Book in late June / Early July

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Book in late June / Early July

Post by CaminoDeb » Sat Apr 14, 2018 5:10 am

Dancing in Circles: An Expatriate Life in Cambodia will be self-published on Amazon, and coming soon. I've taken the last year and dedicated myself to it. The text, which began as a series of essays after LTO died, is now a solid book of about 220 pages. There will also be photos!

I hope that you all enjoy it.

Here's an excerpt for all of you, and I'm sending kind thoughts to all on this frightening night of bombing Syria. The horror, the horror....

Here is your excerpt, and I will let you all know when I get it on Amazon!

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

from Sea Fever, by John Masefield

Chapter I
Leaving It All Behind
I didn’t know that I was permanently closing the door on a good life in Eugene, Oregon and moving to the other side of the world. I thought it was just a long break for Ken and me. We had met at university in 1989. He was thirty-two, and I had just turned thirty. Eugene was our oyster. We rode our bikes everywhere, and graduated with our bachelor’s degrees in 1990.
In the Fall of 1993, Ken sat for his final exam for his master’s degree from University of Oregon. The exam, which was not much in comparison to his years of writing for the studies, shook him up. He was asked to rewrite part of it, which shifted his view of getting a doctorate. He wrote incredibly complex essays while watching Cheers on his small black and white television, a joint burning in his Dirty Dick’s ashtray piled high with ashes. As I recall, the topics for the graduate degree essays did not include the areas in which he had focused. Perhaps he was just acting out a pattern of not finishing. In any event, he felt upset for a few weeks about the end of his graduate studies, and then I think he decided, fuck it, I’m done. He had planned for months to travel, after getting done with graduate school. He had not finished, but he was done.
And so it was, in the early months of 1994, that we closed up our home in Glenwood, put the key under the doormat, and headed about a hundred miles north to Canby, Oregon. There, we got into my father and stepmother’s fifth wheel, and travelled south again down through California, to the Baja Peninsula. We went to our favorite place in Baja, Mulege, where we raked clams from the sand with our bare hands and bought little sacks of sugary dates from children. We’d been there before, and it was a happy place for us. After a few weeks, we were back in California, and my parents dropped us off at the San Francisco airport.
We were headed to Bangkok, Thailand. From Bangkok, we weren’t sure where we’d go. We had discussed every country in Southeast Asia except Cambodia. I told Ken, “I just don’t want to go there.” Over the years, I’ve grown convinced that Cambodia was our destination, as we had watched Spalding Gray’s Swimming to Cambodia and Ken loved it, but also, growing up with the Vietnam War on the local news and knowing about the US bombing of Cambodia interested us in both countries. My interest did not motivate me to live in Vietnam. and most especially not Cambodia.
Of course, Cambodia is where we ended up living for years. Our travels, however, began in Thailand, The Land of Smiles. People often wonder why Thailand is called The Land of Smiles. It might be because the Thais like to keep a calm face, and don’t like to “lose face” or appear angry or upset. It could be because they are truly gracious people, and often have beautiful and sincere smiles. In Bangkok, there is such a booming influx of travelers and western business people coming in and out that the smiles have gotten a bit forced.
When we arrived in January of 1994, the heat was stifling, although that is actually a slightly cooler month in Southeast Asia. The twenty-four-hour journey to get there had been hellish, especially given that Eva Air had messed up our tickets, double booking our seats. Stuck in the airport in San Francisco for the additional twelve hours had proved exhausting, although Eva Air had upgraded us to economy deluxe seats as consolation. We went to our small room with twin-size beds and fell asleep for perhaps six hours. The jet lag and excitement got to us, and we didn’t rest for long.
We stayed at Khao San Palace on Khao San Road, the traveller’s mecca, and with our white skin we stood out as newcomers. In the tropical sun, people became tan fast, so it was easy to see who had just arrived. People from all over the world were milling around looking at cheap cotton hippie clothes and eating pineapple on sticks, or sitting in one of many open-air restaurants and drinking fresh watermelon juice. We were hot and exhausted, but euphoric that we’d made it to Bangkok. We were on the verge of great adventure, and couldn’t anticipate where we might be in a week. That’s how we travelled, and that’s how we liked it.

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Re: Book in late June / Early July

Post by Scrubb » Sat Apr 14, 2018 7:19 pm

Congratulations, CaminoDeb! That's a real accomplishment.
Boinkity_Boink isn't much of an idiot

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Re: Book in late June / Early July

Post by northern_goddess » Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:43 am

Wow, Deb. That is quite a feat! Can't wait to look for it on Amazon.
I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it.

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Re: Book in late June / Early July

Post by EMG » Mon Apr 16, 2018 2:07 pm

Very exciting. Hope I can eventually manage to get a copy here.

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