Dude where’s my pipeline?

And a painful show that was. What I want to know is how other countries’ media covers domestic disasters. I have newfound respect for CNN--but just-- since moving to Southeast Asia. CNN-World surprisingly maintains semblance of journalistic precepts, which at CNN-US have been bumped by corporate interests. I’d almost forgotten the comical cowboy antics of on the ground reportage that eclipses the gravity of events until we got streaming domestic feed for the hurricane coverage. Does anyone else feel like slapping these reporters? Katrina turned the media spotlight on Louisiana’s function in the US economy, despite the state’s economic ailments. Prime location at the anal terminus of the artery of US commerce that is the Mississippi … [Read more...]

The Big Easy meets Katrina

Intoxicated fumes of breath and a clammy handshake. Missing teeth in a captivating smile.... N'awlins' reputation precedes it and this is the first impression, before the jazz and blues spin rhythms with the muggy air, before the Cajun spices mount the offensive. Have you been where elegance and refinement consort passionately with the grit and grime? Indolence is King so strap your principles on and hang tight or lose ‘em. It’s a schizophrenic transvestite full of wit, this crazy town. And you’ll never forget her.Knock back some Southern Comfort. This show will be painful. … [Read more...]

Fish tales and banana jams– Koh Kong or BUST!!!

The blistery summer sun finally yawned and shifted attention elsewhere, allowing a lively tropical storm to play in the Cardamom Mountains. Screeching winds and driving torrents of rain obliged the topographical audience of trees and flora to bend and sway in spirited waves. Onstage in the heavens thunder raged while spectacular light shows illuminated our path. Range Rover engineers were done proud on those unpaved jungle passes. Such backdrop commands resonance with the soul, a harmony of earth and spirit, a communion of----what the--?As we awaited transport to cross the river, a curious contraption, defying the tedium of logic, bobbed into view. It asked to be stared at rudely. The apparatus comprised planks of wood wrongly secured atop … [Read more...]

Images of Cambodia

Culinary delights for the uncompromising palate.Welcome to Cambodia (overland crossing at Poipet border).All manner of vendors and sellers descend upon stopped vehicles.View from the back of a tuk-tuk of some lakeside dwellings in Siem Reap.Angkor Wat, in the Angkor Archaeological ZoneBayon, in the Angkor Archaeological ZoneTa Phrom, in the Angkor Archaeological ZoneTa Phrom. These massive root systems have been removed from the other Angkor sites, but the French left them during their administration of this particular site.With frequent and strong rains during the monsoon seasons, houses are typically raised off the ground.Roadside gas station in the provincesGas station in Phnom Penh around the corner from my first apartmentThe local … [Read more...]

Cambodia: How to do the Poipet Border Crossing

Border crossing from Arranyaprathet, Thailand, into Poipet, Cambodia, is more stressful than the other way around. The casinos are right on the border, with sellers and market stalls outside. $40 rooms are had here if the onwards journey is postponed and a night's stay is necessary. Otherwise, the main street just straight out from the border is lined with guesthouses of various price ranges. My $3 room was clean with a solid lock on a rickety door. The bus station was off this main road to the left, if walking away from the border, for my early morning bus ride. If you purchased a trip from Bangkok to Siem Reap (Angkor Wat) or Bangkok-Phnom Penh, there is the possibility of a scam in Poipet. This can go along the lines of the bus breaking … [Read more...]

Thailand: Scene in Bangkok

People believe that spirits share the space that humans inhabit. When a house is built, a similar-looking smaller house is built and placed at a prominent location on the property, to house the spirits that were displaced by the humans moving in. This is done to pacify them or else bad luck will befall the new tenants. Many accidents plagued the building of the Erawan complex in this photo. These events stopped when this spirit house was built and dedicated. Khao San Road, the backpacking mecca of Bangkok. Jasmine vendor. The smell of jasmine is just heaven! Fish vendor. The smell in the meat market is NOT heaven! The absolute BESTEST iced tea in the world is at this particular street vendor in Bangkok! Drinks are put … [Read more...]

Vietnam: Visiting Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Of the three countries we visited, I think K fell in love with Vietnam. My consultancy back in Cambodia was on hiatus, due to financial mangling/wrangling among the health partners collaborating on the survey. It meant that K and I could not schedule ahead our entire visit with each other and instead were at beck and call of the survey's schedule. Thus our time in Saigon was limited. However we found that it was the perfect middle ground between the ordered chaos of the big city of Bangkok and the primitive desperation of Phnom Penh. We spared ourselves the harrowing border crossing and went with a reliable tour company this time!Saigon, or Ho Chi Minh City in bureaucratic speak, is such a great city. The Cambodian side of the border is … [Read more...]

Free Trade and Pharmaceuticals

The average NGO or civic group does not have adequate capacity to actively participate in the increasingly complex policy and legal environment of global trade. This puts decisions and actions taking place in corporate headquarters and multilateral assemblies out of reach of the ordinary citizen. Here is the short-version international legal framework for essential medicines, proprietary drugs, and CAFTA.From GATT to the WTOThe end of WWII saw the creation of the World Bank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to regulate international economic cooperation. These are known as the "Bretton Woods" institutions, named for the town in Vermont, USA, where negotiations took place. The package of trade rules which came out of this … [Read more...]