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This Andy from
Here is a critique or some comments about
my newsletters on Thailand from a reader. I do not
fully understand, and maybe someone will explain.

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Archives of my newsletter he is commenting on:



A Helpful Critique

Dude, you gotta expand.

It's funny how I just started recently reading your stuff, just when
you're about to fly to Thailand - my favorite place. I've spent many
years there, and probably will spend many more in future. The wife is
from there. Many, many friends and I communicate with each other
the place - all have lived there, and some still do.

So when you announced a move to Thailand, I encouraged all my old pals
in the ;Thailand Club; to subscribe and tune in to your findings.
They've all written to me - with helpful critiques on your writings.

To put it in a nutshell: You're in the BEST place on earth for
delicious food, frosty beer, bar girls, Buddhist culture, marijuana,
other drugs, incredible locals..... AND ALL WE HEAR ABOUT IS GODDAM
EUROTRASH!! Who gives a damn about their self-indulgent neuroses,
which you do a depressing job of covering. HOW ABOUT THE REST OF

Spicy food, for example. Not a word. Singha Beer. No mention.
Thai people. They barely exist in your writings. How much for the
'shrooms on Koh Samui? Absolutely no details. Photos of beautiful
Thai girls in a go-go bar? Sorry, all we get are lousy photos of

Really disappointing. Also, your free verse....  ;Boom boom ;, etc.
could use a little help.
Maybe try to be more cheerful or something like that.

And an udder thing: The new name for Burma is spelled Myanmar.
your letters. And if you're going to goddam Myanmar, you DON'T go
south to Malaysian border, you gotta go through goddam BANGKOK!! You
Idiot!! Where's that MAP you were thinking of buying, Mr.

This is not just me talking, it's sort of a synthesis of all my old
colleagues' remarks. We really are disappointed at your take on the
best, most exciting, most balls-to-the-balls culture on earth.

P.S. That Brazilian/Jewish girl you thought was so great.... looks
pretty bad to us. Try a pub at Nana Plaza in Bangkok for a beautiful
girl. Then you'll understand a little more about The Kingdom.

Looking forward to hearing from you on all this. If you need an
English teaching position at Prince of Songkhla University (Hat Yai),
let me know. An experience like that would REALLY help you to see
beneath the mindless W.T. beach culture veneer.


Mobile Mac
Ozol, Calif.
Hobo (as in freight trains, naturally)


The Final Critique

Dear Andy Backpacker-not-really-hobo,

You may recall my critique of your earlier posting from Thailand. And
you may recall I felt moved to respond because I - and several
colleagues - live, have lived, and/or will live in Thailand.

We're all sort of;Old Thailand Hands;. And we're all very much aghast
at your cavalier dismissal of the entire kingdom. Shocking. Our guess
is you're close to a nervous breakdown - being on the road for so many
years can do it - or else simply in need of a quick evacuation back to
the good old USA.

A reminder from my last message: You are now in THE country best known
for exotic fun, cold beer, excellent pot, and wonderful bar girls.
Etc. etc. And yet not a SINGLE reference to any of these!
What happened? A strict religious background? Too frugal to enjoy?
You might even find a Thai girlfriend if able to loosen up a bit.

Also, from a journalistic point of view - the mention of ;I got robbed
of $75 on the way; is, like it or not, the most tantalizing part of
your tale. And yet we receive no details. They are certainly due.
What happened, some Eurotrash guy did it? Also, as a very
well-travelled backpacker, we assume this thing would not happen to
People would like to learn from you on this. But you really ran
from it. Oh well.

;If you want to find people going to Church...; Sorry - very, very
churches in Thailand. They're mostly ;temples;.
Please keep trying to learn how to spell the new name for Burma - it's
M-Y-A-N-M-A-R. Sheeesh.

And while I'm ranting, let me add this word for your consideration:
Ethnocentric. For such a man of the world, you often compare
with your way - that is, the way things are done back home. Painful
read this part of your postings. It's a big world, and an infinite

I lived and worked in the Hoosier State for a while. Interesting to
note that your writing bears strong Hoosier influences.

;The Thais think I am very strange.; Well said. Any further comment
would be superfluous.

A couple weeks back you were thinking of later going through Indonesia,
then Australia. My humble advice: it wouldn't be your cup of tea.
The Indonesians would eat you alive, if you'll pardon the expression.
And Australia would cost too much - we sense you're a bit reluctant to
splash out with the dough. Fair enough, mate. I'm the same way.
Consider this, then:
Thailand - Cambodia (heaven on earth for a single man) - Laos (heaven
earth for cannabis) - Hong Kong - Taiwan - (skip China, skip Japan,
you'd likely fall into a terrible funk there) - South Korea - Honolulu
Indianapolis - Elkhorn.

Well, that's how I see it, anyway.

After sending this, will forward you a couple brief travel notes from
friends who recently visited Laos, and Cambodia. Check out their
punchy style of writing, and concrete suggestions. No wistful
philosophizing, just fun facts.

I'm off for Hualien, Taiwan. Then: Britt, Iowa - mid-August. Site of
the annual hobo convention. That is, hoboes who hop freight trains.
The real thing.

Keep up the good work with your spellchecker!

Best regards,

Mobile Mac
Ozol, Calif.


Date: Thu, 11 Jul 2002 14:20:17 -0700

From: "Mac Jay"
Subject: [Fwd: lonely planet guide, shlomo style]

- And yet another traveller's note - this lucky fellow is enjoying Cambodia.
- Note the useful, specific suggestions.

Mobile Mac

km 11, prices still $5, except for the A/C place which is $10
brownie ($5) packs more of a wallop than pizza ($6-10), especially if you tip the waitresses $1 each and come
back the next day.
morphine still available over the counter
good coffee at the Riverside Hotel ...25 cent..French roast....yummmm
good coconut juice at the vietnamese cafe across from Sharkey's.....80cent,,,includes tea, towelette, and
introduction to the mama san of Sharkey's


Date: Thu, 11 Jul 2002 14:18:41 -0700

From: "Mac Jay"
Subject: Vang Vieng, Laos

- Here's one of the travel notes I just mentioned to you.   Check it out, swinger.

Mobile Mac


The missing meterorite doesn't surprise me that much. It weighed only 3
kgs. and was probably the size of a small ball. I know from a woman in the
jewelry biz in Thailand that there is a lot of theft at jewelry tradeshows.
They post guards at some booths because the ratio of value to size is
attractive to thieves.

Just back from rustic Vang Vieng in Lao P.D.R. This tranquil burg is 2.5
hours north of Vientiane and has become a small travellers' mecca. There is
cave exploring (muddy in the rainy season, but fun), tubing on the
swift-flowing Song River, an organic farm to visit. Weed and opium were
easy to find. I thought that we would be able to do the wooden pillow, long
pipe-type of opium smoking like in Northern Thailand, but we had to take the
stuff back to the hotel. Laos is not a place for Katz and his crew. There
is a midnight curfew and not much evidence of his kind of vice, even the one
night we spent in Vientiane. Can you free up Lao P.D.R. fro
m your list of
restricted countries? You could transit through Taipei or Bangkok.


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