Saturday, 29 December 2012

Mom cadeau de noël!

Alors voici le seul cadeau de noël ( mis à part celui de mes parents) que j'ai reçu cette année, un texte d'une amie. Envoyé sur facebook donc les paragraphes se transportent mal ici malheureusement.

Merci Julie!

26 décembre 2012 à Montreal

c'est le rituel du matin du citadin qui l 'emporte ;
se réveiller (au sens physiologique bien sûr )se préparer un café ,ouvrir son portable comme un automate .Jetter un coup d 'oeil sur la Météo; ALERTE DE NEIGE de 15 à 25 cm de neige ! se réjouir de façon contenu lol

Les rue sont enneigées ,blanches ,les branches des arbres sont recouvertes de glace et l 'air froid engourdit la souplesse de mon épiderme, ma respiration chaude laisse sa traçe .Mes poils de nez sont rigident et collent tel du velcro si j 'y met un peu d 'effort .Le soleil brille sur cette poésie glacée,donnant au bleu du ciel un éclat royal .

Au centre ville les boutiques de grands noms ont décoré leur vitrines rendant hommage aux fanatasmes de Noel des enfants.
Aujourd'hui journée de frénésie pour les commerces c 'est le BOXING DAY !!les gens feront la file à la porte des BEST BUY & FUTURE SHOP pour se procurer un je ne sais quoi ,à une fraction du prix ....bien sur tout cela après s'être convaincu de combler un réel besoin ,Le commun des mortels de l 'Amérique du nord est passer maître dans l 'art de consommer pour le plaisir ou tout simplement par DEVOIR !Pour ma part,je ne suis pas vraiment fan de cet événement ,du moins pas cette année ; )

2012 tire à sa fin ,le temps des nouvelles résolutions approche.....je me retire dans mon gîte pour y réfléchir sur ce cher ami je vous imagine debout le visage calme innondé par le soleil en quête d 'aventures ,LE COEUR VAILLANT <3

Mes voeux de Noël les plus chers xoxoxoxoxx

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Les rues de Phnom Penh

Picture a city where most of the streets are big enough for 2 big cars to drive side by side, with wide pink-tiles sidewalks on each sides. Now picture the sides of the streets lined with tuk-tuks, motorbikes, food carts, and litter, narrowing the street by half. Put more scooters and motorbikes on the sidewalks, dining tables from guesthouses and restaurants and bars, garbage bags, dogs, people sleeping ON their scooters or right on the floor. 

Now, add constant traffic. Mostly scooters, vespas, the occasional chopper or motocross. Lots of old, run-down bicycles, mostly ridden by children going to school. On the sides are nervously walking foreigners - locals seldom walk anywhere - being harassed by tuk-tuk drivers and restaurant greeters, and people selling books, shades and the likes.

At night, take out half the traffic, multiply the tuk-tuks, add some prostitutes, and mix in some cockroaches big like a toe and grey rats sneaking around.

Now. Back to day time. Picture all this nice little chaos converging at intersections where there are no stop signs. Picture having to cross this. The riders don't usually ever come to a full stop. They just honk to signal their presence, slow down, assess the way, and go by at around 20 km an hour while the riders coming from the other directions dodge them. Imagine crossing this, and the only way is to wait for a moment where everything slows down, and that's your chance. You start walking at a slow pace, nervously clutching your asshole, waiting for impact.

But everything goes smoothly.

The only accident I've seen in nearly 2 months in asia was 2 kids riding a bike, and they fell, for no reason.

Controlled chaos?


I don't know if it is my white skin, paired with my beard and tattoos, but about every 10 seconds I am approached by a smiling tuk-tuk driver.

Wait. More like, every 5 seconds. Not joking. Count to 5 aloud, and play out the following monologue in broken engrish.

"Hey, my friend, brother, tuk-tuk? Where you go? Why you walk? I take you there. Around city, all day, 10 dollah! Ok, ok, 5 dollah. Shooting? Want to shoot AK-47? Go to killing fields? Bars? Drink? Mari-wana? Co-cane? Girls? I know nice girl. She real nice. I take you there. Nice clean house. Yeah? Yeah? No? Ok brotha! Tomorow!"

I always walk with a smile however. I always say "No, thank you". "Thank yooou for saying thank you sir! My friend!" and I always get warm smiles in return, so it's not that bad. I understand that they are trying to make a living, here in this mess of a place that Pol Pot left for them.

"Hey sir, hey goodlooking, hey foreigner, want good time? Come drink beer here?" is also a line I hear a lot, mostly at night, from very, very pretty cambodian girls. I also decline with a smile. Sometimes they brush my arm or get in my way, and I talk with them a little bit, joke around, but I never stay long. Always keep moving.

Yesterday I visited the "Killing Fields". I almost cried, me, who hasn't cried in years. It is weird, feeling so sad for a people I don't really know and have nothing in common with. After 30 years of excavation, when it rains, there's still bones, teeth, and pieces of clothing that come up from the tainted soil.

You know, I've spent the last 2 years trying to "toughen up" so I wouldn't get hurt in relationships anymore. I spent a good deal of time building a nice tall wall of big stones around myself. But traveling here, away from all the people I know, it's easy to let go of all that control.

It's like there is a monk, in his bright orange robes, punching his way through. Every day, he strikes one blow, with an open palm, and a piece falls off.

My heart is back on my sleeve like when I was younger.

Back to when I was 15. Communist ideas in my head.

The same type of ideology that led a crazed leader to massacre his own people, some 40 years ago, killing close to 1/4 of the population. His own population.

Not because of a difference of ethnicity, or religion - which is still unacceptable - but because of mistrust of institutions, educated people, foreigners, new ideas.

I suggest you read a little bit about the Khmer Rouge, and how recently it happened, and how the world reacted to it. It might leave a sour taste in your mouth.

Here's a quick link, just because I'm nice: Wikipedia's basics on the Khmer Rouge.

I didn't read much about it to be honest with you, I'm plowing through 4 Game of Thrones tomes. I've always been somewhat of a student of history, reading about the gladiators, the vikings, the crusades... the warriors.

But this... this has nothing to do with warriors, or revolution. It makes me think of the book "The Devil Came on Horseback" that I read some time ago, about the Darfur genocide.

"That sounds depressing, why would you want to read that?" had asked Jonathan's mom.

"Because I feel like I am giving the victims a voice" was all I could answer under a short notice.

Holy emotions Batman! 

Cambodge le triste

I've never and I will never say Fuck My Life... Because as bad as it can get, I will probably never go through what the people of Cambodia went through on the 17th of April, 1975





















Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Phnom Penh et ses habitants

"Tu sais Dominic, moi j'ai toujours eu un faible pour les femmes noires, mais les Thaïlandaises me font changer de préférence"

"Attends de voir les cambodgiennes"

Ah, Phnom Penh. Mon Lonely Planet m'avait avertit...

J'arrive le 24 au soir à ma 1ère guesthouse, et pour un instant je crois être arrivé dans un bordel. L'entrée est un petit salon confortable innondé de douce lumière rouge, et 4 charmantes et souriantes filles m'accueillent.

Ce ne sont en fait que les serveuses.

Je me loue un lit dans le dortoire, 5$ la nuit, le plus cher de mon voyage à date. Je dépose mon sac et vais me promener un peu dans cette ville inconnue.

Des temples innondés de lumières de noël, des touristes asiatiques, des jeunes qui se soulent dans la rue et urinent tout simplement là, "drette la la"...

Je trouve un café internet et recherche des guesthouses plus abordables avant de retourner au miens, où un homme barbu discute de site internet avec les propriétaires en fumant un énorme joint. Une voyageuse dort sur un des divans du salon.

Je préfère me retirer à mon lit et lire un peu, histoire de relaxer et m'endormir tôt.

Le lendemain matin le vacarme d'un chantier de construction me tire de mes rêves. La petite voyageuse écoute sa musique dans un lit avoisinant, et on commence à jaser un peu.

Elle s'est fait volé son porte-monnaie, passeport, visas. Elle vient d'Israel et c'est très compliqué tout rêgler. Elle n'a plus beaucoup d'argent et je lui laisse savoir mes plans pour trouver une chambre moins chère, et après une douche et un déjeuner on s'aventure dans les rues sales et encombrées de la capitale, où nous trouvons rapidement meilleur marché.

Dans l'après-midi Sam nous rejoint, ainsi que Raphaëlle, une amie de Karim également au Cambodge. Une courte randonnée au marché et une petite sieste, et je m'aventure seul dans les rues à la recherche de mon souper.

Je suis rapidement accosté par 3 filles ahurissantes dans des petites robes serrees vertes. Elle font la promotion pour un bar, me touchent beaucoup les bras et le torse, m'invitant à boire avec elles. Je décline avec difficultée... Une d'elle me soule de son sex-appeal.

Durant la marche de retour je recroise la plus sexy, dans un tuk-tuk avec un blanc d'environs 60 ans. Elle me lance un regard et un sourire remplit de désir, je sais même pas comment le décrire... Aucune femme ne m'a jamais dévoré des yeux comme ça. Je lui fait un hochement de tête alors qu'elle s'éloigne avec son 1er client de la soirée.

Quelques minutes de marche à travers motos, putes sexy en petites robes de satin rouge-noël, et je retrouve Sam à la 1ere guesthouse où la draft est 75 cennes.

Les propriétaires fêtent noël à leur manière: plein de bières, des énormes joints, et du karaoke. Je commence à me demander si je devrais rester ici, et observe un rat se promener furtivement derrière les canapés. Je refuse leur pot et sirrote leur draft.

Je converse avec le barbu de la veille... Un type étrange. Il me raconte que hier soir il a trompé sa blonde avec une pute, et qu'il n'a pas dormit en 2 jours à cause de la Crystal Meth. Il est écrivain et travaille sur un livre racontant ses voyages. Il fait aussi du bénévolat dans les orphelinats où il enseigne l'anglais. Il représente le meilleur et le pire d'un touriste.

Sam est facilement influencable et engloutit tout ce que cet homme plus vieux lui raconte. Il se tourne vers moi les yeux tout ronds et m'annonce que c'est le genre de soirée qu'on devrait avoir, lui qui fume si maladroitement ses joints.

Moi, je préfère sirroter ma bière et écouter des histoires troublantes que les vivre. D'autant plus que ma carte guichet s'est fait gobbée plus tôt, je n'ai que 100$ pour 3 jours avant que je puisse la récuperer à la banque. Je dois rester sage, je décline tout ses défis. Je m'ennui de ma gang de Thaïlande, c'était si simple...

Après quelques cheers de noël et souhaiter happy hanuka à la petite israelie, je me retire à ma chambre et écoute la télé Khmer, et sombre dans un profond sommeil alors que les rigolements et cris de jouissance d'une Khmer dans la chambre voisine retentissent.

J'écris ses lignes le lendemain, sur une petite terasse, seul moment vraiment relaxant depuis que je suis arrivé à Phnom Penh. Dans 1 heure je vais visiter les "Killing Fields", quand un génocide devient une attraction touristique.

Sam veut tirer du ak-47 ce soir.

Un peu trop cher pour moi.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Siem Reap to Phnom Penh

After a good day of resting and feeling very very lazy, I woke up with a sense of wonder... What did this new day hold for me?

Why, whatever I choose!

I was a little bit lost, to be perfectly honest. Being with party people for 2 weeks and letting go of the reins has somewhat damaged my resolve. I found myself wondering what to do, and browsed Québec news for the first time since I left.

After a brunch and a quick chat with a red-head from England (she worked in vineyards in New Zealand last year - sounds awesome) I went for a quick tour of the city's national museum.

12$ for the entrance, and nothing really gained from that visit: the whole of the subject was their Angkor Wat. I did learn a little bit about their history, and hinduism deities.

I still prefer greek mythology.

Went back into the heat and let myself be guided by drums to a nearby tiny Wat where a wedding ceremony was taking place. I lingered for a few moments but couldn't see much and felt like a voyeur.

I then had the idea to go back to my previous guesthouse to try and find Sam, we didn't have the time to exchange facebooks. I showed up at the roof bar and an hour later he appeared, surprised and happy to see me.

We headed out in search of cheap beer and relaxed atmospheres.

We started at Crazy Bamboo Bar where a drunk Khmer kept calling everyone darling and liked to hug.

We visited Temple bar but it was a huge loud club and we couldn't hear ourselves talk. I saw the prettiest cambodian girl there, in a small white robe, all smiles, her black hair braided and hanging over her shoulder. She had eyes only for her boyfiend.

We ended up at X Roof Top bar and played pool versus two cambodian girls who were really good. I quickly learned that they were prostitutes on their day off and learned a little bit about their business. They saw it only as another career, came from a small village to gather enough money to open a business.

They let me know to not trust anyone in Cambodia. Not even them.

They were surprisingly open about practicing the oldest trade in the world and so I asked a lot of questions without impunity. The only one they asked me in return was: "why do foreigners always want it for free? On the first date, never free".

They let me know they charge between 30$ to 300$ per client depending on his social class ("good deal for you tomorow" - "no thank you"). One of them started to play her seducing game on me but i decided to leave.

That night I had a dream that one of them snuck into my room to rob me blind. I woke up abruptly and turned on all the lights in my room while yelling the idiotic "helloooo?". I kept waking up nervously for the rest of the night.

The following morning a nice, smooth headache ensued. While slurping on a banana-shake, the cure-all of travelers, I logged in on Facebook to be drowned by x-mas posts.

I then discovefed the feeling of being homesick. It is quite like the feeling of being lonely, but with a sense of despair attached to it. No matter, I knew it would dissipate after a few days - as soon as I got myself into a new adventure.

And so I decided to go to Phnom Penh.

The journey was not as chaotic as I had mentally prepared myself. I was able to finish Game of Thrones book II and even get a tiny bit of sleep.

The scenery was pretty depressing after having visited the Philippines and Thaïland... No more green fields and rice paddies, charming and homely bamboo hutts, vast jungles, palm trees and distant sharp mountains...

Only ugly concrete houses, litter everywhere, yellow fields and that damnable red sand on the roads, like a final joke from the Khmer Rouge. That made me think about everyone else in the bus... I was the only foreigner. Every single other person on that bus must have lost one or more loved ones in the last 2 decades. Yet they all smiled, were all polite.

The man next to me must have been sixty... He probably went through tragic times in his life, things that I cannot even imagine. Yet he was all smiles and declined politely when I offered him some pringles.

I arrived in Phnom Penh and found it looked a little bit like Manila, but the locals did not scare me. I walked around after 10 pm in search of an interne cafe and everything went smoothly.

Some girls said hi, but now in my head it only means they are looking for clients, and I just keep my pace.

I got a bed in a dorm, as expensive as the private room I was renting in Siem Riep. Tomorow I'm meeting up with Sam again, and I'm gonna go hunting for a cheap bed and an internet café with a webcam to skype with the family on this winter solstice.

It's 20 minutes into the 25th of December as I write this last line.

Joyeux Noël tout le monde.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Siem Reap et une dose de changement

Finally, a computer to write. I have been using my ipod since I left and the process can be slow and tenuous. I am in a little quiet guesthouse in Siem Reap where a bearded man takes care of the homeless cats, and all the computer backgrounds are pictures of kitties.

Fun facts about Cambodia: holy shit did they get it rough these last 500 years.
Everything is priced in US dollars and the ATMS don't give Riels.
Everyone is very nice.

I woke up at 7am with a bad hangover, as if the forces of Stannis Baratheon were hammering the gates of King's Landing, in this case my head.

I went for one last breakfast with Ben and Jen and jumped into a taxi that would take me to the bus station, and on to Cambodia. I had purchased a ticket the previous day, Bangkok-Phnom Penh.

I slept the entire bus ride and woke up at the Thai-Cambodia border at high noon, some small chaotic town where the pavement has been overtaken by red sand. The heat proved taxing since I had grown accustomed to the cooler climates of Chiang Mai and Pai.

I quickly learned that the bus ticket I bought would take me no farther.

I avoided scam after scam and finally got into Cambodia around 3pm.

Fake visas, fake government offices, fake passport pictures, fake forms, fake uniforms.

On the other side now, in this new country unknown to me, a smiling man greats me with an offer I apparently cannot refuse. He informs me that there is no more bus leaving the border for the major bus terminal and that he will happily take me there on his motorcycle for 400 bhats.

I tell him that I will wait a little bit to relax but in truth I wanted to gather information. Soon after however, a free shuttle bus arrived and a group of 7 tourists got in, so I decided to follow them. They had a tour organiser, cambodian, that I paid 400 bhats to let me join their group, and that saved me a lot of trouble and money.

They were all going to Siem Reap and I decided to follow and change my plans a little bit. Phnom Penh was a night bus ride away and my body let me know he didn't feel like making another 8-hour journey.

In Siem Reap a tuk-tuk driver took me to a guesthouse where I met 2 australian girls in the lobby. There were only dorms left, and a 3-bed room (classic scam) and so we decided to share it.

On the rooftop was a bar selling 50 cent draft beers and so after a quick shower we ended up there, where we met another australian, Sam. Younger than me by 6 years, he reminded me a lot of my little brother, he even had the same humor and way to laugh at my jokes. We talked plans and decided to visit Angkor Wat together the next day.

At around 11pm my companions went to bed but I stayed up until 1am talking to this 40-year old brazilian guy who was pretty awesome. He had just broken up with his girlfriend and felt like talking about it a little bit and so I listened. He had quite a few stories about acid trips as well, and inquired about my bamboo tattoo.

My room's window was directly opposite the night bar and so the cheers and yells from german drinking games kept me up all night. I got a few hours of sleep in, woke up at 6 am and met up with Sam.

Angkor Wat is very hard to describe. First of all you can buy a 1 to 3 day ticket since it is so big. We hired a tuk-tuk driver for the day and he took us to the biggest and most interesting temples. The cambodians are hard at work renovating, rebuilding and reorganizing this biggest temple complex in the world, and thousands of tourists made this visit a little bit chaotic.

Huge temples with faces built into their towers, terasses dedicated to elephants, bridges with their walls fahioned into warriors holding a giant snake, statues for Buddhism and Hinduism, moats, reflecting pools.

Tourists, tri-lingual local tour guides, tuk-tuk drivers playing their version of hacky sacks, stores, vendor girls, vendor children...

An odd feeling of guilt and something else I cannot identify had been following me since Sipokazi returned home and I took it as a sign that I should remain single for the reminder of my trip. I would like to specify that I have not slept with anyone since departing from home, so it is not simply to bed as many women as I can.
I prayed at a Buddha statue under the watchful eye of an old woman who then blessed me, while tourists took what seemed like a thousand pictures. I asked that Sipokazi would understand and not be hurt too much in the process. The woman tied a pink string to my left wrist afterwards. I wonder how long I will be able to keep it.

Sam pointed out that I seem to attract vendors, they orbit around me and linger, and so I started to joke with them and offer ridiculous prices to get rid of them. 2 kids would not leave me, followed us for up to 10 minutes and laughed at my ridiculous requests. A woman asked me to buy beer from her so she could feed the baby she was holding, so I offered to buy the baby, and she bursted out laughing. Another cute girl asked me to buy her scarves and I asked how much for a kiss on the cheeks. She smiled and said it was free for me, but I never got it. Mister, you so funny!

Lastly, a woman pestered me to buy her Angkor Wat shirts. 1 for 4$. I needed one to get in the main temple since you cannot walk in wearing only a tanktop, so I jokingly said 1$. She called me crazy but in the end we settled for 2$.

Back at the guest house around 4pm, Sam went for a nap while I had a long and hard discussion with Sipokazi.

At night me and Sam ate at the rooftop bar and watched Hellboy. A group of quiet australian hippies sitting under the tv decided to close it without asking anyone, and so I told them that we had no choice but to sit with them now. We ended up starting a drinking game, but one of the girls seemed to hate me with a passion and so I remained distant.

While drinking a bucket of vodka-sprite-red bull we met a really cool american couple who told us their travel stories. They get in the craziest situations... flooded hotel, mud river overflowing, hostel burning down 5 minutes after they arrived, almost mugged by a thai gang...

We decided to try the night life and soon hated it, so instead we got a huge bottle of vodka and juice, and went back to their room to drink it up. We had a really good time and I woke up the next morning in my room with no idea how I got there, alone with a note from the girls telling me they left a day early but still paid their share.

Today has been an ordeal of suffering yet one more hangover and finding a more quiet place to sleep, where I am now, and trying to ignore a feeling of guilt gnawing at my spine.

I went to the pharmacy to buy advil. A little kid was playing at being a ninja and I applauded his prowess. A very young family was visiting the doctor for their very young baby, and I offered to pay for their medication.

I guess Buddhism is leaving its mark.

Water and fruit juices tonight.