Monday, September 17, 2007

You May Not Piss in This 7-11 (my trip to Thailand, by Emmi)

lj-music: Frou Frou - Let Go

I do realize that I said I would write about our motorcycle trip last time, but I'm sorry, my need to document that trip pales in comparison to my need to bitch about Thailand. Jesus Christ. This place is South East Asia by Barnum and Barnum. Every person you meet turns out in some way to be the most cutthroat mercenary in the universe, and no one can leave you the hell alone for more than seven minutes. It's like having all your paranoid delusions come true. Everyone wants to take advantage of you, they are ALWAYS behind you, you will be ripped off mercilessly, and you are never safe from it.
This week has had some interesting highlights, however. We spent the first few nights here at a fairly expensive hotel near the dental clinic, and there was a small alley nearby with about fifty food carts, all of which were awesome. Fred had his teeth removed, and I can prove this, because when I went in to get him a young nurse who spoke no English sweetly and silently handed me a bag with his teeth in it.
We've spent a lot of time walking around and avoiding cab drivers. They are a bloodthirsty gang. Sometimes Drivers will offer to take you anywhere for ridiculously low prices (like, 10 cents) if you will agree to one ten minute stop. Then they take you to really expensive and aggressive tailor shops, which give cab drivers gas coupons in exchange for customers, and you have to pretend that you are actually going to buy something for ten minutes. If they suspect that you are only doing this for cheap cab fare, they will literally throw you out. One night, Fred and I were bored (and broke) enough to think this was a good idea. So we drove to the tailors, I walked inside wearing my sunglasses, and we pretended to be newly rich and newly wed tasteless hillbillies from Moldova. Boy oh boy, were they gleeful at the prospect of suckers like us! We designed the tackiest, fugliest ensembles for twenty minutes, until I pulled the prearranged safety cord and demanded to be remeasured around the waist four times, at which point I accused the tailor of lying, and said his tape measure was wrong. I then blamed my measurement on the bottle of coke they had brought us, and started crying in the store. Fred attempted to console me for a few minutes, and then said, "But Baby, you MUCH less fat than before!" Which gave me the opportunity to storm out, with Fred following me and pleading for me to be reasonable, and the taxi driver trailing after us, flush with petrol coupons. We maintained the deception until we were well away from the shop, and the driver said, "You were in there so long I thought you were actually going to BUY something!" at which we all laughed hysterically, and cemented our fragile camaraderie with cigarettes.
Today I got stung by a wasp in the middle of my palm while visiting the Grand Palace. Fuck EVERY bug.
These experiences basically sum up my impression of Thailand. I cannot wait to get back to Vietnam, where I don't feel like I might be literally torn to pieces for not wanting to buy a shitty wooden frog, or see an appalling sex show. I will never have to take another cab, and above all else, I won't even have to hear the WORDS "Ping Pong."

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

lj-music: Manu Chao - Welcome to Tijuana

You are all ravening beasts. A more desperate gang of abandoned ruffians I have never seen. You are all perfidious villains. Invective aside, I will now inform you that although I promised to post pictures with this entry, I can't figure out how to do it. So you ain't gwine get NONE. I have, however, been assembling a collection of short pieces that I feel truly sum up my experiences in Vietnam thus far. And since you are so pressing, I will condescend to irradiate you with the following:


Beautiful Mongrel
Peacefully Regurgitates
Noodles at my feet.


Bridging the gulf
of my linguistic isolation
your trembling hands
quiver dangerously close to my knees
the gristly meat skinned claws
of your fingers
seamed with abuse
and festooned with filth
belie all my desperate attempts
to just enjoy my damn coffee
in the glare of the setting sun
glancing painfully
off the glistening patina
of your tubercular sputum.

1)Looking back will get you killed.
2)"One Way" is merely a timid suggestion, proffered cringingly and with trepidation.
3)Driving on the right hand side of the road is also more of a hopeful advancement than a law, demonstrating the traditional Vietnamese method of discipline: More optimism than efficacy.
4) Let's ALL go look.
5)It is possible to do anything in traffic as long as you don't think about it first.
6) If you have to panic, that's ok, because you won't have time.
7) Please do not walk on the sidewalk. Some people are trying to park.

This is all I have time for, as I must now plan a lesson for some rabid Koreans who insist on calling me "Teacher Emmi." Our next installment will cover our COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS road trip to the beach, and all attendant disasters.