I’m in a slump [they might just be connected], or a rut, or something. Words to describe my malaise include: confusion, impurity, misdirection, and frustration. I don’t know what it is, but my balance is certainly screwed up. I’m not sure what’s going on here, but it’s like, “Is this it? Am I doing it right?”
It’s hard keeping track of all the things one’s supposed to do. Balance the checkbook. Eat right. Exercise. Get a good night’s sleep. Have a spiritual life. Contribute to society. I have a nice house, but it’s not complete. And when it is, I have no excuse to not keep it perfect. There’s so many people I should be keeping up with, but I never do. I’ve been here like a fricking year and I still haven’t seen some of the people I owe it to. Nobody hardly ever calls anybody. Why is it such a struggle to not live in complete solidarity?
Work is okay, I do an alright job [not a great job though]… but I don’t get to contribute anything creative. I’m too intimidated and slipping into a solitary routine, too sedated to speak up. And if I did, what would I say? My Japanese sucks. I haven’t even opened my Elem II text yet. I just screw around in my BKB occasionally. I feel like my life is so inefficient, like it’s executed so poorly. Perhaps that’s why I’m so irritable.
I’ve been having little luck with relationships too. Aimless, laconic, I’m losing focus and doing something wrong. I get into rough spots with Mikiko, completely oblivious that I’m doing anything wrong. More precisely, what I’m not doing right.
I need a swift spiritual kick to the head. I should probably force myself to run more, and put Vice City on hold for a while, as amusing as it is. I need simpler things. I need to talk to my mom.
Back and tired
After taking a short “break” during Golden Week in Thailand, I am back home on this (much colder) island. It will probably take half a week just to transcribe and edit all the writing I did in my paper journal, so if you’re hungry for stories, the fast will soon be over! [READ BELOW….]
Changing water and diet and thirty degrees celsius in one day can really screw up one’s chemistry ::sigh::.
On the way home with thoughts
The flight home is on a 747; it’s a pretty big plane. I’ve never been on one before, most flights from the States are on 777s or if you’re unlucky, an old MD-11. Unfortunately size doesn’t seem to equate to comfort. There aren’t any personal LCDs, so I guess I’m watching what everyone else is. [Actually, there weren’t any movies at all.] This of course means no Super Nintendo either, so no Taipei for me.
In the interest of brevity, I’ll recount what I did and didn’t do.
find Sagat *
visit a Go-Go bar *
employ the services of a massage parlor *
meet the King *
[VIDEO AND PICTURES GO HERE]
The Great Palace *
ride a Tuk-tuk *
Wat Po and the Reclining Buddha *
Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn) *
Chatuchak “Weekend” market *
MBK and three other seven story shopping malls *
dance at Lucifer *
Khao-san Road and hundreds of backpackers *
It was an experience, and I feel a little wiser for it. However, my patience and stamina were taxed by the heat and madness of downtown Bangkok, even with my recent supposed mental tempering. I got into bed every day exhausted and wanting to be there about an hour of so before I actually made it. This is an affirmation that I have a long way to go in terms of mental conditioning, and there are still a lot of impurities in my heart. I feel so ashamed and disappointed that I still am selfish, shallow and easily irritated. Perhaps my current objectives and energies need to be refocused to concentrate more directly on internal cleansing.
More TV and contrast
I’m lying in bed, propped up on a hard pillow that must be filled with plastic beads. I have a dim lamp over the headboard turned on, and my windowless room feels like it could be two a.m. as just as well as eleven. Some dry crackers and tea are my breakfast, as I have yet again slept past the hour for using my buffet ticket. One of the three things on my television is a documentary set to highly attenuated music, like something out of a forties western drama. Judging by the heavily saturated reds and greens I’d say it was in the early sixties, through there are so many logos overlaid I can’t be sure. It must be Chinese, because the credits are all in hanzi, but the location is mountainous and cold, so it could be filmed in western China or Tibet. The music booms impossibly distorted, and I feel like I’m in elementary school watching an old world studies reel, though to be honest, I don’t remember learning hardly anything about Asia [or even _seeing_ an Asian person] until I was halfway through high school. I guess it’s because there aren’t a lot of missionaries there.
[PICTURES GO HERE]
Thailand is by far the most foreign place I’ve yet to visit, however there are undeniable signs of an exploding economy. The poverty and the public uncleanliness are a stark contrast to the six-story mall at the central train station and the fifteen foot Pepsi posters of Britney and Enrique’ in mock Grecian armor (assumedly pushing summer megamovie Troy). People sit in the street begging with an endless array of unsightly maladies, while a few blocks away the beautiful walk in polo shirts across the lawn of a prestigious university. The food is delicious and tastes quite fresh, yet I have been warned to not come into contact with the water from nearly every river. The commercial spaces are wide and new, but much of the design seems crude and without polish. Outside weather is exhausting, though there is a certain charm to the heat, a motivation to just sit down and do nothing. The city of Thonburi, across the Chao Phraya river, is actually quite nice. I can only imagine the countryside of Thailand is even more humble and pure.
I think my mind is predominantly confused and over saturated by conflicting images, but I think that might be a good thing as it prevents me from forming and kind of opinion. Hopefully when I return and people ask me what it was like I can state the facts based only on the things I have seen and the locals I have talked to, unjudging and objectively.
Chinatown and Jim Thompson
I’m staying at the White Orchid, a cheap little place on the main drag in Chinatown. I’m not sure if I’ll be here the whole time so I’m paying day-by-day. My room is not technically a bedroom as it has no openings other than the single door. This makes sleep incredibly easy at any time, but gives me kind of an unnatural feeling not being able to see the outside. It’s the thirteenth room on the twelfth floor, but this is actually the thirteenth floor, since the entrance level is ‘G’. This is Thailand, however, so dimensional paranoia may affect different alphanumeric combinations. The shower head sets news standards for unusability, with its three foot height and three foot hose tethered two feet below the neck.
The TV is much like the farce in National Lampoon’s European Vacation, there are about six channels, half of which are identical. They mainly consist of news and documentary, though I found and extremely phone six-and-a-half foot westerner teaching how to get custom clothes made in Chinese.
[VIDEO AND PICTURES GO HERE]
When I arrived at the airport this afternoon, I was picked up by a net friend, an extremely tired looking middle age Japanese man. We proceeded to have Thai ice tea at the Jim Thompson house before a huge dinner outside in the sweltering night heat. After a semi-invigorating shower of lukewarm water I fought my way through the sex laden street vendor haven of Patpong for dancing at Lucifer. The music was actually pretty decent, and the six dollar cover wasn’t bad either.
I think it’s a mandate (at least for Norse-blooded vacationers like myself) to take two to three showers a day.