Monday, 2 September 2013

and back again.

I have finally arrived in Bangkok. It took 2 years, one of which was spent in a cage, but I had finally arrived. I know I'm back in Asia because no one can spit silently. They have to advertise that they're hacking up half a lung. Little old ladies rush the subway, fighting like Asian tigers to get that seat. Sales people are pushy but when I push back they get offended. If I wanted your services, I know where to go, I'll come to you. Don't push it in my face. On the other hand, it must work or they wouldn't persist in a such  tried and true method. You want bang bang or boom boom? One will blow your mind and one will blow you. I assimilated quickly in the last 3 days and I'm ready to go. My only contact was V.

V didn't answer his phone. My only contact. With only what was in my bags, no money, in a strange country. I had a general idea of the name of the place of where I was going courtesy of V, who had disappeared.

At the airport, the taxi bookers argued amongst themselves of where I was actually going because no one knew. It took 4 cabs passing up the fare before I got a hit. This did not bode well.

No options but to get in a cab and trust my directions or stay at the airport indefinitely.

The cab driver spoke some English, but stayed silent the entire ride. It was a long ride, but I didn't mind, I was city-struck. I feel this way in every city I visit. I'm amazed-- I'm finally there and everything looks so new and different. Even when I've visited the city before, coming back feels the same way.

The land is very flat, with many water ways. I saw packs of dogs drinking by the waterways. Lots of scooters. Many tricked out and stylized. There were no pine trees, but many palm trees. At the beginnign of each highway intersection there is a monumnet to the King. On the dashboard of the taxi cab was a  miniture.

Just over a huge suspension bridge, we pulled into a gas station. I looked at tewh gauge, it was half full. The driver got out and asked the group of mechanics, friends and co, directions to the area of town I was going. I was beginning to develop a strong appreciation of GPS. I had no wireless on my own phone, so I couldn't Google map it, and his phone was of the flip generation. He could barely get email, let alone Google maps and GPS.

We finally got to where we were going. V works at a 'big' school. The 5 security guards were stand around in a circle, smoking, eyeing the strange foreigner all dressed in black in 30 degree weather, hauling bags outof  a cab, wild hair, no shower, crazed by the last leg of his journey...

No one knew who V was. His phone had decide to go on the fritz, but I was pissed because he wasn't answering his phone and he knew I was coming--I thought he had turned it off or forgot it. It turns out V was no longer V, but S. I would have strangled S if I had seen him at this point. 5 security guards, and 2 administrators figured out directions to V's home after we had figured out V was really S.

S wasn't home. I had no local phone service or wireless. I was dead in the water. My phone still worked on roaming charges. $3 a minute talk, $0.75 per text. When you have no money, a $0.75 text is a big deal. I called a few times with no answer. Good-- because no answer means I'm not paying $3 a minute to say "where the FUCK are YOU?", bad-- because I'm in a country with no money, no place to stay, on a couch tossed carelessly outside the door of some 4 story building. Where the FUCK was HE?

So there I sat. I tried to sleep. I was so tired, but the mosquitoes had other ideas.I kept calling S every 30 minutes. I went in search of a store with directions from one of the security guards. I bought 2 tallboys and a pack of smokes for $5. One call was a hit (it always works out, so chill out.) 2 hours later,and less than 5 minutes from that call, S rolls up on a scooter. Hugs are all around, bags are dragged into vast rooms, Js are smoked and we're off to a bar for S's farewell party because he was just fired, this was his last day and he needs to move out in 2 days.