Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Deal, Yo

OK, people. You've no doubt been checking this page 37 times a day, waiting for the next update and cursing me for keeping you hangin'. Or you've forgotten about me entirely and taken up mahjong. Either way, this is the scenario:

I intend to finish posting about my trip. I'm home now, and have a LOT to write, and hopefully a lot more pictures to post. The process, once I start, will likely drag out over several weeks. And, when it's done, it's done. The end of the trip will be the end of this blog. I'm not presuming that you care, and I'm not expecting a Slothesque protest and group cry. Nor would such a reaction change m'mind. When I started this thing a year plus ago, I observed that it was not really a me thing to do. I'm not exactly the same me I was at that time, but some basics remain. And while it's nice to have a forum for my ramblings, I think this little experiment has run its course. As with so many other past activities, interests, and, yes, people, I think I'm just not that into you anymore, blogging.

I have every intention of keeping up with the rest of you, my loyal (or not so loyal) readers; I'm not gonna take down the page, so my links will remain intact, and I'll check you out. Maybe, one day, I'll have something to say that is so important, revolutionary and/or life-changing that I'll have no choice but to throw it out there. Until then, I'll be available by email. And the red phone in Commissioner Gordon's office.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Happy Belated Bangkok

Monkey Sex
Originally uploaded by LiAps.

Sorry folks. I took a little hiatus from blogging. I should be caned. But I have been taking photos and scribbling little notes in my journal, like a good 15-year-old girl (Does he like me like me, or just like me?!?!?!?!), so once I get home, after I sleep for 4 days or so, I should be able to catch you up right quick. Here goes Bangkok, which will span several posts, no doubt.

Now, the picture above was actually taken at Batu Caves outside Kuala Lumpur, but I thought it appropriate, as it depicts monkey sex, which made up a large part of what I was forced to endure during my weekend in Bangkok.

After arriving in Bangkok, and taking what I'm told is the cheapest cab ride ever from the airport to my hotel, I knew I had some time to kill before Monkey arrived. I also knew that, to the extent I wanted to see any actual historical/sightseeing type things, I better get it done before he arrived, since Monkey's theory on Bangkok is, "If it doesn't have tits, I don't need to see it."

So I headed for the Grand Palace. The way to get there from my hotel was to take the SkyTrain to one of the river boats. Which I did. The boats are notoriously cheap. I believe the ride I took cost 7 baht. For everyone but me. Somehow, I swear, they charged me about 50 baht. Which is still only $1.25, but it was unreal.

Got off at the pier and headed for the Palace, and just as promised in the book, there were a whole bunch of con-artists trying to convice me the palace was the opposite way, and/or that it was closed. And I spent a good 5 minutes talking to one of them. Because it took me that long to cross the street. But, nevertheless, I made it to the Grand Palace. It was so damn hot that I can't begin to describe to you how much I was sweating. I know that's already a theme of these entries, but it's just so true. I thought "Biloxi Blues" was a good movie, and I have used the phrase "Africa Hot" for years. But henceforth, I will have to substitute "Southeast Asia Hot." And not even the worst August day wating for the subway will qualify.

But I did the Grand Palace in the ridiculous heat. I'm not sure how much of the Palace I saw. The grounds are huge, and consist of a lot of really ornate buildings, some of which are temples and such. I just wandered around, delirious like Chevy Chase trudging through the desert in "Vacation" (though I didn't put mu pants on my head, as that's considered disrespectful in religious places), taking some pictures and sweating more. Honestly, the palace stuff was amazing and beautiful. Some of my pics, I think, came out OK, and perhaps I'll post some later.

After wandering the Palace grounds for a few hours, I decided that there was nothing else in the general area that I needed to see so badly, so I would head back in the general area of the hotel to wander a bit more and enjoy some AC while waiting for Monkey to arrive. I ended up talking to these two cute American girls who were doing a 3-week Thailand trip. They were 18 and 20. Wow am I old. I helped them make sure they got off the boat at the right place, but couldn't help them further once we got on the train, since they had no idea what stop to get off at for their hotel. Young, cute and dumb - perfect!

When I got back to the area of my hotel, I was starving, and knew I couldn't wait for Monkey to arrive to eat. But I was also so hot and tired I couldn't put a lot of effort into figuring out where to go. Which is how I ended up in the food court of the mall across the street, where I had the WORST PAD THAI EVER!!!! In fucking Thailand. I've had better pad thai in shitty restaurants in Atlanta, for Chrissakes. I think they made it shitty for me purposely. I guess I can't complain too loud, since it cost the equivalent of 75 cents, but it was kind of depressing.

Even in my semi-decent hotel, there were more than a few Western guys with young Thai "companions" walking around. Nobody even blinks about that shit over there. Still, NONE FOR ME. I don't do hookers. Chilled for a while, showered and shaved, and hoped that Monkey would show me a rockin' Friday night in Bangkok. Because who knows better than Monkey where the girlz is at??

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Get In The Ring MuthaFucka!

So, my last night on Samui. I’m all relaxed from my massage, took a little nap and watched a little TV. How do I end this leg of my journey? Watching some guys kick the shit out of each other, of course. Now, I imagine I’m more familiar with Muay Thai than your average asshole from the US, as Big Al was a big fan (and a hell of a fighter himself I hear) and I went with him to see some matches in NY one time. But nothing prepared me for authentic Muay Thai Lamai style.

Not even the dinner I had first. Really excellent red snapper [pause for comments] with rice and vegetables, beer, and coffee. Grand total: about $5. Unreal. The place I ate was filled with a lot of Euros. Some of whom were discussing the London bombing. Now, I was back chilling in my hotel as the news was first breaking. The only US news channel available was Fox News. Coverage of the bombing aside, MAN – that channel is as disgusting as everyone makes it sound. I’m gonna start watching at home for sheer entertainment value. The anchor named Shepard something has to be the biggest moron on TV, and that’s saying a lot. O’Reilly, who I’ve made fun of plenty without ever really watching him, deserves all my derision and more. Dumbass.

I know covering breaking news is hard, but once you get to the point where you’re interviewing your 27th “terrorism expert,” there’s no excuse for an exchange like this [not verbatim, but damned close]:

Expert: I have to say, the only two groups I think are capable of acts like this would be the IRA and Al Qaeda.

Female Anchor: So you’re saying there’s evidence the two groups are working together on these bombings?

Expert: No, not that I’m aware of.

Anchor: But is it possible that the two groups have joined forces and are responsible for these attacks?

Expert: Obviously we’re still in the early stages, and it’s impossible to know who is responsible.

Anchor: So the groups COULD be working together, and wouldn’t that be a terrifying turn of events and represent a threat nobody is prepared to deal with?

Expert: [Noncommittal comment about the authorities investigating and semi-successful subject change]

I’m surprised they didn’t ask if the IRA and DNC were working together on the bombings. However, I did learn something from watching Fox News: Linda Blair, instead of spewing pea soup, is now spewing some crap about why Pit Bulls are poor misunderstood animals and aren’t really more dangerous than the average dog. OK. You were more appealing when you were masturbating with a crucifix, honey.

So back to Muay Thai. The “stadium” was a big concrete bunker. I opted for the cheapest seating - bleachers on one side of the ring – passing up the “VIP section,” which had ratty pleather Ikea-reject sofas. Some Sk8er Boi-looking dude with long blonde hair sat next to me. He turned out not to be a California dirtbag, but a Swede. Huh! The actual fighting was somewhat entertaining, but disturbing. The fighters in the earlier matches couldn’t have been more than 11 years old. I was pulling for the kid in the kid in the pink and purple trunks in the first match, because hey, he got stuck in the pink and purple trunks. Sure enough, he won by KO in the first round. Hard to get excited about seeing a kid get kicked so hard in the ribs that he can’t get up. The rest of the matches (I stayed for 6 of 8) all went the full 5 rounds. There was some blood, and some serious hits. Glad I went, but I think I’ve decided I’m not a huge boxing fan. When the big guys fight here, you don’t feel so bad. But I guarantee that kid who went down in the first fight didn’t get $4.2 million for losing.

The Muay Thai went late, and I got back to my room about 1. I was a little jumpy from the London stuff, realizing I was pretty much in the middle of nowhere, hadn’t seen a single cop on the Island, and had no way of getting in touch with anyone. Some noise in the middle of the night scared me ¾ to death. I had initially left the curtains open so the sun might wake me up if the hotel people failed to, but then I closed them, because I didn’t feel like advertising a sleeping white dude.

I was up for good around 6. And good thing, because the hotel certainly didn’t send anyone to wake me at 7:30. Though they did send someone to check the minibar at 8:10. Minibar is a funny name for it – they had one of those systems where you insert your room key in a slot so that the TV and lights will go on; when you leave the room, they don’t want to power the TV, lights, and AC. The minibar fridge was hooked into this system as well. So, if you come back to your room, after a long day on the beach, really in need of a cold drink: FUCK YOU! It’s all warm. I guess it makes sense in a place where your room has no clock or phone.

Since I was up, I asked them to take me to the airport early, with hopes of catching an earlier flight to Bangkok. Which I did. Standby was a piece of cake, and I got on the 9:20 rather than the 10:20.

Landed in Bangkok around 10:30 a.m., ready to see if the city was all it’s cracked up to be.

Don’t you wish you knew . . .

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Me & Buddha, We Got A Good Thing Goin' On

Sorry folks, Blogger was being a bitch yesterday. So, my pilgrimage to Big Buddha continues here:

I got to the Buddha, walked up the stairs, took off my shoes as required, and walked around. I was regarded a bit suspiciously by the Chinese dude who was handing out incense and other prayer accessories, until I bowed to him. That got a big smile, and I no longer felt like he was going to accuse my ancestors of killing his God too.

I also, just to be sure to get on Buddha's good side, gave a 20 Baht donation, placed in one of the many receptacles placed all around the site. I then descended the steps, and came across the sign pictured above. And of course I wanted my trip to the Buddha to become part of the lore of the island of Koh Samui. Now, I would gladly have given another 20 Baht donation; 20 baht is roughly 50 cents. Except I had already given my last small bill to the other donation trough. I faced a dilemma. Would other people, or worse, Buddha himself, see me fill out a brick and place it on the pile, seemingly without donating the requested funds? How bullshit would, "But I already donated over there" sound if I were confronted? Looking back, I could have sucked it up and put in a 500 Baht note - it's $12.50, and I'm sure the Buddhists could use it (perhaps have some robes custom tailored by the fucking ripoff artist I gave away my money to in Singapore?). But I convinced myself that my 20 Baht donation was sufficient, even if I put it in a different receptacle. And I filled out a brick as pictured above, put it on the pile, and left the Buddha grounds. I'm OK, right?

Bought a DVD copy of "The Ring 2" to hopefully watch on one of my future plane rides. If it works. It cost 150 Baht. As I was leaving the area surrounding the Buddha, I was ready to head for home (Lamai, not NY). As I was walking out, what noise should I hear, but "Taxi, sir?" Now, there was a red and yellow Toyota taxi parked nearby. He could have been offering me an air-conditioned ride home in an enclosed, 4-wheeled vehicle. But he was also wearing the telltale vest of the motorbike taxi guy. And I went with him anyway. My pledge never to ride a motorbike taxi again lasted about 47 minutes. As I'm headed back pressed up against this sweaty Thai man, I started thinking how utterly stupid it was for me to do that again. My luck might not hold up for the 15K or so back to Lamai. And, oh my god, Buddha might be watching from his lofty perch, thinking, "Ah, what a perfect way to punish that asshole who stole one of my bricks!" Not good. So I had the guy switch destinations, and take me to Chaweng instead. Another beach stretch which was closer to the Buddha, and which I hadn't checked out yet. I paid him the original quoted fare for Lamai, and tipped him. I'm a generous guy, Big B, I swear.

Chaweng seemed pretty much like Lamai, but appeared to have nicer hotels, and there were more cute white chicks. Damnit - I picked wrong again. Took a regular taxi back, and was gouged again. Apparently the "Meter" the taxi claims to have is a reference to the speedometer, and the drivers make up their fares as they go along.

Decided my afternoon would consist of lunch and a massage. Massage first. So I walked down the beach a bit. There are a bunch of beachside massage places, and I chose one that didn't seem attached to a particular resort. I guess I should have seen it as a bad sign when I had to wake up the masseuse from a sound sleep in her hammock. But she seemed nice, and was not attractive, which I viewed as a plus in this particular situation (though any thoughts of a "happy ending" would have gone out the window when she broke out what smelled like Vicks Vapo-Rub anyway). And so we began. This woman bent me in ways I was positive my body didn't go, using her hands, feet, knees; I never knew that having someone dig her elbows into your ass could feel so good. I was relaxed. Chillin'. And then, Hurricane Surinamathaporn struck. The rain wasn't so bad. It's hot out, I was under an umbrella, and it wasn't what I'd call torrential. The winds, however, blew all kinds of shit at me. Including a huge coconut that landed -- no exaggeration -- maybe 8 inches from my head. B, we discussed this: I DID make the donation. I'm not quite ready to be reincarnated just yet, so cut me a break, OK?

Wind died down, rain stopped, massage continued, and then the inevitable. My Masseuse asked me "You come here alone?" And that was when I noticed the other girl, sitting in a chair next to the massage table. Wearing some sparkly gold tank top, denim skirt, big sunglasses, and I believe flip flops with heels. Here it was, my masseuse was pimpin'. I, again, explained that I was just here to chill on the beach, and was not in need of a lady of the evening for the evening. Is nothing sacred? If I can't just enjoy a stranger kneading my near-naked body for $5/hr without someone assuming I'm your Average John (now that's an idea for a reality show), something ain't right.

The rain came back as I walked into town for lunch. I first stopped to pick up a new pair of sandals. Much as I loved spreading free advertising for In N Out Burger across Asia, that thing between my toes was killing me. Those were relics from a prior phase of my life anyway. So, I spent $6 on a pair of Teva-like sandals with a Diesel tag on them. I'm so damned fashionable.

Had lunch at the Shamrock Samui, an Irish pub which was clearly very recently established. Run by some authentic-looking and sounding folks (though I thought British, rather than Irish). I ordered a Guinness, and right before he opened it for me, the guy said "I should warn you, we have to pay so much to get these in here, that they're 220 a piece." Now, that is 4X as much a s any other beer I drank on Samui. But it's also cheaper than any Guinness I've ever had in NY. So it evens out. Ordered a burger, and the guy asked if I wanted vinegar for my fries. Fuck yeah! He brought me white vinegar. The kind you use to clean floors. It was then I realized that the proprietors were neither Irish nor British, but just Thais who had hired the same makeup artist who did Eddie Murphy in the "White Like Me" sketch. No self-respecting Brit or Irelander would bring anything other than Malt vinegar. So I used some sauce with no english on it instead. Probably duck blood.

Then back to hotel, where I confirmed that a cab would be there to take me to the airport the next morning. I also had them promise to send someone to wake me up at 7:30. Because there was no clock or phone in my room, and I had looked in many many stores for a travel alarm clock, all for naught.

Typing killing me. Will finish Samui and hopefully do some Bangkok later or tomorrow.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Where To Begin

Here's the deal. I obviously haven't been keeping up the posting, and there's a lot to fill in. I'll try to finish Samui in this post, maybe post a few more pics, and put down some thoughts on Bangkok (though I did not journal as I went along there). I'm back in Singapore now. Got in lat last night, but I'm leaving for Kuala Lumpur on an early morning train. Will get back here Thursday morning, and leave for Shanghai super early Friday morning. Have some more pics I'd like to share as well. The LiAps chronicles will not end up perfectly chronological, I guess. But hope you enjoy.

7 July 2005
Koh Samui, Thailand

So, remember the "nightlife" I was going to sample last night? Unless you consider an old episode of JAG "nightlife" (by the way, is that show a joke? I'd be embarassed to be either a lawyer (oh, wait, I AM embarassed to be a lawyer) OR in the military based on the portrayals on that crap), it didn't happen. I had dinner, wandered a little bit, and realized that my plan to sit alone at a bar and have a few beers inevitably meant being harrassed by prostitutes. I don't blame them; that's what most single male farangs are here for. But not LiAps. Though they are, for the most part, nice enough when you tell them "No, I don't want a lady tonight, thank you" (though you also get the "Oh, you want ladyboy then??"), I just wasn't in the mood. Was exhausted from a day in the sun and drinking a few beers anyway. So, as predicted, I was in bed around 10.

Apparently, I did miss out on some worthwhile nightlife, because some dude at breakfast was describing the entertainment at the place he was at the prior night: 2 huge white dudes mudwrestling against 4 little Thai girls. Had I seen that, I would absolutely have stopped in.

Speaking of breakfast, I had it at my hotel's restaurant, if you can call it that. That makes my 2d meal there, despite having seen a group of at least 6 cats lounging and/or strutting on the service window. I trust they're just there for the curry. There are lots of animals running around here. The dogs generally look really really unhealthy. Mangy is the word. It's sad. Some clearly belong to people; they're not all strays. But I guess getting Fido his shots sometimes has to come second to feeding your kids. I have also seen a few chickens running around (and a few with their heads cut off, but those were not the same same chickens; "same same" not a typo, but a popular expression here, memorialized on a t-shirt I bought myself). Oh, and almost stepped on a dessicated frog carcass. End of LiAps's Animal Kingdom.

The photo above is the aptly-named "Big Buddha." I don't think this is the same same Buddha featured on Rebel Billionaire, because it would be a hell of a ride from Hong Kong. I was on the fence about whether to go up to see it. The whole island is only like 50 km around (according to some Aussie dude I was talking to at breakfast), so nothing is really far away, but I was feeling lazy. Then I realized that there was, uh, not much else to do. So I was off to the Big Buddha. And I had a bout of temporary insanity. Because I took a motorbike taxi. Which is just how it sounds. They're all over the island, and in Bangkok too. You ride on the back of a motor scooter with a crazy Thai guy (or girl) driving, weaving in and out of traffic and zooming along curvy mountain roads. And the driver even gets a helmet! I have never been on a motorcycle/motorbike before. And it showed. I kind of expected some instruction. You know, "OK, hold on here. When I turn this way, lean this way, etc., etc." Instead, I got "OK. Big Buddha!" And we were off. And I'm saying to this guy who speaks little to no English, "Slow is OK. No hurry." Motorbikes are a way of life here: people ride them 60 km/hr with their toddlers sitting between their legs not even holding on. And I, 29 year old man, am gripping the handle on the back of the seat so tight I'm surprised it didn't come off in my hands. But I got there in one piece. It was something like a 12 or 13 km trip, and I survived it. And then realized there was no good reason to have done that. It saved me like $5 over a regular, air-conditioned, four wheeled taxi. And took 5 years off my life in sheer fear. I vowed never to ride a motorbike taxi again.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Reflections on Singapore Part I

Or. more accurately, reflections on Monkey. Reading my last post, the sleep deprivation shows. To be clear: Monkey actually took home the Thai girl who sat on my lap Friday night, and for whom we bought pad thai. So with the omelette, I guess she got two meals out of the deal. And, yes, cab fare.

She was here until 4 pm Sunday. I had to hear things that no human being should have. I, of course, was up at 9, despite having gone to bed at 6:30 or so. Took a walk to the grocery store, read my book outside for a while, but couldn't go anywhere for real without Monkey. And couldn't shower, as the bathroom is off the bedroom. Disturbing.

There's a whole post lurking in my head about the psychology (and, in my opinion, required psychiatry) of Monkey's meeting women here. And, he says (totally unprompted) that he would like to write a book about all the women he's been with ("but they couldn't ALL get a chapter, just the ones I remember something good about at the time I'm writing the book"). For one thing, he has this pathological need to be in all the places where he's the only white guy. Sunday, we went to the known hotspots for both Thais and Filipinos. And he's famous there. "Oh, Monkey, hello." I know he likes the attention, but I was not so into it. Don't get me wrong - everyone is, for the most part, friendly; I didn't feel threatened, or unsafe. But I wonder if he really is oblivious to the fact that some significant portion of the attention he gets, from women and men, is derisive in nature. It's impossible not to see that. Of course, when you're wandering around a mall with women yelling your name and saying "How does she know my name? I don't think I banged her," I guess you have a different perspective.

We ended Sunday night at the Thai disco, where we were, again, the only 2 white people there. Except for the performers on stage, who were both whiter than me, but sang fluently in Thai. Oh, and the female one looked remarkably like a woman I used to work with.

Monday I slept relatively late, met Monkey for lunch and then decided to embark on a couple of "walking tours" as recommended by my Singapore book. It was marginally interesting, but the truth hits me constantly: I'm not a good alone traveler. I'm trying. But it isn't me. I better tune it up for Shanghai. I think it'll be somewhat easier there, as I should have better planned out the things I want to see.

Another thing I'm not good at: haggling. I decided to have some suits custom made for me. Long story short: I've paid in advance, and think I'm probably overpaying by about $500 US. The story would be funnier, but I'm too pissed at myself to tell it well. What I should have done, of course, is waited until I got here to Koh Samui. Signs advertise 2 Suits, 2 extra pairs of pants, 2 shirts and 2 ties for $199. I sincerely hope I'm getting better quality from Master Dino in Singapore, but still. I comfort myself by remembering that, in haggling with me over the price, Master Dino invoked the phrase "Inshallah," as in "Why would I lie to you, inshallah?" So, if he screwed me really bad, no 72 virgins for that guy.

Samui, so far, is uneventful. The hotel didn't send someone to pick me up at the airport, as promised (though they insisted they did and he couldn't find me; the airport terminal is a Gilligan's Island-style hut - if he were there, he couldn't have missed me). My room is OK - not fancy, but relatively clean. The mattress is hard as a rock. Which is exactly how I like it. Seriously, I'm thinking of peeling back the sheets to see what kind it is and where I can get one. But, of course, that would involve peeling back the sheets and possibly discovering other things. We'll see. Had a solo dinner that was good and pretty cheap, though not nearly as cheap as some food is here. It's unbelievable. Then went back to hotel and passed out. I was in bed by 9:30. And actually slept decently despite the fact that my room is close enough to the clubs/bars that I might as well be trying to sleep onstage at a Slayer concert.

So far today - breakfast, a long walk down the beach [there's a personal ad for you], and some sitting and reading on the beach. It's very overcast, but relaxing. Did go for a little dip in the water. Now gonna go seek out some pad thai for lunch. And if that doesn't keep me on the toilet all night, will likely check out some of the "nightlife" such as it is. So I'll be in bed by 10.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Suspension of Disbelief (and of Common Sense)

July 3, 2005

Apparently, Monkey was serious. I didn't. He did. Seems that, if the agreement in advance provides that you will not give the girl the requested $S 250 (that was at least the initial price, as laid out for me), but instead will cook her a cheese omelette at 6 am, she is, magically, no longer an OH MY GOD FILTHY WHORE! I imagine cab fare home is included in the deal too, but I don't know, because she's IN THE BEDROOM WITH HIM RIGHT NOW. And here I am cosidering burning a pair of my shorts because she wore them briefly after coming back here this morning. I guess it's all relative.

Now let's start at the beginning of yesterday.

Despite having gone to bed around 7:30, I was, of course, up before 11, bringing my 48 hour sleep total to approx. 4 hours. Monkey eventually arose as well, and we headed for the Harbourfront Mall, where we had some lunch. I had Chicken Rice. But not Chicken & Rice. That would be silly.

We wandered around several mall-type thingies and also walked along Orchard Road, the city's premiere shopping street. My stomach was not happy with me, from general travel/jet lag and the pad thai mentioned in the last post. Without going into too much detail, let me say I am grateful that Singapore's public restrooms are relatively clean (though they're nothing compared to those in the Tokyo airport - - Baggio, you would have been in heaven!) and that Monkey was in possession of some charcoal tablets, which is apparently what they prescribe for diarrhea here. I'm bringing some of that home with me.

One of the things we did was get me set up with a Singapore based cell phone. Monkey had gotten an old phone from one of his friends, and I bought a prepaid SIM card which includes "free incoming calls but we deduct 70 cents a day" (Monkey tells me this is typical Singapore logic). I now (after paying $20 to unlock the phone because its owner had, knowingly or not, set a code he didnt share with Monkey) have a Singapore cell number and am callable and textable etc. Sweet.

We then headed to a July 4th Celebration. Once we actually got there (after Monkey had taken us to the wrong subway station, where we couldn't find the shuttle bus, for obvious reasons, and yelled at and refused to pay a cab driver because he told us where we wanted to go was actually where it was), it was kind of cool and surreal for a lot of reasons I'm too tired to put coherently on the page. Drank beer, had a burger for dinner. There were apparently rumors that Billy Joel was going to show up and perform. If he was there, I didn't see him.

There were fireworks (pictured above), and they drew a big crowd of non-Americans. There was also an attempt at country line dancing, but that was apprpriately confined to a small corner of the field. And no, despite having experience doing the 2-Step at the Wild Horse Saloon in Nashville (thanks RebelMom!), I did not participate.

Went back t Monkey's for a power nap, and then, around 1 am, we went out again. To a bunch of different places, including a party on Sentosa, where I spent $35 to get in. And where we stayed about 15 minutes. Monkey weekend nights are apparently all planned around "where the chicks are gonna be." It is so not how I do things. Maybe it's me - I don't have that single guy mentality. I appreciate that it's nice to go someplace with pretty girls, but I don't change my destination every 1/2 hour based on text messages from my friends about where the girls are hotter and where the scoring potential is greatest. I spent well over $S150 last night on assorted drinks, cover charges and cab rides. I knew I wasnt going home with anyone (especially not from the bar Monkey took me to that featured exclusively Thai "Ladyboys"; damn! - that was an eye opener). And for all our shuttling from here to there and strategerizing, look how the night ended for Monkey. Shortest distance between 2 points would have been a straight line. What's the opposite of "playa," because that's what I am. Still, don't hate me. Hate the game I don't play, yo.

Monkey Wasn't Lion


Any chance I had of adjusting normally to the time difference is shot to hell.

Wanted to have some good stories/pics from the Tokyo airport, but it was disappointingly un-bizarre. I did take a picture of the menu at one of the airport food stands, just to reassure you all that I did NOT have the fettucine carbonara, but I don't think it came out too well. Too lazy to deal with pics now anyway.

Sat next to a very nice, if not too bright, lady on the NRT to SIN flight. Meeting her Navy husband who's here on leave. It didn't help pass the time. That flight was the longest 7 hours of my life.

But got to Singapore, cruised through customs and immigration (with gum - suckers!), and Monkey was there waiting for me on the other end, cold beer in hand. He even brought one for me! So we drank Tiger tallboys in the airport and in the cab - all perfectly acceptable. I love Asia!

Quick pitstop back at Casa de Monkey, where I resisted the strong urge to take a shower -- it's hot as hell and humid here 24/7/365; my balls would have been sweaty again within minutes anyway -- so we could get out. And man, last night, you could find me in da club. Actually, in a bunch of them, including one called Attica -- I made a joke about going clad in riot gear, but I think it fell on deaf ears. I forced myself to forget that I hate dancing, waiting in line behind velvet ropes, paying exorbitant cover charges, and really crowded loud places, and, as such, I had a good time. We were out until almost 7 am, at which point I found myself chowing down on some of the spiciest pad thai I've ever had. Damn.

Now, what Monkey wasn't lyin ("lion" - get it?) about was that the women here really are hot. They are. I've never had a preference for Asian women; Monkey had to yell at me to "stop looking at the white chicks" like 7 times last night. But there are tons and tons of beautiful Asian women all over the place.

And only 75% of them (based on 2000 census data) are whores.

Seriously. I, LiAps, talked to and, yes, danced with, at least one Vietnamese hooker last night. That's all I did, obviously. When my hooker's friend asked Monkey, "So, are you gonna take me home and give me money?" and he answered in the negative, they were done with us. And my hooker was immediately pressed up against some other white dude in an ugly red shirt. Hey, buddy! That's MY Vietnamese hooker!

At the end of the night, there was another girl, Thai, I believe, with whom Monkey and I started chatting as we were on the way out, grabbing our takeaway food. Before long, she was sitting on my lap, and we were engaged in a time-honored and universal activity: making fun of Monkey for just being himself.

This girl had apparently tried to go home with Monkey one night earlier in the week, and he had declined, citing a "girlfriend," which, in Singaporese, translates to "12-year-old boy" (at least when we're talking about Monkey). Last night, she made it quite clear that she would have been perfectly happy to come home with me. I, too, declined, for a million and a half reasons.

In semi-coherent discussions with Monkey on the way home, I made clear that I am simply not going to pay a strange girl for sex while here in Singapore (or, hopefully, ever, anywhere). He kept saying, "dude, you should have taken her home." I kept saying, "didn't you hear me - I am not going to patronize a prostitute." He kept saying, "no, she wouldn't have wanted your money." Me: "Are you saying that girl was not a whore?" Monkey: "Oh, no, I'm just saying she liked you, so she probably wouldn't have taken your money."

So yes, still glad I did not bring her back to Monkey's place.

We did, however, buy her a pad thai.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Dispatches From the Wild Blue Yonder

Somewhere Over the Bering Sea

Seriously - raise your hand if you ever thought I'd write anything under that dateline! Thought for a second I might be over the Pacific, but onboard computer confirms it's Bering. Sweet! I'm pretty sure I passed not far from the Kamchatka Peninsula, which is my favorite peninsula ever.

Managed to score an exit row seat, which is great for extra legroom, but lacks a window. The sacrifices we globetrotters have to make.

Still 2138 miles to go. Computer says that should take 4 hours 15 min. I can't fucking believe I have another 7 hour flight to follow.

Getting excited for this trip now. Just need to make sure I really do it up. Don't use the fact that I'm alone as an excuse not to do things I want to do. Go hit some off-the-beaten-path stuff, and not be shy with the camera, etc. It's on, ferreals.


[Posted from the freaking airport in Tokyo - no joke!]


And so this journey begins as do most of my trips: me at the airport 2 1/2 hours early, clearing security in 2 minutes, and waiting to board.

Saw a Buddhist Monk-looking dude eating a banana, and it looked really good. I wanted one; I'm already going native - doing as the Romans do long before I hit Rome, so to speak. So I decided to explore the terminal in search of a banana of my own. Just when I was about to give up and conclude that the bald dude had brought his own breakfast -- or conjured it out of thin air by sheer willpower -- I found it! The source of the fruit! My beloved Smoothie King, no less. Having purchased and consumed the banana, I feel strong and well-prepared for the grueling passage ahead. My vessel, a Boeing 777, is entirely full, not a single empty seat, I'm told. Let's hope my neighbors are pleasant persons of sound mind, and adventurous of spirit, as is yours truly. Onward.