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balance (2): January 2006

Friday, January 27, 2006

hi

dogs

i really don’t have a dog fetish, though if you spent 5 minutes in my neighborhood or took a glance at my door step you would disagree. i am too nice to dogs, as my past relationships could account. my puppy (little puppy!) is in heat and has acquired quite a few boyfriends (the thais joke that they're "gigs") overnight. i am having nightmares about canine hordes. i need me a cattle prod.

speaking of past relationships, i have realized (or admitted might be more apt) that my recent breakup was with a gigolo. damnit! it wasn't my intention in the least. luckily i am not the only one being fooled in thailand. but hey! is it so bad to see the potential in someone and try to encourage it so they feel good about themselves and are in a better position? erm... to care? ...yes it is, when all they care about is what you can give them and not what they can give themselves or even (arai na?) give back to you... lesson learned. thais have a lack of interest in love and an obsession with status and security. i miss 'o''s cooking and driving and thai
jabber but otherwise i am loving my space. and the extra money!

my island, like most of thailand right now i think (?) is full of honeymooners or young couples with kids. there is a severe dearth of interesting people here now, hiding out in their bungalows. the village people think it's quite hilarious that i am alone and don't hesitate to point and talk openly. i just beam at them and shrug. i do speak thai enough to laugh with them at least. and i was never under any illusion that i was anything but a farang. i still eat kway tio daily and buy tamarind in their shops. keep their bartenders from getting too bored. nod to them on the beach or at the karaoke place. dodge their speeding pickups.

i am allergic to everything suddenly, and thus spend a lot of time cleaning my house... after which the dogs skate through with muddy paws dangling dead rats and ashes from one of the assorted noxious fires scattered around. when i lay down to sleep i have to be prepared for an hour of sneezing. my sheets smell funny after monsoon. i take antihistamines that must have some kind of meth in them because my eyes instantly peel back into my head and i stop breathing. but it gets better.

i made my own thai food! so far yum pla muk (spicy squid salad) and tom pla (an herbal fish soup). the latter succeeded nicely, i fear the former was raw. thai boys schmai boys. tonight i will make stir fried chicken and ginger with my friend who is here.



my little sister who is now a big girl just visited and freaked me out with her confidence and cheer. last time i saw her she was and awkward and innocent 13, now she's 21. it's nice to have the connection of a history together, even if most of it sucked. she's lovely. the thai boys sensed a newbie and tried to tease her into corners the whole time. she likes to dance and drink with me and brings out my girliness a bit. i met her in bangkok and took her on the train to kanchanaburi, where we cautiously petted huge tigers at a temple and hung out with a wide eyed american boy who waiied everyone and spoke his two words of thai upon every meeting. ran through the ww2 museum in a bored daze. drank the requisite buckets of sangsom in a bar with a group of rowdy europeans and a thai guy -with an actual job and courtesy who proved they are not all alike. met an old but rather bouncy and giggly mamasan who tried to get us to party instead of sleeping and failed.



after which i brought lil sis to my village, which is admittedly sleepy and isolated but somehow infectious i hope. she got too lazy to do anything and i was feeling staticky about my new and disturbing situation there, so after a couple of days on the beach with my romping dogs and a stressful trip to the full moon "party" (i would call it a gathering of heathens actually) we ditched my island and went straight to pattaya on a neverending bus ride. (yes, another gathering of heathens!) there we ate mexican and got drunk on margaritas, judged teams of ladyboys dressed like divas for the evening, watched queerboys swim in their undies in an aquarium, critiqued a bit of thai boxing and snake...touching. made fun of fat old farangs with blossoming, painted and sparkling young girls in hand. walked through the air conditioned mall as often as possible and slept in our messy hotel room in front of bad thai tv.

then koh samet which was for nightlife but weirdly again there was none. the beach was sparkling white though and there were fish in the water. we slouched under umbrellas with coconuts. our room was super plush. there were lots of small animals to coo over.

i was sorry to let her go in bangkok. little sisters are lovely things.

back in my village i am again weirded out by the lost feeling, the isolation even in a crowd. but i have another project lined up so i will tough it out(!) here in paradise working from my house and fending off dogs (and men) on the beach for american money for now.

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

life

it’s funny, there is something magical about how one life shifts suddenly to the next. one minute it’s one life, and the next it’s the next. i have never really had that happen in one place before, and I am a little freaked out, but i am already learning that as long as i have baht to spend here i am more than welcome, and i live in a beautiful place.

i awoke tangled sweatily in my blanket this morning at a very early 4am, by- you guessed it- karaoke. sigh…. and drunk karaoke is loud karaoke. i caught myself humming along and fell suddenly into a sneezing fit of about an hour’s length. drifted off to dreams of my mean mother around 6am, was awoken by a thunderstorm and howling dogs at about 8. fell asleep again to sounds of bustling neighbors…woke to the arrival of the mosquitoes…

finally in the real morning (after email check and coffee) i had kway tio in the shop full of grandma and grandpa thais in sarongs, lolling on the floor. the women shout to each other at the top of their lungs and the man coughs up a lung every 5 minutes and picks his teeth. the soup has a lot of garlic and herbs. across the street the jungle looms over the one main road. chickens dodge speeding motorbikes driven by 8 year olds. tourists wander, taking pictures or observing the thai observers standing in the shadows. it is sometimes unnerving to walk down, so I ride my silly bike. people still look and whisper at the sides of their mouths. my dogs run behind me and piss people off.

behind the main road is no man’s land (it’s nice) and then there is the beach, which has finally stopped thrashing and has chilled. mostly scottish people strolling in insular groups right now, the sand is powdery and white but still littered with monsoon remnants and threatens to be dumped on some more with another approaching storm (argh, just as i have to get the ferry to samui!). thai guys play volleyball or soccer (football, yawn). nondescript bungalows pepper the beach. the food sucks. the music is iffy… but as long as you keep looking at the turquoise water and white sand framed by scraggly rainforest it’s lovely.

i alternately read sleepily and felt sorry for myself today for a long time, on a mat on my floor in front of tv (hey at least i don’t really watch it- well except for air crash investigations and bitchy LA socialite documentaries.) my book was the life story of a hermaphrodite (“middlesex” by jeffrey eugenides). i tried to call ‘o’ but he pretended he didn’t know who i was so i snapped out of it pretty quickly, and back into feeling sorry for myself for being such a hopeless weakling (i hope this stage passes quickly). his murderess cousin has quickly remarried another loaded doctor in germany and the family is scheming for the new money…. fucking isaan.

tonight i had to pay an inordinate sum of money to ‘mean su’, the greediest lady in the village, for a teeny scratch on her motorbike that i didn’t even think to try and paint over. her shy ticklish looking husband came to passively demand it (can’t resist him damnit!), and even though i rightfully owe it i felt indignant all evening. tomorrow i will go have coffee and make friends with her because otherwise i will never survive in the village. they have black magic here, i'm sure of it.

so later i hopped on my bike down the lane to susie’s place and had chicken provencale served gracefully to me by my very strange ladyboy friend. he is the most ambitious and straightforward thai person that I know, but he has another freaky side that comes out in parties (eek!). he had a cute little waiter from chaing mai who was a duplicate of him working and I beamed at him while fumbling with my beer. i met a nice buxom gal from merry old england and got her drunk along with me, took her back to my place for a bit, and then kicked her out. a friend made and discarded in a matter of hours is sometimes a very good friend.

and now i am off to dreamland again. feeling staticky and dislocated but basically good and at home.

Tuesday, January 3, 2006

shrug

after the worst breakup blowout i have personally ever had, and 'o' finally f***ed off back to his mommy in bangkok, i was left feeling very drained and sort of pathetically scared and lonely yesterday. granted, the guy was a petulant spoiled brat and i put up with him for far too long (hello 3 year anniversary), but i did truly have some love for him and i will miss him and his charm (and his warm body) horribly, at least for awhile.... and he has left me in a village that is far from civilization.

but at least i have pretty good friends here, which wasn't the case in either bangkok or the other side of my island where i lived previously very isolated. and i have my pups, which have surprised me by stealing large pieces of my heart when i wasn't paying attention. and i am starting to realize that the independence i lost somewhere along the way is simply dormant, not dead.

but slowly slowly- today i almost killed myself trying to exercise that independence. i rented a motorbike and took on the pothole-ridden, hilly jungle dirt road from my beach to the main town. i stayed in first gear the entire way so it was a laughably slow trip. managed even the insane main road into town with no problems except an occasional wandering of the mind (shake head, realize i am not in a video game). visited my best pal who i discovered hiding nearby after all. did some shopping, walked on the beach, and triumphantly made my way back before a hovering stormcloud could burst.

and crashed and burned halfway home. i was going down a holey hill too fast and forgot how to use the brakes. ((ow.)) some nice man picked me up and left me shaking and trying hard to look inconspicuous at the side of the road for the next twenty minutes, until i had convinced myself it was the brakes' fault and i was totally cool enough to get back on and continue my journey. i made it home but, unfortunately, i am black and blue and in pain. so much for independence.

funny, too, that my relationship with 'o' (oh!) began and ended with a motorbike accident. sigh.

i have no idea what i am going to do now.

(and it's raining again! what voodoo has been perpetrated on my island this year?!)

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