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Showing posts from August, 2001

Across the river to Koh Kong

Sihanoukville | Cambodia I lay awake in a hotel with no name in a tiny little town called Koh Kong. All night long motorcycles roared up outside and the sound of men whispering and girls giggling never went away. The latch on my door was not good for anything and I was quite surprised to find in my closet a half size door to who knows where. If I had known what I had to do to get here I never would have left.

From Trat I took a mini van to the border. There were a few locals on board, but at every stop someone gets off, until there is only the driver and me. At last we came to the boarder. A tangle of bob wire fences and pacing guards.

A young man named Sammy greets me and offers to take me to a hotel. I was mistakenly under the impression I would be spending the night in Thailand and crossing over to Cambodia by ferry the next morning. It turns out there was no town here, just fences. Sammy told me he would meet me at the Cambodian side of the crossing and then he disappeared.

Three Gorges Dam

Beijing | China, PRC In Shanghai we walked along the river promenade of the Bund. To our right barges sank below their heavy cargo as they forced their way upstream. On our left were the ancient monoliths of French and British colonialism. Inside which we found fantastic cavernous lobbies of gilt and marble and worn leather.

But if you entertained any ideas of my parents and I looking down from mighty steps onto wobbly rickshaws hustling through crowded Shanghai streets I must banish those thoughts forever. At one time these stone buildings must have seemed mighty. Now they are just the simple cornerstones of shiny silver, blue and gold towers that fill the skyline. In their shadows cell phones chatter, taxis race and money is everywhere.

Our first night in Shanghai we checked in above the skyline. The Hyatt lobby is on the 54th floor, and our rooms were on the 70th. After dinner my father and I headed up to the 87th floor for a cocktail. I treated him to a cigar; something I mos…