The 1992 Adventures of Cowboy Bob & Bonanza Jellybean

As our planned trip to Thailand this year approached, the speculations on the possibilities of a "Gulf War" were hot and heavy. As it turned out, we flew out of Seattle on January 15th the day of the first air raid on Iraq. All the problems that were reported in the press about terrorists in Thailand were happening in Bangkok. We were 1000 Km south relaxing on the beaches around Krabi. Went to the same old haunts, met some of the same people from around the world who seem to be in that same great rut as us.

Took a week to go down to Penang, Malaysia just after the Chinese New Year by Thai taxi, more like Kamikaze. This was the only time we felt affected by the War. After crossing into Malaysia our taxi was stopped by the Malaysian army. They all looked very macho in their skin tight uniforms, smoking cigarettes with their machine guns and rocket launchers over their shoulders. After going through the officious document checks, the top banana stuck his head in taxi and with a big bearded grin said You guys like Saddam? Eh? All his men roared with laughter. The joke was that this guy could have been Saddam's twin brother. A little unnerving going into an Islamic country, but that was the only incident we had. Apparently there was a bit of a punch up between an American and a local in Georgetown on Chulia street.

The hotels were packed with people here to see the Hindu Thaipusan Festival (sp). We saw the start at the Temple on Queen Street. The decorated Brahma bulls pulling the chariot through the streets of Georgetown, the smashing of the estimated half a million coconuts in the path of the bulls, the thousands of families with offerings, and the women in their most beautiful saris. What a wonderful assault of the senses. The second day we were back at the Temple on Queen Street at 6:00 am. I tried not to be the ugly ignorant tourist barging in with camera in hand. Everyone was very receptive towards being filmed and I was able to shoot some great video of the many devout who had come to be pierced with large and small skewers (for lack of the correct term) and no blood, not a drop. Very intense scene with the pungent aroma of various incenses, the hypnotic chanting and dank humidity. Almost felt like getting up there myself. (no way Jose) And what luck, the trip back to Krabi, Thailand was with the same death wish chauffeur.

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