Friday, April 1, 2011

A short run-up of the Wall To Wall (U)nicycle Hosomichi---Thus far, I have taken a bus from Shenyang to Dandong, China, a ferry boat from Dandong, China to Incheon, Korea, a city bus and the Metro to Seoul, a bus from Seoul to Busan, Korea, a ferry boat from Busan, Korea to Fukuoka-Hakata, Japan, the Shinkansen (Bullet Train) from Fukuoka-Hakata, Japan to Tokyo, Japan (passing through Hiroshima and Shin-Osaka on the way), a bus from Tokyo (where I stayed in a Capsule Hotel and visited the tiny Basho Museum---both great dreams now fulfilled) back to Fukuoka-Hakata, a ferry boat back to Busan, Korea, a bus back to Seoul, Korea, the Metro, city bus, and taxi back to Incheon, Korea, a ferry boat back to Dandong, China, and some Chinese dude's car back to Shenyang, China (where I had lived for a year, teaching English, and ending up specializing in Early Childhood Development such that I was recruited by my posh school to make an instructional video in that field to educate future teachers---something of a triumph for me, seeing as how my previous boss in provincial Maznhouli had treated me so underappreciatively, so to speak...).

This toe of the tour was undertaken without my unicycle, which I left back in Shenyang. I did this mainly as a writing expedition---as a Travel Meditation in writing "Haikishus"---which had so been inspired by Haiku in my Summery, Maddened youth when I was wild with "Cartop Riots" when I would leap atop my car ("Li'l Hegel") and read poetry to passersby across Northern Virginia & I would sneak to New Orleans in some storm of gear shiftings to that humid holy land.

From Shenyang, China, I took a train to Beijing, China (where I departfully visited with my friends Dereau and Sam MiDrA''P). Then I took a train to Kunming, China, a sleeper bus to Vientiane, Laos, a bus from Vientiane, Laos to Hanoi, Vietnam (I unicycled from Vientiane several tens of kilometers towards the Vietnam border---but realized I would run out of time if I did not take a bus---my visa was almost up), a bus from Hanoi, Vietnam, to Saigon, Vietnam.

As per plan, Saigon is where I started really unicycling---as back in Manzhouli when I first conceived this tour, I was fretting about the most appropriate place to begin the one-wheeled frenzy---and my old genius of a friend Tyler Bass suggested Vietnam, it being, as we all know, the seat of the War of the same name...& after all, this tour would at least be partly about cutting through destinations of extreme Human Rights Abuses and Crimes Against Humanity.

I have walked and unicycled (mostly unicycled---Ouch! My perineum!) from the outskirts of Saigon, Vietnam (why should I call it Ho Chi Minh City?) to the Vietnamese-Cambodian border at Moc Bai/Bavitt, and from Bavitt, Cambodia to Svay Rieng, Cambodia (where I am writing from right now).

Since beginning "really unicycling", I have unicycled through some of the remotest regions I have ever seen (save for some in South America) and tried my tongue at Vietnamese and Khmer, two languages that I have surely NOT mastered and flopped at horrifically. Unfortunately, hand gestures and body language are not one of the great expertises of many Sino-IndoChinese cultures---partly due to their being "High Context Cultures" (which means "things" are just understood 'indigenously' rather than specifically explained, as in a Low Context Culture like America), I have stayed the night with a mother and son family at their outdoor canteen in Cu Chi, Vietnam (I was bedfellows with the 21 year old son---in his corrugated metal sheet-walled chamber, which his mother locked from the outside at night---& I really had to go "Mount The Yellow Steed" (relieve myself)), been allowed by a very rural Cambodian beauty to bathe in her outdoor washing pit, where I had to politely wave the raggedy children away who were staring at me (I had to put a towel across the portal for modesty---& all the villagers thought I had some clinical illness for being so 'self-conscious---later, the beauty's father told me to get off his property in Khmer (after his beauty of a daughter said I could put my hammock up for the night---I assume this was one of those classic "Farmer's Daughter" Situations. I was pretty upset---because for religious reasons, I intended nothing with the Khmer man's gorgeous ---::gurgle:: (like Homer Simpson)---daughter!), been taken in less than a Kilometer down the nowhereville road by orange-robes monks whose Shrine I slept in for the night (strictly speaking, I am not sure it was so Mitzvaic for me to do so, but nonetheless, when they asked me to prostrate myself before a pastel-painted statue of the Buddha, I had to politely decline and "instead" excused myself to Daven Ma'ariv (the Jewish Evening Prayer), and stopped at dozens of alarmingly rustic roadside canteens with ogling toothless old women and naked babies sitting in dirt, veritable huts with little more than thatched roofs and a chair for my water breaks), been cheered at by Vietnamese road crews (also decked out in orange---but their state religion is more Communist than Cambodia's---even considering what Pol Pot, Yemakh Shmo, tried to do to his own People in the insanity of his wildly misdirected ideology), and whizzed past pretty girls on motorscooters waving and smiling---well, ok, so they whizzed past me...but, you know, what I mean.

I have to stop here in Svay Rieng, Cambodia for Shabbat.

AMO'Sh out.