I began writing this post last night but had to delete everything once the bullets starting flying around 6-8pm Bangkok time. After a month of redshirt protests in Bangkok, things have finally come to a head. The protests thus far had been peaceful and the government has seen no real need to negotiate seriously with the redshirts. The most recent reports I’ve heard are that 20 people have been killed. One Reuters photographer from Japan was killed and the rest being soldiers and protesters.
I am perfectly safe.
All of the activity is taking place over an area of one to two square miles of the downtown area. I’m about two miles from the closest redshirt roadblock and another mile or so from all the clashes. Walking around the neighborhood in my area, I would never know that anything was going on in the city. Continue reading “Living Under A State of Emergency”
One of the things you have to deal with when living a globe hopping nomadic lifestyle is the issue of visas. When you enter into a country you only have a set amount of time you can stay. As an American, for most countries I enter as a tourist I get 90 days. In Thailand, unless you applied for a longer visa through an embassy before your arrival, you only get 30 days. The only real way you can extend the 30 day visa on arrival is to leave the country and come back. Making a border crossing for the explicit purpose of renewing your visa is called a visa run.
I’ve done glorified visa runs before. My trip to Papua New Guinea was really just to renew my Australian visa which was expiring after 3 months in the country. I decided to make a real trip out of it, so it was more than just getting a passport stamp. Likewise, last month I went to Singapore because my Thai visa was running out, but I also spent 10 days there with my college roommate Dave and met with people in Singapore.
Last Saturday I flew to Singapore and back to Bangkok in one day. In fact, I never even left the airport in Singapore. That, my friends, was a real deal, in-out, quickie, good old fashioned visa run. My flight arrived in Singapore around noon and I was checking in for my flight to Bangkok at 4pm. Continue reading “Visa Run”
In honor of the release of the Apple iPad (which I will not get to see for another month) I’ve released a series of iPad wallpapers. Just click on the image to access the full size wallpaper. Save it to your iPad then set it as your wallpaper. Let me know if you install it on your iPad in the comments.
I carry around a lot of electronics. Way more than most people who travel. For the first two and a half years of my trip I lugged around a big six outlet power strip that I was using on my home computer. It was a generic model I picked up a Home Depot and was built for the garage. It was big, it was heavy and I was more than happy to get rid of it.
For the third year in a row I did an April Fool’s joke on April 1. For the third year in a row, an abnormally large number of people seem to have fallen for it, at least for a little while. This year I was sort of shocked at how many people said they fell for it, some of whom said they believed it for several hours (they clearly didn’t read the comments!)
Probably the greatest April Fool’s day joke ever perpitrated was the 1985 Sports Illustrated article by George Plimpton: The Curious Case of Sid Finch. He tells the story of a Harvard drop out who goes to Tibet and comes back years later after having learned to throw a baseball 150 mph. It had all the great hallmarks of a great April Fool’s joke. It gave some subtle clues that it was a joke (take the first letter of each word in the introduction), it was hard to believe but not so crazy that it was impossible to believe, and at no point did he give away the joke in the entire article.
I had actually this joke in mind for months and was even going take it one step further. I was going to find the ugliest ladyboy I could find in Bangkok and shoot a video, such that anyone who saw it would realize that the ladyboy was in fact a man. Unfortunately, my video camera is broken, so I went with what I did. Continue reading “Anatomy of an April Fool’s Joke”
My new photo essay is now up on the WashingtonTimes.com. It is a look at my time in Jerusalem during Holy Week 2009. Being in Jerusalem during Holy Week was an amazing experience and one of the highlights of my three years of travel. It includes photos from the Western Wall, the Good Friday procession down the Via Dolorosa (Way of the Cross), and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
A lot has happened to me in the last 48 hours. Things which will dramatically effect my future travels, this blog, and the rest of my life.
I got married.
Two days ago I had no idea I’d be writing this. My life has literally been a whirlwind and I haven’t really had time to take a step back and assess everything which has happened.
Two nights ago I went out with several guys to some clubs in a place called Patpong. I had never been to Patpong before, but lets just say it was quite an experience. To make a long story short (involving ping pong balls, chopsticks and darts), I met the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen in my life. Fast forward eight hours, the two of us were standing before a Bangkok City official performing the Thai rites of marriage, said “sloof lirpa” (Thai for “I do”), and were pronounced man and wife. The best man was a guy named Roy Dewitt from Alabama who happened to be there to get his drivers license.
Her name is Broma.
Since then we have been spending our time together trying to learn each others language and getting to know each other better.