for various reasons, not least of which is my personal security, i have decided to postpone further writing on my journal until such time as i get back on the road. i am in the process of starting another writing site however, which won't be so much day to day mundanity but rather reflections, insights, and stories which i'd like to share, many of them travel related. thank you to all of you who have read thus far, and wish me luck!- i don't think that once i start making money again it will take me too long to pick up where i left off, and like i have continually said, my wanderlust is never satiated and thus i will never settle. next stop, south america. feel free to email me until such time as i reappear. & luckiest of good luck to you all!
- elocin

bangkok again. i don't want to be here but at least it isn't ko chang. i am still really sick and have spent the entire day in bed so far. musing over my options- i can't go home yet, nowhere to go and no jobs until after new year (this is confirmed by a friend of mine who went home 2 1/2 months ago and still hasn't found work). my mother waited until i was down and wrote me an unfriendly, accusatory letter, so as usual my family is out, not that i had counted on that anyway. my bank balance is shockingly low.... i do have two possibilities though- one is some volunteer web work (no pay but good for my portfolio and it will take my mind off things) that was begged of me by a lawyer friend who has read my site for the past year, here in bangkok. the other is that i won the free TEFL course i mentioned(!) and can go teach with them for the next two months all expenses paid. i am too sick to do much in the way of planning today but at least i have some hope. today i plan to relax, think little, and sleep early. i will go to talk to my lawyer friend tomorrow to see about work. thus far no signs of my potential attackers.

my horoscope from rob bresny today says: " Many of you feel that you're only truly yourself if others see you as you want to be seen. But this week I suggest you try out a different perspective. It's hinted at by Suzan-Lori Parks in her play "Topdog/ Underdog": "Yr only yrself when no one's watching." Who are you when you're alone, Aquarius? Turn off your awareness of what everyone thinks about you. Listen only to the clues arising from your silent depths." -which i thought was apt.

trat market

this morning i had a mini nervous breakdown. for one thing i am horribly sick with some sort of flu. but also the stress of the past couple weeks finally caught up with me. i felt very untrusting of otto and very paranoid. this was made worse by the fact that when our bus to bangkok pulled over for a pee break, 'l' and his friends were at the rest stop, headed the same direction. i buried my head in my book and tried to calm down for the rest of the ride. when we finally arrived in bangkok, otto was disappointed that i didn't invite him to stay with me, and we parted without saying goodbye to each other. i felt rather relieved at that, as i really would like to get on with myself. it's easier to see the sense in it now that i have left the island. i found a room and collapsed immediately, feeling feverish and drained.


ot's boats
this morning i woke up insanely angry at 'l'. everywhere i went people on the beach would give me cold stares and whisper to each other. otto felt sympathy for me and invited me to come spend the day with him on sai khaew while he worked, and i accepted gratefully. we talked about moving to another beach to another bungalow. we sat in the shade on the beach and i tried to read a book, but i couldn't concentrate. as i am very neurotic, once i am angry about something it is very hard for me to diffuse. finally i stood up and told otto i wanted to go back to my room. i had finally decided i have had enough of the jah bar, enough of ignorant thai people, enough of malicious rumors spread by jealous and uninformed people, and most of all, enough of ko chang. ot insisted on driving me back to my room. while he took a shower i packed my stuff. he came out and i told him goodbye. he said nothing, just looked shocked and angry, and i shrugged and left, leaving him the key to my room to use since it has been paid up for another week or so. as i was waiting for the taxi to the ferry, one thai man who worked at my bungalows came running up screaming "bai lao, bai lao, tell 'l'!" apparently 'l' had told him to watch me and see if i'd leave. i realized then that they really intended to get some kind of revenge on me- either to physically hurt me or to set me up in some way, probably with drugs. i caught the taxi shaking the entire way to the pier.

of course as soon as i reached the pier, otto showed up. he wanted to come with me. i explained to him that i couldn't (wouldn't) support him and now that he had his new business i thought he should stay. also i didn't want him to blame me in the future for his coming to bangkok, as he hates the city and doesn't have much in the way of opportunity there. also, to be honest, i just wanted to put him behind along with ko chang, as he has impeded my progress enough this past year.... 'x' wrote me and said "i was really amazed that some low class thai boy managed to steal your trip from you"... which is true in retrospect. but it's also a bit more complicated than that. there are real feelings involved on both sides that i haven't been able to just write off. in my life experience i have never met anyone who didn't have a dark side and i have learned that you have to accept people for who they are. how much you accept is up to you. admittedly though i am a perennial backslider, and i have explained my weakness already... i am human, live and learn. at this point i realized i don't want to accept more of otto's manipulation. and as far as my trip is concerned, i am confident that this wasn't my only chance, it's not so hard for me to get back on the road, it just takes time. i don't regret anything and when it comes down to it i have had a great time. if i can keep otto as my friend i will be quite satisfied with the way things have turned out.

anyway ot assured me he was coming of his own volition, he would stay with his brother and not leech off me, and i could have my space and just see him when i was ready. so not having to commit to anything, i gave in. we took the ferry to trat, where we stayed the night in a nice room in the trat hotel. it was a really nice probably last night together- i felt relieved, and finally, safe. otto was very kind to me. we ate at the market and slept well.


nature restaurant
i had finally went to bed at 6am this morning, and at 8am there was a knock on my door. otto opened it to see the guys from the jah bar standing on my porch, livid. they started accusing me loudly of writing on my website that there was to be a huge drug and sex party at their bar on the 6th, and sending it to the police to get them busted. obviously those of you who read this site know that i did no such thing, but unfortunately the circumstances look really suspicious. the police told them they got an HTML email. i am the only web developer that they know. otto and i have had problems and it would seem that i'd want to take revenge on him. and otto and i didn't go to the party. argh. i explained to them that they could read every line of my site if they so desired and they would find nothing bad along those lines. then i went back to sleep.

i woke up late in the day, starving. otto and i head to the nature bar to eat tom yam. we sat in the corner and just started to eat when 'l' from the jah bar came running in. he was furious. apparently he had gone to the internet cafe and read my entire website. he found 3 sentences about him. admittedly, they were pretty bad. i mentioned for instance, in trying to explain why it is hard to be the girlfriend of a bar boy, that he constantly cheated on his girlfriend. while this is true, and i don't regret writing about it, i do realize i was totally in the wrong to use his real name. i apologized profusely and told him i would change it for him immediately. but that wasn't enough. he started telling the entire restaurant, which was packed with my friends, that i had been the reason that his business is now closed and 6 thai people are out of work. exasperated, i tried to defend myself, with no help at all from otto. otto gave me a strange look and said "you don't realize how much trouble you are in, do you?" all the sudden i got really scared. 'l' came over and looked me in the eyes and promised with an evil glint in his eye that he would kill me tonight. knowing thai people, i didn't doubt that for an instant. more and more of his friends showed up and ot told me to stay where i was, because if i left the bar they would attack me. they kept me for 4 hours in the corner of the restaurant, yelling at me, threatening me, and humiliating me in front of everyone i knew. i didn't know what to do- they had every right to be mad at me for using his real name (i am hitting myself for not being consistent with name changing on my site), but they blew it really far out of proportion and blamed me for something i simply did not do. i found out two girls had started this rumor, one of whom was named sarah and had read my site. i have seen her around ko chang, but never talked to her, and now i realize that might be because she is one of those weirdos that has some kind of grudge about me because of my writing. if she is reading this now i hope she realizes that she almost got someone innocent killed over her stupid rumors. otherwise, i realized how easily incensed thai men are, even with little basis, and how little it takes to escalate to an unmanageable degree.

eventually otto came around, and helped calm 'l' down. by the end of the night the death threats had reverted to name calling only. exhausted, embarrassed, and disgusted, i tramped back to my room to sleep.


ot making a krathong

offerings to buddha
today is loy krathong. it is a buddhist holiday in celebration of nature, and people make krathongs, which are little boats made of bamboo leaves, flowers, candles, and incense. they also make paper lanterns of various colors. otto and i had a productive day. we went to sai khaew to print up fliers and signs for his boat trip business, which he has decided to take up again. i am glad he came to his senses, as he would never have been paid (or been happy) at the jah bar and he can potentially make a lot of money with this business. after we'd gotten him set up we went to the laarb shop. we ate somtam and laarb and played with the pet iguana. i talked to a poor german lad who was going around the world on $600 (!), and otto made a beautiful krathong out of leftover bamboo leaves scattered around the shop. we headed to the temple after that, where there was a gorgeous festival. it was pretty huge for ko chang, completely packed with people. there were lots of cute little games to play (one of them was a ring set up, with a rat in a box in the middle. along the perimeter of the ring were different pipes with numbers pasted over them. for 5 baht you would buy a tag with a number from the ringmaster. when everyone had bought their numbers, the box was opened and the rat set free. whichever numbered pipe he escaped to, the holder of that number would win the jackpot.) there was a disco and lots of food stalls. the temple was all lit up, and otto took me to give incense and lotus flowers to the golden buddha, and afterwards we sat before a line of chanting monks while people around us prayed for luck.

afterwards we headed to the treehouse, where people were letting their kratongs and lanterns off into the water and sky. it is really beautiful, especially with the full moon as the backdrop. later we went back to my bungalow and sent our own kratong off in the water. we put some of our hair and fingernails in the boat and made wishes as it floated out to sea.

there was a party at the nature bar on the beach so we stopped by later on. we hadn't intended to drink much but everyone there got really smashed. the undercover police paid a visit to thoroughly annoy and search people (finding nothing), and there were a few stupid fights at the bar amongst the very stressed out thai people. the atmosphere, which had started out lovely, turned quickly sour. it was not helped by the various girls who kept coming up to me telling me that i was stupid to be with otto after what he had done to me. i rolled my eyes and explained to the girls that their thai boyfriends were doing the same thing behind their backs. (not my business but if i can prevent other girls from being in the same situation as i was in last week i damn well will). nevertheless i felt rather cold towards ot, and i left without him to hang out with lovely faye in my room, until both of our drunk boyfriends came by and stopped the party for good tonight.


view of ko chang from pier
the whole island was abuzz today over the incident at the jah bar last night. it was on the morning and evening news and it headlined the thai newspapers. quite silly actually. prime minister taksin, as i have mentioned before, intends to clean up ko chang and make it an upscale resort island, like phuket. he is really fanatically against drugs. it was inevitable that he would send someone to check out the biggest bar on ko chang during the crackdown, and i had just discussed with otto last week how stupid everyone was to think they would be immune and to smoke weed so openly, as if it were amsterdam. however the authorities made such a big production, thinking they would uncover a den of sin along the lines of the full moon parties on ko phangnan, and they more or less humiliated themselves by finding nothing of the sort. ko chang is very relaxed, and has little if any serious drug problems. a bit of weed, yes, but that is seemingly unimportant to the authorities anyway. unfortunately though, the police took every bit of money out of the bar, and the owner had to put up bail for the one bartender who was made an example of, and as a result the business is ruined and will have to close. i feel bad for them but i suppose it is their own fault.

i made a visa run to cambodia today, relatively painless, with ot accompanying me. when we returned, exhausted, in the evening, we stopped by the jail to see our friend, 's'. he's a really good guy, he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. we brought him snacks and cigarettes and left him looking desolate behind bars.


benevolent buddha bestowing luck
this morning otto decided on his own to kick katie out and quit the jah bar. i don't know if he did this for me or for himself, but i am not sure if that is what i want or not. i found him saying a last goodbye to katie (who looked heartbroken) on the beach, and he left her to come back with me. i am happy to have him back with me, but i also know he might be the biggest loser i have ever dated, and i will never quite trust him again. i decided to let things fall into place as they will, i am not here for much longer, and i might as well enjoy him while i am here.

in thailand if a snake crosses your path it is considered good luck. today two snakes crossed my path- one a large, lovely green python who reared back and spit when i passed. the luck they brought me made itself obvious not too much later on in the day.

tonight the jah bar had a big party. i was exhausted from the stress of the last week and otto didn't want to be around his ex-coworkers, who were fairly angry at him for leaving abruptly. we had one or two drinks at the nature bar and headed to bed early. the jah bar was screaming behind us as usual, making it hard to sleep. all of the sudden the noise cut off. we went to the porch and looked up the hill to see flashing lights. otto said it must be the police. suddenly our friend jay came running down the hill, looking very distraught. he said that a whole swat team had broken into the bar and arrested everyone there. he had managed to run away. later on we found out that the police hauled off 75 people in pickup trucks to the police station on the other side of the island. they tested each person's urine for drugs, and even tested blood on the long haired thai guys. they had searched the entire place, but they found nothing but two small bags of weed behind the bar. the majority of people tested negative for drugs (i believe they were testing for amphetimines, not THC) and were let go with no repercussions. but one of otto's ex-coworkers was detained for the weed and will be made an example of. we felt extraordinarily lucky that we hadn't gone up there tonight, though we really wouldn't have had to worry as we have no drugs in our system.


laarb shop guy with his iguana

i packed all my stuff, reluctantly admitting to myself it is time to leave no matter how much i like the place. i sat on my porch one last time, and little tom came by. i told him i'd probably go to ko lanta and wished him luck. of course the first thing he did was run up and tell otto. i was just leaving as otto ran up to my porch, breathless. he begged, pleaded, cried, and swore that he did not want things to be the way they were, but it had all happened so quickly in a fit of anger and resentment at me that he didn't know how to extricate himself from what he had done. he wanted to spend one last day with me, which sort of offended me but i gave in. thus he left katie alone at jah bar, and did not return to explain to her or his coworkers what was going on. he took me all over the island to all our favorite places- bao's new bar in kai bae, the laarb shop, bai lan to see drac, jae gallery in ban bao, and finally to sunset huts where we sat and had some drinks overlooking the water. he spent the night with me, in which i refused to have sex with him for katie's sake, and i became a writhing mass of stupidity and confusion once more.

gigantic praying mantis that's been hanging around my hut
well here i am and what am i waiting for- another mistake with ot? for real friends to suddenly materialize? for a well paying job? cultural insight? what? i felt sick and down all day. it was a beautiful day but today that wasn't enough. i went and had chai and a cheese sandwich (the only thing i have really eaten in 2 or 3 days) at the treehouse, as far away from the jah bar and my old life as i could get. it was nice. but i feel totally paralyzed and couldn't relax there for longer than an hour. my friend tom called me from chiang mai- he seems to know when i need him. he is now staying on ko lanta, and working for a dive shop that takes him back and forth from the gorgeous ko phi phi all day. he invited me to stay there with him. i wouldn't do that because i don't want any semblance of a thai boyfriend right now and i like him so much that it could easily fall into that, but ko lanta is supposed to be great, and cheap. and it isn't ko chang right now... i could leave tomorrow. i don't think i will, i think i will wait for my visa run in a couple of days, and then head off. i'll give someone my bungalow for the rest of the time i have paid for it... phew. something resembling a plan.

another thing i am crossing my fingers for is something i read online today. the TEFL institute at ban phe (ko samet) thailand is awarding five chances at a free TEFL course in exchange for someone working for them, all expenses paid, at two english camps, one in korea. that sounds divine to me- i wish i had more experience. i sent them an eager email but it bounced back saying the mailbox was already full, so i have to try again tomorrow.

it was a gorgeous, non-replicable sort of day. not much happened outside my normal routine but i realized how much i love my normal routine. i awake around 9:30 or 10, have breakfast with my kittens and newspaper, check email for a 'x' update, clean my room, read on my hammock, take an afternoon swim in which i sing loudly to myself on my fish float and chase baby fishies and crabs around in the water, write a bit, say hi to "friends", eat something or other, have a drink or two, and sleep. ot stopped by in the afternoon looking forlorn. apparently it isn't working out with katie (heh heh) and he misses me. he brought me ice cream, was unusually friendly and chatty, and he even tried to kiss me, but i laughed and pushed him away with a look of incredulity... though i realized guiltily that i really want to sleep with him, hold him, be bored by him again, just a secret little bit (stupid! stupid!) ....tonight at nature bar i ran into my friend marcel from amsterdam, whom i met last christmas in vietnam with a group of cute hipster finnish boys. very weird to see him. he just saved $26k and has set off on a new trip which he expects to last 5 years. i seethed with jealousy and made a note to start planning my own asap. one thing i realized from him though is that it isn't too hard to get back on the road again, with a bit of concerted effort. this "RTW" trip has been a trial run, and i do intend to throw myself back onto the trail as soon as i can work things out financially. that cheered me up a bit....all signs point to moving on but i just can't bring myself to leave my home here, and financially i can't justify it. yet.


the ubiquitous gecko
feeling a bit heartbroken today but won't get into it here. ot didn't help the situation by stopping by and admitting he wasn't happy and rubbing my hands softly and sensually until i wanted to scream, give in, and rape him. i have never been so sexually obsessed with anyone, and it occured to me that that could have been the basis for our entire relationship all along. unfortunately it doesn't work long term but it's hard to admit that fact.

i spent most of the day reading back over my journal for the past year, to see if there was some sort of clue in it as to what i should do next. i am quite happy to stay on this island at this point, as it may be the last time i see it, especially as it is now. even despite the presence of my ex and his new gal behind me up the hill, i feel mostly at peace here. but it occured to me that i do maybe have other options, though money is tight. i could go back to nepal and trek. i could go teach english in china for a bit of forced culture shock. i could go try to find work of some sort in europe. it all sort of comes back to the same thing though, and that is that i can make the most money at home.

faye from nature must have felt sorry for me, and she showed up at my bungalow to hang out tonight. she makes me so nervous- she's beautiful and cold (and of course i have had a crush on her boyfriend joe since the first day i set foot on ko chang). she is also 20, and i realized i am getting old, i can't relate to a 20-year old anymore. :( we don't have much to talk about, and i feel rather guilty and fake with her. i felt like i disappointed her by not being girly and extroverted... with that heavy line of thought i went out with her tonight to see my nature bar "friends". we played a couple of drinking games in which i was mostly ignored, and it felt good to be distracted.



today is a new day. and even though remnants of the old are constantly nagging at me, i have decided i am a big girl. i am going to carry out my plan to stay on ko chang, my only real home, until such time as i have another place to go. today i made myself do things for myself.... stretched on my porch, had a morning swim, listened to music. then i went to print up flyers for teaching english, resolving to myself to get some work. after that i had lots of free time to sit and think, which is bad... but overall i think everything will be ok. i didn't drink or smoke at all today, i talked to absolutely no one, and i went to bed at 8p.


2000-2003 elocin

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