wanderlust


:9/30--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

hammock, view, ot, computer...
all i need

i resolved to work more on my websites today but the weather ended up being perfect.

but it was an unusually dark vampire-y night on a scraggly deserted lonely beach, made ominously more so by an unfriendly electricity blackout. i was eating alone at nature bar (couldn't take anymore of the jah bar food today) when all the lights went out. after an uncomfortable hour listening to people shuffle in the dark around me, i made a run for it and felt my way across the beach (fell in a puddle up to my waist) and up into the jah bar jungle. ot and i ended up giggling hysterically in the corner most of the night over nothing. strange energy lurking.

:9/29--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

kitchen room

tom the smiley, now-orphaned kid from cambodia is fifteen... and a very young fifteen at that, with his high pitched giggles and droopy pants. he now has a farang "girlfriend" who is around forty... one of those new age women who think all you need is love....they cuddle up in hammocks and tickle each other all night. it sort of makes me...uh... sick (and all the jah bar boys guiltily avoid eye contact with them), but what can i do, yank the cigarette out of his mouth and say "stop fucking that woman?" ... she is decidedly pretty, seemingly okay, if a bit reserved (i don't blame her)- but i don't know why she is chasing a little boy. tom is having fun but when i look at him twittering on her lap and see her holding him like mommy cleaver (knowing they just had half public sex yesterday) i want to hit her.... i will try to stick to just giving him condoms though. 15 year old boys want everything.

the past few days the thai food at the jah bar has been inedible. ot (from northern isaan) is now surrounded by southern thai guys who insist on cooking and who only cook with curry and coconut. that fact drives him crazy, but for me it is the meat. i really don't like meat to begin with, but a bowlful of random corpse parts, bones jutting and lined with gristle, so that you end up spending half the damn meal picking them out of your food, makes no logical sense to me. i am revising my opinion on thai food. ot says thai people like their food to look good. his version of good and mine don't seem to coincide. i am getting skinny(!). i might have to start taking trips to 7-11 four beaches away.

:9/28--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

headed to the beach with
my fish float

...a magically delicious day spent floating around in crystal clear water and being chased by jellyfish and thai children trying to steal my float. ot swam with me.

later at the bar i joked with him in thai and shined my flashlight at his ass... he was drunk enough to flash it at me right at the bar. the rest of the night he shamelessly flirted with girls who shamelessly flirted right back, as i tapped my fingers on the bar...

the hugest man in the world came in tonight, kind of a circle on feet. he loosened a few floorboards and broke a bench before he nodded politely on his way out. i didn't think people like that travelled much (let alone climbed up jah mountain), but then i noticed his teeny pattaya girlfriend and it all made sense. funny, 'what's eating gilbert grape' was on tv too. one of my favorite movies with another circle on feet.

ahem...that's my story and i'm stickin' to it today.

:9/27--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

blissful i say

feeling pleasantly scattered with so much time and luxury to myself. i recommend to everyone losing themself on an island at some time in their life. it's easy to find yourself again, and in doing so you start to see aspects and fortunes you never realized you had. the balance between peace and disarray is definitely swayed to the positive side, which i can't say about, well, any of the places i have lived previously...

ko chang is perfect, at least in this season. i swam this morning alone outside my hut in clear turquoise water under a bright sun, until i saw great black monstery shadows on the sea floor and noticed i was surrounded by jellyfish. almost took off a toe scrambling maniacally to get get back to shore... managed to recover a lot of the music i thought i had lost on my trip- my computer can read the mp3s even if my khao san walkman can't (though my computer should be blowing up any day now with the crazy electrical surges) ...had a musical afternoon in which sweet sleepy ot and i kissed and made up. i gave him a massage and helped him stretch away his hangover. learned to say 'squeeze' in thai (beep). ate succulent thai food as usual.

some guy wrote me saying i wasn't living life to it's fullest. i say au contraire....depends on what you are looking for, doesn't it.

:9/26--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


in a dark productive mood. this island is perfectly accomodating. decided to forego the jah bar party for the solitude of the dark beach and my quiet room. doing a lot of writing that doesn't fit on this site (today i...). rained off and on, furious bursts like bucket showers and then sudden calm. ot never came home and i tossed and turned alone.
:9/25--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

my wee cozy hut from behind

insistent, mischievous rain all day. smoked on the porch down the way with a very socially awkward (and therefore kind of free) gangly sweaty man from germany. bonne or someplace like that, rambles endlessly. "boring martin." dances wildly by himself. ot likes him, not me. we watched the cambodian family catching fish from the cesspool under my hut. the toddler is cute, we wink at each other from across the bank.

no ot most of the day actually and i like it... or rather, i don't care. the banshee jungle birds wail their psychotic high pitched songs from the bramble, and kingfisher hoots flitter past. geckos and spiders forever hop and slide around me. the sea feels brotherly and blue outside my door........ restless is what all that means. me on my hammock with a runaway brain and a lot of fresh, moldable time.

so i read 'x''s new update and was not too surprised to see his mock hitler nymphomaniacal travel diary lapping it up. :) i think he's gotten a little crazier this past year- but he's ok. i read past emails to me to remember his beautiful writing.... i can't SMS him now. :(

i ate tom yam alone at the nature restaurant, where i have had a year-long awkward nodding acquaintance with everyone on staff. bored on a hammock, trying to smoke a cigarette that just plain revolted me. ot rescued me, pretending to be in a better mood. we went and played pool & crazy 8's, the only cardgame i can ever remember the rules too, in the candlelit dark, with whomever joined. he played guitar on my porch at 2am, i sat in the dark listening to him sound like a thai thom yorke (radiohead) for once and patted him on the head. the fishing boats were lined up on the far horizon, looking like stars, with an occasional lightning pink lit cloud. we snaked lazily into bed and each other.

:9/23--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ot playing beach boy

gorgeous weather- skipping around the yard waving mountain fresh laundry in the breeze kind of weather. i in fact had a satisfying morning cleaning my hut and doing my laundry. i made a desk out of a bench i stole from the hut next door and set up my computer. ot picked me up on a motorbike and we went to slurp noodle soup and somtam from our normal stand. i played with the fleabitten puppies and the resident flatheaded baby while ot read the thai paper and chatted with the family. the thai guys who worked there all stood barechested in aprons around a couple of manic roosters. one rooster had a headguard and ankle tape. there was a tarp laid on the ground. i left as the biggest rooster got seriously wounded by his pecking jumping friend, in a spray of feathers and snot- they were training him to cockfight. t'aint pretty. forced suicide.

'l', one of the ubiquitous thai barboys, came down to my hut when i was there alone and paid me to write an english email to his girlfriend 'd'. i took pictures of the cats for him to send to her and burned them to cd. i didn't tell him that the mail bounced back to me and informed me his girlfriend's email address did not exist. and i won't tell her that he f***s different girls every night (a few nights ago he climbed down from his loft with two gorgeous little japanese gals). he asked me to help him set up a book/jewelry/whatever shop in the next month... unsure if i can keep up the pretense of having a job that pays squat, but at least i would have something productive to do.

:9/22--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

people do not have to exist. they have to survive and beyond that it's up to them. they can live quite dead, thank you very much. me- i have a sense of self now, a desire to be alive, which is good. i sense that the better part of the whole of the human race is half-dead...or half alive if you are an optimist, which i rarely am. (which is better?) a whole half of the whole half-human race. flatlined and gray. blending quietly into the nothing. bubbles. pork chops. insignificants. i resolve not to become one of them.

live. life. seems simple enough, you'd think. life can be a continuous trip- believe me, mine has been since birth. when I go out of life I am going all the way (with a bang I hope despite the whimper). thus i won't get caught stagnating. unless of course i want to be....

...from whence springs this babble you ask? from a fear of the return to normality as i had to accept it before in the US- trying to come to grips with having to eventually remain at rest, amongst the dead, when moving is what moves me. for now i will bury my head thankfully in ko chang.

:9/21--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

unkind gray




not to mention red

rainy season is here full force. rain has always depressed me. gray skies mean gray thoughts. the water on lonely beach is seriously contaminated after it rains. valid options for a shower include the ocean. water comes out of the tap in my hut brick red. who knows what unfriendly things i am inadvertently ingesting... perhaps it's that prime minister taksin is planning his own little jonestown massacre here in his efforts to take over ko chang and convert it to an upscale playground... (just kidding! hope no one takes my vehement opinions too seriously!)

thus far i have managed not to get really sick on my travels despite creepy crawlies of every ilk. there are (large) insects, frogs, lizards, i saw a snake the other day, and even scraggly monkeys around here... not to mention wild thai dogs. food left out for hours, low quality meat. alcohol and cigarette smoke (though neither of which i have imbibed in quite some time). sometimes i get obsessed by the unhealthiness, but then i take a breath of clean elephant island air and wiggle my toes in the sandy grass. sit back in my hammock and forget whatever it was i was trying to remember about exercise.

tried to get otto to do something today, as the whole staff of the jah bar is inclined towards hanging out in hammocks and staring off. he played a reluctant ten minutes of guitar and went back to staring off. little tom came giggling over with a gift for me- a tshirt made up of koh chang postcards. i had told him i liked it last week. i was embarassed by the sudden kindness as tom has never paid any attention to me at all. he was by my side all night, spouting nonsensical thai, shining flashlights in my eyes, torturing the cats, being a champion at pool. anything to get me to look at him. i have no idea what is going on. poor lonely kid; maybe someone mentioned i would teach him english.

i personally was totally manic today. this is the 3rd day i have tried to survive without spending money. admirable for me. i can't rent a motorbike, check email, drink sangsom at nature bar. ko chang has become a whole new world. i lived very simply in nepal, but otherwise i have followed every impulse on this trip. i am now learning to expel, cast off, throw away. simplify. tune out. it's very freeing... but at the same time that way of life makes me a little crazy- so i couldn't stop moving, planning, coming up with ideas all day... breathlessly negating the whole point. really annoying to the surrounding sleepy hippies.

one thing i am endlessly thankful for is the jah bar food. thai people always have huge quantities of creative food stuffed back in their kitchens. 3 or 4 times a night the jah bar boys coming smiling out with something new and delicious contrived. tonight we had something like kale mixed with crunchy pork skins and garlic. boiled eggs left in salt water for a week. tom yam gai (spicy chicken soup). i have never eaten so well actually. lots of herbs, and of course rice. we eat in a circle on mats on the floor, fending off kittens and bumping into each other in our scrambling for food. there is usually a subtitled movie overhead.

i of course don't write everything about 'x' and therefore will breach that subject with just a note that i am worried about him.

:9/20--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

third jumping, skittering, hand-sized spider i have found in my room this week

communication probs can really be destructive. last night i got to the bottom of scruffy otto's gloominess in a very roundabout way. i spent the night trying to draw him out and he finally blurted out that he was thinking something he didn't think i would like.... obviously i made him tell me and he said "i think love the wife of someone". my heart started racing but i took a deep breath and said calmly "wife of who? whit?" (the only wife i know of around here- a completely typical thai girl in boxer shorts, mismatched tee, 5 year old on hip, chicken stand...). he nodded and i sighed. "well...uh... maybe you shouldn't sleep in my room anymore ok?". he nodded sadly and turned over to sleep, while i sat and fumed in the dark. i already have enough to worry about with the mosquitos, damn him! i got up to pace around, thinking to myself grumpily that i knew(!) otto would one day go for a real thai girl. she speaks his language, listens to the same music, has the same cultural perspective. is hot... argh. sitting on my hammock contemplating, i decided to be cool about it even though i wanted to scream. i finally plopped back down beside him after an hour of tearing my hair out and feeling a lot more sad about it than i ever thought i would, and said "well do you think she likes you too?". "who?" "whit's wife." "huh? why?.... i don't know, i never thought about it!?"... ...that's when i realized something was wrong. turns out he is not in love with a thai girl and wasn't trying to spring the news on me, we just completely misunderstood each other's speech. he had been trying to say something totally and completely different (which i won't repeat). i am thinking this probably happens fairly often. i wonder how many times he has thought i said something i didn't.

so anyway the thought of ot straying made me more attentive and we are back in our comfortable niche of pleasantly ignoring each other. he works at his jungle bar in the daytime while i laze around on the impossible beach, and at night i observe him in good lighting at the bar while i chat with whomever interesting i can find.

(tonight i was unlucky- i met only an idiot from austria who tried to tell me 9-11 never happened (i watched it myself from the street), and if it did, it was my government blowing their own people up because it is impossible that the planes could have caused all the destruction alone. argh. )

:9/19--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

sign outside my bungalow
i made a list of countries i still want to get to, baiting my underlying drive to go earn money and fast. this trip i only made it through half of my itinerary, though if i were a true budget traveller i really could have gone a lot further (and if i had just disciplined myself to stay away from thailand a bit more....) i don't regret my self indulgence in the least though... i desperately want to go to china, mongolia, tibet, back to nepal to trek, north india (dharamsala), afghanistan, south america, mexico/central america, egypt, turkey, and a couple of other parts of europe.... to start! not to mention the places i want to go back to! more adventures coming up! if you have a place for me to crash in one of those areas... i can be very unobtrusive (flutters eyelashes). :)

i am trying to be more patient with otto's cultural quirks. some things that irritate me are the tendency to pretend he understands what i am saying when he doesn't. or simply ignoring me because he doesn't understand. but avoiding conflict at all costs, which seems like such a dishonest way of life to me... and having a blind devotion (disguised as respect) for those who are older and richer than he is... letting people treat him like a dog, and thinking he is one as his position in society is lower than theirs in the unspoken heirarchy. i have tried to stir up a little rebellion, ambition, confidence in the kid but thus far he is having none of it and i am a wee bit (okay thoroughly) frustrated. these problems manifest themselves in most aspects of thai society though, this is not blunt, self centered america. thai people repress themselves and oppress each other under the guise of "politeness". & with their current illogical, nationalistic, corrupt government allowed free reign by the meek thai people, i think the future of thailand can only be all those nasty headlines come to life (got to stop reading newspapers).

i still probably just need to relax, switch my brain waves from bangkok mode to island mode. it is nice to have the peace and quiet, truthfully. i have been working on some little projects (studying thai, making a new website, coming up with business ideas) in my hut and have resolved to learn a couple of new things (guitar, firedancing) and not just whiiiiile away my time in a hammock. high season can be endless fun.

:9/18--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

my snazzy thai style flip flops

i met a quirky belgian painter who lives in tokyo and we spent most of the day (that i didn't spend on my hammock) chatting. somehow, though i have not an ounce of artistic creativity in my blood, i always click well with artists. he spent his teens walking across the US. one more person who makes me think i am far too neurotic to be a real traveller. i personally couldn't see myself begging for scraps outside of restaurants or sneaking into the cabs of trucks at truck stops to catch some sleep.

meanwhile today i feel pent up and neurotic. hard to accept being poor. but the weather, though it rains heavily at night, is gorgeous, the beaches empty, and i have a lot of time to just be.

:9/17--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



i escaped otto's withdrawn and glum energy today and went shopping on sai khaew, trying to stock up on whatever i would need for the next couple of weeks? months? i bought candles and incense, made some shelves for my hut, bought a hammock since someone stole the one i left here (argh), and caught up on internet for now, which i have resolved to myself to check only once every three days (psshhaw). i picked up a new sim card for my phone so i can get calls on the island, with an idea in the back of my head that i might be able to teach private english lessons for extra moola donations. i rode back to lonely beach in the rain, as fast as i could go without dying. still sick, i filled my stomach with healing tom yam, said hi to the indifferent nature bar kids, and headed up into the jungle to the jah bar. after hours of simply sitting and getting stoned there i realized that i will not survive the winter here without some sort of project.

:9/16--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

hammock home

sometimes i can't stand otto outside of ko chang, to be honest (irreconcilable differences), so it is lucky that today we returned. we caught a minibus back from bangkok with his boss and coworker. the minibuses are absolute hell- the air conditioning is inevitably broken and the seats are cramped. on top of that i was very sick to my stomach- whether stress or insidious parasites i know not. when we got to trat ot's friend picked us up in a pickup and took us back to ko chang on the big car ferry. we spoke not a word all day- or i didn't, i can't speak thai of course, and thais are not always so accomodating. i sat feeling withered and grumpy, alone most of the day.

later on i wondered why the hell i am back in ko chang(!), but i suppose it takes a few days to readjust for me. i got my favorite bungalow on the lovely white beach, paid for a month. headed up to the jah bar, where tek the bartender with strange smoldering eyes has returned... lost a few games of pool shamefacedly, and felt rather uptight towards otto. i noticed a particular oversexed ho (quite rampant on thai islands) has been sucessful in her efforts and managed to snag one of the bartenders as her sex toy for the week, which doesn't bother me so much except that as the only other girl i am expected to make conversation with her and i really can't think of a single thing i want to discuss with her ditzy nympho self. leave that to the gullible boys.... i spent a lot of time dodging her girlie, space-invading presence....at least that is the most of my problems on ko chang.

at this point in my journal i have to say life is life, take it or leave it.... i have to stifle my addiction to novelty for a bit. things will get more interesting when i have saved money and started travelling again- you hold your horses, i'll hold mine.

:9/15--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

thai cd cover

slept in the coolness of the hotel room with otto most of the day in bangkok, fending off weird vibes & watching an old tarzan movie and gory thai newscasts on tv. later on i left to go find some last minute necessities for koh chang, and ot went off to work for his boss, who followed him to bangkok like a good little slavedriver.

i found ot in a back alley later drinking with his ex girlfriend, and not one to let a little intrigue slip past, i joined them. susanna is exactly like me, just ten years older and wiser. she is from new york as well, and we ended up talking for hours. she made me feel like i should get the hell to the US and make money as fast as possible, but that's easier said than done. we also ran into steffen- ot's diving instructor friend whom i had previously humiliated myself in front of (thinking i could dive when i have a chronic innate fear of being overcome by water). he has landed a great job teaching diving on the red sea in egypt, and leaves tomorrow on a plane. ot is his best thai friend so i guess that gives me a bit of credibility, as he seemed to have no hard feelings toward me. i kept catching him eyeing my breasts though... they got horrifically smashed while it poured ceaselessly outside. steffen's thai girlfriend was grim all night, threatening to leave and making the boys feel bad for having a good time. finally otto and i couldn't take it and we left, wishing them good luck and telling them to try to enjoy their last night together. later on we found out the girl stabbed steffen with a knife in the night- ah thailand.

:9/14--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

redemption corner of gogo

i took otto to get a massage today, which was pretty much all that happened. i spent the day deciding to probably stay on ko chang for the winter, if only because i can not afford to go elsewhere.

another crazy night, though when has a night i spent with 'x' not been crazy.... later i decided to meet up with him. we talked shop in his hotel room, devising a get rich quick plan to implement upon our return to the US. i trust 'x' because he is lucky, and not a little bit smart. his life follows the wheel of fortune- up and down and up again. he always seems to know how to survive, and comfortably. it's funny that we even talk to each other, but i know he has my back and i have proven that i have his, so he is more family to me than any real family i may have. poor ot though, doesn't understand the first thing about a culture that is real, honest, loyal.... ugh thailand. i was not too excited to have them meet each other.

anyway 'x' and i went to have ja dong and play pool again and i decided i would try to be accomodating and let 'x' and ot meet. gritting my teeth, i called otto and invited him to go out with 'x' and his friends, knowing that a night out with them had to inevitably end up centered around the sex scene. sure enough, we headed to nana plaza first. ot felt a little conspicuous being a thai guy (who is therefore barred from most venues) amongst rich farang people, with his neighbors selling their bodies on stage. he has never witnessed that aspect of thailand, but i held back and let him watch because i thought he might be interested in understanding it.

we went to one gogo bar in nana that had a bucking bronco- if you stay on for over a minute you get free drinks. ot and i tried- i stayed 54 seconds, he stayed 31. thrilling, but i chafed my ankles holding onto the bull for dear life, praying (karma pachaina) that i stayed on under my breath but ultimately falling inebriated into the soft cushiony pit below. 'x' and his pals (sex tourist boss, two young thai girls- one of whom i was informed "swallows") were too refined to try. the girls dancing on stage were what can only be described as pigs in lipstick though, so we headed to patpong. 'x' generously offered to show otto a blow job bar, so we headed to the star of light. after i managed to get sheepishly past the glares at the front door, we settled back with beers and watched a hillbilly, midlife crisis type get blown by a pretty thai girl (who sits behind a curtain underneath the bar) below a tv broadcasting porn. the bar was a dive. ot was a bit shocked and shyly intrigued but declined to partake.

we headed to a patpong show after that but otto wasn't impressed by the average ya ba addicted, burnout isaan woman opening bottles with her well worn pussy, and nor was i- so off to the boy bar it was. thailand is cracking down ("cleaning up" they say- ie. kicking out homeless people, stray dogs, and pretending prostitution doesn't exist) for the APEC convention; can't have george bush thinking thais are less than refined you know... so the boys weren't nekkid tonight and the show was fairly tame.

thousands of baht later we headed to soi cowboy, where i flirted with 'x''s lesbian girlfriend and ot drunkenly drooled and chatted up a gorgeous dancer at long gun's. as 'x' and i sat philosophizing, ot and the girl blatantly made eyes at each other, so 'x' (trying to be friendly to ot) insisted i pay the barfine for ot and take the girl home. i stupidly followed orders, ot freaked out, big embarassing fight in which the girl ended up being put exactly in her place (to my sympathetic humiliation), and ot and i went home drunk and alone in a silent cab, glaring at each other the entire way. i felt bad all around, since i knew seediness (and thus 'x') are not otto's thing and i don't want to give him the wrong impression, i just want him to be adventurous, to see. fortunately 'x' had popped a viagra in ot's mouth at the end of the night so all was not lost and we went to sleep happy. :)

:9/13--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"hunting rabbit" t-shirt-
a favorite chatuchak find

ot dragged me around chatuchak market today, as he had managed to snag 2000 baht from his boss with which to buy clothes. he shops mostly in the dingy, musty secondhand section, which has occasional brilliant finds but suffocates you in the process of finding them. i followed him around lazily, eating some strange fruit and nuts snack wrapped in banana leaves (yum), petting the fuzzy ma nois in the pet section, flipping through books on verb conjugation in the bookstalls. later we sat on khao san drinking and disagreeing over 'x', whom ot can not seem to accept as my best friend. they do not have best friends of the opposite sex in thailand. i will never drop 'x' (who knows and loves me) for ot (who simply doesn't) though, so he either has to accept it or not. i have to meet 'x' this week to discuss future plans, in fact.

the guy who runs ajarn.com wrote to say hello and invite me to work with him when he moves to ko chang in the next couple of weeks.

prime minister taksin's latchkey people have been swarming around lately, trying to look inconspicuous and failing. i think they have a secret plan to take over ko chang for themselves. the katoeys are giving them a run for their money though, of late.

:9/12--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

pretty sure i stole this picture of the market from another site

bangkok life. not so much fast lane for me this time. ot doesn't appreciate my standby room at d&d, so he insisted i pay for us to stay at the more expensive but comfortable sawasdee place behind khao san... at least the cable works there and the staff is not snooty. i am sick and want to sleep on a real bed and take a hot shower is all. i can't get into bangkok today, possibly because i am poor but also because i have otto at my side. he is not a city boy and we disagree on most aspects of the city- music, food, entertainment options. i didn't mind so much though, after my bowl of cuay tio moo with my favorite grim noodle lady, i went back and fell horrifically motionless in front of tv all day. later on we managed to have a drink at the alley bar.
:9/11--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

cambodian border

this morning ot and i made a deal to meet up at 10am to catch the taxi to the ferry off the island. he wasn't there by then so i left, thinking maybe his boss just wouldn't let him leave. he called me right as i boarded the ferry and told me to get off and wait for him, which i did. he showed up looking as annoyed as i felt, and we were off.

the food in trat is really good- there is a great street market with lots of stalls selling good snacks. we didn't go there unfortunately- ot took me to a place down the street with various mediocre thai dishes. we read the newspapers and hopped on a stifling minibus to hat lek (cambodian border). the driver halfway there decided he was too lazy to drive us all the way and dropped us off in some little no name town, pantomiming an injury to his van. we waited in obliterating sunshine for another hour for another bus. finally got to the border where otto waited on a stack of bags and i hiked in. the thai officials are generally nice to me but the cambodian ones are vultures. they charged me 1100 baht for a visa (it is usually 1000, which is not even legal in itself), and a scandalous 400 baht to exit the same day i enter (also not legal in the slightest). i HATE it when they do this to me, they are simply putting me into a rich farang category. i argued vigorously with them, they sent me to a back room to speak to a uniformed superior. he couldn't look me in the eye when i reminded him that it was not legal to rip off a young budget traveller in such a greedy manner, but he informed me with raised eyebrows that i would not be leaving the country until i paid. i threw him 200 baht, told him i hoped he enjoyed his bottle of whiskey, and made a ran for it with my passport.

the word spreads quickly though and by that time the friendly thai officials were eyeing me suspiciously and running my passport through the computer. apparently the fact that i have a boyfriend in ko chang did not justify my staying there, so i was questioned for about 15 minutes. an hour and a half after i arrived at the border i returned to a disgruntled and sweaty ot, looking much the same as he was. we managed to catch the requisite smelly backpacker minibus back to trat with a bunch of israelis and dutch kids. ....arrgh i hate visa runs. apparently though it is getting even worse for expats. thailand can't decide if they appreciate the fact that we are virtually holding up their economy for them, and have decided to try to kick all long term foreigners out (except those in the top income bracket of course) for now. lots of visa restrictions in the works....sigh, their funeral.

in trat we decided to take the 6 hour late bus to bangkok- morchit station. they gave us free snacks and otherwise we slept the whole way.

:9/10--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

just what the jah bar needs- a fake gun

today i tried and failed to decide between living dirt poor as the locals do in ko chang for a few months (still here), and going home... or teaching english in bangkok. i am the worst decision maker on earth so basically this entailed driving ot crazy with a different point of view every five minutes. he says 'look, i know farangs think they can't "come down", but take a risk and try to live life simply for 3-4 months while you are waiting for the holiday season to pass in the US and jobs become available again'.... not in such good english, but sounds perfectly reasonable na? he loves me, or he loves free accomodation at least, so he's trying to convince me to stay. but i have a hard time with the fact that i <<<neurosis>>>will be making probably no money and i can't probably even check email for that time, let alone live like i normally do. all that buddhist simple living stuff is a good idea but hard to practice if you are some kind of worrywart or you have any sort of drive. i don't know if i can handle being poor again, but there are so many good things about ko chang to balance that out it just might be ok.

anyway visa run tomorrow, after that a quick trip to bangkok to get my bag and then i am off.... to one of the three possible lives.

watched a brilliant documentary on kung fu in china which brought my travel bug flaring up again, and tried to be nice to young tom, who had to shave all his hair and has returned to the jah bar after his father's funeral with the sweetest of fake smiles.

:9/09--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



i bought a farang porn dvd for ot last time i went to pantip plaza and showed it to him today. he was suitably impressed by the honest views. :)

obviously i stayed one more day on ko chang, due to ot's irresistable pleading. he ended up sleeping until 2p so i guess i exhausted him with the stress of my indecision. we made a happy trip to bai lan when he awoke to play with the dogs and drink with drac. picked up a thai girl who was hitching back to the nature bar and rode teetering 3 on a motorbike up the hills. hung out on my hammock. after an average night at jah bar ot and i strolled down the beach under the full moon to the nature bar's full moon party and made fun of people dancing.

:9/08--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

jah bar blur

today i decided i should run for my life before i spend all my backup money in ko chang (instead of going home). 'x' (who finally contacted me with the news that he is once again deathly ill in toxic cambodia) suggested i stay in thailand though, as it's a cheaper base for whiling away winter. sounds good to me... however i am rather broke and not sure if ko chang is the place. a lot of travelling is the deciding of where to go next. or deciding if i have the patience to stop and not think too much.

i had a very definite plan tonight to get up in the morning and leave the island tomorrow. said goodbye to everyone including a miserable pouting otto. a lot of last minute pleading going on. got rather drunk with some onlookers at the jah bar.

:9/07--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



tense day, gray skies. frustrated all morning because i couldn't burn a cd to update my site due to the incompetence of all of the internet shop owners in this area. haven't heard from 'x' in too long (!?!?). content on ko chang (beachfront hut helps immensely) but weighing out near future options. otto is immensely and perpetually frustrating because of his thai nature- his coworker has gambled away his paycheck for the last 3 months, leaving him quite unpaid... he doesn't have money to buy toothpaste or noodle soup. meanwhile he works from 8 in the morning (when they sometimes come knocking on my door for him) until 3 in the morning at the jah bar, sometimes even later. too weak and spineless to say a single word about it to his godlike superiors... the lack of respect i feel as a result for him makes sex boring.
:9/06--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ot's room

spent today updating this site for the past 2 1/2 weeks, which sort of cheats the reader out of a real time, honest read... but hey, there's no electrical outlet in my hut. my camera batteries have all been dead too so excuse my lack of good pictures. i had a lot of things i wanted to write but at this point you get the mood i am in right now. which is not caring at all about the continuation of my trip, going home to make money, or doing anything other than staying right the f*** on ko chang (!). here we go again....

at this point i haven't thought about taka for awhile (why should i if he doesn't care?), 'x' is missing somewhere and i haven't heard from him, and ot and i are getting along like peas and carrots. lots of inquiries coming in to me via email about teaching positions but i am basically ignoring them for now. i am quite happy despite the lack of my thai massage joint and a good set of food stalls...

anyway i spent the day at the jah bar alone. little tom's dad was murdered with an m-60 (or something like that) last night in trat and all the boys went to tom's house to console him. tomorrow he has to shave his head and be a monk out of respect for his father.

...i had the place to myself with the exception of whit's shy, no-english wife. i ate khao lam, watched thai game shows, and soaked in the encroaching jungle until the inevitable night party.

:9/05--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

my neighbors

ot was extremely drunk last night, which i have never seen him. he ended up vomiting loudly and awkwardly off the side of the bar, and begging me to marry him. he must sense i am leaving soon... though actually i am questioning that move.

ot brought his friend simon from australia to bai lan today with us. he is a laid back guy who fell in love with ko chang too. they had guitars and played music on the deck by the water, along with drac of the shelly dreadlocks. i played with the dogs. they taught me a lot of thai, which i still think will take another year to learn at all. we conversed a bit.

i feel like i need to do something, make something, exercise or something. but otherwise nothing to worry about here.

:9/04--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
this jah bar party (there's one weekly) i decided my strategy would be to sit alone at the bar and talk to everyone who came up. it's a good way to meet people without getting stuck with them all night. the party was pretty big, which might indicate high season already (god i hope not). but my scheme worked, i met lots of interesting people and i was able to easily lose the uninteresting ones with a nod towards otto. the french and scandinavian boys were rather leery but i click with those two nationalities pretty well. lots of thai kids came in and started dancing. one fat boy with his fat girlfriend (wearing almost nothing to boot) sat a few feet from me at the bar, giving off waves of disgusting dreadlock rot and armpit stench. (again i ask what is with travelers?.) i experimented with fashion tv, which had a sexy swimsuit runway show on, to see if the females would complain and the men would drool. it turned out to be the opposite- the women were interested and the men wanted to change it back to sports. (ugh.) tom the cambodian kid asked the fat girl innocently "why are you so big?" and giggled in his little high pitched way. the mood sort of went downhill from there and ot and i went to bed early.

:9/03--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
first thing ot and i saw upon waking today was two buckets on the beach with holes punched in the lids. joe and his gorgeous new blond haired blue eyed girlfriend faye from the nature bar were standing over them, peering into the holes with disgusted looks. they told us that they had found a snake, a rat, and a scorpion under one of the bungalows. upon further inspection and a subsequent, shaky period of cooling off i realized this was true. scorpions are bigger than i thought (!). we left them amidst a circle of thai boys feeding the rat to the snake and scrambling to collect materials to build a cage.

ot took me to bai lan where he had to pick up his laundry. the laundry lady is a fat, satisfied old thai woman who has been known to sell the occasional questionably legal herb. we bypassed her to go to the bar next door. it is a big, rickety, woodplanked structure jutting out over the rocks and water. there are lots of cute jumpy dogs and random hammocks. we sat at a makeshift table and chatted with drac for a bit. he is a very reclusive and quiet thai guy, and he wears shells in his dreadlocks. he invited us back tomorrow.

later on after beating tom the champion orphan kid at pool, joe and faye arrived at jah bar and we sat smoking and drinking while it rained calmly. bun the dj tried some new music for once. dr. martin showed up with his satirical religion's cd, and we listened to his folksy blues music late into the night. carry from south africa, who is bald, proudly presented us with her new tattoo- a snail crawling across her head. a group of europeans who were relieved to have met each other so they didn't have to experience real culture all sat jabbering stupidly in the corner. a thai girl fell in love with ot and begged him to let her kiss his hand.

:9/02--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
after a lazy morning lounging with ot on my hammock i wandered up to the jah bar to meet a friend of his. he is a scruffy old german with a smoker's voice who has lived in japan the past ten years and does travel photojournalism. he was cool- he did an article on ko chang for wingspan magazine (ANA's inflight) that made ko chang look like heaven. he had travelled alone in africa with embassy sponsorship in areas where the natives will kill you for your underwear, let alone your camera, and he is a regular visitor to lonely beach. but unfortunately he is also very pompous and incapable of having a 2-way conversation with someone (ie. i wasn't even allowed to respond to him) so i left disgustedly without getting his name, and played pool with the jah bar kids.

later on though i met another nice british man in his early fifties- the "very reverend" dr. martin of the church of the eternal question. a definite weirdo but friendly and funny and with an occasionally brilliant perspective. he tried to get me to dance with him, and a very sexy tagalong french girl whose french film director boyfriend lay scraggly bored in a hammock nearby. i declined due to chronic laziness. another beautiful day.

:9/01--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ot and the somtam lady
not sure what i did today in retrospect, though i am sure nature was involved, good food, good people....


 

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