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balance (2): April 2005

Sunday, April 24, 2005

celebration

somehow twice in one week i was offered very good, legal jobs in bangkok. i will be accepting the second one, which is as an Information Architect for a very cool marketing company. it pays a bit more than the first one did, and the people are young and friendly (the three partners are half thai half american). i also have lined up a part time job from the US which of course pays me in US $, so i will not be hurting for a way to survive in thailand any longer. and i guess i am staying!? i had almost prepared myself for leaving, had even gotten somewhat excited about venturing off to San Francisco on my own...but apparently i am meant to be here!

yesterday i went on a shopping spree at the bic C and stocked up on all my favorite farang food, after which i went out to a dark club and danced my hiney off to old electronic and 80s music. now i am twitching in bed, regretting that i did so as i still have that nasty flu.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

i'm dyyyying

'god' the flu sucks. i don't remember ever having been this sick in my life. :(

happy 4-20.

Monday, April 18, 2005

fever

'o' and i have both acquired some sort of nasty post-Songkran fever, and are completely useless (not to mention half-conscious in our room). i am crossing my fingers that it isn't dengue fever, which is really prevalent here right now, or the dreaded bird flu(!).

i did manage to drag my arse out of bed, drug myself halfway to heaven, and get to an interview today. i was subsequently hired as a Creative Director for a really ritzy design firm across from the US Embassy. (???) i haven't really consciously acknowledged this fact yet, but it's an amazing and legitimate job for a decent salary and i am sure when i wake up i will be marvelling at how hard work really does eventually pay off, after all.

Friday, April 15, 2005

dreamy

songkran is a way for people to forget all their troubles for 5 days and go absolutely crazy. it's nice. the entire neighborhood of banglamphu all the way to khao san road and beyond to sanam luang has become a virtual war zone; a slushy, hideous pit of decadent fun and the accompanying outright sin. it's beautiful and hideous and disturbing and in a lot of ways terrifying.

it started yesterday when 'o' and i had spent too much time hiding out in our house, not even braving a trip out for food, watching horrible movies with stars whose names could only be contrived, slobbering in the uneartly heat, until we finally sucked it up, dressed in our finest rags, gathered our crumbs of baht, and tiptoed out, trying as hard as possible (and failing because i am a farang girl with a thai boyfriend who has an attention grabbing boy band hairstyle) to be as inconspicuous as possible. we crept down a small side-soi, hoping it would be safer, when along came a truckload of about 12 drunk thai wailun. they immediately attacked, with no hesitation, and got me flailing on the ground, trying to remove my clothes and pouring buckets of slop all over me until i was a choking mess. a rather shocked 'o' asked them nicely and quite reasonably to please unhand his long-time girlfriend, and they responded politely by the sudden appearance of a large axe, with which they chased us for several surreal minutes, and in response to which we ran blindly, half sobbing in fear.

at songkran here you expect to lose your shoes, and look like shit (think drenched rat), and be too drunk, and have to dodge people who come out of nowhere to smother you in horribly sticky gray powder, soppy with local tap water. the boys are all hoping to lose their girlfriends and get another one for the night, and the girls all wish they could do the same, but compensate with tiny tank tops and impractical tight pants or skirts, trying at least to attract attention and self esteen, and dancing with abandon on discarded coolers, in corners of what could only be junkyards, while people crawl and writhe around them spouting nonsensically their deepest desires and ripping out their hair. it's a time to find your greatest enemy and either decide to love them or kill them, and in the case of most of the thais the latter is a much more acceptable saving of face. so they sprout knives, and jagged beer bottles broken over knees, with half lit cigarettes hanging from their mouths and sneers that could win academy awards. there is lots of drama and posturing, and big words that are hardly discernible for the spitting rage.

sigh. in between i am sending frantic letters for permanent jobs here because thailand is an extension of me- yes i am part of it like a niggling uncontrollable twitch of the eye or looped song stuck in the head, reject me or not. it despises me and cares lovingly at the same time- best lover i ever had and the worst at the same time. (nah the worst would be x, who told me if i were dying to please not call him, and whom i have finally and honestly told to rot in hell in the contagious spirit of the season, with a friendly warning to the girlfriend which was blindly and sadly ignored. ) but i do have a loft to go back to, in NY, which is furnished, and a half dozen jobs in my inbox which may pan out. if i can swallow the vomit and repulsion which accompanies such torturous thoughts... alas i have determined that i should not think of it seriously until next week, when things should fall back into too-bright place.

my poor friend somghiat tried to sell water, in a big refrigerator, and sadly lost all his money to an apathetic crowd. after which his best friend borrowed his room key to fuck some new sao sao he had limp over one arm, and cleaned out my friend of all money he had in the world. having watched 'o' try pretty doggedly to acquire a job/pay in a city which degrades the slightest tint to skin, i feel horribly helpless towards my very kind, very decent friend who deserves some honesty and respect. but more an more i am seeing that the thais are just people after all, and people suck.

i sent my secret lover a guilty sawasdee bi mai message and left 'o' at the bar (the irish pub over khao san center, which i have been meaning to tout here as being quite a worthy waste of a night out, with a great cover band) when he became annoyed at my affection, and i went home to smoke a bit of grass i had laying around from ko phangan and scream into my pillow thanks for being alive.

a couple of admittedly lame pics:







Tuesday, April 12, 2005

weirdness

my hard drive, 'o''s operating system, and both of our phones all failed on the same day... if there isn't some weird magnetic energy around here i don't know what's going on. 'o' has the ridiculous conviction that a visit to his fortune teller (who suggests he sell jeans to make his fortune and recently advised 'o' that his hair would be "luckier" if it was a nice shade of mandarin), will get things back on the right track. since he also believes that the giving of a short prayer to "rahu", a demon that apparently feeds on the alcohol he consumes (thus leaving 'o' alone), justifies his excessive consumption and drunken stupidity and subsequently brings him luck... ugh. i give up trying to rationalize.

anyway i lost a lot of stuff. :( including all the work i was busting my arse to complete this past week so i could relax over the upcoming holiday. never underestimate the importance of weekly backups. trips to pantip plaza to buy recovery cds and a new hard drive with my last meager baht are rather depressing.

on a brighter note... well, brighter if you are into sadomasochistic "festivals" in which you have to dodge speeding maniacal water-throwing drunkards on motorbikes, it's songkran again in thailand! i had actually written a beautiful piece on chakri day, which kicks it off, and the accompanying hoopla (mostly a chance for the ladyboys to recognize their dream of stardom by dressing up and waving from a decorated tuk tuk or a undulating under piles of makeup in a bad stage show)... however i lost my recent writing. :( and the accompanying pictures. but there are 4-5 days left of the festival and if i don't get too annoyed at the water and powder attacks every time i leave my house i may be able to give a decent update.

last night i dragged 'o', who generally has no appreciation for the arts beyond the most accessible, unless i force them down his throat, to see the film 'old boy' downtown. it's made by a korean director- chanwook park or something like that- absolutely brilliant! films are what i live for. for some reason this one made my head all twisted up afterwards and i kept staring pensively out the bus window at bystanders on the way home, with that quiet introspective feeling that's always present in those indie film scenes of someone travelling at night from one strange situation to the next, and i imagined all the people around as they would look when they were dead, and threw side glances at 'o', wondering why i haven't yet run off and gotten a more glamorous life and more interesting boy toy... but there's time, yes, there's time. i splurged on a bottle of wine before bed because if you are going down, you might as well go down in style.

in the back of my head, i am thinking that maybe a break from thailand to reconsider things might do me some good.

Thursday, April 7, 2005

just venting is all

just so you all of you frantic readers filling my inbox know, i didn't mean "give up" as in suicide or something silly like that (in my last post)... i meant "give up" as in relent to the pressure to conform, go back to the US and become just another lifeless corporate drone in suburbia!

not that i will ever really do that, but it does seem like that is what life expects of me (and of everyone).

keep in mind this blog is often an outlet. everything is ok! mai pen rai. sometimes i like to bitch. :) i will stay in thailand and fight until it becomes totally obvious i am losing and then i will suck it up, go "home", and succeed. of course!

Tuesday, April 5, 2005

stutter

spinning like a top. i have so much to write that i have nothing to write at all. i feel like i am in of those nightmares where every time i blink the faces and surroundings morph into other faces and other surroundings. i have been working my ass off, literally (ow)! i wake up at about 8am and i don't leave my computer until 2am. but every time it comes down to payment, the people i am doing projects for start humming vaguely... my bank account sadly neglected, by blatant liars who promise me the moon... i have done absolutely everything i can think of now to make money in thailand in the past few months, without starting a business of my own, and nothing has yet been successful. i am down to my last 13,000 baht (about $225).

'o' on the other hand is spending about half his time with me and half with his family. they are ecstatic as, after years of abject poverty, they are at last filthy rich, and have moved from backwoods isaan into a gated community at the edge of bangkok. as i mentioned some time ago his cousin married a german man, moved to germany, and inherited about a million dollars when he died suddenly shortly afterwards. she has come for a visit for the songkran festival (which is next week, heralded by the blistering heat and intermittent downpours of monsoon season), and is bearing gifts of new business capital and cars. (she has pictures of the corpse and of her smiling at his grave, and though that side of 'o''s family is effusively nice, i can't help but be a little suspicious). anyway, 'o' has decided his family is more lucrative than i am now, all the less reason for him to get a job and help out, so i haven't bothered to pay any attention to him in weeks. he did do a short stint as a talent scout for a modelling company, which was sort of cute as he dressed up and went into an air conditioned high rise every day, but it ended up being mostly sales for (no) commission. his aunt gave him a computer which i decked out for him and i bought him a book so he could learn different programs, which he has actually spent some time learning from, but all in all he's just happily anticipating a free ride in the near future.

i have gone to several family gatherings of late- a succession of miserable bus rides taking 2 1/2 hours, and landing in the middle of their plastic suburban development that looks straight out of Anytown, USA. 'o''s mom glares at me and his aunts all ask (to my silent chuckling) why i am not married and pregnant yet. they still prepare meals on the kitchen floor and they still sleep 8 people to a room (also on the floor), but it isn't the old days any longer, when they would scramble to sell baskets of friend chicken on the street to pay their rent. they all refuse to call me by name- instead i am "farang", but i get free food and an air conditioned room to sleep in, and ot and i ride bikes to the market with his 3 year old niece, 'nong tan' who has a worrying obsession with everything pink but is very charming.

i feel a horrible despair, as i have always thought that if i wanted something badly enough and worked hard i would get it, but i suppose the thais could have told me that is not true in this country. so my very bleak future seems to be taking a plane back to the US in a couple of weeks at the latest and starting my life all over again from scratch, alone. in which case, i really and truly feel like giving up.

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