Index- use these links to skip to the sections of this blog.
- The Journal
- Khao Sok
- A Quick Bite
- The Narrative of Stephen Walrond of Saito
- Happy New Years
Thailand: The Journal
Apparently blogs are a cry for attention, much like slitting your own wrists or playing truant from school whilst sniffing glue.
This isn’t my opinion, oh no. My opinion, if not stated clearly enough in my blog manifesto, is that blogs are for public thoughts placed in a public forum to entertain and inform a specific audience and give them a chance to interact, reply, debate or question.
This is my opinion: Journals, as I understand them, are a waste of time, ink and paper or electricity. A person writes their thoughts down as if to do so clarifies them and makes sure they do not disappear into the ether, and then in the journal they remain never to be seen by a living soul save the author. It’s like painting a self portrait and only ever looking at it yourself.
I will admit that there is a certain amount of vanity involved in blogging, but more than that it I would like it to be a social thing, to spark conversation and also to stop ideas floating into the ether.
All of that aside, I attempted to write a journal in the original sense of the word, but it soon became boring. My photos serve well enough as a journal of my time in Thailand so I will use them to illustrate this blog entry.
Adjectives which describe Bangkok: Large, busy, hot, impoverished, dirty, grimy, littered, commercial, exciting, sleazy, beautiful, ugly, traditionalistic, marvellous, awesome, historic, fast, laid back, boozy, western, eastern.
I like my conversations with Maz.
She has things to say which must be said now and with passion.
The things she says amuse me and make me want to prompt her to say more.
Maz will talk a lot about what she wants from life, from friendships, from family and relationships. She knows herself very well, that's unusual and deserved of respect.
Thankfully Maz was my travelling companion.
Thailand: Khao Sok
Verbs and Verb Phrases describing things done in khao Sok: Chewed Coca Leaf, drank, ate, was merry, slept, got bitten, trekked, trekked at night, trekked by elephant, trekked some more, swam in rivers, waded, took photos, met people, talked, slept in the jungle, ate from the hollow of a pineapple, arrived, left.
Thailand: A quick bite
The food is good! Thai people have food down, oh yes, they do food very well. Green chicken curry, Pad Thai, soups, snacks, fruits, insects, I loved them all.
To my surprise its not just Thai food that the Thai’s do well. They do German food (Meatballs and Mash), British food (roast ham, cheese and mustard sarnies) and Indian food (Chicken Tika Masala, Butter Nan etc) well too. Everything is on the menu, pizza, seafood, burgers, ice creams, my ankle, my knee, my shoulder, ostrich steak, alligator and my wrist.
Oh, and my thigh comes highly recommended, a particular favourite with the bed-bug crowd, the less picky mossy crowd taking ankle and even toe, the philistines.
Yes, it seems that I’ve once again served myself up as a buffet for any six-legged son of a larvae patch that fancies some dark meat. I can’t help but wonder if I have brought this upon myself though as I happily indulged in such Thai delicacies as cricket, and maggot.
Well hopefully now the insect kingdom and I are even, maybe we can call a truce… please.
I left my passport
Past the port
Past the hill
And far behind this stretch of sea
I left my passport behind me
So I must go back
To retrieve my identity
Thailand: The Narrative of Stephen Walrond of Saito
I sat quietly brooding, damning myself for being so careless as to leave my passport at the messy hovel I had slept the night before. I would have been more enthusiastic in my self-admonishment had I not felt the severe weariness brought by sleep deprivation and alcohol abuse.
The night before had been much like the night before that, save the fire, but more about that later. I had left the apartment at some point with Marion, I proceeded to drink too much and eat too much and become far too drunk as a result. I had danced on chairs, had deep conversations about the nature of relationships and finally drank so much that my merriment turned into bewilderment and then the next stage I had become abusive and surly. I took myself to bed before I said anything to provocative and slept quite uncomfortably but well enough to be oblivious of Marion’s return.
I woke on New Years Day, showered and put on the cleanest clothes I could find. Marion and I packed our things and discussed the events of New Years Eve and then she laid out the itinerary for the day, mostly boat trips and transfers from boats to busses, I took very little interest in any of it safe in the knowledge that sticking close to Marion would lead me in the right direction.
We handed in our keys and paid the remainder of out bill and I was thankful that this would be the last encounter with the disagreeable custodian of Yoghurt Home 3. He was much like other Thai people; he would repeat each instruction hurriedly with flailing gestures and not an ounce of civility. I couldn’t stand him but smiled and nodded politely hoping that some common courteousness would rub off on him. Keys given in and money paid our business was concluded and we set about leaving for the boat.
One crowded taxi ride later and we are at the port waiting in the mid day sun for the ferry to arrive. Whilst in the taxi my stomach swam with the sickness of a nights abuse and every lurch or sudden stop would encourage it to torment me further. A dull throbbing and the insipid conversation of the other passengers similarly abused my head. These self appointed bastions of ‘Koh Phangan cool’ virulently characterised what they called ‘the new comers’, those who had ruined Koh Phangan and seemed to be each responsible for the bastions having a terrible New Years. Apparently Koh Phangan was better in the old days when it was left to the bastions and the bastions alone, I silently disagreed, despite my current state I thought the night before was tremendous fun and reckoned that previous years were equally tremendous too.
The swaying of the small rusted boat had the affect of calming the violence in my stomach and making me feel drowsy. I fell half asleep and as often is the case I amused myself by making poetry in my head. It would always frustrates me that I can never recall the poetry I think and put it straight to paper, this time however I was content with just thinking the poetry know full well that they would never be heard again, not even by me.
Our transport was about to make its first stop at Koh Samui when a vague feeling of dread engulfed me. I had forgotten to take my passport from the disagreeable proprietor of the over priced ghetto I had just left, and he had forgotten to offer it to me.
I had to go back, I had to alight at Koh Samui and return to him and get my passport, if I could have been there that instance I would have struck the man about the face with a clenched fist and all the contempt I had felt for him and myself. Instead I had to quietly brood until brooding became wallowing and self-pity turned to self-doubt.
It was New Years day and my muddied head was so full of piteous and deriding thoughts aimed squarely at my own feet that I wondered, if this was how 2007 was to go on whether I wanted to see the rest of the year at all. What a terrible beginning it was, a foolish mistake, much like others I had made before, stupid and thoughtless and bloody inconvenient. I was vexed beyond consoling when I left the boat and I remained much in the same mood whilst I waited for a vessel to return me to Koh Phangan.
Hours past and I distracted myself with coffee and cake and when it was time to board I drew a deep relieved breath, entered the craft and sat sullenly infront of a TV screen.
Happy New Years
Then, something odd happened. I was on the ferry watching the rubbish TV they had put on, making my way back to Koh Phangan, and all these boy-bands songs are playing, and I'm pretty sick of them, then Robbie Williams comes on singing My Way by Frank Sinatra, and I swear to god it was like a sudden moment of clarity.
I realised that I was worrying so much about the small mistakes and minor inconveniences that I was missing the fact that I was having a great adventure. It was the line "mistakes, I've made a few, but too few for me to mention", I realised that anytime something goes a little wrong I act like my life is a house of cards and they've collapsed from the bottom. I forget that with patiences I can rebuild the house with the extra knowledge of what makes the house fall.
Then I felt as if I was at piece, I enjoyed another Koh Phangan sunset, collected my passport and had a smoke with a lad from Nottingham. I went to bed convinced that I was meant to forget my passport because I was meant to learn that lesson from Robbie Williams.
Thailand: A Ring of Fire
So, as this picture shows, being drunk doesn't make you fire proof and, jumping through rings of fire is stupid.
Love is a burning thingand it makes a firery ring
bound by wild desire
I fell in to a ring of fire...
I fell in to a burning ring of fire
I went down,down,down
and the flames went higher.
And it burns,burns,burns
the ring of fire
the ring of fire.
The taste of love is sweet
when hearts like our's meet
I fell for you like a child
oh, but the fire went wild..