Written in October 2008
Last night I had a blast! I hopped on a songtaew (aka glorified pick-up truck) to Chaweng Beach, the place where all the action is on Ko Samui. You can rent jet skis, go parasailing, ride a banana boat- this is where dreams come true.
My dream came true in the form of a cheeseburger last night- oh it was SO good. I have eaten more Western food than I should have on this trip and more than I ever do while traveling, hamburgers especially. I have eaten more hamburgers in Thailand than I have in previous year combined- maybe two. The Thai food is fresh and fantastic, but eating Thai food three times a day for three weeks- it gets a little old. This cheeseburger was fantastic, served with grilled onions, actual pickles, and cloth napkins instead of the standard toilet paper. Turns out the restaurant’s chef was Australian- so that explained the immense goodness of this hamburger, which inspired me to write a whole freaking paragraph. Geez. FREAKIN’ TOURIST!
Chaweng Beach is a bit like Haat Rin Beach (the Full Moon Party beach) in the sense that it is very colorful and festive, with lights, fires, music, dancing, flaming lanterns set off into the starry sky, bouncing bars, restaurants, and young people all up and down, looking to have fun and party. The beach itself is absolutely gorgeous and the water just pulls you in- I can’t seem to walk by without jumping in for a swim. I think every meal I have eaten here on the islands has been right on the beach- and you can’t ask for a better setting than that.
After dinner I had a bit of time before the 11 o’clock ladyboy show, so I wandered up to the main street which was filled with souvenir shops, manky dogs, food carts and taxi drivers. The action all seemed to be down the side streets; I turned down one and heard a boom: “PUT YOUR HANDS UP FOR DETROIT!”
I will ALWAYS put my hands up for Detroit, I don’t care WHAT motherfucking continent I am on! The beats led to the Hardcore Bar which looked cool but the one next door boasted FREE POOL and had three empty tables for my girlfriends and me. Outside this
bar was a colorful Buddhist shrine, the likes of which you see at almost every house, hotel, bar, or restaurant in Thailand. Thais put offerings on the shrine, like a plastic bag of fried rice or maybe some pineapple. This one had a Fanta, some cigarillos, and two shots of dark liquor. Given the Buddhist admonition of drinking, I thought this was pretty funny. We went in to play the free pool.
I ordered a Sex on the Beach and was surprised to see it delivered blue. Weird, I thought, until I noticed it was a 7 year-old mixing drinks under the watchful eye of dear-old dad; her 9 year-old brother was shaking them up with a verve I have seldom seen behind a bar. I thought the father could at least take the time to teach proper drink mixology, but then I noticed he was too busy instructing his children how to dirty dance. I’m talking one leg up, humping the wall with the spanking hand move- you know you know it. The little boy was catching on quickly though the girl seemed to prefer the super-fast ass shake. With these skills they will get on just fine in this world.
My friends will think it’s weird that I was ordering a Sex on the Beach; I almost always and only drink vodka and never order frou-frou shit like Blue Hawaiians or Pina Coladas. Never. I never even order Margaritas, which my bartender friends (my many, many bartender friends and I love you all! Shout out!) will attest to. But the tropical sun goes to my brain and frou-frou is all that I want and all that I order. Rums and fruit juices please, no vodka here. I can’t figure out if it is really weird or really normal.
The free pool in the bar had distracted me from the awful music emanating from its speakers. Have you ever been in a club and heard Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Bryan Adams and then ‘Eye of the Tiger’? No, you haven’t, because if you had you would have run right out and killed yourself, which is what I thought about doing. Thank Buddha it was time for the ladyboy show.
Ladyboys are like drag queens except HOLY GOD they look like women. Some have boobs, most have tucked it away, and all have an exaggerated femininity that no female I know could get away with. They were really really good; I saw Cher and Kylie Minogue and Tina Turner. They were beautiful. The guys in the audience were feeling a bit uncomfortable and the girls in the audience were just jealous of their outfits.
I have mad respect for people who will be who they are, even if that person is not who they should be. In Thailand ladyboys are the accepted third gender, and it is really cool to be in a place that is so tolerant. Tina Turner began her act as a wo-man and then through the act took off her dress, eyelashes, wig, and makeup and traded them for men’s clothes and there before us stood a ma-an. Wow. Complete woman to complete man. It makes you rethink what exactly gender is.
All the performers were insanely passionate and I found myself relating to them as a
dancer- they were about as into it as anyone ever has been. The ladyboys were having a blast, and I love to see people having fun. Some dancers did verge on the brink of scary skinny as they tried to tame their muscley shoulders and man hips by a lack of sustenance, which made me very grateful for my natural womanly shape. Or as one of the premier performers and lyricists of this century calls it: my humps, my humps, my lovely lady lumps.
(And if you guys don’t know I am joking by now, I am going to need more than a Blue Hawaiian). It was a fantastic show full of feathers, sequins, and sass, and it makes me want to give the drag queen shows in Seattle another try.
Today I have been lazy and just messing around at the beach and pool. I am now staying on Chaweng Beach which is a lot of fun, noisy and crazy. The planes zooming loudly overhead every hour or so (LIKE RIGHT THIS SECOND! WOW!) are a blatant reminder that tomorrow, I will be on one.
But not yet- for now, I hit the beach. AGAIN. If I was planning to stay here much longer, my blog would get pretty boring! Or maybe simple is a better word, and that is why people come here- to simplify their existance, if just for a week or two.
Much love Seattle! I will put my hands up for you too!