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balance (2): January 2005

Sunday, January 30, 2005

hrmm

i simply don't care about this blog of late. it seems to hold me back from doing any real creative writing....and thus i may take a little break. you know where to find me in future....

Monday, January 24, 2005

hrmmm

it’s funny how when you have nothing to complain about you can manage to dredge up some little thing for your own self-pitying entertainment. i am the happiest i have been in years but i still managed to be utterly bored at intervals, because, let’s face it, happiness can be really boring. i suppose i need a bit of drama to thrive... i am attracted to new situations, good and bad. all this pleasantness is rather stifling. :)


ot at the herbal sauna

not that i am not completely satisfied, because i am....but i do feel like it is time to move on. away from ot, whom i can’t manage to love no matter how i try, and thus spend most of my time trying to change him into someone else. away from the oasis bar, which i love and have nurtured for the past couple of months, but which i have realized is a futile cause, as i will not be able to have any real stake in it. away from the sometimes drug-induced daze that strips me of my ability to move forward. away from lovely bubbly hippie people who have nothing to hide and nothing to show.

who knows what that means. i might wake up one morning and disappear. i don’t know where exactly i would go- bangkok sounds unrealistic, america sounds like a nightmare. but disappearing sounds deliciously seductive.


Thursday, January 20, 2005

sabai sabai

i did not in fact move to bangkok though i had every intention this past week. i am still in thong nai pan (ko phangan, thailand). i had decided to buy the bar from pee dum (who offered to sell it to me for a mere 50,000 baht, or $1250) and start a small vegetarian restaurant with yoga and breakfasts every day, and continue the bar at night. however just before i made the deal (screech) i heard the gossip that the owner of the land plans to come back in august, scrap the bar, and build her 3rd house. argh. so i gave up trying to control it legally and decided to spend another month just enjoying what i can create in the meantime and partying as much as i can until i have to leave. ot and i moved into a small furnished apartment with a kitchen(!) for 2300 baht ($57) per month- not on the beach any longer unfortunately, but our back door opens to the jungle. we get mostly free food and all the free drinks we could want. we have a small group of mostly german friends who prod each other into decadence every night, and we haven't been to bed before 5am for the last week. i am feeling quite satisfied with my lack of responsibility, and if i can find a way to prolong it even further i will be ecstatic.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

reality

the trip to burma was a much-needed adventure. it started with a ride on the night ferry from ko phangan to surat thani, which took about 8 hours. the boat rocked slowly back and forth and was dimly lit by green bulbs. the floors were covered in mats upon which to sleep, with the feet higher in the middle of the boat than the head near the wall. cockroaches and rats scurried about. an older british chap who bragged about his miraculous and doubtful success as a dj on haad rin smoked me up before sleep. the breeze blew in from open portholes overhead. i hung out the window to stare at millions of stars. geeda fell asleep with his leg over mine, and newspapers over his head.


typical geeda

at 5am the lights shot on, glaring through the peace. we picked ourselves up bleary-eyed and trudged to a taxi to the center of surat thani, where we waited in dark early morning for a mini bus to drive us to ranong. it came and we hopped in. i sat next to geeda (who has a lot of touchy-feely sexual energy) and a flambouyantly dressed man from finland who flashed me a glance at a two liter bottle filled with sangsom rum in his bag. it was hot in the mini bus and i dozed over the pages of the bangkok post as my neighbors slept and got drunk, respectively. the countryside was plush and green, as most of thailand is.

in ranong, many hours later we had first to stop at an immigration office, where i paid 1200 baht for an overstay (oops). the official ceremoniously stamped a warning in my passport, and joked that he wouldn’t give it back (not funny). then we were hauled off to the border.

it was a dirty outpost next to a river, with mud and debris-covered steps leading down to the longtail boats, and a mixed crowd of thai and burmese. geeda and i tiptoed down and found a spot under the flimsy plastic roof of our boat. it was extraordinarily hot on the brown water, and the boats were dingy. a young hippie couple from spain sat in front of us with their little boy, who was almost two. i don’t want kids myself but i love other peoples’... the boy was fascinated by me and geeda and talked to us the entire trip, trying on our sunglasses, attempting to learn our names, and lisping somberly to himself with huge brown eyes covered in curly lashes. he nicknamed ‘buddha’ just ‘da’. the boat passed a small island, built up with bunkers and sandbags and used as a military lookout- the men standing bored in camouflage held rifles as long as their legs. there was another small island with a buddhist temple, surrounded by bald monks in dark maroon robes a la tibet. each immigration point was a small white house perched perilously up on the steep riverbank, with a high staircase leading up to the office. we gathered our passports and american dollars at each point and handed them to a burmese boy, who scrambled up to get the requisite stamps. we waited in the hot sun, as longtail boats rammed into us filled with beautifully dressed burmese women in flowered dresses and shiny hair. they and their men, who wore sarongs wrapped about the waist and long sleeve shirts, had yellow paste painted on their cheeks. i am told it is a sign of class and beauty. they gawked at us as we gawked at them.





we finally reached burma proper, where we climbed past a big rusty boat full of policemen playing cards, and up a rusty bridge to cross over. two grubby young boys started following us immediately. they were mostly wanting to practice their english but threw in the occasional bargain for a carton of cigarettes and touts for cheap viagra. geeda swapped football trivia with them and they gave us crumpled green notes of myanmar kyats to keep as souvenirs. victoria’s point is a small town, with just one main intersection lined with two-story shops. colorfully painted trucks serve as taxis. children wander dirty and adults carrying various things looked sweaty and exhausted. i got a visa stamp good for another month for a mere $5.

the trip back was the previous in reverse. geeda and i screeched occasionally as the driver drove like a maniac and narrowly escaped a bloody accident several times. we also traded life stories, which end up being very similar. by the time we arrived back in surat thani we were exhausted and starving, and better friends than we had been before. we learned we had to wait another hour at the travel agency for the 3 hour ferry back to ko phangan, so we used the time wisely and got drunk with marco, the finnish guy, and a nearby smiley drunk thai man in a food shop. i fed a stray kitten and wobbled out to the bus when it finally arrived, full of thai people. we stood in the hot corridor and tried to stay conscious until we reached the ferry.

the ferry is a big open ship of sorts with a small shop and lots of hard plastic seats. we found that cans of leo beer were only 25 baht, and sat down to put away a sixpack or so each, getting steadily more drunk the closer we got to ko phangan. there was a dark storm surrounding us, blowing the ship from side to side and making me want to tear out my hair. several groups of thai men were drinking also, and we sampled each others’ liquor with shouts of “chok dee”. geeda started talking very explicitly and openly about sex, making marco and i giggle and blush. marco gawked awkwardly in his flourescent pink and green shirt, matching glasses, and a mohawk. his english was horrible, but he made us laugh simply with his mannerisms. by the time the boat arrived we were giving each other big bear hugs and proclaiming friendship for life.

and finally, whit picked us up like a dutiful wife at the pier, in a borrowed songthaew (or pickup truck taxi). i jumped in the back with an english couple and several boxes of singha, and we headed towards thong nai pan. i convinced the couple (who had just returned from travelling all over australia, he was a landscaper and she trained horses), to come to the bar, and we arrived scraggly and overexcited at about 10p. i collapsed in the corner with a bottle of water and listened to the party until i fell asleep.


Friday, January 14, 2005

email

for those of you waiting patiently in a long line in my inbox, please don't feel bad that i will probably never write back to you. internet is very slow and expensive on this beach. i appreciate emails anyway, anytime though!

Thursday, January 13, 2005

smack

on the way to a black moon party i was only half interested in i noticed the driver had a large chang beer resting in his drinkholder, and the pick up taxi was brand spanking new. perhaps that is why he decided to drive 100km/hr. down a very small winding road... all i know is we hit a boy head on in what was almost an exact repeat of my last accident a month ago. accidents are funny.... there is a whole 60 seconds or so prior when you get this weird feeling that something is wrong, and all of the sudden everything goes slo-mo. you know exactly what will happen but are powerless to stop it. i grabbed ot's leg and ducked about a full minute before the burmese kid was thrown halfway across the island and landed crumpled and bleeding.

i won't get into the rest of the story, but the boy is alive in ko samui hospital. and probably destitute for the rest of his life, being from burma. sigh. we ended up going to the party where all the good medicines failed and the wind blew in ominous clouds. road somberly home at first light in a truck with a smashed front end.

this reminds me that i read a story in the bangkok post about all the burmese immigrants who were victims of the tsunamis... they can't let the thai government know they are here because the thai government will send them back to their own evil government, so they are dealing with starvation, illness, and injury, not to mention shock, in makeshift camps around the area. it's times like these i wonder why someone as generous as i feel does not have anything to offer. hello 'god', a little balance here?

i didn't go to malaysia, giving up a plane ticket back to bangkok. tomorrow i take the night ferry to burma instead. i have a lot of pressure from everyone to buy a partnership in the bar i am practically living at, and it's one of those things that i can unfortunately see from every neurotic angle, and i am no closer at all to making any plans to leave.


Tuesday, January 11, 2005

sabai

somehow i just got over the stress of last week, which had become like a lump of crumpled foil in my center, and sorely needed shedding. i stopped creating monsters in my head and started breathing again. it’s not too difficult here, amongst sun-browned friends with lazy smiles. the concept of taking things day by day is starting to make more sense to me. i have a secret family hidden in the jungle, trying to survive with the minimum of contact with civilization. society is taxing, we just stop and say hi to it every now and then, but don’t suckle from it like infants (though we really should if we want to continue to eat). it’s free-ing to not have to meet the demands of others, or even yourself. life is purely a series of passing sensations here.

we slap each other like siblings. we fall asleep hanging off of hammocks and grump at each other for being boring. we philosophize fuzzy-headedly and share stories. we are: me (hello), ot the doe eyed lover, and whit, who scurries a lot when he’s not hiding, and who has an unfortunate tendency to let his gangster friends dj. there is a large happy british guy named geeda who has fast become our friend, and his comfortingly normal girlfriend rosie (who is just that). they bring movies and tequila, which i hold my nose and gulp. not to mention the odd thai boy who crashes through on motorbike for a chat, or whit’s shy thai wife who drops off tuna and corn pizzas... and his lovely loquacious daughter (nong fart) who turns 5 today and tries to teach me words between giggles. occasionally ot and i venture out to visit the lonely monk at the monastery, the healing herbal steamroom at the temple, the 7-11 in thong sala, the snorkelling beach at mae haad. we topple down the hill to ao noi and watch flamboyant nikki the travelling hairdresser shave his own tattoed head and read tarot cards to stray children. we fight, we make up, we sleep intertwined. in the morning i lay in the sun and bake all the thoughts out of my head, letting in only the cool sound of waves slapping the sand at my feet.

i am full of creative energy and it is not even a full moon. i make everything from peanut butter sandwiches to candle sculptures. i’ll throw a film like ‘city of god’ or ‘natural born killers’ on to mystify passersby (that weird antisocial bent i have to test an audience) and mix sensuous and abundant cuisine in the kitchen with ot on which to feast. we sit and breathe open air in quiet, listening to jungle sounds. at night we tap fingers, joke around, wait for something interesting to happen. i saw a marmoset climbing tentatively along the power lines towards our light. my buddhist friend romeo tries to convert me. i dance secretly and talk with the toads and loopy german hippies. happy the dog begs for food and tries to bite thai visitors.

otto has determined that i can not survive here with no income and wants to drag me off to bangkok (or is it the other way around?)... i feel a responsibility to go to bangkok but no desire whatsoever. i want to while away my life in pleasant dreamlike boredom. i do have to leave tomorrow for malaysia though and i don’t plan on making any more decisions until i am there, in my own space in my own head, back in real life.

as an aside which is hearfelt, i am sorry to my former best friend, whose feelings i probably hurt as unwittingly as he hurt mine. and i bid him adieu with good luck. if something is undeniable then it won’t be denied. loved than lost, and all that...

reading has saved my life all my life, and right now i am teeth sunk into a novel of curious delight by a feminist chinese writer. i hated her unabashedly girly style at first but then i realized she is a lot like me and of course warmed nicely to that fact. :) wei hui.

here are some quotes she’s collected which i like:

“i am reluctant to let my young daughter appear in public and face the cruelty of life. she should remain in our living room as much as possible.” –sigmund freud

“every woman adores a fascist,
the boot in the face, the brute
Brute heart of a brute like you.” –sylvia plath, ‘daddy’

“the key is on the windowsill,
in the sunlight before the window.
i have that key, eileen, let’s get married!
don’t get high,
the key is in the sunlight before the window.” -ginsberg





Friday, January 07, 2005

stormy weather

friend: (noun) someone who tells you nothing real about themself until after they have fucked you over, to your surprise.

i haven’t written anything for awhile because frankly i am in a state of shock. not only can i not write, but i can’t eat or sleep or communicate either. it seems like when there is some impact on my life, it isn’t just one thing, but everything goes haywire at the same time.



the main thing that occurred was x letting me know quite clearly that i am not welcome to stay with him (and his new girlfriend) in NY while i look for a new job and place. never mind that it is my own home he is dangling over my head like a carrot and snatching back with a gleeful sneer. he has manipulated himself quite subversively into a position of power over me, and he is milking it for all it’s worth. at the last minute (i am supposed to leave next week) it’s bad enough, but more than that, it finally hit me that i have truly lost my best friend, and for no real reason that i can fathom. i read something by a thai writer recently that was musing on how people can change so suddenly in relationships that you don’t know what hit you- one minute you’ll be tickling each other, laughing, talking about anything and everything, crying and clutching each other when you say goodbye before a leaving... wrapped in this warm bond of trust and affection... and the very next moment that same person can turn on you, snarling, and banish you from their life like so much rubbish. it’s no real surprise to me, i am no innocent, and it has happened to me before. but even for all my worldliness i never in a million years expected x to be the one to turn on me (though i have been warned several times by several people). and if i could at least justify it to myself by saying “well, you deserve it, you could have been a better person”, it would help, but the truth is no matter what i do, x rejects me and tells me i am simply manipulating him, rather than admitting that i might have some legitimate human emotions about the whole situation. since we left each other on good terms, the only real explanation i can come up with is that he is finally out of his mind. all i really know is that it hurts more than any physical pain possibly could.

so there’s that, and the resulting decision i am in the process of making, which seems to be my staying in thailand permanently. there is a whole host of problems with that as well, which i won’t get into now. but i have thought a lot about the tragedy which happened just a few miles away from me recently and i imagine if it had affected my life more directly. if i had died there would be nothing to reflect on of course, but if i had survived it, i wonder how i would look at my life after that. i think i would have to come to the conclusion that i need to hold on to what makes me happy and slough off what doesn’t. i have nothing in america- my family and i have been purposely estranged for 6 years. i have no real friends there. i don’t have a job or a house to go back to. i despise the consumerist mentality and the pretentious, judgemental, fake people. i hate being part of a corporate machine. i am disgusted by my government. in NY it’s easy money, but mentally for me it’s a hell of a struggle.... thailand won’t be the easy paradise it is now for me when i have to find some menial job and live at a much lower income level than i am used to, but at least the people around me feel human. and at least i know i can find some happiness here on my own.

my mind is so scattered that i haven’t made any concrete plans yet, other than that i have to leave on the 11th to go to malaysia to get another visa to stay here. having never been to malaysia, it could be fun, and having some time alone will be good for me as well. as for employment here, i have actually considered renting land and building a small house on xxxx beach (ko phangan), opening a small shop- i would love to make it work here!.... but that’s too big a risk to just undertake without any legal advice (can’t trust thai people), and i have no one to give that advice & the internet here is useless. so i suppose for now i will save my little money, go to bangkok, and try to get some sort of (legal) job like english teaching to maintain until i do have a good and feasible idea.

ha- the other thing that hit me is that i am unable to access any of my bank accounts at all, due to simultaneous mix-ups. i have enough to live on for two weeks, after that i suppose i am screwed. they have to send my new cards and pin numbers to my house in NY- we’ll see if x forwards them to me or not.

...i have to think about o, who has been a holiday fling, though an extraordinarily long one. for now i am leaving him in xxxx beach, and i don’t have any real intention of keeping him with me if i go back to bangkok. to be honest, i am tired of people. tired of giving and getting nothing back. as much as i like o, i don’t really love or respect him and can’t talk to him about much of anything, and though i want him in my life, i don’t want what he wants, which is marriage and kids (and most likely a free ride). so maybe he will be sloughed off as well, though as gently as possible.

in some ways it feels good- i have a new chance, life is pushing me in a new direction. it’s a delicious challenge. i think i can survive and maybe even excel here. all i need is to get over this crazy, helpless, zombified state i am in now and i think everything might turn out okay.


a monkey outside our bar

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