Cambodia, went to Angkor Tom / Angkor Wat, spent a few days in Chaing Mai (second largest city in Thailand, cheaper and way more laid back than Bangkok, which from the sukumvit neighborhood i was in is mostly gigantic international shopping megaplexes. my brother was going for a theme wedding and had enough frequent flier miles to take me with him. It was amazing.
it was nice to go to Buddhist temples and take a bunch of pictures and gawk, and then go back to Bangkok shopping malls decorated for Christmas, and watch people taking pictures of Christmas themed stuff- it was kind of odd, lots of snowflakes and trees and ornaments, no Christianity or particular emphasis on Santa.
Cambodia- Angkor in particular- was humid as hell. this is evidently the dry season. It was that kind of weather- you know it if you live in the south- where its basically fine if you sit in the shade and don't move, and then eight minutes after you start walking or trying to do something, you're dying. The land of perpetual august.
The Bayone was my favorite temple, all these pillars, foursided buddah heads on them. it looks like a ruin from the outside, and then on the second level, you're surrounded by these serene buddah faces.
My brother got sick and threw up on Angkor Wat.
I now want to get him plane tickets to Manchu Pichu and the Great Pyramids so he can hit those world heratige sites too.
The shakedown was real- Obelhofsky - my brother- got hit for five bucks for puking on the inner courtyard. He was trying to be a good sport, came bounding up to us and was like, hey, did you know for five bucks, they let you throw up here?"
I was impressed.
So the bride and groom of the wedding they'd been to- they are from Hong Kong and the groom invited my brother and another friend from america to be his groomsmen- Hank. I'll get back to Hank. anyhow, they didn't have a honeymoon planned, so booked a hotel in cambodia and basically came along with us. Anyhow, the bride- a lovely woman who gets paid insane sums of money to work with the autistic children of chinese millionares, came up to the back gate of angkor wat in a wrap and was told that her clothing was not sufficent and she'd have to buy a t-shirt. She was the first, most expensive of us to get the shakedown, though my poor brother getting fucked over for puking was by far the most trifling.
Would you like to know about the art ? about the cultural context of these monuments?
well, fuck you. there is virtually no signage. The place is essentially uninterpreted. if there are carvings- and sometimes there are- there will be no one or no sign to explain them.
Key point: are the temples Hindu or Buddist? the answer is yes. they do both at the same time. Don't ask silly questions.
today, Cambodia is very Buddhist, with big cultural influences from india.
The khemer who built the temples had a lot of writing but didn't carve much of it. Most of it basically rotted away. One of their kings endowed a chain of dozens of hospitals across the nation, and carved stellas explaining their rules and endowment for each hospital. Seeing that in the main museum was our main contact with their material culture.
The temples often have little feeble old women maintaining tiny shrines inside small spaces. This is what social security looks like in Cambodia. The architecture of the khmer empire never mastered the arch, so the largest interior spaces are only maybe 12 feet across. Lots of tiny little rooms and long hallways.
Every major temple has a platform at the entrance and exit with musicians on it, who have had their lower limbs blown off in the civil war/ khmer rouge years.
also, fuck Pol Pot 20 ways from sunday. Among the most evil to have ever lived.
Siem Reap, the tourist city that feeds Angkor, is ... well... i like chaing mai better. the infrascructure is worse, it's totally touristy, there are these insand giant hotels on the road from the airport that cater entirely to huge busloads of chinese tourists.
the Chinese move in packs of about 50, and all part before them. As one of our Thai tour guides put it at one of the few house museums in Bangkok (Jim Thompson House) "here come the Chinese, please move this way quickly".
so basically, southeast asia has a lot of chinese tourists. It's like five hours north to Hunan province, so it's a nice regional destination. Like someone from china complaining about all the Americans in Cozumel.
been back a week. I did something rare for me and hung out with male non-kink people. We went bowling. I uh, dominated. I've never rolled a 170 in my life, but I crushed them. Won the next game with a 119, reverting to the mean, but shit.
Every dude I was hanging out with was younger than me and worked in some form of law enforcement or corrections.
So i met up with my friend and former student J, we went shooting shotguns for about an hour- his father, who has some sort of siezure disorder- was talking about how he may have to pick his internet girlfrend up from the airport- anyhow, J and I went bowling with a bunch of dudes.
Like me and six other guys. the core five of us get in the car on the way in, dude has a case open and starts handing out beers.
it was that kind of an evening.
Our DD was a state trooper and former student of mine who is very into MMA and hitting people and cosplay. He doesn't drink at all. I'm a little concerned that he doens't eat at all, either. The only thing I know he consumed in like 6 hours of hanging out was the monster energy drink i bought him as a favor for driving us around.
My friend J's pal Neff... fuck that guy. he drank more than all of us, and on the way home started leaning into J and telling him, "ya know, J... women... women are the niggers of gender".
He repeated this several times. I laughed at him. next time i'll be ready. he sort of weirdly drunkenly appologized for being offensive, but the thing is, he's... he's sad. like just kind of pants-shittingly sad.
he also has a girlfriend.
This bowling alley had everyone in my rural area in it. I ran into a woman i'd flunked out of my class just a few weeks before, there with her boyfriend.
I ran into a woman who'd flunked out of my nurisng program last semester. She was there with some other folks, all the male ones in interchangable mossy oak, and asked if i was still in nursing. when i said yes, her conversation shifted down fast.
we spent some time in the arcade area of the bowling alley, where this kid- he went by JR or cowboy- like, these were the names he gave me for bowling- pulled out a peice. So damn near everyone there is corrections or law enformcement, except the guy he rode with, another former student, who is a low key internet famous aquarium blogger and massive small town redneck... anyhow, we look over, and this kid who is evidently legal to drink because he has been drinking, significantly, is putting on a shoulder holster with a... shit, i didn't even get a good look at it. I was at the bowling alley arcade, looked over and was like, why is this drunk #@(() pulling out a piece?
the entire group converged on him and told him to put it back out in the truck. They had a lot of legalism in their arugments- dude, youve' been drinking, the state will--- and not enough personal standard. Drugs and guns don't mix.
anyhow, he was basically some kid trying to be cool, which is what i think about most of concelled cary all of open carry.