The shipping date for the boat has become a bit like the national debt, it just keeps getting pushed off till later. But now, after nearly a month of delays the shipping company has fired the ship owners and chartered another ship. It is supposed to be here the 13th or something. But I am sick of waiting, it is incredibly hot here and I spend most my days working till it gets hot then laying in front of a fan in the shade sweating like two squirrels – OK those of you who know the ending to that phrase can laugh, the rest can wonder.

In any case, Zach went home about a week ago and since I have been cleaning. Cleaning more than I have ever had to. It is amazing the amount of stuff that accumulates on a cruising boat. There should be a special episode of “Hoarders” the sailboat edition. I think in the last week alone I have thrown away at least 250 pounds of stuff. Some of it was trash for sure and some I just didn’t need anymore. A lot of it was things I thought I would need in the Pacific where general stuff just isn’t available. But most of it was stuff accumulated along the way or more likely stuff that got broken along the way.

Along with all that being thrown away goes my concept of sentimentality. Life at sea destroys everything before you have a chance to notice. For example, I had a ton of clothes that I kept in dry bags. Most of them are mildewed so bad that I just tossed them. I really liked some of those too. That is what I get for taking the advice from Larry and Lynn Pardie to keep all your clothes in dry-bags because every boat leaks eventually. Ok, maybe that’s true, but then again, they lived in a Wetsnail (or is it Westsail?) 32. Other stuff, well, I have a prized can-opener that was an odd contention in my divorce, its now rusted, probably beyond saving. A pocket knife an old man gave me when I was 7, broke and rusted. All of Slick’s beautiful interior, pretty much trashed. The long and short of it is, nothing lasts. And if it isn’t made of high quality stainless steel, it lasts even less time. I cleaned in every space on the boat and in every space I found the entropy of the sea, evident in the destruction of things. The key, I think, is just to carry less stuff.

It has also been pretty lonely since Zach left a week ago. I have the fan to keep me company. I also got lucky and scored a ton of movies from another cruiser. Otherwise, I have made a friend who is crew on the only Gunboat 60, Moonwave, so at least I have someone to talk to. The marina is in the middle of nowhere so I eat at the same Happy Hut everyday and swat at the same mosquitoes all night. But at least Zach and I got to do a little backpacking before he left.

We took a bus around the beautiful Phang Nah Bay, which is the Thailand you see in post cards. Unfortunately, it is too shallow to sail in, but it is amazing none the less. Then we took an overnight train to Bangkok. The train was OK, the only beds left where in first class, which was nice, except that their was no AC control and it got really really cold. Awaking in Bangkok we then saw some of the nicer sights. The most amazing of which, I think, was an enormous sleeping Buddha. He is probably 150 feet long, I am not sure.

Then we caught a night train to Chiang Mai, this is a pretty quaint city in the north. The train ride was made interesting by the stewardess, who was drunk, continually bringing us buckets of beer. The walled and moated city used to be the prime stopping ground on the trade routes from China to the Indian ocean so there was some good history there. The funny part though was only young white people got off the train, all with huge back-packs and a well outlined and noted Lonely Planets in hand. I was a bit ashamed of myself after so much time away from this sort of thing. Zach and I checked into the cheapest hotel we could find, $4 per person per night, and set about enjoying the town. It was a nice place with a huge outdoor market on a street that gets closed down every Sunday. I bought some mango-wood bowls. But the reality is, I paid too much, I got hustled by a ten year old Thai girl who spoke perfect English on behalf of her parents. I told her I would only buy at the price she wanted if the promised to put the money in her college fund. She said she wanted to be a doctor and that was that…

We managed to catch a Muay Thai boxing match, the final was a 6’7” American from Santa Barbara vs a very stocky Thai man. The American knocked him out in 7 seconds, which was amazing. We also saw lots of Wats (Buddhist Temples) and there were many many westerners there trying to live up their hippy dreams in Buddhist utopia. So much in fact that Simon and Garfunkel is playing everywhere and you see westerners in clothes that Thais have not worn for a hundred years. Its funny to see a frat boy trying on pants whose crotch goes down to its ankles saying “I think I can pull these off, yah, I’ll take em.” The reality is buddy, you should pull them off, and put on some normal clothes, even the monks are shaking their heads.

We headed back toward Bangkok after a few days, on another night train. This time though we were in second class, still with AC. That was OK, but what was really crazy was that after 7 PM the dinner car turned into a disco. I have never seen a train with a car full of people dancing, loud music, lights and a bar with never ending Singhas. It was definitely a first for me and I have been on a lot of trains. We dove off the train at 5 AM in a place called Eyuthera, which is the old capital of a few hundred years ago. It is full of ancient wats now in ruins. It was truly an amazing place. So peaceful, yet so destroyed. We were there early enough that none of the places were actually open so we let ourselves

in. No one seemed to care, we even tried to pay a few times and the people just looked at us like we were dumb. After seeing Ayuthera though, I can’t wait to get to Angkor Wat in Cambodia. We left Ayuthera around 1pm and headed back to Bangkok on a local train. We hung around the main train station, having deep-fried, bacon-wrapped sausage, delicious green curry and Thai iced tea for lunch (Thailand has the best food, simply amazing). And then back on a night train home. This time there was no AC but that was OK, we just had a few Tigers and passed out. The return back to Slick was uneventful, she was, thankfully, right where we left her.

With the shipping so delayed though, I have decided to leave the boat in the hands of the local agents. He will have one of his skippers drive Slick out to the ship and take care of everything. So I will leave Monday for Chiang Mai again and then backpack to Laos, down the Mekong to Cambodia and into Vietnam. Then I will head up the entire length of Vietnam and cross into China and head for Hong Kong. Hopefully I can get off the tourist trail some. About then it will be time to fly to Turkey to receive Slick. I am still working on the overland travel for Asia, visas to Russia are more difficult to get. Visas to Vietnam were easy and the Chinese didn’t want to give me one without tickets and sure dates of entry and exit, but when I explained I was trying to get all the way around the world on the ground or the sea they softened up a bit. So tomorrow, I am off, without my turtle shell of a floating home. I will certainly miss her, for Slick I am still sentimental.