|Herro Handome Man|
I find myself sitting on 2 inch foam mattress barely covered by a dirty, torn, washed out, once-sky-blue sheet. I'm sitting in my black Chinese-knock-off D&G underwear (purchased on Sukhumvit Road's vast knock-off section) dripping with sweat under a whiny grey ceiling fan that is ultimately ineffective. The walls are crumbling and bite-sized paint chips fly by whenever the wind picks up. I'll take the breeze and the paint chips over the stale and heavy heat any day. It's been almost nine year, but I'm going out of Bangkok just like I came in. A throng of empty bottles lay in no real order by the kitchen door. There's an assortment: 64 ounce Heinikens (clearly the better bargain over the small bottles), Regency Thai Whiskey (that's Lee-jen-ceee if you are translating into Thai phonetics), Sangsom Thai Rum and a few bottles of cut-rate Chilean wine from the local Western price-gouging grocery store. It's an unwritten Thai rule that the party isn't over until the booze is gone. In keeping with tradition, my wife had 4 neighbors over who accomplished the lion's share of the damage finally giving up at about 4 AM. She's asleep next to me, Thai style, on a sheet of cardboard covered with a similarly dusty sheet. She's snoring and breathing alcohol on me. In a classically Bangkok way its endearing.
I came to Thailand eight years ago looking for adventure. I had two suitcases, half a crate of belongings, an arguably reckless sense of adventure and a need to exorcise some horribly self-centered Los Angeles attitudes. It started with cheap hotels, barbecued street food, strip-malls of Go Go clubs and late night carousing in make-shift bars set up on the street only a few feet from the filth and rats. It's finishing with a beautiful wife, a perfect son and street walking sneer that even makes New Yorkers seem friendly. To the last quality I must give credit where credit is due: to the hordes of glad-handing crook Indian tailors that infest Sukhumvit road, blocking the sidewalk and trying to get you into their stupid shops like cheap, pervy peep-show barkers. (We've had words, me and these parasites. We've had lots of words.) Still, I came in like a lion and I'm going out like a better trained lion. I speak polite Thai, I rarely stay out past midnight and in a very Thai/very un-American way, I smile a lot and don't say what's on my mind.
There's packing to finish and a sentimental motorcycle taxi ride waiting for me on my last day as a resident of Bangkok so this blog will be short. I need some fresh, muggy, hot air so I'll walk up the street with my son, buy a latte at the local Starbucks and get him an "Egga-Muffin" at Mcdonalds. Pretty tame activity for a city who's mention never fails to get a wince or a smile, but eventually life just reaches its own level. After that I'm going to take a motorcycle taxi ride through Sunday traffic--my last motorcycle taxi ride for some time. I'm going to hire a one from the taxi stand where my friend Anthony and I got into a fight with fifteen taxi drivers in the middle of one crazy night just one year ago. I wonder if any of them will remember me.