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Sihanoukville, Cambodia  Stepping out of the shower
Amanda dried her hair with a towel as she turned to stand
in front of the full-length mirror, "Auuugh," she screamed, "I
look like....ah... Shrek!"

"Huh, what?" I grunted.  Sprawled out on the bed I was
reading an entertaining book found among a pile next to
the beach bar and was slow to react.

"Shrek! I look like Shrek."  She said, suddenly getting
frantic as she pirouetted before the first full-length mirror
we had had in months, "Do you think I look....fafafa fat?"

"Wha?...No." I insisted as I pulled my attention away from
the book, a humorous story about a prickly toilet fixtures
salesman who steals a hot-air balloon to escape a
kidnapping.  The character's sarcasm was infectious and
before thinking I said, "Of course not.  You look more like
Mrs. Shrek.  What's her name?  Princess Amidala?"

She threw the towel at me and slammed the bathroom
door behind her.

Truth be told, the mirror confirmed something we had
suspected.  We were both getting wider.  Not fat, just
broad.  Stretchy cycling clothing and an absence of
bathroom scales had obscured the fact.  Mirrorless
guesthouse rooms did not help.  Of course we could see it
in one another, but after a day of exhausting cycling the
last thing you want to say to your spouse is, "Oh, by the
way, your rear end is getting awfully large."  

Once calm Amanda relinquished control of the bathroom
and we talked about how this could possibly be
happening.  Where was the logic in it?  We were cycling
sometimes ten hours a day, nearly every day.  Not only
that.  Freaks that we are, we were running most of the
days we did not ride.  How could we possibly be getting

Early the next morning attached the panniers to our bikes
on the dirt path outside the beach bungalow in preparation
for the hilly ten kilometer ride to the port where we would
embark on a sea journey from Sihanoukville to the town of
Koh Kong, close to the border with Thailand.  Several
hours remained before the boat departed but we were
unable to get good directions to the port and decided to
leave with plenty of time to spare.  

Once at the port I pedaled to the gate and asked, "Koh
Kong," to the guard.  

He twisted his hand in the air, a gesture with which we
were intimately familiar.  In much of Southeast Asia the
twisting hand indicates "No", or "I don't know," or most
often, "Don't bother me if you cannot speak something I

Amanda persisted with a hand signal of her own, an up
and down wavy motion indicating a boat as she asked,
"Koh Kong?"

"Koh Kong?" The guard repeated following her hand up
and down with a bobbing head.

"Boat," Amanda nodded, "Koh Kong."

Disinterestedly he turned the page of his newspaper as
he pointed with his thumb down a narrow, potholed dirt
road that ran around the back of a tall cement wall.  
Following the path for a few kilometers we found
ourselves riding next to hundreds of improvised shacks
built on pillars over the crystal blue water along what was
once a beach access lane and had been transformed into
a teeming market.  

Pedaling ahead I was mesmerized by the activity until
Amanda yelled from behind, "Rich.  Stop!"  I turned to
watch her cycle onto a muddy path, following as she
pointed up to the rusty metal sign above the gate.  
Somehow she had recognized the faded logo from the
ticket we had purchased two days earlier.  

Tied to a rickety pier the boat did not instill confidence.  It
would carry us on the fickle Gulf of Thailand, a body of
water that could be glass-like one moment, white-capped
the next.  The ferry was a second-hand Malaysian
riverboat, designed to navigate the narrow relatively calm
tributaries cross-crossing Borneo.  It was not built for the
open ocean.

After loading our gear into the hold I carried the bikes
aboard and locked them to the rail up above on deck.  
Amanda found seats below and placed our heavy duffel
bags next to her to save a seat for me.  As I stood
watching she began digging through our food supply.
"We'll be on board for about five hours.  We should get a
baguette for lunch."  Earlier that morning I had made a pot
full of spicy rice noodles in preparation for the trip but
figured a little extra food was a good precaution.  

As Amanda guarded the gear in the stern of the boat I
walked back out to the road where I found a few women
with large wicker baskets full of fragrant fresh-baked
baguettes.  I asked a chunky middle-aged woman her
price for the bread.  Shamelessly she told me an amount I
knew to be five times the norm so I strolled a little further
down the road to find a young woman who held up one
finger to indicate 1000 riel, the normal price.  A hungry
looking man with squinting, angry eyes squatted nearby
watching as I held up four fingers and dug through my
pocket for the proper bills.  The girl bagged the four
baguettes and I paid her the exact amount.  

Stepping away from the wicker basket I squeezed the
warm bread and pinched off a chunk, popping it in my
mouth.  It melted like fresh butter.  Turning back to the girl I
held up three fingers, nodded and smiled.  She gave a
throaty laugh in return and added three more baguettes to
the bag as I greedily ate the first.   

"Six baguettes!" Amanda said when I returned to the
boat.  "We couldn't possibly eat six baguettes!  They're
going to go stale."

"Taste one, they're delicious," I said, handing her the bag.  

"How do you know they're good?"

"I tried one."

Never one to miss a detail she ruffled through the bag then
said, "Which one?

"Um, I ate it."

"A whole baguette.  You ate a whole baguette it the
seconds it took you to walk back to the boat.  We just had
breakfast.  I thought we'd share one at lunch, not six... or
seven baguettes.  See, this is exactly what I was talking
about," she said, indignantly.

I should have left it at that, but could not resist, "What?  
What do you mean?"

"Shrek! That's what."  Then as she reached across to pull
my black duffle bag toward her she added sarcastically,
"Oh, no, I mean Mrs. Shrek.  Princess Shrek, whatever her
name is."   Unclasping the food duffle she opened it wide
and brought out the sealable metal pot full of noodles and
a bulging ziplock bag.

A few local passengers had begun shuffling onto the boat
and a family with five small children all dressed in
traditional Khmer clothing slowly worked their way to the
back.  They sat together on the wooden planks among the
passenger luggage directly across from us even through
there were plenty of seats available.  Unabashedly they
watched as Amanda rummaged through the duffel bag.

"Look at this," she said, dangling the ziplock.  "How much
of this chewy banana candy do we really need?"  The kids
looked at the snack with wide-eyes.

"But, it's good and we can't..."

"And this," she persisted, gripping a bulging bag of
roasted peanuts.  "Do we really need a ton of peanuts?  
How many peanuts are in here anyway?  What is this, five

"But when we cycle... as a snack," I pleaded.

Shaking her head in disgust she noticed the kids eying
the chewy candy and quickly packed it all back in the
duffle, clipped the straps and placed the bag on top of our
pile of panniers.  From the corner of my eye I saw her look
at the bag full of bread and knew she was thinking of
giving a couple of loaves to the family.

"Don't."  I said under my breath.  "I am going to eat 'em."

Silently we sat and mulled while I chewed another
baguette.  As the last passengers embarked, the engines
of the boat roared to life and we pulled away from the
pier.  Engulfed in the deafening hum we sat quietly and
pondered the insatiable gluttons we had become.  

Not long after beginning this cycling journey we both
recognized an increased need for food.  After all, the
energy required to pedal a heavily loaded bicycle for eight
or ten hours each day is enormous.  An unquenchable
appetite developed in each of us that seemed
bottomless.  The huge morning meal devoured before
setting out for the day digested within two hours and I
began to feel pangs in my stomach once again just after
eleven.  I never really felt full.  Never.  At the end of a day of
cycling I could eat two regular servings, then three or four
pieces of fruit, and still crave more.   

But that was not the only problem.  Meals were limited to
what we could carry so a small behind-the-scenes food
fight broke out between us, an epic struggle to see who
would get the most of the minimal supplies.  Born and
raised a Catholic, Amanda is particularly susceptible to
the cluster bomb of guilt.  After wolfing down my
overflowing platefull of food I would find myself
unconsciously staring at what remained on hers.  If we
were in a small town she might suggest I go for a walk to
find the municipal market.  But more often than not we
were out in the middle of nowhere, under an abandoned
thatched roof shelter, where nothing could divert my
attention.  Grudgingly she would relent and dump half of
her scraps on my plate, insisting that she had had

Strangely, our already ravenous hunger increased once
we crossed the border into Cambodia.  Having traveled in
Africa and Latin America we have experienced places
where hunger and malnutrition is not uncommon.  
Cambodia was the first country we have been to in
Southeast Asia where hunger abounds, where most
people have less food than they want and many have less
than they need.   

It was as if some primal force had taken hold within our
bodies.  Being around people who suffered from a lack of
food put us in a starvation mode where we made
perplexing decisions, ate outrageous amounts and
refused to share with others.  A few days before leaving
Cambodia I had purchased a five-pound bag of roasted
peanuts at the market and it seemed perfectly reasonable
at the time.  Five pounds is a lot of weight for a cyclist to
carry, but it never once occurred to me that it might be
excessive.  Seven baguettes seemed perfectly sensible.    

Landing at the dock in Koh Kong we waited as the other
passengers disembarked so that we could leisurely
unload the panniers and bikes.  Two young men stood
next to our bicycles on deck, both had a hand on one
saddle as if claiming it as their own.  Fortunately I had
locked the bikes to the rail.  We had heard stories about
how these guys carry cargo a few steps from the boat then
demand outrageous fees for their effort.  When I indicated
that we would unload the bikes ourselves they looked as if
they might chop me in half.

The rainy season was still a few weeks away but a light
shower fell as we set out for the border with Thailand early
the next morning.  Cambodian officials are infamous for
their ingenuity in concocting bureaucratic schemes to
separate bewildered travelers from the contents of their
money belts and I tried to swallow my dread as we
handed our passports through the slot in the window
marked "Immigration".  After crossing countless borders I
still got butterflies in my stomach each time.  When the
officer carefully flipped the pages and pressed the exit
stamp on the proper spot it was as if a weight had been
lifted.  We were free to enter Thailand.

Moments after leaving the border checkpoint the sky
opened with a torrential downpour.  For sixty kilometers
we pedaled in the rain over long rolling hills, toughing it out
through the deluge before huddling under a palm roof
shelter.  As we ate the last of the stale baguettes a brand
new pick-up truck stopped next to us on the side of the
road.  A young Thai girl emerged from the rear seat and
asked in English, "Do you need help?"

In unison we yelled, "YES," perhaps a bit too loud and
enthusiastically for the occasion.

Despite our overeager reaction the well-dressed couple in
the front seat waived to us, indicating that we load our
bikes and panniers in the back of the truck, then scooted
the younger daughter to the front seat so that we could fit
inside the cab.  

Vacationing for the past week at a nearby beach resort
the family had planned their trip away from the bustle of
Bangkok at the end of the dry season but the monsoon
had arrived early.  The older daughter frowned as she told
us the weather forecast for the next few days, "Rain.  
Rain.  Rain.  It rained every day we were at the beach and
it will just rain now always."  

An occasional shower while cycling in Thailand can bring
relief from the sweltering heat but pedaling for days in a
constant tropical downpour is not much fun.  After the
family dropped us at a hotel in the town of Trat we sought
out the bus station, purchasing tickets to the capital.

Arriving in Bangkok the next morning was like returning
home after a long absence.  Wheeling the bikes up the
rear stairs at the hostel we locked them on an unused
porch and promptly forgot about them.  

We were back.  Rarely could we say that.  Back in the
town we knew well, where we recognized the friendly
vendors and the ones to avoid, where we knew the shop
that sells the best noodles and the amount we should pay
for a papaya.  It was time for a break from the constant
change of cycle touring and Bangkok with its filth, glitz,
belching smog, and transvestite prostitutes felt more like
home than, well, home.  

Up early that first morning Amanda was itching to test
herself on the nine kilometer run we knew so well and said
to me as we were leaving the hostel, "Six months ago we
were running this in forty-seven minutes."  Her watch
beeped as she pressed the start button and she was off
like a shot.  

Crossing over busy Sukhumvit Road we trotted down
narrow Soi 10 to the end where the pedestrian path
alongside the canal begins.  The familiar smell of the dank
waterway, a uniquely distinct mixture of decaying plants,
frothy chemicals, and raw sewage gave me a strangely
pleasant feeling of well-being.  At the end of the path a set
of steep stairs dropped down into Lumpini Park where
thousands of Thais gather each morning to exercise and
practice martial arts.

Entering the park Amanda was breathing hard as she
glanced down at her watch and grunted, "We're slow, let's
pick it up a bit."  Sprinting ahead she sidestepped a
group of men wearing bright yellow shirts.  Moving in
unison they swung Kendo sticks with a swooping arc.  
Running around a large gazebo we came to a group of old
women thrusting fans in a single fluid motion punctuated
by a mighty "Hah!"

"Hah!" Amanda repeated with a smile as she dodged the
thrust and a few of the fan swingers broke ranks to emit a

Leaving the park we retraced our route and raced back to
the hostel.  Down the final stretch, a narrow soi, we
weaved through tuk-tuks, fruit vendors, fishball sellers,
go-go bar touts and turbaned tailors to arrive at the
entrance to the hostel in fifty-three minutes.  

"Six minutes slow," she said dejectedly.  

Later, while eating at the hostel's communal breakfast
Amanda took pad of paper from her bag and began
writing a list.  After a few minutes of concentrated effort
she asked, "What are some of the things we need to do
while we're here in Bangkok?"

"New tires," I said.

She looked down at her list, "Yeah, got that".

"Dentist," I said.  "We need..."

"Yep, on the list already."

"Guidebooks for..." I said, hoping to catch her.

"Got that too," she said with a chuckle as she scribbled a
note on her list.

"I know what you forgot," I mocked.  "Rabies vaccination."

She whipped her head up and stared at me with alarm,
"Oh no!"

"Yes!" I insisted, startling our neighbor at the next table.  
"India has half the worlds cases of rabies and the dogs
are notorious for chasing cyclists."  It was unbelievable
that she was still hesitant to get the rabies vaccination.  I
had wanted to get it years before but she had always

"Well, you can get it but I'm not," she said.

I was appalled, "You've been attacked by monkeys, not
once, but twice!  You really need to get the rabies

Mumbling to herself she began making curlicues on the
list and our eavesdropping neighbor fought back a smile
as she stood up from the table.  

It was exciting to be planning the next stage of our
journey.  I have always enjoyed the preparation nearly as
much as the actual travel.  That feeling of anticipation
brought on by a fear of the unknown is one of the ways we
feel most alive.  Trying to foresee the difficulties we will
encounter along the way and planning where to go brings
out the best in both of us.

As the days passed our morning runs progressively
improved.  On morning as we raced back to the hostel
entrance we met another couple traveling by bicycle.  
Vicky and Nick, two friendly Scots who were also touring
Asia, had just entered the city by train from the
Cambodian border and were registering at the hostel.  
Carrying his bicycle up to the unused balcony Nick asked,
"s'hat your bicycles up there?"

Having nearly forgotten all about them I said with surprise,
"Yes, they are."

"The chains," he said, looking at me as if I should know.  
When I did not respond he said in a jolly way, "Ah, well,
looks as if they may have a bit of rust on them."  

"Must have been the sea spray from the boat," I replied
with a shrug and made a mental note to check them.  Rule
number one of international cycle touring is to keep the
chain clean and well-oiled as a dirty, rusted chain can
cause serious damage to the gears.   

Four days later when Vicky and Nick were checking out I
remembered the chain and marched up to the balcony to
have a look.  Nick was polite in his description, possibly to
spare me the embarrassment.  The chains did not have a
bit of rust on them, they were solid rust.  So rusted, in fact,
that the pedals would not turn.  The rest of the bike was
covered with specks and splotches of rust.  It hurt me to
look at them.  I was shocked to see how quickly they had

On my way to a bike shop I decided to stay on the
SkyTrain for a few extra stops and pay a visit to the Thai
government's Tropical Disease Hospital.    Researching
the different medical clinics on the internet I found that the
hospital offered the three-course rabies vaccination for a
reasonable price.  The façade of the building was modern
and sparklingly new but the vaccination clinic was way
back in the bowels of the old decrepit hospital.  

The receptionist smiled and said, "Hello" as she handed
me a new patient chart.  

"Hello," I said, "Thank you.  I am here to find out the rabies

"Yes," she said with a sly smile and pointed to the chart.

"Do you do the vaccination here?" I asked

Again the smile. "Yes," and another point to the chart.

"What is the price for the injection?" I asked.

"Hummm.  Yes." She said and pointed with her lips
toward the chart, no longer smiling.  

Realizing that I was not communicating I pointed to her
and then to myself as I pretended to inject my arm with a
needle and raised my eyebrows in a questioning way.  

She walked away without answering.  Replaying in my
mind what I had just done, I thought maybe I had
committed some unintentional offense and wondered if
she was searching out the security guard.  But when her
heels clicked halfway down the hall she turned to me and
said, "Hey, you, you, you," then scooped her hand in the
air, indicating that I was to follow.  

She took me to a nurse's station where I asked the same
questions and found that they did indeed provide the
service.  A jolly nurse pointed to the waiting room full of
patients and said, "Please wait here and complete the
forms."  The room was overflowing with people sprawled
out on the floor and curled in balls on plastic chairs.  Each
and every one appeared to be a textbook photo for some
incurable tropical disease.  I quickly made my way to the
exit as I politely thanked her, and was soon back out on
the street heading toward the bike shop.  As I glanced at
the trinkets displayed by vendor stalls crowding the
sidewalk I decided not to mention any of this to Amanda.   

Early one morning a few weeks later we were running
down the narrow soi toward the park and passed a go-go
bar.  Most mornings this particular bar would have several
short-skirted women and a few leftovers patrons still
chatting and dancing out in front.  This was a Saturday
and the owner, a pouchy middle-aged Thai man with a
pock marked face had apparently had a good night and
was down on his knees on the dirty sidewalk, his hands
clasped below his drooping chin.  A monk and two
novices wearing bright orange robes stood barefoot
before him, chanting in monotone voices as their eyes
stole glances at the women.  The impatient owner stood
as the chanting neared the end and whipped out a wad of
bills, tossing a few twenties into each of the opened alms
bowls as if he were throwing them on a poker table.  

Running through Lumpini Park we passed a group of fit
Thai men wearing matching racing singlets and shorts.  A
few of the men fell in with our pace and one said to me,
"Hey, your... your.... your...," as he pointed to Amanda.

"My wife," I said.

"Yes, your wife, she is fast."  From the corner of my eye I
could see a smile growing on Amanda's face.

"She is," I agreed.  

"There is a race in two weeks at the Rama Park.  It is ten
kilometers," he said enthusiastically, then turned his
attention to Amanda, "You should participate."  As we ran
together in a group he told us the details of the race and
where to register.  

Trotting back to the hostel on the path along the canal
Amanda said, "Ahhhh.  Now we have something to work
towards."  Then she took off in a sprint.  As I followed her
down the path a Thai man dressed in the uniform of a
security officer decided to race us to the end on his
bicycle.  Pedaling furiously he began to pass us and tried
to shift gears but his chain let out a grinding groan and he
coasted to a stop.  

His mishap reminded me of the bikes at the hostel.  That
afternoon I donned my oldest, dirtiest clothing and carried
my tool kit to the balcony.  Fortunately, I had coated each
spot of corrosion with a thick coat of penetrating oil back
when I first discovered it.  Now I had to scrub away the
rust, clean the chains and do a full tune-up in preparation
for the next leg of our journey.  

Thoroughly inspecting the bikes for the first time since
putting them on the balcony I could not believe that we had
allowed them to decline so badly.  While we try not to
become too attached to our possessions and avoid
becoming obsessive about them, we rely on our bikes to
get us where we want to go.  If I failed to keep them well
tuned they might leave us stranded in the middle of

Slowly I worked in a methodical manner, checking each
piece for deterioration then attacking it with a scrubbing
pad and oil.  I removed the chains, worked out the sticky
links and smeared a protective coating of lubrication into
the crevices.  While I was disappointed in myself for letting
the deterioration occur, it felt good to restore the bikes.  
The scrubbing and oiling made me feel as if I were
moving in the right direction.  I enjoyed the rejuvenation.

Covered in grease I returned to the room and hopped in
the shower with a scrubbing pad and a new bar of soap.  
As I scoured my hands raw I heard the door open.  
Returning from the internet cafe Amanda poked her head
in the bathroom door and asked, "What ever happened
with the rabies vaccination?"

"Ah, it didn't work out," I answered disappointedly.

"I saw that the BNH Hospital has a new international travel
clinic," she said.  "Do you want to go and check it out?"

Excited I blurted, "Yes.  Are you going to get the
vaccination too?"

"Well," she said grudgingly, "I was reading about rabies in"

"Great," I interrupted, "Lets go now."  Not wanting to give
her any time to change her mind I jumped out of the
shower half-clean and rushed to get dressed.

The lobby of the BNH Hospital seemed more like a five
star hotel than a medical facility and I felt out of place with
my grease-specked hands.  If not for the pretty young
nurses bustling through the halls wearing the traditional
white uniforms topped with the flared nurse cap I would
have though we had wandered into the Inter-Continental.  

At the reception desk of the International Travel Clinic they
offered us a price sheet for the vaccinations we required
and I was shocked to discover they charged a fraction of
the prices we had paid at the strip-mall travel clinic in San
Diego.  Had we known we could have saved the cost of a
round trip ticket to Asia.  

The petite Indian doctor paged through our fading yellow
vaccination cards and said, "Your typhoid vaccination has

"We're cycling through India.  Do you think that's
something we'll need?  I asked.

She looked up at us as if we were deranged then adjusted
her glasses along with her expression.  "By bicycle?

"Yes," Amanda said.  "First Malaysia and Singapore.  
Then on to India"

"Hum," she said.  "Yes, you should have the typhoid

"We were thinking maybe of getting the rabies
vaccination..." I said as Amanda interrupted.

"What to you think?  Do you think it's necessary?"

The doctor answered gravely, "More than half the worlds
cases of rabies infection occur in India."

I uttered quickly before the doctor could go on, "And we
get chased by dogs all the time.  Sometimes monkeys

"Oh yes.  If you are planning to travel by bicycle," she
paused, "in India," another pause, "then yes, I would say
the rabies vaccination is a wise precaution."  I could see
she wanted to say more but decided against it.

Looking at the calendar we realized we would have just
enough days left on our Thai visa to get the three
injections before leaving the country.  The doctor passed
us off to her nurse who administered the injections with a
gentleness not normally associated with the medical

Two weeks later the alarm of the short wave radio blasted
a sappy Thai pop tune at 4:15 in the morning.  Thai road
races begin early to beat the sweltering heat and for this
one, sponsored by the Thai Asthma Council, the gun was
scheduled to go off at six.   The taxi zoomed through the
dark deserted streets of early morning Bangkok and
arrived after a rather circuitous, meter-clicking forty

Teams of runners from across the country dressed in
identical uniforms claimed areas around the starting line
to complete their pre-race warm-ups.  This was serious
business.  There was a bit of friendly banter but most of
the Thais were obviously intent on beating their regular

As she pinned the race number to my shirt Amanda said,
"A lot of these women are real runners."

"Don't worry," I said.  "We've been training hard every
morning for this.  You'll do just fine."

Groups of participants began making their way to the start
banner and Amanda gave me a shove saying, "That's
easy for you to say.  You better start weaving your way
through the crowd to the front.  I'm fine here."

At exactly six the gun exploded with a clap.  Rushing
forward the crush of competitors struggled like a heard of
wildebeests, charging around a narrow corner then
breaking free in the first straightaway.  The course was
laid out entirely in the massive park with wide, paved
walkways meandering among ornate gardens and
manicured shrubs.

The two-kilometer water station was manned by young
students dressed in yellow shirts as a sign of respect to
Thailand's King.  Gulping down a cupful of ice water
handed to me by a boy yelling, "Go, go, go," my throat
froze and momentarily clamped shut.

A few minutes after seeing the sign marking four
kilometers the first runner passed me as he sprinted back
toward the finish line on the out-and-back course.  I
watched those in front to see how far behind I was from
the main pack and noticed that none of the women were
ahead of me.  

Circling around the half-way banner then returning past
those behind I kept an eye for Amanda and we cheered
one another as we passed.  There were only a few women
in front of her and she appeared to be in good form.

Crossing the finish line I was guided down a chute where
a young man wrote down my number and finishing time
while another handed me the ornate medal they were
giving to all finishers.  Quickly I jogged over to the water
station and gulped down a few cups before returning to
the finish line to watch Amanda come in.  

As she made the final turn she raced a Thai man across
the line, beating him by a few steps.  While they were
shaking hands one of the race officials rushed forward
and thrust a tag over Amanda's head indicating she had
placed in the top of her age group.  

Strolling around the finish area we stretched for a while
and waited for the awards ceremony to begin.  A few of
the running club members recognized the tag around
Amanda's neck and gave her a thumbs-up as they

The Thai national anthem kicked off the ceremony and we
stood at attention along with hundreds of runners gathered
before the stage.  After a long speech by a fit old man
clad in a yellow shirt the announcer began by calling the
overall race winners to the stage.  The stick-thin Thai man
and woman simultaneously kneeled before a life-size
gold-framed image of the King before prostrating
themselves on the stage in reverence to the monarch.  
Amanda turned to me and said, "Oh no. What should I do
when I get up there?"

Laughing, I said, "I have no idea."

"Maybe I should bow my head as I pass the King," she
said, talking to herself. "Or maybe I should turn, and look
at the portrait in respect, and then cross over to the lady
with the awards.  What do I do?"  

I had never seen her like this.  Whenever we find
ourselves in a situation where it would be appropriate for
someone to make a short speech I can always push
Amanda forward and she will, without fail, blurt out just the
right thing.  But this was all new to her and she was really
worried about doing the wrong thing and offending the

In this state of confusion the announcer called out her
name and it jolted her back to reality.  

"Oh well. Here I go," she said as she jogged toward the

Marching up the stairs with her usual confidence she did
what looked like a little curtsey before the massive image
of the King.  Since she was wearing running shorts there
was no skirt to hold outward, but that did not stop her.  
With pinkies extended she pretended to hold her skirt as
she began to dip.  Her legs must have been tired from the
race because when the curtsey bottomed out she
struggled to return upright and the polite bow turned into a
rather ungainly squat.  

The announcer burst out laughing before catching himself.  
The presenters all fought back giggles until Amanda
emerged from her squat with a beaming smile.  Together
they chuckled as the Thai women handed her a rather
large trophy.  As if on cue Amanda turned toward the
crowd and proudly posed as the photographers snapped
several pictures.  

Stepping from the stage she skipped over and handed
me the trophy as she said slyly, "Take that Princess
Bangkok Awards Ceremony
Movie Poster for Shreck 3 in Thai
Pottery Vendor, Cambodia
Stormy Southern Cambodia
Market Near the Port
Ferry to Koh Kong
Bikes Locked to the Rail
Inside the Ferry
The Port
A Caravan of Traders
A Lunch Stop
Returning to Bangkok
At the SUK 11 Backpackers Hostel with
Michael, a friend from Australia
SUK 11 Hostel
Our Morning Run on the Bike Path
Along the Canal
You Never Know What You Might
Come Across in Lumpini Park
Women Practicing A Popular
Martial Art Using Fans
Children Learning to Use Swords
Go Go Bar Owner
Giving Alms to Monks