liverighttravelfar

Life is a Journey, Savor it.


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Beguiling Filipino “CR”

In th Philippines I eat pink chewable pepto bismol tablets as if they are candy. The candy is especially helpful on long bus rides inching along at top speeds of 25 kph through mud and muck in the middle of nowhere jungle. A recent 141km journey from El Nido to Roxas took four hours and included an impromptu stop that nearly broke both axels off of the lime green Roro Coach.

Waking up in the mornings there’s a gurgle in my tummy and a feeling of sheer dread. I automatically evaluate my restroom options for the day and in the immediate vicinity. Filipinos are fond of inexplicable devices that pass as toilets. A favorite is the itsy bitsy commode; these are white porcelain bowls the size of a toddler’s training potty and they are no more than a foot off the ground, usually pushed deep into a corner and smack dab against the wall. It creates a predicament for men and women alike: to squat or not..? Aim and good luck? Sit? (Heavens no to sitting!)

To say toilet paper is lacking would be a gross misstatement. To call it a luxury would also be a misstatement. Toilet paper is a precious resource retained by the ultra-privileged, the 1% if you will. It’s fitting then that we tourists seem to be the only ones concerned with its presence. Befuddlingly, it’s easy enough to procure TP and is readily available in most stores, yet it has been appropriated for a great many causes which do not involve its appellate purpose. The Filipinos utilize TP as FT, face tissue and who knows what else. At any rate, it’s lacking in proximity to actual toilets and so is soap for that matter. Befuddling.

The common Filipino nomenclature for the bathroom further drives home the fact that the joke is on us tourists, as if the name used to refer to restrooms is in itself specifically intended to administer a very small but inescapable dose of justice to balance the scales of dignity. Or perhaps the nomenclature is more benign than that and intended to merely perplex, amuse and describe… It accomplishes each of these feats…

Whether it be a deluxe apparatus with stalls, seats and flushing capabilities, or a mere hole in an outhouse or just a corner at over-that-there beach, each of these spaces is universally referred to as a “comfort room.” It’s the bane of many a traveler in The Philippines who find the CRs beguiling at best and cruel, punishing torture devices with a demonic sense of humor at worst.

One determination about the CR is beyond argument, you’ll find no comfort here.


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Recipe for Adventure

Description:

This is a well-researched recipe for succulent adventure in a tropical local. For it you will need some basic ingredients (motorbikes) and some selective ingredients (Brazilian, Czech). In either case you should be able to locate these ingredients or suitably similar substitutes in most budget hotels.

If you follow this quick-adventure recipe you will arrive at a gorgeous, picturesque tropical beach with one flat tire, a mighty thirst, slight sunburn and encased in a layer of very thick brown dust. Improvisation and experimentation is encouraged!

Image

Pastered in a brown crust of sweat, sea salt, and road dirt/grime. Note the very fetching unibrow!

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Flight Roster of Filth

125 passengers on a recent Tiger Airways flight from Bangkok to Clark air base (budget airport 2.5 hours north of Manila):

3 families (5 kids total)
18 total female travelers (2 older teenage backpackers, 3 white female travelers, 15 Filipinas)
~20 Filipino men (including a group of about 10 adorable, 30-something gay men)

85 (the rest): bald spots, sunburns, oversized, overwhelmingly middle-aged to older white men Continue reading


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Musings upon the peculiarities of transit

Boats, buses, bicycles. Planes, trains, a pied. Motorbike, scooter, tuk tuk, song teaw. Taxi-Brousseau, minibus, coach, tro tro.

Transit: the much-blighted, much-glorified, always late, blissfully on time, cause of consternation, cause of fascination… It’s the necessary evil of travel–or the invitation for zen depending upon a myriad of mercurial factors including, temperature (which directly correlates to body odor), weariness, lack of sleep, legroom, the view, the ventilation, the company, the price, duration, inebriation, padding (usually lack there of), noise, vibrations, drivers skill, restroom availability, luggage security, hunger, thirst and sunlight. Continue reading


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Grand Palace, Bangkok

Collage of all Bangkok photos. Once internet improves a link will be provided to all individual images. Thank you for your patience!

Collage of all Bangkok photos. Click below to access individual images on Flickr.

Even to sit here and take it in, the Grand Palace in Bangkok is unimaginable.

The level of attention paid to every element of aesthetic design–from the colorful glass and tile mosaics on temple columns, to the multi-tiered gilded window portages and the handpainted porcelain tiles along the low walls–it mystifies and muddles the mind. Too detailed, too much color. A complete visual immersion into sophisticated and historic riches of generations and generations of Thai monarchies. Continue reading


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Bags temporarily packed again: I’m off to Chiang Rai to the North in the morning.

Por que? To visit a fellow Duck and friend from International Studies (!!!) AND for my first meditation retreat. Good times ahead 🙂

New Year Prayer Banners and Buddhas at Wat Chedi Luang, Chiang Mai

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New Year’s good wishes hang in the Buddhist temple as signs of generousity and acceptance of dharma teachings.
On the dawn of 2013 I extend my deepest wishes for kindness and love to all. May you find new happiness within yourself, your family, loved ones and the whole world in this next year and forever.

Love from Chiang Mai & HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! View the pictures →

This gallery contains 3 photos