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WELCOME NEW OPRAH VIEWERS AND PEOPLE READERS!
Hi Folks, I thought I would do something a little different for this week's Newsletter. I took a trip to S.E. Asia starting December 1, of last year. It was meant to be a four month trip starting in Thailand, and then really exploring Cambodia, Laos, and Burma (Myanmar) and Southern India. One of the main reasons for this trip was to prepare for the Senior Bachelor Journey, which will include two months in this area, so I wanted to do some research. I sent some e-mails back to friends, and I thought I would share them with you.
These were the first two, and needless to say, I had no idea about the incredible circumstances which awaited me. I was heading South to Phuket, and then to Ko Phi Phi Island after a few days in Bangkok. You know what happened there on December 24, and you will read about these adventures in future Newsletters!
December 1, 2004
Hello friends, It's 8:00 a.m. and I'm in steamy Bangkok. The flight from LA was a good one-20 hours in the air, with a stop in Osaka, Japan. It seems I'm always arriving in strange counties at 2:00 in the morning, and this was no exception. When I was here with my boys in 1979, and when Chris and I were here together filming Pop&Me in 1996, we stayed in an area called Khao San Rd., which is kind of the low rent, hippie, backpacker district-and that's where I am for the moment. I love the activity level in Asia. It's really crowded, noisy, and has a very adventurous feel to it. Bangkok is a great, central jumping off point (as well as to visit) to Southeast Asia. I'll stay here some 4 days, talk to travelers who have recently been in Burma, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Southern India-the latter I have added to my itinerary should conditions be ok. Americans are treated well over here-even in Vietnam-and I could say, especially in Vietnam. The basic nature of the people here-due to their Buddhist beliefs-is one of kindness. Naturally, not all people are like this in this part of the world, but for the most part they are. I would love to hear from you, so send me a reply. Ciao, Richard
December 3, 2004
Hi Folks, This is a crazy area, for a variety of reasons. I'll try to describe Bangkok. First of all it's always hot and steamy. The "coolest" months are December, January, and February-even then it's hot and humid during the day and night. There are so many people it's almost hard to fathom. When you walk in the streets, you have never seen anything like the commotion/activity. It makes NYC look tame. But it all works. Every single inch of space is taken up by little shops and stands-mostly selling clothes. You wonder how on earth there are enough people buying things to support the seemingly tens of thousands of these stores and shops. And they are open about 18 hours a day. All kinds of food stands pack the sidewalks and many, many restaurants and bars. It's the activity level that you have to see to believe. I like it. This part of Bangkok is where travelers from all over the world congregate. If you sit at a sidewalk cafe you will hear 50 languages in an hour. Most of the people are young-in their 20s. They probably just finished college (or dropped out- lots of that here) and they go to Europe, or the more adventurous here to S.E. Asia. The big difference between Europe and Asia, and they are many and vast, is that Europe feels much more "sophisticated." Way cleaner for example. Buildings and monuments have been taken care of much better. The people dress and act "richer." And they are. But that doesn't mean life isn't as good here, it's just different-in an Asian way. By far the greatest part of the 6 billion people on Earth live in Asia. China and India alone count for 40% of the world's population. That means 1 in every 4 people is either Chinese or Indian!! Of course Thai food is awesome. I eat lots of rice and veggies (cooked). I just had that for dinner and it was 50 Baht=$1.50 My room is clean, has hot water, shower, a/c, and satelitte tv, and a big pool on the top deck overlooking Bangkok. Real nice. In this area of Bangkok, I am the oldest person here-by far. Americans my age that come here stay in hotels with other Americans and German and Japanese tourists. They never really get to know the people. Tomorrow I will do one of my favorite things I do all over the world. Most of the great cities are on rivers, like here, and most of the workers come from the "other side of the river" to work in the hotels, restaurants, etc. So I find out where the ferries drop them off, and I take them back to wherever they came from. I have no idea where I'm going, and after a nice ride, I get off and explore the area. I have never felt in any way threatened. Most people over here are very friendly- very Buddhist. Thailand is infamous for its sex business, but as you know I don't get involved with that. Those type of places are always in one part of the city, so it's easy to avoid ever being exposed to that seamy underside. The temples are truly AMAZING. And there are so many of them. In 3 or 4 days I'm off to Laos, N. Vietnam, Cambodia and Burma to do some trekking in the mountains. Very interesting, as there are many hilltribe people up there, and if you get to the right places, you can find a guide to take you into the hills-by longboat and elephant. Then you trek from village to village and the locals will put you up in their homes-which are thatched hut types on long stilts as when it rains up here, it's the real deal monsoon! It feels like you are reading a National Geographic article!! The countries are all different, and separate visas are needed for each one, and various forms of transportation are required. Sometimes you fly, or take a bus, or train-depending on the topography and what level the country is up to in this area. Make no mistake, this is adventure travel, and you get a real Indiana Jones type of rush from it all. I started out by saying you would love it here, so I hope you all will consider visiting S.E. Asia-there's nothing like it to expand your understanding of this planet. That's it for now, I'm off to firm up my itinerary. Ciao, Richard Roe
From a 40+ woman in Florida: Question-"Why is it good to make love to women over 40?" Answer: "We don't yell. We don't tell. We don't swell. And we're grateful as hell!!" Another reader sent in a quote by Freya Stark, a world traveler: "A great traveler is a kind of introspective who, as she covers the ground outwardly, so she advances inwardly." From a reader in California: "If you hear a voice within you that says 'You cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." Vincent Van Gogh.
Answers to the tennis players pictured in last week's Newsletter:
From right to left: Doug McLure, Burt Bacharach, Bill Cosby, and Lloyd Bridges- then me in my "now fashionable" pink pants. This celebrity tennis tournament was held in Monaco in 1974. Sorry, no one identified them all properly, so no trip around the world. Ha ha! Only kidding.
I am still researching other dating services, and I will pass on any recommendations at the appropriate time. I was pleased to hear from many people who have used eHarmony before, and they were pleased with the results. Of course, this was not 100%, but I think we all know that going in that it is a bit of a gamble. But nothing ventured, nothing gained. As mentioned last week, you can take the Personality Profile for free by clicking on this link. While it is true I have not used them myself, by this stage in my life I consider myself a savvy consumer and did considerable research and I like their approach. Again, these are only my opinions.
Below on the left, highlighted in blue you will see- Forward email. Simply click on those words, and you will see how easy it is to forward this Newsletter to your friends and family for them to enjoy. Thanks so much, in advance, for your help and support.
That's it for this week. Very best wishes to you all and thanks so much for being part of the Journey for Romance and Adventure.
I remain respectfully yours,
Richard Roe, The Senior Bachelor
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