Friday, September 27, 2002
Angkor wat is 'awesome' (in the sense of inspiring terror and wonder simultaneously). The product of hundreds of years of megalomaniacal feudal kingship, local stone and slave labour. In particular the Bayon's multitude of smiling boddhisattva heads gazing over a kingdom eaten by the jungle and eclipsed by the rise of the thai and the vietnamese. as david chandler points out, both s21 and angkor wat are examples of unchecked power exercised over crushed human bodies and minds. and both in their odd little ways are now tourist attractions.
Phnom Penh. Saw the killing fields and s21.
at the killing fields, the first thing you see is the top of a wat. as you walk closer, you see that the wat is full of human skulls. Thousands of them. then there are the mass graves. it's unnerving how small a mass grave can be. the air is full of dragon flies. and the river is close by. it's a quiet place. and utterly horrific.
s21 used to be a school. then it became a prison and mass torture chamber. now it's a genocide museum.
after these 2 sights, our moto drivers asked us if we wanted to fire some weapons at the shooting range. we declined. there's something about the remnants of mass murder that put you off guns. that night the other guys went off to a girlie bar. i got bolloxed in the hostel and fell asleep instead.
Went here. They had a seminar on Working in Australia and New Zealand. There were five presenters. And four audience members. they all introduced themselves and then they asked us punters to do the same. I went first.
Me: Hi, I'm mate. I'm interested in IT training and business research and analysis.
Them: Er, thanks for that. How about bar work? Bar work's really fun. And the pay's great.
Now, they actually have a point. But. I've been on the road for 8 months and I REALLY need to get my brain working again or else I'm toast. I DO actually wanna do a bit of bar work - whilst lazing round on the beach, and maybe fruitpicking or labouring. But right now, I wanna get my mental motor back in shape b4 it seizes up completely.
OK, I'm now in Sydney, Australia. After a few days staying with the hospitable B and her family (B is the fiancee of a friend - and a friend in her own right I suppose), I have moved into a cheap hostel in central Sydney. Which is a dive. But like I say, cheap. the following conversation should have rung some alarm bells.
Dave the hostel doorman: So, where ya from, mate?
Me: Bognor Regis, it's a little town on the South...
Dave: No way mate. Ya gotta be shitting me! I was there a few months back. A guy stayed here from Bognor for 18 months. Damien i think his name was. Do you know him...
Dave:... nevermind. Next time he rings up I'll put you on...
Dave:...Do you know Sheiks*?
And so on.
*Sheiks = the kinda place you may as well bottle yerself before going in as it'll save time.
Saturday, September 07, 2002
Why you no buy from me?
The Hmong girls in Sa Pa are merciless. Most are between 10 and 16. They hang around on street corners. They learn your name. And assault you. With handicrafts. But most will miraculously turn from selling machines to fun-loving children on presentation of a small magic trick or game.
Sometimes people can't help being human.
Yes, we have no writing. Why? I haven't been arsed for two weeks. And thinking it's time to resurrect True Facts. There are two further pieces on India - that you will never see. I think "I Can't Explain" summed it all up really. And I have something developing around this.