In a couple of weeks I’ll be off to Cambodia. No, I won’t be swimming there. After all, it’s winter. Way too cold. I’ll be flying, but I always liked the sound of saying “Swimming to Cambodia” which, of course, was a theatre production and then a movie, circa 1987, dealing with that (at the time) tortured land.
It will be my first Asian trip outside of China. I wrote in my New Year blog posting that I was eyeing Vietnam and indeed, booked a room in a hotel on one of Danang’s beaches. I was pretty much set on going there and then a funny thing happened on the way. I was curious about Vietnam’s attitude towards marijuana. After all, I’m on vacation. My home, California, just legalized recreational use but flying across the Pacific Ocean just so I could get high? But if there is a country nearby that doesn’t have an issue with it, well, why not? For the record, as I have my Medical Card issued by California and current, I use it only for medicinal purposes.
As it turned out, Vietnam is no pot haven. Laws there are quite strict and being the law-abiding type, I’m not the kind of person looking to break laws, especially draconian drug laws. So I went down the list of countries in Southeast Asia. Laos was worse. Thailand is the worst of them all. They may be “chill” about men having sex with underaged girls (“Eeewww!”) but when it comes to smoking a joint, you don’t want to get caught. You either pay a fortune in fines/bribes or it’s a case of them “throwing away the key.”
You can probably see where I’m going with this. It turns out Cambodia is a place that is (for the most part) OK with people using pot. It’s part of their culture and despite the laws on the books, they’re rarely enforced. As Wikipedia notes: Marijuana is openly sold in markets, restaurants, and bars. “Happy pizza” is the term for cannabis infused pizza frequently sold in restaurants across Cambodia. Among Cambodians it is viewed as something older people use and is not popular with the youth. In tourist heavy areas “happy pizza” is more commonly sold due to its popularity among travellers.
So if you live in California, you really could care less. But if you live in China like I do, then: ”OK, Cambodia, you’ve got my attention.” So, “happy pizza” quickly became (ahem) high on my list of vacation attributes. So, instead of, “Good Morning, Vietnam,” It’s “so long Vietnam, I hardly knew ye.”
I’ll be flying on February 15 and staying in Phnom Penh for five nights. I had Angkor Wat on my list, at first, but I didn’t like the idea of staying in a place for a couple of days and then packing up and having to fly to another destination for a couple more days. Also, I prefer taking cultural expeditions with someone rather than going alone. So, I’ll just “plop down” for five nights in the capital city which will afford me plenty of downtime in addition to sightseeing. Destinations aside, in my wildest dreams, did I ever think I’d visit Cambodia? Home to the infamous “Killing Fields.”
I’ve already booked a food tour and a Vespa tour. I’ll also take a boat tour on the Mekong River which flows though Phnom Penh. But I’ll also probably spend a day just lounging around the hotel’s pool. As this is Southeast Asia, it’s very tropical and despite being February, it will be quite hot. I love the idea of lounging by a pool “baking twice” as the case may be. As you will see from the pictures posted below, Xi’an is most definitely not warm in winter.
As I’ll have a very unhurried pace, I envision being able to post at least one blog from there.
OK, now that I have travel related info dispensed with, let me say a few things about “the fruit-fly in the Oval Office.” If you like the execrable train wreck of a “human” than you’ll want to skip this. Or if you think whatever I have to say about politics isn’t worth the paper it’s written on (h/t: Yogi Berra) than read no further.
Lately, I’ve been equating Trump with a fruit-fly. The life cycle of the Drosophila is measured in weeks. So, if fruit-flies had “views” then one could imagine that when they take “the long view” it would be no more than a couple of hours. Which actually seems to be a much longer view than what Trump takes. It seems his concept of “the long view” is whatever brings immediate satisfaction to the cranial itch that substitutes for a brain.
It absolutely does not matter if what he says can be refuted ten seconds later. For Trump, all that matters is the immediate moment. There is no past. There is no future to consider. When confronted with information that gives lie to what he said ten seconds previously, then it’s time to say another one. And no time was even spent on planning the next one. After all, if it lay in the “distant future” of a few seconds hence, it simply has yet to be formulated. When the moment comes, it’s simply: “Stimulous: Response.”
I’ve been thinking of this “world view” of his because I keep hearing the “talking heads” on cable news continuously ascribing concepts such as “strategy” and “tactics” along with such esoteric ideas like, “his game plan” or “his manoeuvring” or “his ultimate goal is…”
People have to realize they are not dealing with a normal human being. Trump is more like a predatory animal operating on instinct alone. Thoughts and above all, “thoughtfulness” are simply processes that take up no space in the jumble of tangled neurons and synapses amidst the amyloid plaque that form the enormous “itch” that occupies the space between his ears. He does not respond to stimuli the way a normal person would. Although he’s all about “stimulus: response” much like a wild animal.
Imagine you were confronted with an apex, predatory beast, say, in a jungle. Any of the Big Cats will suffice. Let’s further propose that you were armed with a very deadly and scary looking firearm. To this beast, his “thinking” goes like this. “There’s a meal standing there and if I’m quick, it’s dinnertime,” The animal isn’t pondering the weapon you’re holding nor making any calculations about how it might come into play. Indeed, if you were to point it at the onrushing animal it won’t think: “That’s a nasty looking thing he’s holding and it come harm me” or, “I’d better break off the attack, I might get shot.” There’s no sentience at play here. Just pure instinct operating in conjunction with hunger and the fact that you look like a meal. Stimulous: response.
That’s how we have to look at Trump. It’s why his lies now number in the thousands, since he became president. You can’t even say, “He knows he’ll be able to lie his way out of the last lie with a new lie.” NO! Like the predator, he doesn’t know, nor care about anything other than what he’s responding to in the here and now. He’s not thinking five minutes or even five seconds into the future. He’s thinking in the nanosecond of the moment. Whatever happens the next minute, next hour or next day is simply not in the purview or provenance of Trump the predatory beast.
So, it’s a “fool’s errand” trying to ascribe any reasons or motives to anything he says. To Trump, the world is born anew every few seconds and whatever he said previously not only no longer matters, it never actually took place. Confronted with evidence, “It’s fake.” After all, there is no past, how could anything be dredged up when nothing before now, existed? If you keep this in mind, it actually makes figuring him out, a lot easier. Because the truth is, there is “no there, there” when it comes to decoding his “thinking.”
I recall a couple of acid trips I took when I was a teen. High and completely out of my mind, I’ve had trips where the meaning of time itself became meaningless. All that mattered was what was going on that second and whatever happened previously was simply evanescent and gone from my “reality” almost as soon as it came into being. There was only the satisfying of my senses in that exact moment in time.
Perhaps that’s the best way to look at the 45th president of the United States. He’s simply someone who’s on a permanent acid trip. It’s just too bad that the rest of us are suffering the “flashbacks.” After all, Trump by his very nature would be incapable of flashbacks.
So, it’s winter and ergo: Snow. Here’s some photos of my neigborhood and surroundings.