The tuk-tuk terrorBill's Briefs, Bottom Highlights Thursday, February 18th, 2016
Social Chaos: Bill's Briefs
Here in Siem Reap one gets around by the three-wheeled tuk-tuks which stir up a huge amount of dirt and dust. As my partner and I roared out to Angkor Wat, our eyes became little slits and our throats were soon dry and sore. Luckily, he was carrying, as usual, a package of the surgical face-masks beloved by the Japanese. I previously have ridiculed them, but seeing people in other tuk-tuks and their drivers wearing them, I changed my mind. Going whole hog, to protect my eyes, I threw on those huge sunglasses that cover regular glasses and topped it all off with my broad-brimmed chapeau. A vision of high fashion with the advantage that the mobs of souvenir and T-shirt sellers seemed to avoid us.
The reason dawned on me later when we were stopped by the police at the temple entrance for a ticket and identity check. In this day of terrorists, it seems my appearance aroused suspicion. Alarmed uniformed guards approached on three sides and nervously, but roughly demanded I show my face. A simple request. Unfortunately, the chin-strap for my hat and the strings over both ears from the mask became entwined with the two glasses frames’ handles plus the shoulder strap from my man-bag which had to be removed to get my hat free. Well! What a kerfuffle. My partner pretended not to know me while I, answering the call of the spotlight, elected to put on a show. Hilarity ensued. Even the stern-faced guards could not contain themselves as I got more and more entangled. Naturally, phone cameras of the encircling tour groups were filming it all. On Twitter or Facebook in Bulgaria, Sweden or China, surely, I am a star.
A picture and its 1,000 words
Gazing around my hotel room, I thought I’d comment on how often today we are lured into our decisions and actions by relying too much on the truth of the Internet photos. While a representation of a scene, person or item for sale may be true from that particular angle, who knows what might be lurking below the attractive face, on the other side of the car, next door to the lovely apartment for rent or, more to the point, the beautiful rooms and amenities of my current abode, The Golden Butterfly Villa (Now seriously, how could I resist?).
The picture accurately showed the gorgeous, bright burnt-orange room with its gold bed-covers, gold drapes, gold framed mirror and shimmering plastic granite counter with a TV. I foolishly presumed to imagine what was on the other side of the
room: a chair (perhaps two), a bureau, a shelf or something/anything with a drawer to put things in. Alas, none, nothing, nada. A polite discussion with the friendly staff produced one wooden, straight-back chair worthy of the Inquisition and two cardboard boxes. We make do and suffer in silence as I am wont to do (more or less).
Another surprise has been the lack of an elevator to take us to our fourth floor room (59 steps, but who’s counting). As my friends can imagine, I cheerily adopt this as my daily exercise program. We make sure to have everything we need for the day before heading down for breakfast where we good-naturedly shout to each other above the roar of the elementary school and playground (surprise) next door. All in all, as we return gasping and staggering into our aerie, we are well aware that a picture often needs more than a thousand words.
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