What Is The Ori Brain Pondering These Days?

May 15th, 2016

In response to a friend’s question (this post’s title):

Mmmm… I’d call it a mild mid-life crisis. I achieved “success” too soon, too soon, so to speak. I quit my job in 2009 and had been doing “Nothing” since then. Well, I thought there was an infinite amount of Nothing To Do, but after 6 years I kind of got tired of it (though not entirely). So now I want to do something. So I’m on a quest of sorts. What is the next stage of life? To begin the exploration I wanted to review the past so I’ve been reading my journals of the past 17 years. I’m making my own adventure as the cliche goes. I’ve come up w/ 3 potential Treks so far: 1) island by island from Australia to Chile, 2) overland through the ‘Stans or Siberia to Moscow, or 3) north through China, Mongolia, and Russia, over the Bering Strait and down the west coast of N. America. As you can see, I’ve got puh-lenty to ponder. This is no 2-week vacation.

Why There’s Been A Break In The Blogging

May 15th, 2016

I expect this post to be boring to all readers. More so than my other posts, this one is written for myself.

I actually find blogging to be lacking. I want to hear/see the reactions to my stories. Online comments are usually insufficient.

That said, I haven’t had any stories that I feel are worth telling. January was spent in Pattaya, Thailand, dealing w/ things such as: attempting to fix my MacBook Pro, finding a source of insulin, dealing w/ a gas leak in my house (in Austin), etc. February was spent in Cambodia going to see the ruins of Angkor. Maybe there should have been stories there, but it was an odd, solitary time without a computer to type on. March was spent in Bangkok. Again, there should have been stories there but I just wasn’t connecting with anyone or anything. I felt like a security camera at a defunct bank, watching but seeing nothing. And since April I’ve been in Langkawi, Malaysia, skateboarding in my own navel. I’ve been reading my journals of the past 17 years, looking for patterns, etc. So again, nothing I care to discuss in a blog.

I’ve also been looking for a balance between separating myself from and keeping connected to various aspects of my life/friends in Austin.

Abundant Nothing

January 11th, 2016

You’ve heard the phrase “What do you get the man who has everything?”

I guess the corollary to that is, “What do you get the man who has Nothing?” I mean a person who enjoys doing Nothing (aka reading, eating, taking long walks, napping, etc.). In other words, relaxing. (Wanting for nothing is, of course, a luxury in this world.) What do you get for someone who enjoys a slow-paced life?

You make sure he gets more Nothing, I suppose.

What did I do today? Nothing. I read. I ate. I napped. (My version of “Veni, vidi, vici”.)

Adventures will be had, but first I just want to sit around and catch up on some writing, which involves taking a lot of breaks and indulging a lot of distractions. (I also want to catch up on sleep and enjoy my worry-free days.) Having spent the last 3-4 months under the pressure of deadlines, I am enjoying doing things slowly. I am acclimating to the newness-of-it-all, slowly. Part of me wants to be fluent in Thai as of yesterday, but I really don’t need to hurry.

Finally I have Abundant Nothing and Infinite Time.

Let’s Get A Few Things Out Of The Way Now

January 10th, 2016
Thailand for you.

Thailand for you.

Yes. There are lady boys for “hire” here. I also saw one lady middle-aged-man and one lady dog. (The dog had giant teats and balls.) There are many little bars, one next to the other, in the alleys, with women and lady boys holding printed signs that say “Hand Job Blow Job Boom Boom”. I haven’t seen a single sign printing shop, but I figure those shop owners either worked themselves to death or made millions and are now retired in Orlando, FL.

Yes. The food is great and ridiculously cheap. There’s no point to shopping/cooking for myself when delicious, filling meals are only US$4. I feel a little guilty, like I’m getting away with something. But I also feel rich, in that money is not something one needs to think about anymore.

At age 46 I may be the youngest male expat in Pattaya. Most of the expat men I see appear older than 60 and have a younger woman or lady boy walking alongside them, holding hands.

Yes. I will continue to find Engrish funny.

So, now that I’ve established that all the things I’ve heard about Thailand actually exist, I can move on to other things.

A Quick How And Why That Doesn’t Tell You Enough

January 9th, 2016

“Hey Ori. How did you not have a job since 2009 and are still able to go to Thailand. And why Thailand?”

Well, what I think I am is a slacker-philosopher, but I bet many folks see me as an unemployed bad-joke teller. If you’re wondering what I do for $$ that allows me to travel, well that involved a bit of luck and using that luck to set myself up for long term travel. The luck being finding a cheap house I could pay off quickly and fix up for rental income. Anyhoo, Thailand just happened to be the first place I landed because I have a friend who lives here. I’m roaming around SE Asia for a few years mainly to avoid working, but also to see the planet before it closes. In 1997 I went to S. America for about 2 years, also to roam around and explore and live by my whims. So hey, at least the slacker part is true.

The Flights To Bangkok

January 9th, 2016

So yeah. I’m here, in Bangkok, Thailand. You could say it took 40 hours (of being more or less awake) to get here, or four months of gremlin-like multiplying house projects, or 16 years (since I came back from my 2-year whimsical frolic in South America). But dammit, I finally fucking made it!!

I flew to Bangkok in two planes. (Not at the same time, silly.) I flew from Houston to Heathrow and then, 5 hours later, to Bangkok. Modern technology, in the form of on-demand movies and beef bourguignon, helped those flights pass quickly enough. Even the 4-time vomiting child in the row in front of me did not, luckily, dampen my spirits.

I had hoped to visit London friends during the 5-hour layover, but now I see that that length of time would not have been enough, especially considering that I had to track down my baggage and ask the super-nice-and-helpful Thai Airways lady to ensure that under no circumstances was that baggage to accompany me on my flight. No siree.

An aside: the color scheme inside the Thai Airways plane is pink and and purple, which might be turned into a womb/vagina analogy, which could mean that I was birthed into Thailand.

Anyhoo, I arrived in Bangkok at 6am and headed straight for the Amarillo Stockyards. Once I’d been stamped and branded I ambled over to baggage claim to see whether my backpack had gotten an aisle or a window seat. “Not to worry,” I was told with a smile. And lo, they actually delivered my backpack to Kai’s Uncle’s apartment, which is where I’m staying and which is 2 hours south of Bangkok, about 15 hours after I landed. Now *that* is service.

While waiting for the 10am bus to Pattaya, I met a man named Tony from, I kid you not, Orlando, FL. (Tony Orlando) He and I chatted for about 30 minutes. I was quite groggy at this point, but I’m pretty sure that all he does is go from airport to airport just to enjoy the layovers between his flights.

AmarilloStockyards

Waiting to pass through Immigration at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport.

The Dream (or The Quest, or The Folly, etc.) has begun. The first thing I’m gonna do is sleep for two days.

A Bit Of A Delay

January 8th, 2016

I postponed my flight to SE Asia by about a month. My new flight is on January 6th, 2016. I had to postpone because the house preparation just wasn’t done. During this time I learned 1) preparing a house for me to live in and for rental are two different things; and 2) the ever present lesson of Letting Go.

I had very generous help in completing the projects from many friends, even after I “went into hiding”. I kept a low profile to avoid answering the “Why are you still here?” question 500 times and to concentrate on finishing the house.

We are all one

January 8th, 2010

So on December 30th we actually made it into the Louvre. Beforehand, we hung around near the I.M. Pei pyramids. Many people had decided to take the I’m-pinching-the-pyramid or the I’m-holding-the-pyramid-in-my-hand photos. Of course, from a different angle they look completely ridiculous. Enjoy:

Paris, froid et pluvieux

December 25th, 2009

Ah, France… the Wisconsin of Europe. That is to say that the many varieties of frommage here are delicious. But then, what else did you want to know? Maybe you wish to know if France is for lovers (of the Louvre, etc.)? Mais oui! It is. The rain and cold only make it more so!

“Oh la la, monsieur”, as Spike is fond of saying every time we pass a jewelry store. We are having a romantic time in Paris. OK, we’ve only been here one day, but what a day! It’s such a festive mood here, as though some deity had died (or been born, whatever) and is now being celebrated. Let’s all put on red sumo suits and shiny white nylon beards.

We’re two tourists with four wrists (and four hands): one for pointing at something, another for holding a container of pomme frites avec mayonnaise, another for holding an Orangina, and the fourth for recording the whole experience. Clickity click click.

We ended the magnificent day at St. Michel Notre Dame listening to the French Children’s Choir.

The apartment in Paris: to go between the kitchen and living room one must make love to the wall.

The apartment in Paris: to go between the kitchen and living room one must make love to the wall.

Love on the Eiffel Tower: the little Argentine girl fell in love with Spike's hat.

Love on the Eiffel Tower: a little Argentine girl fell in love with Spike's hat.

Hanging out with humans.

Hanging out with humans.

Don't haul heavy champagne bottles up there, you can propose to your sweetheart and then sidle up to Pierre.

Don't haul heavy champagne bottles up the Eiffel Tower, you can propose to your sweetheart and then sidle up to Pierre for two flutes of the bubbly.

Togetherness with erection.

Togetherness with erection.

The Eiffel Tower was lit up beautifully on Xmas Eve.

The Eiffel Tower was lit up beautifully on Xmas Eve.

Pere Noel gave Yeti Spike a yule hug.

Pere Noel gave Yeti Spike a yule hug.

We stopped to warm up with "chocolat chaud" at the Café Carette near the Tour Eiffel.

We stopped to warm up with "chocolat chaud" at the Café Carette near the Tour Eiffel.

The hat’s the thing.

December 19th, 2009

Spike and I are on Day 5 of our trip to France. We’re in Cagnes-sur-Mer, where Renoir spent his last days.

Only one French person has been rude to us so far: a woman in a bakery had no patience for Spike’s version of “croissant”, of which she had none anyway.

As for me, I’ve only been rude to one French person so far, although Spike says that the man’s nationality is actually Australian. (I brushed past him and his luggage, with my luggage, on the train.)

There are still twelve days left on this trip to see who wins the Battle of the Insensitives.

Going from Paris to Cagnes-sur-Mer on the TGV.

Going from Paris to Cagnes-sur-Mer on the TGV.

Spike and her hat have been quite a hit. Put on a yeti hat and you’ll be a goodwill ambassador, too.

Ze brie and ze cigarette are all zat I need.

Ze brie and ze cigarette are all zat I need.

There are many hedges-for-fences here.

There are many hedges-for-fences here.

Still getting over the jet lag.

Still getting over the jet lag.

The beach at Cagnes-sur-Mer.

The beach at Cagnes-sur-Mer.

The view of the Cagnes-sur-Mer castle from our balcony.

The view of the Cagnes-sur-Mer castle from our balcony.

The old, twisty Cagnes-sur-Mer.

The old, twisty Cagnes-sur-Mer.

Why do the Santas in Cagnes-sur-Mer not use the chimney?

Why do the Santas in Cagnes-sur-Mer not use the chimney?