Cambodia -> Buenos Aires

Musings from the road

Once again, I missed a week. Bangkok, Phnom Phen, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Philippines, then the flight to the other end of the world. I don’t blame me 😊 … this time.

New Year’s Eve in Cambodia was a non-event for me … Although the temperature was pleasant and it was nice watching the traffic along riverwalk. I don't have a picture but I think I saw 6 people on one small scooter - the record. And the coffin shop was open on new Year's Eve ... just in case I guess :-) ... I took photos of the riverwalk from the balcony of an icecream shop called the Blue Pumpkin. Nice place to watch the world go by.

 Phnom Phen Airport Lounge

Phnom Phen Airport Lounge

Phnom Phen Airport has a lovely Premium lounge for Business Class. Wow! With nice little booths for working and a reasonable buffet.

Back to Bangkok where I spent a couple of days relaxing in comfort then on to Hong Kong for an overnight stay and then back to the Philippines for 36 hours prior to setting off for Argentina to begin my residency.

 Hong Kong at dusk from the Excelsior

Hong Kong at dusk from the Excelsior

It was a scramble trying to finish up last minute stuff at the house prior to getting on the plane but all seemed ok.

Thankfully my roommate will be appearing in a few days to maintain a presence.

I am writing this as I am on the Doha – São Paolo leg of the trip to Buenos Aires. I haven’t done a lick of Spanish since I left Argentina last September. Things were too crazy … (or so I thought anyway – maybe I could have made time).

Iran Protests.jpeg

Saw an article in the Financial Times this morning. I have high hopes for Iran. I have always been a huge fan of Iran and Iranians. Not the misogynistic, corrupt, dung piles that are the current regime, but everyday Iranians. They are intelligent, hard-working people with a sense of humor. I went to university with many Iranians. Nothing but admiration for them. Iran has a young, restless population that is finally starting to wake up and say enough is enough. I suspect it will be bloody, but I hope it overthrows those morons who have been ruining the country for 50 years. It would really reshape the dynamic in the Middle-East if that happened.

I truly do not, even intellectually, comprehend the people that have these fundamentalist views (Islamic or anything else) – look at the militant Buddhists (an oxymoron if I ever heard one) indulging in genocide against the Rohingya in Myanmar . What I DO understand is that once these guys get into power, their main concern is staying there and benefitting from it (See the quote below from Navalny). Religion at that point takes a back seat other than as a tool to stay in power. Why can’t everybody just leave everybody else the hell alone (as long as they aren’t hurting anyone)?

Also saw an analysis in the New York Times from the Wednesday edition that laid out how poorly the ‘War on drugs’ has done. It mentioned things I didn’t even know, like how the prison population had exploded and how the drug cartels have had incentives to enter an arms race that has had deleterious effects for everyone. Legalize drugs, tax them, and make the penalties for committing any harm under their influence as draconian as it is for alcohol. But when politicians are more guided by their desire to stay in power than any desire to make the hard decisions, then it is unlikely anything smart will happen. And they seem to have little in the way of ethics or intelligence to guide them. I guess it is not really a surprise about what is happening in the world today.

 A Quiet Area Booth in the Doha Qatar Business Class Lounge

A Quiet Area Booth in the Doha Qatar Business Class Lounge

I like walking through Doha International airport. What a diverse crowd. Every language under the sun. It is clean, modern, and it runs well. Can’t ask for more than that) … And the business class lounge … Look at the quiet area you can sleep in ->

Oh boy, oh boy – Flight is not jammed and I have an empty seat next to me for the 16 hour flight to GRU (São Paolo). Yay!

I, up to this point anyway, had not been looking forward to going back to Argentina. I think I had too much on my mind. But now, as I start to destress, I’m really looking forward to it again. I’m going to study Spanish (in a school this time), workout like a madman and put on some muscle mass, and try to get body fat down to around 9%.

But, I have discovered that my heart, in case I had any doubts, lies in Asia still. It is where I feel the most comfortable. Especially Thailand. It may be run by a militaristic moron and the new king is an egregious dolt, but if you just live there, it is a good place. Cambodia was interesting. I might go back there, but not sure what for. It is certainly cheaper than Thailand, but I think I would rather spend time in Singapore. There is more to do, and Internet speeds are higher. I do plan to try to get to Lao this year though if I can.

The book on the Trump Whitehouse just came out. Unfortunately, it (based on the news articles I have seen about it) bears out what I already thought of him (just from the sound bites I can’t avoid seeing about him on the news). He’s hopeless for the most part. I think he may be doing some things ok, but what scares me is that I think it happens by accident rather than design. And his technique of being a bombastic bully who thinks he can just attack anybody that doesn’t kiss his ass doesn’t sit well with me. Nor should it with anyone that has a rational thought in their head. And it is crystal clear to me that he has not a clue about the world outside of the U.S. And his latest effort yesterday to run a meeting about immigration live on television revealed how clueless he really is.

I’ve been in Buenos Aires for 3 days now. Jetlag knocked me for a loop again. I slept for almost 12 hours last night and up at 0330 … but that is ok. If I hadn’t needed it I wouldn’t have slept I guess. BA is very uncrowded in January. Kind of like August in France. Everybody heads out of town. I like it. But it is certainly hot.

Staying at my usual place the 5th Floor. Incredible boutique hotel. I reviewed it on Trip Advisor. When I arrived at 2300, I was greeted by an impromptu asado (Argentinian BBQ) with an awesome steak, great red wine and superb company. What a way to be welcomed.

Met some really nice people here at the hotel. The couple is on a tour of South America and using BA as their base. Kind of people one is glad to meet when traveling.

I have acquired my Argentinian DNI (National ID Card) so my next major task is to try to open a local bank account. I hear it isn’t easy. But my host will accompany me to a bank today to help me try.

I will be moving to a long-term apartment towards the end of the week. Hopefully that will be an enjoyable place to stay. We shall see. I have indulged in some long walks and had a few great meals. Having been here last July and August really has made this trip more relaxed. Very little stress. I know where things are and how to get around. BA is a great city for walking although I have discovered that my uber-comfortable Merrells are not great for long walks. They are too loose. ☹ I may need to fall back to my Nikes. Those salads taste even better than they looked. Fresh figs with proscuitto :-)

And as a last note. The Economist put out its 'The World in 2018' edition. Well worth reading. The couple I met in BA gave it to me. I saw a couple of quotes that I really liked. Even though they aren't very optimistic.

I think one difficulty is that the problem is one of such enormous complexity that the very mass of facts presented to the public by press and radio make it exceedingly difficult for the man in the street to reach a clear appraisement of the situation [1947 Speech on Marshall Plan] - Parallels to today anyone?
— George Marshall
Let’s be clear, the nationalist, anti-trade, beggar-thy-neighbor position has no more intellectual credibility now than it ever had, which is precious little. It is no more rooted in economic reality or social justice than it ever was, which is not at all. Yet it appears to have gained a new currency. Why? [The case for progressive internationalism]
— Chrystia Freeland - Canadian Foreign Minister
It is obvious that the authorities’ main objective is their own survival — and continuing ability to pilfer the country’s coffers — rather than any idea of national interest. [Although this is about Russia - you could apply to any country - including the U.S.]
— Alexei Navalny - Russian Opposition Politician