March 15th - March 24th: Bangkok to Cambodia:
We arrived in Bangkok at 5:30 AM and the city was still loud and kicking and we really thought we were going to like it. In Bangkok we were trying to walk to see a palace and we got taken by one of the oldest scams, a guy told us the palace was closed and he was going to take us on his tuk-tuk (a three wheeled motorcycle type thing) to another Buddha palace. This guy takes us to the middle of nowhere and drops us off. We tried to get another tuk-tuk home and the driver said only if we go to a Buddha palace first.... Now if you've ever seen Joey lose his temper you'll probably be able to picture him, frustrated after his (first of this trip) kidnapping standing in the middle of nowhere Bangkok screaming "F*&K Buddha!!!!!" at the top of his lungs at this tuk tuk driver. Good times good times.
Later we went to see Mai Thai boxing. It was a dirty old wooden underground arena that looked like it had been there forever. It was perfect thousands of Thais betting on the fight and screaming with every single knee to the kidneys or punch to the neck. We won some money by always betting on the guy in blue shorts. We watched a guy get completely incopacitated by a kick to the neck and he had to be carried out of the ring on a bloody stretcher. It felt weird that because that happened, Joey won 100 baht. The rest of Bangkok was a haze of shooting pool, Joey selling his Levis in a dark alley, and a surreal experience of Joey getting into a fight with a waiter in a classy bar while in the background a girl was shooting a ping pong ball out of her nether regions.
We said goodbye to Bangkok and took the hell ride to Cambodia. The second we hit Cambodia it was like hitting the middle ages. In Poi Pet, humans pulling ox carts stacked high with melons, stick houses, and more dust than I thought possible from the dry season. Everyone wore Jesse James style masks over their faces so they didn't breathe in the dust. It was awesome.
We went to Siem Reap first to see the oh so touristy Angkor Wat ruins. They were cool, and we saw a rad sunrise over the huge temple, but we were the only people I think who ever got bored and wanted to go home early. Instead, we had our driver take us to the real village people and we sat in a stick hut and drank palm wine, ate a bag full of beetles for a snack and then slept on a big bed made of horizontal sticks. The beetles tasted like sunflower seeds, but the shells are hard to get out of your teeth. In defense of the ruins, Ta Phrom was really one of the coolest places ever. We said goodbye to the rats and the cockroaches and drove for a day and said hello to new rats and new cockroaches in Phnom Pehn.
Phnom Pehn was unbelievable and difficult to explain. We checked into a guest house in a section of town that is about to be taken down to clean up Cambodia's image. While checking in, we were immediately offered opium, hookers, or machine guns. We opted for number 3 so the opium dealer and Joey and I hopped on a motobike and next thing you know we're squeezing rounds out of a fully automatic AK-47 assault rifle. Next we went to the Killing Fields where the Khmer Rouge did its a lot of its executions and saw a bunch of uncovered mass graves. It was really sad, but also unusual because they are only partially unearthed so there were human femur bones laying all over the place and a huge pyramid building filled with human skulls about 4 stories high. (I'm going on memory - it could have been taller or shorter).
Wondering the streets of Phnom Pehn or riding around with my friend Samithun, who we met in Kuala Lumpur on his scooter was just surreal. There is mad traffic in every directions and you dodge scooters, people carrying bundles of sticks, oxen, motorcycles with pigs on them...we even saw a man riding an elephant down the sidewalk.
At night we went to the bars and shot pool with some Cambodian hookers who were nice enough to take time off of their busy work schedule. There are few people who can shoot billiards like hookers since they spend
all of their time hustlin in bars. And now I can't help but wonder about the past of that professional Asian pool player I used to see on ESPN2 all the time. I also think we were the only people to have hookers buy us drinks and we never gave them anything except entertainment.
After 5 days in Cambodia, we were heading for Viet-Nam. We could have taken a nice air conditioned bus there in only 8 hours... but if we did then Tom Sawyer would have taken back his email address and Peter Pan would have disowned us. Instead we took a big ole wooden slow boat down the Mekong River to enter into South Vietnam...
Until next time!!!! A.E.
- Albert Einstein