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balance (2): June 2005

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

breakin' 2

this weekend i very last minute hopped on a bus to hua hin, because it is one of the few places around here where i haven't yet been. mistake. hua hin sucks! my main problem with it is that the main local road is also the highway to the south. so though we did do so, it is not advisable to rent a motorbike and play in the traffic. we almost died at least 5 times.

i did move the next morning to cha am, a little north of hua hin, which was totally lovely. 'o' and i got the best room in a mostly empty hotel. it had a serene rooftop pool deck overlooking the ocean, which was empty except for us, our books, a couple of beers and a bucket of ice, and some pigeons who kept flopping down to slurp up the chlorinated water.


cha am on the roof

our room had american sitcoms, which i hadn't seen in 8 months. it had a totally separate bathroom and dressing room. the window opened up onto the same ocean, with lolling taxi drivers and somtam ladies below. the large bed ('o' and i have two twin beds in our home room) was covered in silk.


cha am outside my window

we drove around the town on our rented pink motorbike- me looking for stray puppies to pet whose legs weren't broken and who weren't covered in fur-eating parasites. ot looking for fresh seafood. we stumbled upon a fishing village, with skinny brown children playing with bikes and sweating bandana-ed men heaving fish traps onto colorful blue boats...with it's own little boardfront, plain red light district full of bored girls in ponytails in boxers and round faces, and lots of amiable looking people and things hanging out in the doorways in general.

we ate the seafood on the black whispering beach in a cloudfilled night, with just a lantern and a streetlight to indicate much else. watch the dogs man their beach territory, the quiet waiters slip about filling drinks. digging our toes into the brown sand. there was a thai couple and a farang/thai couple on either side of us, and we all had our respective chats with the lover, staring at the stars when they came out, napping lazily, and munching the excellent food. we all got progressively drunk and were showered peacefully and in our soft beds by 10pm, critiquing the fashion channel and dreaming.

'o' and i woke up to collect shells on the beach and walk out onto the sandbars in the sun. we drove around the scraggly town and saw big abandoned mansions and clean parks. there was a white see-no/hear-no-/speak-no evil (!) statue surrounded by said mangy pups and some nice thai ladies feeding them. some old men on motorcycles grinned squintily at us.

we had a huge buffet breakfast with the paper before nodding fondly at our hotel staff and motorbike girls, turned down some dried squid and shell sculptures from sellers lugging bamboo baskets at the station, and hopped back onto a rattletrap bus back to loud gray bangkok with some english teachers and thai students.

now that was nice.

ok so. hua hin... started out okay. the beach (takiab) was.... ugly though there was rumoured be be a hill full of monkey nearby. the accomodations were overpriced, musty, and evil. the (thai) motorbike lady refused to rent to a thai man ('o'), and i had forgotten my passport so we left, snatching back our money at such a weird racist policy. but a nice taxi driver drove us to the north beach. we found a nice guesthouse in an alley. 'o' got drunk ater a big grilled seafood dinner on the highway (rrrg) and once we had dodged an accident with a truck which swerved out of control towards us (moto drivers reeling with anxious looks), we hailed the bus to cha am.


fat tourists on the huan hin beach *yawn

...this explanation turned out rather pulp fiction style. sorry.

i also read a couple of great books. one about a psychopath killer who was exactly like someone i know in detail. the other was called "thailand fever", and even though it has a stupid title and cover, it taught me a lot about thai culture and how to deal with it. basically it says accept it or leave, and they are right. because i love it i accept it. for now! :)

fun fun fun good night... back to work for me.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

stumble

funny traveler cartoon

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

breakin'

having spent way too many nights in succession drinking late hours on the extremely polluted street in front of 'o''s friend's bar and feeling overwhelmed by the filthiness and chaos of bangkok, i decided on an impromptu break for the weekend. 'o' tagged along and we headed on a bus from ekamai station to sin city, pattaya.



pattaya is not exactly the nature-filled, peaceful enclave that i was really needing, but at least it is not as polluted as bangkok, and it's only 2 hours away. my normal lush, tropical hotel is unfortunately closed for renovation through november :(, so i settled for a dive on 2nd road, with all amenities and within walking distance of everything for 500b. 'o' and i raided the minibar and flipped through cable a bit, and then i grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and forced him to accompany me to tequila reef, so i could finally satiate the horrific craving i have had for mexican food for months now. after a huge sampler plate, steak fajitas, and two huge margaritas, we staggered out into the dusky evening.



pattaya is a strange place. it attracts the greatest number of foreign losers of probably the entire world. there are hoardes of fat, hairy, bald old men on the prowl for young prostitutes. a few annoying frat-boy groups. & the US navy periodically pulls in and unloads the military boys onto the town, so often the bars are full of shaven-headed, loud-mouthed drunkards as well. the girls are not the prettiest of thai girls by any means (and in fact i noticed this time around that a lot of them are not even girls), and i marvel at the fact that men come from around the world to sleep with what 'o' disdainfully refers to as "black monkey girls", who are dressed in skimpy clothing, garish tattoos, spiked heels and too much makeup. i do have to say though that both sides of this coin seem quite happy with their situation, and there is a certain bored contentment underlying the seedy energy.

there's a beach, though neither the sand nor water are clean, it's covered with umbrellas, overrun with sellers, and surrounded by skyscraper condo projects. still, you can sip coconuts and dig your toes in the sand. and, well, there is enough entertainment around to keep anyone satisfied for a week or more, whether one is into the voyeuristic sex scene or not.



so we spent our time jumping back and forth from the swimming pool at our hotel to a rented motorbike. i showed 'o' everything i know about the city- the big buddha hill outside town surrounded by curious colorful characters from buddhist stories carved in wood, the elephant farm with it's smoky clumps of trees and winking mahouts, the luxurious fake beach at the overpriced hard rock cafe, the awesome art houses where boys are trained from birth to copy masterpieces, the penthouse hotel with it's indoor waterfalls and kitschy rooms with private stages, hot tubs, handcuffs, and love swings... we drank in beer bars and chatted with jaded bar girls and muay thai boxers from isaan, we critiqued the dancing girls in the go-gos ('o' being surprised that thai girls come in all shapes and sizes after all), we peeked into the boy bars and blushed at the young queers dancing in their tighty whiteys, we caught a well-known thai guitarist and a great wailing blond vocalist at the blues factory, we ate grilled seafood and watched skater boys tumble over one another on jomtien beach. i held a baby monkey, a big-eyed blinking marmoset, a muscular python. we tickled the tiny child flower-sellers roaming the streets at 2am. we chuckled at the painted transexual gangs hassling tourists on the street corners, the obvious freelance hookers from uzbekistan, and the farang volunteer policemen strutting with their noses in the air.



one thing i was suprised at was the amount of times i noticed people staring at 'o' and i and laughing to themselves. when one british guy smirked in passing and said "where'd you pick him up?", i realized they thought 'o' was a prostitute that i had gotten for the weekend. sigh. which led me to thinking that they weren't too far off the mark. except that i didn't just get him for the weekend, i have had him for more than 2 years off and on. and i don't even get decent nookie out of the bargain anymore...! in fact i don't get much of anything, i spend most of my time giving. i recently was talking to a farang friend of mine about his thai girlfriend of three years, and he said he finally realized that she was getting everything out of their relationship that she wanted (a cute white boy, money, a stable future, status, sex), and he was getting absolutely nothing he required (understanding, equality, stimulation, real love)... i guess i have felt the same about 'o' for awhile.... so changes are coming. but at least for now he isn't as bad as the last boyfriend i went to pattaya with, who would fail to meet me for dinner until 3 hours later i'd find him hiding in a beer bar with girls scrambling over him & kissing his neck, who would sneak out to screw various bar girls when i fell asleep and lie to me about it later, and who spent the remainder of the time dragging me around to go-gos to help him look for a girl to pick up, as if i didn't exist. 'o' at least shows some respect for me and doesn't objectify girls to a ridiculous degree. he can be funny and sweet, and i can make him drive me around on motorbike and practice massage on me! anyway for future visitors to pattaya (or for that matter thailand), you know what they say about those who assume....

so i had a decent weekend, now it's back to work on my little bed with my poor abused laptop, scrutinizing complex structures of information for mcgraw-hill. at night i will ride my new bike to the bar for a beer, read the old farang magazins lying around (who is brad pitt screwing now?!), listen to 'o' and his friend 'd' idealistically plan their future shop (making silver jewelry), and suck in clouds of pollution from passing busses. repeat for the next couple of weeks.... until i get a few more paychecks, and i am out of here!

Monday, June 13, 2005

sunday bloody sunday

" henry's looking at about a dozen babies (says my ipod). steel driving with a swing... laying tracks and swinging his hammer into the women... god, henry! say to the devil, you know a man ain't nothin but a man!.......

a crowd of people at the mountain. they ain't doin' nuthin wrong. breed on!....read your bible every spell...jesus loves me defo sho. shrug and sing. don't ask don't tell. make the world go away, get it off my shoulders. "

yikes? no idea who it is. probably on shuffle.

someone said they thought my journal would be hard to write. i'm mystified as to why it's so hard to just be.

and meanwhile i have two abnormally wasted thai boys (men really- ick) chilling out (at least) in my room, in front of tv... it's about two idiots stuck together, with thai subtitles. i'm thinking it's a little too intimate for three. wishing i had twinkies and artichokes instead of dead animals and sticky rice... a ton of nam plao (agua), and a private room so i could fall asleep with one of those menthol inhalers shoved up my nose... and to commemorate 50 years since james dean's death his awkward face on my screen. a guitar player to serenade me from the eaves. my room slightly smoky with nag champa. blanket. no creepy buddhist demon hanging over my head. no crazy cat falling out the neighbors window (hehe). smooth sheets. if 'o' wants to come into my dream room and rub my feet okay but otherwise....there is often a time i wish i weren't in a similar position...i miss some of the other ones. :)

need to relax a bit. *sigh*. stop making various cute but drained and over-emotive people socialize and paying for it... scheming to take over the world. stop thinking about trips back to india and nepal until i have learned the yoga necessary to deal with them. learn thai. fix my site (rrrg). i should pause to develop my mind and not my liver cancer, and actually live to get to my island home. :)

i do have a hard time knowing how to live in bangkok city though... i swallow big gulps of pollution-air every time i go out. fend off splashes of what can only be factory waste on the boat when i can be bothered to go a sterile office with a seating chart. dodge motorbikes without lights on in dark alleys and competitive hair tossing from boyish thai girls. chomp papayas full of pesticides. i choke on fecal coliform in the toilets, according to the papers, how's that... the neighbor refugees are raging with aids. the girls are dancing with penises between their legs. boats sinking. pedophiles are snatched from raping 8 year olds. an evil cop who hated farangs and ran them over in front of a crowd given a life sentence which will win appeals. dengue fever spreading. bombs hidden in children with big eyes or racing next to you on motorbike with a gun pointed at your head. thai rath newspaper especially loves to parade the dead. the headlines are all corruption and and evil dictator and war (admittedly from both my countries). everything is fun if i don't read them but then i'm not sure when to come back out.

plus my i have interviews from singapore at 11pm after i have given up for the day and am in my jammies, my lil brother wants me to design a tattoo and my baby sister wants me to help her move here. 'o' doesn't answer me because we have talked about it before. he's twitching because the cure is nothing like ed carabao. we don't know where to go eat in the morning. his face is lined and tired. i'm bored.

...it's temporary. too many jobs that people keep asking me to keep up with. but some of them paying because i do. :) i grab a book here and there in between them. i went to a vip movie alone where you get a recliner and blanket and your own personal servant boy to bring you drinks on a tray and wet napkins. 280 baht. sin city. (great movie visually, ralph lundgren is another tarantino dessert. but the story was slow. i drank evian.) i have way too many conversations with people i have never seen and end up murmuring to them through a choppy v.o.i.p. dealie. never sure how they are reacting (on IM) but making no mistakes.............. it's so pleasant really. :) my real worries are about telling the thai company i can't work for them because i am too busy with american outsourcing (i am such a hapless traitor) and deciding which street has a soi dog gang or if it's super f**king hot because it's going to rain a super f**king lot later. i'm busy searching for a tree or plant so i can grow my own oxygen.

the young black one stretches and leaves too suddenly. 'o' falls asleep in my lap with a bag of sweets for me clutched in his fist. i decide i need a lower profile. need to stop spoiling people and get back to helping them. or save my breath and money and help myself.

dig my toes into an armpit and sleep. thailand can getcha.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

bzzzzzy

i have gotten such avid interest in the past couple of weeks from people in the US who enthusiastically want to pay me american dollars to do their work from bangkok, that i am considering starting my own outsourcing business! yikes- if i were in the US i would be PISSED OFF that they were recruiting my competition from third world countries. but since i am here... :) among the many offers i have received was the one i just accepted last night, from McGraw-Hill in california. it's full-time, 40 hours a week, and guaranteed at least through the end of the year. it pays half my normal salary (the greedy recruiter is probably getting the rest), but that's about 4x my thai salary, and since i can live like a queen here on it i am not complaining. i plan to go lambretta (scooter) shopping in the next couple of weeks and start deciding where to move to.

in addition i have had several requests to write for various people's publications, which unfortunately i can't possibly find time to do right now, but it is flattering. :)

anyway, the moral of this story is either that elocin usually gets what she wants (lucky? smart? both?), or that with enough hard work, you can tailor your own life to your wants, even in a foreign country.

Friday, June 03, 2005

new

in between contract work and unhealthy but stimulating bangkok nightlife, i am trying to restructure and redesign my site. it's slow going, and i am not inclined to write as much since i spend all day on my laptop as it is... but it's coming sooner or later. i am sure in the meantime you can do without my mournful reflections on my (lack of) love life....

actually things are great here! and getting better! (knock on wood)

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