HABIBI

HABIBI

If I could have just one wish,
I would wish to wake up everyday
to the sound of your breath on my neck,
the warmth of your lips on my cheek,
the touch of your fingers on my skin,
…and the feel of your heart beating with mine…
Knowing that I could never find that feeling
with anyone other than you.

Khmer Apsara 2010

I purchased this painting in Siem Reap, Cambodia.  I’m a huge fan of the Apsara theme and the mythology behind them.

Also picked up the Angkor themed painting below.

Monetary Notes of the World


Unny and I had this table custom made for our new digs out in the ‘burbs.  Cost a bit, but, not too much.  It’s made from teak wood.  I wanted something in which to display the monetary notes which I’ve collected from my travels.  I only wish that I had some of the notes that are in my storage room back in the States.

There are notes in there from China, Dubai, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, India, Iran, Bahrain, Egypt, Vietnam, North Korea and a few other countries.  As well as notes from old French Indochine.  The note with the tiger is from Vietnam during the US war era.  I actually got that one from ebay.com because I thought it was cool.

There are also coins in there from all over (Japan, Malaysia, EU, England, etc).  Some old ones but mostly newer coins.  I placed my three French Indochine Silver Dollars. They’re probably counterfeit, but, I don’t care.  That actually makes them a little more interesting to me and I paid a pittance for them.  3 or 4 bucks.  Nothing to cry over.  I knew or thought that they were fakes when I purchased them.

I also placed of couple of Greco-Bactrian coins in there.  Supposedly, they’re silver and over a thousand years old.  I don’t know.  So many fakes being sold in Afghanistan these days.  Even so, those coins are supposedly a dime a dozen over there.  Chances are they’re real.  They’re not rare, though.  At least not for anyone who’s traveled in Central Asia.  They’re all over the place there.  It is said that one can find them walking out in open ground or on fields and such.  They’re that common place.  Neat little pieces of history.

The necklace is a Kuchi piece that I purchased at a bazaar in Herat.  It’s made of brass and copper with a few worthless gems thrown in for good measure.  It has an old animist relief on it.  Looks to be an old Ganesh likeness to me. I also placed my Bamian Buddha stamps in the lower right corner and four little jewelry/snuff boxes.  The two with Camels depicted on them are from Dubai and made from silver and glazed to make the camel likenesses.  The other two I purchased in Herat.  Those two are supposed to be silver as well.  Though, I doubt it.

There you have it.  My little collection of monies (and sundry items) from around the world.

An Introduction to World Geography: America and the World

My Fellow Americans!  Is this how you see the world, too?

A friend sent me this on facebook.  I almost died laughing.  Especially the depiction of Europe.  He’s a Brit, though.  He wanted to know where the Brit Isles were or wy they were omited.  His thought was that surely the Brits weren’t being mixed in with the Euros.  lol

His comment:

no, but the nation that gave you your great great (repeat as req,) families doesn’t make the map????? its wrong…
and why would an anti-american spell centre like a yank???? not sure, but I like the map!!!
As for me, I love the map.  Especially the summation of Europe.

Lao Hill Tribe Dolls

I ran across these dolls in at the Night Bazaar in Luang Prabang, Laos.

I started laughing when I saw them.  My first thought was; “Damn!  Those wouldn’t go over well back in the States at all!”  lol  They bring to mind the Amos and Andy black face characters of the early 1900s.  Racially sensitive folks would immediately say; “Oh my!  Those dolls are RACIST!”  Then I thought to myself.  Damn, I gotta have those!  lol  They’re cute.  I didn’t purchase them on my first trip through Luang Prabango, though.  I just had to grab them on my second trip this past April.  Could no longer resist.  Unny thought they were cute.  That clinched it for me.

They’re cute dolls and representations of the Hill Tribe folk BY the Hill Tribe Folk and sold BY the Hill Tribe Folk.  Take that for what it’s worth.  They’ve nothing to do with Africa or African Americans.  Nothing racist about them Momma, so no worries.  haha

Our trip through Laos was awesome.  We did the total backpacker thing.  Took buses to different cities.  We stayed in the cheapie hotels.  We broght with us nothing except what we could carry on our backs.  No extra bags (until we made a purchase or two).  We tooled around Luang Prabang for a few days.  We saw some amazing temples.  I sent around a few pics of these via email and on facebook earlier.  I’ll get around eventually to going through them all and placing them in a new post or just edit them into this one.  After that, we bussed down to Vang Vieng.  There we went kayaking and I added to my Buddha collection.  A little cheap one that the lady said was no more than 5 years old.  It was unique enough that I liked it.  I’ve got enough of the regular, run of the mill Buddha statues in my collection.  Looking for something unique now.

When Unny and I went kayaking, I wore my iPod.  Big Mistake.  I’ve been kayaking before and never went under.  This was Unny’s first time, however.  So!  We went under.  The water was calm.  So I wasn’t really paying attention.  Another mistake.  We rolled on our first small rapid.  Hit a pretty large rock.  The water at this point was about 8 feet deep.  Not too deep for someone who can swim.  Unny is not a great swimmer, though.  When we rolled, my only thought was “GET UNNY!”  She was wearing a life jacket.  So she floated.  Initially, though, she went under and you could see the panic in her eyes at first.  She go the hang of it quick enough.  A little adventure for her.  My iPod got the worst of it.  Totally immersed and stopped working.  (with the help of nephew Benjamin and some rice, though, it’s back in working order….thanx Ben).  The rest of the kayak excursion went smoothly.  I tried to race the guide and damn near killed someone.  Unny kept getting nervouse when we would stray to far ahead of him.  She thought we’d get lost on the river.  I fugured he could out kayak me to hell and back and that when he needed to get up on us, he would. I tried to race him near the end.  We got going pretty fast and I think I bulled ahead of him pretty good but I couldn’t attain speed while directing the kayak and damn near rammed him and some other river traveler.  lol

After that, we just hung out around town.  Shopped a bit and made ready for our trip to Vientiene.

At Vientiene, we saw all of the usual spots.  Patuxai ~ the Lao Arc de Triomphe, Pha That Luang ~ the huge Golden Monument that’s built over the spot that supposedly contained a breast bone of the Buddha, Wat Si Saket.  We even made it down to Xieng Khuan, the Buddha Park.  We also got off the beaten track a bit as is my wont.  We were heading up to Patuxai.  I decided it was time for one of my infamous side tracks.  It was hot and I was tired of being on the main streets.  As we walked down these alley ways, we passed by locals.  You could get a glimpse of how these folks really live.  It’s bare essential except for the occasional TV or radio.  All electricity that I could see was provided by generators.  I don’t know why they weren’t allowed or couldn’t access the city electricity.  As we walked along, I passed a little house with a little girl inside.  I smiled and she didn’t seem to notice me.  I kept moving.  I got about ten feet further along and suddenly I heard “FALANG! FALANG!  FALANG!”  I didn’t catch what she was saying at first. She repeated; “FALANG FALANG FALANG!”  At this point, I knew that she had to be talking to me.  The only other non-Lao person there was Unny and she wouldn’t be calling Unny “falang.”  So I turned around and smiled and waved to her.  I wish that I had something to give to her.  I’ll have to make a point to carry around candies next time we’re out.  She was cute and it made me smile.

Of course, we did a bit of shopping.  Unny bought some local handicrafts (purses) and I bought a Buddha and a Water Buffalo horn with Buddha carved on it.

After three days in Vientiene, we headed for home.  It was a nice little adventure that we both enjoyed.

Buddha Statues

These are my favorite two Buddha statues that I’ve purchased over the years.

My favorite Buddha Statues ~ Buddha under the Bodhi Tree (L) and being protected by Naga (R)

Favorite Buddha Statues

The statue on the Left is Buddha meditating under the Bodhi Tree where he reached enlightenment or Nirvana (nibbana).  The state on the Right is Buddha resting atop and being shaded/protected by Naga.   Both of these are important events in the Buddhist tradition.  I have not seen a duplicate statue of either one of these.  I like that they are both unique and detailed.  These statues tell a story.  I like that.

KENTUCKY TAKES OUT THE ‘DORES!

BIG CUZ got T’d up!  AND his 12th Double Double!

Patterson hit 3 of 4 from three.

Liggins was scrambling and Bledsoe was rockin’.

Even Stevenson showed fire out there.

Wall was back!  Back in excellent form.

Dodson brought his three back with him.

Great game for the Cats.

Way to come back and take a win in Rupp.

Keep that Rupp record intact and undefeated.

Ready for a run and Rupp to be invincible again.

Great Job Coach Cal!

GO BIG BLUE!!!


LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — DeMarcus Cousins posted his 12th double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds as No. 1 Kentucky bounced back from an upset loss to South Carolina with a 85-72 win over No. 23 Vanderbilt on Saturday.

Darnell Dodson added 16 points in a rare start for the Wildcats (20-1, 5-1 Southeastern Conference), who played like the nation’s top-ranked team for long stretches in front of special guest LeBron James.

Kentucky built an early 19-point lead then made it hold up while the NBA superstar, a friend of coach John Calipari, watched from courtside.

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Kentucky Fans Care

As Kentucky fans, we have been bountifully blessed this year with Coach Calipari and this outstanding Kentucky Basketball team. I know that many of you, like me, are very grateful for this program’s return to prominence as we have endured the longing for success now for several years.

I believe that Kentucky fans are the most loyal, passionate and generous fans of any sports team in America. And, I think I have a way that we can share who we really are with the rest of the world.

There are extremely cold temperatures throughout America now and will be next week as well. Even Florida has had a series of record low, freezing temperatures. Most of us are blessed to have warm clothes and a warm enough place to sleep to endure the arctic air that surrounds us.

But not everyone in America will have what they need to stay warm tonight. They need things that most of us already have in our closets, under our beds, or in our attics. I believe that everyone reading this has something, even just one thing, that they could share with another human being to help keep them warm.

Since Kentucky has the most dedicated fans in the world and we are a caring group of good people, I have an idea how we can show the rest of the world.

Between now and next Friday, January 15th let’s each find some way, small or large, to make a difference in the life of one single homeless person. Let’s choose to unite in belief, for one moment in time, that every homeless person can’t help where they are in life right now.

Let’s look throughout our homes for anything extra we have that we can share. The economy is too tough for many of us to go out and buy new things to give away. So, let’s simply share what we already have with just one other person

Look for blankets, sweatshirts, sweatpants, warm socks, gloves, hats, scarves, candles, or anything else you can share to keep someone warm.

Next, write in permanent ink on the label or somewhere discretely this one simple phrase, “Kentucky fans care.”

Finally, go find a homeless person and give it to them directly or take the items to your local homeless shelter for distribution to those in need. Sadly, there is no shortage in our country today.

Let the message resound throughout America that indeed, “Kentucky Fans Care”.

Feel free to share this message in any way or any place that you can. Post it on other boards. Send it in email to friends and family that bleed blue like us. Print 50 and hand them out at the game Saturday. Just try and help to spread the word in any way you see fit.

I know what good and kind hearted people we have in this Big Blue Nation of Kentucky fans. Just think of how many lives we can touch for the better. It’s a very small thing for each of us to do. But together, we will shout this message to the rest of the world. Let’s help one other human being trying to simply survive, one night at a time.

CurlyCat in Tampa

I think this is a fine idea.  Please feel free to copy this and pass it on and use it.  I’ll find a way to do it here in Afghanistan as well.  I’ll post pics later.

Thanks, Dave

Somtam Mafia

Somtam trying to crawl back out of my mouth...stuff is so hot it burns your lips

Went out with the Somtam Mafia the other night.  Somtam is hot, hot, hot thai food that these girls down like a tub of ice cream.  I tried some of it and it burned my lips off.  That’s a bit of crab in my mouth.  I tried to eat it but it started crawling back out of my mouth.

After Somtam, we headed over to Soi 23 (the infamous Soi Cowboy) for beer and oysters.

Later that night, those who stuck around went to Narcissus for a bit more drinking and danced the rest of the night away…

I had a great time hanging out with Stevie and the Gals of the Somtam Mafia.

Ladyboys of Thailand

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So!  You head on over to Thailand.  You land at Bhumi Airport.  You’re in Bangkok.  Krung thep.  City of Angels.   All there is left to do is jump in a Taxi and head on down to Khaosarn Road or Sukhumvit Road.   Ya check into your hotel room.  Ya take a nap to prepare for the parties that are surely to be roaring up and down KSR and the Suk later that night.

You’ve heard all about the parties and clubs around Bangkok, but, it’s your first time there.

You get up.  Get showered.  Dressed and are out on the town.  Ready to get it on.

You meet the lady of your dreams.

But…something seems a little off.

She’s tall.  You heard that Thai ladies are too short.

She’s got perfect breasts, but, they’re surgically enhanced.  There are other things that hit you as odd, but, you keep blowing it off as paranoia.  You might also notice other Thai gals looking at you occasionally with what seems like a knowing glance and other Western men glancing in y our direction and chuckling or outright pointing and laughing at ya.

You figure you’re just paranoid.  You spend the night drinking and dancing with your new lady friend.  She seems friendly, shy, reserved.  She’s polite.  Doesn’t talk a lot.

As the night goes on, your drinking and feeling your buzz.

Suddenly, you seem to notice that her shoulders seem a bit too wide for a lady.

A hazy memory comes to you.  Something you read in a travel book or in a blog before you flew to Bangkok.

KATOOEY! pops into your head.  LADYBOYS!  The blog said to watch out for Bangkoks many transexuals.

You start to freak out a bit.  You might even lose your cool.

Don’t.   Just calm down and ask her.  If she is, she’ll probably tell you.  If she’s not,  you might get smacked or she might laugh at you and you just broke the ice with a hot, unusually tall Thai chic.

Katooey or Ladyboys are just a part of life in Thailand.  Much of Asia actually.  It’s no big deal to them.  If you make it a big deal, Thais will look at you like you’re a fool.

The way I see it is that they’re just another group of God’s creatures.  I don’t  understand it.  Probably never will.  I don’t need to understand it.  It’s their life.  Not mine.  As long as they’ve been truthful with me and not tried to trick me into anything that is not for me, I’ve got no problem with it.  To each his own.  Some men like it.

I’ve noticed that Brits, Aussies and Japanese tend to be the big group that gets into the transgender dating/sex scene.  If you sit in a bar on the street on Walking Street in Pattaya or Bang La Road in Phuket or off Nana Plaza on Suk Soi 4, it seems that most of the guys talking to the Katooey are from those islands.  I may be off on that assessment, but, I noticed it during my first trip to Thailand back in 2004.  Since then, I’ve paid attention when I see a dude with a Ladyboy.  Almost without fail, they’re from one of the aforementioned island nations.  Don’t know why and it may just be a string of coincidences over a five year period.  Who cares.

I’ve met a few and they seem nice.  Normal.  Outside of the fact that they are women who used to be men.  Chances are, if you’ve been to Bangkok for a while, you’ve met one and didn’t know it.

When I was traveling with my friend Becca, I was pretty good at spotting them.  So we made a game out of it.  If we wer out and about and I saw one, I’d rub the back of my neck as I passed her so that Becca could spot her too.  It was pretty funny.  About half of the time, Becca couldn’t tell.

What’s that tell you about your chances.  lol

Like I said earlier, it’s no big deal.  If it’s not your thing, don’t freak out.  Just tell her and leave gracefully.  If it’s your thing, well, that’s between you and her.

https://i2.wp.com/www.theforumbarrow.co.uk/images/lady-boys.pngIn Thailand, it’s so normal that they have Miss Thai LadyBoy Beauty Pageants in the larger, mainstream shopping malls.  Everyone gathers around and watches them in their gowns and bikinis and everyone applauds them.  I saw one beauty pageant with a talent show.  One of the girls was belting out Whitney Houston and sounded damn good.  It’s remarkable only for how unremarkable that the ladyboys are for Thais.  It was the same in Cambodia, Malaysia and, though a bit more subdued, it was the same for Vietnam.  I saw them in India as well.

Like I said, if you meet one of these ladies and you’re not comfortable around them, just depart the scene gracefully.  Otherwise, you’ll look like the ass.  No reason for it to ruin your evening or your trip.  After a few days, you’ll be able to spot them and know which ladies to talk to and which ladies to avoid.

Almost everything can be surgically altered.  Hips, voice box, Adam’s apple, derriere, breats, jaw structure.  I mean everything.

Well almost. First things first.

Height.  If they are taller than 5′ 6″, it’s almost certain.

If you want to be certain, check out the feet.  Big feet.  A sure sign.  Never met a Thai lady with big feet.

Last thing that is almost always a dead give away is the shoulders.  If they’re rail skinny and still have wide shoulders, they’re probably a Katooey.

That will probably save  you.

Now.  All that said, they’re still just people.  No reason to be disrespectful to them or treat them badly.  Just as you don’t know them or their interests until you meet them and get to know them, they don’t know you and don’t know if you are interested or not until you tell them that you are or are not.

If you aren’t, no need for a scene.  Some of them are nice folks just like anyone else.  Some of them are scamps just like anyone else.  You’ll find transgender and transvestite all over the social strata of Thailand.  They work at 7Eleven, they work as bartenders, wait persons, Executive, Mall Store Clerks, Government Office personnel.  All over.  That gal whom you cursed out or spat on or belted the night before may be your bartender the next night.  She might be the customs clerk that handles your Visa.  Don’t get yourself in a bind and make a fool of yourself.  It’s just as easy to politely excuse yourself and walk away.  After all, you’re in Thailand to have fun.  You’re not there to cast social judgments.  By demurring gracefully, you might impress that beautiful little Thai girl standing next to you enough that she approaches YOU.  It happens.

And then, who knows…

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Two New Buddies in Kabul

These little cuties run around in front of our safehouse in Kabul.  Cute as a button and a little attitude to boot.  lol

A few pics from a recent trip

awgreenWat Arun and Angkor Wat in dramatic repose…

plus the silhouette of my beautiful girl.

I shot the Angkor Wat photos at dawn and then took the one above and photoshopped it a bit to obtain the pink, green and blue effects.  Just thought it looked cool.

The Wat Arun photos were taken at dusk.  I spent a night at the wonderful Arun Residence.  Just across the Chao Phraya from Wat Arun and only a short walk from Wat Pho and the Grand Palace.

These are just a few shots of some of my favorite places in Asia.  Hope you enjoy.  If you like ’em, leave a note.

Unny and Elegants Hot Dance in the Hot Summer Party

The party was a blast.  Unny and E had a great time.

It was great to see old freinds and meet new ones.

Hope we can do it all again soon.

Unny and Elegant want to say thanks for coming everyone and they want to do it again soon.

It was a damn fine time and we all partied our asses off all night long…let’s do it again….Dave

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