That’s Entertainment: Bangkok Style
May 24, 2014
I turned sixty years old today, alone as usual, lonely boy in a lonely city—Bangkok—and I could get laid from any one of thousands of beautiful women (if I could get laid by any), and yet I’d likely find comfort in none. I know; I’ve tried.
Ten years ago I turned fifty in London: same deal—couldn’t buy a friend (though I probably could have bought someone a pint). I don’t drink any more, not much anyway. Ha! That’s the s
Tex-Mex Border, behind Fences
Sometimes all you need is a little change of focus, a little shift in perspective, a little depth of field, when you’re standing at the border, when you’re on the threshold of a crossing, when you’re sitting at the crossroads, trying to flag a ride, waiting for the light to change, waiting for a a sign, waiting for a little voice inside you to announce something Big. Good luck with that.
The Rio Grande is also known as El
Lunch break for the duduk makers
When I’m in LA, it’ll be Thai Town, sometimes called the 77th province of Thailand, enough Thai restaurants to satiate even the most famished of Thai affections, and a few grocery stores, gift shops and massage parlors to boot.
It’s also Little Armenia, which overlaps the Thai part of town, and is the larger of the two, though you might mistake the Armenians for Russians, since most speak Russian also, unless they came here 100 years ago d
Kolkata train station
India is the perfect example of chaos, controlled chaos, somehow working toward uncertain ends with almost no reference to a common center. My favorite example is when traffic stops at a railroad crossing, at which point the traffic on both sides immediately fills up both lanes on both sides. Well, that’s fine as long as we’re all waiting to watch the train go by, but you can imagine what happens when the guard rail goes up again: total chaos, of course. This hap
Ethiopian Christians at Bahir Dar
Today the air is cleaner… good day to backtrack a few hours to Bahir Dar… …maybe catch some vistas that I missed on the way in to Gonder… maybe my lungs can start recuperating… but the vistas are few even on a clear day, nothing more than a few old stranded Russian tanks… finally Lake Tana comes into view, monasteries dotting its islands and shores, and a thousand traditional straw-thatch tukuls dotting the landscape…
I get a place right on th
History Speaks in Gonder, Ethiopia
Bite the bullet, pay $300+ for a forty-five minute flight… feels good to be back in Addis Ababa… decide to forego Lalibela to concentrate on Gonder and Bahir Dar since they lie along the same path… two days out and two days back, with overnight stops both ways by local bus. This is brutal; there’s got to be a better way: Selam bus…
…catch my morning Selam bus and we start off into the Ethiopian outback, over hill and dale, like some cheap cli
Picture of Market in Djibouti that cost me dearly
(We get no peanuts, but we do get to Djibouti on time.)
…my hopes are soon dashed… If this is French colonial glory, then I’m Napoleon in rags… French legacy of high prices and pretentiousness only… airport itself offers the first clue, single exchange office only opening after the guy can be found to service his single customer, me… $30 three-day transit visa or $60 thirty-day visa, decisions
Street Market in Somaliland
…get on a bus for a country that doesn’t really exist, except in someone’s imagination: existential ball-juggling 401… Somalia now effectively divided into three, Somaliland relatively peaceful and open for business, connected by land to the also relatively peaceful states of Djibouti and Ethiopia. Somaliland issues visas and currency and guards its borders just like everyone else.
…catch the first bus out of Harar at daybreak, make my connection in
Ethiopia has desert, too…
…Addis Ababa bus station at 5 a.m. ain’t pretty… bus already quite full when I arrive… suspect some of the riders have been there all night… looks pretty lived-in… taxi driver asks if he can help. Does a bear sh*t in the woods?
Fortunately I have great faith in people’s goodness, especially those of the Book. People were touched by the Book long before they ever had one thrown at them. Still nothing cleans and
Scenes From an Ethiopian Wedding
…flight to Ethiopia is on Turkish Air, so I change planes at Istanbul, finally getting in at midnight… friend’s there to meet me; first time for everything… night air is cool; that suits me fine. I drink a beer and we shoot the sh*t for a while. It’s midnight and I’m wired, jet-lagged as Hell. Welcome to Ethiopia.
…Oliver ‘Tuku’ Mtukudzi is playing on Sunday; I’m in… first thing’s come first, though, so I go get my visa to Som