So. This, more or less, is the semi-censored, semi-true adventure of our last day and night in Thailand, our one more night in Bangkok. It started bland, just moseying through town, visiting all the spots we saw on our first couple days, back when it was new and we were vulnerable silly lambs, this time calloused with experience, cooly dismissing the suit-makers and frog ladies, hardly glancing at the dread-lock magicians, now savvy of our whereabouts and how-to-get-abouts, now knowing the grilled corn to be dry and unsavory, etc.
We did take a river taxi though, which was new, and fresh, and not that special really, but new. We then hit up the Amulet Market, which is a long sidewalk of people with blankets and little Buddha or Krishna amulets strewn, or King Rama necklaces maybe. Or big wooden penises, that sort of thing. We did a little shopping, and then glory behold I finally found my Thai thrift store! Which I'd been craving to find but had long since decided was a hopeless fancy. But there, on one of the spread blankets, heaps and heaps of dirty, torn, filthy, vomit and poo-stained clothing, scraps of material, all stuck in one humid, steaming heap. Glory joy! I dug right in.
Most of the items were pleasure for the sake of laughter, silky flared pajama or possibly dance pants, with feathers and crystal beading. All manner of slinky silky top-pieces, shreds of unknowable fabric! But, being open-minded, I tried on a good 4 or 5 items, receiving stares and whistles from the other blanket-lounging vendors, all encouraging me to buy, yes, look good, very nice, their fellow slumstress's wares. In the end, I was torn between two polos. One fit better but was plain other than some really terrific armpit discoloration, and the other was a bit sackish, but had a Thai insignia on the chest, so I went for it. No stains. Hardly a stink! I don't think very many Thai people are willing to engage in the muck-raking though, even to find the gems within. I didn't see any doing their own sorting, but while I flailed through the mess quite a few stopped and observed, watching carefully if I might uncover for them a particular satin gem, or perhaps a pair of billowy velvet trousers. But no, it seemed I was the only one willing to cough up 10 Baht for a blouse, and I'm glad I did. It was the last of my money, and it infuriated Kyle that I spent it.
Kyle thinks I am irresponsible on souvinir buying, and says I've been unfair in my personal spending, since we draw from one community pot of cash, and just keep track of our respective "discretionary debts." He said we wouldn't have money to last us if I bought any more stuff, but I just took more out of the ATM, no big deal! Besides, I only ended up spending ten more US dollars than him, pheesh! I spoke my piece though, and now it's over anyway, so hopefully no begrudgments left.
After our day's heartening romp, we hiked back to the hostel to freshen up for dinner. We dressed once more in our cleanest, decentest wares, remembering shoes not slippers this time, Kyle in his pink checkered blouse again, me sausaging my thighs back into those black acid-wash jeans that were accidentally AJ's not mine and so tight and not stretched comfortable, and with a peek-a-boo hole all along the back just under the left buttocks. Oh yes, Bangkok. This is all yours for tonight!
Alex has a friend who is currently living in Bangkok, who asked not to be named in the blog when I told him I'm writing one, so we'll call him Freckle. Freckle was Thai but spoke perfect English because he'd done boarding school in England, then dentistry school in Omaha and was working there until a Visa fiasco. So he was essentially killing time in Bangkok while his lawyer worked stuff out and offered to take us out, feed us some proper Thai food since he knew we'd been doing the village market thing. And, as it turns out, proper means insanely expensive and almost frighteningly well garnished, as well as delicious.
Freckle was a man of society, let me say! He took us to his friend's restaurant at a beautiful fancy hotel near the Red Light District, and which is in a restored traditional Thai house from last century, all plushness and incredible folded lotus decorations and inhumanly delicate carved vegetable and fruit garnish boquets on every plate. We shared a buffet of appetizers and then a buffet of entrees, with unlimited drinks to boot, and the owner gave us a tour explaining the refurbishment and a few of the antiques decorating throughout.
Over dinner Freckle asked us if we'd be interested in seeing a bit of Bangkok's freaky side, perhaps something along the lines of those shows we'd heard about but couldn't believe last time we ventured to see the infamous area. He said we were close to some interesting hot-spots, and he'd take us for a drink and a sight-see, if we were interested. I was. Oh yes. Why not? Gotta do it, I always say. Especially if generous Freckle is footing the tab.
I quickly and expertly coerced Kyle through his shy anxiety, then we took our complimentary after-dinner liqueur shooters, and were off.
There are no words (especially because I don't want to tag my blog for adult content) for the sights we laid witness to over the next couple of hours, but let me say one scenario involved a train of lady-boys mock-penetrating a howling man, and in general there was a good deal of stunned blushing speechlessness on our part.
Thankfully, after Freckle showed us what he showed us, he knew we could use a giant martini. So we walked to the fanciest hotel around, asked the doorman if Bamboo Bar upstairs was still open, to which he shook his head no, but Freckle insisted he let us at least have a look around the lobby. Freckle then led us into the elevator and up to the ultra modern, ultra-expensive looking top-floor bar, where he smoothly cajoled the bar maiden and her staff of cheerful waitresses to serve us their famous foot-high martinis with blue-cheese stuffed olives (as mentioned before), as well as some spicy Thai cashews for munching. Needless to say we quickly recovered and it was time for dancing!
But when we got to the disco, it was insanely crowded and Freckle was tired and it was late, and Kyle was tired too, so they both decided to head home and leave me to my frenetic, seizurous choreographies. A few hours later it was 5 in the morning! And I'd met an incredible and hilarious little gang of English speaking (at various skill-levels) Thais. Kaew and her boyfriend BingBing (who spoke flawless and unaccented because he'd lived in the US for 14 years, and looked just like a little hipster with his bowtie and puffed bang), and then Kaew's little brother Art who was the only one who didn't speak English, but who had a phone to show all of the Chihuahua puppies he breeds and sells. I pray it's a small family operation, not a full on mill, but either way they were sweet little dears in pictures. And then a boy named Boy! Really? Yes. And a few other wacky, funny friendly people. They asked me how old I was and I said 22 in a week, and they all went crazy and started screaming a frantic chorus of Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday from a group of amazing strangers in the middle of wet, grimy alley-way outside a crowded disco in Bangkok's Red Light District. Yes. Who, honestly who, could ask for anything more.
We walked to a little noodle vendor and they bought me soup, and we talked and laughed for another hour. It turns out there are these dolls people have, called Blythe dolls, and you can dress them up in crazy ways, and this little posse of friends has monthly themed contests for dressing their dolls! And last month's winner determines this month's theme. Kaew, who was thirty, had won last month's "Rio Diganero Carnival!" theme and selected "Me in My Room" for this round. Yes! Yes of course! Her doll's name is Rie, a Japanese name she informed me. Boy's doll's name is Fay. Bing is one of the judges, and I'm going to be guest judge this month via the photos they'll send me of all the entries! Kaew described in detail her plans for Rie this month, a garden scene, with the doll in a gazebo... painting a picture! Oh Oh it's so good so good. I cannot wait to see it.
Eventually it was pretty much morning so we all exchanged emails and names and everything, and then they helped me find a good taxi, and helped figure out how to get me to my hostel, since I only knew the name and not the street, and Art even rode along to talk to the driver and to make sure nothing happened since they were worried about me not having a phone. Beautiful beautiful people.
I finally got back to the room at 6 am or so, flopped onto to the bed for 45 minutes, woke up and packed the bag for the last time, jamming my stinking, moist articles into the gaping gorge and happy I won't be wearing most of them again anytime soon. Then off in the swindling taxi to Democracy Monument, public bus to the airport, and up up up and away. So long Bangkok. So long Thailand. What a miracle and a wonder and pleasure and a pain and a treat and feat to taste and see in three short weeks! Oh! Thailand! A servile and luscious guest you have been! What forbidden fruits we've suckled together in the loins of my velvety hospitality. We must again soon, we must we must!
And I'm not sure if this blog is done. There's still the roadtrip from Seattle to Lincoln, the mad rush to class by Tuesday at 11, and certainly plenty more time for revelations and upheavals.
Oh, and I forgot, I agreed to give Kyle a chance to write a post on here, so he can have a word in edge-wise. So that'll be coming tomorrow, followed of course by my stunning rebuttal.
Oh, dear reader, it has been fun, hasn't it. It has.