Tuesday, April 28, 2009

LAst Night with the guide

My guide, Wan, a pleasant, well seasoned Thai woman who has lived in Germany and other countries but grew up here took me for my last night with her paid assistance. We went to dinner at the same spot she took me to the first night. Food, two dishes and a fruit juice for about $3 or less, I paid for hers as well.
Then she took me to Soi Cowboy, a famous street of girly bars where there are some topless ones as well. Never having actually been to a topless bar before i have to say it was slightly anti climactic in that the difference with the one she took me to the first night was that their breasts were bare. Othr than that it was the same inventory of bored out of their minds girls trying to keep jiggling to the indeffinite hip hop electro disco beat that never stops. I bought us each a bottle of water (same price as beer she pointed out) and finished mine in maybe six minutes and suggested we move on. I think she was mildly surprised that I bore so quickly but there wasn't anything to do but look at all these bodies with nothing to do but leave finally in as much as I had no intention of giving any of them money. The street it's self was such a trip I had to come back later and I did.
After that we went back to her favorite massage parlor (legit, big sign says NO SEX) and we each had a two hour full body massage. I think it's the first meaningful human touch I have experienced in far more months than I care to count and just like the person I tell my inner most secrets to, I pay for this service. Like the other though, this is really worth it and cost $10. The woman who worked on me found her way to my back and shoulders and paid them the attention they have needed for decades. It would be worth coming back to Bangkok just to have that every day for a week.
Then we walked back to the hotel and agreed to meet for breakfast when she would give me some tips on how to spend my last full day here alone. I'm actually looking forward to it as I don't feel particularly intimidated having had a few days indoctrination which was just about what I needed.
After that I grabbed my camera and headed back to Soi Cowboy, but not before coming to a small intersection with a traffic jam involving two elephants. I was going to take the sky train for 15 baht which is maybe fifty cents but I couldn't figure out how to get up to the platform so I took a cab which cost me a total including the tip of 45 baht, and was much less hassle at 11pm.
I walked up and down the street doing my dumb tourist guerilla photographer routine which consists of holding the camera to my eye to take pictures of the neon and the food vendors and holding it at navel height with the zoom all the way open and allowing the camera to auto focus and hope that what I'm aiming at proves to be what I had in mind. I'd say I have mayber 30% to 50% luck but no one gets irritated with my taking their picture as I am looking in another direction entirely than what the camera is aimed at.
Then I walked all the way back to the hotel which only took fifteen or twenty minutes. During that time I was propositioned by a prostitute who asked me to take her picture and witness to a small child sleeping on the sidewalk with a puppy. You want pathos? Here it is.
I kind of enjoy the colorful polyglot chaos of the whole thing, it's simultaneously some how sweet and honest, garish and vulgar, exhuberantly absurd and unabashedly carnal. Fun for all. It has begun to remind me of both Toulus Latrecs Moulin Rouge period where he hung out with prostitutes and had them model for him as well as George Grozs images of Berlin in the twenties and thirties. Filled with fat men ogling bored women who have only one thing on each of their minds, sex and money. The girls are so cheerful and want you to pay them attention (and money)but it seems so much more human than what ever the version of this is in America where we are shocked, SHOCKED! that such behavior is going on in our communities. Oh the indignation. And thennnnn...the drunken fat tatooed lumbering western white males in clusters, deciding, deciding, deciding, which one shall it be, by god there are so many so qualified and my god, it's only money. Oh well, you only live once, or so they say.
The tailor came to my hotel room to show me the suit he made, with the two other pairs of pants I had him copy and the suit pants I brought along to be altered. The man works fast, and we decided the jacket cuffs were a half inch too long so he'll bring it back tomorrow to deliver the finished product. I am hoping he can ship it for me as I'm anxious about the weight thing and China Airlines allows only 23 kilos total to be checked through. I hope I can carry a lot.

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