Greetings from Bali, Indonesia, where it’s the dead of winter and 85 degrees.

Any regular reader of this blog could be forgiven for thinking I’ve given up the ghost – that I’ve joined the ranks of briefly prolific but ultimately doomed bloggers whose shelf-life was revealed to be that of a jar of pickles. It’s been more than a month since I last posted in this space, after all. I’ve been kicking around in Southeast Asia for almost five weeks – five weeks without a single post! In that time I’ve traveled through Vietnam (Hanoi, Ninh Binh, Hue, Hoi An, Da Lat, Saigon, the Mekong delta, Chau Doc) and Cambodia (Pnomh Penh, Siem Reap and Angkor, Kep, Ko Tonsay, and Kampot) and down to the southern hemisphere, where I’m now closer to Australia than Asia and everyone’s home looks like an explosion at a Pier 1 distribution warehouse.

But I’m here to tell you that despite what you may think, it ain’t so. I’m haven’t faded out! I’m still blogging – in spirit if not in actual ones and zeroes. The excuses are many, but what it boils down to is this: I don’t have a laptop, and I’m really not very good at writing in an open-air internet cafe in a crumbling rattan chair, using a computer that was probably built when the first Bush was in office and a spotty internet connection that’s slower than a one-legged DMV employee, all the while surrounded by a heaving throng of college-aged, Facebook-obsessed backpackers who haven’t showered in a week. Email can be checked in such conditions, and camera memory cards can be cleared, but little else. In the meantime, however, I can assure any and all readers that photos are being taken, notes are being scribbled, natives are being engaged, unlikely paths are being trod, strange foods are being sampled, package tours are being steadfastly avoided, unfamiliar bathroom facilities are being experimented with, large rodents are being watched carefully, exotic intestinal bugs are being wrestled with and overcome, uncommon foreign phrases are being memorized, useless trickets are being haggled over and bought, and experiences are being racked up by the crateload. It’s all going to make it onto this blog at some point, you have my word.

Until then, can somebody send a can of Lysol? These internet cafes get awfully ripe in the heat.

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