One night in Bangkok and the world’s your oyster.
Twenty-seven nights in Bangkok and … well … you probably haven’t eaten oysters in a month. But you have seen the pearls of a Lady Boy pop out of a bright green, nylon G-string.
That wardrobe malfunction left her masculine side exposed … but her raw embarrassment, that quick hand-to-mouth moment of delicate humility, was undeniably feminine. Lady Boy cabaret shows are the strangest/best things ever.
Two days ago, we also saw a dragon crawl out of a backwater, river sewer drain. It was bigger than a pitbull from Michael Vic’s private stock. The Water Monitor advanced in broad daylight towards a group of Burmese men, who were building a three-story structure without so much as a rope or decent hammer.
They waved hello as I floated past, leaning over rickety bamboo scaffolding to watch the massive reptile. Somewhere last night, I feel sure that the scent of sewer-spiced flesh filled that riverside, the sound of scales blistering on a fire and the happy shouts of a free meal in an otherwise impossibly hard life.
This is what happens when you spend 27 days in Bangkok, instead of just one night.
Sometimes, reptiles crawl out of the pipes with Elvis-worthy swaggers. Then the modern day indentured slaves living in this city eat them for supper.
Twenty-seven days. It’s the most time I’ve ever spent in this city. Hell, it’s the most time I’ve really ever spent in a city I don’t live in. Some days stretched out like bored cats, lazy on warm windowsills. Others I exhausted without stopping, eating dumplings from small plastic bags with a long, thin skewer to bring them from bag-to-mouth as I moved continuously.
The ability to do everything slowly, or nothing at all, to move through a town without fear of missing out … knowing that I’d have tomorrow or the following day or the day after that for whatever struck my fancy … has been a blessing that I’ve not once taken for granted this past month.
I’m in Phuket at the moment. After this, I’ll head to Manila, with a week in Indonesia. I got pseudo-invited to a wedding in Fiji. It could happen.
It just occurred to me, however, that I only have one more night in Bangkok. One measly layover between Phuket and Manila. And no earthly clue when I’ll be back. There. Now. For the briefest of moments, I felt my first fear of missing out since arrival. Well … not missing “out.” Just missing this place entirely.
I’m so enamored with this town. I have been for quite some time. Not because it’s lovely (and it is) but because it’s weird and crazy. It’s got a certain Vonnegut-ness. (Yes, that’s a verb). It’s got spice and vigor – found in the dishes and people, just as easily as in the calloused hands of a massage girl and cancerous perfumes belched from a Tuk Tuk’s back cannon.
Maybe the cracks in the façade are the pearls. I’ll ruminate on that for a while, but I’m a bit sad tonight in all this realization. This portion is over for me now.
On a nostalgic note, here are my favorite spots. I hung out in each more than once and if you should visit, try to do so too.