Dec 20 2009

Beng Malea and Koh Ker

Category: TravelRandall Kelley @ 22:07

Long story short, we went to some remote temples today, and the road was difficult and when we got back we went to straight to dinner (hadn’t eaten since breakfast except some fruit) at a place that puts on a dance show of the ritual dances that are depicted on the walls of Angkor Wat. So it’s too late for a real post, tonight.

I’ll be lucky to get the pics all downloaded and backed up. But suffice to say we had a great day, and it was spectacular, though in a far different way than Angkor Wat will be tomorrow.

Maybe I can select a few shots in the AM and get them up somewhere tomorrow before we get out. If not, the visual will wait a bit. Several computer issues are not working properly and are bogging my process down, so we’ll see.

More later, R&R

Dec 20 2009

Seam Reap

Category: TravelRandall Kelley @ 08:38

Arrived safe and sound late last night. We are taking a day tour shortly so no time to post. Hopefully tonight will be an earlier evening and I’ll get something done. But we have hooked up with Steve and Diane, had breakfast, and are gung ho to be the best little tour group the we can! R&R

Dec 18 2009

Interesting Flight

Category: TravelRandall Kelley @ 19:49

Just past Anchorage and in the middle of a movie, when I noticed a commotion to my left. I peeled off the headphones to see several stewardess and a couple of passengers working to get a woman to the floor as she was having some sort of siezure or epeleptic attack.

I thought it was an older woman at first, but she turned out to be more like late twenties. They got her back to the open area near the rear galley (we are close to the back), and worked with her for about ten minutes before she stopped the spasms.

I hated to feel like I wasn’t being sympathetic, but my first thought was, “Oh no, we’ll be turned back to Alaska for an emergency landing.”

Fortunately, for her and the flight, it must have been something she was aware of, as once she was fully recovered they returned her to her seat and we are still on route to Seoul.

Really makes you realize how isolated you are at 35000 feet, and how things can turn in just a moment.

Enough excitement for us for this trip. I’m hoping everyone has smooth sailing from here on. RKK

Now we have landed at ICN for a brief layover before heading to Siem Reap. The rest of the flight went well, and it appears I have WiFi here to get this post up. It will be late, and 24 hours on the trip, so anything from Siem Reap will wait at least a day I think.

Our best to all, R&R

Dec 18 2009


Category: TravelRandall Kelley @ 09:44

Just a note that we are on the ground early… But as the Captain noted, “no good deed goes unpunished.” probably have to sit on the plane another 20.

Will try to post some shots from the little camera if there’s open wifi in SFO.

Other than separate seats for this flight, so far, so good! RKK

Dec 08 2009


Category: TravelRandall Kelley @ 21:02

Rita’s brother Steve was in town this week and brought us our passports back. He was able to drop ours off with his in D.C. at the Vietnamese and Cambodian embassies, and also to the Laotian embassy for the leg we take after he and Diane depart. Here I was lamenting having a brand new passport as it felt so bare. Now with several new Visas in them, they start to feel more like our own.



Just 10 more days until we fly out! Peace, RKK

Nov 24 2009

Preparations for December Trip to SE Asia

Category: TravelRandall Kelley @ 16:23

All our arrangements are made for a December 18th departure for our jaunt to SE Asia. Thought I’d post a brief overview of the upcoming trip to give a heads up of what’s to come. If you follow along on the improvised map below, you can see the spots I refer to on our way.

We fly out of Seattle on Friday morning, and arrive in San Francisco for transfer to an Asianna Airlines flight to Seoul South Korea, where we catch or flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia (1 – Dec 19th to Dec 21st). Siem Reap is the stay for visits to the Khmer ruins at Angkor Wat and other sites around the area.

After a few days there we travel to Phnom Penh, Cambodia (2 – Dec 22nd) either by boat or bus. We will decide that once there, as we have plenty of time to make arrangement while staying in Siem Reap. We are only spending an afternoon in Phnom Penh, as something had to be passed up in order to allow more time in the area in Vietnam that was the real reason behind the planning of this trip.

Next morning we take a boat from Phnom Penh to the Vietnamese border near Chau Doc, Vietnam. There we catch a bus to Can Tho, Vietnam (3 – Dec 23rd). This is not the biggest of tourist sites, but it is a real working city on the Mekong Delta, and home to our favorite cook, Hoa (pronounced hwah) from our favorite Seattle Restaurant, the Blue Star (pronounced blue star ;^] ). We do hope to make a brief visit to some of the famous floating markets there that the tourist trips always do include on their Vietnam trips. And hopefully will get to make a brief visit with Hoa’s brother there as well.

By the next evening we will travel on into Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) to catch the Reunification Express (sleeper train) up the coast to Da Nang. We will spend several days in this general area. First at Hoi An (4 -Dec 25th to 27th) and then a bit further North at Hue (5 – Dec 28th to 30th). Our reason for the “longer than your usual tourist stop” stay in this area is that Rita’s brother Steve served in this area during the Vietnam war. We do hope to see some areas where Steve served, and this will serve as some needed down time, as I’m sure the more frequent moves of the previous days will have taken some toll on us by this time.

After this we re-board the Reunification Express, again for an overnight, on up to spend the next day in Hanoi (6- Jan 1st). From there we will take a boat out to the famous Ha Long bay for a night (7 – Jan 2nd). We return to Hanoi on the 3rd, where Steve will depart for return to the US. Rita and I will spend the night there and fly out the next morning for Luang Prabang, Laos (8 – Jan 4th to 6th).

We have heard a lot from others on how much they loved Laos, which is said to be far less touristed than other areas in SE Asia. We are hoping to find it the same ourselves, though we are hoping for enough amenities to make it not TOO much of an adventure, as we will be totally on our own at this point. From Luang Prabang we will travel overland by Mini Bus or Bus to Vientiane, Laos (9 – Jan 21st and 22nd).

On Jan 9th we fly out of Vientiane for our return to Hanoi, where we will go directly from the airport to the train station for an overnight train ride to the Lo Cai station in the far North of Vietnam, literally just 5 kilometers from the China border. We will be picked up there and taken to Sa Pa, an old French resort town come trekkers launching point. This is a spot where people head out for visits to small villages of ethnic minorities. Many Hmong, Red Khmer, and other tribes have there villages right around here. We stay in Sapa (10 – Jan 10th and 11th) for some sightseeing, then return to Hanoi by the day train. This has been warned against as it is SLOW and only has “hard seat” accommodations as it is a “working” local train that loads and unloads goods for villages along the way. However, this is the only feasible way to see the part of the country between Sapa and Hanoi. I’m sure it will be OK for us, and I try to keep in mind I was warned in Moscow that returning from Kazakhstan to Moscow by train was “insane” and yet that turned out to be one of the best parts of that trip.

Once we arrive back in Hanoi after our long day on the train we will spend one more night there and have all of the next day for seeing more of Hanoi before flying out that evening for an over night flight to Seoul. We arrive in Seoul, South Korea (not on the map, by the way) early in the morning on Jan 14th and don’t leave for Seattle until the afternoon of the 16th. We will probably only see the city while there. This was really just added on due to the fact that all our possible travel back had us there for most of a day anyway. As a huge tech fan I see reports of all the cool new toys they get a couple of years before they show up on US shores (so much for being the world leaders). I thought even just seeing the lifestyle and the shops there would be a worthwhile stop. The down side is it will be winter winter there, meaning they have REAL winter temps there. We will not be lugging our winter clothes along for the whole trip, and if we did Seattle winter clothes are not suited for winter winter. We will make due and probably go shopping for something half way warm once we arrive there.

Well, that’s it in a nutshell. Hope some of you will plan to follow along. My posts during the trip will be brief, but I hope to get something up, as well as some pictures posted. Most posting of pictures will be done on a Smug Mug site I am setting up. I am moving to use them due to the much improved quality of how pictures can be scaled on there site. Those with big monitors will benefit the most. But I am sure I will stick a few shots up here and some on Facebook as well.

So long for now, R&R


Nov 24 2009

Same Mistake Twice

Category: The Transcendental CowboyRandall Kelley @ 12:04

A sight for sore eyes, or rather to makes eyes sore, two ladies have made the same mistake this morning. The Cowboy can only assume they either live in a home free of mirrors, or in one filled with the cast off fun house mirrors of some now defunct carney sideshow.

The first was a sure lock for the part of ending an opera, and the second apparently thought her eating disorder had earned her the right to flaunt the fact that “supermodels” are way too fat.

Yet both these ladies, in separate but equal bad decisions, had chosen a pair of black tights with a sweater pulled down just to the ass, as an accent to it’s shape.

Now, said fashion statement does work. It does call attention to the ass as it is intended. But the instant the Cowboy’s attention arrived there it fled in horror. “Oh my god, what IS that?!” was the exact response he got from his brain.

Of course, he knew full well what it was. He just couldn’t quite believe anyone would want to advertise it like that.

“This is my argument for nudity.” he proffered. “It’s perfectly understandable to me to leave your whole self out on the lawn. That’s your self… But to put a big sign out pointing out just your giant balls, or you bow legs, or your FAT or SKINNY ass… Well that’s just begging the wrong sort of attention.”


Nov 11 2009

A Day at the Zoo

Category: The Transcendental CowboyRandall Kelley @ 16:55

A long line of strangers paraded before the Cowboy. Short ones, tall ones, fat ones, skinny ones, young ones. Each seemed desperate to present themselves as the individual the Cowboy knew they must be. Yet somehow he only saw them as a collective of strange animals, a slowly flowing procession of the human zoo.

The first to catch his eye was the snot nose lady. She of the dangling nose ring. The Transcendental Cowboy offered his handkerchief, then retracted it when he realized the globule he thought was a slimy snot ball about to slip off onto the lady’s coat was in fact just her choice of decoration. “I’m guessing you miss the third grade.” he said as he slinked off.

Then there was the middle aged white guy with his Asian family, dressed in the floor length coat. A coat that a twenty something Asian would have pulled off with style and grace. But the Cowboy thought, “This must be a gift from the family who doesn’t accept the fact that white dad is never going to be Asian, no matter how much he desires it.”

Later there was the pair of three hundred pound health care professionals, moving in unison behind their counter. The Transcendental Cowboy was transported to the Oklahoma City Zoo and the graceful ballet of the hippopotami. He snapped back in a brief moment and tried to give them the benefit of glandular disorder and an ignorance of modern medicine. “No reason a doctor would teach his staff medical knowhow. Better to keep them ignorant and sedentary and in their place.” he mused.

Soon the Transcendental Cowboy arrived to put himself in check, “Being a bit of a little bitch, today. Aren’t we?”

Never one to roll over for himself the Cowboy responded to his own suggestion, “Just the facts, Ma’am.” And he continued in a rant, “Why is it that I found in the traditional dress of the Tajik women such complete and obvious individuality? I mean, you could see it in their eyes. Yet when I see all the desperately contrived costumery of my own kind, it appears as some kind of cry for attention?”

“Well,” he responded in time, “you aren’t Tajik. Maybe if you were you would have thought that the girl with the dark scarf was desperately trying to distinguish herself from her sisters, all in their bright colors.”

The Transcendental Cowboy had to think about it for a while. Then finally he decided. “I’m certainly glad to have reached the age where I’m through being cool and can settle into my own little herd where I belong…
Curmudgeonly old white guys with no remaining sense of style.”


Aug 08 2009


Category: The Transcendental CowboyRandall Kelley @ 08:52

Did I tell you I had a dream about a dead man? I think it was just because of your mention. But in the sleep lab, it came to me as a shock to see him standing there as if alive.

Looking for something he said he lost. In his old Benz that, like him apparently, won’t die. I told him we had it.

But then he disappears again into the black inkwell recess of my heart, where all the dead people live.


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