southeast Asia



 The nuts are everywhere.  You never know where you’ll find them.  Even in the most unusual places, they pop up and rear their ugly heads.


One time, I was traveling in Southeast Asia.  I was heading from Siem Reap to Bangkok.  I was riding along in a chartered minibus.  The first bus from Siem Reap arrived at the border and stopped.  This bus wouldn’t cross the border.  We needed to pass through customs and get picked up by another bus on the other side of the border.  The second bus would complete our journey to Bangkok.


I have American Dollars and Cambodian riels.  I figured that I would eventually need some Thai Bahts to get along in Bangkok.  There was a small bank at the border.  It seemed like as good a place as any to exchange currency.  I figured this would save some time later.


I have the misfortune of running into an ex-pat American.  We get in a conversation and I make the mistake of letting him know where I work.  Let’s just say I have a particularly taxing government job.


This guy is not a big fan of the American tax system and I find myself on the receiving end of a bruising lecture.  I’m getting an earful on the unfairness of the American tax code.  He didn’t feel he should pay taxes.  I really didn’t care although I noticed his unwillingness to forfeit that American passport.


I was just standing there jaw agape.  What are the odds?  I’m halfway around the world at the Thai-Cambodian border and I’m getting chewed out about unfair taxation.


“Crack addict on welfare!”  I thought to myself, “ Why didn’t I just tell him I was a crack addict on welfare when he asked.”


It might have sounded slightly more dignified.  And it certainly might have made for a more pleasant conversation.




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