were mostly bad things. We got scammed by two tuk-tuk drivers, then my girlfriend’s jewelry was stolen, and then I lost my ATM card. Then the monsoons washed out a few of the good days and kept us trapped inside, ordering coffee refills and running out of stories to tell each other. Good practice for being retired.
Our indecisive travel buddies vacuumed up the rest of the time. Instead of saying what they want to do, everyone instead insists they’re down for whatever. What is whatever? “Whatever” is nothing, “whatever” is evil; stop saying you’re down for it.
At least my girlfriend got to see Bangkok. I’d been there once before, five years ago, but I didn’t own a camera back then, and I was usually drunk during that trip, so most of the details have dissolved. But remembering less makes the return a little more vibrant. On the bus ride into town from the airport I saw the PC café where a pickpocket lifted $200 off me back on my first trip here. I figured later that he had cased me as I was leaving the ATM across the street. And you know what, good for him. I hope it turned things around for him.
I mean, I certainly wasn’t worried about myself. I had white parents; I was going to be fine.
I won’t talk about the many, many golden palaces and temples in Bangkok, because average writers would latch onto those details, and I am not them. Instead I’ll tell you about the thing you see the most of in Bangkok: British men with Man Utd jerseys from 2001 who have pierced eyebrows and leathery skin that could stop bullets, who drink beers at the airport at 11:00 a.m.
Also I’ll tell that you can find lizards and birds hanging out on the sidewalk by the Grand Palace. And that the top of the city’s tallest building has a scrolling neon banner that says LONG LIVE THE KING. The King’s portrait is truly everywhere. Some people have Instagram; he has a country. He ascended to the throne after his older brother died of a gunshot wound in 1946 under mysterious circumstances. I got curious and read a little about the situation. I’m not saying that the current king killed his brother to become king. But I am saying that he was, according to palace logs, the last person to visit his brother in his quarters before the murder. I had to wait until I left Thailand to type those sentences. People go to prison for less. He’s ruled longer than Queen Elizabeth. He’s always frowning.
We were down in Krabi most of the time. Up north, it’s Buddhist country. Down south, where we were, you see a lot of Muslim Thais. Or is it “Muslim Thai”, with Thai being a collective term, like fish. I don’t know. I don’t go to places to learn.
What’s in Krabi? Well, lots of beaches and Asian-esque rock formations. Endless miles of oceanfront property crammed with tour company kiosks, which all manage to stay in business. I don’t know what else to say. There are pictures.
But overall the trip was a fail. The rain. We went to Thailand to do pretty much nothing but live in backpacker purgatory for a week. I was fretting because I was relaxing too much. But I also didn’t feel like not relaxing — you don’t go to Thailand to run around all haggard. Do you? Eh, who fucking knows.
It went so badly that my girlfriend wanted to break up. We didn’t get out enough when the weather was good. I would have taken more initiative to go do things, but I was depressed again. It comes and goes. It’s terrible. It’s like my mind gets hijacked by a teenager. You wish you could schedule these things, so you could not be depressed while in the tropics, but that’s not how it works.
Endorphins weren’t even an option. I hurt my foot when I was running, and had to stop working out. A week of the vacation diet made me hyper-aware of the fat in my neck when I turn my head.
Not having a smartphone for a week reminded me how boring and frustrating life is. Escapism is a multi-million quadrillion dollar market for a reason. Maybe if life were a little better and smoother, we’d be able to stay off our phones.
A smartphone is better than a trip to Thailand. Don’t listen to anyone who has been anywhere. They’re lying to you to protect their investment – they at least had to get some bragging rights out of their $4,000 trip.
The curse of fancying yourself a writer means you only go places or do things so you can have the authority to write about them. To go places and do things requires money. Which brings the budget for this blog post to somewhere north of $400 (we flew in from Vietnam, stayed for a week). So all I have to say is that you better have fucking enjoyed it.