Thinking about blogging, never do XD

MHFP 013: Breaking the Baby Lack Cycle

While I am extremely happy I ditched FB and I can not say I miss anything? about it, not the bad parts and even not the good parts. The good parts I have replaced with 2+ new social groups consisting of 7 or more people that I regularly see IRL! So going from spending  posting and DMs with people on FB and spending a lot of time to instead having more meaningful and face to face interactions. I did, at the time, intend to post on this blog a lot more again. In order that people who want to keep up with my doings can easily do so. Yet, I am ok with not doing it in the end, the updating. What I do, do instead:

1. Mail, call, talk to, message and see people more, during which usually and mutually inquire as to each others lives and activities.

2. I write on Evernote a few times a week, it is simply a Diary I have been keeping for quite some years now! Of course that diary is not online, but it does supplant some of the benefits of a blog: having a record of what you were busy with at a particular plan as well as stating and monitoring goals, personal growth, changes and interests.

Suffice to say, a ton has happened! Most of it good, sometimes even great! ūüôā I have traveled a lot, got involved in a serious relationship, worked on my future, done great with work, spend time with friends and family, improved my mind (and no small measure thanks to Sam Harris), tried some new things and especially made some new friends.

Perhaps I will posts her again and not let another year pass by. Well, life is good. The image above is totally random and not related to any of this. XD

Advertisements

I am deleting Facebook & reviving this Blog. :) Why?

https://i2.wp.com/antonk.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/7-Reasons-im-deleting-my-Facebook-account-blue-banner-1st-April-Fools-Day-joke.jpg

Anyone who has ever searched online for even just 2 minutes will have quickly found a dozen very good reasons why Facebook is a total shit-show company and social media platform in terms of mining, monetizing, selling and misusing everyone’s data and trampling their privacy. Not to mention their unending duplicitous acts and statements, near monopoly and rapacious money-grubbing. Since this is all so well known and documented I will take it as a given and instead will state a few much more personal, and somewhat less universal, reasons why I am deleting it permanently. After logging into Facebook about 2+ times per day on average for 9! years (since May 2008) I have learned some lessons as well as acquired some very good reasons to now finally leave:

  1. For myself at least, far and away the great majority of the new people I ended up “friended” with, including past acquaintances and former (not so close or estranged) friends I reconnected with through Facebook ended up being unsatisfying, disappointing and especially transient experiences.¬† In practice this would happen in a few different ways:¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† -Almost in every instance we would end up having little to no contact within a few months of friending one another and/or the contact was always a one way street. Which is to say, if I did not initiate contact through FB, I would usually never really hear -anything meaningful- from the person in question. Even if I did try on occasion to get some back and forth going it would fairly quickly peter out.¬† I would say this was true for 90% of people I ever friended on FB. I have no interest in one way/voyeuristic/fake/very superficial relationships, neither offline, nor online. As for the other and super positive 10%, nearly always these were people that I was very close friends with previously and with which usually both persons put in quite a lot of effort to stay in touch long before we ever added one another on Facebook. We did this using any and all other means of communication such as mail, texts or calls. On those very rare occasions it concerned totally new friends that rapidly became significant it always meant they put in the effort so that we would generally very rapidly move on from FB to much more valuable, less distracting interactions. For instance: spending good times in person together regularly or texting/calling or emailing to really communicate about something meaningful or to set up meetings IRL. This likely concerned 2 persons over all those years. And then there was Anita and Jake, I am very grateful that I managed to find my very first girlfriend and oldest, best friend and that we have always had a great, balanced interaction online since we found one another again. ūüôā Yet now, after deletion of FB we still remain in touch.
  2. The distraction, detraction and time sink of FB is unbelievable. Yes, I have stumbled on a scant few bands, events or links to articles that I really valued but those pale in comparison to the literal weeks of my life that were wasted on utter tripe. Those few truly cool things I could have found much faster and easier on Reddit, or Stressfaktor and in doing so the added bonus would have been getting infinitely more in depth and varied opinions as well as descriptions without the creepy direct, personalized marketing, bad kind of polemics, lowest common denominator flame-wars, extremely slow loading of the bloated FB-site, biggest drain on my mobile battery and many other irritations that seem inherent in big blue..
  3. Starting with my very first posts I was extremely ambivalent and expressed misgivings about FB due to the issues that I name in the first paragraph of this blog post. I hoped being aware of the FB’s dark side would help me mitigate any ill effects. Unfortunately, during those nine years,¬†if anything FB literally became twice or even a few times worse in terms of privacy as well as many other respects. As such, I never felt good about having to rely on Facebook and what that implied for my data, my privacy and maybe even the world, since there are billions of people on FB still.. I didn’t want to be a part of all that any more. It came to a head because:
  4. I became more and more interested in privacy issues, a free and open internet as well as putting my energy, support and money where my mouth is, also I wanted to ensure that I was living and experiencing even more offline. Nobody on their deathbed will ever say “I wish I had spend more time indoors on Facebook”… Additionally I became more and more aware of tons of excellent alternatives that I actually feel great! about using and that add almost solely positive value to my life as well as the world. Really cool privacy orientated email providers that treat staff really well, instant messaging apps that are totally private and work better than Facebook owned Whatsapp, Reddit and a lot more. It is also nice to know I am not alone. In the last 3 years more people I was friended with have deactivated or deleted FB than in the 6 years before that combined..they all report and echo what you can read in tons of studies: people who spend less or even no time on FB are a lot happier, more productive and better off by far, this is almost universally true.
  5. I was in the past afraid I would miss out. And I did (last time was quite a long time ago) on rare occasions benefit some from FB in terms of dating or work or going out or finding out about some event. But I have found many of these things too have really moved away from FB in the last two years & I also realized all the DIY, cheap, left wing events and concerts I truly love and go to the most are almost always easier to find on other platforms and often not at all on FB! The overwhelming majority of the events (generally popular, big, commercial, not cheap) that pop up on FB interest me little and less.
  6. This is certainly a lesser reason, yet the amount of complication, obfuscation, unnecessary stupid changes, additions, illogical user-interface as well as bloat that FB has tacked on over the last few years made the website actually harder, slower and way more painful to use than the -sometimes old- alternatives such as blogs, forums, email, direct messaging apps, Reddit and more. I can’t believe how much FB has dropped the ball on this front, however at this stage I am actually grateful for the extra push this negative aspect has given me and many others to finally jump ship and never look back.
  7. I was scared I would lose all my data, conversations, pictures and dates,.. I did use FB very much like a blog, a photo album and to record what I was doing and thinking on that particular day. Instead I shall¬† -starting with this post- make sure I use this blog for posting pictures, ideas, rants and podcasts whenever I feel the need. That way any people who actually want to know what I am up to, can have a look anytime they choose. That would be great and I do very much enjoy hearing from people or getting feedback from those that actually care. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬† I have now also downloaded and carefully backed up all the data that I ever had on FB, that means that right now I would be thrilled if FB permanently deleted all of it from the internet. ūüôā So, I will proceed to make sure of just that. As soon as I have gotten email and direct messaging/phone number details of a few select and really valued people (in order that that I never lose touch!) all of it will be gone. I can’t wait! ūüôā EDIT: 26-09-2017, it has some days since deletion and it feel very good and like the right decision.

Addendum: I do actually believe in: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbars_number     and that:

‚ÄúYou are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.‚ÄĚ

Though I have in my past generally made acquaintances and temporary friends rather easily at the same time I was more often than not extremely selective about the handful of people I spend the bulk of my time with, my closest friends. As I get older this all seems perhaps even more important to do, not less, i.e.: to maintain great old friendships as well as to be open to interacting positively a little with literally almost anyone new, yet to be really discerning about who I let into my life on a deep level or who I live with or who I love almost unconditionally. Every year or two I add a person, but for one of those amazing people dozens of simply friendly people come, and then go again. By their and/or my choice, not due to misadventure. All of this is a great thing. Life is too short for spending a lot of time or energy on people that are only “ok” friends at best nor to allow Facebook to be among the very few entities you spend the most time with…

BIKESBIKESBIKESSSS! Bike tech, the “Ideal” bike, tool tips, how to save money or make it with bikes, durability and more. Podcast 0007

A longer podcast in which I give tips and my view on the “ideal” do-it-all, durable, affordable, low maintenance, least theft prone bike. Most basic tools needed to start fixing or making your own bike. How to successfully flip bikes and top tips for the best sites and people to learn bike tech from. Mentions of Sheldon brown, world touring, small wheel vs speed debate, Brooks saddles, hand building wheels and a whole lot more.

Click on the pics above to expand them and get an idea of my ‘ideal’ bike before and after making it all purpose and making it inconspicuous/uglier (reversible).

Below, my bike workshop with free heating, WiFi and music, love that place:

10653761_10152756358243060_451535198965423907_n

A plethora of tools, nice but not needed:

11215781_10153539051103060_2221018666681472910_n

The Saint Sheldon Brown on that Sticker behind the spider:

11235049_10153539051158060_811597542904488104_n

You need about a fifth of the tools in the cabinet to fix your own ride:

11709521_10153539050888060_299814184050968906_n

Film, my long love affair with the medium. Podcast 0006

the-good-life-movie-poster-2007-1020497625

Film has been a huge part of my life (and then sometimes a smaller part) for as long as I can remember. Today I talk about many aspects of film, the film industry, directors and films I rate, how my tastes have changed over the years, the ideal way to enjoy a film for myself as well as how films have molded and been a very big part of my most key relationships.

 

anvilpostermain-(3)

 

 

Anonymous, 4Chan, Hacktivism, Memes, Basement Dwellers, Internet freedom and culture. Podcast 0005

Explaining what 4Chan and Anonymous are and how they actually drive a huge part of the internet in terms of activism, debate, memes and being instrumental in the fight against a closed, commercialized internet, Scientology, ISIS and more. Also a brief aside of how close I got to being a perma-virgin, live-at-home-with-parents-into-middle-age basement dweller.

Demotivational-pictures-basement_Dweller

Houseshares, cleaning, motivation why notes are bad and a non schedule, schedule is good. Podcast 0004

A short podcast about my 20+ year experience with cleaning in houseshares, what does not work and what does in terms of people, preferences, schedules, notes and the lack of these things.

housemateflow-infographic-650x487

 

On regrets and lack of them, Childfree, Social Justice Warriors, Feminism, and Lifestyles. Podcast 0003a & b

time-cover

No-RAgrets-Tattoo-BIG

Podcast in two shortish files about non-conventional life choices, regrets or the lack thereof. Dont know why the first minute is skipping. Content touches a bit on the problem with US Social Justice Warrior and US Hardline Feminism, Childfree living, taking stock of what you were doing yesterday, month ago, a year and projecting in future and so on.OFFENSIVE

Podcasting, Bike & Food Coops, SciFi/fiction, The Watchmen, Fantasy. Podcast 0002

working

32f87d41464584200d6010098964265d

Talking about why i podcast (for myself), my podcasting history in brief, bike coops and (Anarchist/Vegan) coops, what is amazing about them and what is less so. Why SciFi, Fantasy and graphical novels can be amazing literature and also lead to unique thoughts and to self reflection and a few other topics in this short podcast.

bike-coop2_589x277

Found password, experiment… Posting first short podcast I ever recorded. 0001

podcast_15617Weird. I did not feel like posting for a months or two in 2013. Then, for some reason I could not log into my blog, despite being really rather sure I had not messed up the password. Today I try,.. and I can suddenly log in, great! Back when I posted weekly, my mom, Vincere and perhaps 1 or 2 others would read my posts, which was fine by me, it was always primarily for myself that I posted. Very therapeutic and fun to do. Who knows, maybe I will pick this back up. Maybe not. I record a lot of podcasts these days. Also mostly for myself. I would totally put them online but they seem to be much harder to host, upload and post than a Blogpost, which makes sense, but I am going to see if I can link to my podcasts here, and hosting them for free on Archive.org. ūüôā

Neon Nights, Buckets of Booze, Girls, motorbikes and Tropical Paradise

08-01-2013 
 

I leave Amsterdam on the evening of January seventh and was supposed to arrive in Bangkok on the¬†eighth. Right when we are to board at our stopover, Vienna, the stewardess announces over the P.A.: “I need volunteers as we have overbooked the flight. We can offer a free stay in a 4 **** Hotel, a flight tomorrow morning, dinner voucher, breakfast and E 600,-, cash…”. At first i thought that last bit couldn’t be right. Nonetheless i jumped on it and went right to the counter. Half an hour later i am sitting in the Hotel bar having free Weisbier with my new friend -and fellow volunteer- Ian.
2012-07-01_HotelFreeVienna 003
A retired Scottish cop he is a great guy and we have a good laugh about our great fortune while we chat to bar staff.

 
The room is amazing.
2012-07-01_HotelFreeVienna 004
Next morning the breakfast buffet is among the best and most varied i have seen. Take some¬†yogurt¬†for in the plane. The new flight is with Thai Airlines rather than Austrian. Very luxurious and i sit next to a retired German couple who are super nice. Watch a couple of movies i wanted to see for a long while. Don’t really sleep. There is this tall girl sitting next to me in the Airplane. She looks over a couple of times. Right after we disembark i introduce myself. Such a coincidence. Turns out Jocelyn is German, moved to the Netherlands and spend the last four years living about 300 meters from my house, though we never met before. I am beat from the airplane trip but it is great to have cool company.
2012-11-01_BKKKhaoSanetc 002
We have a great chat and decide to share a cab from airport to center together. We go to the largest mall in Thailand. She needed some slippers and the mall is quite fascinating as they sell everything. From massive wardrobes to counterfeit A tier branded t-shirts for next to nothing. We have a great dinner at a nice restaurant. She also shows me her fancy hotel.
 
Later i buy a map, catch the first Tuk Tuk in my life, exhilarating, though i could see why others would find them terrifying.
2012-11-01_BKKKhaoSanetc 006
Head out to my rather distant Hostel. “The Overstay” is a few kilometers from the real downtown which offers many advantages.
2012-11-01_BKKKhaoSanetc 010
The neighborhood is non touristy. Almost all prices are Thai tier… The Hostel is massive less than five Euros a night gets you a big private room with a lock, fan, double bed. Half the price if you don’t mind a big dorm. The place features a huge roof terrace, pool table, many comfy couches, super cheap big bar with a full back line (anyone is allowed to play the Guitar, Bass, Drum kit and Technics turntables any time as well as use the Art space and supplies on the first floor. The place is covered with amazing graffiti and street art style murals, there are parties and jam sessions on often. Everything you could ever want is very close by, amazing curb side stir fried meals.2012-11-01_BKKKhaoSanetc 013
The setting reminds me of “Bladerunner”.
There is such a sense of possibility, street life, activity neon lights, wonderful smells, mopeds and motorbikes everywhere, stray dogs and cats and extremely kind and helpful locals.
 
Khao San Road is a half an hour walk or very short taxi ride away..
 
Some of the reviews i read included the following choice words:
 
“Oh – my – god! I have quite honestly never seen anything like it. My husband and I arrived late at night after searching for hours for the place. We had just arrived in Bangkok, but being seasoned travellers we know what to expect from a budget hostel. However, on my life, I never expected this!”¬†
“We walked up a few flights of stairs, in near darkness and a flurry of cockroaches, to our room. The door barely closed never mind locked, and the walls were covered in graffiti.¬†I ventured to the floor below to check out the shared bathroom. This was the deciding factor for us to go and find somewhere else to stay. The walls in the bathroom were covered in years of grime, the toilet was disgusting and didn’t even work, there was a strange plastic tub filled with dank water and soapscum, the electric shower was hanging off the wall and was clearly unused and there was rubbish everywhere!¬†
“So, unless you’re in the habit of drinking into oblivion, avoid this place at all cost.”
 
“The dismal bar area downstairs surrounded by cats that looked ferrel and disease ridden, who proceeded to rip holes in our bags!”
 
“Graffiti on the walls that was vile enough to cause nightmares and people sleeping outside on the corridors! The bathroom had no door handle, no shower curtain and hadn’t been cleaned any time in the last decade! We had originally booked to stay for 3 nights but left after the first!”¬†
 
“The only positive about this place was that we survived the night! Not recommended to anyone who has any ounce of self worth! Vile!”¬†
 
 
Yet, i loved it and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Perspective, expectations and previous experience make the difference. 2013-01-14_BKK_FoodMore 022
2013-01-14_BKK_FoodMore 024
The international crowd here is super kind, open, musical and artistic and the hostel is run by the people who live there as well. Very often someone will come to stay for a few days and will find themselves hired as part of the¬†bar staff¬†almost right away. This means there is a true sense of community in the place. Some people have been her for more than half a year…! I would never call the double bed in my private room clean, but i wash the sheet and with my silk sleeping sack, the fan, some earplugs, free wi-fi and common sense it is all i could want and nothing i don’t need. 2013-01-14_BKK_FoodMore 027I have met everyone from a German guy -Simon- that jammed and sang with me while i played guitar and he the Ukelee to a cute gal my age who asked for a back rub half an hour after meeting her, to a guy who looks like a mystic with very long Dreads and an Orange robe that proceeds to do the most limber yoga all the time not bothering anyone. I can’t say too much about it, don’t want anyone in trouble, but bud is in full effect. I have played more instruments and with more people here than i have in a long time at home.¬†
 
11-01-2013
 
Wild night on Khao San Road. Believe the Hype. It is as mad as they say. It is funny that always meet Dutch girls wherever i go, it has been a theme on my vacations since i was fifteen. Well except for the ladyboys and my mates of course,.. they are neither dutch nor girls.
2012-11-01_BKKKhaoSanetc 018
2012-11-01_BKKKhaoSanetc 019
It was a blast! We hit up three clubs, none of them had cover charge and they had great PA systems, lights, C02 cannons and international crowds. We bought very little alcohol at actual clubs. Instead we hit up the 7-11 on the way there. A bottle of San Som Whiskey, a big bottle of Coke and three cups filled with ice for what two drinks cost back home and we were set for a long time. We met a bunch of interesting people and had great laugh. Dancing, chatting for hours and so on. Of course there were plenty of hawkers, “proppers” and scammy salespeople approaching us but the phrase “Mai Auw Kap” (Do Not Want, thanks) and a particular local hand gesture gets your message across clearly yet politely.
 
Every kind of entertainment is available on Khao San. Girls (the backpackers more so than locals) were very frisky. The only hairy moment was when a Swedish blond started dancing very suggestively and close to me. This went on for some minutes and she came over to me twice. However, her two big guy friends (it was pretty obvious neither was here boyfriend) got very pissed at that for some reason. They started pointing at me and gesturing angrily, strongly suggesting they were going to cross the five meters and try and kick my ass. The girl kinda laughed at them, flashed me a naughty smile and tried to calm them down. I just stood there, ready, waiting for whatever outcome. On the one hand i felt i had done nothing wrong and thought i would go at in self defense if they insisted on it. But much more than that i thought.. ‘This is Bangkok, if i fight, even if i “win”, ¬†i lose. This type of things always ends up in a Police cell and both Falangs have to pay a big fine before they are let out.’ Not my idea of a good end to a great night. Luckily it all panned out okay. They decided to back off.
 
Another wild night at the Overstay. There is a party with three bands, one Ska, One Americana and the last plays loud and inspired, improvisational Space Blues/Jazz Rock. The
drummer is amazing. One of the most energetic, experimental i have ever seen with perfect timing. He also looks exactly like a Thai version of ‘Animal’/Guy Tavarres except he wears a floral granny dress while playing. Fun guy! When their set is done, he still wants to play. I step up. Playing bass, guitar and even drumming and singing. A few others join us for some song. We play For about three hours! Guests at the Overstay love it, they won’t let us stop for a long time a w nd are dancing. The drummer and I vibe well, he is a great guy. We write down e-mails so we can hopefully Jam again at some other club. The Australian girl that works the Overstay bar asks me for my number so that she can have me come and play next time they have another open stage night. I will be back to the Overstay, it is not the best place to get a good nights sleep but there are very few other places where you can feel so welcomed and meet so many nice people so fast.
 
Before i came to Bangkok i messaged with Rachel. She is twenty four, from California but lives in Thailand where she works for and on the most famous and best map for non thai people: 
 
We go window shopping, she shows me a famous shrine, we talk about a multitude of topics and she introduces me to all kinds of new foods like Thai style omelets, fresh juices from fruits i have never even seen in real life before, Coconut juice drank from a fresh coconut and the she invites me to her house for a film. We have a lot of fun and agree to meet up again. The next time we meet is in Lumpini Park. It is beautiful there and they have massive monitor lizards running around! There are people doing all kinds of sports, from Tai Chi to running and there is a big open air free weights gym. The guys there are very buff, when i got time i think i am going there to hit some weights, why not!
 
I Couchsurf at Goy’s house. Goy is a pillar of the local couch surf community. She tends to host between four and eight people at any one time. Attends many meeting and is always keen to show her guest many of the unique sides of her city. The first night there she takes me and a couple into the most infamous shanty town in Bangkok. Some of the locals have moved back into a burned out shell of a large concrete apartment building. Yet this is in many ways the nicest place i have been to in Bangkok. There are colorfull lights everywhere. Underneath the very long burned out apartment building there is a equally long arcade. Here the locals have a little shrine, play chess and go daily, do Tai Chi and Aerobics, eat together at many stalls, have a magazine and book library, in short,.. more of that true community which many major western cities now seem to lack. While we saunter along the many little and larger streets the inhabitants are very curious. They smile and laugh at us and ask Goy where we are from. Almost no “Falang” ever venture here, they are too scared. We joke around with a man and a women that sell very black/dark moonshine whiskey from oversized glass pots. I buy one and down it in one swig. After that the woman takes an instant shine (she is quite drunk) to me and she and the man ask me if i like her and start jokingly propositioning me. I joke back that i could never keep up with her. A little later we get ourselves homemade Sodas from another stall. They have everything from Cream Soda to Raspberry lime flavors, it tastes great in the heat. We walk for a kilometer of more in this shanty town, then we sit down and i share the first hot pot i have ever eaten. Very, very good. Goy is like myself a fight sport afficionado, she loves UFC and Muay Thai. We agree to go to Lumpini when i get back. I love what she is doing so i both clean as well as declog the toilet during my two night stay and give her and her Chinese mother a glowing review. Goy would even feed us dinner and she introduced to my now favorite and new to me fruit, Mangosteens! I came to South East Asia wit the mindset that i would try almost anything once, i am so glad i did!
 
22-01-2013
 
A day that started out with intent of only having lunch with Rachel and picking up my Sleeper train ticket for Ko Phag Nan ended up amazing. Made a new instant French friend Alexander, explored an entirely new parts of the city including a beautiful park, a ride on the river and some totally new food, markets, dark alleys and piers.
 
After some hours we ended up on Kao San Road and said our goodbyes, agreeing to hang out again when we both return to Bangkok in some weeks. Ten minutes later i walk into a Hostel (checking them out for when i return from Island hop) and run into some couchsurfers i had surfed with at Goy’s a week prior. I spot a young, slender blonde girl with really long hair, beautiful teeth. 2013-01-23_BKK 028
2013-01-23_BKK 027
She looks a bit sleepy and bored. Sit down with a drink. Ask he how she feels about the Hostel, which seems shady and rather dirty. CeEElene says it is. We decide to explore together. Meet two young german girls, one of them called ………. talks as if she is a total nympho in Bangkok to plumb the depths of depravity. She excitedly talks about some very special ‘shows’ she has attended, both funny and crazy. We exchange Facebook details and I promise to try and meet them at Ko Phag Nan Full Moon party.¬†Afterwards Celine and I¬†go to the massive MBK market/mall, ¬†joke around a lot about getting engaged, talk about many things, try to find shoes for her and a Fake Rolexes as a present for my brother. After these¬†few ‘instant dates’,¬†we go to my Hostel. We only get halfway through “Moonrise Kingdom” on my bed. Celine sleeps over. It is a very memorable night. She leaves a hair pin. I keep it. She has to leave very early in the morning as she is going to Laos. But we might cross paths again in Bangkok in some weeks. Or not, nobody really plans much in South East Asia and that is a beautiful thing in many ways. When i wake in the afternoon i watch the last half of ‘Moonrise’ alone. I adore the film, i had no idea but it is a supremely romantic film.¬†I cry. In a the best of ways.
 
24-01-2013
 
I am increasingly feeling a bit like Hunter S. Thompson. I so translation work, have wild nights and life affirming moments, drink then write (not anywhere near the level of Thompson) about my experiences. The night starts at a restaurant with a party of five and ends with a very late night at Sam Wong’s bar. Some of the people there are truly intelligent, we talked about religion, working in Bangkok. liberalism, how to live and treat your fellow man and more besides. 2013-01-20_BKK_Wongs 010

2013-01-20_BKK_Wongs 001

2013-01-20_BKK_Wongs 008
The Johnny walker Red label flowed liberally and Wong was in such high spirits that he kept slapping my back and hugging us all. He also gave me three free Whiskey’s. I made four new friends, exchanged details and all of us played Jenga and MegaJenga together which is a blast when you are¬†liquored¬†up. Despite my¬†inebriation¬†i didn’t lose once. By six in the morning there were about nine gay guys and three French girls there. One really wanted to dance, so i led her to the dance floor. She was,.. well,.. very French. Tiny black dress, beautiful smile, great figure, voluminous black bob haircut and a very good and sensual dancer. We communicated a lot but barely in words. I did manage to get her name right before they suddenly had to leave since they worked in the morning. She was called Elodi.¬†I type this from my bed in the train to Kho Pha Ngan.

 
Kho Pha Ngan is the same island and beach famous from the movie “The Beach” and the infamous monthly “Full Moon Parties”. 10.000 to 30.000 people all partying on a tropical shore while fireworks cascade over the marine blue water. Fireshows with sticks and poj, dayglo bodypaint, wild abandon everywhere. It is a huge party, inevitably there is some crassness involved as well. I booked a beach side cabin with pool a few kilometers from the busy ‘never sleeps’ beach. I¬†intend to have a stellar time at the Full Moon, it is a once in a lifetime type event. Yet it is nice to know i can get away from the intensity and actually sleep whenever i choose. Also throughout the month there are lots of smaller almost daily parties in the Jungle, at a big Pool, at a waterfall, everywhere… And all the parties also feature at least one sound system that blasts more interesting music such as Raggea, Jungle, breakbeat and drum and bass.¬†
 
I already miss Bangkok a little. There is so much i still want to do, like watch a whole night of Muay Thai fights at the most famous fight sport stadium in the world, Lumpini. Visit the infamous Soi Cowboy, visit the floating market and massive Chakatuk Market, go ice skating (seriously), check out the lively Sukhumvit boulevard and it’s many sidestreets (Soi) and a hundred more things. Just yesterday one of my friends from Wong’s, Mark, told me about this amazing bar called “Brick” where they have energetic live Ska music every night and where mostly Thai people go and everyone dances on the bar or wherever they please. And Mark’s friend Mike invited me to a house party, he has them almost every weekend at his beautiful apartment.
 
The sleeper train is extremely cheap and at least as clean and comfortable as my bed back home. Fresh white linnen, black out curtains and a window with mosquito screen so you are neither hot nor pestered. Shower, sinks, toilets and all kinds of food being sold right on the train. It is a magical thing to travel 700 Kilometers through Thailand at night. A few stretches are slow allowing you to see. Lights, colors, smells, and beautiful vegetation everywhere. Kids that live along the tracks talk to you in broken English and with big smiles when the train briefly stops.
I am sitting next to two Turkish couchsurfers dudes (i have been invited to surf Onur’s couch in Atalaya and use the Hammam his family owns) in the train and three girls from Carolina who are also going to the full moon.
In 15 minutes it will be 05:48 and the night train will arrive in Surat Thani. After that i catch a large high speed  Catamaran to the Island. It is a fine way to travel. The twelve hours have felt like four since i was able to stretch out, sleep, talk, eat, wash, walk around and relax.
 
I have been in Thailand a little over a fortnight and in that time i have experienced so much. More than i sometimes would experience in three months time back in The Netherlands. It seems like everything is possible in Thailand. Anything -expected, hoped for and undreamed of- can happen here. And it usually does.
 
26-01-2013
 
Full Moon Party. At 17:00 there is barely anything on the beautiful tropical beach. By midnight there are 23.000 dancing, laughing people, wearing day glo clothes and paint on their bodies, dancing at the 13 soundsystems in turn, from Reggea to minimal house, from Drum and Bass to Old School. There are massive decorations, fire shows, a big waterslide, hawkers, freaks and primadonnas, regular folks kids and octenarians… My friend¬†Lithuanian¬†friend Julian and I¬†explore A plethora of Bars, people selling buckets with Sang Som Whiskey, Red Bull and coke, all the small clubs, shops and¬†restaurants¬†on the docks are open too. We run into a few girls and guys that we know, and have fun spending time together. Sometimes we go into the Ocean to cool down. I have bought a half liter of Sang Som Whiskey previously, which lasts me through 08:00. Which means nine hours, a whole a night, of one of most impressive parties i have been to and the total damage is about five euros including a softdrink and some food… I make sure i sober up and ride my rented motorcycle home, i hit 100 KM/hour on one deserted straight stretch, such a blast! Most of the way i stick to 50 KM/hour, i am not in a hurry and the thing is to get there in one piece! No passport? No license? Not Thai? No Problem! I love the saizze la faire of this country.
 
This is another item i can cross of my bucket list. I could write for many paragraphs about all i saw but the photographs speak for themselves.
 
28-01-2013
 
Twenty days in. I am having brunch at a small place on an alley. It is is painted green, a little ratty looking and there are only neon lights. Under which a quiet 55 year old Thai Lady works. It is rarely busy. It is also the best (Thai) food on the Island. The first time i saw it i walked past, that was a mistake. Whether it is spring rolls, spaghetti Bologonese, very traditional Thai food with fish, meats, unusual veggies and amazing curries, chocolate moose or South East Asian deserts, this lady is a true pro! She doesn’t take any shit which i love! Her menus have beautiful pictures and all the ridiculously low prices of the many dishes. A hand written sign proclaims that she asks customers to write their orders and hand them her. Another hand written sigh says “Please take full responsibility for your Children. Any damages must be paid for by the Parents. Thank You.” She is focused on cooking the best possible meals not on humoring every whim of every costumer, a good¬†philosophy¬†i think.. I met an ex pat who has been living on the Island for six years. He says he comes here several times a week as there is no better food anywhere on Ko Pag Nan. After dinner i am moving to another bungalow. I want to see more of the Island so going a few miles south will give me a whole new area to explore and tropical sea coastline to swim in. ¬†Tomorrow there is an open Jam session at a place which is quite famous here the “Jam Phagnan”. Might well go. My blisters from playing at the Overstay are pretty much healed, plus i have some gaffer tape i can put on my fingertips. I still have 50 days in South East Asia, what a great prospect.
 
On the Island strangers will offer you rides on back of their motorcycles all the time. Especially if it is hot out and you are carrying things it is a common courtesy here which i love, and i offer rides to people when i can. It is very sunny and i see a tattoed girl with quite a big packpack looking like she is struggling with the weight and heat. I pull over and ask her if she needs a ride. Turns out she just arrived and is looking for a guest house. I tell her i am just on the way to a cheap one up the road and tell her that they will likely have more rooms if she is interested. Caroline is from Sweden, twenty five and seems nice. We ride on and the bungalow is really idyllic. I can almost touch the sea from my window. It in traditional Thai raised style with all wood construction  and banana leaf weaving, yet has all the modern conveniences like good electric power, a very clean and comfortable bathroom with toilet and more. The way it is build also means a lot of airflow which makes it much more airy and cool than my last place. We hang out some in the evening and then go to our respective beds.
 
The next day we run into one another in the morning since our bungalows are right to each other. We decide to take a long tour of the Island on my motorbike. It is beautiful and very romantic. We see some crystal clear blue bays, elephants, vast swasts of jungle, a strange second hand shop and end up by the shore in a village that is specializes in sea food. We eat as we watch a fisherwoman up to her neck in the sea cast her line into the ocean. Caroline puts her head on my shoulder. When we return in the evening she lingers at my cabin long. We both express our feelings and how much better the already great Thai experience is once you can share it with someone.
 
In the late evening after dinner Caroline is tired. Me not so much. I go to the Jam Phangan, well loved open jam space and bar by the shore. I meet the owner Robert, a fellow Dutch man, within minutes of arriving he hands me a joint and slice of Pizza. I have a few Red Label shots. The Jam is a ton of fun and mostly acoustic. I meet a lot of people including a supremely fit and friendly Martial Artist Yogi vocal Freesteeler guy called Eddde who looks like a young pre surgery Carrot Top. We agree to play more on Saturday when it is non acoustic and more rock orientated.
 
02-02-2013. I saw a girl rolling a cigarette on the street with a really nice rented motorbike. I want to ask where she got it so that when my current lease was up i could go there. Also, i am not much of a smoker, but like to have one a week on average, so i ask her to roll one as i can not. KoPa2HB 050Turn out Sveta is from St. Petersburg, 23 and was about to go the motorcycle rental to extend her lease ten days. She offers to show me. I agree. KoPa2HB 061In this short interaction i notice right away in her eyes she seems,.. lost.. She also confides she had a huge fight with a friend that she was traveling with. She could not stay with him in the same hostel so she is also looking for a new place. Since she shows me the bike thing i return the favor by saying i can show her my place and we can see of there is vacancy. I did spend some hours looking for the cheapest nice¬†bungalow¬†after all. Turns out for 300 Baht she can have the little house next to mine, she is overjoyed and we joke around about being neighbours. I tell her i was planning to go out, maybe play some pool, dance and more. She wants to come. We go to Baan Tai beach. Buy a liter of Sang Som at 7-11 and a liter Coke. We talk and dance together all night. KoPa2HB 052Many times we clasp hands and spin around and around almost out of control and giggling. At the end of these spins she gyrates in to my arms and i spin her around at chest height before i disengage and we both cry out, laughing so loud. She is tiny, lithe and light. She goes from downcast to quite drunk and radiantly happy! But not so drunk that she can not do three cartwheels in¬†succession¬†on the beach. KoPa2HB 053Her amazing smile is etched in my mind… We dance by the fire performers, stumble on a toddler dancing on a table with his mom clapping. We join them urging the kid on, everyone is beaming. At one point we run out of drink and decide to go home. There is no way i will let her ride her bike, she agrees. Holds on to me in a way that reminds of a small Koala bear, her head resting on my back, seeming to almost fall asleep. KoPa2HB 060Her trust is absolute. I have sobered up quite some, but the road from Baan Thai is very much like a rollercoaster, except a very dangerous one. There are a really big number of accidents here. Due to the really steep hills and rapid drops combined with hairpin turns and dead man’s corners. I concentrate to my utmost and drive very defensively and quite slow. I can not have it on my conscience if we fall! When we are still 5 minutes from home she starts touching me in a very much “more than friends way”… I am of course very happy about this. Never had this experience on a bike. We get to her house. I stay. We don’t sleep much. In the early afternoon we go to pick up her bike and end up on the beautifull beach, she makes sand Angels, and she almost could be one as far as i am concerned. KoPa2HB 063We swim for very long and then sleep on the beach for even longer.
 
04-02-2013 Sveta has one local, older Thai friend. He rents out a cabin where she had stayed before. She goes to see him just to hang out. He gets very drunk and starts saying very lewd and creepy things,.. another friend betraying her trust. I am at an amazing Waterfall party having a good time, meeting some people and dancing among the water, the neon colors and the jungle. at 02:29 i get an SMS from her. “Are you sleeping already….?” For some reason i get a terrible feeling. I call her right away. She says she must ¬†leave her friends house quickly and asks if she could please sleep at my house since she no longer has her cabin paid for. I say: “of course, if you don’t feel good there, please come! She does. I can tell something is really horribly wrong, something other than the friend acting creepy. She is very tired, doesn’t want to talk about it, but mentions something terrible happened and she has to go be there for her mother and is cutting her vacation two weeks short. I don’t push at all and give her her space in every way. Soon she is asleep. In the morning i decide to do whatever i can to make her have fun, smile, laugh, feel good. It seems she really is in a hole. Soon she is much happier, we have a great breakfast. Then it slips out. Her father died yesterday and she had wanted to talk to her Thai friend about it. I feel so bad for her! So much ill luck. She want to go shopping for some presents for her mom and herself. Somehow, she manages to forget for some hours and is actually smiling and laughing a lot. I decide to do anything at all she seems to want or need. We go clothes, shoe, presents and¬†accessory¬†shopping for hours, maybe 30 stores and i give her feedback. She is amazingly cute in many outfits she tries on and is suddenly carefree again. We see about returning the five days left on her motorbike but it is not possible. She gives me the bike. So now i have two and as my own lease runs out in 3 days her longer lease for a much better bike is very welcome. I buy her some headphones, some food, some drink and phone credit. She insists on paying me back. I tell her how i feel, that the one particular night was an amazing and beautiful experience to me and that the days were awesome too. I explain how i hope one day we will see each other again when things are better for her. I put her on the boat and leave. Sad. But grateful. And happy. Miss her already.
 
To make things more surreal, on the way home from the Waterfall party I conversed briefly with two girls who live a hundred meters away from me in Berlin. And while rushing away to Sveta i see a huge, muscular dude, Marcus, kind off shambling home over the really rough and long path away from the resort. His shoulders, his gate, his expression and vibe tell me he is in the pitts. I decide to at least offer him a ride. He gladly accepts. He tells me how he has been in prison for most of his life even though he is quite young. And how he was having a terrible night, as his friend went on a very bad drink and said and did some horrific things to Marcus. After i let him tell me his brief story and the short ride is he is almost in tears. Tells me how bad he was feeling and had kind off lost all faith and wasn’t sure what he might have done. “You just being kind and helpful to me, gave me a boost, thank you!
 
08-02-2013. Last couple of days i went to quite some parties, the Waterfall Party, Shiva Party and the Jam Phangan. Danced and played music into the morning. KoPa2HB 043

« Older entries