Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Patience Is A Virtue

And you all have been patient. So here's the rest of the story from Bangkok. Keep in mind, there's still almost 2 weeks left on the LiAps World Tour, so don't stop visiting this blog just yet.

When I left you, I had just parted ways with Monkey, leaving him at the club while I headed back to the hotel. I should have known better than to follow in Monkey's footsteps at all, but I decided that I was kind of hungry, and I had the cab driver drop me off down the street, in front of Subway. Though Monkey had left Subway the night before with a new friend, I swear, I just wanted a sandwich. In case you hadn't figured this out yet, I'm not the kind of guy who picks up overweight unattractive Thai hookers at fast food joints. So I got my sandwich -- to go -- and set out to walk the one block to the hotel. And I almost made it. But I was "intercepted." By whom, you ask? Well, the football analogy should give you a clue. . .

That's right, I ran smack into Junior!! Not such a crazy coincidence, considering where Monkey had picked her up. Apparently, she worked at an outdoor late-night bar right on the sidewalk there between Subway and the hotel. So I was greeted by repeated choruses of "Where you friend? Where you friend?" I replied, quite truthfully, that I had no idea, and tried to juke my way around Junior (no mean feat) in an effort to get the rock (my 6-inch turkey on wheat) downfield and over the goal line (into the hotel lobby). But Junior, ever the vigilant defender, wasn't having it. Apparently, if she couldn't have Monkey, I would do. So she implored me to have "just one beer" with her at her bar. After protesting for a while, I gave in, sat down at a sidewalk table, told Junior I'd have a Chang (the last thing I needed was another overproof beer), and vowed to get out of there as quick as possible. She brought me my beer and sat down with me. The not insubstantial language barrier was a sort of saving grace for me, as our conversation consisted mostly of the now familiar "Where you friend?" When Junior got up to speak with one of her co-workers about some bar business, I saw my chance. Left some cash, including an overgenerous tip, grabbed my sandwich, and took off for the hotel.

Where I ate my sandwich (and, I think, the Snickers out of the minibar), and proceeded to pass out. Until the phone rang at around 3:30. "Monkey?" "No, he's not here." It was, of course, Junior. Give her credit for persistence (though one has to wonder about her sanity, having spent one night with Monkey and actually wanting to come back for more). She didn't seem to believe me when I said that he wasn't there. Though the phone had woken me from a dead sleep, believe me, Junior, I'd know if Monkey were in the room. So, convinced or not, I hung up and went back to sleep. Until 5. When the phone rang again. "Monkey?" "No - he's not here!!" Still true! And, this is when I start wondering about where on the Jennifer Wilbanks Psychosis Scale Junior falls. Let's recap - she's a fat, ugly Thai girl who knows my hotel room number and is apparently obsessed with the old friend of mine with whom I happen to be traveling. I think that's as far as I got before passing out again.

My slumber was not to last long (nor will I ever sleep completely soundly again), for Monkey did eventually return at around 6. And, as you might have guessed, he was not alone. The whore du jour was significantly smaller than Junior. But no more attractive. Her name: Wingnut. Because that's what it sounded like she said when introducing herself to me several hours later. While I wish my memory could simply skip the intervening period, much like a time lapse maxi-pad commercial, it wouldn't be fair. To me; if I have to live with these images and sounds etched into my brain for eternity, you all should at least have an idea of what it was like. Burying my head under my pillow was not sufficient to block out the noises -- guttural and high-pitched; some recognizable as words, others that I couldn't spell even if I knew the Thai alphabet; none of which I ever ever ever wanted to associate with Monkey. And, of course, there's only so long one can bury his head under a pillow without coming up to breathe. So there were a few glimpses to go with the sounds. Having seen Monkey positioned behind Wingnut with one hand on her ass and the other on the back of her neck, I don't believe I will ever again be able to joke with my friends about "wanting to watch." Ever.

I was just waiting for a break in the action, as I knew I had to get out of there. And, thankfully, one came at around 7. So it had only been an hour since Monkey and Wingnut got back to the room. But it felt like 6 consecutive life sentences. I showered, said goodbye, and ran out of the room. At 7:30 on a Sunday morning. In Bangkok. Where the fuck did I think I was going?? I dunno, but it had to be better than where I came from. For lack of a better idea, and because I regretted my failure to purhase a duffel bag the day before, I headed back for the Chatuchak Market. Which would have been a much better idea had anyone else been there. Despite being advertised as opening at 8 am, it was fairly deserted. But, nevertheless, I wandered around the few open stalls. While I did buy a small duffel bag, I couldn't find the donut-on-a-stick lady again, so was SOL as far as the Green Tea donuts were concerned (at least for the time being).

I wandered around the market for a while, eating and drinking little things, then got myself a Coke in a glass bottle (I never get tired of that) and sat down in the park across from the market to enjoy it. After I got tired of the homeless people begging for money (all of whom I gave some cash) and the people trying to sell me crap (none of which I bought), I decided to get up and head back for the hotel. It was 10ish, and we had to check out of the room by noon anyway, so I figured if it was up to me to rouse (or interrupt) Monkey and Wingnut, I'd bite the bullet. On my way out of the park, I saw a bunch of dudes wearing military uniforms lying on blankets in the grass. And they were lying in such a way as to suggest that "Don't Ask Don't Tell" isn't the policy in Thailand. NTTAWWT! But it was a strange sight.

So, I arrived back at the hotel around 10:45. Killed some time checking email etc. in the hotel biz ctr (which charged about 10X the going rate for internet access, but not much else open Sunday am). Then, took a deep breath, and headed for the room. Monkey and Wingnut were still there, asleep. I wasn't particularly enamored of the idea of talking to either of them right at that moment, but we had to check out in an hour. I tried simply saying "Time to get up, dude" a couple of times, but that wasn't doing it. So I had to get loud. The happy couple finally started stirring. Monkey tried protesting that he needed to sleep more, but I (gently but firmly) explained that we had to check out of the fucking hotel in an hour. Wingnut was no more interested in getting up. Monkey said something about "extending checkout," but I wasn't having it (nor was the hotel, but that was secondary in my mind). I insisted that it was time to get up and get the hell out of the hotel. They dilly-dallied a bit more, but I got them semi-coherent. Wingnut and I even had a bit of a conversation, from which the only thing I took conclusively was that she thought I looked like SpiderMan. But even my superpowers weren't gonna turn back the clock, and 35 minutes short of noon, it was take no prisoners time. I did the unthinkable (in a world where bringing a filthy Thai hooker back to our hotel room was not only thinkable, but SOP). I opened the curtains, flooding the room with light. And was greeted with a howl like nothing I've ever heard before:


It was as though Wingnut were a vampire. As it turned out, she was just a hungover whore, tired from a morning of Monkey sex. Monkey had submitted, and hit the shower. With Wingnut, it was all about tough love, though. I held my ground through several rounds of "I no like you anymore SpiderMan!" and Wingnut got up, showered, and got her shit together too.

Now, were Monkey a regular human being, he would have sent Wingnut on her way, and he and I would have figured out what we wanted to do to kill the afternoon before heading to the airport for our 7:30 flight. But he's Monkey. So, what actually happened was that he decided that he would rather go with Wingnut to her place, to "sleep and fuck" for a few hours, and meet up with me later. So, we all went and checked out, I left my luggage with the bellman, bid Wingnut a fond farewell, and agreed to meet Monkey in the hotel lobby at 4:00.

I was exhausted and incredulous, and didn't really have a whole lot of ideas for how to kill the afternoon. So I decided on my default activity - wandering around camera in hand. I headed for the Chinatown area. If you recall my post from the first day in Bangkok, I noted the travel book's warnings about con men who insist that whatever sight you're headed for is "closed," and try to entice you with an alternative itinerary. As soon as I hit Chinatown, a whole bunch of tuk tuk drivers tried to get me to visit Temple X or Temple Y or let them take me to some mall or other. I declined, saying I was simply "walking." I was a little confused when they kept saying things were "closed." I wasn't looking to go to a museum or anything, just to wander. Lo and behold, they were telling the truth. 95% of Chinatown was covered in roll-down metal gates and the streets were largely deserted. Chinatown was closed.

This didn't stop me from wandering a bit more, but it was hot, I was tired, and I was ready to leave Bangkok. I headed back toward the general direction of the hotel, wandered the main street for a little while (taking the picture above, among others) and stopped in to an Irish Pub for lunch and a beer. After that, it was almost 3. I had an hour to kill before I had to meet up with Monkey. I had stopped in at a bookstore and bought a couple of cheap paperbacks, as I was almost finished with the book I had been reading. So I sat in the hotel lobby, reading one of the books, and waiting for Monkey.

He arrived 15 minutes late, looking as dissheveled as ever. He hadn't eaten (there must not have been time what with the sleeping and the fucking), so I sat with him while he ate something that I wouldn't have gone anywhere near in a dirty "American style" restaurant. We then went back to the hotel. I got my bags, successfully argued with the front desk that nobody took an Evian or a Mars bar from the minibar (after conferring with Monkey to confirm that neither he, Junior, nor Wingnut had done so), and we hopped in a cab for the airport. Things we discussed included primarily "She wasn't that bad, right?" I tried to be diplomatic while also pointing out to Monkey that, in some photographs Wingnut had with her in the hotel room, she was wearing a number. I.e., she was (unlike Junior) a confirmed whore. But, on the bright side, Monkey insists he didn't have to pay her!

We got to the airport way early - very little traffic for a Sunday evening. This left Monkey time to give his phone number to one of the employees of the Duty Free shop, and for us to fill out a tourism survey conducted by college students from Macau. Finally, we got on the plane, and said goodbye to Bangkok.