Archive for December, 2011

a breath of homeless air

Posted: December 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

So you envy insecurity

To be twenty one forever

Making love and loving everything

To be content at last

You say you want to be like me

A breath of homeless air

Forget what brought you where you are

And live without a care

I cannot lift you on my wings

From here you travel alone

To find the strength that you must have

To make the journey home

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staring at the sun

Posted: December 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

I have a few pairs of wickedly polarized sunglasses that I bought in Hawaii…optical quality….as good as the best polarizing filters I’ve used with photography equipment. The obscure Kreed brand far exceeds the quality of the top name brands..like Ray Ban for  vision protection here in the tropics. Trust me…you need protection…sunlight is so bright here it feels like it will bore through your eyelids when you spend any amount of time exposed.

OK I admit it…I’m an unrepentant tanner…..I would say a ‘sport tanner’….bordering on fanatical. I spend at least three hours tanning every day. I came from Canada… with no sun..for months on end. I grew up worshipping the reluctant sunshine in that northerly climate. I am a bit of an anomaly in Thailand where the mythology of white skin has people quivering at sun rise and running from the slightest exposure to light during their day.

Of course you know that this myth of white skin being preferable came down from the Chinese. Being brown means you work outdoors and are therefore lower class. Ghostly white means you enjoy a leisurely lifestyle and are one of the well fed elite. Yes….that’s pretty stupid….but don’t tell that to the millions of Oriental women who cover their hands with opera gloves to the elbows when they drive and cover their faces with plastic Darth Vader masks so as not to be exposed as an ‘outsider’.

Thai’s look at me and Patricia with some trepidation…they don’t understand tanning in all its goodness and what it means to us ‘farang’. I see lots of  foreigners who get sucked into the Thai game of dress up and ‘mall skin’. I’m afraid I’m stuck with my own cultural influences and have never suffered from Tropo. I live here as a ‘big farang’…..weird looking blondered hair….deep brown tan…irreverent….boisterous…no visible means of support…its shocking. When I tell people I write novels they look at me like I’ve just told them I came from Mars……novelists are a rare breed in Thailand. Being unaccountably foreign in a strange land is a blast. But…don’t stare at the sun for too long…..you can burn out in Thailand and become…….one of them.

 

star gazing

Posted: December 11, 2011 in Uncategorized

Last nights lunar eclipse was freaking awesome. The full moon tonight is burning orange and qualifies as a full on ‘fuck yeah’. It hasn’t been as clear as it is tonight for a long time. You’d think that there wouldn’t be anything to see given the size of this city and the light pollution generated but, star gazing the past week has been crazy good. Orion is very prominent , Jupiter can’t be missed. I can’t remember the last time I had to put on a shirt in the morning to cut the chill…now’s the time though…yen sabai is officially here, especially at night. We no longer have the windows and patio doors wide open 24/7.

fireworks for the king

Posted: December 5, 2011 in Uncategorized

Just think if you could take in all the best fireworks shows from around the world  at the same time. The citywide pyrotechnical display put on tonight for the King of Thailand by the people and districts of Bangkok made it possible for me to witness the greatest fireworks show I have ever witnessed…and I thought I’d seen them all. Sydney on New Year….lame…Vancouver’s Festival of Light…. a block party…New York 4th of July…short on substance big on hype.

The 7th cycle of King Bumiphol on his 84th birthday was celebrated in high style by his adoring populace. From the rooftop of my high rise perch we had a 360 degree view of a city wide display that beggars all description. Each district Association spent generously on showing their appreciation and genuine love they have for the King.

It started at 7PM with a sputtering outburst from side to side. As if opposing cannoneers were firing test rockets at the enemy. Within a few minutes the entire city lit up with what I can only describe as the synaptic experience of a lifetime. The show of at least thirty launch sites in a circle around me went on around us for an hour amid great celebration and cheers. Don’t forget that BKK  averages about 40 miles across, it’s massive……what a city, what a year to be spending the winter in Thailand !

sometimes you can’t go back

Posted: December 5, 2011 in Uncategorized

I actually crawled under the top sheet last night. The wind has become just a couple of degree’s cooler than last week before I left for Penang. Yen Sabai, in Thai, means ‘comfortably cool’. it references the beginning of the Thai winter season after the steaming monsoon has passed, when the northern air from China reaches down and brings the overall temperatures down. We can tell that we have fully acclimated, it’s still going to feel summer hot to any newcomers. Cool is anything under 95 degrees and it has  ‘dropped’ into the low 80’s, which for us is a welcome change, but we had gotten used to the extreme heat and had to adjust to it accordingly.BKK is unusually quiet this week due to the Kings Birthday/Fathers Day celebration. The level of noise is way down, the level of pollution as well. It’s pleasant for a change.The visa run to Penang was uneventful, except for my picking up a stomach flu somewhere and suffering misery from it during the trip.

Penang is a glorious old pile, replete with great Indian and Chinese food, much of it hasn’t changed as long as you don’t look too closely or have any fond memories you’ll really miss. Tourism is up…way up…along with all the usual distress it brings. Inexplicably, male prostitution is a big industry. Cross dressing prostitutes line the alley ways of the main street for tourists. I suppose they must be supported by the huge influx of tourists who reside in the explosion of ‘guest flops’ that have suddenly appeared in the old city. Several large and loud disco’s have been built and just like what happened in Bali, the noise from the boom boom boom penetrates the atmosphere and essentially ruins the vibe of the place……unless you’re into a mindless boom boom boom vibe. Just like Bali..tourism is sucking the life out of Penang…I won’t go back….I want to remember how it was when it was great.

 

BTW…bring your own DEET based mozzie repellant to Malaysia as the government has made it difficult for pharmacies to stock…for some strange reason…. in a country plagued by Dengue and Malaria. They only sell the useless citronella and herba based products which are essentially ineffective stopping the low flying Asian mosquito. There are plenty of mozzies in Penang…be prepared.