Thailand – where to start?

I often have people asking me advice on traveling to S.E. Asia, especially with regard to Thailand, I think probably because it is the most popular destination for South Africans in S.E. Asia and I suppose for the rest of the world also.

This series of posts are specifically for budget travelers…if you are looking to do Thailand being shuffled from the airport straight to a resort you are doing it wrong. The whole experience of a holiday in Thailand is the people and the adventures you come across when you least expect it, not a mani pedi next to your pool at your over priced resort.

So my first and most important piece of advice would be:

DONT BOOK ANYTHING! Besides your air ticket of course.

Anyone who tells you to book accommodation before you depart has either never been to Thailand or stands to make some money off your booking. Not only is accommodation of all kinds available at the ‘drop of a fake dreadlock’ but it is cheap!

Cheap in SA is around R500 a night for a decent room….in Thailand it’s about 6$ a night for a room with a bed, aircon and a TV with a western toilet…and a window if you are lucky. This accommodation is a dime a dozen but make sure you ask to see the room first to check if it’s clean. My first night in Bangkok back in 2010 I made this mistake and spent the night on mattress stained with what looked like a large amount of blood, I had already paid for the room though so I tried to ignore my gag reflex and thank God for remembering my sleeping sheet.

Start on Khao San Road

Now KSR, dunned the Gateway to S.E. Asia is not everyone’s cup of tea. On the 7th day just before God decided to rest he burped and out came KSR. It’s definitely one of those things you just must see when you go to Thailand but like a lot of those ‘must sees’ once you have seen it there’s no real reason to go there again.

Having said that, it is a hub for cheap accommodation, cheap drinks and cheaper women…or men. Especially if you are travelling alone or in a pair KSR presents a great opportunity to meat hoards, literally hoards of fellow travellers, ask advice or find a travel mate. I would recommend asking fellow backpacker’s advice over going to a travel agent or a tout along the street.

Here is a little snippet of writing from my last visit to KSR:

Khao San road the only place in the world where you can enter a shy first time traveller and emerge a weary looking hippie with fisherman pants, various woven bangles, the obligatory tribal tattoo and of course a set a fresh dreadlocks…all for under $20.

KS road really is a inner city jungle, where hangers replace vines and gazebos and hundreds of intertwined electricity and telephone wires make a great canopy.

The much feared hill tribe women and the touts replace the jaguars, stalking you wherever you go with either a ‘crrrrooaak cccroakk’  or the rather awful ‘puuut’ …which supposedly represents the sound of a ping pong being…well you know popped out. The hundreds if not thousands of drunk English and Australians, put any elephant drunk on Marula fruit to shame, managing to make a ridiculous amount of noise, break anything they come across and still have the thick skin to think its normal to act that way.

Lets not forget the kings of the jungle…the famous lady boys…distinguishable by their adams apples…and if that’s not enough to tell them apart they are usually singing :

“Now I’m the king of the swingers
Oh, the jungle VIP
I’ve reached the top and had to stop
And that’s what botherin’ me
I wanna be a man, mancub
And stroll right into town
And be just like the other men
I’m tired of monkeyin’ around!”

But I digress!

I arrived in Bangkok and headed straight to KS road for a much needed nap…traveling with flu really isn’t fun. My driver Narathorn war really awesome and I found out he lives in his car and every 3 months he travels South to the border of Malaysia to give his family the money, even more surprising was that he is the same age as me…what different worlds we come from.

I stayed at a hostel/guest house called Lucky house just of KS road so there was no noise, its a really nice place value for money AND its clean…something not common along or near KS road. I met up with Craig my one friend..fluent in Hebrew…which was surprisingly helpful. After assuring me that he ‘hated’ shopping and ‘didn’t see the point’ we spent about 4 hours traversing the jungle deciding what shorts made his legs look better. =)

We decided that while we were weighing up which colour palate best suited his complexion to get a beer from 7/11…because they are much cheaper and you can walk around with them.

JACKPOT we found a beer for BHT25..about R6 only to find out it was rice wine and even the Thais don’t drink it! I even tried to give mine away to a beggar who blatantly refused it. Lesson learnt!

After getting hit on by a few more lady boys we decided to get some rest as we both had early starts the next morning.

Bye for now!

ABC

Some useful links are:

Lucky House – I have stayed here 3 times and have been satisfied each time. Be sure to get on the good side of the receptionist and she will give you a few much needed extras for free! Its also just off KSR so there’s no noise!

Official KSR website– Everything you need to know about the place and more. They are generally rather good with keeping their news stream updated.

 

 

Maybe In Another Universe

You just found me in the wrong universe. That’s all. This is, as they say, the darkest timeline. Everywhere else, nay, “everywhen” else — us in the Civil War, us in Ancient Egypt, us in the swinging ’60s — we are happy.

What if, in another universe, I deserve you?

Hear me out. There’s this philosopher from the 1890s named William James, and he coined this theory about “the multiverse” which suggests that a hypothetical set of multiple universes comprises everything that can possibly exist simultaneously.

Are you following? The entirety of space, time, matter and energy is all happening at once in different timelines: It’s the idea of parallel universes. Right? So okay, let’s presume the multiverse is real.

Well then, maybe somewhere in those infinite universes is one, or several, where I deserve you.

Maybe there’s a universe out there — happening now — where we end up together and when I close my eyes at night, I’m not dreaming the way a normal person would. Instead I’m seeing flashes of our lives in the multiverse. They’re not simple dreams because I miss you, right? They’re scientific, anachronistic visions.

For instance:

In this universe, I don’t want a family, but maybe in another, I’m more of the type to settle down. Maybe there’s a universe where you hold my hand while I give birth to our daughter in a white hospital room with pink flowers and fuzzy teddy bears on the window sill. Where we take family vacations and pose for dorky pictures in our neon bathing suits on the sands of a Florida beach. Where we curl up to watch a cheesy movie at the end of a long day in our big, green, suburban house once the kids have fallen asleep.

Maybe there’s a universe where we are middle-aged and taking our child to college and bickering over where to put her dresser or what posters she should hang up. Where you kiss her on the forehead ‘goodbye’ and we drive home in contented, proud silence, your fingers grazing my knuckles, our wedding rings glistening. Where we both have gray hair and we laugh and smile and hug and drink lemonade on the porch.

Maybe there’s a universe where that’s the life I want. Where I don’t second guess everything and I’m not afraid of commitment and of the future and of love. Maybe there’s a universe without all the noise in my head and the pride that makes me so fiercely independent and the coldness in my heart that I can turn on and off like a security fence.

Maybe there’s a universe where I’m the right person for you. Where I adore every nice thing you did for me without starting to resent you. A universe where you actually end up with someone who appreciates you. Where no one becomes a doormat. Where both of us can shed our baggage and curiosity and issues. A universe where we’re happy — without wondering if that happiness is some messed-up Jenga game ready to topple at the slightest quiver. A universe where we’re comfortable and sure, and we have cats.

Maybe there’s a universe where we fall asleep next to each other every night like spoons, like two innocent bunnies — my face buried in your neck, hugging your warmth — and we both don’t want anything or anybody else. Where we don’t want more, we just want each other.

Maybe there’s a universe where I don’t covet so much all the time and where I’m content and where I don’t wonder about picking up and moving to Japan without saying anything to anyone and where at this very juncture, I can just know I’ll always want to come home and cook dinner with you.

If you think of it all this way, then it’s like neither of us did anything wrong.

You just found me in the wrong universe. That’s all. This is, as they say, the darkest timeline. Everywhere else, nay, “everywhen” else — us in the Civil War, us in Ancient Egypt, us in the swinging ’60s — we are happy.

If this theory holds, well, by the law of averages, there had to be one universe — just this one — where we don’t end up together. Here and now just happens to be it. If you think of it this way, nothing is our fault.

So see, that explains everything. We’re not together anymore because of the multiverse.

Well, isn’t that comforting?

If you’re sad, do like I do and just think of the other ‘verses. The ones where I believe in love and where I don’t hate myself and where I never feel the need to kamikaze relationships. A universe where we can have nice things. It’s helpful, right?

Because you could have loved me forever. And maybe in another universe, I let you.

From the thought catalog

For Helen…because its true and I will miss you!

Remember how he walks, the colour of his skin, the curve of his neck, the shape of his lips, and find it in the strangers you meet day after day. Find him in other people and think how truly ordinary he is because you see him so much in other people.

Forget how his eyes looked when he was trying so valiantly to tell you how sorry he was. Forget how deep it seemed that cold rainy night and how the pain reflected in his eyes was enough to make you stumble forward and hug him like it was the first time. You gave your all to that hug, wrapped your arms around his body and buried your head into his arms. Forget how you wanted to stay there forever and just skip the talking. Forget how you pulled away and looked into his eyes so you can tell him that you still don’t believe him.

Forget how the sides of his mouth turn up and how his hands reach out to touch any part of you every time you see each other. Forget the feeling of ‘being found,’ do not even feel that way again for anyone.

Forget that one boring afternoon when you suddenly convinced him to shoot music videos. He was the star of everything. He was too good in your eyes that you even included the crappy shots. Do not even watch it for one last time. Delete all the memories to forget. Delete the music. Delete the place. Delete the person from your hard drive. Fill them with someone else right then and there. Remark at how easy it was.

Forget his gift for your  birthday. Forget his efforts for you. Dispose of all his gifts, those things that he bought for you because you both know it would be funny. Laugh because you can’t find it anywhere. Not in your room, not around the house, not in your bag. Hate his letters but don’t throw them away yet. Convince yourself to not believe in those kinds of lies and read them anytime someone tells you those things again. Do not ever forget these lies.

Forget the time he cried one night because he was telling you something about his mother. Forget his secrets, his quirks, the things that he claims he had only said to you. Share them with someone unrelated to him. Someone who doesn’t really know him. Transfer the burden of the only person knowing those things right at the moment. Assure yourself he’s going to tell them to someone else sooner or later. Cherish the idea of having a social side wherein no one knows he exists. Find time to be with them as much as possible.

Forget who he is. Remember to forget. Remember how he walks, the colour of his skin, the curve of his neck, the shape of his lips, and find it in the strangers you meet day after day. Find him in other people and think how truly ordinary he is because you see him so much in other people. People you don’t even know. People you know. Fight the nostalgia. Be in understated comfort knowing he wasn’t really special to begin with.

And lastly, forget yourself. Forget who you are when you are with him. Forget the unwilling relationship he had imposed on you, leave all the traces of his negativity behind you. Forget how happy he made you feel, likewise remember how stupid you felt when you believed him. Forget being forgiving, how he was the only person to have broken your trust more than enough times and yet, stick to him undeserving so. Forget being noble, for sticking to a person who doesn’t deserve you. For thinking that maybe you both could do good in each other’s lives. Forget being idealistic, how he managed to corrupt your mind that something can overcome all trivialities: something called love (platonic or otherwise). Forget being mad and mean, a consequence of being in a place wrought out of lies.

Forget who you are when you are with him and find yourself in a place rid of any trace of him. Forget everything and start in a better place.

From the Thought Catalog

27 things she knew at 27

Here is another one of my favourite lists, my ‘German’ friend wrote it.

15. is my favourite:  Youth. You are never too old to do anything. Live life – have fun!

1. Age. It’s just a number.
2. Fear. Life it too short – be bold and be brave!
3. Time. The most precious thing you are given. Be wise as to how you spend it.
4. Money. It really makes the world go round but it shouldn’t be the end of your rainbow.
5. Music. One of the most powerful things we have.
6. People. Too many people limit themselves and define themselves by what they are instead of what they can be.
7. Choice. There is always an alternative.
8. Parents. Appreciate every day you have with them.
9. Death. It is not final.
10. Gratitude. Be grateful for the smaller things you have in life.
11. Self. To thy own self ALWAYS be true! Never compromise on who you are.
12. Silence. You find yourself in your silence.
13. Friends. A true friendship is priceless.
14. Honesty. The truth always comes out.
15. Youth. You are never too old to do anything. Live life – have fun!
16. TV. Overrated.
17. Numbers. There is power in numbers.
18. Travel. There is no such thing as a lonesome solo traveller.
19. Boundaries. They are there to be challenged.
20. Respect. A little respect goes a long way. We are equals.
21. Responsible. You are accountable for your actions.
22. Love. The most painful and most beautiful thing on earth.
23. Sharing. Some things in life are better shared.
24. Mind. The power of the mind is greater than you believe.
25. Chance. Everybody deserves a second chance. To err is human.
26. Regret. Life is too short to regret. Learn and move on.
27. Knowledge. Never stop learning.

The Daily Fun

Being constantly bombarded with news…seeing as it’s my job to know what’s going on in the world around be can get a little overwhelming and sad sometimes. Everyday it’s more death more strikes and more hurt, so I have found a little journalistic outlet. Enter the Daily Sun.
Now I’ve had a rant about the Daily Sun Before you can read it here:. So sure I was somewhat annoyed with the rubbish that was being produced until I realised just how hilarious it is. Not to discount other people’s cultures or beliefs of course but dang it makes me smile…a lot.

Why wouldn’t I want to read about how a “Fake Zombie Stole My Songs”? Besides the obvious question: What is a fake zombie? (I’m imagining Shaun of The Dead), it really is just hilarious. On that note I have decided to start a running feature of sorts. Maybe it will help make your day a little brighter knowing that you are not being stalked by a fake zombie!

First instalment to follow soon.

Not so – perfectly lonely

Had a little love but I spread it thin
Falling in his arms and out again
Made a bad name for my game round town
Tore out my heart and shut it down

Nothing to do, nowhere to be
A simple little a kind of free
Nothing to do, no one but me
That’s is all I need

I’m perfectly lonely
I’m perfectly lonely
I’m perfectly lonely, yeah
Cause I don’t belong to anyone
Nobody belongs to me

I see my friends around from time to time
When their men let em slip away
And when they ask me how I’m doing with mine
This is always what I say …

Nothing to do, nowhere to be
A simple little kind of free
Nothing to do, no one to be
Is it really hard to see?

I’m perfectly lonely
I’m perfectly lonely
I’m perfectly lonely,
Cause I don’t belong to anyone
Nobody belongs to me

And this is not to say
There never comes a day
I’ll take my chances and start again
And when I look behind
On all my younger times
I’ll have to thank the wrongs
That led me to a love so strong

I’m perfectly lonely
I’m perfectly lonely
I’m perfectly lonely,
Cause I don’t belong to anyone
And nobody belongs —

That’s the way, that’s the way
That’s the way that I want it
That’s the way, that’s the way
That’s the way that I want it
That’s the way, that’s the way
That’s the way that I want it
That’s the way, that’s the way
That’s the way that I want it

Just keep telling myself that

 

Take me to Pleasure Town….oh, we’re going there!

Last night San Diego’s finest anchorman, Ron Burgundy of the famed Channel Four News Team announced (while playing the jazz flute) that there will be a sequel to Anchorman…and it will be aptly named Anchorman 2.

“As of 09:00 Mountain time, Paramount Pictures and myself, Ronald Joseph Aaron Burgundy, have come to terms to a sequel to Anchorman,” he said.

Don’t know about you but I can’t wait. Let’s hope there’s another fight scene…trident and all.

Stay classy, Johannesburg…?

Check the video out:

Racist smasist

“There is not a lot of mixing,” said Nokwanda Khanyile, 21, a business student from Durban. “The coloreds stick to themselves. The whites, too.”    ̶  By LYDIA POLGREEN, taken from New York Times.

 

So I have only recently (and by recently I mean 5 minutes ago) caught wind of the whole #capetownisracist vs #capetownisawesome* saga, which I will admit left me feeling very white and middle class as I generally like to keep updated on what’s going on around me, not only in South Africa but the world, something that sadly not very many middle class South Africans…or maybe human beings like to do…yes people there are a reason these stereotypes exist, and by Thor I will abuse them even if it is just to annoy some of you.

 *Just an aside…and I feel like this article may be full of them (was that just an aside to an aside), is that surely a better retort to #capetownisracist would have been #capetownisnotracist? You might as well of used #Cape Town admits it’s racist but gee wiz it’sawesome.

So about 7minutes ago now I was sitting in front of my computer, which is so old I might as well be sending out smoke signals to all of you, reading an article titled: In Cape Town, Many Black South Africans Feel Unwelcome . The article summed up rather well what the whole debate or controversy around Cape Town is at the moment rather well.

Basically a bunch of stupid people, that live in an amazing city that have found yet another thing to complain about.

BUT WAIT…step away from the comment button otherwise known as the ‘waste my time with stupid comments button’ …unless you agree with me then comment away. Okay let me stop screwing around.

Now I’m not saying that there aren’t racists in Cape Town, because let’s face it there are, we live in South Africa people, we made hating on people because of their colour the law, obviously there are going to be some racists hanging around clutching onto their old flags not having left their houses since 1994 in case ‘the blacks’ get them, and likewise there are still some racists clutching onto their MK uniforms…which have somehow morphed into ANCYL t-shirts screaming: Dubul ibhunu aka Shoot the Boer. Yes, I’m being dramatic but you get my point right?

There are racists, here…there…everywhere. I’m not pretending to know much about what the exact politics of Cape Town are and I’m sure there are some major issues, but really now, the article which is probably going to be seen by thousands of international readers paints South Africa in a really awful light and what’s more it doesn’t actually talk to those people who live outside of thecity centre and its mountainside inner suburbs, in the distant townships on the Cape Flats’. Interview a person in the Cape Flats get their views then I will listen, get what the actual sentiment is from the people who are actually affected then I will listen.

What’s more is that the spatial issues are highlighted as racial issues not only in the article but in the context of the whole argument. People are not bound to certain areas because of race but because of economic constraints and past relocation’s by the shitty shitty Apartheid government.

That brings me to another point, birds of a feather flock together. The feather could be race, culture, religion, choice of music, choice of political parties, for flips sake it could be choice of hair colour. But people who are similar stick together, perhaps its a defence mechanism or just because they like people who are similar to them. That’s a fact.

Those of you who attended WITS University can attest to this. The majority of Indians sat on the library lawn steps, Black students hung out in the Matrix, White students hung out on the lawns, Asian students hung out in the computer labs (bad joke?) and everyone used to hang out on the Great Hall steps. It’s not like there was racial tension, not like there weren’t for example Indian people sitting on the lawn. It’s just what happens, for whatever reason it’s what happens I don’t think it makes anyone racist!

Do we as South Africans not get confused between misunderstanding or not knowing ‘the other’ as racism because it is so prevalent in our history?

If the inner city of Cape Town is racist then surely the Cape Flats can be seen as racist to, as I’m sure if a skinny jean clad UCT student waltzed through there they would feel unwelcome?  According to the criteria set out in parts of the article the whole world is racist because people who are different feel unwelcome all the time. Is Tiger Tiger in Fourways racist? Because the times I have been there (and left with me ears bleeding and ready to set fire to the next girl who said OMG while drinking a bottle of Spin) I have felt very unwelcome, but that’s because I’m different not because I’m white.

Perhaps I’m just an idealist but I really don’t see this as a race issue, more of a people are retarded and bitchy issue.