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Push

7 years
ago

One Last Push

Push launched years ago as the pregnancy journal of a soon-to-be father who was trying to piece together the weird changes to his wife and his life. It resurrected itself a short time later as a travel blog to the Far East with baby in tow; then it buckled under the weight of diapers and bottles and Elmos, and disappeared for a few years. Now my wife is pregnant with our third child, which seems a good occasion to reignite the blog.

10 years
ago

Good Porning, Vietnam

First thing we noticed upon arriving in Ho Chi Minh City: No one calls it Ho Chi Minh City. It’s Saigon, no matter what the commies tried to change it to in 1976. (So there. The war wasn’t pointless after all.) The people in the city, many of whom fled the country during the communist takeover—then returned—refuse to give Uncle Ho the credit for…

10 years
ago

Ten Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Cambodia

1. An alarming number of Cambodian babies are born with scars that look like bullet holes. It’s generally accepted that these babies are reincarnated victims of the Khmer Rouge.

2. Angelina Jolie is a goddess in Cambodia. They let her film Tomb Raider in the holiest temples of Siem Reap, and gave her Cambodian citizenship in 2005…

10 years
ago

Soiled and Spoiled

I’m sure Cambodia’s got fascinating history and stunning sites and lovely people, but man, we have a shitload of laundry to contend with. And though I love my daughter fiercely, she has pooped on 90 percent of the stuff we brought with us and we got to get the stank out. Sorry, poo trumps history…

10 years
ago

Don’t Fear the Siem Reaper

As one last insult, Thailand charges you 500 baht ($14.64) to leave the country. I liked Thailand a lot—fascinating country—but frankly, I was ready to pay their strangely reasonable blackmail fee and go. Sarah and Hannah, on the other hand, were ready to apply for citizenship, living out a life of passive-aggressive Buddhas and chilies, and let me travel on to Cambodia alone. Luckily, I’ve got the Passports.

10 years
ago

 

Enlightenment! And Caves.

Some guy standing next to the River Kwai started cooing at Hannah and convinced us to get into his long-tailed boat and go for a ride. At the time, it seemed perfectly reasonable, and off we floated. In typical Thai fashion, he never made our destination clear, or if we even had one. We didn’t ask. Half a mile down the riverbank, we came…

10 years
ago

Whistling Past the Graveyard

We’re now in Kanchanaburi, a mellow riverside town in western Thailand that backpackers love for a reason that may or may not have something to do with pot. It is also, as you surely know, the birthplace of the Buddhist monk Phrabhavanaviriyakhun. (Luang Phaw Dattajeevo, for short.) But Kanchanaburi is perhaps best known for…

10 years
ago

 

Cheer and Loathing in Thailand

Is it possible for every person within a particular 200,000 square miles to be passive-aggressive? Yes, it is, and that area is called Thailand. All the natives we’ve met have been deferential and polite and outwardly wonderful while silently giving the impression that they’d prefer to see us eviscerated by a pack of rabid dogs. They’re genetically gifted at making you feel guilty, usually through…

10 years
ago

Elephants Are Jerks

We went to an Elephant Camp today, which is basically a part of a jungle where industrious Thais have trained unlucky elephants to cozy up to tourists. Or at least not kill them. Apparently, these Dumbos have been domesticated enough to dull their natural instinct to trample us to death, and they all look vaguely depressed about their fate—though not enough to…

10 years
ago

Thailand Death March

The air conditioner in our hotel room turned on us at some point in the middle of the night and began blasting us with painfully cold air. We were so tired we slept through it, which meant I woke up with no feeling in my feet and Arctic boogers clogging my nose. The first thing I saw when I opened my eyes was Sarah’s frosty breath filling the air. We had to take Hannah outside to thaw her out before changing her diaper…

11 years
ago

School of Wok

So Sarah’s all, “Let’s take cooking classes while we’re in Thailand,” and I must have agreed, because now we’re shopping for ingredients in a Chiang Mai food market with a chef and a gaggle of Australians, Norwegians, Welsh, and Swiss. The highlight of the tour was watching a dour woman bludgeon a…

11 years
ago

Fear of a Thai Planet

We’re currently staying in a Chiang Mai hotel called the Riverview. The charm of any locale that calls itself “Riverview” is directly proportional, of course, to the charm of the river it views, and this one—a Liquid-Plumr backup called the Ping—is so green it makes the Chicago River look like the Caribbean. A quibble, though. We’re well positioned to take in Chiang Mai, the second-largest city in Thailand, and enjoying the…

11 years
ago

The Spice Channel

Bangkok’s reputation as one big, nocturnal XXX sex show full of tattooed pole dancers and post-op ladyboys beckoning with flesh and degradation? It’s obviously still out there, but we’re too blinded by diapers and Elmo books to see it. Besides, we go to bed at 8.  Tonight, though, we kept Hannah up late and met some friends for dinner at one of Bangkok’s many night markets. I wondered if I would if I would see some…

11 years
ago

I Wanna Be Sedated

“All the sidewalks in Bangkok are cracked,” I recall thinking just before I stepped in a hole near the National Museum and heard my right ankle snap like a Village beatnik circa 1954. As I hopped around in agony on my one good foot, my daughter began clapping, assuming this was some funny impromptu dance for her entertainment. It may as well have been. Once the pain subsided enough for my wife to examine my ankle, we realized I hadn’t broken it, just twisted it unnaturally, and everyone but me lost interest…

11 years
ago

 

Foreign Grocery Stores and the Ugly American

During my travels abroad, I was obsessed with supermarkets. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t shake my deep-seated Ugly American tendencies, making the names of products on shelves endlessly amusing. I got so carried away that a suspicious security guard in Hanoi escorted me and my camera out the door. Eventually, Sarah forbade me to bring the camera in, and I was forced to do actual shopping rather than snicker at the tiny cultural differences that bring out the 19-year-old boy in me…

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