Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Goin' Back to CALI, CALI, CALI...

Okay, I'm actually back in Cali, in my very own room and home that
looks like an immactulate palace after many of the interesting places
I've stayed.

Other than a show of questionable value and a blitzkrieg visit of
Taiwan, there isn't much new news. (We went to the TAI-MALL!, a 10
story monster with CARTOONYWORLD! on the top floor. It was pretty
amusing. Of course we nearly missed our flight from Taiwan to LA due
to a little communication error. But we made it, arriving safely a
few hours before we left...

Yeah, I'm confused to.

Hope all is well with everyone, keep in touch, let me know how you
are doing.

Rock on

Monday, September 26, 2005


Yep, 3 trips to the chiropractor, many awful, long confusing cab
rides (the cabbies here are really clueless. I think they've chosen
every worst road to drive even when i tell them exactly how to go
they still go the wrong way.:)

Neck still hurts. :(
Supposedly it's aligned, but the spasms were so bad it'll take longer
to heal. Oh well. Still getting around, relaxing, seeing some fun
thai bands play (though I can't dance becuase it hurts! Me, not
dancing, arrrggghhhhh!)

Anyway, Tom and Olga will be here tonite, and that'll be fun to hear
their stories and relive mine. And who knows, this may be the night
of legends!

It's Been a great trip, with many outlandish adventures. This may be
the final log (unless tonite is spectacular and demands that there is
something written). I've really had a great time and feel so
fortunate to have been able to take this journey. And I've learned a
few lessons and guidelines I'd like to share with you all:

1. Yes, the ultimate backpacker packing list works,

so if you are ever traveling please consult myself or Liz and you
will be pleased with your light and quick pack (as opposed to the
folks lugging 70 (!) pounds on their back.), it will allow you to see
more, and not be stuck on a bus someplace wondering where you'll

2. 2 weeks per country.

IT's a good guideline. Each country should get at least 2 weeks
minimum. I tried to goto too many countries so I was very rushed and
didn't get the quality time in some of them. (Nam and Cambodia) And
as a result it became more about finihing off a list of sights I
wanted to see rather than experiencing the country and the people.
And if you think you know all the places you want to see before you
arrive in the place then you don't need to be there in the first
place. There are alot of suprises that are what really make these
trips so great. You've got to keep your mind open and be willing to
let things go from the list, after all, the list is just a guess at
what would be good to see. it's not set in stone.
Also, as a result of moving to quickly I didn't meet anyone
interesting in Nam or Cambodia...
Which leads to

3. Having someone to travel with makes it more fun.

I'm so glad I went on my own (or I never would have gone) and for the
first 2 weeks had some people I'd met up with because I wasn't
rushing and had time. It allowed me to bond with people, get passed
the basic conversation of "where are you traveling? where have you
been?", and get to more meaningful stuff. (of course if you come
with friends, you'll already be past that.) But after I left Laos, I
was basically on my own because of flights and very specific, less
flexible schedules.
So, even though these places are wonderful, it doesn't feel as real
and vibrant in my mind because there are no people to connect with
thus, either bring them with you, OR, don't rush through, so that you
can meet people and develop relationships on the road. It really
enriches the whole thing. Places+People = paradise!

4. Bring your own chiropractor from home... oh wait, that's not very
likely, unless they were your friend. :) Or you met them... do they
have a

That's what I've got right now.
Again, Thanks for reading all these silly adventures, I hope they
were amusing. And I'm glad glad, thankful, thankful that I was able
to do this. And I never really did figure out this whole obsession
with the Buddha dude, I mean, he really is more popular than Michael
Jackson. (though for very different reasons I think.) And now that
I'm back in Bangkok, these people keep offering me the sucky-sucky
again, and I just don't think that it would be the best idea. (sorry

And finally, for those of you who read these and were like "I wish I
could do that, but I could never get away/take time off/do that", "I
couldn't imagine going someplace where I don't speak the language",
don't limit yourself. You can! This wasn't that difficult, and
wasn't that painful (minus the neck, but that happens at home:).
These places are amazing to see, filled with wonderful people and
environements, cultures, music (okay, some of the music stinks),
buildings, countryside, adventures and more. They are here in SE
asia, in South America, Central America, Africa, Europe, Australia,
Hell, in your own country. Anywhere you travel to will shake you up
and let you realize how much more there is to the world, and what an
amazing place it is, so full of life and uniqueness. And I know for
me that makes me glad to experience it abroad, and thankful for all
the wonderful family, friends, and life that I have back home.

The world is there to explore, so get out there and do it.
I hope to see all of you out here on the road sometime soon...

This is CraigO, last surving member of the Nostromo, signing off...

Rock on!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Back in Bangkok, woooo!

Yep team, I'm back where I started, my final destination for the
trip. Staying in a, you guessed it, shitty guesthouse! But the
people are nice and it has AC (it's so hot here) so that's nice.

Went to chiropractor today and he did a little, i think it's starting
to get fixed, but it will require another visit. Dr. Leoni went to
Cal State Northridge (CSUN!) and LA chiropractic college... hmmm,
sorta feels close to home. They're all nice, but no Dr. Mike from
back home!

And finally, a note on bangkok traffic...

WHAT THE FUCK?!!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!

I was in the cab for 1 hour and 20 minutes to drive 14
KILOMETERS!!!!, that's like 9 miles for all you folks in the states.
That's slow. The meter said we weren't moving for 48 minutes of it.
And it's a SATURDAY! On top of that the cab drivers have NO IDEA
where to go (and to their credit this is the most confusing city on
earth for street names and roads. What is a SOI anyway?). So, who
was looking at the map and giving directions? Who was offering
suggestions to GET OFF THE ROADS THAT WEREn'T MOVING? And all this
with a sore neck! That's right team, the traffic-n-ator himself, ME!

SOrta silly, but hey, not everyplace can be as smoothe sailing as LA.
Hopefully tomorrow I'll be back in action,
Um... what does that mean in bangkok?\

Rock on\

Friday, September 23, 2005


Yes dear friends, my neck sucks.
It took 2 HOURS to get out of fucking bed today because it hurt so
bad and I couldn't move. Finally I sat up and nearly passed out.
Weee, can't wait to sleep tonite.

I've aborted the plans to goto THE BEACH, yep, the inspiration for
the trip, to find the beach is now lost. I will live vicariously
through Tom and Olga, who are, as we speak, getting Pizza (what the
hell are you eating pizza in thailand for? Dude, they have THAI food
here! :), on Khoa San Road in Bangkok. I wish I was meeting them,
but there were no flights today (probably best since I just went
SCUBA diving yesterday and would get the bends if I flew today...
oops!). So I'm on Ko Samui, at a nice place, pretty ocean view and a
swimming pool!

Last nite after a nap I went to the Ko Pha Ngan hospital ER. Yeah@!
Because all the pharmacy's on the island were closed, and 7-11 (thank
heaven) only had some pain medicine that didn't work (no so heavenly
after all). So at the hospital I saw a doctor, got a shot, a bunch
of pills (which don't work by the way), and a neck brace... did I
spend $500? 200? Oh no troopers, it was 640 bhat... that's $26US
for an ER visit. I love thailand. I did have to wait awhile as a
thai girl had wiped out on her moto and scraped herself all up and
burned her leg on the exhaust pipe. It sucked. Made me glad I never
tried to go up the big, monster, 20%grade hills between my bungalow
and Haad Rin, the partay beach.

Anyhoo, spirits are good, even though I'm hurting and disapointed I'm
missing my man Tom after all our planning. I've had a great trip so
far and who knows what will happen. (Not that I'm super excited
about 3 more days in bangkok,but we'll see...)

Rock on,

Thursday, September 22, 2005

What a Pain in the NECK!!!!

And I mean literally.
Here with a week left my neck slid out of place, and hurt a bit, but
I could still function.
Then today, with 5 days left and Thom coming in from LA tonight, my

Yep, Craig O's crap-tastic neck decided "You know what, now would be
a great time to pinch a nerve!" So I'm in a heap load of pain and on
an island where they don't even know what the work chiropractor means
(nor does the next island, or pretty much anyone in Thailand). So
after some searching I've found 1 (yes, ONE) chiropractor, who
happens to be from the good old US of A, in Bangkok. SOOO... I'm
likely going to have to fly my bootay there tomorrow morning, take a
taxi to the chiro office, get an ajustment (hope it's enough), maybe
wait a few hours, get another ajustment if necessary, hop on a plane
and fly to Phuket to meet Mr. Thom and Olgo on the beaches there to
rock the last part of the trip... whew...


On a good note I've enjoyed some awesome beaches here, sunsets,
lightning storms. Today I went scuba diving at SAIL ROCK (Liz, did
you ever go there, it's cool!). And I moved from my gecko shit
covered old bungalow to a nice spiffy new one with a kick bootay view
of the ocean and no gecko poop on the walls!!! Yeah!!!!

So other than the massive, near crippling neck pain, i'm in good
shape. I'm glad Thom is coming ,as I'm a bit lonely, haven't had any
consistant travel folks since I left Laos 2 weeks ago.

I still haven't made it to the BEACH. I've found all the
inspirations, but have yet to find it. Still searching...

Keep rocking.
Countdown is on.


PS: If anyone knows a great chiropractor in Thailand PLEASE let me
know ASAP. You can call me at the Triangle Resort, Ko PhaNgan, room
A3! :)

Saturday, September 17, 2005


Okay, get this:

From Siem Reap (aka ANgkor Wat Cambodia) to Bankok is 410km. YOu can
fly it in 45 minutes (for $180) or you can drive it. It takes
THIRTEEN HOURS!!!!!! And 8 1/2 of that is to go the first 110 kms
in Cambodia. The road is AWFUL!!!! There were trucks stuck in mud
up to their chasis, people walking along the roads with their luggage
because of traffic stuck in mud. We blew a tire. The other bus blew
a tire. Hell everyone blows a tire (except the government guys in
their 4 runner SUVs!). No AC. I was FILTHY when I got to Bangkok.
There was even a giant flat spare tire INSIDE THE BUS and it was
overcrowded so people were on the floor. Wooooooooo! That's the
third world baby!

Then we crossed at the border (under, none other than a TROPICANA
casino and many others! Patpoing is Vegas baby, Vegas!) And then to
Thailand, thank god for Thailand! Smooth Roads, Mini-buses with AC
and driving like 140km/h. Yep, we made the last 300 km in 3 hours.
Thailand is not a developing nation, it's developed!

So I'm at the airport, heading to Ko Pha Ngan for the monthly Full
Moon Party. 7000-10000 people dancing on the beach to the full moon.
SHould be awesome, and then enjoy the beaches and not moving so much.

9 days left I think, and Thom and Olga get here on Friday. So, your
last chance friends to come join in the fun! (goto
to save cash and get here cheap!)

Keep rocking

Friday, September 16, 2005


Yes, finally something in cambodia that is'n't miserable and
depressing! Yeah!!! wooooooo!!!!

so fear not readers, I'm back and excited after my 3 days of war and
genocide, to enjoy the wonders of the world.

The temples are amazing, they are HUGE!!!! I really liked the Bayon
that has hundreds of faces and lots of corridors, and the amazing Tam
Phrom, where tomb raider (god that movie sucked!) was filmed. BUt
the temple is awesome, with trees growing out of the walls... I mean
HUGE trees. I played around there for a couple hours. I even missed
my alarm in the morning so I only had about 7 hours, but it was

Tomorrow to Bangkok, the next day to Ko Pha Ngan for the full moon
party (and I just booked a bungalow on the beach there TODAY, when
supposedly it's impossible to do so. Ha! I got lucky!)

Keep rocking

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Cambodian Cultural Colisions

The Following Episode is intended for our mature readers: Parental
Discretion is advised...

I'm In SIEM RIEP, jumping off point for the great temples of ANGKOR!
And staying in a SHITHOLE guesthouse. I'm not sure why I agreed to,
tired from the bus ride I think. THere are these funny wallpaper
hangings all the wall though that are quite amusing of various
landscapes and flowers and stuff. Tacky and crappy, but you have to
have a "The worse place I stayed on my trip" place, and this is
likely it. The people are really nice though.

Cambodia is depressing. Of course that's because in less than 24
hours I saw the before mentioned S-21 prison and torture barracks and
today went to the killing fields and saw 8000+ skulls stacked 30-40
feet high in glass cases and found out all the awful ways they killed
people: axe, bamboo stick, hoe (that head was broken in two), they
beat babies against trees and other things. It's really fucking
depressing. There are teeth and bones laying all over the grounds
and tons of mass grave holes which used to be 4-5 meters deep and had
up to 450 (!) bodies in them. No shit. There are even pieces of
clothes and teeth (did I mention fucking TEETH!). Anyway, I've been
in a crappy mood all day and am ready to get to the beach. On top of
that I was reading this book called "The Sorrow Of War" written by a
north viet cong soldier that is, you guessed it, depressing as shit.
So I ended up just sitting on the bus for hours listening to music
loud enough to cover the awful japanese, bawdy, chick military flick
(okay, it was sorta funny), and the endless HONKING of the bus driver
as he passed everyone (the HONKING HELL HIGHWAY I call it).

SO yeah, I'm in a yucky mood. I really didn't think this would mess
me up so much. Like I said, the war stuff was yucky, but within
reason, this is totally fucked up. I've always thought it would be
powerful to goto the concentration camps in Poland, and learn about
that where it happened, but íf I do I'll make sure to have a day
where I can go see something beautiful immediately afterwards. The
world is a pretty place to, it's to bad that Cambodia has been
obliterated with poverty and atrocity.


TOmorrow is Angkor Wat which acording to Liz will be TOTALLY AWESOME!
And the beaches are only days away. (much needed indeed).
I haven't really met anyone since I left my crew in Laos. I've had
people here and there but no one that I've really clicked with or
traveled with. Hopefully in paradise I will find them...

And on a final note, today I also shot and AK-47 MACHINE GUN! Yep,
anything goes in cambodia, and even though it was $30 to shoot a clip
(THIRTY U.S. DOLLARS! Hello!), it was interesting. I'd never want
to shoot it at anything living, but I nailed the target 14 times out
of 25 (I thought I missed a lot), and even got to do it on full auto.
It's pretty amazing, but to bad all this energy is spend on
destroying life. How bout we rebuild new orleans, feed to poor, cure
aids, instead of giving people the option to fire a ROCKET LAUNCHER
(I'm not making this up! An F-ing ROCKET LAUNCHER (200 U.S. Dollars
for 1 glorious mountain blowing shot!) (no, i didn't do it. :). BUt
in cambodia people are so poor, they'll do whatever it takes to
survive... which brings us to the point that people are people and
they will march on even if you have sick fuckers like the Khmer Rouge
in the world.

Keep rocking

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Yep, nam is done, with it's chaos and horn honking and rather modern
lifestyle, and now i'm in cambodia which is flooded, dark streets, a
bit run down and very cool.

It reminds me of bolivia, minus the mountains and the cold weather,
and here there are kind of run down buildings and across the street
are MASSIVE FORTRESSES that look like they are out of a sci-fi movie.

I'm off to the Killing fields tomorrow (and to shoot a machine gun).
And today I saw Pol Pots prison: S-21, which was suitably depressing
and unpleasant. It's amazing that people can be so awful to each
other and that no one stops them. Even though it was less graphic it
was more disturbing than the vietnam war museum. I think because in
war there is a "good" side and a "bad" side, or at least "our" side
and "their" side. So it's clearer who you are fighting and who you
are at risk from. Here it was chaos, you might have been on the
"party" side and still be put in prison for no reason whatsoever.
It's rediculous that these people haven't been tried for all those

ANyway, like I said, cambodia's a bit darker than the rest. But in
two days I'll bein ANGKOR WAT and should be cool. The people are
really nice and this guy T.V. who works at the guest house is showing
me around. I'm supposed to meet up with Gaurav (an old friend from
high school) tonite... we shall see.

the adventure continues... hope all is well.

OH... my guest house is called the OKAY guest house, and the ceiling
on the floor i'm on is barely taller than me, it's like floor 7 1/2
from "Being John Malkovich!". Anything goes in cambodia!


Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Everyone wants to know if I'm married. If I have a girlfriend, do I
want one? Do I like Vietnamese girls? They have lots of pretty
girls? How bout this one or this one or this one? (I'm not kidding,
the people I ate lunch with today, the only people who spoke english
were Tom who lives in LA (of course) and has many single sisters and
friends and kept trying to hook me up with them, "She'll go with you
to the Na Trang, to the beach, she'll go, if you want". Or "How bout
her, she's really nice, wants to learn english". And his friend
spoke english, and he'd come back to visit, met a good old vietnamese
girl and was staying longer to court her I guess, and bring her back

So yes, aparently if you want to come to VietNam and rescue a single
vietnamese girl from the clutches of communism, there are many who
will take you up on the offer, (but practice language lessons before
you get here and it will all be fine).

And no, as far as I know I'm not bringing any new wife back to the
states. :)


Friday, September 9, 2005

I'm in 'NAM baby!!!!!

That's right all you adventure seekers, I'm in the heart of communism
here in 'Nam, learning about the 60th anniversary (which is coming up
in 4 days) and trying to figure out what to do with my WAY to short
of time here.

Okay, so I'm not sure what communist is anymore since they vote here
and have competition, and various leaders and free trade, but
whatever, Hanoi is NUTS with honking constantly, traffic like schools
of fish somehow not hitting each other and all sorts of interesting
views on the vietnam (i mean american) war.

I arrived here last nite after a KICK ASS time in Vang Vieng (I
recommend it to anyone and everyone to go). The scenery is amazing,
the caves are OUTSTANDING and you've got to tube and do the flying
fox! (a giant zipline that you ride down and drop into the river).

I went into caves everyday I was there, most had water in them, and
two of them it was just me a light and a travel bud named Pat who
journeyed inside, with no idea where it would go.

The first was a green pool that had a strong current forcing you out
so we had to pull in using the side rocks. (I felt like I was in
Tomb Raider). We were underground for at least 45 minutes, it just
kept going back and back and back.

Another cave had an underground waterfall that you could go past and
find the cave continued for kilometers into the rock. We were
underground here for a couple hours. And yet another you pull
yourself in on intertubes and crawl in the mud (it reminded me of our
caving adventure back in Austin Myque, wish you were here!).

I rented a moto and rode through the beautiful mountain scenery, only
to head back in the rain and the dark, on the pot holed and mud
covered route 13! (ahhh route 13!)

Tomorrow it's off to HaLong Bay for some boating and kayaking, and
tonite i'm going to see some water puppetry... I don't know what it
is, but it is uniquely Viet Nam.

Hope all's well, keep rocking!


Sunday, September 4, 2005

Where the F am I?????????

Last nite I just rode in a bus down HWY 13 in Laos... aka the highway
where you have armed men with AK-47s with you on the bus to keep away
the bandits that try to raid it. Weee haw!!!! And on top of that,
it's the main highway north to south in Laos and it has many sections
that are washed out and deep with mud, but somehow our intrepid
driver managed to get us through. All the while listening to some
AWFUL Laotian music blaring at top volume (you know it Liz, it's not
as bad as that Peruvian stuff, but it's close!)

So I'm actually in Veng Viang, which is in north central Laos, and
surrounded by beautiful Limstone mountains that tower impossibly
steep over the town. I was hoping to rock climb here, but the rainy
season in Laos has just finished (but is starting in Thailand!) and
so all the routes are wet. Oh well, I'm going to explore some caves,
swim in the river and Tube Texas Style (like we do in New Braunsfils
(that's great spelling)).

It's hot as shit, humid, sweaty, but awesome. Since my last update
I've traveled by boat on the Mekong river for 2 days, stayed at a
guest house where Rats ate through a girls bag and walked across one
girls face (cadry you would have loved it!), and the walls were so
thin that everyone heard me and my roomie for the nites conversation.
Fortunately it wasn't racey!

I spend a couple days in Luang Prabang, the former capital of Laos,
where they had a massive festival for dragon boat racing on the day I
was there. Groups of monks and others, 40 to a boat, paddled down
the river and I think everyone from within 100km was there. Then a
few of us went to swim in this great waterfall nearby, where you
could climb up the cascades. It was a great adventure.

That nite we hung out in this little village, the only Farang
(foreigners) there, and ate food. Our Tuk-Tuk driver hooked us up
with his friends restraunt. We had spicey soup, fish and beerlao
(lots of beer lao, in fact I think that's all they drink here).
There was a band that consisted of a keyboard player and a guitarist
that would rock some Laotian dance tunes. So we got up and joined
the party (we being me, an Irish dude named Raoul, and Austrian gal
Elisabeth, and A Korean gal named Ji-Hyon). we danced, the Lao folks
danced with us, it was all pretty silly. Then we sat down and we
were told we had to pay 5,000 Kip to dance (and before you go, "oh
shit, FIVE THOUSAND to dance!", realize that it is 10,000 Kip to 1 US
dollar). It was all a little confusing, but Raoul and I said Okay
and went over to pay at the counter... except that there wasn't a
counter. The dance floor was clear except for 4 Lao girls standing
there with trays of Rice Whiskey and stacks of money. So the two of
us, our Tuk-Tuk driver and this other guy went up, bowed, gave them
money, were given drinks, they put these tassels around our neck and
the band kicked in a song and we started dancing. Then everyone
joined in, and the song basically said over and over "Sa Wa Di!",
which is "Hello", over and over. I think we were just welcomed the
their village.

So now I'm staying in a kick ass riverside bungalow for $5/nite (a
little pricey, I know, but it's worth it). And going to go find this
crystal pool where you can jump off a tree into it.

Hope all is well,
After this... I think Vietnam. But who knows, it's so cool here I
might stick around awhile.

Rock on