April 27, 2014

island life. a tough one.

i'm lying in my hotel bed, curtains closed, aircon at full blast. i feel like a lady with a migrane, you now that kind of woman who would put her hand on her forehead and theatrically sigh and say 'darling, i need to lie down, i have the most terrible headache' with a british accent. that's me today minus the headache and the british accent. welcome to phuket!

phuket has gotten to me. as soon as i set foot on the island yesterday i don't like it. that impression gets stronger when we arrive at the gibbon rehabilitation centre and learn all about the gibbon poachers who steal the babies from their mothers just to have stupid, horrible tourists take pictures with them for money. to be fair that doesn't only happen in phuket, but it is the first time i hear about it, so phuket gets to take the blame.

my friend says that phuket is for russians what mallorca is for the germans. that is true and not a compliment to either. it is loud and there is so much traffic while it lacks the charming big city chaos of bangkok. riding in a songtaew, fun till now, is horrid in the fumes. i can see i'm not the only one in my group that feels this way, we all wish to be back at deserted, quiet koh yao noi, the perfect island if there ever was one.

then i feel properly sick and can't bear the thought of fried anything or curry. for lunch i order a club sandwich. it arrives an hour after everybody else's meals and the bread isn't toasted. who doesn't toast toast?! i wish i would have gotten a toastie from 7 eleven instead.

in the afternoon i take a nap i cannot wake up from. my body feels like lead and i barely make it to dinner. before dinner we visit the local night market: t-shirts, soaps, fake handbags. once you have seen a stall, you have seen at all. the air is sticky and i miss the festive atmosphere, the laughter from the market in chiang mai.

today i try to find a breakfast spot and i have very few requirements: pancakes, some sort of a view, cozy so i can work from there. i walk towards the beach front and find nothing, everything is either closed or unappealing. meanwhile the weather is the most humid i have had. proper bikram temperatures, my face is dripping and my thighs stick together with each step, a vidid reminder of each pad thai and ever beer i had on this trip.

when i get to the ocean i am disappointed, but not surprised: even the beach here is ugly. who wants rows and rows of sunloungers anyway? the clouds aren't helping, the ocean looked grey instead of blue. that's not phuket's fault, but still i need someone/something to blame.
i walk back to my hotel and find the elephant cafe right next door. while it doesn't have a view it has awesome pineapple pancakes and thai ice tea, the waiter is friendly and the wifi is speedy. i am slightly mollified till my stomach is acting up again, i can't fault the pancakes so once again i just blame phuket; it gets on my nerves and has now affected my so far very happy tummy.

so here i am, the lady in her dark, cool hotel room. waiting till i can go to the next island, one that will be worth my time and worthy of my thighs sticking together.

(and just in case you will call be spoilt and ungrateful i will give you exhibit a) phuket beach and exhibit b) all other beaches i have been to and you can decide on your own.)

April 10, 2014

the art of not being annoyed.

i recently read a post on tips how to become a travel blogger. one point mentioned that you should find a part of the world, any part really, to write about other than thailand. according to the author thailand has been covered left, right, and center and there is nothing worthwhile to add to the conversation. lucky for me and you, i am not a travel blogger. so for the next view weeks you will have to endure/ may enjoy my stories about thailand. take it or leave it.

for this holiday i really wanted easy. that sounds a bit odd, because shouldn't holiday always be easy? but i really wanted to go some place where as little as possible could go wrong or displease me. i didn't want adventure or challenges, i have the biggest challenge ahead of me with my move, so all i wanted was peace and quiet, pad thai, soak up all the sun before moving to eternal winter germany, and snorkel my little heart out. with that in mind i set out into a holiday where i only wanted to do what i truly want to do. again, isn't that what you always do in any given holiday you will ask. personally i think the answer is no. we always have this little voice or big guide book in our mind that tells us you must see... you must do...you must not miss! but what if i don't want to see or do? what if i do want to miss?

i am sitting on the little balcony at my asadang room and can only hope that my mozzie lotion will last in the bikram-esque temperatures and humidity (not from me editing one hour later, it doesn't). i have my laptop, a somewhat cold singha, and i actually feel i want to write, that it is not a chore, but a joy and i can finally write down the things that have been going through my mind for the last days and weeks. also it is only 8pm and yes, i am in bangkok. i guess some people would see my evening as a complete waste of time, but honestly i couldn't be happier. this is something i want to do. just like the nap i took this afternoon. and the fact that i spent 1/12 of the last 24 hours getting massages. happy feet i have. and all the pad thai i had so far, which i will tell you about tomorrow, because they are worth to have their own post.

anyhow, so with everything i am doing right now, i am asking myself consciously all the time – do i want to do this? i just reread my first bangkok post from last year and funny enough i had the same sentiment – what do i want to do? strange how i tend to forget this ever important question in daily life. or maybe i haven't and that's why i am giving up everything that i know and love to move to another continent for the vague idea of what i really want. i don't know and i don't think i am ready to dive into these feelings quite yet. for now i want to be here, really here. i need a sneaky little love affair to take my mind of things and for that bangkok is truly wonderful. and before your mind turns dirty, by love affair i mean a little city dalliance to get over cape town. for everything else i believe bangkok is like vegas and what happens here, stays here.
bangkok is boiling right now, both literally and figuratively. it is hot and humid, songkran, the thai new year's is about to commence, and yes, there are still demonstrations and such happening. and, just my luck and don't tell my parents or aunt sylvi – my hotel is right next to some government building or other that is completely roped off with fresh, out of the factory, barbed wire. nothing too scary, but taxis have trouble getting to my place and so it seems easier to just walk.
on my way to my massage yesterday i walked past the barbed wired building and the only nuisance really, was that my dress got caught twice because i was more scared of the motorbikes on the road than the barbed wire on the sidewalk. which i know is a little thing, but i also know what that stuff has done to a few of my clothes on my balcony already, so i will not be repeating this rookie error any time soon. other than that all was calm and there was even a whole stretch of wire decorated with different coloured tinsel pompoms. sorry, no pictures of the barbed wired building, it seemed like asking for trouble with fate at the time. and also, tinsel or no tinsel, barbed wire really is not very pretty and it feels frivolous and stupid to take a picture of it when i don't know the whole story as to why it is there and what is going on here.

tonight after my evening massage – yes, that is an actual thing! - i tried to take a taxi back as it was already dark and i can now proudly say that my sense of direction in bangkok is better than the taxi driver's. i kept on gesturing where to go and how to get to the hotel, but he wouldn't listen. obviously me, being me, got quite annoyed. which you cannot ever be in thailand, being annoyed is not a thing here. and so obviously yelling wouldn't have helped, because my thai yelling skills are still quite bad and so was his english comprehension. when we arrived after a 15 minute detour, i did have a bit of smug told you so face and he? he just laughed and laughed, i guess at himself and for me actually knowing the way and gave me a discount on my fare. and that's when i realized that i came to thailand for two reasons: to eat ALL the pad thai and to learn the art of how not to be annoyed.

my very uncreased borsalino thanks to julia!
evening desk.
first singha and then i had to leave it because they told me no pad thai tonight!
my neighbour: wat ratchabopit.
streets getting ready for songkran.
wine, move along, i have a new favourite drink - thai iced tea.
orchids at the asadang.

April 8, 2014

dulce vita.

i am sitting at dulce cafe (aha, her spelling is not so bad after all) at the airport. probably for the last time in a long time. one last, quick airport post. don't think i am able to write more than that yet because while i'm wearing waterproof mascara, my contact lenses have been giving me grief and i just don't feel like crying anymore right now. which obviously i would, because…dah, i'm leaving cape town for good. and while everybody has been so so lovely with kind words and messages and perfectly boiled eggs for breakfast, i actually hate goodbyes. i wasn't able to do anything more than to give everybody a quick hug and a peck on the cheek. i am too good of a cryer. and while i am writing this i realise i need to change the topic… so on that note next time you hear from me, i will be sitting on the most wonderful little balcony in bangkok and then i will tell you all about my last week in cape town and how i hated it because it was so bloody perfect and much more.

for now just goodbye, beloved city.
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