29 January 2019, 23:02
Well, I’m not going to Chengdu and Xi’an. No pandas, no Sichuan spicy food, no Terracotta warriors. Too expensive, and it’s Chinese New year, making travel difficult. Overloaded railways, and I’m on a budget. Plus, I think there’s only so much big-city-hopping I can take. So, Chiang Mai to Kunming to Wuhan to Shanghai.
Chilled and walked around Siem Reap on the 27th, took a day-long bus to Bangkok yesterday, and met Jon Lott in line at the Cambodia-Thailand border. He’s twenty-seven and has done some cool things: hitchhiked across America and wrote a book about it, searched for the lost treasure of Forrest Fenn and totaled his car, teaches in Chengdu. His mother runs a nonprofit in Africa somewhere, and his father is a handyman. His brother works for a college, and his sister does something I can’t remember. Jon and his friends created a sport they call “milk jug.”
I lost Jon Lott in line. I was wearing shorts (not allowed) at the Royal Palace of Bangkok, and they forced me to buy some pants. In the process, Jon went ahead, and we were separated, likely never to see each other again. He’s going to learn how to sail, and I’m going north. He was a nice fellow, full of exciting ideas and a wish to run a polyamorous, open commune when he gets a little older.
The Palace was pretty and crowded. It was gilded, golden, green, yellow, and red. RICH. There was a reclining Buddha longer than any statue I’ve seen, an emerald Buddha draped in his winter garb, and thousands of tourists and Thai people. Queen Sirikit’s Museum of Textiles was elaborate and French. Cocktail dresses, evening gowns, lace, ornate, beautiful.