It’s Wednesday night in Bangkok and it’s raining again, although very, very lightly. Just finished listening to a World Party CD and now I have an old James Gang live album playing. “Just turn your pretty head … and walk away.” Coming up next: a compilation by The The. And if you have to ask; “The what? … well, forget it.
And I’m stumped as to what to write about tonight. It’s been a few days since I posted anything and I feel like I should write something or post some photos, but I just don’t feel inspired. Must be the mid-week blues.
I could write about the latest rash of bombings in South Thailand; the violence that just won’t stop. Or I could write about the historic visit of Myanmar President Thein Sein to the US, where he’s meeting with Barack “O’Burma” Obama. Or to take that story a step further, I could mention the misguided protesters who think Thein Sein is some sort of heinous villain because he hasn’t been able to stop the sectarian violence between Muslim and Buddhists in Myanmar this year. Or the idiots who think that Obama should not have invited Thein Sein at all, reasoning that it’s “too early” to lift sanctions and “encourage” Myanmar without the government releasing all political prisoners, and blah blah blah. I tell you, nothing pleases these so-called “Free Burma” groups, and it would kill them to acknowledge, much less praise, any improvements or changes that the Myanmar government makes. Hell, it would kill them just to say the word “Myanmar.” I’m certainly not in the pro-junta camp, but some of these so-called human rights groups need to put things in perspective. I think some of their “policies” have done more harm than good in the past decade. I think “democratic” changes will take time to fully mature in Myanmar, but things are on the right track and Thein Sein should be encouraged and supported rather than criticized and condemned.
What else? Oh yeah, there was the efficient transvestite nurse that waited on me at Bangkok Hospital last week, or the Thai doctor who they sent me to at that same hospital. He had a very American-sounding accent, so I asked him if he had spent time studying in the states. “Well,” he said, “I grew up near Cincinnati, but I attended university here in Bangkok.” And the good news: they couldn’t find anything wrong with me!
Or I could write about some of the cool customers in my bookshop this week: David the 75-year-old pot-smoking fan of Louis L’Amour novels; the guy from Sweden who admitted to being “old school” and preferring real books over digital ones; the guy from Prachin Buri who bought the entire series of Gabriel Allon novels by Daniel Silva; the sweet expat lady from Poland who is reading anything we get by Evelyn Waugh, P.G. Wodehouse, or Graham Greene; or the female Thai customer who regaled us with tales of spitting on the feet of Red Shirt protesters last week; or the street guy who likes to “drop his drawers” to passing cars in front of our shop. Oh yeah, it’s a colorful neighborhood!
Or could write about the two nice guys from France that treated me to dinner at a Thai restaurant on Monday night. Good food, pleasant company, and they introduced me to a wicked-good drink that they say is popular in Brazil. I just wish I could remember the name of the drink! Yeah, it was that good. They were departing the next day on a trip to Myanmar and will be back in Bangkok in early May.
Then there were the phone calls from friends in Cambodia, e-mails from friends in Myanmar, and requests for money from friends in Thailand. In the case of my Thai friend Tam, his wife just gave birth to their third child and he needed money to buy some essentials … like food, so I was inclined to help him out.
But alas, I don’t have the energy or inclination to write about any of these things with any additional depth. All in all, it was just another weird and wonderful, and perfectly normal, week here in Bangkok. Let it rain!