I actually figured out how to upload this image from my camera onto the laptop and into the Posse without reading the instructions. I’m thinking about writing a letter to Canon suggesting a new slogan for their PowerShot A540: “Technology for Morons.” The only problem is the individual .jpg files are so big they take forever to upload, so don’t be holding your breath for the photo album. I’ll figure out how to compress the files when my children leave for college. Yeah, that’s me a few days ago, sailing on Phang Nga bay, with Ko Phakak in the background. In case you’ve been wondering what I look like. Okay, usually I look a little less wind-burned, and my hair’s either curlier or straighter, and I’m wearing makeup, and not a yellow vest and Bushnells, and don’t have a wicked sunburn on that overlooked slice of unprotected skin below the bottom of my shirt and the top of my swim shorts. But that’s me, more or less. I am pensive. I am reflecting on the transitory nature of my life against the seeming permanence of my surroundings. Alternatively, I am watching the depth-finder closely (nothing like a lot of really shallow water to liven up a sail on someone else’s expensive toy!) and holding, just out of the camera range, a can of Singha beer. You choose.
I haven’t been reading the fragrance news or the other blogs. I’m a little worried. A lot could have happened in the last month. I’m going to feel foolish when I found out Guerlain’s been bought by Beatrice and their next boutique fragrance is for Lindsey Lohan, called … Commando? Je Suis Une Drunk? (Okay, I’ve been keeping up a little bit with the international newspapers. Shoot me. The Beckhams seem to be settling in nicely. So far as I can tell, that’s the only news.)
Anyway, here are random notes I made that I didn´t work into other posts. We´re leaving tomorrow and I won´t be posting Thursday, since I´ll be up to my ears in five weeks of backlog. I miss you, and perfume, and I´ll be back on it next week.
1) Want to be treated like royalty in Thailand? Bring your children! Experience the surprising, precise inverse of the response to kids in public in the U.S.! Turn your back on your tots – or even your sulky teen – for 30 seconds and random Thai people will be feeding them, handing them toys and chucking them under the chin. Simultaneously. Four kids gets you the best table in any restaurant.
2) The beach activities (loungers, etc.) are run by a cadre of lean, muscular, deeply tanned men with shaggy hair who could be anywhere in age from 15 to 45, I have no idea. Many of them have tattoos that cover their torsos, done in black ink that is only slightly lighter than their skin. I find their beauty compelling, although when I was young enough to have the freedom I’d never have had the confidence to approach them. Their relationship with me is … wary friendliness? I am the crazy white lady with red hair who walks by several times in the heat of the day with her iPod. (Walking is dangerous and for poor people.) Some of them are Burmese, and all of them look like they could kick you to death in two minutes without spilling their beer. Having witnessed a brief, violent ass-kicking of two foreigners over a soccer ball, I would not want to get on their bad side. These same men, however, will play like four-year-olds with my four-year-olds, building sand castles and kicking the mini soccer ball for 45 minutes straight. One group joshes me from a distance every day on my walks – Jet-ski? We all laugh. I´m pretty sure they´re all smoking dope. I finally talked to them about the tattoos, which they say (I wasn´t following the details very well) is made by burning bamboo. Maybe they use the ash under the skin? Or they use sharpened bamboo? I´m not sure which, although the one with the best English said it was different than needle tattoos. They call me something he says means “happy heart,” because I smile and wave at them when I walk by. He said it´s a Thai expression. Maybe he´s lying and they´re calling me Pink Ghost or something (honestly, I have never felt whiter – I wonder if my skin disgusts them?) But I´ve decided I´m going to believe him. Because it makes me happy.
3) I have developed a taste for the smell of durian. Having smelled it for a month, I´m going to miss it. It´s a completely distinct smell, like no other. Somebody definitely needs to try to work a smidge of it into a fragrance. On Dinazad’s advice I’ve tried three brands of durian chips, and they taste great! Unfortunately, all their stink seems to be missing. I was hoping for a touch of durian to carry home with me.
4) I really miss walking. New York, London, Paris, Vienna — these places and many others I have enjoyed extensively on foot. I love to walk. Walking by myself, in the city or countryside, is a great pleasure. Even in London, with traffic going the wrong way and drivers who’ll run you down, is delightful to walk in. These parts of Asia, cities and towns — not so much. There’s … a general lack of pedestrian concessions? Sidewalks are intermittent or nonexistent. Motobikes drive and park on them. Roadsides are parking lots, pitted, trash-strewn, muddy. Okay, you can walk — there’s no law against it — but it’s mostly such a risk (crossing any street without getting hit) you give up and get in a tuk-tuk or whatever. I wonder whether urban/suburban walking is a great unsung luxury?
Yesterday and today: Culture Shock! Back in Bangkok for the new Harry Potter movie at the Siam Paragon — at the IMAX Theatre in 3-D!!!!! Yeah, read that and weep. It was soooo great. Today a trip to the big Weekend Market — can’t remember the name but I think it means “how many people can you wedge into 8,000 stalls”? Got lotsa cool stuff. Hitting some more local sights tomorrow. But it’s weird what you miss. Right now all I want is something I can’t find — just a regular ol’ cheese sandwich. Made with English cheese. Maybe the one with the bits of Stilton in it (Double Gloucester?) or some Cheshire or something. Okay, gotta go — Diva’s waiting for me to conjure an alternative to Scary Noodle —