....for the past three days by going nuts at a couple of farewell gatherings and moving on with life as usual.
The jolting shock came back at me at the moment I actually had to BUY a ticket for the tube to PDX for this flight. My (now former) work ID had a free Tri-Met public transit sticker on it which I used countless times traveling on the tube to PDX. Sometimes, ya don't notice things until you have to pay for them (that, and the fact that the City of Beaverton Government ID worked wonders at hotels when asking for the “Government Discount” - NOW wonder if I just shoulda told HR that I lost the thing??).
It was that moment, paying for a tube ride to the airport, when I realised that everything had changed and I was beginning to have severe self-doubts about WHAT the hell I've done!
No, E, you no longer have a job.
Yes, E, there's now a recession going on. Was resigning under no pressure (actually leaving your division severely understaffed) really thee brightest move you've made this year??
No, E, you've not been to Asia before and don't speak a single WORD of Chinese, Vietnamese, or Thai.....and, no, “Mongolian Beef” is NOT a Chinese term! Christ, it's probably not even real Chinese food.
Yeah, E, actually, there's this little issue flaring up called “Tibet” and the Chinese aren't really big fans of the Americans right now......ESPECIALLY after the delivery boy fucked up and delivered BALLISTIC MISSILE FUSES that he thought were helicopter batteries to their close friends, the Taiwanese! THAT was a fart-in-church moment!
OK! Sooooo.....how and why SE Asia?? Easy......
- I had 60,000 frequent flier miles burning a hole in my pocket and had seen enuff of Europe.
- I'd never been there before.
- The U.S. dollar, which is getting crushed in about 90% of world currency markets, can STILL buy a fair amount of stuff in China and Vietnam.
- I'd really like to see some history about what they call “The American War” from the other side. Plus, after reading Andrew X. Pham's book “Catfish and Mandela”.....that book had almost singlehandedly determined that I MUST go see ietnam. Read it if you get a chance.....
- I'm always a big fan of spending my tourist dollars in locales where there are no smoking bans! Next time some Nazi from the American Lung Association or some such tripe comes up to you and blathers on about how great it is that they can go into an ADULT BAR and not smell cigarettes, tell them how great smoking bans are for the bar economy! Cite bars and nightclubs in Montreal, who have, on average, seen a drop in revenue of over 40%!!!!!! This was supposed to be made up “......by more and more non-smokers coming into bars now that they don't have to smell like cigarettes.” Guess what. Never happened. Same for cities like Buffalo and Minneapolis-St.Paul. I AM PROOF that smoking bans DO have a detrimental effect on tourism – I WILL NOT fly to and spend tourist dollars in a country that doesn't let me smoke in a bar! Guess what?? There are a LOT MORE people who think this way then the anti-smoking Nazs realise.
OK.......'nuff of the ranting......
- I love the Asian way of describing things. For example, the description of the place I'm staying at for the first two nights in Guangzhou (a place called “Hotel 168” - which must make it 21 times more superior to Super 8 motel and 26 times better than Motel 6) tells me that “The special style of the hotel makes everything new and fresh.” and that it is located in the “......most prosperous district of Handui” (as opposed to, say, the most prosperous district of North Aurora, Colorado or South Central L.A.).
Riiiight.......so what'd ya bring?
Not much, actually at all. Generally, if I travel anywhere in the US for more than three days, I bring a backpack, a huge-ass psycho-sized duffel roller on wheels, and a laptop (which makes me a major pain to travel with).
This trip? A medium knapsack (that has been severely overstuffed) that contains -
Toothbrush, Tums ultra, disposable razor, shave gel, forest soap from the Oregon Hippy Soap Company (fends off homesickness), eight little bottles of shampoo taken from hotels around the world, a geode (don't ask), Halls mentho-lyptus, three T-shirts, two short sleeved collar shirts, five pairs of underwear, three pairs shorts, one pair trousers and one Buffalo Bills hand towel. Three thick paperback books, one issue PLANNING magazine, eight packets Export A Greens cigarettes, one packet Camel filtres, a pair of Teva sandals, and a fetish necklace sent to me this past weekend via overnight mail by my friends and spiritual guardians Judy and The Doctor.
This was all NO easy feat considering that this is a knapsack designed to haul maybe two college textbooks, a notebook and maybe a bag lunch and a few pens!
And, in my man-purse:
My ASUS EEEpc, digital camera, world-wide electrical outlet adapter kit, GPS unit (a REAL, hiking sort of handheld GPS, NOT one of those moron ones that cost $700 that you pop on your dashboard and it bleats in a metallic tone: “Turn right 400 metres ahead.”), RJ-45 cable, and a bag of cashews from the dollar store in case I get hungry on the plane.
Interestingly enough, the label for said cashews states that they were “manufactured in Binh Duong, Vietnam.” Damm those guys are good!!!! I tried and I tried, but I could never quite figure out how to manufacture a cashew......
More when I land!