I didn't get seasick

I finally took a day boat tour, just got back a few hours ago. It was an entirely unforgettable experience. There were about thirty people relatively crammed into this longboat (think Vietnam movies) — we travelled around the island; stopped at a few places to swim, snorkel, and eat; and just boated out and around a few of the other islands. It wasn’t exactly what I’d expected, or what the advertisements promised, but the boat ride aspect of it made the whole thing worthwhile. Once we got out into the open gulf, the waves got really big and this little boat we were on seemed ready to sink at any moment. So I was essentially on this little longboat with this tiny little engine (that kept stalling, mind you) trying to make it through and over these huge waves — at a few points I thought that I might die, which in hindsight made the experience all the more amazing. The boat going up and down and back and forth, the splashing of the waves repeatedly drenching us, and people repeatedly looking back to see if the two Thai drivers (boaters?) seemed at all concerned about this seeming chaos. Words fail to do it justice.

Surprisingly, I didn’t get seasick.

I’m going back to Bangkok tomorrow, where I’ll stay for a few more nights to get my Korean visa taken care of, and then it’s back to Korea. Dunno what’s going to happen over there — Mr. ___ sent me the one nice email, so I responded with another very nice and apologetic email, and then he sent me a very angry one and I haven’t heard from him since. My only real concern on that end is that he blacklisted me, which could prevent me from being allowed back in Korea. I just don’t understand — I was surprised that he emailed me at all, and after I sent a response explaining and apologizing and offering to pay back the airfare, he seemed to get all pissed-off again. Who knows? I think he’s crazy, but I also hope that I can find another job in Korea without any problems.

I hate money.

motorcycles and dogs

I’m leaving the island on Friday. I must. This place has a way of sucking you in and not blowing you back out until you’ve overstayed your visa. Many stories here start like this: “Well, I was only going to stay for a few days, but…” Mine, too, but I must go before this place gets any more comfortable. So I have another taxi/boat/train marathon ticket back to Bangkok at the ready for Friday morning, and I don’t think it’s changeable. This is a good thing at this point — not-changeability.

Tomorrow I am finally going on this all-day boat tour of the island, having postponed it for too long already. Snorkeling, too, which is something I’ve never done. A bit scared, yes, but I’m not sure exactly why. Will the fish bite me, I wonder?

There’s motorcycles and dogs everywhere here. There’s also lots of palm trees, and I’m told that falling coconuts actually kill quite a few tourists each year. I’d keep my eyes open, but I reckon if you’re going to get killed by a falling coconut there’s really little you can do to avoid it. Que sera sera, and all that.

dried grasshoppers

Today I realized that I need to open myself up to everything that living abroad exposes one to. Not that I haven’t been doing this, just not as much as I think I should be. Granted, it’s amazing living and experiencing everything that being/living in “remote” parts of the world exposes one to, but I keep feeling that there’s something more — something that I’m missing by not allowing myself to be fully exposed to these other cultures, ways of being, things to be doing.

That being said, since being in Thailand I have eaten dried grasshoppers and sea slugs, talked to people from many different parts of the world (mostly European, Israeli, and Asian), nearly been arrested by Thai policemen, and may have been drugged by an angry Thai whore on Valentine’s Day (the Thai whiskey story from a previous post). These are experiences, yes, but I want more.

I feel the need to add that I would never actually partake in a Thai whore (or any whore, for that matter) which is why I suspect she may have felt the need to drug my booze. I could be wrong about this, but I’ve never been so close to passing out on the side of the road as I was that night, and I really didn’t drink all that much.

monkey

I got an email from Mr. ___ today saying that he is going to immigration on Wednesday and would like to hear from me before then. He also wrote that he would give me the release letter if I paid him back for the airfare and utilities. I can only say that I wish I’d known this before I flew to Thailand. At least I know that he’ll give me the letter if I need it, which removes any doubt about whether I’ll be able to work at another school. Here I am in Thailand, though… and now I’m not sure why.

No, I do know why — two nights ago I got to hold and have my picture taken with a monkey. It was actually the exact same kind of monkey that Becky gave me (stuffed, fake) before I left for Korea back in October, but I’m not sure what kind of monkey that is. Macaq? That’s why I’m in Thailand — to meet a monkey.

Later that same night I had a bad reaction to Thai whiskey, or something, and spent all yesterday in bed. I’m told that you can’t legally export Thai whiskey because it has amphetamines and formaldehyde in it, now I believe it. I didn’t really drink all that much, but I don’t think I’ve ever been that messed up before. I barely made it back to my bungalow, and yesterday I was too exausted to move. I slept for a good twelve hours last night, and am thankfully feeling a bit better today.

Tonight I am going to see a Thai boxing match, tomorrow I am planning on taking a day tour of the island, and Wednesday I’m going to head back to Bangkok.

low blood sugar

Still in paradise, but this morning the reality of getting back to Korea and finding a job smacked me in the face. I was unable to find a place to stay there before I left, so I’m going to have to find another cheap place to stay upon my return. I feel very unsettled, and I’m struggling to see a place in the future where I’m not. I love it here, but I can feel the weight of my inevitable return to reality starting to take hold.

I haven’t had breakfast yet, so perhaps low blood sugar is affecting my mood.

Or perhaps it’s too easy to think about things when you’re standing alone on a windy beach in southern Thailand on Valentine’s Day. I did that last night — I stood and I thought about things.

Now I’m thinking about renting a motorcycle.

booze from a bucket

I’m now at an internet cafe in the city of Hat Rin, on Koh Phagnon island. I got here yesterday afternoon, after an amazing sixteen hour trip (train & boat) from Bangkok. I found a relatively cheap bungalow to stay at for three nights, after which I’m thinking of either moving to another part of this island or taking a boat to another island. It’s very cheap here — last night I bought a bucket of Thai whiskey & Coke for about a dollar — so understandably I’m in no hurry to leave.

Long story made shorter: At the Bangkok train station some Thai police officers tried to fine me 2000 baht (about $50) for littering. I made a fuss about how there was no sign indicating a fine for littering, and I threatened to call the U.S. Embassy, so they said that the fine was only 1000 baht. At this point it became clear that I was being shook-down, so I again said that I wouldn’t pay and that I would call the embassy if they had a problem with that. They reduced the fine to 500 baht, so I went over to a bank of pay phones and tried to call the embassy. After several attempts, I couldn’t seem to get the pay phone to work, so I walked back to the officers and said that I couldn’t get the phone to work. They said ok, and they told me I could go. All this over a piece of gum.

At night here the beach turns into quite a scene — bars blasting music, tourists drinking from buckets, Thai fire-twirlers performing, Thai whores trying to find buisness, the stars shining down, the moon halfway up… it’s quite fun, especially if you’re drinking booze from a bucket. The beach here is known for its full-moon parties, which during the high season are some of the biggest rave parties in the world. Tonight there is apparently a half-moon party, and I’ve seen quite a few new arrivals today, so we’ll see how crowded the beach gets tonight. The bars had better make sure they have plenty of buckets, as I will raise a fuss if I am unable to drink from one.

Khao San Road

I am now in Bangkok, a place unlike any I have ever been to, if the Khao San Road area is any indication — which I’m sure it is, and then isn’t. The whole street is essentially a backpacker’s enclave, so it exists with a combination of guest houses (cheap hotels), bars/restaurants, and tons of vendors selling just about anything (but mostly souvenirs). The street is shared by pedestrians, cars, tuk-tuks (motorized, open-air taxi-things), and motorcycles/mopeds, so just walking around is overwhelming. It’s almost enough to just sit at one of the open-air cafes and watch everything happen, which is what I plan on doing tonight.

Tomorrow I’m taking the overnight train to Koh Phangan, one of the small islands in the Gulf of Thailand. I’m told by many (including my sister) that it’s the place to go in Thailand — very cheap, very relaxing, very beautiful. I may never leave. Korea? I know nothing of Korea.

I’m told that Thailand is about 95% Buddist, and I’m wondering if my “Vote Jesus!” tee-shirt is offending anyone. I didn’t even consider it when I put it on, but now that I’m actually wearing it outside I’m starting to wonder why everyone is spitting on me and stabbing me. I bleed. I bleed profusely.

retarded urine child

This website of mine got its 10,000th hit as I was sleeping last night. I think that’s pretty cool, but I’m not sure exactly why. The quality continues its steady decline, yet the hits keep coming. As long as people continue to search for things like “semen tea,” “retarded urine child,” and “dong chim me,” my website will continue to get hits. Soon you will hear people saying things like “My retarded urine child is having trouble sleeping, so I searched the internet for a remedy and I found this great website by this American guy in South Korea.”

I’m now thinking of renaming this site “Retarded Urine Child.” Perhaps if I end up teaching somewhere else, I shall. I wonder if www.retardedurinechild.com is taken — I would hate to have to use www.retardedurinechild.net, or www.retardedurinechild.org.

I’m off to Thailand in about five hours, and all this urine talk has made me need a restroom…