Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I am a fat farang expert

Today was quite an eventful day, so I'd like to share with you.

In the morning, I was invited to give a lecture about the European Union at the Ministry of Commerce. I heard about this on friday, and quickly prepared a nice presentation.

I also had to lie about myself. I was introduced as an expert from New Zealand who is teaching at Chula for a week. That's nice, I enjoyed my "status" as a professor.

The audience was very nice to me too. An older lady, clearly one of the higher-ranked members of our seminar came to me and complemented me. Apparently I made it interesting because everyone listened to me for more than an hour...

Actually, this should tell you something about the status of farang in Thailand. I was not an expert because I am one, but because I am farang. We instantly have the respect of Thai people, especially if we talk about our own region.

I have recently read complaints on some other blogs that farangs are not taken seriously in Thailand. In 99% this is just plain wrong. We enjoy a very high respect. If you do not get the Thai people's respect, you are probably behaving in a way which really annoys the locals.

The Ministry of Commerce main building

The Ministry of Commerce is out in Nonthaburi, right on the river. It's a huge building with two monstrous Thai flags waving in the wind. Even though the building is heavy and not sophisticated, I loved it.

It was just so Thai. There's a sala-like entrance with a pointy roof and our meeting room was equipped with big leather chairs and many TV-screens. Of course, the materials used were cheap, and at some point there was a power failure.

This is quite typical for Thailand, which is still a developing country. But I like that. For some reason I am used to a degree of fallibility and the somewhat strange design of the buildings. I felt very homely and thought that actually, Thailand is JUST RIGHT for me.

After the presentation, I went to the Nonthaburi Department of Revenue, to pay taxes for the income of the professors. In the office, the tax ladies were enthusiastic when they saw me. I felt like a little boy who gets patted and cuddled.

Finished with all things university, I got in a taxi to take me back to Bangkok. I was watching a movie at the Bangkok International Film Festival with the boyfriend. I will write about the movies another time, but each and every one of them has been great!

Also, the BIFF is a great place to watch people and be seen. We gays are probably outnumbering our straight counterparts and the people (both farang and Thai) are of the more "cultured" sort.

Then, I finished the day off with some badminton. My badminton friend doesnt talk to me anymore. Two weeks ago, when he saw me, he said: You look soooo fat. Thank you very much badminton friend, I thought.

Thais always make remarks about people's weight. When you lose or gain 1kgs, they will know. I dont take offense when, in the middle of the conversation, someone says that I am fat. That's just what Thais think.

The way the badminton friend said it though, was just plain rude. But I gave him the benefit of the doubt. The next time, he called me อว้น (something like "fattie") through half the gym was I was playing.

I didnt react, because I didnt feel talked to. I have a name. He said it four times, and then I hit the shuttle towards him. Since then, he doesnt talk to me anymore. I said hi today, but got no response. I dont feel like telling him what I think about his behaviour, it should be clear.

Badminton was fun, but I was tired...There was a new group of three faggots who came to join us. One of them was cute. Quite small, very white skin (I normally dont like, but he looked cute) and messy hair.

When I saw his chest, I thought I saw a fata morgana. He had the chest and the arms of a body builder...I thought for about 2 seconds whether I should find that hot, but decided it was really out of proportion and just plain weird.

A short guy with a cute face and an Arnold Schwarzenegger body? No, thanks, he should stop looking at Singaporean and Hong Kong tourists and learn how to play badminton. Even with his monster-body, he played like a sissy....how odd...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

samitivej hospital to the rescue?

I went for a visit to samitivej hospital yesterday. I am going more and more hi-so. The first hospital I visited in Bangkok was the St.Louis on Sathorn road, because I literally lived next to it. That was just ok.

Then I used to go to Bangkok Hospital, which is quite hi-so, but really far away (near RCA). Now, I tried Samitivej.

I went to a counter to get registered but it was the wrong counter. The lady escorted me to the right counter, where the handsome gay man wanted my details - as well as a picture. Wow, what a service. He showed me to counter 3, where I needed to wait.

The urologist listened to my concerns and told me to get undressed. Oooooooohhhh. It's a bit odd to get undressed in front of a man you know for roughly 5 minutes, but it's their job.

He touched my dick, my tummy and inserted his finger into my ass...he basically fingered me, and the more he did it, the more it actually felt rather good.... he said that my prostate was normal and fine...I was a bit surprised.

The I needed to pee into a cup for the bacterial test. It came back negative and the doctor said I have nothing, so he will not give me any medicine. Interesting...just 10 days ago I had intense pain and got heavy antibiotics...

I am not quite sure what to think...maybe I am a bit of a "Malade Imaginaire" perhaps then I just had an acute infection 10 days ago, which is now cured. I do feel a lot better today though...very odd stuff.

Thank you for all the lovely comments and emails you sent me, it's actually been quite heart-warming to hear about your concern! I am still quite amazed that I get virtually zero hate-mail.

Perhaps these people who feel offended by my posts dont actually follow my blog (anymore), and that's just fine with me.

Thanks again, all you lovely readers, for your concern!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

stupid illness

I have a really stupid illness called prostatis. Actually, I have this in some sorts for 1.5 years already. It's not the same illness as we men get when we get old, but the symptoms are similar.

Since the pain became like unbearable last week, I decided to go see a doctor. Before, I just thought it's all psychological....it wasnt.

The doctor stuck the finger in my butt, and in it went easily. He must have been surprised but I thought: "ha, you dont know how many things have been in there already"! ;)

He gave me antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medicine. Later that day I felt healed, but that only lasted for about 3-4 days. While on the heavy antibiotics, I picked up a throat infection, it couldnt get better...

A painful dick and a painful throat at the same time. I went to see the doctor again yesterday. He didnt check me but just prescribed me more medicine, so I need to go pee less. I refuse to take that medicine because it doesnt fight the disease.

Thai doctors are soooo notorious for just randomly giving out medicine, not checking people properly for symptoms and just assuming an illness because they have seen 100 people with similar problems before probably.

I read online that the treatment for my illness will last at least 4-6 weeks of heavy antibiotics, and will sometimes last for months, or even years. Yay. The doctor however seemed surprised I wasnt cured within a week.

I now face the same problem as fellow blogger bkkdreamer a few months ago. Doctor doesnt diagnose properly. We have the choice of going to a different hospital or keep complaining.

I went to Bangkok Hospital, now I am going to try Samitivej. I hear good things about it. I previously had a very good doctor at BH, but he wasnt specialised in Urology.

Nevertheless, I went to badminton tonight. It was fun, but I was only about at 60% of my normal strength. I still think that any farang who would love to have a healthy choice of gay Thais should go and play badminton.

I am not choosing, but there are always several good-looking and nice people playing, most of whom are gay.

The taxi driver was gay too for once. And he was only 30 years old (according to him). He was actually a very nice man from Saraburi. He was all over the moon when I told him I know the place.

He was very interested in farangs, but told me he thinks the girls are pretty. Bullshit I thought. He tried to ask me what kind of girl I liked, but I didnt feel like telling him I was gay. After what happened to me in Laos (the infamous penis-grabbing incident), I thought it's better to keep low profile...

I have also hear two scary stories recently. Yesterday, me and the office girls talked about taxis. They all hate them, because they feel unsafe, either because of the driver's style of driving - or much worse - because they fear of being assaulted.

My friends sister apparently had a driver jerking off in the taxi while she was in the care - alone with him. That is scary!!! We as men do not realise how scary this can be for women I think.

Another story which made me wonder was that of a friend of my bf's classmate (ok, that story can not be verified...) got caught by the police for something and taken to the station, where they gang-raped the man!!!

First, I thought....oooooo, might not be that bad, I have seen handsome policemen...but serious, that is horrible!!! And I immediately believe it.

Keep your heads low and dont do things like they do on that British TV series "Big Trouble in Tourist Thailand", ok?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Being friends with a moneyboy

Gosh that is something I have tried really hard to achieve in these 1.5 years in Bangkok. It's always been a fascination for me how these boys manage to get iPhones, visa to farangland, condos, cars, monthly wages triple that of an office worker (and just from one farang!!!!).

Being friends with a moneyboy is nearly impossible. Now, I hear you say: but I have a moneyboy friend, my exexexex, or my best mate's exexexexex.

Ok, but that doesnt count. I mean just a friend. No involvement, no sex, no iPhones, no blackberries, no staying over at condos, nothing like that, just mates.

Last year, I used to chat to a moneyboy. He was something like 18 and he had all the characteristics of a moneyboy:

Knowing a lot of farang, being online 24/7, being from the countryside, learning quickly, and having a great cock (I just saw a picture, but that's enough to judge).

It started like this: He wrote me that he desperately needed to stay somewhere for a week because of.....(whatever, I forgot). I was a bit shocked because I had my own place and didnt plan to share it with some strange teenager.

For many weeks, he desperately wanted to meet me, offered sex and who knows what. One time, he was with a guy who stayed like 50 metres away from my condo, he could literally see me through the window if he'd known.

That's when it became a bit too much and I got a bit scared. Gays know each other in this city, especially moneyboys and farangs. Soon, he deleted me off his msn-list. Obviously I wasnt a candidate.

And here we are, this is the greatest problem of trying to be friends with a moneyboy. When he is chatting to you, he is working. Like, say, a lawyer defending his client.

Now when I am trying to just talk to them a bit, without any material benefits in sight, they lose interest. That is quite normal, but makes it nearly impossible to befriend moneyboys.

In the last few months however, I am starting to succeed.

There's one guy on gayromeo.com who wrote me like 2 years ago and I saw him again, he didnt remember me though.

So I chatted with him a bit. He seemed nice enough, smart and we chatted quite a few times. Of course, he wanted to meet me pretty soon, but he realised that things didnt work that way.

I chatted him up online because I actually saw him with some Dutch walrus tourist with Lonely Planet Thailand in his hand, having Sushi at ZEN/Centralworld at roughly 4pm.

Any sane person works at this time of the day (well except students, tourists and moneyboys I suppose;)

He was quite aghast that I saw him but he didnt even remember his companion. Since then, we have chatted on and off, but he's cooled down a bit since he thinks he has no big chance to meet me.

I am also friends with him on facebook, so I can see how moneboydom works.

What can I observe. He's got like 200 farang friends, most between 40 and 50. He is a cheeky bugger. He will always write things like: "I am lonely at home tonight". Or: "I want to go to the movies but I am alone". Or: "I have to go to study on monday morning, I am so sad".

The stupid farangs believe everything and fall for the false declarations of sadness. Then, they try to outdo each other with flirty messages and look like fools to be honest.

He used to have a Nokia N95 (the same shitty phone as I do), but now has an iPhone. He gets invited to some 5* hotel every sunday morning for brunch by his ex, an old Englishman who now has a new Thai boy. Im not sure why the old one needs to come along too.

One time, when I was in New Zealand, the moneyboy wrote me a message, saying that he is sad because the exboyfriend wanted him to come along to his condo with his new bf, he didnt want though.

He (remembering the suburb where I live) said that he is drunk now and needed a couch to sleep on in Ari. I laughed and said that I dont live in a hotel...

Right now, he was complaining that he is bored tonight, because his dad is home. He told me that he needs a drink. I told him: go to 7eleven and buy some Saeng Som (Thai Whisky). No answer on that one yet. Tomorrow morning he is going to the Sheraton (if you want to meet him there).

We have actually talked more serious things before. He told me that he thinks he is unable to get a younger man. He said he likes younger men, up to about mid-30s but thinks he cant get them. He's not handsome, so maybe that is even true...

But I am not trusting him. He's not ugly either, and he's not even trying with younger ones. (judging from the facebook friends list)

So, my dear elderly readers with "younger Thai companions". You are not helping people out of poverty, you are actually spoiling them like there's no tomorrow. A Thai who takes the taxi to get to university from Nonthaburi to BKK??? I never heard that...

Nokia N95, iPhone, Sheraton, condos, sushi, the oriental....

I just know that whoever is supporting this young man, they turned him into a spoilt brat. When he's 25 and looking old, no one will want him anymore. I hope that by then he's either found a farang who's ready to be his daddy for the rest of his life, or he's found a good job and can support himself, preferably the latter...good luck!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

another year's over...

Christmas is coming soon. Someone on facebook wrote in their status: "another year's over and what have you done".

That really really made me thoughtful, well actually quite sad. It's nearly the end of September, and if you live in North America or Europe, the Christmas music in the malls will start very, very soon.

This must be like the earliest annual review of all times, but I am really in a nostalgic mood right now. This has its reasons.

In much less than a month, my bf will leave Bangkok. I have now been with him here in BKK for nearly a year, and needless to say, it will be not the same without him.

He is going to visit his parents in Korea, flying to Macau, taking the boat to Hong Kong, the train to Shanghai and Qingdao and the ferry to Incheon/Seoul. It should be a nice trip for him...

About 3/4 weeks before leaving a place is always when you slowly start realising that you are soon going to part way with not just your city/home but also with your friends, your hangout places, the things you do every morning, in short: EVERYTHING.

I am not good at saying goodbye so it will be teary. Usually it has always been me going away, either to Europe or to New Zealand and the bf had to come home to the empty flat and the routines without me.

This time it will be me. When he leaves next month I will not want to go to his home area (Ratchada) anymore. It would be so empty... In his soi, he's made friends with a Chinese-Thai lady at the foodcourt.

When I was gone, she once said to him: "you are alone in the city so I take care of you". How sweet! Whenever the bf goes to eat there, she gives him free drinks and he usually brings some food for her too to share it.

I think she is either unable to have children and has now 'adopted' the boyfriend, or she is a lesbian. The bf said: "she is going to cry for sure..."

I wont leave BKK just yet, but soon. 11 December is my flight out of BKK and I really cant imagine not living here anymore. Already now I start looking at buildings and roads and wonder whether this is the last time I am seeing this, or that place...

In the meantime, I have a lot to do, so I wont have much time to visit places, meet up with friends and contemplate.

Until early November, my second thesis needs to be finished, so I can go to Korea to visit the bf. After that, I have a few days time to either relax in BKK, write more on my thesis, or go on a little trip.

In December, I will fly to New Zealand for my graduation, back to Switzerland for XMAS with the boyfriend (first time in Europe for him) and then off to Australia for a new life...(all via Bangkok).

"So this is Christmas;
and what have you done?"

Yes, I am asking myself that question too. The other day I looked through my iPhoto album to check what I have been up to in 2009 and it's really scary...

Whatever I think I have done in 2009 was actually 2008...I have been in Thailand for nearly TWO years, not one...

In 2009, I travelled like there's no tomorrow....Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, Laos, China, New Zealand, Laos, and soon....Korea, New Zealand, Switzerland (and some more European countries).

I must be crazy....what useful things did I even do? Well.....I finished one degree, a thesis packed with 75'000 words/250 pages written in 4 months, and another one is one the way.

But is that something to boast about? No, I dont think degrees are any difficult. I have seen people getting the same degree as me who didnt know anything about the world, let alone our subjects...

I am proud of my theses though, they are good, valuable, useful, practical yet well grounded in theory. I have done real research, interviewed people, made graphs, tables and analysed like crazy...I havent just copied ideas, I had my own.

On Silom Farang's blog people are discussing how to invest their thousands of well-earned dollars/euros in condos (or not) or how much monthly wage/rent they should pay their boys and how many condos/cars they should buy them, I am on the other side of the working career.

For me, it is time to start real life. I am sick of getting money from my parents. Not that I dont want it, but I am started to feel ashamed that I cant support myself at 26. My parents have been so generous (they also have the opportunity to be, luckily), I want to pay them back - I want to show them that they were right to support me.

A degree however is hardly an achievement...so now I need to find a job...

What else have I done? Well, it has been practically a year since the boyfriend arrived here. That also means that exactly today a year ago is the last time I had sex with someone else than the boyfriend.

It is a known fact that when living with a boyfriend, other friendships will sometimes suffer. Most of my best friends live overseas though, mostly in Europe, so I get to spend very little time with them anyway.

For the ones here, especially Kawadjan, I am sorry if I was a bit less adventurous and fun this year...the bitchy Silom nights are definitely a thing of the past, but I think we can look back with a smile.

Otherwise, I have not made many new friends. I had hoped that I could make some new friends through this blog, especially fellow bloggers. They are however either too shy, or there are simply too few of them around...

With the Thais, it was the same as last year. Many acquaintances, countless wonderful people, magic moments, some flirts, and to be honest, if I wouldnt have a boyfriend already, a few candidates, all better than anyone I dated while I was still single...

I never took anyone seriously though, because what's the point if you are already happy?

For the bf and me, this has been a very important year. I think we have both grown enormously in personality. We went through difficult times, especially when I was away, or when I told him about the blog. We have also both realised how we get on each other's nerves - and we both try to do this a bit less...

So, maybe this is the most important achievement of the year then. Why does it always have to be career or money? Consolidating a relationship should be a good achievement, no?

Now we are looking to a common future in Australia in 2010. Wish us luck!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Haircut, Beauty Ideals and a Cleaning frenzy

Yesterday, the boyfriend and I went to the hairdresser. I was referred to her by my best Thai friend from class and now I got her a new customer (my bf). How nice of me!

I cut the sides, leaving the fringe, top and back long. It looks a bit odd as my face is pretty high already. In Thai logic however, my face is just fine. High, slim faces are good. Round, wide or god forbid even square faces makes people un-pretty.

I disagree with them, but up to them.

taken from manilaguy25.multiply.com

The gay guy from the year below me at university still sometimes comes and says "hi" when I am at university. He usually comments on my wardrobe, and I return the favour. He's coloured his hair ash-blond (he was very happy I knew the colour). It's a bit of a fashion here but I dont like it.

Especially with that guy, who usually puts on a fair share of make-up. It's like a white-out in the snow (where sky and ground become one), you dont know what's the face and what's the hair anymore, both looks the same colour...

On facebook, we discussed his classmates and I offered him my opinion who might be gay. One sporty small guy with darker skin is gay for sure. He looks kind of cute and his voice and language gives everything away.

I told my friend: I think that guy looks alright. He said: I knew it, because you are farang you like dark-skinned people.

Actually, I can not hear this mantra anymore. It's not the reason these people have dark-skin that we like them. It's that foreigner dont have social inhibitions when they come to Thailand. They want someone hot, cute, available, sexy, etc.

Thais invariably search in their own social class. That's why you never ever see an Isan farmer boy with a hi-so Thai Chinese. BUT, when I used to date some richer guys, a lot of them told me that they actually like the dark country-boys. But that they could never imagine a relationship with them.

In other words: they are sizzling hot, but I cant show a dark guy to my mummie, she would take away my BMW and my job at daddy's company.

So, to sum up. The reason why most farang chose a dark-skinned person is not necessarily the farang's attraction to dark skin but the lack of social inhibitions and asian beauty and class-models.

A friend of mine said: wait a few years, and you'll see them buy tanning creams as the society becomes richer and as being dark doesnt mean working on the farm but having the money to have a holiday. Lets see if my friend is right!

In the meantime, I will look at gorgeous Thai men of all colour!

taken from manilaguy25.multiply.com

Today is Sunday. I am relaxing at home for once. The boyfriend had his first two German lessons at the Goethe Institut. The lessons are now every day from 9.30 to 12. A few weeks ago, I asked him if he wanted to learn German, and he said yes. Great, so he'll be able to talk with my grand-parents when he comes to Switzerland for Christmas!

taken from manilaguy25.multiply.com

A few hours ago, I suddenly got into a cleaning frenzy. I often get these on sundays. I see something needs to be done. E.g. the shower is a bit dirty, or the floor is a bit dusty.

Sometimes I would just sweep the floor, but every so often I always find new things to clean, so I clean nearly everything. Today was such a day. The balcony, the floor, the kitchen, the shower and the toilet. Now my place is sparkling clean!

Tonight, I am going to listen to my bf sing at a Burmese church event. His classmate is Burmese (and gay - and also Christian) and asked some of his friends to sing with him. I'll go and have a look, it should be fun.

By the way, you can see that I still like Pinoy men!:p Thanks Ian for the pictures!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Tweet, Tweet, Tweet, ...

So I have decided to follow the fad and sign up to twitter.

If you wanna know what I am doing all day long and what mood I am in right now, add me on twitter. My name is, surprise, surprise, BITCHOFBANGKOK.

Please follow me so we can have some fun and bitchy dialogues:)

Forgive the ugly colour scheme right now, I will try to make it nice soon.

Tweet Tweet Tweet Tweet Tweet Tweet Tweet Tweet Tweet Tweet Tweet Tweet

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

gay phi phi?

Very natural, no?

Gosh it's already been a few days now since I have come back from Phi Phi.

I promised to write something about the gay side of our trip, so here we go.

When you arrive at Phi Phi, you think you landed in Ibiza, Mallorca or whatever pan-European party town.

Except for the Thai touts, they are probably the only thing that remind you that you are in Thailand, and not in Europe.

The tourists on the island are 90% Europeans. Most are young backpackers, on their 3-month tour of Southeast Asia, settling in whatever place offers cheap booze, good sex, an adventure and fun.

Some are also more discerning middle-aged couples (ALWAYS couples) who like to eat seafood on the beach and have a romantic getaway.

Phi Phi by night, nothing to write home about.

Me and the bf didnt fit in with any of these groups. I am too old to be a party-queen. In fact, I never was a party queen at all. I get drunk with friends to have a good chat, or even enjoying a great wine for the wine's sake.

In our hotel, we were the youngest people by about 20 years. It was a hotel for the "discerning" travellers. All couples from various European countries between the age of 38 and 42 (roughly).

I felt a bit out of place to be honest. Apparently the bf and me are mentally already 40...shriek!!!

The view from our hotel for the discerning 40-year old travellers

As we arrived at the hotel, a young man with neatly combed hair took both of our backpacks and walked us up the 80-or-so steps to our room. I asked him in Thai whether it was too heavy for him.

He answered: "I can not speak Thai sorry."

Oops. I was a bit surprised but quickly realised that the handsome young man is from Burma. He came into the room with us and showed us everything, while being really friendly and not ever stopping to smile.

A very charming man. I am sure he was gay and I have a feeling he liked me. The bf and me both agreed that he was cute. I am interested in Burmese men anyway, they have a special look.

As usual in hotels, more than one employees is gay. In our hotel, there was another boy (perhaps 15 years or so). He was way too young to be of any interest to us, but clearly gay too. When the farang men would serve themselves at the breakfast buffet, he would ogle them for minutes.

Otherwise, Phi Phi seems not very gay at all. Most travellers are as straight as an airport runway and I did not discover a lot of local gay culture at all. It was deemed to be a bit disappointing from a gay point of view.

So the boyfriend and me tried to make "good time" ourselves. While wandering aimlessly along a beach, the bf suggested to walk to the next bay and have sex.

So we kept walking...the next bay was dirty and full of rusty Singha cans, discarded flip-flops and even a Singaporean water bottle!

Beach with all sorts of plastic

We were still in plain sight of the main bay and some fishermen who waded through the shallow water. This was not the place to have sex.

So we kept walking over dangerously slippery rocks and sharp pieces of coral until we reached the trunk of a tree, slightly tucked away.

The sex beach

We sat down and started, well...you know what boys like to do when they like each other. Most readers will now probably start to salivate...this is a porn-fantasy come true!

Sex on a beach in full daylight!!!! YEAAAAAAH!!!

But tell me, it's nothing to write home about. Sitting on a trunk is uncomfortable and it's hard to cum! Wearing tight swimming shorts is also not very good because its hard to take out the little friend...

Finally, it's absolutely no turn on for me to possibly be discovered....I know a lot of people find this thrilling, but I just really dont want anyone to walk up to me when I am having an orgasm!!!

In this case though, I was sure no one saw us. So it was kind of ok. After we each spread some little white dots on the trunk of the tree, we got up to walk back to the main beach.

Coming around the corner, three young farangs walked towards us, not very far at all from our sexy spot. 5 minutes longer and they would have discovered us!!!

And guess what, these three gays were faggots from California (their language, gym-toned bodies and attitude gave it away). I didnt care for them but if you like the farang porn-star look you would have gone crazy.

They saw that we are a fag couple too and must have wondered what we did in this odd and not very pretty spot...and I couldnt help wondering whether they were gay porn actors and were going to shoot a porn right where we did the same...

The questions will never be answered, since I dont watch farang porn anyway, but it was an odd coincidence nonetheless! Who knows, maybe they saw us!!!

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Weekend on Phi Phi Island - an adventure that left its MARKS

In Thailand, I have generally stuck to Bangkok and the near provinces around the capital when going for trips.

The big tourist draw-cards of the North (Chiang Mai and the mountains) and the South (the Islands) had not quite won me over yet. This last weekend though, the bf and me decided to go with the flow and try out a typical Thai holiday on an Island in the Andaman Sea.

We chose to go to Ko Phi Phi. Ko Phi Phi is famous for three things.

1. It's shape and dramatic landscape. It consists of two mountain ridges opposing each other, connected only by a tiny strip of sand.

2. The Tsunami. Well, the tsunami hit Ko Phi Phi hard. Basically the wave flushed the isthmus connecting the two parts of the Island, killing dozens and leaving the landscape changed drastically (e.g. less palm trees)

3. The movie "The Beach". It was shot on the neighbouring island of Phi Phi Ley, which is a National Park and on which there is no accomodation. More about this later.

Here you can see what I mean. The Island looks gorgeous and the geography is special.

So we arrived on Friday evening by flying Air Asia from Bangkok to Krabi, then taking the ferry from there. It was like arriving in a different country, or even in a different world, and just a few hours from my home in Bangkok.

The alienation quickly increased when we got on land. Dozens of touts shouting names of hotels, wanting to take us for boat rides and all sorts of other things.

On the way to the hotel, we walked through little streets which could have been in Silom, Nana, Ibiza, Sydney or who knows where. It wasnt like Thailand to me.

Irish Pubs, English bookshops, about 700 diving shops with bare-chested Englishmen wanting to take us for a dive, blond girls wearing hardly anything wanting to give us 2 buckets of alcohol for one, an alleyway of massage parlours, whose masseuses looked like they came straight from the brothels of Bangkok/Pattaya/Phuket and behaved accordingly.

In short, we hated it. Perhaps I succumbed slightly to the island romanticism expectations prior to arrival. I did hope that there would be a bit more quiet on the island, I did hope for a slightly nicer landscape, better beach, less stupid European backpackers surfing the day away on facebook and eating pizza at night...but it was not all that bad.

On the third day, we went on a cruise, paid 500 baht each for a 7 hour trip including lunch and snorkeling gear - not bad!

There were about 20 other boats doing the same and we thought we made the mistake of our lives, but it turned out to be a great day!

Look at the weather and the sights and you know why.

With us on the trip: A young Italian couple with a very well-dressed and extremely skinny, even lanky young man with long hair and skimpy speedos (interesting), a lezzie-couple from the UK, three young silly German backpackers and four Italians between the age of 18 and 60, accompanied with Thai girls/women/brides/sex partners/wives (or whatever).

It was a fun group. Our boat guide spoke no English and didnt even understand my Thai. I think he was Burmese (like so many other people on Ko Phi Phi)

First we went to the above beach to have lunch. The ferry ride nearly made me throw up. In our small long-tail boat, we were rocked like a baby is by its mum when it cries.

Only closing my eyes and telling myself that I was really tired helped me from not handing my breakfast to the fish in the sea.

But it was worth it. You see yourself. This beach was stunning, the colours surreal and even swimming in the sea was nice.

This was only part one though. Part two was crossing over to Phi Phi Ley, where we went snorkeling and anchored to have a look at the famous Maya Bay, where "The Beach" with Leo DiCaprio was filmed.

Between the two islands, the sea got really choppy and I swear there were waves of 2-3 metres right next to my face. I asked the boyfriend whether Thai thinking as such would allow the return to base in case of an insecure passage. I never received an answer because we arrived safely.

Snorkeling was fun, I loved it. It's quite amazing when you go under water with your goggles and suddenly the colourful world of reefs is revealed. Striped fish (I scared some away), back fish, corals, sea urchins and so on.

The boyfriend got scared and hyperventilated. He doesnt like the depths of the ocean at all but he tried to enjoy it at least. Kudos to him for that! I must say that I prefer some depth to the shallowness of the coral waters of our snorkeling spot.

It ensured that I got several bloody scratches on seemingly every part of my body.

Then we anchored and were told to swim to shore to go see Maya Bay. We should take shoes. I jumped into the water and swam, using my two flip-flops (thongs for Aussies, jandals for Kiwis) as paddles.

It didnt really work. The waves were high and I got more than a fair share of salty water in my mouth. Ew. Getting onto my feet and onto the shore was much more difficult than I ever imagined. I was simply swept around by the waves and my body indiscriminately scraped the corals and rocks wherever it wanted.

Others didnt fare better. Some shouted and there was genuine danger. The waves were high and some people were smashed onto the rocks. Most of us bled by the time we were back in the boats. The boat man smiled and smoked a cigarette. He then told me that the waves are not usually that high. Thanks for the warning, mate.

I now have a bruised arm, back and knee. I hope no American ever has injuries on such a trip, the Thai company would be sued for millions probably.

The journey back, despite our boat merrily rocking in the moody sea, seemed tame. We stopped in the middle of the passage and most of us thought we were out of petrol. The more sane people among the party were worried, the German backpackers hollered in excitement.

The boat man said: " Youuuuu - sunset!!!" We stopped to watch the sunset, how nice. And it was a beauty!

So that day turned out to be an adventurous and fun day - and it has literally left its mark on both the bf's and my limbs.

More about the gay stories of the trip and my thoughts on Ko Phi Phi tomorrow. Let me have a good rest first, and someone put cream on my wounds please, ouch!!!!

Friday, September 4, 2009

...big drama unfolds in BKK...

While surfing on Fridae.com, a gay contact and news-website, I came across a story titled: "HIV activist Nicholas Snow catches abusive Bangkok neighbour on video".

Have a look yourselves here.

Apparently, one fine day, Nicholas had an argument with his neighbour, and grabbed a camera to film the incident.

Have a look at the video here:

Judge for yourself what you think about this exchange.

While Nicholas' engagement for HIV+people in Thailand and in the world is laudable, I did find aspects of this clip a bit odd.

To me personally, it seems clear that there is some story between these two people. I dont want to judge Nicholas on his behaviour and neither the Thai neighbour. I wouldnt know how I would fare emotionally being HIV-positive, but it probably doesnt help to call your neighbour "asshole".

Equally curious is the fact that Nicholas thinks his neighbour knows that he is HIV+ from his profile on gayromeo. I dont know, but if you share online profiles with your neighbours it means you are somewhat involved with each other. It couldnt just be a random witch hunt, could it?

It's nevertheless scary that someone will go pull a kitchen knife, no matter how provoked you get.

If you want to read Nicholas' much-advertised explanation of the context within which this incident happened, visit his site.

It was quite interesting to read the reactions the article on fridae.com got.

At the beginning, most commented on how moved and saddened they were by this verbal insult. Later however, more skeptical voices gained the upper hand, warning that we do not know the whole story, even accusing Nicholas of overly displaying and victimising himself.

Interestingly, it was predominantly elderly farangs who commented negatively about Snow's accusations.

I must say that, even though such comments may have substance, they reek of the "farang-farang envy", which is very strong in Bangkok.

It's a bit of a phenomenon that farangs look at each other with suspicion here. A lot of them think they have found paradise and every farang is a competitor who can destroy his paradise.

I used to think a little bit like this too at the beginning. I was new to a foreign place and intended to come here for a "different" experience. Seeing old foreigners with cute young Thai boys was not on my wish list.

Nevertheless, especially since I moved to the Ari area I have sensed a much better vibe from farangs. Farangs who live there are relatively young and mostly professionals. They seem to be genuinely curious about other farangs who walk around with purpose and a bit of dignity (no shorts, no flip-flops, no Singha or red-bull t-shirts, no tank tops).

It's really surprising (or maybe not?) that such a little clip has provoked, or rather revealed so much hatred.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

On the successful integration of foreigners...

Thai authorities show us exactly how NOT to deal with foreigners and the integration of people with foreign ancestry into their newly adopted country.

Little boy Mong Thongdee, 12, is apparently the Thai champion in paper airplane flying. He is therefore qualified to go to Japan to represent his country in the world youth championship. But hang on, Mong can not represent Thailand because...he is stateless.

Burmese but not really Burmese, but certainly not Thai...

Born to ILLEGAL Burmese migrants (their illegality had to be emphasised in every article I read about this story), Mong doesnt have a nationality, and is therefore stateless.

The Foreign Ministry was prepared to grant him a 1-year temporary passport, however the Interior Ministry said because he is not Thai he can not have a Thai passport. Fair enough.

Why am I even writing about this little boy?

Because it perfectly fits with my post about Thai identity and the movie Citizen Juling.

In Thai thinking, everyone who doesnt have Thai blood running in his or her veins (e.g. speaks Thai, is Buddhist etc) can not be Thai. I find this mentality very counter-productive, perilous and just downright wrong.

In the movie, it was the evil Terrorist Southern Muslims, and in this case it is the Burmese. Two of the most-hated "non-Thai" groups that Thailand has to deal with on its own soil.

This little boy has been born in Thailand, never left the country (he has no passport and nationality, duh), goes to a Thai school and even has a Thai name!!!

Yet, it is not accepted that he could be Thai, yet even be part of the wider Thai society. I find this truly sad and disconcerting.

This country needs to accept it is also an immigrant country. What exactly is the cost to Thai society of giving a young "Burmese" (he is actually not Burmese, because he doesnt have a citizenship) Thai citizenship and fully accepting him as a young Thai boy? Indeed what speaks against giving citizenship to thousands of young children born and grown up Thailand who have never even seen other lands?

The cost is close to zero, but the future benefit for Thailand could be huge. It would lead to social inclusion of minorities, peace in the country and even add considerable human resources to the national economy.

Even the Bangkok Post, normally the champion of the Government, and all things Thai in general, is a bit critical. Read their article here.

I think the problems of mentality that I have highlighted in this post, and the last one, are among the major problems facing Thailand right now. If people are not taught to think more inclusively, I see a bleak future for this country.

By the way, I am off to Koh PhiPhi tomorrow with the boyfriend for a romantic getaway:)