Friday, 31 August 2007

Desperations of the first world

There will be two posts today.

I have been without electricity for a week now, it could be good practice for living in Phnom phenn I guess although this has to do with not bothering to pay the bills for a long time, it really cost me to get it put back but everyone needs electricity right. I also quit my job today although if I had not quit soon then the choice would have been taken out of my hands.

The happenings of the past week have given me some time to reflect, blacked out nights spent reflecting over my options and what I really want. I have wanted to get out of this place for at least a year now, it is becoming almost desperate now and I have at least ten months left before I can make it happen, I really need to leave and to reinvent myself in a new place where my actions are not watched by the eyes of many. I know an awful lot of people in the town where I live, I really do mean a lot, but I can count my good friends on the fingers of one hand. After a divorce the people you have in your surroundings polarize, many take sides, many dissapear from your life. People are the same the world over but here I was the one who moved, our friends were her friends, they all have thier own lives, I don't really care what the reasons are, the result is that when I really need help there are only a handful of people I can talk to.

I might as well be in another country.

I want to be somewhere where I can feel alive.

I want to be somewhere where television will not deaden my senses.

I want to be in Cambodia.

I spend this period feeling sorry for myself but then think about the many people living on less than a dollar a day and I feel ashamed but I should not, I've explained about the god shot theory of life let me explain it's extension.

One of my very good friends is an intelligent man, he is almost a recluse and spends most of his time either reading or thinking. He tells me that my money troubles are my own creation and of course he is right, for years I have lived way above my means. He says that to live in the modern world you need to make sacrifices, he tells me that to live the reclusive life he lives he has had to give up many things in life that other people have. He is right but....

Why should I give up these things, I studied for years to become a teacher, I am a professional but my salary here does not allow me even a middle class life, why should I accept this? One hundred years from now I will be nothing but a memory, there may even be no-one left to whom I am a memory, what the hell will it matter if I died with debts in a couple of countries, no-one will care! I am a nomad and it is time for me to drop under the radar and start a new life somewhere where I can feel alive.

I am not the man

the one


I am not the taker of souls

we know of old

cold like the icy wind


I do not have room in my mind for the kind

of thoughts that they possess

I am not less than him

I do not skim the waters

I will not accept what they have taught us

I will not go under

I will not wonder

What it's like to be there



The master of the air

The sea

The land

I will not take their hand

do not need their help.

I am a man of means

I mean

I glean a living

every day

every way I can.

I am


I am


I walk the world of men with head held high

'cause I know why they do

the things they do

they do

beleive I am a theif

because I take my time

My time

the time I give them from my time becomed their time

I must not complain

I must not whine on thier time.

My time is running out I shout


Show me a sign

Show me the way to seize the day

'cause I must make a stand

or die today.

I'm just not sure I can

because I

am not

the man...


The race against time.

I have already written about the time frame I am thinking about but what I am worried about is not being able to get it all done in time. I am an impulsive bugger in an anti -impulsive environment and it is stifling me. I have Cambodia in my sights and I know that the country like any other(maybe more than many others ) is changing, this does not have to be negative, I do however worry that the Cambodia I know will have changed into something elseby the time I get there. My brain tells me that this will not happen but as I said I am an impulsive bugger by nature and this does concern me. The excitement I remember from the streets of the capital years ago charged me with adrenaline and it was at least partly this which started my infatuation with the country, will this still be there by the time I can move? I hear there is a shopping mall now, there are ATM 's, will the radar eventually reach here too.
Which radar do you mean I hear you ask, the radar I am intending to drop under, I want to become the invisible man and start the next period of my life in glorious anonymity on the streets of a slighty dilapidated asian capital. There can be no Macdonalds in my immediate future although Lucky Burger I can put up with, there must be no Pizza Hut but happy herbs gives another, more bizarre twist to it. There will be no more than four people from my former life who will know where I will be living and this may sound like a mid-life crisis/socially phobic reaction but this could not be further from the truth. I am a very social man who could not live without other people around me, I am just totally done with Europe and I need new challenges. I am not so much planning for a move as a re-birth.


Wednesday, 15 August 2007

And then there's a woman

Well, there's always a woman isn't there? They are great but they do tend to come along when you least expect it, how can you build up a relationship and then up and move to asia? Women tend not to understand these things, even if you have said it early in the build up to the relationship. I am sure that they think that what he really needs is a good woman and then he won't need to move any more, if it works out he won't want to move any more. It can only lead to greif in the long run. Can I expect an ordinary european woman to want to move to Cambodia with me, hardly likely if she hasn't got the urge to escape in the first place right?
She is really a nice woman too, she says that she wants to live a life less ordinary to quote the film title but I don't really know if she is for real or just thinks so right now. Another thing is do I want a european girlfreind to move with me? I don't have an asian fetish at all but do you move countries with a relatively new partner? All these things have to be thought about but a move to asia it will be anyway. And then there's the woman.......

Saturday, 4 August 2007


I wonder how much Cambodia has changed since I was there last? It was a while ago, I think three years. I am aware that countries change and develop and the changes can seem more drastic for someone who is based outside and only visits occasionally, if you live there the changes can seem quite mild but for a visitor they can can seem extreme. I have read about big modern shopping malls in the capital but maybe they were there before and I just did not find them. How many of the roads have been asphalted since I was there? One of the most harrowing and difficult journeys I ever made was from the thai border to Siem Riep in a pick up truck. This was the first time for me in the country and after taking myself to the thai side of the border I bought passage on the truck along with a group of thais and cambodians and mountains of sacks and wood and fruit. Several hours sitting on the thin metal rim of the truck travelling along those roads made quite an impression, It took me a good couple of days to recover from that journey.

Life shouldn't always be easy, life is suffering according to buddhism right.

I've done my share of suffering now, I want my god shots.

I worked today and after work one of my colleagues and a couple of friends and I went out for a spin in the company boat. Like many towns the town I live in has a river running through the middle of it and we cruised the river at 15 knots and drank gin and tonics, this was a god shot moment. Although now at home I guess we were lucky not be arrested, two nights out of three in a police cell would not have been too cool. I am looking for a place to live where the social norms are slighty less focused, somewhere where decandence has a more tangible face.

"The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom."(William Blake possibly slightly missquoted)

I am an expert on the road of excess but have yet to find the palace of wisdom although a certain amount of insight into the way I personally function has been gained. I master excess, excess has been the story of my life and I am actually starting to accept this, everyone cannot always be level-headed. I am destined to be the one who never learns from his mistakes, the one who always manages to go that little bit further along the path. Sitting at home now and writing this I begin to wonder if Cambodia is the right country for me, imagine if I manage to get through the next year without self destructing and get to cambodia only to totally lose control in a country bereft of control mechanisms. I guess thats just a chance I'll have to take. Maybe I'll get myself shot by some irate local after an untimely comment in a bar at three in the morning. I remember in Siem Riep I ended up in an almost entirely khmer kareoke club the entrance to which was through big iron gates, while there were still a lot of people inside they closed and locked the gates and blankly refused to let anyone leave. It took half an hour for me to convince them that my (recently met and also imprisoned) companion was in fact diabetic and would die if we did not get out very soon( a blatant lie of course). I have never managed to figure out what was going on there, am I safe to be on the streets of Cambodia?

c'est la vie! Cambodia would be the poorer without me and I would certainly be the poorer without Cambodia.


Friday, 3 August 2007

It Starts!

I've already started to do the research loosely around asia and more specifically about Cambodia. I am often to be found on gleaning all the information I can about day to day life there, it absorbs me almost to the point of obsession. Why Cambodia then? Some people seem almost suspicious when I say Cambodia, vague memories of articles they have read about the khymer rouge or child sex slavery but it's not this. I was in country quite a while a number of years ago and the place just grabbed me, there's a kind of untamed wildness about the land. It's not like any other country I've ever been to, it's unpredictable and lawless, it's a challenge to get around, it's a contrast in and of itself, it's a wake up call to stay on your toes and start living and most of all it's not comfortable and easy like the most part of western europe. I met a westerner in sihanoukville who ran a guest house and he told me;

"First come the freaks, then come the backpackers and then come the tourists and thats when I leave."

Cambodia is a place you move to when you don't really fit in where you are from any more, when the round peg has been battered out of shape so much that it just does not go in the hole any longer. Thats my take on it anyway, I may be way off track for many people but thats my reasoning for the move. I am not a round peg any more and I want no more of this country. I want to live in ten different countries before I die, I've always been something of a transient, nomadic blood I guess.

I woke up in a police cell this morning. I had been out last night and spent ridiculous amounts of money on champagne and I was way too drunk to get home so the police took care of me for the night. It was the first time I have ever been in a cell, hard plastic bed with one blanket and no pillow and a small water disenser in the wall, and of course the best of all, they lock you in. It's a symptom, not of an alcohol problem but of a deep feeling of being grossly unsatisfied with my position in life right now. After release they contact the social services and tell them that they had you locked up as well, I imagine if you were to end up there often you would offered professional help.

I have a theory of life which I like to follow. A trained barista makes tens of thousands of cups of coffee in his life and they say that very occaisionally everything is just perfect, the perfect temperature, the perfect amount of coffee and the resulting espresso is known as a "god shot", it is perfect in every way. I like to look at life the same way, life should ideally be a series of god shots one leading quickly into the other, of course it never is but if you reach for the stars.....

I am convinced that I will not experience many god shots until I get out of this place, this is my motivation.

This blogg is my lifeline, I simply must get out and my therapy involves sharing the process with anyone who would like read it, kind of Oprah Winfrey really. This blogg is a burning fuse, in one years time my final entry will be written from Cambodia, newly arrived, or I will have self destructed along the way. This blogg is a ticking bomb.

I have been chasing demons all my life, it's really just a matter of time before I catch one.

I walk the world of men with head held high
'cause I know why
they do the things they do

they do believe
I am a theif
because I take my time

my time

the time I give them from my time
becomes their time
I must not whine
I must not complain
on their time

I have no time
my time is running out I shout
I need more time!

show me the way
to seize the day

'cause I must make a stand
or die today
I'm just not sure I can
I am not the man.


What am I doing here?

good question and one I have asked many times before never quite managing to come to any acceptable conclusion. All I know is that I won't be here much longer, europe has lost it's charm and my calling in the near future will be to Asia. Cambodia or Viet Nam maybe? I am not quite sure yet but this blogg's only purpose is to chart my progression from european resident to the tropics and the whole process along the way. as a matter of course I will be taking up all manner of issues along the way as they occur to me or as they seem relevant. It is not my intention to provide anyone with any form of entertainment but as my life can be quite chaotic I wonder if it wont be entertaining anyway.

So, What am I doing here, I don't have the faintest idea but maybe someone can mail me with the answer as it becomes obvious to the as the blogg develops. I have gradually been loosing my grip on my life over the last two years, since the divorce and custody battle, small parts of my life have been falling off and getting lost and I can't seem to find them again. debts build up, alchohol comsumption rises and I dont check my mail or answer the phone if I don't know who it is anymore. The wolf is at the door. It is situations like these that really make you re-evaluate your life, I need clarity and the only way to clarity is through reflection. For reflection you need to be sober, this is my first problem. they say if you have been to hell and back you often leave a peice of yourself there.

Your armchair burnt itself to the ground today
That yellow mug that you liked so much fell off the sink and smashed into a million peices
All the pictures of us together were on the armchair as it burst into flames
Those curtains that you made were unfortunately caught in the ensuing blaze
Your half of the bed got up and jumped out of the bedroom window
falling to it's death on the concrete below.
And yes, I'm doing fine
Thanks for asking

I have one year left here before I board a jet plane bound for Asia never to return. I am going to dress in linen suits and wander Phnom Penh with a camera in my hands before retirning to a small local bar in the evening to drink Bear lao and lie about my past because my past will not exist any more. This blogg is my confession and my witness, I really do not know if I will mange to make all the necessary plans and carry out my aim of a move to Cambodia or if I will totally self destruct first and end up either in jail or a mental hospital, only time will tell.