Muschamp Rd

South East Asia VS The Musk Version 2.0

June 14, 2004 Washed out road in Cambodian countryside

I just want to say F*ck Microsoft. It probably wasn't even their fault but who else am I too blame for at least a half hours of lost typing. I lost another email for unexplained reasons. My final diagnois was the dodgy shift key combined with shift backspace losing all you type into a web input screen. I was almost done. It was epic. It was funny. An instant Musk classic about dodgy shift keys, dodgier cabbies, and my various adventures in South East Asia.

I've now switched computers. This one doesn't have a dodgy shift key but it has a worse monitor. Beggars can't be choosers I know but I've had enough misfortune without having my amusing antidotes destroyed by a misplaced shift backspace or some sort of auto timeout cause I didn't move my mouse for 30 minutes. I swear I miss my Mac more then I ever thought I would. It is way tougher to replace then say a guitar. There are guitars everywhere, there is one on the wall in this place. But a Mac set up just so, that just makes life better.

I'm going portable then I will have no one to blame for all my computer troubles.

Now I will have to reassert my paranoia which I had suppressed for over 12 hours after arriving in Cambodia. It's not that every person in South East Asia is out to get you, but a large number are out to get your money.

Damn I'm pissed about losing my email. It was one of my best yet. I mean I had the stories, I had the time, I had the free internet connection. I had the right amount of beer. I had the breeze. Now I just have the rage and the pain in my back, neck, and wrist.

I will now invoke my paranoia and save every few paragraphs. Just imagine how many brilliant paragraphs of prose have been lost to Microsoft. We're talking entire volumes of Pulitzer Prize winning material. No wonder the world's best selling author, or at least in the running still uses a typewriter.

I'm talking about Stephen King, though I've never even read one of his books.

Ok I went to Bangkok to get to Cambodia which may have been my first mistake. I never looked into flying direct. I did learn that a 10 day trip is 10,000 yen less then a 13 day trip. I said all this the first time except it was funnier. I was in good spirits. Now I'm just bitter again.

I forgot to introduce my co-author almost. Chuck Hill has enjoyed pointing out my many mistakes. I recognised them of course. I even recognised some of them as they were happening but was carried on my an indiscribeable force, call it gullibility, call it honesty, call it stupidity, call it kismet. What the hell is kismet anyway? It just seemed like a good word to use at the time.

So after I booked my flight to Thailand and my flight back to Canada I took my time researching a place to stay. When I went to book I could not get a private room at a cheap rate at my first two choices. I ended up in Chinatown at 238 Guesthouse. It wasn't bad but I can't recommend it. It was clean. The people were honest. It has internet and laundry which was a convenience I wanted. It was all offset perhaps by being down an alley in Chinatown which probably contributed to my run ins with dodgy cabbies.

I had a map in Thai. But cabbies either couldn't read it or didn't bother or just had some other scam to run that didn't involve getting you from A to B cheaply and efficiently.

>Ah, Thailand in the rainy season.  I do miss that!  It is so much more
> exciting than the endless drizzle on the wet coast.  Check out Nana
>Entertainment Plaza and the Nana Hotel Disco some night.
Statue at Wat Po

Your beloved Bangkok hasn't been treating me so kind. I've had it with Tuk Tuk drivers and scam artists, but I repeat myself. Today while trying to visit Wat Po and the Grand Palace by foot I got repeatedly told along the way it was closed till 1:00 pm and then a helpful drink vender told me to see some other sites then come back. He arranged a Tuk Tuk for me, his friend from Canada. I'm beginning to think the Canadian flag is a disadvantage in Thailand...

Several hours later I was abandoned at the Golden Buddha after seeing it, the tall Buddha and the Golden Mount, plus stops at two tailors, a jewelry store, and TAT travel agents. I never paid the Tuk Tuk driver anything but I did buy three ties, I wasn't going to buy anything, but I decided to buy a tie... at the second Tailor cause I thought it might end the charade and the ties looked nice... I ended up getting three at 20% off, the salesman couldn't do the math nor could he use the calculator, the total was about 3600 Baht.

My entire morning/afternoon was wasted or close to four hours of it. Four hours I could have spent doing what I want.

I am still like a half hour close to an hour behind where I was in the tale. I swear I'm done with internet cafes after this trip. My new policy will be no more then a few paragraphs unless it is on my mac. The Musk should not have to lose his words to the great bit bin in the sky.

Now I'm still trying to get a tourist bus to Siem Reap. I got my own visa and could try it alone but I'm thinking the extended sheep tour might be in order. I may end up here another night or at another place if I can't get a ticket tonight, which I'm beginning to doubt.

>>I never paid the Tuk Tuk driver anything
> You can bet that someone else did!

Yah I know. I didn't want to buy a tie. I was just tired. Then I ended up with three. Like I said the whole episode bothered me. Now I'm with the Norwegians. I've never been ripped off by a Norwegian. They can arrange most things here in Cambodia.

Ok about the Norwegians. I wrote more before up to this point. But I learned about the Norwegians through Tales of Asia and they have their own site. I was even drinking with a Norwegian the night I booked the place. My experience with Norwegians is limited and usually involves drinking, hockey, or Turbonegro.

Back to the tale of woe as related to Chuck previously on a less dodgier computer.

>>I did buy three ties, I wasn't going to buy anything, I told the
guy as much who seemed to be on a similar rollercoaster ride but he had
not  yet visited any tailors... but I decided to
buy a tie... at the second Tailor cause I thought it might end the
charade   and the ties looked nice...  I ended up getting three at 20%
off the official price,  the   salesman couldn't do the math nor could
he use the calculator,   the  total   was about 3600 Baht.  I knew the price was
still  bad cause he was too happy when he made the sale.
> Yeah, about those ties.  100 baht each tops, usually can get 3/150 if
> you look around.  
3600?!!?  Shit man, last time there I had two long
sleeve silk shirts made for me and two pairs of linen pants for Nok
for way less than that.  You, my friend, have been had.

They were 1500 Baht at Jim Thompson's house. I did the math the ties are like 20 dollars US closer to 25 each at least I knew it was a rip. I just was well off the beaten path under some expressway or something and I wanted to get back somewhere. I didn't even want a Tuk Tuk I had already walked to the side of Wat Po. I was literally a 100 meters maximum from the entrance when the drink salesman and his cohorts convinced me it was closed for the morning...

> A sheep tour to Cambodia can be a good idea.  It can be even deeper in

The sad part about the Sheep tour is, I was the only one who had a clue. I read the site and knew when and where we would stop. I didn't mind buying food and going to the bathroom but I walked 45 minutes at night back to town, back the way we came cause we drove by the Norwegian place. I had to liberate my own bag. The other sheep laughed at me when I told them I timed how far it was back to where I wanted to be. I also ignored the Tuk Tuks and really persistant moto guys. I was tired but had a good story for the Norwegians and Germans at the bar.

The Norwegians are letting me run a tab so I think the bill will be big but my room is cheep. Maybe I'm paying 10 dollars Canadian (neigh US) for four nights. I have the whole room to myself and my own bathroom too, though technically it's a shared room. They and my other guesthouse get you on incidentals.

Sign in the Dead Fish Cafe

I will be staying a fifth day I got to look at the bill carefully. Now that I got most of a hundred US dollars cash in my pocket I will try to settle what I owe now. I already got 3600 Baht on my visa card plus 2000 dollars to UBC I don't really need anymore. Though I still got to cough up for an air ticket back to Bangkok. Now I'm getting more depressed thinking about money. I'm reluctant to log into my bank from Dead Fish Cafe or any other random slightly dodgy internet cafe. I may just install Ad-Aware or some other scumware remover before I do.

One thing about cheap windows boxes in dodgy internet cafes, they may not be smart enough to set up permissions so I can't install stuff.

I'm still upset about the Tuk Tuk charade. But I got screwed over by a metered taxi until I got out in disgust somewhere in Chinatown. I got a lot of experience navigating Chinatown both at night and in the day on foot. Most people I met never went near Chinatown....

Hopefully my trip turns out worth it. I'm thinking of doing the Grand Palace in Bangkok again, less rushed, with a guide. I was in a foul mood when I whipped through it plus it rained so sometimes you just stood and huddled under an awning.

Here is my detailed overland journey from Bangkok to Siem Reap. The highlight was the South East Asians partying it up at 8:38am on their tour bus on the freeway while everyone slept on ours. Me I can't sleep very well at the best of times so I sat and stared out the window.

Thus completes version 2.0 of this tale. Alas version 1.0 was better, but isn't that always the way, the sequel is almost always worse then the original.

Now I only have to type in the 50 email addresses. One more save before I attempt that. Paranoia is your friend, you got to listen to the little man Jerry, the little man knows all.

So the early rounds of the fight go to the cabbies and the tour bus drivers of South East Asia. But I doubt they've read much Machiavelli. I have the read "The Prince" and I'm familiar with the Owen Curtis's one sentence sumarization, so I've decided to hire Norwegian mercenaries. I'll let them arrange my Tuk Tuks and transport on to the Capital which I neither can spell nor pronounce correctly.

This is Muskie McKay, last survivor of the Nostromo signing off.

PS Beware the last comma in the CC: field, here be dragons.

Return to email collection.
Words and Images © Andrew "Muskie" McKay.
Last Updated: