I am writing this from the overnight bus to Chiang Mai. I am heading back to my suburban paradise to pick up some of the things I left there when I moved to Jomtien Beach Paradise, which is located about a mile down the road from Pattaya, a city clearly on the outskirts of Hell.
Last night feeling a bit bored, I decided to travel the road to Hell for dinner and to look around. I dressed for my night out in freshly pressed pants and shirt only to discover that the Songkran festival was still going on and would continue through today. In any event, by the time I arrived at the outskirts to Hell I may as well have jumped fully clothed into the pool. I found a falafel shop and huddled near the spit to dry off, with little success. After eating, I walked around OOL (OUTSKIRTS OF HELL) . Although OOL was created out of a little Thai fishing village to provide RR for American service men during the Viet Nam War, it has developed a number of ethnic areas such as a Muslim section containing good food and water pipes to smoke and the new Russian tourist area that appears to specialize only in loud talking and giant white bodies.
Just about anything you could possibly want and a lot that you would not can be obtained in OOL for a price and it is all exhibited right there in front of you. The main street of OOL is called the Walking Street, it runs along the waterfront and all the establishments open on to the street so that, like the Plaka in Athens. You sit in front of the bars drinking your Retsina (in this case Beer) and watch the doings.
I strolled around for a while, stopped by a Go-Go bar called “Sharks” to visit a friend who used to work as a bartender in my bar in BKK and now is a featured dancer and then returned home.
This morning I awoke and realized that the suitcase I was going to bring with me to CM in which to pack my things was too small to carry everything I needed. Also after I left to go to the Bus station, I discovered that the Songkran festival was not only continuing but that this was to be the “big day.” As I set off to purchase an adequately sized suitcase and go to the bus station I found that the road was so jammed with partiers that it was impassable and no covered conveyance was available. So, I had to walked the mile or so distance to the turn from the beach road onto the street that would take me into Pattaya where I could buy some cheap luggage, do some banking and hopefully get to the bus station on time all the while praying that I could avoid getting too wet. I arrived at the junction depressed that my dry run of two days ago seemed a complete failure and pleased with the rationalization that probably without the dry run things could have been much worse. Although I avoided most of the water, I was drenched in sweat anyway. (Today’s photos show a bit of the madness).
Unfortunately, the intersection had the inflammatory situation of being the locus of a collection of gay, transgender and straight bars, hysteria and costumes and everything was…well, rampant. Also large water trucks, not the pickup trucks with barrels of water in the back, but real tankers were parked in the middle of the intersection with their operators gleefully spraying the overheated revelers with hoses.
Anyway, although I worked my way through the intersection mostly successfully, about 300 yards further along the road I came upon a particularly nasty knot of bleached white Caucasians and a few Thais gleefully wetting down anything that moved. I gingerly made my way through the crowd shouting “no water, no water.” The Thais complied. As I explained previously, when you signaled to a Thai that you did not want to be drenched they would desist or politely ask you to let them anoint you for the sake of the festival and if you agree they gently throw a few drops of water on you. Not so with the european contingent who seemed to determined to use the festival either as an occasion to practice for total war or an opportunity to demonstrate their racial dominance.
So just as I was about to pass beyond this particular group I was struck violently in the back by a jet of water from one of those plunger operated water cannons I described in my previous email. I turned and saw a rather large male with his faux penis erect and dripping and pointed directly at me. He stared at me in triumph looking a lot like a water buffalo in heat. I wagged my finger at him. He clearly interpreted it as a challenge and sprayed me again with his cannon this time drenching my front. Well, I immediately saw that this was going to become an epic challenge for leadership of the herd and so I strode back to him and pored much of the cola drink I was carrying over his head. He retaliated by spraying me again, so I threw the remainder of the drink into his face. That’s when I learned he was Australian because he could not say ‘fuck’ properly, pronouncing it something like ‘fawrk’ and he threw more water on me and that’s when I bitch slapped him up-side his head as they say (In a later post I will explain why a bitch slap is often better than a closed fist punch). Anyway that elicited a number of ‘fawrks’ from him and the others. Satisfied with my manly response to the challenge, I turned began to walk away fairly confident there would be minimal retaliation because men everywhere are usually dumb as stones when challenged. Suddenly a woman (the brighter and quicker of the sexes) yelled “Are you going to let him get away with that” and I was pelted on my rapidly receding but now heroic back with a few more bursts of water and a lot more ‘fawrks.’
Flushed with pleasure from the adrenaline high and happy with that pleasure generally experienced by the males of the species whenever they are able to beat their chests and roar over doing something stupid and worthless, I jumped on the next songtheuw, got even more thoroughly drenched, bought my cheap one trip luggage ($20), did my banking and purchased a change of clothes, a pair of pants too big in the waist and too short in leg and a polo shirt from a company appropriately named “Geek.”
(As an aside I must mention one of Joe’s rules: “Doing something incredibly stupid and getting away with it can make your whole week.” So Joe’s advice is do something stupid at least once a week, it’s better than Prozac)
I arrived at the bus station in plenty of time to change. I got on the bus and am ready to sleep, pleased in the knowledge that had I been a little smarter and had a little more foresight, I would have missed the events of the day and had no story to tell. G’night.