I am really enjoying the book Travels, by Michael Crichton. In fact, I read it all the way home on the bus last night. Some notes:
His first trip was to Hong Kong and Bangkok. He said there is nothing like flying into Hong Kong at night: with the sea, lit buildings and mountains it is like flying into a bright jewel. He comments that the Chinese love fresh food, to the point he saw a woman carrying a live fish home in a plastic bag so it was alive to the last possible moment. In Bangkok, he mentions several times how easygoing the people are (they are called the Danes of Asia), except they take their religion very seriously (you can be jailed for climbing religious statues in temples). He struggles a little bit with his height: people openly stare, plus it is a custom that no one should be higher than a buddhist statue so often he has to duck to avoid that. He makes the mistake of smoking too much Thai grass and goes temporarily blind. He also is taken to a massage parlor where a soaped up woman massages the client with her body, and to a brothel of underage children, and he finds both disturbing (he does not stay in the children’s brothel). When he flies home, he mentions the trip was almost traumatic for him, and he realizes how sheltered (my word, not his) he is despite having traveled to nearly every US state and several times to Europe. A personal note, he mentions the humidity (“steamy”) twice, and for some reason that sounds pleasant to me, the heat and humidity and fresh air. I am also craving a Thai coffee, which I don’t normally do 🙂
I INTERRUPT THIS WITH COMMENTARY: He was troubled by the brothel and left his friend who took them there, as did another friend. I find it shocking that we — including myself — allow children’s sex places to exist. We proudly storm into Nazi territory to liberate concentration camps, but we allow in this day and age brothels to exist where we know in fact there are sex slaves, including children sex slaves. OMG those poor things… America is funny: if you threaten our Corporate interests, we will invade you. But want to buy children and young women and use them as sex slaves? We turn a blind eye. Crazy.