wanderlust

:10/31--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

kids fishing outside my hut

this halloween was deja vu. i mean, last halloween was mean to me in a very similar way. today i went up to jah bar and the "other girl" katie (whom ot told me had left the island) announced she had moved in with him at the jah bar. i humiliated myself in front of them by crying, and i begged ot to tell me if it was really truly over. he looked at me coldly and said "yes". i staggered back down the hill to my room and felt like i was going to die for about an hour, and then i headed to nature bar so i wouldn't have to be alone and feel suicidal. my friends there were all dressing up for halloween and they were really nice to me. there ended up being a huge party... i drank a lot and danced like crazy, and pretended everything was ok. i am free again, i can do what i want, i have my life back and i realize now how stupid i have been. but it's hard, especially when i have to go home alone and picture them together behind me up the hill.

anyway, no more rambling about ot, happy now?

:10/30--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

tom and his friends
the electricity went out all day today so after i had played with my kitten and read the bangkok post over breakfast i was at a loss for what to do with myself. smiling tom happened by my porch, proclaiming it was his 16th birthday, and that he had the day off. he invited me to go to hat sai khaew with him to visit his little thai girlfriend and buy a lucky lottery ticket. i shrugged and said sure, and we headed up to get the key to the jah bar bike. i sat waiting in a corner while the guys all laughed at me from across the room. i decided to relax and act unperturbed, and sat down to smoke and chat with jo, one of bun's two current girlfriends (the other one is mo, and they are like twins, though neither of them know of each other). i gave her a subtle warning out of a feeling of sisterhood and in retrospect gratitude to harlot katie for warning me... snubbed ot who looked puppydoggish, and as a bonus i noticed he was jealous that i was hanging out with tom... tom is just 16 today and younger than my youngest baby sibling, and there is no way i would ever sleep with him. but if ot is going to get jealous it's okay to play it up a bit. :) did that, went and watched tom's buxom little girlfriend make isaan food with her two buxom sisters in their comfy open air house, enjoyed the breeze on the back of the bike as tom is a good driver and i don't have to panic and hold my breath the entire way like i do on a trip with ot, came back to my bungalow and enjoyed the sunset. ot moped by later to get his jacket from my room. he mentioned that as he had no money, he had decided he has no choice but to stay at the jah bar now as a resident slave. then he shuffled slowly off. i chuckled and said "no friendly chat?", and he mumbled something about my thinking he was there to use me for money (i did think that) and disappeared. sigh.

:10/29--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

coconuts after storm

last night i was rather depressed, but at the same time i felt free, so with these mixed emotions i went to the nature bar to sit at the bar and talk with whomever. these are people i think of as friends due to proximity, but really i can't say they are too friendly to me at all. the bar boys don't talk to me much anymore because they know i am not a potential fuck for them, and the girl (faye) seems just frigidly antisocial (though so am i as a rule). i didn't even bother to be friendly to them tonight, but instead hung out in the corner on a hammock, watching the fire show and the dancing lights and feeling alternately hopeless and ecstatic. when i'd had enough i went to bed. out of nowhere my phone rang (i'd forgotten i had one) and 'x' called me internationally to say he hoped i was alright. see, he is a good boy in spite of himself. he really called at the perfect time, and i felt very good and much less alone. i hung up smiling and noticed a shadow moving outside the door- otto was sitting in the hammock on my porch. i sighed, turned off the lights, and went to sleep. at 3am he started whispering my name. "yim?" over and over. i opened the door and he begged me to go down to the beach with him, so i sighed, grabbed my blanket and i did. i have to admit it was a surreally beautiful night. the stars were all clearly visible, more than i ever think i have seen at once. the moon was a calm crescent and the beams spread out over the sea. we sat in silence for awhile until i got up suddenly and ran into the water. i found phosphorescent plankton, and made little universes sparkle in the waves with my hands. smiling, i patted ot on the head and told him if he had nowhere to stay he could sleep in my room, as by that time it was 4am. he sheepishly came back with me. he muttered something about my being his only love, his only friend, his only hope, and that "little brother can't sleep yet", and i patted him cynically, turned over and slept.

he did mention that katie is leaving tomorrow.

...but otto was under the mistaken impression that i am still his girlfriend today and he came smiling by from jah bar to chat on my porch this morning. i decided there was no reason to point out otherwise at that time and i was affectionate with him without being too intimate. i need a little time but i still love him anyway. i went with him on the motorbike to the somtam lady's shop and bought him lunch, and we drove afterwards to bai lan. bai lan is gorgeous, it's lovely to immerse oneself in a day at bai lan. i sat out on the deck in the sun and chatted to a really annoying canadian chick who talked all in slang i couldn't keep up with. ot pouted. as the jah bar is closing soon he finds himself in a position in which he has no money and will have to slave away harder than ever for no pay to build the new jah bar as well as work in it. i really do feel for him but he has had plenty of chances to take his stand. he just won't speak up for himself. i tried to convince him to stay at bai lan (cheap huts) and sell boat trip tickets again, but his favorite word is "can't". i know this time he really probably can't, but damn if i am giving him money anymore... and thus the games begin. i feel a little guilty.

i have to stay on ko chang for at least another 3 weeks that i have already paid for and can't get refunded.

:10/28--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

my fake smile post ot

i have learned a lot in the past couple of weeks. i learned once in british lit class that every person has a fatal flaw (shakespeare), and mine is....gullibility? fear? i am not quite sure of that yet. but looking back at the choices i made in the past year, i think i decided things with the best intentions, but i didn't really take into account reality.

the reality was that i had one big chance to do this thing. see the world. i put my entire self into it. threw my life away to run for glory... i don't regret anything, and i am a changed person in many good ways (i did see many things). but in some ways i have achieved my goal, for myself, and in some ways i have failed. well, in one big way really, and that was my weakness for otto. he made changes in my life that i accepted politely... until most of my year had passed and i had spent the majority of it actively trying to make a relationship with him work on ko chang.... why?! stupid self! admittedly, ko chang was almost worth it in itself, but the last thing i wanted was a relationship--- for once, after 'x', i realized i didn't need to have anyone there and in fact my life was more satisfactory totally unencumbered by people! ...sex was a big part of it, which actually in a way also made it all worth it because i needed a big dose of sexual healing. but mostly it was an idealistic yearning for something (someone) real in my life. so i saw this beautiful boy with a vibrant and foreign culture he could share with me, telling me he was honest and good... and totally disregarding all warnings about thai men and thai culture, i decided to believe he was what i wanted and let him throw me off track. when i look back at my journal (as many have pointed out) i didn't seem to really want that at all....now i finally know i do not.

... and suddenly, i want to travel. i am voracious to travel. unfortunately the chance has passed, and this is a lesson i am left with.

the second lesson was that the world is big, and if i want to "see" it in any sort of way i need to resign myself to the fact that it will take years, and lots of money. i like to stay in a country long enough to know how to make their favorite foods, to tease the children in their native language, understand their treasures and their tribulations, which are so different from my own. i can thank otto too for helping me to see all of that in thailand, and i feel close to this place in a way i have never felt close to a place before, even as alien as i am. but i want to see more, and no more skipping around- 3 weeks in one place, two days in another. if a place doesn't feel right i can move on, but i don't like the pressure to move all the time... i know what i want and that is to finish what i have started, keep learning, and eventually be able to contribute what i learned... but i am back to square one again and it is a long way back up.

:10/27--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

party night again

i treated myself to a 200 baht massage from the old isaan ladies on the beach this morning. it was pretty crappy. and ot showed up halfway through to annoy me even though i had gone down to the next beach hoping to avoid seeing him... then i ran into his harlot katie in her pigtail braids (scowl) on the beach, who smilingly informed me she is not leaving. must this continually plague me? i am on vacation here! ugh. felt a little crazy, put on some music in my room, and made myself a little porch picnic in front of the nice day. didn't make me feel better.

tonight at the jah bar things between ot and i were fine on the surface, but underneath i realized something had died and gone putrid. i smiled and rubbed his leg and he brought me sweet milkshakes and smiles. but all night i was thinking to myself that i am through. i don't like the jah bar, i don't like him. i despise him a bit in fact, for being such a spineless, hopeless loser. one day he will see the ways in which i tried to help him, and how i even grudgingly loved him. but i am not going to let him use me and lie to me anymore.... i thought i could fake it for the short time i have left here but i can't, and finally i told him so.

:10/26--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

sickening, ain't it
a zillion times ot has lied to me and still he wants to pretend naught has happened and i can just go on home and sleep soundly hoping he will follow soon thereafter.... exasperating cultural trait. thai men think they are entitled to as many girls as they want, with no lip. why have a girlfriend then, and why lie to her? i despise liars, but it does seem culturally ingrained in asia. if he wants to be fake, i decided i can be fake too, and today was thus fairly pleasant. i gave him a massage and we hung out in my room talking under the fan. went to jah bar and cooked isaan food together. had just settled down at the bar when who slithers in? his evil mistress katie. there to create mayhem, tell me of more lies that ot has told me... as i am feeling over it right now, i am left to wonder what she has to gain by telling me. and why the hell isn't she leaving? ot told her to leave last night, thank god sparing me further embarassment, but i can see an imminent problem. alas, i am unable to get rid of ot myself just yet, as i have paid up the next 3 weeks on ko chang and can't get it refunded. it's easier to hang out with him than not, so i will just smile and slither right back at them....stay tuned for the next episode of as the world turns.

:10/25--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

lonely beach living up to it's name

it happened to be a beautiful day today so i just agreed with whatever ot said (begging for forgiveness, assuring me he was finished with the other girl). not wanting to deal with his stupidity, i laid around sleepy-sick, and had an inspiration for a book.
:10/24--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

scowl

still no electricity and still ominous about (apparently all over southern thailand). the air was heavy, and it never really felt like daylight with the flat layer of black clouds on the horizon. i dragged my hammock out to the beach and had just strung it up between two palms to lie rocking in the breeze when otto showed up dangling the motorbike key of his friend pan. we dodged the rain and went to eat laarb at the somtam lady's place. on the way out i bought some khao lam and boiled peanuts from the motorbike vendor (a rare pleasure), and we drove to bai lan to share it with drac. bai lan is a very disorderly structure of various heights of planks thrown out on top of the rocky cliffs. we sat in hammocks and watched the boats struggling with the weather. i feel good there- as much as i want to clean it up a bit, i feel pretty much at home in bai lan, and drac is one of my favorite thai people, very laid back and gentle. still considering moving there, if i don't just altogether leave ko chang on my next visa run.

at dark i followed otto to the jah bar's kitchen room, where there was little to eat, and once we'd scrounged enough we sat musing in the dark with the other bar boys... until tek started talking about how bun (who manages the bar's accounts) took this month's money for himself to gamble again, leaving everyone else penniless. tek got very agitated and started yelling across the room to bun in thai. bun ignored him and the other three main bartenders grouped nearby and started loudly comparing ideas for some business that left bun out of the picture. i knew it was inevitable when tek sidled up to me in an overly friendly way, and i left immediately after they pleaded with me to borrow money, noticing otto grow cold at my instant "no". i really can not afford to risk losing the meager amount i have left... i have explained this to ot many times... but he didn't look at me or say goodbye as i left, and i could tell he was disappointed. being me, i instantly thought to myself "fuck him...sick of being used...if he'd have balls to stand up to bun like i told him months ago...." etc. etc.... but i let it go at that as i drifted off to sleep.

...and woke up again, hearing ot yelling at the bar above me and a loud giggling girl. i sneaked up the hill hoping to catch him at an adulterous act so i could ease my mind that i am not crazy and that is exactly what happened. ot was drooling at a smiling girl with braids at the bar; katie from england. after much prolonged discomfort i realized she was also his girlfriend. she sneaked over to tell me so right before she left to sleep, she's been with him since july. she also mentioned she was pretty sure she wasn't the only one. i proceeded to beat the crap out of ot in front of everyone at the bar (adding to it's reputation :) ) for lying to me, and he stammered out more lies that his friends were whispering as prompts in the peripheral. i knew something had been going on, and i have completely expected it this entire time, but i didn't believe it until tonight.

which leaves me quite drastically alone-feeling. stickman warned me about these guys. i am just stupid. funny that i was in this same position this time last year.

happy 26th birthday to my similarly evil sister michelle.

:10/23--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

dark days

i planned to do a lot of things today, alone. but out of nowhere sprang the worst storm i have ever seen on ko chang, which kept me imprisoned in the shelter of my hut, feeling very anxious and sick. the waves lashed viciously outside my door at heights of about 3 meters. the wind gusted cold and brought stinging droplets with it. everything crawled into my hut to escape the storm, including one fat greedy rat who sifted through my snacks and ran up the wall and out. bamboo and coconuts came crashing onto my roof and the beach like stray missiles. i sat morosely on my hammock staring at the moat under my bridge rising steadily.

otto invited me to eat with him so i shrugged and followed him up the hill. the electricity went out shortly after on the whole island. it got very cold and no one had anything warm to wear so ot and i both crawled into a hammock to keep each other warm, sitting in the dim silence until finally they gave up and closed the bar. it was too cold to leave otto sleeping in a hammock there, so we took a makeshift lantern and tripped down the hill to my hut, where we dozed silently in the warm candlelight.
:10/22--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

my jealous friend 'k'

i am having stupid thai-american relations problems as usual but have decided to spare you. send thanks and money (paypal) to furixx@yahoo.com.

hurry though because you'll probably get more ot otherwise.

the jellyfish are finally gone, and the water is clear turquoise once more. i walked along the beach to go watch a movie over dinner and then felt my way to to the nature bar on the dark beach to get very drunk. that is easy to do there as there are buckets of rum and coke sitting around all over the place. there was nice variety in the fire show, a farang girl showing off. 't' and 'k' (from bangkok) showed up last minute which brightened my mood, but after a few quiet minutes 'k' got up and left in a huff accusing her husband(?) of wanting to be with me. apparently japanese girls are really paranoid. never gonna happen, i like the guy, like her too. as friends, both of them. again, asian people do not understand that friends of the opposite sex concept- i am deemed instantly a vicious harlot. sigh... oh well. i would think harlots get laid a little more often than i do but hey.... got more drunk, 't' stayed obstinately and proceeded to drink as well, until he finally mumbled something and wandered off sheepishly to 'k'. i felt bad. i took a last fond look at the dark beach, tiptoed through the tidepools home, and slept fitfully and alone.

:10/21--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

jah bar maows

what the heck did i do today... i am so scattered... i went to the jah bar party, that's right. worked at the new bar in the corner when lamom virtually pushed me back there (wait til he hears i am not going to work every night for free). flirted with ali, my blonde friend from san francisco. had to avoid ot who avoided me. danced and sang. tickled tom. watched the jah bar boys' rotating girlfriend lineup with disgust. wished i had more money to travel. finished my book ('the good earth', basically the same as the grapes of wrath). tried to work on my own book. walked on the wet sand in the dark taking deep breaths.
:10/20--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
my real father left an entry in my guestbook today which was rather queer to me. i only remember seeing him twice in my life- once when i was three and he calmed me down after a nightmare of the houses across the street coming alive to eat me. the second was when he called me up on my 21st birthday and invited me to visit him in orange county (california), which i did. i have a mysterious little brother as well. i really don't know much about my father other than he immigrated from hungary...he likes the gypsy kings (music)....i got his vulnerable skin... oh, and he makes explicit racist remarks at other drivers on the highway. hrmmmm. um, hi there dad. fond memories of crepes and ghoulash.

my mother meanwhile (who is on marriage number 16 or so, whom i have never met) is rabid as usual and (-(rant deleted)-). my young siblings (there are 4 or 5, hello kids, i miss ya) all are married off with houses and rugrats and SUVs and all that....weird. still waiting to hear whether or not the father i did grow up with has been executed or not.... phew! where the heck did i come from anyway? to be honest i feel fairly rootless. i really can not relate to any of them at all, to me they lead small lives (& maybe they think mine is small too)... so it is funny that the first question that most travelers ask me is "what do your parents think?" and the second is "don't you miss home?".

:10/19--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

firedancing

i had a peaceful morning with a late breakfast (of "hardboiled" eggs i had to surreptitiously throw out to the side and watch ooze uncooked from their brown shells into the grass). after getting good news in email that 'x' is still alive i skipped down to nature beach. i heard my name and turned around to see my bouncing friend 't' from belfast waving to me from the restaurant. he and good girl 'k' had come from bangkok to escape APEC as well. i really like them, though i fear i am far too unconventional for them most of the time. 't' is funny and serious at the same time, he makes me laugh, and 'k' is shy and unfathomable as the japanese are. they flirted with each other as we drank singhas in the sun at a table. we jumped into bikinis and threw a frisbee around for a bit, splashing in warm deep water. i hope i see them again here, though they said they wanted to move to a beach with air con and cable tomorrow.... i told 'k' to give sweet taka a dirty kiss from me when she goes to tokyo in a couple of days. ;)

:10/18--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

my silly friend sanya from nature bar
lonely beach was invaded today by the entire population of refugees from bangkok. it's a nice change from farangs on the beach though. thai girls splash about in the water in long shorts and t-shirts, not really swimming, and then they dive for the nearest shade immediately upon exit, hoping to ban the evil brown skin rays. the boys all hang out in packs playing soccer or drinking. they drink a lot- all day then into the evening at jah bar, weaving up the hills later, drunkenly fearless on their motorbikes. it was a pretty busy night so i snuck behind the bar and started working. for free of course, but it's fun to help out now and then. my friend ali from san francisco joined me at my bar, flipping her long blonde hair around and smacking her lip gloss at the boys who lined up to drool and fight. i love her, she is a lot like me, just totally extroverted. she's also a web developer who's had a crazy life so we have a lot to talk about. by the end of the night though, all the thai boys were angry at young cambodian tom for trying to monopolize her from them, and started to physically threaten him. i had to stand up and defend him (to the surprisingly cowed thai boys with wide eyes) because i know they give him a hard time and he was basically sold into slavery for them. if he wants to live his life at fifteen then they should let him. also had to explain that girls do have a choice in the matter as they are not property to be claimed and traded. don't think they get that part...otto was grumpy at me for going against the grain but i won't contribute to further repression in that place.

:10/17--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

thai snacks
i went on a 7-11 run to hat sai khaew this afternoon, managing to evade both the rain and the secret traffic stops where the skinny police jump out and gleefully distribute tickets for no helmet. 7-11 was out of bakery sweets and the newspaper, so i felt rather unfulfilled, but the drive along the jungle-fringed coast back was nice.

back at my hut there was a group of shy little cambodian and thai kids fishing into the moat, looking like injun hunters with their faces painted white. they giggled at the farang from across the bridge. they had a whole bag of writhing fish and as i watched them with their bamboo poles they reeled them in pretty steadily. after each fish they would fold their hands solemnly and say a buddha prayer. the fish are tiny and rather toxic though, and i took pity on the kids... gave them jam samwiches and let them climb all over my porch. the littlest one is five, and he is missing his front teeth.

i went to the jah bar to eat bones and rice and got stuck there in the hellacious downtime that is 5-9pm. this is the time of night i have to resign myself to more hammock sitting and silent smoking, as nobody and i mean nobody can be persuaded to move otherwise. i guess it's bit like siesta, but i don't need that much sleep. if no one kidnaps the remote control it's ok, but if it's a sports night i am doomed. tonight was unfortunately a surprise possibly-otto's-ex-girlfriend night. argh. those are fun, especially when the ex is a gorgeous blonde german girl. i walked past and noticed him sitting in the corner alone with her and my face must have changed, as all the boys gasped and hid their snickering. i have no choice but to keep my head and trust him (yeah), and i took a deep breath, left her to him and headed to a party on the beach.

:10/16--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

apparently i have a new pet

after an emotional staring contest on my porch today, i told sex-mad thai ot i'd give him one more chance at being monogamous with me- though i don't feel so optimistic about it- and let him stay in my room last night. heck, i am only here for a short time anyway, i should let whatever happens happen (ugh). if he remains obsessed with blonde farang girls i will for damn sure snag one of the sexy scandinavian or french boys, hiding mysteriously behind their mod bangs and black jackets. (not to mention said girls... maybe i can steal them out from under him too. :)) ...stupid boys. maybe i have to finally accept that humans are not made to stick with one person. and buy more condoms.

anyway i climbed up to eat at jah bar tonight which was the first night i have set foot in the place since a week ago, so it was sort of conspicuous. the boys were all really nice to me there, and actually seemed to miss me, which was nice. they are starting to feel like a family- though a rather introverted, noncommunicative one. i let them whisper in thai around me all night, mostly about girls. san has a lovely new girlfriend, my friend charlotte from france who has lived here 2 years. tom likes to chat curiously about sex. tek gets drunk and giggles to himself idiotically. bun just shouts inanities and scratches like a monkey as he passes on the way to the dj booth (they built a silly new one out of an old ford car and extended the bar.) ot ignored me and it felt like the good ol' days again. an old australian man whom ot and i had met before mailed him a great big english-thai dictionary (very kind), so i gave tom a wee lesson and went to bed.

:10/15--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

jah whatever

i awoke late thanks to my friend xanax and thus did not leave the island like i had sort of planned. i had packed last night though and apparently otto's friend walked past my hut and saw my hammock missing, and went up gleefully to inform otto. ot freaked out and ran all over the island, thinking i had left without saying goodbye (which actually was my intention). siam huts even told him they saw me get on the taxi and leave, heh heh. when he found me later sitting on the porch he fell exhausted in my lap and begged for things to be all better. so they are. pretty much. though if ot refers to himself as "only a poor laborer" one more time i might have to kick him out again on principal.

thai groups are starting to arrive in droves from bangkok, where they are escaping the APEC convention. they all wear visors and shorts. they eat in big groups behind me at breakfast, and strew themselves all over the floor at jah bar at night. thai people love to drink and dance though, and i like to chat with the people at the bar who can manage a bit of english.

:10/14--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

sculptures

a weird isolated day in which the timing seemed perpetually off. i went to the internet cafe and the big german guy who owns it (usually flanked with two huge red eyed dogs) surprised me with a plate of pasta and cheese. i tried not too be too obvious wolfing it down (farang food!). the little thai girl who is married to his likewise big german friend likes to shout at me "so beautiful, suai mak!" and "i love you!" as i leave. it sort of freaks me out. the builders down the beach do the same ("sabaidee mai teeruk?") and i have learned to avoid them as much as possible at night.

:10/13--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

the fucking jah bar
i am going to have to move out of my bungalow when my rent is due again, as i just cannot stand being constantly in the shadow of and within earshot of the screaming jah bar. it gives me this wild, shallow breathing feeling and all day long i have to force myself to relax. thinking that bai lan might be better for me. on the other hand though, i could not otherwise ask for a more visually perfect and private place to be on this island... so i put on some of my own music, burned incense, did some stretching, rolled around in the sand on the beach for a bit, and came back to write this afternoon on my porch. i have my space, i feel good. just a wee bit lonely and tired from the lack of sleep at night and the absence of nutrition to my brain.

my friend tom called me from chiang mai right as i finished my shower. i don't know why really, but somehow we have managed to become good friends based on a few conversations. i don't feel he wants anything from me- he knows i am poor now and he is not going to rape me.... it's nice to have someone seemingly real to talk to. he is going to bangkok tomorrow to interview with the embassy. his french girlfriend is sponsoring him to visit france. maybe he's a lucky guy but i don't know what the conservative officials are going to do when he shows up with bushy hair and a goatee. probably just say no. the thing is, he is smart, and he is yearning to have the opportunity to do something useful (unlike other thais i know)... it would seem that those would be the people who were eligible but in fact it is all in the presentation (money). maybe one day some famous film director will discover his talents, but i hope that is not the only chance he'll have.

sometimes i think it would be ideal to live in thailand and travel the world from here, but there are a couple of flaws to that plan. the most glaringly obvious is money. the second most obvious is that i will always be a farang, and thailand doesn't like foreigners... (they are in fact doing a bit of ethnic cleansing at present, though luckily it hasn't resorted to homicide yet. lucky i am not cambodian or burmese). oh, and of course i get stuck here (sometimes nowhere else can compare). i wonder how other expats living here feel about this. i am not used to fitting in in my own country, but i do have more equal opportunity there... i wish that borders were more open. if everyplace were as diverse as new york would that be a bad thing? too wordly? too much education of the masses? is that dangerous? if a person were able to legally seek out a living in a place they loved to be would that seriously unbalance the population? i think people need to realize they can't ever truly own the earth they stand on, that people should be able to seek out and learn from new cultures to progress... 'taint the case though.

:10/12--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

my private reading spot in ban bao
i am going back and forth between two books right now and they are both completely fascinating to me. one is (don't laugh) 'grapes of wrath' by steinbeck. i know most people are forced to read this in school and classics are boring, yadda yadda. but i love it. it is of course about the dispossessed farmers fleeing the dustbowl of the midwest towards dreams of prosperity in fertile california, where instead they were exiled and forced to live unemployed in slum camps, etc. it's a very honest look at the human condition. i can't wait to read what happens to the "fambly"- i am about halfway through it, and am being reminded that people in US history didn't always have it much better than citizens of any 3rd world country today. i don't feel like the US has totally escaped from that condition yet either- merely just postponed it behind fleeting success or driven it underground....

the other book i am reading is emphasizing a similar condition. it's called 'sex slaves- the trafficking of women in asia'. yes, cheery subject, and not especially healthy for me to read in this time of man-hating. it makes people in general all look like greedy evil masterminds of & contributors to secret sordid slave societies, and the worse part is that this is true. it focuses on the countries i have been in this year and i recognize a lot of what they discuss. women really have it bad, and people traditionally can be so blindly and horrifically heartless and oppressive, especially in a society which does not have a relaxed sexual code as in the west. again, i am reminded that it is easy to write a girl off as just a "whore", but there is so much more to it than that on this continent. i really feel pity for them and am lucky that my own life did not degrade quite to the level that it apparently does for some people (especially in nepal, cambodia, and pakistan). some peoples' daily existence is my worst nightmare of a living hell. and it is the people they trust the most who trick, coerce, and outright force them into this hell, besides the utterly dire social and economic position they are born into. i read that many buddhists believe that if a man collects bad karma he will be reborn a woman.

after seeing a lot of the aspects of the third world this past year and getting an overall feeling of disillusionment and incredulity with human nature, i think i have realized that the only way i can survive this world and this life with my sanity intact is to become someone who can help these people, in whatever small way. instead of contributing to the state of affairs by simply observing, i would like to take some action- inspire legitimate trust, provide counseling, education, and medical services. i am fully capable of all (more so than for instance, the burmese refugees at the border will ever have access to). unfortunately i do not have the piece of paper which allows me to get funding and do so, and i can not myself afford to go back to school and get it... this is rather ironic to me, but perhaps there is a way i have not thought of yet.

otto came to borrow my shower and say a polite good night to me before he went to work. we talked shortly about how you have to look out for yourself in life, and not just expect that you can get what you want by being a good person. i tried to explain that you can be selfish without hurting others. he still doesn't seem to get it. he still isn't getting paid, he works like a slave, and keeps mum when his coworker gambles all his money away. he's running in place. but sometimes cultural beliefs are so deeply ingrained that it is hard to re-educate.... we listened to a screeching in the jungle next to us and he informed me it was a snake catching a frog or rat. he nodded a tentative, friendly goodnight, he headed back to jah bar, and i went and had nightmares of 800 foot pythons swallowing me whole.
:10/11--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

lonely beach, ko chang
i have felt sick for days, and have not been able to eat even the small amount i normally ration out to myself. i can't decide if i am bored with thai food, stressed out, or legitimately sick. i did vomit quietly into my sink in the middle of the night last night, and i was overwhelmingly tired. i also sweat like mad when i sleep, and wake up burning. and not to mention the incredible sense of vertigo which makes me virtual immobile. feeling a bit paranoid (all around?) as a friend of mine on the next beach was just found to have malaria.

i slept most of the day, feeling utterly confused by otto, who today proclaimed that he was "just kidding" about the whole other girl thing. i don't know if he thinks i am stupid or if i am really stupid. i feel sort of resignedly patient with him (he can be so pitiful), but i am also fairly dead set against getting back into the relationship routine, which i hate. we didn't see each other all day, until dusk when he came to grab his baskets of stuff from my hut and return to the jah bar. we didn't speak much at all and the feeling was appropriately cold and distant. i am not so much bothered by it as i am relieved, which might be horrible to say. i don't think i wanted him to leave so much because he kissed another girl, or tried to lie to me about it... i simply do better on my own, and i think it is better for him too.

i did watch the girl cat from the jah bar get virtually raped by another male cat on my porch this morning. he held her down and growled and hissed at her whenever she moved to leave. very creepy for me to watch, but i suppose it's nature... (and then i thought about the fact that men are animals, but no need to get into that whole can of worms now)... just what they need, more kittens to feed around here!

later i dragged myself to nature bar to try and force down some tom yam. i got stuck with mr. piak, the owner, who wanted evidently to impress me with his wealth and power and promises to help me out while i am here. he offered me a job but at this point i would rather not work at all than work virtually for free. i don't trust thai men in their 40's, they all have a leery undertone and i feel they want something from me that they just ain't getting. i went and had half a beer & said goodnight to sanya at the bar, and slept restlessly in my room with earplugs stuffed in my ears, which still failed to block out the music and laughter from the jah bar behind me.
:10/10--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

full moon madness

i am living up to my family name right now. otto never came home again last night, and when he finally did show up (drunk) at about 9am i managed to drag out of him the fact that he had been kissing another girl at the party. he refused to explain in detail and left to go hang out with his friends in bai lan (today is the ok ganza buddhist holiday)... and i proceeded to clear every inch of his shite out of my hut and dump it on the porch. i should probably stop being jealous but i am not cool with the thai tradition of treating women with no respect at all. thai women just accept that their men will go with other women, and for instance mia nois (minor wives) are fairly commonplace. ot has actually said a woman always has to have stronger self control than a man, because if she sleeps around on him she is a slut who loses face, where meanwhile the guy is more or less expected to do whatever he wants.... my final decision on that subject is that it is...uh... bullshit. i have never strayed in a relationship, and i don't think it is too much to ask to get the same in return while i am here (?!??!)... anyway, i am sure i will get over it, but i have just more or less commited to another month here on ko chang (dismal job market reports in the US), and now i would really prefer to spend it in peace, alone.
:10/9--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

on the ferry

today i took an hour-long taxi to an hour-long ferry, had an hour-long wait in trat, then an hour-long minibus to hat lek at the cambodian border, an hour there where i got the usual blatant thievery from the cambodian visa officials, as well as a good deal of frustrating sexual harassment. an hour back to trat, another hour wait, ripped off by a taxi driver who eventually took me to the correct pier for the last ferry (charging me for every mistake), an hour on the ferry that i caught just in time, and then an hour waiting for otto to come get me on motorbike since for some stupid reason there were no taxis at the pier... and wait! an hour home. by that time i was frazzled and exhausted. i wanted to go to the full moon party tonight but i got home and immediately had a (curious) mini nervous breakdown, in which i firmly believed i could not move and had to lay perfectly still on my mattress and regulate my breathing until my vision came back to normal. therefore i begged off and went to sleep early to the soundtrack of the ruckus up the hill.
:10/8--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

pee ot

nothing to say about today, which kept running away from me until suddenly it was 5:00. ot and i played in my room for most of the afternoon until jah bar time, when i snagged some rice, fish soup, and fried egg from the kitchen and ran back to my hut and hide. a rainy, mostly forgettable day.
:10/7--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

jah bar's new sign outside my hut
i met an american man this morning who unfortunately fit all the stereotypes. from kansas. jogged up to me at breakfast with his sweatband and floppy shorts. he had no idea where nepal was, or vietnam for chrissakes, and couldn't discuss politics.... every time i meet americans i am still surprised at the prudish, superficial way we talk to each other. like we can't relax, have to compete. i don't like americans much. i got rid of him quick by throwing him on the trail of an imaginary ganja source.

the dog at my place has some sort of constant epilepsy. his name is 'hip hop', which is funny, if you could see his head bobbing up and down....sort of guiltily funny that is. okay nevermind.

being the only farang at jah bar means i constantly field every possible question about farangs. today i didn't go up there but smoked in front of the sunset on the beach with the guys. i got "do farangs have bugs? ...you know, on their bodies, in their hair?".... whaaaa???? no we don't have bugs! ...anything outlandish or somewhat crazy they immediately attribute to us. they just don't understand white people at all... they think we never take showers for one thing. i try to explain that yes we take at least one or two showers a day... but we aren't fanatic like them. we like our sex to smell like sex! the pillow to smell like our partner's hair! they don't get it. they cover themselves in several layers of soap and a fine coat of baby powder three or four times a day. bugs....ugh.
:10/6--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

fishing boats come closer in gray weather

otto and i played the lottery- he picked the number and i bought it. we got the last three numbers (843) right- worth 2000 baht on our first try. we stole the jah bar's motorbike with no delay this morning despite evident dark cloud cover, to go collect... and of course ended up in the biggest raging thunderstorm of this month getting soaked along with all the goodies we'd greedily bought. we watched thai people zig zag past blind and drowning, from under the awning of a nearly flooded shop. somehow this tipped off a weird mania in the day.

it just became odd after that. i got very cold and crazy towards ot out of nowhere. escaped to email 'x' a plea for sanity. and then to nature bar, where some of the local farangs from last season had returned. big party there that followed me later up to jah bar, where another night of misplaced sexuality was raring, along with the bottle of sangsom ot and i had bought to celebrate... one thai man who had earlier made fun of my forehead ("lek!" he says) later grabbed the revolted penis of my friend tek. tek, who is not gay, was shocked and horrified but polite. his pal san, on the other hand, is more blatantly hetero (big muslim guy) and he stood up and promptly slapped the man, and shamed him in front of the crowd. thai culture. somehow khun homo seemed to feel respect for san, and he sat quietly stunned but accepting as he lost face. if i were him i'd have gotten the hell out.... meanwhile a very-shy-all-night and then suddenly-exhibitionist couple from new zealand proceeded to outright shag on the bar. clothes off and everything. tom and tek even went to shine flashlights on them and throw pillows, but there was no stopping that sex machine... people go crazy thinking they can do anything on their trip!...next this absolutely smashed up french guy came in. he had been in before and is either as deaf or as dumb as a rock. can't form a coherent sentence, keeps trying to pay with the same 50 euro note. scraggly hair with bald patches, skinny, eyes a-twirl. and tonight with big gory cuts on his forehead and an obviously very recently broken black nose... a long brown scrape up the side of his arm... he insisted he didn't know what happened and then stared off and ignored everything stubbornly as he sipped his coke... i am guessing homocide....

so all night it was feeling like something was in the air, besides the nearly full moon peeking out of the clouds... then joy, a very aggressively funny alcoholic english woman, who likes to show people the sunshine tattoed on her arse, has just returned. she has a special relationship with all the dogs on this island. she sneered when she saw 'smelly' (a ratty little mutt) who is now missing an eye because he killed a chicken at the jah bar. (yeah they did it. and it suffered.) joy says with a glint in her smile that she has therefore put some spell to attract evil on the jah bar, and last night, i believed her..... i said non la fund dee and dragged otto out of there by 4am, who was feeling me up and drooling all the way. sheesh. island life.

:10/5--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

laundry
days are blurring past and i have to admit i am not keeping track. i am tempted to put a sign on here saying "on hiatus", as my brain most definitely is. but i don't want to drop my journal altogether. so i write.

the day started out bright and surreal as usual, but the jellyfish lined up in hoardes along the shore, blocking entrance to or exit from the sea. i am hoping the season for them is over soon. the storm clouds edged sketchily nearer on the horizon, and inevitably, it poured. it's eerily quiet in the rain- everything seems temporarily immobile. i feel glued to my hammock, my spine gaining a noticeable permanent curve, camera in hand, snapping another picture... view from my porch on sunday. view from my porch in the rain. view from my porch upside down and sideways. another picture of me smiling at arm's length. i smoked joints when i first came, which helped both the view and my peace-hungry mindset immensely, but then i read that thailand has reignited their absurd "drug war" again in preparation for the APEC convention and i stopped. i now clean my room obsessively. i find i am 100% anal when it comes to spic and span-ness in my hut- i despise grains of sand in my bed and tiny ants who crawl relentlessly into my crack as i sleep. i light incense, i sweep and scrub, i air my sheets in the sun over my moat. i burn mosquito coils to avoid being sucked dry by things with wings that emerge from the thick brush... otherwise i read a lot and try to imagine writing.

not to say nothing happens, it's just that in addition i have been working a lot for myself and i find myself to be a rather paranoid, intense boss. i am over-correcting. forcing myself to write, to create, to produce something where i have never felt the inspiration or discipline before. not much of interest to describe yet, but soon there may be a new site forthcoming on which you will be able to read about my quasi-sane head and life.

for about three days i can't even bring myself to look at ot. i would blame it on PMS but i don't get the "M" so it doesn't apply. it's okay because he seems to feel the same. he has basically just stopped coming to see me, except to take a shower and to sleep. when he comes he comes with that fake, syrupy sweet thai smile he wears and i try to pretend he isn't there. i do not want another relationship, ever again amen. i don't believe it is possible for me, with my restless, chameleon moods. i freeze into a sniveling heap of petty cruelty if someone doesn't fit my idea of what they should be as a partner... i don't feel so close to ot, i don't enjoy intellectual (or even blandly humorous) conversations with him... but otto is a very good, very kind guy. he doesn't deserve my constant irritated impatience with him and i don't want it lodged like a ball of wax in my stomach either. not sure what to do about that... it is hard to separate him from ko chang, and even though i came here because of the island and not the boy, it will be hard to leave the boy without leaving the island.
:10/4--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

blue

today i ordered a cheese omelet with my muesli, yogurt, and fruit, instead of the hard boiled eggs as usual. the scattered thai family at my bungalow reception eyes me curiously and not so subtly as i sit alone. the older sister looked at my breasts this morning and then pulled the front of her shirt down for her sisters, shaking her head sadly at the nubs. the boys, whom i would swear were just 12 yesterday, sit in the corners with slicked back hair, slapping mosquitos and chain-smoking. the dog has some sort of disorder that makes him buck and writhe constantly as if he feels he is on a roller coaster. i feed him and the fat mangy affectionate cat scraps from my table.

in the bangkok post it says in two weeks we all have to be on our best behavior. after ok ganza (a buddhist holiday this coming weekend) comes the APEC convention starring ol' dubya bush. the rather dictatorial and in my opinion hilariously idealistic thai prime minister has mercilessly thrown out the homeless people (one politician suggested they send them to live with the stray dogs also being rounded up and sent to some distant junkyard) and immigrants. there are no prostitutes in bangkok (ha!), no child flower sellers at 3am, no pollution belching trucks, no garbage bins. image is everything for the thais, as is the superficial "respect" necessary to prostrate in front of forthcoming world leaders. but in the name of respect, freedom of speech, freedom of a place to sleep, peoples' basic human rights are being brushed aside, for this quick cleanup... after which they will simply be forgotten again as the government turns back to their fascist "elimination" fantasies (elimination of drugs, poverty, arms smuggling, mafia influences, and prostitution in say....six months, primarily by killing off perpetrators or bleeding them dry financially). members of falun gong from china were turned back at the border with admonitions that there will be no pesky protests of any sort allowed in front of the diplomats (sounds like...er...communist china doesn't it). politically correct art is being provided, new sculptures are being erected, shiny new tuk tuks being built. taxpayers' money being wasted on cosmetic changes that benefit no one... meanwhile the taxi drivers are being taught to recognize surface to air missiles in the backseat and to report foreigners who don't seem to talk much and look shifty...

boring martin and i discussed the fact that it is pretty much the same everywhere in the world today. governments are all pretty much inept, corrupt, dismissive of the individual. poverty is everywhere, disease is breaking out like litters of rabbits on speed(i read daily about some new plague or contamination in the rathole that is india for instance), people are killing each other over shaky philosophies (uh...islam), people go mad and betray and blackmail and lie. you can't trust anyone but yourself to help yourself no matter where you are... we both had a long moment of silence reflecting on what we had just said...yeesh. the world is undeniably, irretrievably crazy, and i guess it always has been. not much you can do but survive it.

:10/3--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

possible future digeridoo
i am dwindling down to nothing in my self-imposed hunger due to possibly rational miserliness. i had a mini binge (lots of baht) on the internet today and guiltily skipped dinner again. i did actually go up to the jah bar with the intention of eating, but the cupboard was literally bare. ot has not kept his promise to help out with food and accomodation (argh), and i am effectively supporting him now in addition to myself, on much less of a budget than i have ever lived on in my life. i miss cheese!, creme-filled chocolate eclairs!!!, crab legs with butter, artichokes, mashed potatoes, pizza, fresh vegetables, pot roasts, cereal. if i have to look at another bowl of rice with some sort of meat flavored with chilis and garlic, i will die.

i don't mean to sound negative. i feel good actually. i love my freedom, my isolation, all the time i have to do something. i love learning thai and teaching english, i love the quiet beach at night, nodding acquaintances, subtitled movies. motorbike trips through the jungle. i am happy exactly where i am.

one thing i don't love right now though is the jah bar. with exception of the owner, and whit (who has a family to support), i have never met such a bunch of useless people in my life. from morning til night they sit on hammocks, smoking and staring off, and it is all i can do to even engage them in conversation. i am thoroughly bored with them. i remember living with a certain ex boyfriend who was constantly on a mad crusade to produce. art, writing, money, whatever. i remember thinking how sad it was he hadn't allocated any of his time to actually live life. he was one extreme, and the jah bar boys are the glaring other.... i am trying to find a happy medium where i can do something unique with myself but am not sitting on my ass all day working and letting a gorgeous life slip past. i have resolved to be a more interesting person, and also not to go back to the jah bar until there is something for me to do there.
:10/2--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

rain

ot showed up around 10am to drag me to nature restaurant, where i sat with all the hungover bar boys and ended up paying for his questionable lunch of pepper steak and fries. i never saw him again until evening.

'x' and i did job searches on the internet today and compared results in email- between the two of us we came up with exactly 33 jobs we were mostly overqualified for and which paid significantly less than we should expect. 33 jobs available in the entire US. we will see if our resumes provoke any interest but thus far no cigar. a friend wrote to tell me there are no longer any recruiting agencies in existence anymore, as there are no jobs to recruit for, and that even telemarketing, restaurant, or retail work is almost impossible to find. my first instinct is to be furious at my government for not paying attention to the welfare of it's own citizens before getting involved in everyone else's beezwax, and my second is just chilling fear.

i had to go to sai kheaw to check email, as it is 2b/min. cheaper there, and on the way back me and my bag of 7-11 goodies were thoroughly and completely drenched. i drove slowly and blindly back to lonely beach, where i peeled off my clothes and jumped in the sea. i dried off in the sun when it happily re-emerged 30 minutes later, sitting on my porch and reading a very tense stephen king book which gave me a paranoid headache. something that sounded very big and very near screeched at me from the bushes behind my hut.

.... between the eccentric 40 year old mama with little giggling tom on her leash, the campy gayboy couples on holiday from bangkok making out explicitly in the corners, a fat lesbian with dirty hair and a mustache tickling her prostitute girlfriend, the ladyboys flirting girlishly, and the out of control hetero vibes bouncing off between the aggressive bartenders (including ot) and a group of towhead girls from norway, the jah bar party was a sexual madhouse tonight. i sat wishing otto would blow up from across the room. at 6am i finally convinced him to go home, but as we were headed down the steps one blond girl called "oh, what was your name?" to him and he drunkenly mumbled that he needed to check on something back at the bar before he came home.... i flounced down the steps to my bungalow alone, listening to them giggling to each other behind me on my way down the hill. ugh.

:10/1--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ot proofreading my flyer

i took the advice of the ajarn.com guy and made flyers to put out around the island for english lessons and internet (email, website) help. i passed a few out last week with otto (who interpreted them for the thai people) but got no response. i resolved today to go directly in to hotel receptions, introduce myself to the managers, and convince them to buy lessons for their staff... that was the plan anyway, but i failed to take into account my chronic and debilitating shyness, especially with thai people my age. now i need a plan b of sorts to earn donations. i am not a salesperson.

the rest of the day i found myself in a frenzy of sitebuilding and book outlining. it was a beautiful day viewed from the doorway where i sat working on my computer and sipping strawberry fanta.


 

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