During the last 4 months…

I worked in France at Domain Gayda.  Barack Obama was elected president of the united states.  I realized how loud Americans speak.

Back in SRQ.  Working at the WW.  Studying for a sommelier exam.

Me and the French people.

wine-bottling

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who even reads this?

this blog is too difficult to maintain. the keyboards in france are insane. i can never find a computer cafe with USB hookups. i also dont really like spending two hours indoors updating a blog when its 80 degrees, clear skies, and 500 types of cheese at my disposal.

maybe sometime later I’ll start again.

Dutch/Deutschland

I suppose its been too long.  I got into Vienna a long time ago, maybe 2 weeks or something.  I couchsurfed with this guy named Yussi.  A fantastically interesting student writing his Master’s thesis on serial children’s literature.  Spent four days there walking, eating and drinking.  Heaps of museums, all with a wing dedicated to Gustav Klimt–my new favorite artist.

Then I went over to the Wachau, where I couchsurfed with a family of seven who treated me more like a foreign exchange student than a traveler.  They were great, completely accommodating and hilarious in their Austrain charm.  They lent me a bike and I rode down the Danou river, drinking wine and memorizing the scenery.  This is the cellar of Domaine Burger and the vineyard slopes along the Danou River.

 

Back to Vienna for a night and then I was off to Amsterdam.  I swore I wouldn’t be that drug-induced American visiting coffee shop after coffee shop…but I was.  A great city, from what I can remember.  Really charming and almost completely intact after WWII.  I’d like to visit again.  Now, I’m in Groningen, a small university town in the northeast of Holland.  I’m staying with Annelies, who feels more like an old friend than a newly met acquaintance.  Yesterday we went wakeboarding in this country town and had dinner with her family.  Today, I did the city’s big museum that was showing new Chinese art (post Mao’s death). 

Tomorrow, I’ll go Frankfurt, where I’ll be staying with a young couple who promised to give me a grand tour before Mum arrives on Friday.

That’s the low down.  Not many good pictures to report. I’ve been frustrated by the quality that my camera takes. As it turns out, the white balance is a common problem with the entry level Rebel cameras.  Plus, the color’s never sharp. Oh well.

More street treats

Crispy noooooggets of pork, fried basil and chili sauce. Sticky rice and a side of fresh cabbage.  $1.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most of the street vendors are women.  Who says girls don’t make good line cooks?

 

Finally made it to Chatuchak weekend market.  1 million visitors/weekend.  Insanity that can’t be captured with a camera.  Picked up some take-away and ate in the park.  A small business owner: painting nails on the knoll.

Ali left tonight

If you plan on visiting Thailand, you’ll inevitably find yourself in Bangkok. Most people don’t like it here. It’s noisy, polluted, stinky, and parts of it are ugly. I, however, love it. Most people stay on Khao San Rd. Don’t do that. Instead, stay on Phra Athit, or somewhere close by. Each time I come back to the city, I stay at KC Guesthouse, adjacent to the 7-11 and close to the corner where Phra Athit becomes Phra Sumen. The street food here is incredible. You can’t go wrong, though I’ve found that the places with the most pigeon-toed Asian teens tend to serve up the best food.

Ali and I worked well together. We kept a loose schedule; we never felt rushed nor did we feel like we missed anything. After spending a couple of days in Bangkok, we flew up north to Chiang Mai and then took a government bus to Chiang Dao. I can’t stress enough how important it is to take the government buses and not the tourist buses. Its like the people at the airport who flock to the gypsy cabs when there’s a line designated for metered cabs. Well, these are the same people who use the tourist buses. They’re more expensive, less reliable, and you’re more likely than not to get your baggage peeked at.

Three days in Chiang Dao. Then three or four days in Chiang Mai. Great town. I was there with Lia and co…but we didn’t really see much of it. Ali insisted that we wander and take photos, proving to be a great way to see the city. The weekend markets are also amazing–I wish I had made more purchases there.

Then we flew down to Krabi and took a death-defying longtail boat to Railay. Of course, it rained every day (4 in total). We had a great time watching “Race the Sun” for like the 7th time and eating pasta bolognese at the shitty resort restaurants.

Now I’m back in Bangkok and tomorrow I’ll go shopping at the weekend market north of town. I fly to Vienna on July 1st.

ali and clockschiang dao

Brother and Sister Fo’ever

we haven’t killed each other. yet.  actually, its been really nice having her company. here are some photos of markets, food, mountains, and funny faces. the connection here is too slow for a properly executed blog post.

Prahok and other delights

Just got back from Cambodia. Spent two days in  Siem Reap, the town adjacent to the Angkor Wat complex.  Fucking awesome (a French lady pointed out to me that this was “such an American thing to say.”) 

The people of Cambodia are completely charming.  Considering the horrors they’ve endured during the past 30 years, its amazing they can even crack a smile.  The children are so disarming that I found myself playing with them as my tour group left to explore the temples. 

  lady temple

And….Prahok is fermented fish paste.  Its the basis for all things tasty in Cambodia.   Families go down to the lake to collect small silver fish.  When they get home, the whole family jumps in: the fish are gutted, dried for 24 hours, salted and jarred to ferment for about 1 month.  Fucking awesome.

Also: along the “highway” from the border to Siem Reap, you’ll see thousands of plastic wells, with a sort of chuppah raised above the water.  At night, the Khemer people raise a light and a plastic curtain to the chuppah .  This contraption attracts grasshopers, who smash into the shower curtain thingy and fall to their death in the water well.  The next morning, they’re collected, fried and eaten.