An Order of LARGE with a Side of SEX.

The greatest contrast of the trip so far: saying farewell to the Canyon, this great chasm, silently dominating, unfathomable and waking up in the Big Easy. Big Swell of sweat, swill and swing.

The feeling of having been kidnapped, drugged, dumped in a bottom place of excess. Small city girl taken to be tested. Hard.

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New Orleans is special. Obvious to any visitor. Smoking at the bar, drinking on the streets, jazzy tunes floating down every street, into houses that are astonishingly handsome. Toulouse. The real and gritty France and Spain and England and America – manners bewitched and sparked, a cauldron of vice in the way of old school croonin’ jiving tap dancing blues. Muffaletta (look it up).

Our guide book has a downer on Bourbon St. Agreed, inasmuch as it’s over invested, working too hard and, unfortunately, lacking in the soul it once wore on its sleeve. Frenchman St is heralded as maintaining what N’Awlins is all about.

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– R Bar
– The Spotted Cat
– Apple Barrel
– Coops Place
– And More.

(Don’t forget the English pub on Algiers Point with a Tardis entrance. Or its local bar, cheapest Pabst Blue Ribbon yet).

It is cool. Small streets, Louisinia houses, rocking chair n all, with bars and dives that only care about the music and Wells. Alas, Kermit Ruffins’ famed Thursday night is retired, but jazz and funk remains when 3 for 1 Daiquiris have conquered elsewhere. Sophie Lee and Jumbo Shrimp – never has music lifted me up and spun me around into such a foggy whirlwind. A conversion for all who enter.

The humidity is just as heavy as in Asia. Building across the day into an ever predictable thunderstorm. At least air con is everywhere, although my wearing of the denim indicates a certain acclimatisation of which I am oddly proud.

A southern drawl that makes me miss House of Cards the more. Must watch Trem√©. 

A drinking town. Beer and Jamesons.  But a sit down, talk and swing drinking town. Not a down it and snog. A savour and indulge, stick around, let the passions rise up, wrap around and sink in.

Hiking into the Canyon, dead heat on red skin and dust in throat. A different grittiness. Both the GC and NO are an evidence of how much wow can be found in the earth, with the dirt and the melting hue a fundamental part of its oomph. Depressing to discover how cheap the rent would be on a flat in the heart of it all down South. Hanoi seems to be second fiddle, except for Bia Hoi.

Bia Hoi, O how I miss thee.

Landed in Washington. Netflix is on and House of Cards is a go go. Must remember to leave the flat in the next two days…

I Miss Kevin Spacey: Temples at Dawn.

(Or, Wat’ya saying!)

It is hard to describe Angkor Wat. Correction – the Angkor Wat complex, hundreds of the things once housing a 1 million strong capital of the Angkor empire, now inhabited by steadfast locals, their dogs and tourists with oversized cameras (myself inc.). Superlatives abound and this blog post could become the immediate copy of a 100 other Wat enthusiasts. Google Angkor Wat and you can see it. There it is.

Yet the scale is worth comment. Hours on a tuk tuk chasing temples and carvings through the jungle. Piles of rubbled ruin and skeletal arrangements of pillar, arch, pillar. A mind twisting complex of fallen stone to explore and goggle at. Praise be to whoever that it is not in England. No Entry. Follow this route only. Queue here. VIP tickets only. Safety Notice. The perks of corrupt Cambodian officialdom: freedom to climb and bound into any crevice that takes the fancy, save for the truly ridiculously large trees such as those growing out of the Tomb Raider Temple, Ta Prohm. They can not still be alive, they have no roots. Or the roots just go into stone. Natural wonder indeed. Shaky ladder thing up a pyramid temple. Nearly died.

Three day pass allows time to ration the temples, all of which are enchanting and magical but can quickly start to blur. *Pause in writing due to annoyance at Robin Thicke being the immediate association there.* Masterpieces of ancient architecture, hot and sweaty. It is a mission, but a mission worthy of a world wonder. It makes you work for it, work for the views, strive for the surprises and clamber for the miraculous. If you’re willing, it will deliver.

Bangkok for 4 days but couldn’t see the Kok for the Bang. Or Splash. Songkran, NY, massive water fight.

So it’s fun. You get a water pistol, put your phone into a water proof wallet and take to the streets, get soaking wet, have a beer, repeat. A spectacle, a party, a very unique event which Thai people take to with an almost unbelievable enthusiasm. But it is unrelenting and the rejection of normal etiquette regarding tourists becomes hard for such stick in ass,¬† upright Brits. After sun down, dry clothes for dinner — ice cold bucket down the back as soon as you leave the guesthouse. They say you have to engage to enjoy it. True. We did. We tried. But waking up in Chiang Mai after the last day of festival, to walk the streets without fear, the absence of water based anarchy – guerilla armies of youths on the back of trucks with guns and bucket grenades looking almost as threatening and screwed up as in a true break down of society – the most intense relief since having to double check I hadn’t bound the wrong draft of my thesis.

But most importantly it’s becoming more intensely difficult to live without Kevin Spacey. House of Cards. I think I love him. Even watching the Last Action Hero (yep, room with a TV again), which is one of the true greats and ‘an incredibly textured use of the postmodern meta’ (I give no prizes for guessing which of us said that) can not fill the void in my heart. Youtubing videos of his impressions the nearest I can get.

Chiang Mai is very cool. Chilled. Old School. Almost Oxford, city wall and all. Beat a guy called Rudy at pool. More temples.

The search for Frank Underwood continues.