August 23, 2002

August 2002 (Vol. 1, Issue 3)

Welcome to Truckin' my monthly E-Zine. This month's issue features two stories from Señor, one about a love story in Cambodia and the other about his recent self exploration in Thailand. Jessica E. Lapidus shares with us a childhood experience on the Dragon Coaster. Contributing once again is Armando Huerta who gives us a humorous take on gun toting prostitutes in Brazil. Zobo takes us to the Fuji Rock Festival in Japan. Skipford Van Beaverhausen dishes us the scoop on fine dining in Orlando. And yours truly, Tenzin McGrupp has two stories to share. The first is an account of my Phishy travels in Nagoya, Japan and the other story recalls the saddest day in Grateful Dead history, the day Jerry Garcia died. Relax, enjoy, and please tell your friends about this site. Thanks for all your support. Salukis! McG

Nagoya by Tenzin McGrupp
Playland by Jessica E. Lapidus
An Insider’s Guide to Orlando Restaurants by Skipford Van Beaverhausen
Jacaranda Hookers by Armando Huerta
Furthur by Señor
Zobo's Tie by Zobo
Cambodian Love Story by Señor
Jerry Day by Tenzin McGrupp


By Tenzin McGrupp © 2002

12 June 00
Nagoya, Japan

Earlier in the morning Beano had departed for a trek in the Japan Mountains, leaving me and Señor alone to navigate the confusing and congested Central Station in Tokyo. We need to find the office that will validate our Japanese Rail (JR) Travel Passes. Señor had scored us Green Passes or First Class passes that would permit us to have unlimited usage of the highly intricate and efficient Japanese Rail system. We had been able to ride the bullet trains for one week in First Class for $350 US. That's bargain considering a one way trip from Tokyo to Osaka cost $100 and that's in regular coach seating. When we finally get to the office we book our entire train trip for the remainder of the Phish tour: Tokyo to Nagoya, Nagoya to Fukuoka, Fukuoka to Osaka, and Osaka to Tokyo. The bullet trains are cheaper than flying and I love train travel because it gives me a better opportunity to see the Japanese countryside, something you miss when you are 30,000 feet up in the atmosphere.

On the platform the Shinkansen bullet trains pull into the station as I stand and marvel at these modern modes of transport, the space aged, long sleek, sparkling clean white tubes. Inside they are spotless, carpeted and air-conditioned. I have come a long way from home and the filthy subways of NYC to be riding the best rail system in the world. The first class cars, or the Green Cars, are designated with big Green Shamrocks on the outside of the cars. We walk down the platform until we see our car.

As we enter the bullet train, a bevy of twelve or so other Americans making their way to Nagoya are getting settled in. I introduce myself as soon as I get into the aisle.

"Hello everyone, if I could get your attention please, my name is McGrupp and I am an alcoholic."

The car erupts in laughter. I point to Señor, and continue. "This is my side kick and attorney, Señor. We will be entertaining you all for the next two hours."

A light round of applause makes its way through the Green Car. My icebreaker has seemed to work and now I will be known as "the drunk guy on the bullet train" for the rest of the tour. As we walk to our seats I hear one phishy chick turn to her friend and say, "They're funny. But the cute, smiling, little hairy one doesn't look Mexican, does he?"

Sitting behind us are Freddy and Gina from San Francisco, a married couple who own a bar in the Haight called Casey Jones, named after the Grateful Dead song, heck, named after my favorite Dead song. And a few seats behind us are Asselope Greg and his posse of merry fuckheads. I casually flip him the bird as I sit down in my relaxing and spacious seat. I get as much legroom as I need, a blessing because usually I am pushing maximum space capacity when I travel, and the Green Cars give you more room than First Class airplane seats with these comfortable convertible chairs that let you lie back and go to sleep.

A Japanese woman wearing a kimono comes through the car offering us green tea and a hot towel. A few minutes later another woman wearing a kimono pushes a cart filled with traditional boxed Japanese sushi lunches and more beverages. Señor buys one boxed lunch and I open up a box of Pockey Sticks, a local snack of chocolate dipped pretzel sticks to which I have become addicted.

I get up and start to walk around our car to make small talk and go into the next car. Between the cars are these cool sliding star trek doors that open up without you actually touching the door. I walk back and forth a couple of times, amusing myself with the sliding doors, making sure I did my best Scotty from Star Trek accent as I walked through, "I'm giving it all she can Captain, for God's sakes I'm just a mechanic..."

In the next car I see Marcus from Iowa and a handful of other kids we met at Hibiya Park after one of the Tokyo shows. I sit down and play chess with him, glancing occasionally out the window in between moves, catching the Japanese countryside whizzing by at 100 mph.

I have been in Japan for less than a few days and I have already met Phisheads from Vancouver, Seattle, Oregon, all over California, Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Ohio, Tennessee, Chicago, Indiana, New Jersey, Atlanta, Alabama, New Orleans, Mississippi, Georgia, South and North Carolina, Florida, Virginia, DC, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Maine, Vermont, Boston, upstate NY and even NYC. All of us here for the same reason.

The train arrived in Nagoya on time. Japan is kick ass efficient. Señor finds us a good hotel in the Sakae district near Club Quattro, the venue that Phish will be playing the next evening. Nagoya is a newer city thanks to the bombing by the U.S. Military in WW II, with wide streets built on a grid system for easy navigation. The subways are spotless, the locals are extra friendly and the city is not as overcrowded as Tokyo.

Since it's our only day off (the only night Phish wasn't playing all tour), we are free to relax and take naps before checking out the Nagoya nightlife. We order massages in our hotel room. (Editor's Note: These were "legitimate" massages) We have traditional Japanese shi-ut-su massage with hot towels. They beat the crap out of you, but afterwards you feel absolutely wonderful, like you’ve attained some sort of spiritual enlightenment. Loose and relaxed, it was easy to fall asleep.

After the naps, we eat dinner at a local sushi bar before exploring the city. We wander around the Sakae District past all the karaoke bars, clubs, and restaurants and we find this bar on a side street, because we were looking for somewhere to drink, but also some place local, off the path.

A Heineken Beer sign sits in the window of the bar, with a wood façade that looked like it was a typical corner bar in Brooklyn. I suggest to Señor that, "This might be a nice place."

He agrees and opens the door to the Park Side Bar. A small bar, it is nearly empty, except for a few tables up front with a group of people, and a young lady sitting at the bar. We sit down next to her and order a couple of beers.

The owner, Teppei, speaks English and while serving us our beers, he asks us, "Where are you from and what are you doing in Nagoya?"

I tell him who we are, Señor and McGrupp and all about our global misadventures.

"You see, we're in Japan to follow our favorite band, Phish, to four cities, and Nagoya is city number two. It's a night off for us, and you know what, Teppei, we picked YOUR bar to get wasted in."

He laughs and pours more drinks and we started to make small talk with the young lady, Reiko, who is sitting next to Señor. It is almost midnight when Reiko tells us she had been there since 5 PM earlier that day, after she had lost her job! She has a plate of food that she has been picking at while she drinks a beer.

Reiko takes turns feeding Señor and sipping her beer. She keeps picking up these tiny pepperoni slices and hand-feeding Señor, which is odd because Señor no longer likes pepperoni after the infamous puking incident involving my brother's dog, McBinger. Alas, it has taken a beautiful woman to break Señor out of old habits, so I just sit back, watch and laugh and chat with Teppei. I ask him how his English is near perfect and it turns out that he used to live in Seattle and had taken classes at Seattle Central Community College for two years. I show him my Washington State Driver's License and then he asks me how the Seahawks are playing! Small world, indeed.

Reiko offers to buy us shots. I suggest Tequila. Reiko and Teppei do a few shots with us, and we get even more shitty and talk about all kinds of bullshit. The Park Side Bar officially closes at midnight, but Teppei let's us all stay way past closing time. He pours us a few more beers and we do more shots and continued talking and sharing stories.

Señor takes my pocket Japanese Phrase Book and tries to talk to Reiko, but they are both two drunk to make anyway headway. Each starts a sentence in the other's language, only to mess up the pronunciation with a drunken slur, and then both bust into laughter. They exchange addresses, promising one another they would write.

The Japanese are a gracious and hospitable people. And the locals in Nagoya display these traits to perfection. Before we leave, Teppei suggests some places to eat and local sites for us to see before we leave his city, like the Nagoya Castle.

"You are here to see Phish, so you must go see the golden fish. Go to Nagoya Castle!" Teppei yells as we stumble out of his bar, "You cannot miss the golden fish!"

On the way back to our hotel, we stop off into another bar called the Silk Room. This one is much larger and has a good-sized crowd. Some random Phisheads are drinking in the back and I find my buddy Ken drinking at the bar. Ken is the back door bouncer and roadie that we met during the first show in Tokyo. He's an American, born in Japan, and has a "Made in Japan" tattoo on his forearm. We hadn’t had tickets to the first Tokyo show, and Ken was the cool guy who let us hang out by the back stage door and listen to Phish for free. I buy him a beer and a shot and he tells me what hotel Phish is staying at, because he's staying there too. He's getting paid by the promoter, Smash Productions, to tour with Phish as backdoor security. Now that's a fatty job.

An hour later, we stumble out of the Silk Room, and eat at the first noodle shop we see. After a night of drinking, my Japanese is no more than drunken gibberish, so I just point to what I want to eat and the noodle guy serves it right up.

With full stomachs, we’re still drunken lunatics. We make our way back to our hotel, past the noodles shops, bars, massage parlors, and clubs, and more karaoke bars and more massage parlors. The Sakae district nightlife is alive and kicking for a Monday night! I wonder what this place would be like on a weekend.

"Mr. Yankee, do you want massage from sexy Japanese girl?"

The tiny adorable girls who work at the massage parlors are very aggressive. They walk right up to us and every Gai-jin. Even if you try to cross the street, they follow and persuade you in the middle of the street, with hand jesters and broken English to have an "authentic Japanese massage". And when you decline, they follow you for a block or so until another group of girls from another massage parlor does the same.

There's a club on the same corner of our hotel and these young Japanese guys are dressed up like they are members of the Yakuza, the infamous Japanese Mafia, wearing hip, sleek black suits and sunglasses. There's also a flock of beautiful women standing on the corner, dressed up like models in the latest fashions from Milan and Paris and they all talk on tiny little cell phones, while smoking American cigarettes. From the chic appearance of the crowd, this place looks like the swankiest club in Nagoya.

One of the women gets off her cell phone and stops us.

"Do you want me to sing you a song?" she coos with a wide grin.

"Where? Here?" asks Señor.

"No inside club. I'll sing you a pretty song."

As she extends her hand and pulls a drunken Señor into the entrance, one of her friends yanks on my pony tail, giggles then pulls me into the club right behind Señor.

After walking down a flight of stairs, I hear music playing behind a pair of elegant sliding glass doors with pelican and swan markings etched with other floral designs. The beautiful ladies lead us inside and all I see is red. Red walls, a red floor, red chairs and couches. There's a red bar and a few red tables and a karaoke machine and stage in the corner where a young lady is finishing up a performance.

It takes me a few moments before I realize that we are the only guys in the club. About thirty or so of the most beautiful Japanese women sit and stand before us, all of them with their eyes fixated on Señor's huge smile. With not one other male in sight, I arrive at a moment of clarity. I tap Señor on the shoulder and whisper in his ear, "Bro, either we are in the coolest bar on the planet, or we just walked into a whorehouse."

Tenzin McGrupp is a writer from New York City.


By Jessica E. Lapidus © 2002

When I was a little girl, my father and I used to take weekend trips in the summer to Playland in Rye, NY. These Sunday car trips were always exciting and full of heavy anticipation. My dad would pick me up at my mom’s apartment in a shiny rental car (usually a Chevy Lumina) and we’d head up to Westchester. Riding in a car with my father is a special thing. When I was growing up in New York City, neither of my parents ever owned cars, so if we ever wanted to get beyond the five boroughs, we would have to go to Avis or Hertz and rent one. A gooey, glistening, sweet-smelling newish car, with soft cloth seats, clean dashboard, digital radio and automatic windows, and my father in the driver’s seat is one of the most decadent childhood pleasures I can remember. We would drive along the highway, watching the trees breeze by the Jersey barriers, the windows down, Oldies music blaring from the radio. My father would sing along with The Supremes, The Beatles, Jay and The Americans.

You could always tell which cars on the road were also going to Rye Playland: one or two (usually one) parents in the front, a gaggle of kids in the back, lots of action and mouths moving in excitement. Everyone on the road to Playland is equal, having the same expectations of hot sausage vendors, cotton candy, and The then-54-year old Dragon Coaster. If you’ve ever been to Playland, you know The Dragon Coaster, and as a child you’ve looked forward to your first ride on its rickety white tracks, circa 1929.

It was a warm day in mid-August 1983 when I took my last trip to Rye Playland. In years prior, I had gone on many rides: The Himalaya, The Kiddy Coaster, The Thriller, The Whip, and The Spider (I puked on this ride), but I had always stood before the gates of The Dragon Coaster ("You Must Be This Tall To Go On This Ride"), gazed up at the screaming patrons, and would shake my head no when my father would ask if I were ready to ride it.

On this day in August, as we drove up the Hutchinson River Parkway listening to "You Can’t Hurry Love," I turned to my dad and said,

"I’m gonna ride The Dragon Coaster today."

He glanced over at me and raised his eyebrows. "Are you sure, pussycat?"

I nodded, staring at the road. I wasn’t all that sure, but I figured that it was time for me to do it. The Dragon Coaster is one of the oldest roller coasters in New York State, and I was feeling that I was probably the oldest kid who had not yet been on it. The rest of the drive flew by after I uttered those words, and when I saw the sign for Rye Playland, Next Exit, I began to panic. I knew that I had no obligation to ride it, but something told me that this was the day, regardless of my fear.

After parking the Lumina and muddling through crowds of excited kids and their parents, my dad and I got our day passes for all the rides. I visited one of my dearest friends, The Whip. You sit in a two-seater car and ride on an oversized, over-greased bicycle chain to the end of a narrow median where you get whipped around at top speed. This ride is safe and easy; you’re strapped in and on the ground. After that, my father took me on Derby Racer, a 25-mile-an-hour Merry-go-Round with brightly colored horses lurching and thrusting. After a hot dog and a spin on The Himalaya, I sat with my dad on a bench outside the entrance to The Dragon Coaster. He placed his hand the back of my cool, clammy neck and said,

"Look, pussycat, I know you say you want to go on The Dragon Coaster, but don’t do it just to make me happy, just because I want you to."

I stared at my shoes for a minute, very aware of the hot dog I had eaten, nervously bubbling around in my stomach.

"No," I said, "I’m ready. I’m scared, but I’m ready. I mean, I’m eight and three-quarters. There are seven-year olds on that ride. Why not me?"

He smiled and took my hand in his. "All right. Let’s go."

I approached the ticket-taker slowly, my knees wobbling. She glanced at my daily bracelet, loose on my tiny wrist, and waved us through. I sat on the inside of the car behind a fat woman and a boy who was a little older than I.

"Oh mom, this is so cool! Four times on The Dragon Coaster in one day!! Can we go one more time after this? PLEASE???"

"We’ll see, sweetheart," the woman mumbled, sounding as though she had answered that same question three times that day.

When the ride’s operator came by, pulled the bar down over our heads, and secured it, I put both hands on the cool metal, gripping it for dear life. I glanced over my shoulder at the sign by the gate: was I really tall enough for this ride?

"Daddy," I said, my nose burning with the sting of tears, "I don’t know if I can do this."

"Baby," he replied, as the cars started moving slowly down the track, "it’s too late."

As the car started moving up the lift hill, I felt my stomach churning, not with nausea, but with terror and excitement. After a smooth turn, the cars fell down the first drop, 128 feet of gut-wrenching terror. I was screaming so loudly, I couldn’t even hear my father telling me to hold on. The ride turned again and started up the slope to the Dragon’s Mouth. The best part of this ride is a dark tunnel, it’s exterior painted with the head, scales, and tail of a dragon. The car entered the mouth and surrounded by pitch black, I started crying and laughing at the same time, euphoria taking the place of fear. As we barreled out of the Dragon’s tail, my father ran his hand over my hair.

"You O.K., baby?"

"I LOVE IT!!" I howled, tears streaming down my hot cheeks. He laughed and put his hand over mine, still white-knuckling the bar, as the white-paint chipped tracks shook and rattled under us.

After coming out of the dark tunnel, the sun seemed brighter than ever, and I squinted and laughed against its brilliance. A few more small dips and turns brought us back around to the station. The cars came to a screeching halt and I sat for a minute, watching kids leaving the ride, talking about how they were going to get back in line for another go. The ride’s operator came by again and lifted the bar for us to get out of the car. My father extended his hand to me and I stood up, my knees still wobbling, my cheeks crusted with tears, a broad grin etched across my face.

I decided, after a few minutes of serious consideration, that I was not going to ride The Dragon Coaster again. When we left Rye Playland that day, I slept the whole way home while "Oh, What a Night" lulled me down the road.

The Dragon Coaster was the last roller coaster I ever went on. Today, nearly 20 years later, there are many more new and sophisticated rides at Playland, but none of them could ever compare to The Dragon Coaster: terrifying, thrilling, almost pure.

Jessica E. Lapidus is a writer originally from New York City.

An Insider’s Guide to Orlando Restaurants

By Skipford Van Beaverhausen © 2002

Millions of people visit Orlando each year to spend time with Mickey, Shamu and Spider-Man. Sadly, many of these people are missing out on some of Orlando’s finest attractions: its impressive collection of unique and exceptional restaurants. There are far too many fabulous restaurants to list here, so I’ve just picked a handful of places that reflect Orlando’s cultural and culinary diversity:

7344 W. Sand Lake Road
For years, residents and tourists alike have been flocking to McDonald’s for inexpensive hamburgers and French fries. The signature sandwich here is called Big Mac – it’s two hamburger patties with a special sauce. Service is a bit impersonal but fast. For dessert, there’s ice cream and cookies.

7524 Dr. Phillips Blvd.
This neighborhood coffee shop will remind you of a comfortable living room, where you can sit with friends and discuss current events, analyze classic films, or just dish gossip about your neighbors. The coffee is always fresh, and be sure to check out the "frappucino" and other specialties. There’s also a good selection of pastry.

T.G.I. Friday’s
8126 International Drive
When you step inside T.G.I. Friday’s, you’ll feel like you’ve traveled back in time. The walls are cleverly decorated with old signs and other ephemera reminiscent of the early 1900s. However, T.G.I. Friday’s menu is hardly an antique – it’s several pages long and packed with sandwiches, hamburgers, salads and entrees. The portions are big and the service is friendly.

Dunkin Donuts
5884 N. Orange Blossom Trail
Don’t let the name fool you. This little bakery serves up bagels, muffins and croissants in addition to a wide variety of donuts. It also boasts one of the best cups of coffee you’ll find anywhere in Orlando. There’s not a lot of room to sit and eat, so be prepared to take your order with you.

Skipford Van Beaverhausen is a writer from Florida.

Jacaranda Hookers

By Armando Huerta © 2002

As a senior in high school I was well familiar with what a hooker was and how she went about her business. That’s not to say that I experienced the pleasures of the flesh with one, just that I was savvy. After all, in my corner of the world, Sao Paulo, Brazil, it wasn’t considered too bizarre for a father to take his son to a whorehouse when he became of age. In this case, usually, that meant 16. Sometimes it wasn’t even a brothel, sometimes they had a willing (or rent desperate) secretary who would do the trick. Needless to say, it made for some interesting lunch-time conversations.

Anyway… back to the hookers on the street… This school, as most American schools overseas do, had grades kindergarten through 12th grade. The school was pretty much divided by elementary, middle and high so you rarely saw the little tykes running around, pissing on themselves or eating paste. That was until you rode the school bus. Those buses, Mercedes Benz with curtains and wood paneling, were a hodge-podge of children crying, minor petting and us seniors in the back trying to steal a smoke without the driver noticing. The curtains helped a lot. On our route home we’d always pass by the Jockey Club.

Now, the Jockey Club itself is an extremely elegant and prestigious club, unfortunately the same cannot be said for the street it’s on. Being that there are no cross streets down the whole length of the Jockey Club, hookers, or roda bolsinhas (purse twirlers) as they are called locally, loved to ply their trade by parking themselves by the jacaranda trees that lined the street at regular intervals. Traffic being horrific in Sao Paulo, every now and then the bus would be stopped in front of these ladies and pandemonium would break out. Surprisingly, it wasn’t us seniors with our alleged maturity but the children who’d react the most. The minute they sensed the bus would slow down they’d pull open the windows, lean their arms out and start to pump them while chanting "Puta! Puta! Puta!". The equivalent of "Whore! Whore! Whore!". Mind you, most of these kids did so in horrid accents and with their blond hair swaying much to the amusement of the hookers. The bus driver, however, was not as easily amused. He’d try anything to get the bus moving again, from honking his horn repeatedly to bumping the car in front.

One day a hooker, well known to us by now, decided to give us a treat by pulling up her blouse and showing her sweater steaks for all to see. Normally this would have been greeted by screams of encourgement, instead, in this instance it was greeted by blood curdling cries of terror. It seems the trade was a bit rough in those days because the prostitute felt the need to protect herself by carrying around a gun in the elastic waistband of her powder blue micro skirt. When one kid screamed "She has a gun! She’s going to shoot," the bus almost tipped over with all the kids rushing to the other side to escape the expected rain of bullets.

The driver, meanwhile, was dead white and honking like his life depended on it. (or at the very least his job if one of the kids were to become target practice for a weary hooker). The poor tart, however, was perplexed. She thought she was doing us a favor and was probably not used to having her goods disparaged in such a manner. The next day the driver found a new route, 20 minutes longer and not nearly as interesting.

Armando Huerta is originally from Brazil. He will be residing in Athens, Greece.


By Señor © 2002

Further. One simple word yet a complete ideology of life. Further. Made famous by Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters. As they hopped onto their day-glow bus one day long ago, they had only one destination: to go further. I was formally introduced to this concept back in the early's 90's through Thomas Wolfe's The Electric Cool Aid Acid Test. But even before then I had wanted to go further. Go beyond the norm. I needed to find out what else was out there. What was I missing and more importantly how did I get there?

Back then the answer appeared to be easy. I began to broaden my horizons and expand the limits of my mind through drug use. Marijuana became mushrooms, mushrooms became LSD and before long, peyote, mescaline, ecstasy and many others came across my path to enlightenment. Some people would call me a druggie. Others would say I was a lost soul, and still others would just blow me off as looking for a good time. Maybe it was a little of all the above, but of course there was more. You see, I was a sociologist and I was my own guinea pig. I'd read about feeling at one with the earth, nature and mankind. I'd heard about hallucinations but I needed to experience that for myself. The majority of my drug experiences were positive, and LSD was my drug of choice, hands down. LSD, more than any other drug, took me further. On acid I understood the world. I knew why I was put here and what I was meant to do. Unfortunately when the drug faded so did my visions of grandeur. I realized I didn't know shit!

I've read about people "getting it." I've met people incredibly in touch with themselves, people well grounded and always happy. People at peace with mother earth and one in the same with the universe. How did they get there? They went further. Further than one can go who does not seek and further than one can go to through drugs. Even my beloved LSD had a limit and still I needed to go further.

I honestly didn't think I'd ever get further. When I left my job, my friends and my entire life behind in March I wasn't quite sure what I was doing. I was off to South East Asia. That’s all I knew. Like many of life’s adventures, my journey took on a life of its own. Yes, this adventure took me further.

After ten weeks of travel through the exotic lands of Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar and Singapore, I arrived in Thailand. A place I had been before and fondly remembered as one of the greatest in the world in which to party hard. What I once would have called a "series of coincidences" brought me to a little commune on the Island of Samui, Thailand. I now realized, just as the Rabbis taught me many years ago, that there is no such thing as a coincidence. The events that brought me to this commune were certainly extraordinary, but not coincidental. I was here for a reason!

During this time I went through a week-long fast. I discovered yoga and for the first time in my life I made my health a top priority. All this was nice but I didn't get further until I met Annie. Annie is the last in a line of Hawaiian Shamans. Annie brought to me the magic of the ancient Hawaiian Shaman massage. This three hour massage took me further than I had ever gone before. Yes, I saw the metaphorical light and I have not looked back. I am still me at the core, but my life’s path has been changed forever and for the better. I am healthier, I am happier, I am full of love, I know why I am here and what I must do. Unlike when I had these same delusions while on LSD, the effects of a sober man do not wear off!

Here I am three months later back on Koh Samui, Thailand. I am home. I am happy. I still have that same destination that the Merry Pranksters had, but in the last few months I have gone so much further than I ever dreamed possible. God bless the pioneers like Ken Kesey and Jerry Garcia! We have often heard the immortal words of New York Yankees great Lou Gehrig, "Today I feel like the luckiest man on the face of this earth…"

I am sorry Mr. Gehrig, you never met Annie and you never stepped foot on Koh Samui. My friends, I am a very lucky man!

Señor is a pants dropper from Samui, Thailand.

Zobo's Tie: How a Silly Yellow Tie Can Get You Some Water

By Zobo © 2002

It was the third day of Fuji Rock Festival, in Naeba, Japan, and the heat outside was practically unbearable. In Japan, there are vending machines everywhere and all of the vending machines at the entrance of the festival were sold out of water. Not being much of a heavy drinker, I prefer to drinks tons of water when I am at festivals because I would probably pass out if I drank beer all day. As I was making the thirty-minute walk to the Field of Heaven stage, where String Cheese Incident would be playing that night, I checked almost every vending stand and they were all sold out of water. I checked the few places at the Field of Heaven and still no luck. Some of my friends had bought a bunch of bottles of Pacari Sweat, which is a Japanese sports drink. It is very sugary and has a mild grapefruit taste.

The day wore on and as the sun set, it was time to get changed into my silly outfit. I bought a really big yellow polka-dotted tie last year for New Years and my friend Gill in San Francisco made me a sweet pair of silver sparkly pants. Most of the Japanese people I saw thought my outfit was hilarious and one girl even pointed to her head and said "psycho, psycho!!" By this point, I was really sick of drinking the Pacari Sweat because the sugar in it made me thirstier. At the Field of Heaven Stage, there were a bunch of crazy lights towards the back of the field and some really cool disco balls. The people who were running this light show were set up behind where we were situated for the day. I saw that they had about five huge containers of water so I asked one of the guys if I could fill up my bottle. His response was yes and that he really liked my tie. As the show continued on, my party favor started to kick in and I was desperately in the need for more water. I went back to the same area that I was at before and asked another guy if I could fill up my water. He told me that because of my tie, I could fill up my water there all night! I never knew how far this tie could take me. Later in the evening, I went back to fill up some of my friends’ water bottles and one of the guys took me into the huge tent where the light show was being run. In there, they smoked me up and then gave me some hash to share with my friends. I’ve always had fun when I wear the party outfit, but I think that night was probably the best time I’ve had while wearing it!!!

Zobo is a funny guy from Atlanta, GA.

A Cambodian Love Story

By Señor © 2002

Let’s call a spade a spade: Asia is a male pornographic fantasy world. The women are not only absolutely beautiful, but they are also raised to serve and please their men. Whether he be a husband, father, son or nephew, as long as he is male, women are trained to serve. Because prostitution is completely accepted, basically any man can have any woman he chooses and be treated like royalty!

I consider myself to be a pretty liberal guy. I believe that women are equal and even superior to men in many ways. But I am a man and more often, a very horny man. Over the last three months I have given up drugs, alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and basically all delicious foods I once loved. But I have not given up sex!

I am not embarrassed to say that a dozen times everyday I find myself gawking at a beautiful Asian woman and crudely thinking, "God I'd love to fuck her!" That’s what made meeting Chetra so special. When I first met Chetra in Phnom Penh, Cambodia last April, I immediately thought to myself, "Holy shit I want to marry this woman!" Chetra is beyond beautiful. Sweet as can be, flowing with good energy, always smiling, she makes the world a better place just by being! Was it love at first sight? It just might have been.

I traveled with Chetra for a short while. Eventually, when the time came for me to leave Cambodia and Chetra behind, we had an emotionally charged, teary-eyed goodbye. I promised to her that I would return!

Within the month I returned. I waited for hours outside of Chetra's apartment, desperately hoping that she was in town and would be home shortly. Finally, she arrived and love was in the air. Once again our time was filled was passion and romance and once again our time came to an end. The States were calling me back and I went home. I vowed to both Chetra and myself that I would be back.

I am a man of my word and one again I touched down upon the friendly confines of Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital city. I immediately called Chetra on her father's cell phone (the only way to reach her) only to find the number had been disconnected! I would not be deterred. I hopped on the next "moto taxi" and headed straight to her apartment. Again I waited for hours, but this time Chetra never came. As the sun was going down a tall black man from Africa approached me. In perfect English he told me that "Chetra does not live here anymore." Who he was and how did he know I was waiting for Chetra is beyond me. He had no more information to offer. I thanked him and went on my way... straight to the bar.

Yes, the bar. I had not had a drink in three months, but I was depressed and couldn’t think of anything I needed more. My plan was to drink and drown my sorrows. I ordered my first beer and sat in a daze just staring at it. Just as I brought that beer to my lips, in walked Chetra! To fully appreciate the bizarreness of this situation, you have to realize a couple of things. First of all, Chetra had no idea that I was in Cambodia at the time. And as bizarre is the fact that Chetra does not drink and she has been to a bar no more than three or four times in her entire life. In my absence Chetra had taken on a job as a waitress. Coincidentally that fateful night was the birthday of Chetra's boss and out of all the bars in Phnom Penh he picked to celebrate, he had chosen the very same bar into which I had I had walked to drown my sorrows! A look of shock came to our faces. Our smiles erupted and we collapsed into each other’s embrace. Fate surely intervened that magical night.

Well, I'm not much of a romantic and I'm not a sucker for happy endings. So it’s with only mild regret that I must tell you the magic was gone. The day had arrived to say goodbye for good. Like any stand up guy would do, I lied to Chetra. I told her that Uncle Sam was shipping me off to Iraq for a tour of duty and my return to civilization was doubtful. Chetra’s sobs were the last I'd ever hear from her.

Now, here I sit in Koh Samui, Thailand, in a bungalow on the beach, where the weather is perfect, and the scenery gorgeous and dozens of times everyday I see a beautiful woman and think to myself, "God I'd love to fuck her!"

Señor is a pants dropper from Samui, Thailand.

Jerry Day

By Tenzin McGrupp © 2002

Jerry Garcia: August 1, 1942 - August 9, 1995

This is so clear to me, that it still hurts. Seven years ago, I had a day off from work and took in an afternoon New York Yankees baseball game at Yankee Stadium with my buddy Jerry Engel and that's when I found out that Jerry Garcia died. Cal Ripken hit two HRs that day, and that's something I haven't forgotten.

After the game we took the subway down to Manhattan, and went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where I had been working as a security guard and that's when I talked to some fellow guards, who expressed their sadness to me. I somberly walked over to Strawberry Fields in Central Park, and gathered near John Lennon's Imagine Memorial were hundreds of Deadheads, from all walks of life, were paying homage to Jerry. Some were crying, some were getting high and passing around bottles of wine, some were singing and playing Jerry tunes, others were telling their favorite tour stories.

But for me, I just sat in silence and remembered how just 54 days earlier... on June 15th, 1995... I met Jerry Garcia.

While on the job at the Met, I saw Jerry walking through the American Wing late one Saturday night with his wife and I held a door open for him. He smiled and said, "Thank you very much." I couldn't muster up anything other than, "No worries." And I extended my hand, and the old and limping Jerry shook my hand, and he continuded on his way. The next night, I would see my very last Grateful Dead show, with Bruce Cohen.

At the time, it was the greatest thing that had ever happened to me: I shook Jerry Garcia's hand.

Tenzin McGrupp is a writer from New York City.

What A Long Strange Trip It's Been...

From the Editor's Laptop:

This month we have another stimulating issue, with our writers taking us to Japan, Brazil, and Cambodia. As well as treating us with stories of Rye Playland, NY and Orlando's favorite eateries.

Again thanks to all the writers who submitted their blood work to Truckin' and who shared their travel experiences with us, and thanks to you, the reader, for your support!

Please spread the word about this site and E-zine and good karma will come your way. My sources tell me that Truckin' is being read on four continents as we speak. Thanks for spreading the good word!

In the meantime read my most recent experiment in group fiction, E-Story 5: Purple Jellybeans and Vanilla Milkshakes.

If you would like to comment or contact any of the authors, please send an E-mail to: CONTACT TRUCKIN'

Again, thanks for your support!

"Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us." - Jerry Garcia

Truckin' Staff

Editor: Paul McGuire
Editorial Assistant: Jessica Lapidus
Staff Writers: Paul McGuire, Armando Huerta, Skipford Von Beaverhausen, Mark "Zobo" Zoblotsky, Jessica E. Lapidus, and Señor