"Paved paradise to put up a parking lot"
Wheels Down, I enter Lonely Planet, and wish there were more people. Countdown-3-2-1...
Remember the gypsy curse---May you get what you wish for.
Ba-bamm, like rap music, in your face, pedal to the metal, one is none, and I am part of the idea that everyone is better than anyone, kind of an open source chaos for living freely in the land of smiles. All sorts of seemingly contrasting things and peoples share space.
Here Comes Everywhere
I hit the ground running and grab an Airport Taxi. So many to choose from.
I bump into my PokerPlayer friend Dennis coincidently again.... saw him at the layover in Bahrain... He's hard to miss, kinda big in a bon vivant pavarotti sort of way. he asks his driver to hook me up---and he does, taking care of the negotiations on price and directions to the Sukhumvit area ...and I'm off to Nana Entertainment Plaza (or NEP).
You're talking to a tourist
When I get to my hotel, the legendary R&R Vietnam Go-Go bars days--The Nana Plaza Hotel, it still reaked of stale beer, and the disilusionment and cynicysm of Watergate and Nixon.
"I had to come to Thailand to meet my neighbors!"
Hearts of Gold at The Devil's Arcade
It's not where you go, it's who you meet--I've met a lot of people with heart. In French, Bon Courage from Coeur, means doing it with heart. Thai, however, has more expressions for the heart than any other tongue. The Good hearts ,the Bad hearts---jai dam pitiless and the ugly. Small heart , Dancing heart and Earnest hearts. My linguistic skills got a triple bypass at Nana. There are over 900 jai phrases. I stopped counting.
Elephants and Smiles
Next up was the smile: the "I'm being forced to smile even though I don't want to" smile feun yim, to the "I just won the lottery" smile yim tang nam dtah. Being able to distinguish one from the other is no easy task.
The Usual Suspects-The Loyal Order of White Elephants in the Room
Doing the "blue chip" thing, always being proper,walking the painted line, and buying furniture at Ikea... Starbucks and Yoga, just don't cut it anymore. Call it Post September 11th ennui, Thailand is an enema.
I checked in to NANA and saw a band of brothers and sisters--the hookers,drunks, drug addicts, geniuses, psychopaths, and mercenaries of the world; some with black hole eyes who have seen the ugliest, most cruel sides of life without a bit of sweetness, light, trust, innocence or belief in goodness remaining within. At this point, with a lot of TOE, Time on Earth, I can only recognize what I already know.
There was no need for crisis intervention, even though the proverbial elephants in the room were impossible to overlook. The truth serum(alcohol) takes effect quickly for most, but that's the cool thing about Nana, the obvious truth---places the idiom "White Elephant" in the context---It doesn't exist.
I would rather talk to a scotch drinking expat in a bar , with a cigarette in his hand and a bargirl on his knee, than to the cleverest GS10 Accountant. Hobnobbing like this can be better than watching any episode of "Oprah" of "The View"
Ok, note to self---The virtue of vice is everywhere in Thailand.
I love the 80's-A Brass Pole in Bangkok
One night in Bangkok and the world's your oyster,The bars are temples but the pearls ain't free.
Gods Behaving Badly
Namaste, the god in me sees the god in you.
The shock and awe---the mother of all Vegas'---weapons of mass distraction---this is the city of angels for expats, sexpats, working girls, back packers and beggars passing in complete safety and anonymity, living by their wits.
If you build it, they will come---Check the internet's after dark stockfootage on the diversity of humanity for NANA . Be prepared for a surreal experience, no matter how far and wide you have traveled.