Thursday, September 16, 2010

Bangkok, August 2008

I took a long walk yesterday afternoon after saying goodbye to the Englishman that I had met on the plane and who had been my unofficial guide for the last two days. He's heading southwest, I'm going east. We say goodbye in the code for people who know they are only meant to be friends for a few days.

I decided to try to find the Thai Massage School - not the one inside of Wat Pho - but the less touristy one, but due to my steadfast refusal to ever be caught in the vulnerable position of looking at a map, I got completely turned around. The new entertainment was how not to get hit by a combination of motorcycles, tuk-tuks and oblivious pedestrians. I start using the Thais as shields between me and the oncoming traffic. I find the monks are the most effective.

A boy pushing a pulley (if something to be pulled can be pushed) catches on to my little traffic game and I repeatedly play chicken with my trusty buffers trying to get my bearings. He laughs at me. I get laughed at a lot. A girl imitates my way of walking with my hands wedged deeply into my pockets, like I am trying to force my cargos off. I laugh back at her with no malice.

The day before we took a public bus and got off on a random place on the highway to watch two men shuck coconuts. I was really unimpressed by this idea, but it turned out to be fascinating. The husks towered like skyscrapers and it was only 8:30 in the morning. The two men are dark and muscular, and the tool they used is a large sharp spear-like contraption coming out of the ground. One thing is for sure. It is probably a very bad idea to combine alcohol, barbiturates and coconut shucking.

I hope they know that.

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