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balance (2): July 2008

Sunday, July 27, 2008

~~~~~~~

i am actually really enjoying living in bangkok. all the more so because i am alone here. i have no one to answer to! on the one hand this is the first time i have really lived in thailand without a thai boyfriend of sorts or even thai friends to rely on (not to mention friends, period). on the other hand, that is great! i can make this city whatever i want it to be!

so this morning i got up and volunteered to re-organize the two biggest travel websites in this region for free, as a side project. that might have been dumb. but i figure it might pay off eventually somehow, and if nothing else i will get credit for their re-orgs.

then i went and wandered around chatuchak market. as much as i have gone off thai guys i still wouldn't mind a hot artist boyfriend who has enough money to come build a little place with me on the islands. so i loitered around the art section hoping to find someone of interest, but really only met a couple of japanese tourists. not that that is bad, except for the tourist part. (oh- as a side note, i have convinced my japanese crush taka to come to egypt and morocco with me in jan!).

one thing about chatuchak is it has an extensive pet section. it is bad because they sell animals who are endangered. i saw some gorgeous turkey vultures today, as well as some other birds i am certain should not have been for sale, along with the kittens, snakes, scorpions, flying squirrels etc.... they also have breeding farms where they churn out loads of puppies and kittens. they showcase them in wooden boxes, piled on top of each other in the heat, with no water or fan in some cases (bangkok is HOT!). it is sad looking at these babies and knowing they will more than likely die soon. but i also selfishly love it because you can go up and play with all of them- fuzzy golden retrievers, obstinate pit bull puppies, tiny little chihuauas that look barely of this world. i figure at least they get a few minutes of love from me in their lives. and i get a fix of cuddling with something that loves me unconditionally. i would love to take all of them home and it is actually lucky i cannot. i almost bought a baby hedgehog today because that is something i can actualy manage in my apartment, but i had all kinds of foresight about my eventually leaving thailand and having nowhere to leave my little 'spike', so i left him there, with his little snout pressed against the wall of his box, looking forlorn.



after chatuchak i headed to khao san road. i like khao san because it is a good mix of farang and thai culture. the cooler thais hang out there, and there are always newbie farangs to pick up and dazzle with my expat status. i enjoy the resulting conversations. i don't even have to make an effort other than going and sitting at a roadside cafe with a beer. someone always introduces themself. tonight was an irish guy named ken. he was very typically irish, and pretty conservative and generally not my type at all. but the thing with irish is that they know how to drink. so though ken kept insisting he was a nice guy who was not trying to get into my pants, drinks kept appearing in front of me, and he refused any payment from me. it was ok until i was way too drunk already and he kept insisting on more drinks. i took him to a dark bar full of dancing people. he insisted he had never danced in his life. i told him i was leaving and to pretend he was a different person for the next hour and see what happened. hopefully he stayed there and had a good time, picked up some hot girl and danced his hiney off. but as he followed me to my taxi begging to come home with me until i slammed the door in his face and my (very cool) driver peeled off with a screech, i doubt he did that. too bad for him.

unfortunately though, that leaves me very drunk with a brand new oven in my apartment and various chocolate chip cookie recipes yet to be utilized at 1am. i am going to try to get up early enough to go to an introductory pilates course in the morning.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

bohemian rhapsody

i haven't been to the theater in years, so though i had no one to go with and tickets were expensive, i sucked it up and went to see 'we will rock you', based on the music of queen, which i happen to love. it wasn't the best production i have ever seen but it had some great characters and i enjoyed it a lot- recommended.



i also saw batman: the dark knight on imax.... was disappointed that there was not more beefcake shown by christian bale, whom i have been in love with since 'the prestige'. heath ledger was great but otherwise i thought it was just another overblown hollywood blockbuster. but then, i am a girl ;).

stay tuned for the next episode of elocin's pointless reviews from the land of (fake) smiles.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

ahhh

i don't know exactly why but there has been a very dark and bitter vein to my mood lately, so i escaped for the weekend to koh samet. i hadn't been there in about 4 years, and it's only a couple of hours from bangkok. it's amazing how different i feel out of the city! i am definitely not a bangkok kind of girl- but the fact that i can easily get to nice places from here whenever i want kind of balances that out i guess. so anyway, it was really crowded when i got to the island due to the long weekend for buddhist lent, and it was full of upscale bangkok couples dressed in long sleeves and hoods to avoid the sun. i got a room on the beach- immediately greeted by kittens, dogs, and a whole crew of gorgeous japanese guys. immediately went for a massage (which was embarassing because the girl told me to change out of my dress into some loose pants she gave me, and all i had on was my bikini and loose pants... the old lady getting massaged next to me bitched in thai the entire time about how farangs really should cover up!)... had a nice banana and coconut shake reading the 3rd (and best) book in the phillip pullman series on a beach chair under a shady umbrella, pushing my toes into the white sand.



later on got cleaned up and wandered to jep's, which has nice barbecues on the beach. it was full of huge groups at tables- i was the only solo traveler there. i read my book and downed a few drinks, until i looked around drunkenly and realized i was depressed and lonely. i had just finished a complex fantasy where i looked at the people sitting at the next table and said sadly "i bet you never thought you'd be the last people i'd see", and i pulled a gun out of my bag and shot myself in the head, blood splattering all over their pad thai, when a swedish girl interrupted my reverie and invited me to come sit with her and her friends (two english teacher girls from bangkok). i agreed and after a bottle of crappy thai wine we were all pretty drunk. we stumbled around looking for something to do, and ended up at silver sands bar (which should now be re-named silver sands gay bar, we realized with chagrin) for their full moon party on the beach. i said hi to my little thai friend keng, who still remembered me from my previous visits and whom i can't believe is still working in the same place night after night, poor guy. we all drank a few buckets and danced on the beach, at one point a japanese guy came up and shoved his special banana cake in my mouth- i think i gave him my number. later on i was belligerently drunk and when a slight, campy english guy came over and tried to pick up me and the swedish girl, i berated him for not being true to himself and told him he was obviously very gay. i am surprised i got away unscathed. the english teachers disappeared early on, so 's' (the swedish girl) and i stumbled home on the beach, pausing to dip our toes in the surf and pee behind bushes. she left me halfway so i had to walk to the next beach in the pitch black, with random dark shadows whispering around me and calling out "sexy" (thai guys are just as bad as anywhere)... probably one of the scariest walks home i have ever taken in fact. but i got home feeling pretty blissed out and thanked all the gods or fate or whatever for giving me the kind of night i really needed, before passing out to sweet dreams.



the next day i finished my book on the beach chair and slept early, enough said. and then i was back to the grind of the city. at least i got to catch up on the sopranos though, which is my new favorite show.




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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

bingo

found a great website with an overview of Bangkok's art scene (which I admit I didn't realize existed): Art Scene TV


also, am ecstatic to discover ChefsXPress and FoodByPhone!!! so now, even though i am a hermit and friendless and have no one to go out with at night, i still can sample the great food of this city. :)


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Monday, July 14, 2008

art

just as i was saying there are not many creative people in thailand, i have run into all kinds of art. not sure where these artists are hiding, but they do exist. today there was a free thai modern art exhibit at siam paragon shopping center, which made my day. my one criticism of thai art is that it is mostly traditional stuff like buddha faces rather than anything unique or progressive (still, at least they are doing something, which is more than i can say as i have an utter lack of artistic creativity!). but there were a few really interesting pieces on display today... unfortunately, my camera is still crappy, so i just got a few pics, and nothing translates as well digitally...














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Sunday, July 13, 2008

tourist

i read that bangkok received 'travel & leisure' magazine's best city in the world award (?!) and couldn't help but scoff. but in an effort to change my attitude about this place, i played tourist this weekend. considering i was a tourist when i fell in love with thailand, i thought it might help. so i spent the weekend getting a manicure and pedicure at MBK, a long massage, eating great food, taking the canal boat to people watch on khao san road, and hanging out in chatuchak market (found the art section, which was small but great!). i pretended i couldn't speak any thai and even dressed like a backpacker. it was pretty fun! and i noticed that thai people are much nicer when they think you are leaving soon!


the muslim guy who makes tea at chatuchak




art gallery in chatuchak



considering the US economy is going to pot, i might as well suck it up and enjoy living cheaply while i can, and realize that just because familiarity breeds contempt, doesn't necessarily mean the grass is greener on the other side (there- filled some kind of quota for triteness today)... i am sure if i were back in NY i would be just as lonely and pining for the lushness of thailand.

i think i might have to give myself a beach getaway soon though!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

bangkok life

i just realized i never posted about my new apartment on here! well, it's pretty nice, coming from a thai style place on the island that didn't even have running water. here is a tour:



bedroom




kitchen




living room




bathroom- a western toilet and bathtub!!! yippee!




balcony- with a bangkok version of the "jungle" :(




my neighborhood- yikes

Thursday, July 10, 2008

.....................bored...

if there is one thing that thailand is missing it seems to be really creative, progressive, intellectual people. i thought it was because i was hiding out on a party island before but even in bangkok- everyone is so dull and normal (well maybe not normal, maybe just dull), and that includes the foreigners, not just the locals! i miss artists and musicians and writers! i miss NY, where everyone is doing something, even if it is pretentious at times!!!! i can barely muster up any inspiration myself here...

Monday, July 07, 2008

compassion and sentimentality

been thinking about volunteering in an orphanage in bangkok for a bit, not because i like kids much at all, but for an inherently selfish reason- being that helping other people helps me forget about my own problems. even thought of going so far as to volunteer at a hospice for AIDS patients, but after reading some very thought-provoking reflections on the work by a western medical volunteer in lopburi (see this e-book and this website, with some horrifying pictures of the patients), i realized that i might not be such a compassionate person as i like to think. it is interesting, actually (and a point brought up in the writings above), that thais seem to have little or no compassion for their fellow beings. from a western viewpoint they have no moral code. but in general, thais are very happy, socially well adjusted people who are not plagued with the neuroses of westerners. westerners are over-sentimental. i realized this yesterday when i was watching 'hancock' (which i loved, as right now i can relate to the feeling of having tried to do good things for people only to have them turn around and call me an "asshole"). but like i have said before, americans especially are big softies. and actually, that is the source of a lot of our problems. in our efforts to "care" for people, we overanalyze and complicate. we suffocate others with our lists of "rules" for being "good". we overdramatize situations to extract more "meaning" out of them. we get involved in other people's business in the name of "helping" them. since i have moved here i have been constantly disgusted by the Thais' inclination to detach themselves- it used to make me crazy when my ex scowled at me and called me "too soft". but i am starting to see that in actuality, this detachment, this not thinking too much, lends harmony and strength to their society. they live and let live, they have a realistic rather than idealistic view of things, and in the end, this might be more "compassionate" than what we as westerners view compassion. it is really hard to wrap your mind around it when it is not what you have been taught since birth.

anyway, in my own life, my neuroticism will be the death of me if i don't find some way to curb it, which doesn't entail my going on some sort of drug binge or shooting myself in the head. my sensitivity and sentimentality are not admirable traits, i am realizing. for instance, i take other people way too seriously. and since they do not reciprocate, i am always let down and feel my efforts are wasted. my best friend of 12 years has recently dropped me with no explanation. he went so far as to block my phone calls and emails, and i really have no idea why. rather than letting him go to find himself and worrying about my own life, i have gone through a couple of embarassing phases of stalker-like behavior, trying to analyze it from every angle and force him to talk to me and remain my friend. it doesn't make me feel better (in fact i feel like shit because i am constantly dwelling on it), it doesn't make him feel better (if he even cares at all). but it is something i up until this point i have not been able to control- obsessive thinking, trying to manipulate a situation into my version of what is "good" rather than let it and the people involved in it be. maybe i need to really look at the Thai way of doing things.

i have decided though that people in general are really detrimental to my happiness, and i need to stop focusing on them and trying to make sense of their behavior and instead worry about my own (remember that people are bastards and i am the only perfect one who knows everything ;)). and because i don't have much choice in the matter anyway (working from home in bangkok) i have decided that becoming a hermit for awhile might be the best course of action for me. i am not ready for any kind of relationship with any person right now. and to be honest, i am pretty happy doing my own thing alone here as long as i don't start thinking too much!!!! so out with the old, in with the new, i don't expect much of interest to happen in the next 6 months as i am bored to death of thailand... so i need to build up my strength and my bank account again for a bit, and when my lease is up in 6 months i will probably move on to a newer, better life.

been thinking of where to go next. my little sister (an arabic major) would like to go to egypt and morocco in december. a possibility (and a guaranteed travel partner)! the guy i work with and i are talking about starting an interactive agency with an office in hong kong. i still have a niggling desire to go live in japan and force a japanese boy to marry me. and also a desire to go back to the states (NY or SF) for a bit and luxuriate in my own imperfect but mostly logical culture. in the end, i might just spin a globe and see where my finger lands.




my friends' wedding party

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