November 24 – 28
Bangkok. I actually don’t see anything from the metropolis. I rent a room in a private residence off the city centre, and spend 3 wonderful days by the pool, not doing anything at all, except for an exhausting trip to a local shopping mall in search of a pair of bikini. Because when you are planning to spend three weeks on a tropical island, a pair of bikini could come in handy. I should have bought them in Europe. Let’s just say that the term “asian size” does not refer solely to the allegedly disappointing size of manhood of the locals. When I walk into a swimwear shop, the assistant dismisses me with one look at my chest and a dry “for you we don’t have anything”. Piss off, envious bitch. Oh well, I manage to grab a couple of gym tops in a Nike store and do my best to make it look like a two-piece sporty swimsuit.
There is not much for me in Bangkok. As you may have already guessed, I am not much of a party girl, especially if “partying” involves “pussy magic” shows where local women shoot ping-pong balls or pull razors on a string out of their vaginas. Jesus Christ, razors? What’s wrong with you people? Seriously, anyone who finds a razor close to a woman’s private parts to be a massive turn on should be…arrested, really. I guess I have a bit different idea about what “pussy magic” might be, compared to the people who consider these shows a great night out.
November 28 – December 17
Islands. I head for Koh Phangan. It’s reasonably big and developed, but – apart from Haad Rin, which is home to the Full Moon Party – not a massive party hub, like Samui, or Phuket and Pattaya on the mainland. If Phangan is supposed to be a tropical paradise, then right now it must be Paradise on the day Lucifer bowed out. Strong winds, rough sea, incessant downpour. It’s rain season after all, and allegedly not even the worst one. Adopting the local lifestyle is easy. Natural even. I walk barefoot everywhere, I even ride the scooter barefoot. The days kind of blend together, between reading in the hammock on the terrace (with the guesthouse’s dog for company) and venturing out to explore waterfalls and local beaches when the sun comes out.
I manage to meet Olga and Robin and Fanny with Nathan that I met in Cambodia for the occasion of Robin’s birthday, which also falls on the day of the Full Moon Party. It is supposedly the island’s biggest attraction. That, and New Moon party, and Half Moon party, waterfall and jungle parties, and whichever location or occasion with shit music – if you insist on calling it music – you can imagine. I guess you should do it at least once, but consider yourself warned: unless you are drunk or high, you will not enjoy it. The location at least is fantastic. A beautiful beach, about a mile long, and every pub has a DJ. Allegedly, every bar is also playing a different kind of music, but to me it all sounds exactly the same as I am unable to tell the difference between various styles of techno, provided there is a difference. All I saw was a beach crowded with thousands of young kids stumbling around high on MDMA, and as I don’t do drugs, it was all a bit boring after the first ten minutes. One other thing: I strongly advise you to bring your own drink. We were all carrying our own bottle of vodka-orange (it does sound a little retro, I admit), prepared at home with real alcohol bought in a licensed shop. There are bars that offer “buckets” of pre-made cocktails – to be shared – but the problem is that you have no idea what is inside, so if you wake up on the next morning blinded by a terrible hangover but not raped, consider yourself lucky.
After the traumatic party experience I decide to change islands for a few days and take a ferry to Koh Tao, which is more isolated and the weather is much better. Tao is the paradise for divers. Competition between too many diving schools makes Tao probably the cheapest destination where to get your diving license. Mind you, you are putting your life in the hands of the person who prepares your gear or decides if the conditions are OK to dive, so maybe cheap isn’t necessarily good. I got my SSI 18m open water diving license at Dive Wishes centre, and cannot recommend them enough. I got 1 to 1 treatment, because no one else signed up. Diving changed my life. I guess for most people it’s either hit or miss, either one is comfortable with breathing under water, or starts panicking. For me, everything was natural. I discovered a whole new world inhabited by hundreds of beautiful creatures. I’ve seen stingrays, clownfish, barracudas hunting, moray eels, dozens of beautiful fish whose name I ignore, it was like swimming in an aquarium. There are more than 40 diving sites around Koh Tao, so if you want to go to Thailand to dive, consider staying here. All other islands in the archipelago have access only to the Sail Rock (about an hour sailing time from either of the island, almost two hours from Samui), which is beautiful, but if you want variety, stay directly on Tao.
Upon my return on Phangan the weather improves significantly, so I dedicate the following week to working on my tan, some more diving, and hanging out with the expats on the island. Which brings me to the next topic. From now on, this is going to be a rant. You’ve been warned. Here we go: J’accuse:
Most men are pathetic. Not that I needed to travel to the other side of the world to discover that, but I guess I was kind of hoping that the situation may not be the same shit everywhere. It is. If anything, I’m enlightened. A few notes on history first: Thailand has been the ultimate destination of sexual tourism since the Vietnam war, when the US soldiers started coming to Phuket to unwind. And Phangan isn’t even the worst. There are three or four “lady bars” in one village, but that’s it. You don’t see twelve years olds with white men who could be their grandfathers on the island (like you do in Pattaya). The Thai ladies, especially from poor rural areas, do not have much choice. The public education consists of 6 years of learning about Buddha, and upon leaving the school, the pupils are unable to locate Thailand on the map. The young women have two options: stay at home and work the land with their families, or go to town and work the sidewalks, which is often prefered by their relatives. When the family has no daughters, the prettiest of the sons is “sacrified”, fed hormones from his childhood, and when old enough, sent to town to work like a girl, and if he earns enough money, he can actually become a girl. I’ve always wondered what is the high concentration of ladyboys in Thailand owed to – I thought it was a simple bid – offer situation, and was secretly wondering if really that many western men enjoyed fucking women with cocks (for some of the ladyboys are unbelievably beautiful) – but they told me that often young boys are transformed into girls by their own families. I guess that if your chemical balance is messed with since you are 8, you end up growing up not knowing what gender you actually are.
That said, I am not saying that the Thai women are a bunch of whores. I would not dare, because more often than not, someone else made that decision for them. What I do wonder about is how stupid men can be. Most of the western expats I talked to were in some kind of a relationship with a Thai girl, former prostitute, picked up in a bar. I understand that for the girls a foreigner who takes care of them means the deliverance. Because selling themselves to one person is probably better than selling themselves to several per evening. But stop bulshitting yourselves: how can anyone fall in actual love with a person whose language she doesn’t speak, whose culture she doesn’t understand, and whom she most likely despises because she met him in a situation when he pays for fucking her. Pardon the language, but this notion seems to escape to some western men: it’s still a contract, only a long-term one as opposed to hourly. Instead they go on and on about how nice, sweet, submissive, respectful and compliant the local girls are. No shit, they get paid for their services. Maybe they are not given cash (although often they are, to be kept off the streets for the period when their masters return to Europe), but if each of your rendezvous starts in a shopping mall, I don’t know, ask yourself a few questions.
I can even understand a situation when an elderly man, divorced, lonely and disappointed, opts for trips to South East Asia to feel wanted, coveted, cared for. I do understand that, we all want to feel loved, and I guess that when the intensity of sadness hits a certain level, even an illusion of love is better than nothing at all. After all, it’s not just men doing this. Cape Verde and Cuba are full of western ladies on a hunt for toyboys. I get all that. I’ve always thought that if I cannot get who I want, then on my own is the next best option, but give me 20 years, maybe I’ll grow tired of dining in company of illustrious (and long dead) writers and you’ll find me on a beach enjoying some brown sugar somewhere in the Caribbean. Who knows. But when I talked to all those men suffering from yellow fever, although I should probably restate this as “fascinated by Asian women”, I could not help but being curious. “What do they have that the western women don’t?”. Because, really, if anything, there are heaps of things that we have that the Thai girls will not have for at least another generation or two: education, career, independence and above all, choice. Choice to be with a man just because he is the man we want to be with. Want, not have to. This, for some men (more men than I imagined) is inconceivable. Some men cannot measure their manhood otherwise than in money. Some men prefer to pay a woman rather than appeal to her, they want an obsequious geisha rather than a partner. For there individuals, Thailand is the place to go. Oh, and: the argument that left me speechless: “They make us feel like superheroes, we save them from the streets”. As if those women would be on those streets in the first place if it wasn’t for certain men. (And no, frequenting brothels does not automatically mean being a bad person. Just a loser.)
OK, end of the rant. Disclaimer: in all fairness, there are several individuals on the island who do not act like described above, and I have met one or two mixed couples whose relationship looked to have an actual solid base. But most of all, I met many men who could barely hide the hatred towards what I represent. An independent woman who gave up her career and went on a world trip. Just because she can.
Kacenka in Thailand gallery: