Sex in the
Thailand Diary, Part 2
Stolen Arms and Third World Charms
Ko Pha Ngan was like, well
let's just say it was something
of a disappointment. Like Kho San Road on the beach, it
was made up of very rambunctious, outgoing backpackers who
had come to party. The bars on the beach, where most people
congregated, only played trance and top-40, and not even
current top-40. They were stuck in some kind of time warp,
and night after night I heard "Jump Around," "Hip
Hop Hooray" and for some strange reason "Mr. Jones."
To these songs and others everyone danced wildly, helped
along by beer, various drugs and buckets of Red Bull and
The Full Moon Party was just the same, only on a much large
scale. Party boats from the surrounding islands dumped buttloads
of revelers on the beach, and instead of just a few sound
systems there were scores, all playing the same music. Every
few feet a set of speakers blasted similar tunes, and one
could walk the entire duration of the beach and feel like
only one song was playing. The crowd was part raver, part
local Thai and part Eurotrash, thinly disguised behind glowsticks
and necklaces and hats with blinking lights on them.
There was also a disproportionate number of big, beefy
guys, and from certain angles it looked like these were
the only people on the beach. At one point I accidentally
stepped on one of these brutes' toes, and suddenly found
myself hoisted in the air and cursed out in a strange tongue.
I'm six-three and almost two-hundred pounds, so anyone who
can lift me up like a feather is not someone I want to have
a disagreement with. So when he put me down I smiled weakly,
shrugged my shoulders and got the hell out of there.
Another factor adding to the strangeness of the evening
was the fact that the party was on Al Qaeda's hitlist, and
to make sure nothing happened a huge warship was docked
right off the beach. To make matters worse, a few days beforehand
large amount of weaponry and explosives were stolen from
Laem Ngop, an easy boat ride away. Everyone I spoke to,
no matter how much in the party mood, was secretly nervous,
preparing for a repeat of what recently went down in Indonesia.
Luckily, nothing of the sort took place.
four in the morning, unable to tolerate the crowds anymore,
I headed to the Rasta Bar to meet some friends. The only
bar on the island - perhaps in all of Thailand, perhaps
anywhere - that never booked bands and yet housed a full
set of equipment for anyone to come and play on, the place
became my haven. Nearly every night I found myself there
playing the bass, jamming with an assortment of musicians.
One night it was reggae, another classic rock, another jazz.
Tonight I had free reign, so I opted for some hard, heavy
funk. For hours I laid down one bass line after another,
daring the guitarist and drummer to keep up with me. What
began with only a few spectators ended up with a packed
bar full of people drinking and dancing. Inadvertently I
ended up having a great Full Moon night after all.
Day 21, Christmas Eve
My girlfriend was coming today, and to prepare for this
I changed addresses and moved into a nice, remote bungalow
called the Lighthouse. Located about twenty minutes from
all the action, and situated on a hill overlooking the water,
it was gorgeous, well-run and friendly. When she arrived,
after a delay of a few hours because of a sudden, dramatic
rainstorm, I was so happy to see her I didn't want to let
her go. Over the next few days we explored most of the surrounding
area, splitting our time between the long, lovely beaches
and our guesthouse, which was all cushions, hammocks and
good, cheap food. It was the best way to spend one's time
Today we left to go to yet another island, Ko Lanta, a
somewhat remote and decidedly untouristy place, populated
largely by Muslims. To get there we took a "sleeper"
boat, where we stretched out on mats in a long, low-ceilinged
room. Next to us was a wailing baby, who apparently was
crying because of the heat. Her father, a middle-aged German
guy married to a young Thai woman, kept directing my fan
onto the head of his screaming kid, and I kept moving it
back. Finally, he kind of jerked it and the thing broke,
so all of us were fanless. Fortunately a crew member arrived
and opened the windows, revealing a spectacular view. More
stars than one could imagine.
A few hours later we were loaded into a taxi and taken
to a little store/restaurant, where we had to wait for a
bus to Ko Lanta. The bus was late, and while waiting I was
entertained by the likes of Air Force One and Exit Wounds.
Because the bus was late, we missed our boat, and so had
to wait two more hours for the next one. When we finally
got in it was practically nighttime. Luckily, our bungalow
was beautiful and clean, situated in a coconut grove, seconds
from the beach. I slept soundly, with no annoying babies
or fan-hoggers to keep me awake.
The ocean turned out to be littered with rocks, so there
was no swimming until high tide. So G. and I decided to
rent a motorbike and check out the other beaches. On the
way it began to rain, and the dirt road we were on instantly
turned to mud. We wiped out a few times, and the last one
was pretty bad, leaving a nice gash on my arm and our clothes
caked in clay. From then on I decided to only ride on pavement.
Later that night, after returning the bike, we took a shortcut
on our way back from dinner. It was pitch black and we could
only see a few feet ahead of us with a flashlight. Suddenly
I noticed a pair of massive gray feet before me, and realized
that it was a elephant, standing right in front of us. I
shined the light all around us and saw two, three, four,
five of them. We had walked right into a circle of fucking
elephants. They made no attempts to acknowledge us in any
way, and simply stood there, silently and stoically.
We discovered that this was some kind of holding area for
them, when they were not providing rides for lazy, cheesy
tourists. Poor things.
That same night we spotted two cats chasing crabs on the
beach. Instinctively I grabbed one of them, where he soon
settled in my lap and refused to leave. By now it was raining
again and I didn't want him to stay outside, so I took him
back to our bungalow, where he stayed with us all night.
Today G. and I walked to a beach on the north end of the
island, where we did a little swimming before heading back.
We decided not to take the road but remained on the beach,
which we thought would be a nice stroll, but turned into
something out of Survivor, Thailand. I immediately procured
us some sticks, which came in handy as we climbed through
bushes and thorns, over rocks, and on porous sand covered
in flies, spiders and crabs.
The rocks were a little troublesome at times, especially
the ones close to the water, as they were often wet and
slippery. But we managed, after an hour reaching a small,
private beach, then more rocks, then an even smaller beach.
Finally, another hour later, we arrived at our decent-sized,
not very private beach. Slept soundly that night, sans pussy.
Day 28, New Year's Eve
We decided our beach was too lame to spend New Year's so
we rented a motorbike and headed for town. Checked out the
"hottest" club on Ko Lanta, Earth, but it was
dead, so we went to the Reggae House, which was even more
dead but right on the beach and so at least had a nice view.
Around eleven headed back to Earth, but it was still dead,
so we decided to screw town, head back to our beach and
get fucked up.
On the way it started raining, then oddly enough hailing.
The water and hailstones were practically horizontal, and
so were flying right into my eyes. It was painful, and I
was worried that my contacts would be dislodged, so I had
to literally drive with my eyes closed. When we finally
made it back, we took shelter in the dining area of our
bungalow. We were soaking wet, and made an interesting contrast
to the party underway, everyone happily dancing to traditional
Thai songs. Around 11:55, after purchasing a bottle of Thai
whiskey, we ran to the beach so we could be there when midnight
Later ended up at the Feeling Bar, where we joined a motley
crew of revelers dancing, drinking and twirling sparklers.
By now we were quite drunk, especially G., who insisted
we go for a swim. It was still raining, and there were more
rocks than water, so I wasn't too psyched about the idea.
So I watched her strip off her dress and climb into the
sea, topless. I followed reluctantly, cursing myself for
listening to her, as every few minutes I cut my feet on
the rocks. Finally I sat down in the water and she joined
me, where she started going off on a drunken tangent about
life and taking chances and how I never did and on and on.
And maybe she was right, because all I could think about
were my feet, and how I didn't want to be there anymore,
so I got up and made my way back. Just as I was nearly out
of the water, the bottom of my left foot got sliced on a
rock. It killed for the next two days.
I was pissed at G. for making me go in the water, so at
that point we parted ways. I went to check out a party on
the far side of the beach, and didn't catch up to her until
much later. She told me she'd met some firespinners with
poi and fuel, and she'd even been spinning herself. Later
in the night she got to spin again, and even though she
was soaking wet and had little chance of burning herself,
I was worried, because it was obvious that she was very
drunk and had little control over the poi. But she was having
a great time, so I let her do it again before we went back
home. I was still kind of pissed at her, and she at me,
so we basically took out our aggressions in sex. We fucked
until the sun came up, and by that time had no problems
with each other.
Left Ko Lanta for Bangkok. Next morning took a 6:30 a.m.
bus to Cambodia. A few hours later we stopped just outside
the Thai border, where G. and I got our visas. Soon we were
at the border, which was a nightmare. The town was all dirt
and sand, and had a wild, lawless feel, like a place in
an old western. Only this one was filled with shoeless kids
tugging on or clothes, asking for money, and men and women
without legs or arms holding out cups as we walked by. Then
we waited in never-ending lines to get our passports stamped.
On the last of these, I mistakenly greeted the Cambodian
man with a Thai greeting. The look on his face told me he
did not take kindly to being addressed this way. I had forgotten
the history between the two countries, and how there was
still a lot of animosity. Even our destination, Siem Reap,
meant "Siam defeated."
After the hell of this border town, we experienced an even
greater one: the worst road known to man. At times if was
fine, and others it was like driving over rocks and craters,
like driving on the moon with full gravity. Then it got
worse. The bus got stuck on a swampy bridge, and was apparently
too damaged to continue. We were loaded onto a minibus,
the tight quarters of which made the abysmal road even worse.
Each bump shook every bone in our bodies.
After about an hour the bus dropped us off at a place called
the Sidewalk Guesthouse. While it appeared fine, it was
located a ways outside of town, and soon we learned why:
the bus company had struck a deal with them, dumping us
here on purpose so we would have no choice but to stay.
All of the other riders proceeded to check in, but I refused
to be scammed, so I insisted on being taken somewhere else.
The bus had already left, so G. and I were ferried onto
motorbikes with all of our bags. It was nearly impossible
to stay on the thing while wearing my heavy pack, but we
endured and eventually made it to the hotel I wanted to
stay at. But the place was full, and so was the next one
on my list, and so was the next one. We had no choice but
to go back to Sidewalk, and even though it wasn't that bad,
and was relatively cheap, I was in a pretty foul mood.
Today we rented bikes and road to the famous Angkor Wat,
one of the seven wonders of the world. On the way, and everywhere,
in fact, were kids selling things - postcards, bracelets,
drinks, toys, etc. - constantly screaming at us: "mister,
mister, cold drink? You want cold drink? You hungry, you
want food?" It was unavoidable, and the adults were
even worse. Walking through town it was: "you want
taxi mister? Want to buy marijuana? You want massage?"
Everyone was a sheister and a schemer. While I couldn't
blame them, it was annoying as fuck to deal with.
Angkor Wat, however, made it all worth it. It was beautiful,
scenic and mighty, mighty impressive. After that we went
to the Bayon, which was like Angkor Wat but more rundown,
with massive faces carved in the rock. On the way there
I saw some monkeys and stopped to look at them. One immediately
ran over, and what was once cute was suddenly terrifying.
It tried to climb up my bike, and in doing so began spinning
my tire like a hamster in a wheel, gnashing its teeth and
chewing on the spokes. I was shitting in my pants but G.
thought it was cute and insisted I let it continue so she
could film it. Suddenly it jumped up onto my bike and in
a panic I shook the thing so hard that it fell off.
Then it decided to go for G. I happily watched as it first
began chewing on her spokes, then jumped onto her bike.
She thrust her backpack at it for defense, which it promptly
began eating. After watching her suffer for a while I decided
to save her, jerking her bike back so the monkey fell off.
Then we got the hell out of there. Later we saw some others,
one of whom ran right at me. I quickly sped away with the
thing right at my heels. Fucker.
We were told that the only people who were allowed to ride
motorbikes in Cambodia were the locals, and so would have
to pay for drivers to take us around. This sounded like
a scam to us, so we went ahead and rented our own bike anyway,
even though the renter told us that the bike would probably
get stolen and we'd have to pay for it. Realizing that he
was simply trying to frighten us into hiring him as a driver,
we ignored his advice and took off to see more of the temples.
Our first stop was Ta Prom, the only temple complex left
to the jungle, which was amazing. Rundown, dirty, old, covered
in trees and bushes, it was wonderfully dark and mysterious.
Later we went to Ban Srei, which by various accounts was
as close as 11km and as far as 37. After about an hour,
riding through pleasant farmland filled with cows, yaks,
ox, pigs, dogs, etc., we figured we had to have passed it,
and so we turned around. When we asked for directions we
were told we had been going in the right direction all along,
so we turned back. We finally found the place, and right
before it was closing. Had only fifteen minutes to take
in its intricate and beautiful carvings, the clearest and
most expressive I had yet seen.
Today the overall weight of Cambodia's "third worldliness"
fell upon us. Almost right from the second we awoke we were
bombarded with people plying their wares, whether it be
the hotel staff (you want to go to ticket office? Me take
you), or the street kids (mister, you want cold drink? You
want postcard?) or the various people we encountered in
the city (you need ride? You want massage? Marijuana?).
It was just too much, and so while we spent the day visiting
the remaining sites, at night we hibernated in our hotel
room. Both of us couldn't wait to get back to Thailand.
To be continued...
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