2016: My Year in Review and a Look Forward to 2017

I will long remember the year past as one of death. While nobody from my family or circle of friends died in 2016, a number of favorite musicians and actors did. I was also profoundly affected by the mid-October passing of the King of Thailand, Bhumibol Adulyadej. Over the decade-plus that I’ve lived in Phuket, I’ve become a staunch Royalist and the death of His Majesty came in the midst of my annual courses with Thai bank staff members. Seeing their sadness, as well as the intense mourning that occurred throughout the nation, deeply effected me and I continue to feel a bond with Thai people that is difficult to describe to other foreigners.

As 2017 dawns, I pray that it will be a year of much happiness and light after the darkness that pervaded much of 2016. Don’t misunderstand me: there were quite a few good times and the year is certainly ending on a high note in that I’m in my first “real” relationship in around six or seven years.

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To Cambodia #2: Bangkok to Siem Reap

20130411-050435I try to plan ahead so that my travels remain relatively stress-free.  If something unexpected crops up, it can usually be dealt with quickly and  easily.  I journey cheaply and build in enough time between legs of the trip so that I’m not rushing to make connections.

Thus, I’d already planned to spend the first night of my Cambodian trip sleeping in the main Bangkok train station.  The hour delay on the bus didn’t bother me in the least and I arrived at Hualamphong with plenty of time to get cleaned up and eat a late dinner.  Most of the eateries were already closed by the time I arrived but the tiny KFC was still open.  My favorite item – the Twister – wasn’t on the menu so I decided to try one of the rice dishes.  The spicy chicken was quite good but pricy at 69 baht; I added a 16-ounce Coke for another 10 baht.

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