Thailand, Chiang Mai
Thailand, Chiang Mai
(This was written over the course of a few days. I’ve been in Chiang Mai now for about two weeks. In fact, it’s gotten to the point where I’m running amok. Almost. Last night I returned to my AirBnb spot with #$%%^& knees and !@#$%^ up hand, toe and shoulder. Fell on the motorbike after making a sharp turn with my one hand while the other held my cell phone. It was colder at night, driving in the wind. I had a Chang shirt on, shoulderless. Those motorbikes turn like a bitch. And I’d just gotten back from a long day of ripping it up all around town, stopping for a beer wherever I landed … and then doing it again. I found myself near the Night Bazaar. So I went there. Then I heard some music, blues. Went up and got a beer. Sat down. Realized I was sitting next to two beautiful girls. Actually it was three. And then some. What do I say? What do I say? What do I say? Hey, can you watch my drink? Hey, can I buy you a drink for watching my drink? Here’s my number. Oh, yeah. Goodnight to you too. Girl to my left with big eyelashes. Yes, have a good night girls to my right. Hey, where’s the bathroom? I got to the motorbike and put on the American flag helmet, post-Burger King. Woof woof!)
Got into town a little over a week ago. Maybe like eight days. By now I’m tan. Drinking beer and my little room is a mess. I’ve been living in somewhat of a tree house. Lots of those kinds of houses out here. The only thing is that I’ve got a neighbor. A woman. From China. So there’s that.
We’ve been spending some time together.
But I don’t have much time. There’s only half a beer left (big bottle on this desk). And she’s leaving in less than two days.
You know how it goes.
Thailand is a special place. My first impressions, however, of Chiang Mai were strange. The flight up from Krabi (south) was simple and beautiful. They played Christmas music and that was terrifying. The clouds were puffy white above the blue water. Crystal blue. The reflections from the water made everything beautiful.
Good vibes when I’d landed. My luggage was the first on the conveyor belt. I pulled out my phone and figured out where I’d be going — plugging in the Airbnb address. Three weeks in Chiang Mai. (The first week has felt like I’ve been here for three months.)
I got in a cab and the cabbie took me to the tree house. A place that was elevated. A place in a town or province called Hai Ya, just south of the city center — a big square. And there’s the mountain to the west. Lots of green trees. Not too far from Myanmar. Where Buddhists and Muslims haven’t been getting along.
Chiang Mai on the first day. I got into the tree house place, threw my stuff down after a guy told me about stuff.
“Do you need my passport?” I’d asked him.
“No,” was his reply.
It was going to be a relaxing city.
I went out there. Like a dingbat Kerouac, no sense of direction. Just a thirst, a hunger. A desperate need to see something new, always.
The sun was hot. I found a cafe nearby that was attached to a hostel. I sat down and had an iced latte. Which felt weird to order. I started working.
Then I went out into the city where it was hot, hot, hot.
The first day in Chiang Mai blending into the first full day. I saw and worked in a bunch of cafes. Ate the best chicken pad Thai at a restaurant that was at the southern part of the square … it seemed to be owned by a Greek couple … and it was the best food I’d eaten in Thailand. My second week in the country.
The first full day was great. I no longer remember it. I worked, drank coffee, sweated, explored. There were lots of tourists. And I thought, dude. Don’t get carried away. You’re not going to grow a ponytail and start playing the ukelele.
(Going to finish this beer. I’m charming. Charming. Charmed. What?)
Shirtless, shoeless. Tan. Drinking a big bottle of Thai beer. Staring at a bright blue wall. And there’s a red rose in a green bottle on this desk. There’s a beautiful Chinese girl waiting for me at a bar in the city — Chiang Mai.
And I mean beautiful. Wait. Beautiful. Yes, there it is.
We’ve spent the last week together. Although I’m not exactly sure how long it’s been. I haven’t had any time to sort it all out. I just know that it’s been great here with her. And she’s leaving tomorrow.
So there’s that.
I’m drinking beer out of a big green bottle. On a Friday night in Thailand. There’s a beautiful Chinese girl waiting for me at a bar in the city. It will be her last night here before she leaves tomorrow for India. I’m going to miss her…
This beer, this night. It’s for her. How cliche!
I guess I’ll have to write more tomorrow. Thailand has been good to me.
I’m just returning the favor.
The bottles of beer that held flowers for her are now sitting on the floor. I’d gotten them a few days ago while I had some time to give up work for a few days and think about life — about what the hell I was doing all the way out in Thailand. Not just traveling. But, listening to Bob Dylan. You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go. Sometimes you meet a person at just the right time and they turn your head upside down. And I’ll be walking out there tonight, once again. Without her.
Just like last Saturday. When I walked with the big bottle of Chang beer, eyes dreaming of a starry night. Walking through it down below. Here on Earth.
She’ll be heading to Mumbai via Bangkok. And we spent the last eight days together. It felt like three seconds … or whatever the hell. Everything went by so fast. And I have her dresses, the way she looked, talked, her accent, legs, lips, face, heart like images bursting through my cerebral cortex. Drinking this beer, Dylan. She’s flying to Mumbai. I have Thailand. I’ve been in the country for something like two weeks. Chiang Mai, I was supposed to write about you. But I’m writing about her instead.
And I just went over to the window where she’d be reading a book. It’s dark now. Empty. The beautiful pink rose sits in the beer bottle on this desk. Blooming. Growing. Not yet dead.
The moon out there and the rest of the stars. Probably a lot of people walking around the streets and the vendors in the open night air. I’ll be the idiot wind blowing on through, drinking in the streets. Moaning inside. Like a demented Romeo.
Looking for grilled chicken on a stick. And probably another beer.
Maybe I’ll write more about this place when I return. I came up with the idea to write about her — another little book!
Leaving her at the airport. Damn. That was hard. We stared, smiling at each other. I didn’t want to eat anything after I turned on my heels. Fuck it.
She’s gone now. Will I see her again?
Who the hell knows.
You’re an idiot, Dylan sings. It’s a wonder you still know how to breathe.
O, those dresses.
I have no idea what I wrote for this post. But what the hell. I’m barefoot and in a blue Change t-shirt with my shoulders bare, mosquitoes nipping at my skin. Sitting at a table in a corner bar back on the side streets of Chiang Mai. The bar’s called the Lost Hut. A sign behind me reads: “Creating alcoholics since 2005.” Was just going to put in a pair of headphones but one of the bored Thai bartenders asked me if I needed to charge my laptop. So I’d rather not be rude and put the headphones into my ears. The other lonely bartender dressed in tiny jean shorts is tapping her thigh to Bruce Springsteen’s Glory Days.
The woman is gone. She probably took with her to India about $1,000 worth of work from me … and what does that matter? With a cat meowing, the shining lights blinking around me, red, green, purple, blue, yellow. Damn mosquitoes! Shit.
And there are lights above my head that look like snowflakes. I’m itching already. The palms are still in the twilight. Motorbikes gliding around the curves. I just ripped it up around the city on a motorbike I rented this morning. Before that, I had a big bottle of Chang beer and coconut milk soup, chicken, chilies, onions, mushrooms. It was damn good. And the restaurant was right at the place, nearby, where she and I danced on Friday night.
I sat there with her — the most beautiful woman in the bar. I told her. She smiled. She had this long white dress on, earrings dangling. The most beautiful woman in town.
“I’m lucky,” I told her.
I came up with the idea to write a little book about her, about our time together. Maybe I’ll do that tonight after adding some pictures to this … what was supposed to be a few words on Chiang Mai. It’s a special place. For sure. Maybe I should write an article about it? Who cares?
The palm trees. The corner bar. Lost Hut. Chiang beer. Large. For happy hour. Too many fucking mosquitoes. Drink fast, your romantic bullshit in there. Somewhere. After this beer — rip it up again on the motorbike. Then???
Something for her.
Just ripped it around town after a beer. I’m the best-goddamned motorbike driver in all of Chiang Mai! With my American flag helmet. A stupid tourist day. Hell yeah! I’m in some bar in the southwest part of town after riding for maybe twenty minutes. When you start hitting the gas and brake at the same time that’s when you know … it’s a good place to stop.
It’s only 7:19 PM here. And I’ve had one helluva day trying to get some work done. I wanted to write last night but after a long day of work … and the first full day without her in a little over a week … I crashed, after drinking a few beers and walking around the Sunday Night Bazaar — in town.
Here are some fucking pictures. Then it’s back out into the night.
Chiang Mai, you are beautiful. Never change.
Uh huh. Uh huh. Uh huh.