Monday, 2 January 2023

Don't go chasing Waterfalls

Loving Kampot. Seven months here. The blink of an eye.

Kampot-time flashes by whereas Saigon-time wades, waist-deep, through putrid 
sludge.

How? Simple. Physics tells us that time dilates depending on an observer's relative velocity and/or location within a gravitational field. Clearly, Saigon must be orbiting a massive black hole at incredible speed giving rise to its lethargic clock.

Was grateful to visit TWO waterfalls on the back of antipodean Simon's AirBlade - like shit off a stick that thing. He rented "The Pumphouse" back in the day before escaping to Kep. A most convivial companion - perfect for splodging up jungle streams and clambering over slippery rocks to 
reach the refreshing ទឹកធ្លាក់វាលពួច.

Hold my shoulders

ទឹកធ្លាក់តាដារូង is way more accessible with a concreted swimming area, a zoo and little fish that nibble your skin.

Was good to soak up the vibe with families down from Phnom Penh. What a stark contrast this must be to their drab urban lives. The fresh air would've done them no harm.

Dream

Talking of fresh, I was enjoying cheap eats at the Pots-n-Pans one night when my mind was cast back to 1997 and HMS Victorious. We were smoking, somewhere beneath the Atlantic, chatting about dreams. I shared how I longed to live a life of poverty, somewhere in the third-world, with palm trees. The palm trees were non-negotiable. An old Navy mate recently reminded me of that conversation and laughed how I'd made it. I'd forgotten all about it. They thought I was an odd-ball back then too. Nowt's changed.

Lingo

Shat $275 on a Work Permit which is (now) required to renew a 12 month EB visa. Work? Shhhh, don't swear.

I bought a small electronic device from China with AliExpress.com. It took 3 weeks to arrive as I'd unwittingly selected the cheapest shipping option. Cambodia doesn't deliver mail to your door so I had more third-world fun locating ZTO Express. You MUST have a phone number on any package sent here. Hopefully they'll ring.

Terry and I hired a Khmer language Teacher. Young Paula's a student at the College where my landlord works. Was a laugh but our levels were too disparate. My reading is slowly improving - I can read the waterfall names from earlier. Those who can read Thai might see a few similarities, however, it should be noted that the vast majority of Thais can't read Khmer just like the vast majority of Khmer can't read Thai. I wonder how many Barang can read both?

Barang

London Jim provides classic English nosh like pie and chips down a small lane behind a pretty Wat.

I met Brummie Paul back in 2013 
in Laos while I was on an epic CBR250 adventure from Singapore to China. He'd cycled here from Isaan and it wasn't too long before he was pedaling to Phnom Penh. He loves the remote villages of northern Thailand - a passion we share. You'll find him in Mae Sariang today triggering jolts of jealousy in yours truly.


BM escaped Saigon for Christmas. We had a blast on rented scooters up Bokor and here to Sunset Cafe in Kep.

Sunset Cafe is one of those places where you think you've won the lottery. Perched on a cliff edge, sipping $2 coffees, gazing across a
vista of dense jungle foliage framed by a stunningly blue ocean is, indisputably, a lottery win. Precisely the image I had in my mind's eye as life ebbed away under the cold grey Atlantic.

Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose electrical tin openers. Choose a big fvcking television. Choose fixed rate mortgage repayments .... 
Thank fvck I chose not to choose life. Thanks Renton.

Khmer

Sheltering from a storm with Mam, Dad and their cheeky youngin. Having a laugh with Bong at the Lotus Pond Coffee Seat.

I spend most of my time around locals because diversity is strength. Obviously. However, it occurred to me that
I'm the diversity here. I'm the BAME. And I have been for 17 years.

Sometimes melancholy kicks in as I see millions of immigrants flowing into the land of my birth and festooning themselves with residency (or citizenship) status. Having paid taxes in Asia for years it pains me that these policies are not reciprocal. Far from it. I would love to gain Thai residency (or citizenship) but accept it will never happen. Is it ironic that the nations sending immigrants to the west would never accept immigrants from the west? Another case of LAFS?

Moth to the flame


Talking of Thailand, I interviewed for a part-time teaching gig. I like the idea of the location (Isaan) but thoughts of edubabble, noise and exposure to wage-slave drones, even part-time, does not fill one's heart with joy. Not sure why I put my name forward as I already have the perfect set up. It's like I want to poke a sleeping bear or something. I imagine the base layer of my being, my very essence, as a quantum system in constant flux, randomly activating impulses for change and thus not allowing me to settle anywhere. Simultaneously maddening and laughable. Does God play dice?

I
always come back to Schopenhauer to explain these things. He reckons we're driven by a blind will that manifests itself in humans as illogical and pointless desires. The only way out is through asceticism, where much of our material pleasures are given up, as to fight against this irrational will.

I'm more ascetic than most, however, nowhere near the finished article. Perhaps we need the struggle? I'm reminded of Agent Smith:

Did you know that the first Matrix was designed to be a perfect human world? Where none suffered, where everyone would be happy. It was a disaster. I believe that, as a species, human beings define their reality through suffering and misery.

Part of me fantasises about speaking Thai, riding a CBR500 around the sticks and, weirdly, even teaching Physics again. Another part fears Thai bureaucracy, the change itself and whether or not this "unicorn" gig is too good to be true? In the words of me Mam "We'll see".

Python

With time on me hands I can indulge me inner-nerd.

Half-way through an online coding course.

Now, I'm not going to lie, but trying to code Viete's formula melted muh brain.

What you're looking at is the end result of an hour's struggle. I had to search for help in the end as I was beat. It looks so elegant and simple now it's done. Reminds me of the classic: it's easy when you know how.

Is it cool? Unlikely, but I'm long past the age of GAF.

Budget

2022 was a great year for the Toon! However, as previously stated, 2022 did not use lube on investors. Fortunately, a minimalist low-stress lifestyle doesn't require much in the way of cashola and belts can be tightened. The data:

Sep: $420
Oct: $320
Nov: $365
Dec: $340

That's $1,445 for four months. Covers everything except visa stuff. I'm not even sure why I live like this as I theoretically have $800/month in perpetuity. Perhaps I have a scarcity mindset? Regardless, $400 affords a mint lifestyle. No complaints.

I laugh when I see youtubers claiming they can easily live on $1,500/month in some low-cost country. My landlady was round the other day asking if she could take the fridge as hers is broken. Of course you can love, it's never been plugged in.

Not just surviving ... but thriving.

2 comments:

  1. On point with an Antipodean

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great update! Love the job hunting aspect. It's the only time I feel like a hunter. lol.

    ReplyDelete

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