Monday, November 23, 2009

Forget Everything I Said About Not Yet Being Sick

It's 11:37 pm, Monday night, here in Bangkok. Twenty-four hours from now, C and I will be catching a plane home.

I have spent so much time on boats today that the floor of the hotel here at the computer is swaying, and I haven't been drinking--much.

At least, not tonight. But a few nights ago...

5 AM, Sunday morning. I'm at an after-hours club on Khaosan Road with C and two other girls, drinking bottle service whiskey for something like 30 bucks, with a guy from Portland who loves the Huskies, who's hanging with a bunch of messed up Brits, and I decide to visit the club bathroom. (Western style toilets! Hooray!) And then, all of a sudden at the club, I'm sick, and it's not from the alcohol. I'm kneeling, miserable, wishing I hadn't gotten a drink with ice, in a foreign country where I can't drink the water with a bunch of Brits who are basically only here teaching English because they're too messed up to return to their own country, and there's tiny Thai working girls--and half of them aren't girls--throwing up in the club sinks and I am thinking, "What the hell am I doing here?"

And then this afternoon I climbed Wat Arun at sunset and almost cried, it was so beautiful.

So to say I have mixed feelings about leaving would be an understatement, but there's no better words. (And I generally know A LOT of words.) A lot of really amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experiences have happened--you tell me the last time YOU sang Amazing Grace to a village of former sea gypsies in a town so remote that you have to take a boat and then ride a tractor to get there--and nothing bad has happened at all, but Bangkok is...a beautiful mess. And did I mention it was dirty?

It's dirty and smelly and people are CONSTANTLY trying to sell you something, and they will not take no for an answer. And then there are ALSO places like Wat Arun, (Temple of the Dawn) which is one of the most...visually arresting...things I have ever seen. So it's a mixed bag of incredible beauty and incredible eyesores. And I would really like some cheese. I would like to take a BATH in melted cheese. And I want potatoes--and bread--more than I ever thought possible.

Yesterday, C and I browsed the weekend market at the far north end of Bangkok's skytrain, in which we could buy everything from pets (the animals here are worth a whole separate post) to paintings. Two days ago, I was on the remotest possible village in the middle of the night singing to gypsies. Uh huh. I sang. A lot. And then our hostess sang. I got about four seconds into the gypsy song, taping it with my camera, and I started to cry and couldn't focus the camera anymore. Two days from now I'll be holding my eyes open with toothpicks in Seoul as C and I try to navigate our twelve-hour layover, and three days from now I'll be eating turkey.

I plan to recover my sanity some time in February. Everyone should travel this way.

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