Saturday, March 5, 2011

Poverty Is Boring...

It should be noted that my trip to Thailand and the story that followed are what precipitated my desire to have a blog. I think it's only fair to share that story here. Good luck.
Many of you were doubtful when I announced that I’d be visiting Thailand and Cambodia. In this case, you’ll be shocked to know that I write this note from Pattaya, Thailand. I have not, nor will I make it to Cambodia. I attribute this to Josh’s understanding that I would have likely died there. Truth be told, I’m not doing all that well adjusting to Thailand. I forced Josh to let me eat at Sizzler today. It was delicious.

I knew very little about Thailand when I boarded my flight at LAX mere days ago. Actually, I had never done any research at all. As I settled into my Cathay Pacific flight, I heard the pilot announce that our trip to Hong Kong alone would be 15 hours. This was a real slap in the face. I had never put any actual thought into how long my flight would take but I did know that this sounded aggressive. I looked around the plane waiting to identify some other white person who was just as horrified as I was by this news. Instead, I was faced with a sea of Asians and crying babies. This would become a theme on my journey. I was often confused and people around me seemed to think that everything was perfectly reasonable.

For instance, when I landed in Hong Kong I ordered a cappuccino and then received a bill for $55. I was outraged. After like 45 minutes, I realized they meant 55 Hong Kong dollars. I still had no idea what that meant and opted to just hand the cashier my wallet so that she could grab what she needed. I did this a lot. I still have no idea how much anything is or how much I’m spending which quite frankly isn’t all that different from me in LA.

When I arrived in Bangkok, Josh was not at the gate and I had zero back up plan. I just assumed he’d be there to greet me. I froze there for a while until some man in a uniform asked if I wanted a cup of coffee. That seemed like a pretty reasonable solution so I did that for a while, an hour to be exact. Luckily, it did eventually occur to me that I still hadn’t found Josh and that I was in Bangkok. I finally decided to walk about 50 feet further than where I was and that is where I found Josh who had been there the entire time but hadn’t been able to get through security.

With Josh on my arm, I quickly got used to people assuming we were married. It seems that if you check into hotels and resorts with a man and a king bed, people jump to conclusions. I thought about explaining that Josh was my gay best friend and that we like to cuddle but it was pretty clear that no one spoke enough English to understand full sentences which eventually led to me just screaming words and pointing at things. It was a big game of charades. Check! Marlboro Reds! Gay! Even the ATMs don’t speak English. My options for whether or not I wanted a receipt were Want or No Want. Idiots.

Sidenote: All the cig packages here have horrifying pictures on them. Face growths and yellow teeth decorate each pack. I finally found one that wasn’t as upsetting to me and I took to asking for a pack of Marlb Reds with the picture of the man blowing smoke into a baby’s face.

The first night, we went to the most expensive restaurant in the city and I began to think that slumming it wasn’t so bad. Little did I know that this would not be the norm. Josh is real hip to eating street food and I took to eating bread only. It was terrifying. Unless the restaurant had a white table cloth, I was not having it. Bangkok streets smell horrible and I couldn’t understand why you would want to eat like a homeless person. That is until I understood that literally everyone is homeless...or poor...Whatever, I hated it.

I was totally trusting of Josh on this trip which often led to me almost dying. Like the time he tricked me into eating street food that he said he got from a restaurant we had been to. Or the time he allowed a stranger to drive us to a sex show which ended up being a few prostitutes at a VFW. Or the time he had us following some gangster looking Thai man down a dark alley. Or last night when he said we were going on a cruise but it ended up being a non-moving, roach infested wagon in the middle of the sea. Of course I never learned my lesson yet somehow I’m still alive.

It’s very hard to be VIP here. The bus which I typically consider to be homeless fare is literally just a pick up truck with 2 benches in the back. My other options for transport would be a tuk tuk (wagon) a moto (death trap) or a supposedly regular taxi (they’re pink and they smell like curry). Last night I rode on a cart attached to a motorcycle that was covered with blue x-mas lights.

Everyone bows here which I find to be alarming. Each time someone bows at me I find that I’m holding something or lighting a cig and I’ve taken to doing a one handed bow which I’m pretty sure everyone hates. Its not my fault that they keep catching me off guard.

Also, there are a ton of massage places here but when I asked for a mani/pedi these Asians had a total meltdown. They wanted the business but they weren’t sure what I was asking. It took 2 of these geniuses to finally get my nails painted and they ended up essentially tearing my toe nails off in the process. At the end of the day, I considered it a wash cause they were eating something that looked delicious and I found out it was street food. As usual I couldn’t communicate so I eventually just pointed and said, “gimmie it” and they did. I had knowingly eaten street food and I felt pretty accomplished. I did manage to get a massage in. In Thailand, a massage basically consists of some Asian broad crawling all over you for an hour and then they tell you to shower. Not all that different from every sexual experience I’ve ever had except replace the Asian woman with a frightened man and add crying.

Oh by the way, I keep getting bitten by mosquitoes which means I probably have malaria. No big deal.

Pattaya is crawling with prostitutes, which I chose to avoid. I did get some action each night when Josh would attack me in his sleep. By the 3rd day, we built a pillow barrier so that he would leave me alone. He claims he’s doing it on accident but I’m pretty sure he’s into me.

Thailand is not good for the ego if you’re a chubby white American. All these men want are Asians and they’re willing to pay up to $8 to get it. Its horrifying and I’ve taken to refusing to leave our resort which in the end didn’t really work. I was in the pool today and a 4 yr old Asian boy was playing near the water. He threw a ball in, I went to throw it back, and he started screaming bloody murder. Josh has taken to calling me the Big Scary Sea Monster. It’s lovely. The one night Josh and I tried to go out and score some action, I found myself at a Russian Hookah bar. Everyone was so wasted and Josh kept pointing out potentially cute guys. I felt dirty just looking and eventually resolved to eliminate the nightly pillow barrier between Josh and I.

Josh is currently napping which we do every day. When he wakes up, I’ll try to trick him into ordering room service and he’ll try to trick me into eating street food. We have big plans to walk down the beach tonight, ride elephants tomorrow and then go back to Bangkok. Basically, if I make it through the next 48 hrs, I will have successfully completed my first trip to Southeast Asia. I plan to never come beaeeacck.

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