Friday, January 21, 2005

Come on over here 

for my main weblog.

THE End?

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Writing to you from Siem Reap, an arid place, rusty dust-filled in the midst
of the dry season here in Cambodia. We arrived here 2 days ago, the boy's
loving the place almost as much as I have since my first time here,
and we've just gotten an apartment today for $50/month, thanks to our
Canadian friend. No lease, no deposit, just some American
dollars passed from my fist to the landlady's, and the key in return.
It'll be a nice change from the alligator pool behind our guesthouse
with its denizens that've been keeping us awake at night since we got

This new apartment also got no kitchen, no fridge, and no hot water,
but plenty of room for me to paint (and y''all know it's all about
me). We'll buy a "camping" stove for about $6 tomorrow for coffee and
maybe more, a cooler for beer and cheese, and hot water showers
aren't necessary in this climate.

Now it's time to get some jobs. I've had an art gallery dangling a
position tantalizingly for months now, but we'll see if it
materializes. The boy's looking more into teaching here, because he actually
enjoys doing it. Our canadian friend's setting up the boy and me for a debate in front of his American History class. It should be a great time: an American and a Brit arguing furiously in front of a class for 15 minutes then likely making up over Angkor beer afterwards.


Friday, December 31, 2004

Happy New Year from Hua Hin, Thailand 

Don't worry, we're on the east coast; the tragedies at Phuket and beyond happened on the west.

Currently battling bronchitis and a predisposition to melancholic holiday spirits, however lovely the surroundings. Those here are soft powdery white sand and european tourists baked brown and red, their skimpy beach attire an offense to the senses. Men tow massive bellies along with their rent-a-wifes. All in all, it's a tame beach area for Thailand: there are plenty of families, both Thai and European, and prostitutes keep a low profile.

After giving out this blog address at too many drunken parties and outings, I've realized that this space is no longer anonymous, so cannot really be uncensored anymore; in fact, it hasn't been for a long time.
I've no reason for this blog anymore.
At the beginning, I needed to release frustrations from my relationship; it was a kind of sexily-spiced place, though never went as far as becoming a "sex blog" (have reflected that if I hadn't followed my art and travel obsessions, I likely would've become obsessed with sex instead, but other interests have taken their place; perhaps it's unfortunate, but I seem a much happier person for it). Later, I wrote of travels I wasn't comfortable letting my school know about at the time. But now, plenty of people know who I am, and I don't think the internet's the place to write of my private struggles. They'll be misconstrued by well-intentioned people who are, effectively, strangers....

I've also been neglecting my "main blog", a place I should focus on more. After all, friends and family read it, the occasional painting I actually manage to complete is exhibited there, and it deserves better writing and photos than I've put on it since I began writing here.
So after the boy's read the archives here and I've returned those that discomfit him to their draft form, I'll put a link to my main blog here. He's very excited to read what's here. I've told him that really, he shouldn't get his hopes up.
Hoo-RAY!! I'll lose the flimsy pretense of anonymity!
As if you care?!
Ah well, I hope you've had a good time here, and I'll get the link to my main (though just as basic) blog soon.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Feverish in Beijing 

And it's not from Xmas anticipation.

After a roiling 26-hour ferry from Seoul to Tianjin, China, I've gotten the same flu that the boy struggled through last weekend. The picturesque hotel I found online has service, shower and heating that range from lukewarm to frigid.

He arrives on the 25th, and I've just found out that the hotel we'd reserved for Xmas day is full. I'm not the sentimental type, but I'd rather sleep in a bed than the train station.

I'll leave you with a scene from yesterday:

At the Bank of China, after walking several kilometers down slushy streets, stinging from the last clerk I'd talked to ("If you can't change Korean won, do you know anyone who can?" She shook her head: "No one will.")
"It's illegal to change Korean money in China," said the woman at the information desk.

I sat down, tears ready to pour out of my flushed, feverish head. I hadn't eaten anything in over a day.
"I can change for you," said a smiling middle-aged man, wearing an acrylic sweater and pleated polyester pants. After some bartering, he changed around $200 worth of Korean money for me; he made perhaps $15 off of the deal.
A first black-market exchange for me, done in full view of security guards and staff at the Bank of China.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Recent Photos 

I'm reminded of Varla's nature pictures.
This one's from a Chinese garden; peace in the midst of a tropical Asian city with choking pollution:

What's for dinner? Jesus on a slab (oh those Spanish Catholics and their love of gore):

From the pedestrian paradise that is Insa-dong in Seoul. Traditional parades, antique shops, and galleries, open all weekend long for tourists and transients:

The boy and me, from a photo series I'm doing (the two of us reflected in sculpture/water/mirrors/windows around the world):

Airplane sunsets turn everything upside down:

From my hotel room in Cambodia, last time I was there:

What luck to stumble upon one of these:

If you'd like to know where any of these photos came from, just leave an email in the comments section.

Today: It's Underworld in the sunshine. It's very 18-years-old to mention the music I'm listening to; why have I waited so long to do it?

Friday, December 03, 2004

Stumbled upon this today 

Anyone remember Viewmasters? This Vlad chick's done some excellent work with the medium. Check out the Franz Kafka and Italo Calvino images - gorgeous!

Plan of the day for our immediate future is {subject to change tomorrow}:

A: Xmas in Qingdao: I take the 20+ hour ferry from Seoul to Qingdao on the day my tourist visa expires in Korea, the boy later joins me for a week or so till [Western] New Years. Then I return alone to Korea on the ferry, while he boards a flight to Taipei (Taiwan) to look for a job there (though likely something different from the "girls" in the photos).

For me, work in January will be at a hellishly intensive winter camp - somewhere in Korea, I've no idea of the location - having kids sneeze and cry all over me six days a week, then hop a flight to Taiwan, a couple thousand US$ in hand. Stay with the boy a week or two at the most (the Taiwanese gov't will graciously grant me a 14 day landing visa - that's plenty of time for the boy and me to screw one another silly and perhaps see some of the Taipei environs), then head to Siem Reap, Cambodia, either by land (Tainan? [China] to the mainland to Vietnam then Cambodia maybe) or a "the air-con will desiccate and freeze your nose hairs into oblivion" flight with more hours spent rolling luggage halfheartedly around slick 3rd-world airports than sitting on rough poly-blend fabric seats in a 747.

I'm sure you know which option I'd prefer: yep, the "Oh, you don't have the correct visa so you need to give us an extra $20US at the Vietnamese border" version. You see more countryside that way, feel temperature and humidity changes, smell all the delicious variants of flammable garbage burning next to railroad tracks. Now that's a trip.

B: Xmas in Kyoto:
We discussed the Kyoto idea earlier this week when I realized I needed to stay in Korea to earn extra money for the trip to Cambodia - my english-teaching outsourcing agency (a completely illegal venture for both sides, theirs and mine...they take out "taxes" from what they pay me which I'm convinced they use for bribe money) hasn't been able to find me full-time work, so I resigned myself to working a Winter Camp several days ago.
Winter camp means I'd need a new visa. Ergo, why not Japan? Flights to Osaka are cheap because it's friggin' cold this time of year, and people would rather go to the Philippines, where it's sultry and Catholic, festive and cheap. Flights to Manila are running about a grand round trip for Xmas, and are nearly full. So say the travel agents.

It'd be a short train ride from Osaka to Kyoto, I raved to the boy the other night as he washed dishes. He nodded, interested - for years he's been unqualified in his worship of all things Japanese, though he seems to have developed some skepticism in recent months. "If I spend a week in Kyoto, I'll never need to go to Japan again," I smiled. He said nothing, looked over his shoulder at me with mild interest. "Kyoto has everything I want to see in Japan! One week, and it can be a fly-over country for me afterwards." He smirked at his dishtowel.

Then I read the L.P. guide to Japan for the next hour, bashed the country's bland cuisine, its minimalism in general, and the guidebook's authors' submission to an over-hyped culture that's been as successful as the boy's in marketing itself as something greater than what it actually contains, giving no credit to other cultures that have influenced it.

Anyway, we decided after a day or two that perhaps a place that could easily eat up a few months salary was better left for a time where we had more planning on our side and no major life changes staring us in the cleavage.

C: Christmas in Cambodia: Nope, I didn't re-name this weblog after some Kerry fiasco. I'd actually expected to spend Xmas in Siem Reap, where I plan to relocate early next year. But no, finances and work and visas and perhaps even sentiment conspired to keep me from it.

Perhaps it'll be Xmas in Cambodia 2005. Who knows?
I've realized that I've no idea of what's going to happen till I buy the ticket that'll get me there.
And even then, it's never guaranteed.

Moloko's entertaining my ears today.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Sasha on Ecstasy 

with the boy on Saturday night.
Some friends came up for the show from the massively industrialized Korean town where we lived for a year, a place where culture of any kind seems to have been forgotten along with proper sewage disposal.

One friend handed us some tablets at an underground Korean bar.
The boy and I looked at one another and grinned. Slid them bitterly over our tongues along with our last beer of the evening.

A short time later we strode to the club, and I chatted with a guy in French forgetting what language I was speaking (not unusual if I've had something to drink) then somehow the boy&I ended up outside a Buy The Way convenience store slurping water before we assaulted our senses with bodies, noise, and pulsing light.

Descended darkened stairs into M2 and blood rushed to my ears in anticipation. We grasped hands and heated skin and I think if I write much more I'll turn into a gibbering drooling idiot and likely I haven't had enough wine to justify that. Today. Yet. Writing of drug-soaked experiences is for the likes of Timothy Leary worshippers, and I prefer pensive hotties like Pico Iyer.
So I'll just say this: it was as unforgettable as unreal experiences get. Illusory, heightened sensations, but we felt the same for one another as we always do...he's uninhibited when expressing his feelings for me, but I'm tamer about it. Saturday, I didn't censor anything, and he grinned and nodded though surely he couldn't hear half of what I moaned into his ear. He was even more fuckable than usual in a tight black sweater and sunglasses.

Though I nearly threw up from dehydration (you can never drink enough water on the damned stuff) I think remembering that the future of a few dozen kids lay in my hands the next morning kept me from doing anything spectacularly stupid. These kids were competing for the Hankyoreh newspaper's scholarship to a US High School. (Many of them had lived abroad before and some of the interviews were entertaining as hell - particularly the high school group whose assigned question was: "What would you do if your best friend told you they were gay/lesbian?" They asked if I'd had any gay friends and how they'd had babies.)

It's midday and I've got to download some kick-ass, challenging lesson plans for Korean Racetrack employees.

TA everyone, and for those of you in the northern hemisphere, keep warm under flannel sheets. Just don't wear them in public!

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