Drinking barbers, SiamSato, and Oh my god, it’s DIIIIP!

The Wandering Nerd April 14th, 2008

I hadn’t intended on coming back to Thailand, really I hadn’t. It was one of those rare changes of plan that equated to a pleasant coincidence. Further I’d intended to leave Laos earlier than I actually did, but changes of plan have a way of happening without consulting our desires, eh? The toll extracted from me for my sins in Vang Vieng caught up to me and a nice quiet lie in had an appeal that was too like a siren call for me to ignore. Sufficed to say, one more day in Vientiane occured, pleasantly devoid of actually doing anything beyond enjoying some local cuisine - by which I mean the largest pork chop ever sold. It was glorious. I highly recommend the ‘Hare and Hound’ if you ever make it to Vientiane. The English manager is a trip and the Laotion waiter constantly asking you for English colloquialisms is something not to be missed. I spread the word of ‘asshat’ when we were all here last and he remembered it, to the point of yelling at me as I was walking past, much to the delight of Jamie, Tabitha, and Tim.

Tim and I are traveling together again. It’s actually rather cool. As I’ve mentioned the inherent single serving friend nature of travel wears thin, especially after so long. Oscillations of traveling companions takes on more significance. I have friends that I know I can not see for years and will be able to easily and comfortably reconnect with. This is not to say the same doesn’t exist back in the states, I know the Brois always have my back and I suspect there are a few other individuals - you know who you are - who will always have a comfy couch and a cold one waiting for me, needs be. After so long on the road though, you begin to start wanting some sort of permanence, something by which to anchor to just so you can have a moment of stability, even if it is a big drunken British tosser. Hence Tim, despite his nationalistic failings - British - is a welcome, if slightly stilted relief.

In any event, I ended up in Khorat. We’d only planned on staying here for a night, and then head on into Cambodia but Songkran - Thai New Year - was on and, since I couldn’t make it back up to Chiang Mai - which I wanted to for numerous reasons - we figured that Khorat was as good a place as any to get our new year fix on.

Thailand knows how to celebrate a new year, I have to give them that. Is there really any better way to ring in a new year than flinging a bunch of water around? I thought not. Not to mention that it goes on for days. The whole of the city gets involved. The streets are packed with pickups full of Thais and barrels of water - in some cases ice cold water - which is a real treat if you aren’t expecting it, nor are you aware that a bucked of self same frigid water has only nanoseconds before been flung in your general direction. It’s an education in cringing. Walking down the street you get soaked by buckets of water being thrown on you, not to mention all of the water guns. Think of it as Compton but substitute water for bullets, and yodeling Thai pop for the skull rending bass. Picking up a water gun here doesn’t even count as self defense, it’s more like a right of passage.

Beyond the water - ye gods the water - there is the talcum powder, I’m not sure exactly what the point of it is but people slather one another in talcum powder only to be drenched moments later, thus washing it off. As it were, Tim and I made up approximately 20 percent of the total number of farang in the city. We were beyond a novelty, it would be more closely described as targets. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing. Quite literally hundreds of Thais ran up to us screaming, rubbing talcum paste on us, kissing our cheeks - all female…I think - and handing us booze. Hellish, truly hellish.

There were numerous skirmishes with militias consisting of eight year olds. Little bastards always flank, remember that, and they’re sneaky too. Not to mention the complete lack of honor, you run out of water in your water gun and the little ankle biters are all too eager to keep spraying you - probably didn’t help that I portrayed an oscar worthy death scene each time. YEARGH!!! THE PAIN!!! I’M DYING!!! WHAT A WORLD, WHAT A WORLD!!!!

well you’ll work harder
with a gun in your back
for a bowl of rice a day
slave for soldiers
till you starve
then your head is skewered on a stake
-the dead kennedys

2 Responses to “Drinking barbers, SiamSato, and Oh my god, it’s DIIIIP!”

  1. Hoshion 16 Apr 2008 at 3:50 pm

    Yaaaay! Street scenes with ACTUAL PEOPLE in them!!! I’m so proud of you for finally figuring it out, G. I could almost cry I’m so damned proud. :P
    Hope to see ya back soon for a summer of shenanigans before you wander off once again. It’ll be kinda like old times. Okay, pretty much JUST like old times. Maybe I should start reverse titration and asprin therapy now in preparation. 8)
    Off to read some more…peace, out.

  2. The Parentson 16 Apr 2008 at 10:04 pm

    We will be so glad when you get back to the states. you can sleep on our couch !!!!!!!!!! No you can have your bedroom back. Glad you are having a great time. Wish you could be here for our 50th anniversay on the 26th, but we will be thinking about you . …Love ya The Parents

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