Is no longer on my shoulders. That's right friends, family, I have purchased myself a fanny pack. I never thought I would do it. I look ridiculous. But it feels great. In England they're called hip packs or belt packs or even bum packs, but never EVER are they called fanny packs. Hopefully the reasons why are obvious. It holds my camera, wallet, a handkerchief, and some tissue for all those bathrooms that don't provide it.
I am in Bangkok again before my last week at Mahidol. I'm exhausted. I've had some trouble falling asleep lately and I'm not exactly sure why. Last night we got a triple room with air-con and cable television. I thought hooray! I can fall asleep watching tv! How relaxing! Yet each program that came on was so fascinating that I couldn't sleep. I watched a movie with Nicholas Cage, Red Rock West (which reminds me a lot of a Denver band's name), then Splendor in the Grass with a young Warren Beatty and Natalie Wood came on. It was great. Finally, I fell asleep some time past 3am when a fake newscast about aliens turned out to be boring.
Anyway, I wrote a bit in my journal about the burnt rice fields and other things, so maybe I'll just put it here.
They burned the rice fields. I didn't yet have the chance to walk the perimeter and scare frogs into the channels of water. This must not have been the year to harvest rice. This rainy season has been dreadfully dry yet my body perspires without my knowledge, soaking my shirts, staining them with salty continents. The smell of the burnt rice fields hung in the air for two days only, before the fumes of the highway and the steaming ground sucked up all the smoke and turned it into the fleshy soil beneath the palm and papaya trees.
I'm romanticizing things a bit.
The coffee shop inside the Tesco Lotus provides buttery cookies shaped like letters of the roman alphabet. They are buttery without tasting exactly like butter, just as the hot chocolate is creamy without tasting exactly like cream.
Here in Bangkok there is anything you could ever want, Thai, Western, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, anything. Last night we took a cab to a bar to Silom--an area that I would not suggest exploring too much--called Roadhouse. Kelly's friend who has been living in Thailand for three years suggested it to her. We pulled up to an enormous American-style BBQ restaurant and sports bar. I couldn't believe I was in Thailand when we walked inside. It felt like Riverside, California, and most people inside were definitely not Thai, but many were also not American. There are a lot of British and French people in Thailand right now. Their economies must being well, compared to ours. We couldn't stay at Roadhouse. Beers were triple what they cost anywhere else, and the food was also ridiculously priced; Fish and Chips for 350 baht, which is a LOT of money in Thailand. I'll give you a comparison: yesterday for lunch I had Pad-Si-Iu for 25 baht and for dinner I had noodle soup for 30 baht. The exchange rate is about 33-34 baht per dollar. 350 baht is a lot of money. $10 fish and chips is high even in the U.S.
I may cut off my hair this weekend. I'm tired of it. Rung has suggested a bob. I'm a little hesitant to get it cut in Thailand because many girls sport the Thai-mullet, which might be cool in Thailand, but is definitely not attractive to me. I think there's a photo of one here http://babas.typepad.com/photos/my_gap_year/img_5200_small.html but my computer won't load it.
I think I'm going to head to Phnom Penh overland with Luke and Kelly after we get back from Nan on the 11th. I will renew my visa there, then fly back to Bangkok and meet Owen on the 17th.
Oh, also, for anyone who reads this, I'd love it if you can email me mp3s. I've been fiercely craving musically, mostly Jose Gonzalez, the (old) Beatles, and whatever else sounds good. Anything, actually. Email them my way!