That's right, I went to Thailand to visit Carrot Cake Zaikowki. We had a grand time. I will now recap our time in a hella extensive blog post I've been kind of dreading because I know it will get very long. For once the pictures are really pictures I/Carolyn took. Gross! There's also a whole other blog post in the wings full of misc. writing related stuff. I will inhale the jet fumes of this blog post to follow up with that one. First let's see how much I can remember about Thailand.
One thing that happened in Bangkok—though I can't remember if this was the first time we were there or the second—was we went to a temple where we had to take our shoes off. There was a place you could buy candle things to light a thing, and Carolyn bought one. But she dropped the little foil wrapper of the candle stick on the ground, and a monk came by and said something in Thai and picked up the foil and dropped it in a large communal foil pot.
After Bangkok, we went to this island called Ko Phi Phi. It's where they made the movie The Beach with Leonardo DeCaprio, which is a movie I've never seen and now strangely feel like I must resist, like it is somehow an enemy of me, like it will try to find me and make me watch it randomly and I'll have to carry a special tigerskin blindfold for such occasions.
We tried to go to a mosque, but it was closed. At the highest point of the island, a gardener kept trying to speak Russian to a Polish lady, even though he knew she was Polish, which I and everybody else thought was hilarious. I drank coconut stuff out of a huge coconut! We ate twice at this place called Papaya, which had amazing massaman curry that took apparently eight years to make. The place is ran by a former Muay-Thai boxer who seems super gay in a good way. There is some spice that happened during some of the pad thai frying that caused everybody in the room to cough. An Asian mother filmed her pantsless child peeing on the Monkey Island beach. The child peed for like ten minutes straight I swear. We met a Norweigan lumber speculator who said he'd always wanted to go to the redwoods. On a boat Italians and Spaniards talked together in halting English about how fun it was to vacation in some island off the North African coast. In the Phuket airport, there was a store that sold cashews, and there was a huge video in the store of how hard it was to work on the assembly line in the cashew factory, but this seemed like it was intended to impress you into buying more cashews.
We took a bus to Ayutthaya, which was the capital of the kingdom of Siam for 400 years. Back in the early to mid 1000s. It used to be called the "Venice of Asia." Was allegedly one of the most beautiful and bustling cities of the ancient world, and I believe it. Nowadays it's very weird because it's sort of a working class/factory/university city whose infrastructure and city blockage is occasionally interrupted by these amazing and crumbling ancient temples.
In Beijing I couldn't meet up with my friend Luke because I couldn't leave the airport. The authorities kept telling me it was "too late." I thought they meant proverbially, but really they just meant it was 2AM. So I paid too much for a bed in a weird airport hotel place, telling myself it was worth it for the experience. I guess what I meant when I told myself that was the hotel clerk picked her nose in a really interesting way right in front of me. On the plane back to San Francisco, a kindly Chinese grandmother type tried to speak to me in Chinese and helped me find my pen when it fell between our seats. Back in the Bay Area, my first re-acclimation impression was everybody in America has too much space and quiet to themselves.
"Travel was once a means of being elsewhere, or of being nowhere. Today it is the only way we have of feeling that we are somewhere. At home, surrounded by information, by screens, I am no longer anywhere but rather everywhere in the world at once, in the midst of a universal banality—a banality that is the same in every country. To arrive in a new city, or in a new language, is suddenly to find oneself here and nowhere else. The body rediscovers how to look. Delivered from images, it rediscovers the imagination.”
at 5:57 PM