Showing posts from September, 2001

Good fishing, thanks for the shade

Hoi An | Vietnam Thank you so much for the stories. They were so personal and helped me understand so much better what has happened. I'm still reading through them so it will take me a little while to get back to you.

Even though most of you expressed confusion and disbelief in what has happened, I also heard we shouldn't let this slow us down. So on with the show.

In Hoi An I hired a bicycle and rode out to the beach. It's really the best way to travel. I could see rice husks drying on the side of the street. I'm moving slow enough to see the people working in shops. A little girl reading a story to her younger brother. A couple sharing a drink in the shade.

Occasionally a diesel truck with no hood to cover its engine passes me. But mostly I share the road with other bicyclists; carrying their friends, baskets of goods, clusters of bananas and upside down chickens.

I found myself coming to a complete stop in a traffic jam. Hundreds of children in white shi…

Do you know what an American looks like?

Hoi An | Vietnam In every country people ask me if I'm an American. It always strikes me as very odd and I ask them what would bring them to that conclusion. They tell me "you look American." I always laugh and tell them "no, you look American."

In Cambodia I stood in a cell where many people had been savagely raped and tortured. I had seen so much destruction and I told myself - there is no need to ask the question "Why?" anymore. It is because we are human. This is our shame.

I don't want to visit another museum of human atrocities. Already the world has been condemned to remember the horror of our own humanity in New York. If we are careful those responsible will be remembered only for their foolishness. If we slash out blindly there will be more memorials to our own foolishness.

Yesterday I met a girl whose smile was given limply. She had been counting down the days to when her American boyfriend would return. This single event of des…

Anywhere for a dollar

Siem Reap | Cambodia As a young boy I always ran into the trees searching for hidden treasures. The forests of California never had much to hide, but my imagination went wild running through wilting ferns and giant Redwoods to discover an empty paint can or rusted car in the bottom of a ravine.

Perhaps in an effort to validate my childhood fantasies I perched on the roof of a boat speeding up the TonlŽ Sap River. In Siem Reap I met an Australian and we hired a guide to take us to the temples of Angkor Wat.

I guess it wouldn't be accurate to call Veechien our guide. He had a tiny carriage attached to the back of his motorcycle that he used to take us to the base of each temple. From there we were on our own to explore while he took a nap - and that suited us just fine.

Several Khmer kings built the monuments from the 9th to the 13th centuries. Angkor Wat is only one of many scattered around the area. Hence the need for Veechien to drag us behind him along chokingly dusty roads,…