One night in bangkok

Trip Start Feb 18, 2004
Trip End Dec 05, 2005

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Monday, July 25, 2005

"one night in bangkok makes a hard man humble..." i was there for 26 nights and it just made me tired of bangkok. i'm quite ready to be movin' on. but here's some of the stuff that went on while i was there...

so i flew back from vietnam to bangkok to have my eye checked out (see "eye surgery" entry for more info). matt & julie were kind enough to let me stay at their condo again during this ordeal. my i-Pod had stopped working while i was in vietnam so i took it to the i.t. mall to see if they could fix it. the guy at the apple shop said i should send it in to apple for service. the i.t. mall is filled with computer stores and little stalls with copies of movies and music. guys kept offering me "sexy" movies in hushed voices. there was a thai guy in a lake oswego shirt which i found amusing. having read that book "a fortune teller told me", i figured i'd go visit one and went to panam luang park. there was an older guy who based his fortune telling on astrology and a younger woman next to him playing with cards. the older guy got my birthday information and proceeded to tell me a little bit about my past, present and future. i told him that i was staying with a friend while in bangkok, he asked if it was a guy or a girl and i said it was a guy. from this point on he kept making references to my "friend" as if it was a boyfriend (and i think he assumed this guy friend was thai). he told me there was a chubby, dark-skinned man in love with me. uh oh. he mentioned things about my past which were pretty much all incorrect. he said this last year had been a hard time at work but it would get better (i told him i hadn't been working, but i don't think he listened). i asked about travel and he said it would get better after my birthday...there would be obstacles to overcome between now and then. my health was supposedly fine (i'm about a week away from going into surgery). the girl with the cards proceeded to tell my fortune with the cards and started following along the same lines with the "friend" but then said that i liked a thin, pale woman. ahhh, now we're more on the right track. both agreed that money wouldn't be a problem for me in the future. so if i sit around doing nothing that money should come pouring in. come on, big money!!!

the english radio stations here are least the ones i heard. they play a lot of cheesey songs from the '80s and '90s. not much current. the dj's must be third string rejects from the u.s. or elsewheres as they stammer and mispronounce many words. i could probably do a better job than them, though they are a bit entertaining in how bad they are.

off i went to the islands for a few days... (see "return to paradise" entry)

on the night back from the islands, i watched some of the 'live 8' concert with matt & julie. that was cool though some of the performances aired were too brief.

into the hospital for eye surgery. the few days following were sucky as i hurt all over and felt a bit nauseous. the eye doctor said i should get a thai girlfriend to look after me which would have been nice during this time. i did a bit of sitting around matt's place watching movies, but don't like sitting still much so would wander to the store and emporium shopping area. i'm sure i looked lovely with my bruised, bloodshot eye and limp. the doctor had said to exercise but my hip would hurt quite a bit from the walking. i was feeling rather bummed for a while having to end my se asia trip for the surgery. feeling bad post-surgery didn't help things. skipping the rest of se asia and china to go home was a serious consideration. it wasn't long before i was feeling better though and was ready to go explore again (can't keep me down for long!).

becky and laura came back into town so i met up with them for an afternoon. we went around lumpini park, the siam sq area and up the tallest bldg in bangkok, the baiyoke sky hotel. i met up with them again the next evening for dinner and drinks in the patpong area. they were in charge of protecting me from the girly-boys. said my goodbyes to them as they would be returning to england.

my brother, john, came to bangkok for work. we went out to chatuchak market to check out all the stuff. never did find the 'pet fashion' section (i've looked for it twice now). we also went to see "fantastic four" at the gold class cinema. that's sweeeet - you get reclining lazy-boy chairs, a pillow and blanket. it's like being in your own living room for a movie. seeing movies here is as it should be - $3 for the movie and $2 for popcorn + drink. one of the days with my brother we went and got a foot massage. that wasn't very relaxing - the lady was inflicting a lot of pain on me. and then you pay them for it!?! i think we went to swensen's for some good ice cream sundaes right after that. i wandered around chinatown for an afternoon. there are some narrow streets with shopping. it looked like everything they were selling was junk. there were a few temples in the area too, but i've seen my share of temples already.

went to laos for about a week to escape from bangkok

i had to leave laos a day or two earlier than i was planning due to the asean conference. the border and airport were supposedly going to be closed so i had to get out before that happened. so i was back in bangkok on july 19. john and i went to dinner a mexican restaurant since i was craving that. food was alright (not as good as home, of course). i saw a kid with a "senor pico" mask so i asked the waitress for one too. on the walk back, i put on the mask and waved to some of the tuk tuk drivers. they laughed. teeter called the morning of my birthday and conferenced in several others so i got to talk to some of my friends back home. that was nice. i spent most the rest of the day just being lazy. john took me out to a fancy dinner at sirocco's - it's an open-air restaurant on the 64th floor of a building.

so you get good views around the city. we were a bit disappointed that the tables weren't right next to the edge like at the vertigo restaurant. john got a day off for buddhist lent day so we had the day to do whatever. we went and got foot massages again...this time they were much more gentle and it was relaxing.

john left town so i moved on over to a closet-sized room at a guesthouse in the khao san road area. wasn't sure what to do as i've seen most everything i want to see, but i found ways to waste time (e.g., i-net cafe). the khao san rd area at night is interesting... kind of like a carnival with lots of strange people. saw another movie - "the island". it was ok. i was wandering around one of the night market areas and a song by travis popped into my head (not one of their more popular songs). a bit later i went into an irish pub for a beer. there were sports on two channels and after a little while both were between games so the bar put on music. the song that came on was the same song by travis that had been going through my head earlier. w-e-i-r-d. they only played that and part of another before switching the speakers back to sports. rode around on the river a bit and paid a visit to wat arun. otherwise just hung out in the khao san area.

had some fun with the tuk tuk drivers each time i'd get off the skytrain to go to khao san rd. i already knew that a taxi is about 50 baht from there to khao san. i'd ask the tuk tuk drivers how much and they'd usually start with 80. i would tell them a taxi is 50 then they'd offer me 70 or 60. uhhh,ya. i'd try to explain that a taxi is only 50 and they'd have to beat that price but they never would or just didn't understand. i got fed up by my third time doing this and would just go straight for the taxi.

i fly to the south of thailand next where i'll catch a bus then ferry over to the island of langkawi in malaysia. john used to holiday there a lot and has some amazing sunset pictures.

"speak to me in a language i can hear
humour me before i have to go
deep in thought i forgive everyone
as the cluttered streets greet me once again
i know i can't be late, supper's waiting on the table
tomorrow's just an excuse away
so i pull my collar up and face the cold, on my own
the earth laughs beneath my heavy feet
at the blasphemy in my old jangly walk
steeple guide me to my heart and home
the sun is out and up and down again
i know i'll make it, love can last forever
graceful swans of never topple to the earth
and you can make it last, forever you
you can make it last, forever you
and for a moment i lose myself
wrapped up in the pleasures of the world
i've journeyed here and there and back again
but in the same old haunts i still find my friends
mysteries not ready to reveal
sympathies i'm ready to return
i'll make the effort, love can last forever
graceful swans of never topple to the earth
tomorrow's just an excuse
and you can make it last, forever you
you can make it last, forever you"

- Smashing Pumpkins, "thirty-three"
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