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Julia vs. the animal kingdom; 1-1 draw.

THAILAND | Sunday, 8 February 2015 | Views [937]

The look of someone who is happy with their choices in life!

The look of someone who is happy with their choices in life!

If this holiday goes as quickly as what the last five days did, I will be home a week ago. Sure, most of what Julia and I did in Bangkok revolved around the consumption of alcohol, but as soon as we divided up the vast tracks of land that constituted our bed, we were saying goodbye to it. Day one was spent on a river cruise and day two Julia spent alone while I studied the patterns on the back of a toilet door.

Day three was a new tattoo. Aod at Divine Ink is not only the cheapest tattooist I have used, but also by far the best. It was my 32 second time in a tattooists chair, ten of those times I was the artist and the canvas. I have loved Antonio Canovas scuplture 'Psyche being revived by Cupids kiss' ever since I added it to a portrait I did of my first traveling sweetheart way back in 1999. Combining that with two lines of lyrics from my favourite song, 'The Hazards of love 4' by The Decemberists and I had the perfect way to fill one of the few remaining spaces on the left side of my body. Why just the left side? I don't really know, to be honest, and who writes rhetorical questions into a journal? What I do know is that if I keep my Nana on the right hand side of me at all times, she'll think I'm still a saint and not wasting all my money on stupid things like tattoos.

The look of someone who has taken too much tramadol.

It's currently 11:52am as I write this journal from the transit lounge in Colombo, Sri Lanka. I've got till 6:30pm to fill in before my flight to Abu Dhabi. Lady Luck has a cruel sense of humour and I'll miss my cousin by 48 hours. 6 Hours in Abu Dhabi pretending to be interested in the expensive crap sold in airports to stave off boredom then two more flights and I'll be in Istanbul. The internet here is so slow it should be spelled 'inert' and is what dial-up would have been like using the phone that Alexander Graham Bell built, so it's time to write.

Why do I mention this fact now, mid journal? Stop asking stupid questions because it's only highlighting the fact that I have very little to write about again. While there are plenty of seats spread all around the airport to sit and watch enthrawled as ground crew service planes, some old mate has chosen to sit right next me, constantly stare at my laptop and probably bide his time until he can cop a feel. I'm on to you buddy, and don't you know it's rude to read over someones shoulder?

As the tattoo only took 5 or so hours, Julia had wanted to try feeding her feet to some fish. That sounds rather masochistic, but given the tiny guppy like fish use suction more than teeth, their administrations were more ticklish than terrifying. We paid for 20 minutes worth, but Julia's squealing was not only the worst possible advertisment for the service, she also had me fearing that I was going to be doing 18 minutes of it on my own. Once she had gotten used to their mildly invasive nibbling she was able to calm herself down aware I was not going to stop filming her histrionics until she did.

At times like these, I wish I wasn't vegetarian.

Day four was spent on a shopping spree in MBK. That had been the intention at least. The reality of it was wandering around aimlessly like we were trying to kill time at an airport. Julia wanted to buy trekking shoes, but apparently Asian women don't trek and hence, nobody makes them. Wanting to take one for the team, and because I was worried the slight crack in my current boots was the start of a divorce between shoe and sole, I bought a pair for myself. In retrospect, that sounds like I was just rubbing in Julia's misfortune, but she didn't take it that way knowing how much I rejoiced in the slightest justification for pandering to the shopping impulse.

I also bought two bits of unadulterated material that some entrepenuer was selling as scarves for an exorbitant price. That I bargained him down to half his initial offer didn't change the fact he had just cut them out of a length of cotton, put them in a plastic bag and called them a scarf. Upon discovering this fact, I took my misplaced rage out on a innocent clippy that was trying to communicate to two stubborn and ignorant Westerners that they were on the wrong bus. “NO!” I stated flatly, “I have caught bus 47 from MBK to Khao San Road plenty of times. We know what we are doing!” We plainly didn't, and it took a passenger with a better grasp of English and the balls to stand up to a self-righteous tosser to state that we had managed to find the extremely rare no.47 bus with a small red sign on the windscreen instead of the usual small blue sign.

After realising my folly, I wanted to deflect my embarrassment by putting on a David Attenborough style narration to finding such an exotic beast as the red signed no.47 bus. I hadn't been a prick, and there wasn't any histrionics, but I tell the story as such just so I can use my current favourite word, histrionics, again. I was merely determined to prove that I knew what I was doing to an extremely polite and patient clippy, but I thought it best to again yield to the knowledge of a local and track down the less elusive blue signed no.47 bus. One lesson learned, until the next drinks wipe away the memory, and social faux pas #384 is added to the tally.

Sitting around drinking and people watching at the Khao San Road zoo is as interesting as past-times get, but it also lead to a lot of drunk power shopping on the way back to the guesthouse. If you don't feel that walking anywhere is a good use of your holiday time, don't worry, people will come to you to flog their crap. Repeatedly. So repeatedly I think wearing down your resistence is their main strategy.

The latest craze is the selfie stick. Never before in humanitys history have we been so narcissistic, so enamoured with our own image. I think most people's holiday snaps are just their own face in different shades of light. At least half the hawkers wave around a device that makes it more obvious that you are taking a photo of yourself, yet it does so by increasing the distance from the most important part of the pic, your own beautiful visage. And it's just a stick. Some genius would have gotten rich off exploiting that aspect of humanitys failings if a patent was ever actually honoured in knock-off loving Asia.

And I'm not immune to some of mankinds shortcomings, lest of all hypocrisy. Two journal entries ago had two selfies punctuating the text like I felt that you wouldn't believe I had been to Cafe Batavia unless I included a picture of myself in it. My selfies often have more questionable motives, like when I took about 10 of them while drinking at the usual zoo perch, in effect trying to capture the side boob being revealed behind me. Some English tart thought that a shirt with armpits open almost to the waist didn't necessitate wearing a bra. Her brazen display lead me to believe it was then ok to take a photo of it, like any other spectacle that appears on the strip.

 The real reason people take selfies!

As Julia had not sated her urge to splurge, she decided to not only get one back on the animal kingdom for the previous days foot feeding frenzy with fish, but to utterly gross me out in the process. Scorpians on sticks, deep fried to fossilisation levels, were one of the more recent novelties Khao San Road sellers were trying to poison tourists with. A scorpian that would have looked more at home in a museum display cost almost as much as three serves of street Phad Thai. It was one twentieth of the calories but took Julia 5 times as long to eat one of its pincher.

That little nibble revealed it was overly salty, but the addition of sauce would have been more valuable given the scorpian was more carbonised than coal. At my urging, Julia bit the thing in half and was rewarded by all the legs falling off, fortunately into her lap and not her beer. With a two month Asian holiday stretching ahead of her, that sort of 'try anything once' attitude will ensure she has plenty of interesting stories to tell at the end of it. I pray it isn't another six years before I see her again, and when I do, she can use a selfie stick to take her own photos of eating a scorpian.


Postscript. Old mate may or may not have read my writing, with its thinly veiled threat, but I think he must of because it soon bored him asleep. Once he started snoring loud enough that I felt more awkward sitting next to him than if he had have copped a feel, I took my leave and finished the journal in another part of the airport.

Tags: bangkok, eating, fish, khao san road, scorpian, selfies, tattoo

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