Yeah, that is both the advantage and disadvantage of cloaking. It does feel like a lot more work at times ('cause it is), but in return you get flexibility. I guess you have to decide when to trade one for the other.
I would guess a lot of hosts still do not offer mod_perl, want to talk a little about the speed difference and whether it would be worth switching hosts for? Probably worth a separate thread.
that is a very interesting setup you have, thanks for outlining it here. If you have encountered any problems with any of the engines it'd be great (obviously only if you want to) to post in the thread located