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Bangkok update:

It’s three thirty in the morning, and I’m on the fourth floor terrace by the pool. I can hear frogs chirping somewhere nearby. I can also hear the sounds of the Bangkok night; motor cycles and tuk-tuks mostly, but when I close my eyes and listen even more carefully, I can hear…

Air conditioners

A balcony door clicking shut

My sense of esthetic balance calls out for a third item, but all the other noises of the night have dispersed into the sounds of traffic, AC, and frogs.

Our apartment is across the street from Pantip Plaza, an electronics Mecca filled with the latest high-tech toys, dirt cheap pirated software, movies, music, and food court-style eateries. While Lara toured Bangkok’s most famous temples today, I took Logan over to Pantip Plaza in search of an AC adaptor for my laptop. I thought I needed one specific to Thailand since the power is on a different standard here than in the States. Eventually I learned that the adaptor that came with my laptop is good world wide, so I didn’t need a new one just for Thailand.

I asked around for an adaptor, and people either had no idea what I was talking about or they didn’t have the item I needed. I walked by a store selling cameras and PCs, and two Thai woman behind the counter saw Logan, squealed with delights, and dragged me with telekinetic force over to their counter. In no time they had Logan out of my arms and were taking turns holding him and having their pictures taken with him. I had been carrying him for a while, so I was glad for a little relief, but I think those two young women would have fussed over Logan all day if I hadn’t taken him back and resumed my quest.

That scene played out a few more times as I wandered from store to store, and it wasn’t just women who wanted to touch Logan and talk to him. One man walked up to me, gave Logan a squeeze on the wrist, and started talking to Logan. He then turned and seemed to snag a passing stranger to direct the strangers attention to Logan.

I bought a digital travel alarm at one booth, and the sales girl held Logan for an amazingly long time given the fact that he was more than half her length and probably at least a third her weight. After I left the Plaza, she came running out after us and planted a big, loud, exaggerated kiss on Logan’s cheek.

Well, the mosquitos have discovered me. Time to head inside.

I’m now in the lobby. Burr. They keep it so cold in here that the glass doors to the outside are frequently covered in condensation. The night desk clerk is playing computer billiards against one of the security guards on their networked computers. They do get busy at some points during the day, but for the most part, the folks who work here seem to have a lot of time to hang around and read newspapers, play computer games, and stroll around. Not a bad gig.

Durring the day, any time I leave the building, a uniformed guard opens the door for me, salutes, and says something like, “Have a good afternoon, sir,” or “Welcome back, sir.” How weird.

I’ve been addressed as sir more times in the last couple of days than in the entire previous year, I think. I kinda like it, but I don’t like it when someone much older than me calls me sir. We did not make hotel reservations in the states. I knew that there would be a reservation counter at the airport and that we’d get a better rate that way than if we booked in advance from the States. The man at the counter who made the arrangements looked to be in his sixties, and he not only ended every sentence with sir, but when I asked if he had a tissue he looked around his counter and then RAN through the airport to fetch a roll of TP so I could wipe Logan’s very snotty nose. I appreciate the service, but…

So far, the culture that suits me best as a customer has been Japan. People in service jobs in Japan struck me as very attentive and respectful but with a reserve and dignity that the Thai folks don’t seem to feel the need to retain for themselves. Even though I feel a bit uncomfortable at times here, the service sure beats that in the States. At anything less than a four star hotel or restaurant, Americans in “service” jobs seem to resent having to even acknowledge my presence, much less do anything to help me.

The billiards competition has heated up. A tall Arab guy and his Thai lady just came in through the lobby. I can see one of the computer screens from here, and I noticed that the security guard minimized the billiards window when the couple walked in the door. He pecked at a spread sheet until they disappeared into the elevator, and then he brought the game window back up and took his next shot. The competitors seem to have accepted my presence and let themselves have fun with me here.

I was waiting at the door of the gym when the guard showed up a little after six this morning (well, actually yesterday morning) to open it. I hadn’t worked out with weights in… I have no idea. Years, I think. I worked out for about half an hour. When I signed out, my hand was a little shaky, but I felt okay. By the time I reached the elevator, I was starting to feel a little nauseous. My skin was mostly dry when I left the gym. By the time I reached my room, even though I had stopped exercising minutes ago, I was drenched in sweat. I sat down on the edge of the bathtub and waited to see if the nausea would reach to point at which I would have to decide where to puke or if it would recede. Fortunately, it did the latter. I don’t puke well.

I plan to get rid of this belly I’ve acquired over the last three years, but I also plan to take things a bit easier tomorrow. No need for a repetition of this morning’s events. I don’t plan to aim for the full restoration of the lean KMO of yester-year. I like my rounder face, but this belly has got to go before I have a freakin’ heart attack. My father had three. After the first one, he STARTED smoking. That’s a different story though, and not one I’ll go into here.

Two Thai ladies in slinky clothes just emerged from the elevator and left the building. Yesterday morning, as I wandered sleepless in the wee hours, I walked out of my room and toward the elevator. There were two Thai girls in sexy clothes waiting at the door of one of my neighbors. As I approached the elevator, he opened his door. He was dressed only in boxers and it looked like he had been asleep and was still waking up when he answered the door. He seemed surprised to see the girls. He said something to the effect of, “Oh, I didn’t know you were coming. You can come in, but I already have a girl.” As I got into the elevator, the two girls disappeared into the guy’s room. I went down to the lobby and checked my email. About an hour later, I went back up to my room. When I got out of the elevator, I heard sex noises coming from the room, but I also heard two of the women talking in conversational tones. That stallion. Apparently, the liked variety in his women but preferred to enjoy them serially rather the simultaneously. I don’t know the guy. That’s just the story I made up based on a few seconds worth of observation.

Tomorrow I plan to buy cell phones for Lara and me, find some art supplies, and get to work on a comic. I don’t promise to post one tomorrow, but I am going to get back to work.

Take care, friends.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 25th, 2002 03:09 pm (UTC)
What a lovely surprise to hear from you... glad you are safe and having exotic adventures. Good karma!
Oct. 25th, 2002 03:27 pm (UTC)
your first four paragraphs brought me there.
Oct. 25th, 2002 06:09 pm (UTC)
I've been addressed as sir more times in the last couple of days than in the entire previous year

Just make sure your alter-ego isn't out there while you think you're 'asleep' running around starting fight clubs in Kuala Lumpar now ...
Oct. 26th, 2002 01:06 am (UTC)
Funny you should mention him
My alter ego (I call him the autopilot) generally stays in his cage unless I drink heavily (something I haven't done here). The autopilot is an evil fuck. I hope my son never meets him.

And Kuala Lumpar is a ways from here. I could probably get over to Nana Plaza or Soi Cowboy and back while my wife and son slumbered, but Malaysia would be a real stretch.

I like the Tyler Durden icon. When my friend Paul moved to Seattle, I opened a few doors for him by loaning him some money, getting him an apartment in my building and contributing in a small way to his getting a job at Amazon.com. In those early days when he was contemplating heading back to Illonois to live with his parants, he would sit alone in his studio apartment where he could hear Lara and I having loud sex in the apartment next door (being a gentleman, he told Lara that he didn't hear a thing when she asked him about it). Now Paul is want to indulge in the occasional paranoid fantasy, and after we left the theater after seeing Fight Club he started connecting the dots in his uniquely creative fashion, and he decided and announced that I did not exist but was in fact his own personal Tyler Durden.
Oct. 25th, 2002 09:15 pm (UTC)
i hope there are pictures...lots of them...

do say Hi to Lara and Logan....
Oct. 26th, 2002 12:50 am (UTC)
I've got my camera with me, but I haven't started taking pictures yet. Really, we've barely left our lodging. With a two-year old in tow, Bangkok is an utterly exhuasting place. There WILL be pictures, though. Lot's of them. I promise.
Oct. 27th, 2002 02:55 am (UTC)
You'll be surprised when you learn more about us, sir.
Oct. 27th, 2002 03:55 pm (UTC)
I'm sure.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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