Posts Tagged ‘travel’

In the opinion of this commentator, Thailand is sick and badly broken. I have never seen a place where fuck ups, idiots and loser scum have converged to the extent that is happening to Thailand. The sheer number of lunatics that are escaping Europe and North America….with Spain and Italy seemingly puking out the largest contingent of crazies…with Germany and Britain pissing out the greatest number of perverts, they number collectively in the hundreds of thousands. I’m reminded of a bad zombie movie where the denizens of the asylum have been infected by a pandemic and are running crazy.

The myth of Thailand being a secret destination and rumors of abundant sex sex sex is what really brings these assholes out of the closet. Naturally the cheap living is another factor here. This is why I’m glad to see inflation take hold and drive prices up quickly. Maybe the added expense will drive the losers to another destination….I can only wish. In addition I’m advocating a shame campaign be brought to bear on all social media. If your interested in saving the planet, please do everything you can think of to keep sex pats and crazies out of Thailand. These poor people are at a breaking point.

be nice or leave

be nice or leave

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It was the 1980’s and it never occurred to us that we were on the vanguard of a new movement. The idea that we could suddenly do a very rudimentary form of communication and commerce over the latest invention, the ‘internet’ was an idea we picked up on instinctively. Trisha became active in a ‘cyber world’ called ‘Bulletin Boards’, originally reserved for scientists and military…a messaging system that predated email and the World Wide Web, communicating with like minded persons over painfully slow dial up modems that squawked and screeched for several minutes while chewing through the ancient bandwidth of crude telecommunications technology of the time before connecting. The term ‘digital nomad’ wouldn’t be invented for another twenty five years. People thought we were mad for even attempting what we’d embarked on.

‘Graphics’ at the time meant ‘graph’….not pictures. But, we instantly knew how the new medium would free us from our standing constraints….I could still conduct my business in the financial world and we could home school our child through British Columbia Canada’s excellent and still nascent ‘Distance Education System’. The minute we realized how quickly we could cut ties to work, mortgages and schooling….we were gone. Trish would continue to build her own ‘Franken-machines’ from remote locations.

Initially the hardware and wiring we had to carry was enough to fill several large bags and when we went through an airport it looked as if we were moving enough electronics to set up a satellite relay. Thank God for miniaturization. The industrial step down transformer we carried weighed at least forty pounds. For a time my son actually thought we were spies and we still joke about that.

That was the 80’s and the ‘internet’ as a interpersonal communications medium was only a few months old, personal computing was something only a small collection of ‘nerds’ had access to…and like my super nerdy wife, built their own machines from parts gleaned at Radio Shack and a secret coven of back alley electronics stores and mail order. The latest conversations over BBB system were about writing the latest DOS code, floppy disk space, Kilobytes and a mysterious new invention called ‘a motherboard’. The personal desk top computer was years away from being commercially available.

the original digital nomad

the original digital nomad

End of Part One

Thailand is experiencing the most prolonged heat wave in the past sixty five years…..lucky us….yay. Temperatures in the mid forties trick your body and mind into wanting to lay down and die. My national phone carrier ‘True’ sends heat advisories every day, as if we need reminding how freaking hot it is out there.

“Trust me…it’s not the heat…it’s the humidity”…some old hand will say.

“No”, I reply…”It’s both”. I don’t need to be reminded that these temperatures are dangerous.

True adds insult to injury by adding what they call a ‘Humidex warning’….a ‘feels like’ calculation to adjust both temperature and humidity into a warning against spending any unnecessary time outside. Today’s number is one hundred and seventeen degrees. Thanks for telling me True. I’m likely to spend my day cowering inside my air conditioned condo not that I know I could die if I go outside. At this point I mentally run through a checklist of what’s left in the house to eat. The choices I have are… frisk a run to the 7-11 across the street for Lime Smoothie….or die of starvation.

The better acclimated Thai’s are suffering…not at all silently…but barely dignified. People outside wear a well practiced grimace. They grit their teeth , as if bearing down for an unavoidable fight against an implacable enemy. They’re stalwart, waiting it out, like a contest between life and death, the battle played out between the passing of light into darkness. It’s a fool errand to wait for a cool evening respite, it’s as hot at three in the morning as it is at three in the afternoon.

There is a brief half hour pause when the barometer drops as the sun goes down and the pressure forces near gale force winds down the narrow soi’s. It’s then when children and mothers with babies will come out into the street to be blown dry while pushed down the asphalt like earthbound kites in a tornado.

My landlord will hate me this month, I’m running the air-conditioning fourteen hours a day….and electricity is expensive here. We need to keep the windows closed for a variety of reasons. Bangkok air is predatory and seeks silent entry through any sliver of open space. With the air comes a fine blanket of exhaust residue and dust. breath too much and your lungs could look like a coal miner at his wake. Seek ‘a breath of fresh air’ and the condo will become an oven.

Monsoon time is also ‘mosquito season’….and there’s Dengue Fever, Malaria and a deadly brain killing strain of Japanese Encephalitis carried up from the vengeful south this year. Thousands of cases this year alone.  There’s no choice except this self imposed isolation.

Look down any street and see tourist trapped behind sheets of glass like the denizens of a zoo. The heat has caught them flat footed. They weren’t expecting to feel debilitated by the fiery temperatures that have attacked them since arriving. They look bewildered and frightened. Many have been bed ridden with dizzy vomiting from heat prostration having mistaken consuming alcohol as a panacea to ‘beat the heat’….which is the worst thing you can do.

A rain came today, thunder and lightning bombarding a distant suburb….good news as we drift towards monsoon season. Only the Gods know when this will end.

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Among the poor there is no standard of degradation or crime they will not breach to feed themselves and their family. Women being offered money to live with and have sex with foreigners in Thailand has become a normal avenue of escape from starvation. In many cases the women are being fed and housed without compensation for their sexual barter, they’re being kept like animals in rented condo’s and fed scraps by the monied slave master who’s come from the west with a retirement pension and an ATM card.

The women are back on the street as soon as the degenerates visa runs out. She has six months, or less, before she’s cast off and left to fend for herself. In the west we have the SPCA for wayward animals, in countries like Thailand there is no such safety net. The suicide of many women, many times from jumping to their deaths from the balconies of rented condo’s after their ‘boyfriend’ has used them up and is leaving, is horrific.

It makes the news in the western media when a westerner is dead after jumping from a balcony, but the local women here are the anonymous dead, no one cares. People say “Oh she was just a whore”. There are a great many suicides, too many to count, and the numbers are increasing. I can understand what goes through the mind of a woman who is about to thrown into the street to starve.

There’s an ongoing myth that ‘the worlds oldest profession’ is glamorous and acceptable. Only one side of the arrangement benefits at all from sexual slavery, that is the slave master. Does anyone really think that given a choice between a decent life and an education with a future verses the slithering moves of some drunk German, Canadian or British jackal, that a ‘whore’ would stay in her ‘profession’? Only an idiot would think the latter. The fact is that most whores are alcoholics and drug addicted. Many have succumbed to the numbing reality that the STD’s they carry have set them apart from a normal life forever. There’s no coming back from incurable diseases.

The vast majority of impoverished women are left behind by the sex trade when they become old and useless as cash machines for the bars and pimps who control them. Often they can’t get work even in the seediest places, where the lights have to be kept very low because the women are wrinkled and old. Instead of a dignified retirement they are forced to do the worst and most imaginable acts repeatedly, for the drunk foreigners who stumble through the door, and the women have no choice to say no. They have a choice, yes…they could leave and starve.

Right now, today, there is a tsunami of perverted western men who are retiring simultaneously into the third world seeking sex with women too poor to say no. The pervs are finding that the young sex trade workers won’t give them what they want without paying a premium price.

The desperate older women who can no longer ply the sex trade are by default forcing themselves to meet with the aging perverts and become ‘domestic sex objects’, in exchange for food and shelter. This arrangement I see as the result of the perverts failed existence to achieve any semblance of domestic life in his own country and culture.

I recognize this act as a desperate attempt to ‘play act’ a notion of normalcy, in what is the mind of a very sick individual. The sex business in Thailand has reached a new low….or has it? There is no apparent bottom to the bottomless pit of peoples depravity and western perverts immoral capacity to exploit the poor.

face it

face it

I know why I left home early to travel the world, it was to escape my pain and find freedom among strangers. What I realized was that no one I’d left behind was interested in my pain, they envied me for my escape. They thought I was ‘getting one over on them’ and enjoying life more than I deserved. My closest relations envied me for where I’d been and hated me for the stories and scars I’d bring back. The squalid objects in my rucksack were items that disappeared if I let my guard down. I found it hard to believe at first that anyone would covet the talismans of my poverty.

In the earliest days of my traveling ways the people I knew all thought I was taking more than my share from life, because we’d come from the gutter, and as a child I was the lowest of all things, among a hierarchy of creatures, myself being less deserving than all, when in fact most days I was laying my head down tattered, torn and hungry. To many I’d become a  revenant, showing up unannounced and unwelcome at a crowded table… and then a despicable stranger when years of absence had gone by without contact, proof of life, or regard. The truth about travel is that it’s a life…lived day to day, on a budget, on a shoestring, often precarious and dangerously, not a lifestyle…something you share with no one as you’re always alone.

A young person I know on Face Book recently posted ” If travel was free you’d never see me again”. I laughed, knowing that travel has always been free if you let it control your life, give yourself freely, unabashedly, and leave everything and everyone you know behind to pursue the path. It’s the possessions and people you leave behind and conversely come home to that control the amount of time you spend ‘on the road’….not money or desire. You’re either a traveler or a tourist…you can’t be both. Being a ‘traveler’ isn’t a euphemism for ‘travel’…or for having fun while others work…being a true traveler is a calling, a thing, it’s who you are because you’re not ‘one of them’…a different person than the rest, a light in your heart that no one will ever see. Travel is a lonesome profession  you’ll rarely be paid for.

If you’re one of the lucky few who organizes their personal lives to become a traveler, and equips themselves with the will, the wherewithal and skills to ‘never come back’, and the instinctive knowledge of how to deal with abject loneliness by making friends with bar fly’s and street walkers, then you’re a rare bird indeed, and the people who knew you will hate you for it. They will respond to you with veiled contempt and palatable envy.

The distance grows day by day, the vibrations in the air between you and where you came from will have changed, the correspondence between you ‘and them’ is less frequent and shorter until it’s cut off into bit’s of necessity. The money you make while working away will find itself fueling another leg of your journey, never a return ticket. There’s never enough time to go home. I’ll tell you what it’s like to forget the street names of your home town and why it’s suddenly so strange to call a distant capital ‘home’. There’s someone living in your room.

Because of the social status and symbolism we decadent westerners put on the ability to travel to rare destinations , to work in foreign countries, change the world you once knew when others can’t….you will become the focus of peoples envy and contempt. You will become the despicable stranger. Ex-friends who’ve had a downturn of fortune and can no longer ‘keep up’ will avoid returning your emails.

What was once home will become alien ground, salted and lifeless. The tribe will have circled inward and abandoned the notion of kinship with an outsider. “If travel was free I’d never go back”, that’s both funny and sad. Always be careful what you wish for. Because once you’ve gone down that rabbit hole my friends there’s no going back. By the time you decide it might be possible to return you might find the world you left behind has changed so irrevocably that there’s nothing to go back to. To travel is to be taken by the wind.

Because traveling is not somewhere you’ve planned to go or somewhere you’ve been. It’s a state of mind, an act of being true to your inner voice. It’s a statement that describes a poem written in the flesh of your soul. It’s the essence of who you are. The traveler is by nature and practice a loner….like driftwood. Travelers are willing to addict themselves to the journey without looking back at the havoc and consequence. It’s not about how much it costs or much you have left in the bank. The clock is never ticking down for the traveler because time is irrelevant.

You seek to refine yourself. Your peers are people who own nothing and carry nothing other than the bare essentials. Travel is not about coming or going. It’s about where you’d like to be next. The journey begins to explain why you don’t fit in anywhere anymore…because you’re fragments of all the places you’ve been and not the mirror image of a place where people seek to emulate each other for security. Travel is that fragile state between life and longing to be somewhere else.

Petroglyphs of modern saloon culture

Petroglyphs of modern saloon culture

Maybe you thought that internet dating sites are for lonely farmers hoping to meet someone of similar interests and lifestyle or religious expectations or main street persons looking to hook up? There are garden variety hook up and dating sites like Lava Life or E Harmony. There are gender and sex preference specific sites like ‘Grinder’ for sex among the LGBT community or race/religion baiting sites like ‘Black People Meet’ and ‘Halal Muslim Dating’. These pale by comparison to the hundreds of dating sites that introduce older western males to poverty stricken women in the third world.

The internet has opened a cornucopia of opportunity for western perverts seeking sex with minors and desperate women in countries where laws are written to be ignored. Open any net page on the subject of ‘Meet Thai Girls for Love and Marriage’ and you soon see the dark side. A great many of the ‘girls’ look underage. Solicitations are from hardened pimps and prostitutes selling sex to sex tourists. That’s not to say that 100% of the ‘Asian Girl’ dating sites are geared towards perversion, they’re not. But the proliferation of sex ads for available underage children has exploded in recent years. These days the internet has created opportunities for ‘sex by appointment’.

I’m cynical I know, and perhaps a bit jaded…I admit to have stayed in Asia a little too long for my own good. But, I’m reminded of a lunatics parade when I see the men involved as passing images for my simple amusement, young to elderly, being directed through the streets, bars, supermarkets and jewellery shops by whores obviously as adept at hustling fools as a pickpocket working a crowd of drunks.

These western loons have all spent months and even years trolling the internet sites offering titillating come-on’s from Asian Women advertisements. The ‘girl’ they’ve picked have arranged to meet them at their hotel upon arrival and within minutes the fantasy begins. A guy who’s so socially incompetent that he’s never held a girls hand at home, is suddenly pelvis deep and taking pictures of a whore who’s had practice by the thousand.

As far back as the 1960’s knowing journalists like Bernard Trink, columnist for the Bangkok Post, was warning farang rubes not to fall for the skilled professional guile of  bar girls, but these fools never learn. Within 24 hours he’s in love, convinced ‘she’s the one’, ready to take her to the passport office for a visa visit home and calling his mother to tell her of his ‘luck’….while she’s emptying his bank account.

Those of us in the know sit back laughing, from the air conditioned confines of a sidewalk coffee bar and watch the ridiculous parade of sun burned yokels, fat, sloppy drunk, little white legs sticking out, newly in love. Down the sidewalk they go, hand in hand, he’s glowing, cock walking and suddenly handsome, hand in hand with a glowering jungle honey squeezed into a new pair of ‘Daisy Dukes’ ready to fight anyone who comes between her and his wallet. If you’ve looked into a hunting whores eyes …you’ll know what I mean. These girls have a stare that would frighten a stalking tiger.

What’s hilarious is the profane ignorance of the ‘love drunk punk’. He pretends not to see the whore roll her eyes when a local shouts and points out his pasty bloated belly, bald head and bandy legs sticking out of ‘board shorts’ the whore insisted made him look young. She’s counting the days until this buffoon is gone and she’s able to take his money back to her village to do the necessary repairs on the family shack before the coming monsoon.

Many have school fee’s due for their children and a new scooter to buy for their husband. In many cases the whore will leave enough with a brother to keep her father pleasantly drunk until she returns…ever the doting daughter. Next time I’ll write about the lives of many of the retired men from the west, who’ve come to Thailand to marry whores and ‘settle down’.

el viejo

el viejo

Once upon a time Canadian youth were one of the most visible backpacking travelers anywhere in the world, now they have all but vanished. In the days before the Euro was born Canadians made up a huge percentage of the youth represented among the travel crowds opening new markets like the UK, Spain, Greece, France and Morocco. When Asia was a fresh new destination for young people you would hear the distinctive Canadian accent over many others in a given crowd. These days you’ll be lucky to find a Canadian traveler of any age. We’ve been enslaved into isolation by our own governments policies of hammering our national currency , the Loon, down to below what it costs to travel abroad.

Canada’s ‘low dollar’ policy has killed off the once prolific Canadian traveler. The Canadian dollar now buys half a UK Pound…forty percent less than a Euro and it falls almost every day against the American dollar, now at a forty percent discount in just twelve months. Where I live, Bangkok Thailand, the Canadian dollar has depreciated thirty eight percent against the Thai Baht in twenty four months. Canadians are no longer able to afford to travel as they once did. Today I’m asking why? Is there a concerted effort by members of the Canadian elite bureaucracy to keep Canada’s youth at home, poor and ignorant of world affairs?

Is it a coincidence that unemployment rates for this generation, The Millenials’, is higher than any preceding generation? There are no jobs for well educated Canadian youth, and those who do find work are paid lower than in any other G8 country for the same work. Are poorer and less well traveled people easier to politically manipulate? There must be a reason. It certainly isn’t because the zero interest rate policy has made Canada poor. A recent study proved that a ZIRP policy was the main cause of a lower dollar in Canada and made no economic sense.

In fact today’s elite civil service is being paid more and compensated better than any cohort before it. Why isn’t the benefit of the ZIRP explosion in wages for the elite union members not trickling down to the youth generation? Why aren’t the #elite civil service members vacating their positions upon retiring and giving that employment to Canada’s youth? Why is it allowed that the sitting civil service member is allowed to take early retirement and collect a full pension while being allowed to contract back into their positions, accept full pay and benefits, while also receiving a second pension contribution while Canada’s young grads are suffering in poverty?

Not only are Canada’s youth living in relative poverty, but they are being disallowed the same opportunity to travel and experience the world that the senior generation had done before they blocked the way for the youth of today? These are some of the questions and queries I’ll be exploring as this article expands in scope.

Sucks to be young & Canadian

Sucks to be young & Canadian