I’ve given up learning new languages. I’ve found out that with English, Spanish, and vigorous handwaving I can get by in any country. I didn’t used to be this lazy, but senility and age have its drawbacks.
Don’t take me wrong. I love the idea of learning Italian, French, and maybe German, but most of these languages are useless. Ok, with the possible exception of French. After all, there are enough French speaking countries in Africa to make it worth the effort. Italian? Well, unless Italy makes another attempt to invade Ethiopia and actually succeeds this time, I find that my time is better served eating gelato and drinking lattes. Why learn a language that has about a country’s worth of speakers, unless you are moving there? Whatever, I’ll keep to my “ciao bellissima” and “prego”, until I decide to spend a summer cycling in Tuscany. And don’t get me started on German, that’s just marginally more useful than Haitian Creole. Continue reading →
There, I said it: I use women to travel the world. I’ve also been known to use old women, small children, and cripples. I have no shame.
After a week in Vietnam, I am honestly perplexed at why every single local and tourist is not dead or severely injured from traffic accidents. How people survive the daily onslaught of motorcycles kamikazeeing straight at you is beyond me. I consider my day a success if I can cross the street merely once throughout a day. And I lived a summer in Cairo! Egypt has been officially dethroned as the world’s most automobilistically insane country. Continue reading →
I finally did it. I got a Thai massage. Today has been a day of hedonistic debauchery. I went for my usual breakfast and gourmet coffee at a local sculpture garden ($3.77).
Then I went to get my first non self inflicted haircut in 6 years ($2.79). Let the record show that I overpaid for this. While I was sitting in the barber chair, I noticed there was Thai writing next to the English price, with what I quickly surmised was a list of prices for the locals. With the help of google I was able to determine that I was being gougued an extra 56 cents. I let it go….just this time, but I did point at the list upon completion and winked at the barber. He knew I knew…
As a rule, I travel with 200 US dollars of emergency money. It’s supposed to cover landing in the middle of nowhere,with no ATM’s in sight. In my naive mind it’s also supposed to cover ransom and bribe money– apparently in a kingdom ruled by children with only marginal knowledge of global exchange rates. In reality, it gets spent on chocolate when I run out of a money and am too lazy to find an ATM.
This trip I’ve been far more cavalier with my emergency spending. After all, the unofficial currency of Cambodia is the US dollar, so ATM’s spit out my safety blanket that is the US greenback.
Now, considering that an English speaking tuk tuk driver makes $200/month during high season (for a family of 4) and that life in the rice fields yields $5/day during the harvest season, a 10 dollar note is a large bill most shops are not happy to take, and tuk tuk drivers may run you over as you walk away. This brings me to my main question: Why the fuck do local ATM’s spit out $100 bills exclusively? Continue reading →
I have this love hate relationship with work. I am either fascinated by it or I think I’m slaving away my mental energy in exchange for a salary. Most days I’m thrilled by the fact that I get paid to work on interesting projects, keep stimulated, and do it from anywhere– barefoot and in shorts. Other times, I whine like a pig in heat, envying those with enough mental energy to spend at the end of a long work day.
One day, I was in one of my more philanthropic moods, brooding over the fate of the world and how unfair it was to be paid so well for such fun work, when a colleague casually mentioned: “are you ever able to switch it off?”. I was perplexed and asked him to elaborate. He carefully pointed out, that by the nature of our work, we can never really turn off the mind. We’re renting out our brains in exchange for money. Good money, mind you, but there is a trade off. Continue reading →