Bun Boy Eats LA
BUN BOY EATS LA - Archives for 2010 August

THAILAND – BLACKOUTS AND BUG BITES – PART #3

  • August 25, 2010 8:41 pm

STAR HUTS

Once again, (I feel as if I’m repeating myself) I only recall bits of the night.

Terrible, dreadful bits.

I remember wandering around alleys, drunk out of my mind. Not knowing where my friends were.

Not knowing where the hell I was.

I felt someone begin to follow me.

I tried desperately to regain some composure. Which is next to impossible when you’re this intoxicated.

When I finally sobered up a bit, I realized all my cash was gone.

$100 bucks I had brought out with me.

This was supposed to last several weeks and it was all gone.

It was really late and there weren’t many taxis left.

I approached one and he told me it was going to cost $100 US dollars to get to the other side of the island.

A 20 minute ride for $100 dollars.

THAILAND TAXI

My heart sank.

I slurred “I have to go to an ATM”

He drove me to a desolate atm outside of a shady bank with no working outside lights, except the dim atm glow.

I slid my card in and punched in my pin.

Nothing happened.

I tried this three more times.

Nothing.

I was getting worried.

I stumbled back to the taxi driver and told him we had to try another atm.

I don’t recall some of the details but the second atm did not work either.

I began to cry.

When we arrived at the third bank, I was hysterical. Fingers crossed (as well as eyes, at that point)

Finally the card worked and I was able to draw out the necessary blood money and got back in the taxi.

As we rode through the jungle, I choked back tears and pressed my sweaty forehead against the window. My comments about how he was ripping me off fell on deaf ears.

The next morning at breakfast, Lee said “You got up and went to the restroom and then never came back.”

We evacuated the resort that morning and backpacked to the other side of the island where we found some cute $5 a night wooden huts directly on the beach to rent.

They were called Star Huts.

Now, this was a nice change of pace for my wallet!

We had breakfast here every morning

We had breakfast here every morning

However, the skankorific bathrooms were shared by all the residents and constantly covered in mud (hopefully) and miscellaneous liquids. To go barefoot would be ill-advised.

We headed to a nice restaurant right on the beach where I avoided drinking anything but bottled water.

Then we headed to a tiny beach bar hut thing and a German couple showed me the pleasures of combining beer with Coca-Cola. It was really tasty!

The next morning, I went for a run around the village and the three of us spent our afternoon laying on the beach.

THAILAND BEACH

Me, the chubby American surrounded by skinny Europeans. My self-esteem was soaring.

This was our routine for the next few days.

And little did I know, I was being consumed by sand fleas!

THAILAND SAND FLEA

Demonic little creatures who would cause me to finally flee Thailand.

That evening I noticed I had huge, sweltering red bites all over my face and hands.

Bites that were seeping puss.

It was revolting.

I looked like the monster under the bed.

That night at dinner, I wore my hat low as to not wipe out the appetites of everyone around me.

I had a Singha beer that seemed to make the puss come out at a speedier rate.

That was my last taste of alcohol for the entire trip.

The next morning when Lee and Clare wanted to again spend the day on the beach, I knew a decision had to be made.

I had to get the hell out of Dodge.

Which ended up being the most nightmarish part of the trip.

THAILAND – WHY IS MY PASSPORT SOAKING WET? – PART #2

  • August 18, 2010 9:51 am

full-moon-party-in-thailand-2

Only snippets of memory remain regarding the rest of the night.

I remember watching fire dancers and dancing hippies adorning dreadlocks and music everywhere.

fullmoon

I remember laying on the beach with Clare and Lee watching the weirdos.

I remember all three of us sucking down the inviting contents of the booze bucket to see how fast we could finish it.

Those dreadful, awful, unsanitary port-a-potties of roofies!

1.1204005780.drinking-from-a-bucketx

And I remember not feeling as naive as I now realize I was.

Then I blacked out.

When I came to, I was standing in the middle of the street.

About ten feet in front of me was Clare, looking around. She appeared lost and was crying.

She had also blacked out and we had both come to at the same time.

“Where’s Lee?!” she sobbed. I had no clue.

I had no clue what time it was. But it was super late.

The streets were packed with people desperately trying to find some food.

There were shops selling hot chickens everywhere.

And restaurants advertising which popular movie they’d be showing to their patrons that evening.

Clare and I were zombies.

God knows how we found Mr. Handsome for our ride back to the other side of the island, but we did.

When we reached our hotel, Lee was incensed. He and Clare began fighting and cursing. “Where did you go? Why did you leave us??”

All three of us were crying and I went to bed trying to drown out their yelling.

The next morning, I noticed my passport was drenched. The entry stamp I had received in Bangkok was barely legible. Uh oh. This could be a problem when I was ready to leave.

“You and Lee were wrestling and throwing each other in the ocean” Clare later explained at breakfast.

Breakfast was served in this circular, wooden building perched on the edge of the ocean. The view was breathtaking. The food was really good. Whatever it was.

Our hotel was really a sanctuary from all the madness on the other side of the island.

panviman_resort01_large

After a cigarette, we all took a taxi to the other side of the island and walked along the beach to survey the carnage of the party the night before.

We had all been through a trauma.

But it was about to get worse for me that night.

It was New Years Day. 100,000 people dead across the water. And it was the Half Moon Party.

Oh boy.

Was I really ready to drink again. Ever again?

Apparently, Clare and Lee were not as scarred as I was.

Deja Vu.

We prepaid Mr. Handsome again for our ride back home and headed to Haad Rin beach again for another night of debauchery.

The scene was exactly the same.

People throwing fire pointlessly in the air. Why are intoxicated people messing around with fire? Especially when they have flammable, revolting smelling dreadlocks.

I secretly hoped one of them would catch their stinking hair vines on fire. And then wash off in the ocean, safe from harm of course. 😉

We avoided the buckets of death that night.

We had a few whiskey and cokes and some Red Bulls and vodka. They make a special more pungent version of Red Bull in thailand. I think it perhaps contains a fun, coma-inducing ingredient.

We went and danced our butts off at some reggae bar.

And then I blacked out again.

THAILAND – FULL MOON PARTY

  • August 11, 2010 8:02 am

Full_moon_party_haadrin

I will now attempt to recount what I remember from this epic night and the events surrounding it.

Clare, Lee and I are now settled fully into island life.

For breakfast, we’d have eggs and cigarettes at a little beachside café. Everyone smokes here, it’s insane.

I don’t normally smoke but thought I would try it on for size so I bought a carton at the duty free shop. That and a big bottle of Thai whiskey.

Mom, you must be so proud.

After breakfast we’d hang out at the beach all day. Then get ready and go drinking all night.

This was our daily routine.

I start to notice an unsettling trend.

Everyone around me appeared to be Australian supermodels. Wearing designer jeans, expensive linen shirts.

Here I was in my nerdy easy-dry REI cargo pants (the only pair of pants I brought) and some ugly t-shirt.

Plus, I was about 30 pounds heavier than everyone else.

I only witnessed one overweight person during my entire trip (walking on the beach in an inappropriate bathing suit) and everyone around me made jokes assuming she was American.

It was embarrassing.

To travel to a country where you felt uncomfortable touting your American status was unnerving.

But I avoided sewing the Canadian maple leaf patch on my backpack and did not lie when asked where I was from.

Go America.

We swam in the infinity pool at our hotel for a bit. The views were incredible. It was like we were in the middle of nowhere.

This amazing resort was only $35 a night!

This amazing resort was only $35 a night!


After we had freshened up, we took the hotel shuttle down the hill to our beach and arranged a ride to the main party beach with MR. HANDSOME.

Mr. Handsome was a comical bloke who sold sandwiches and drinks during the day and gave rides to all the parties at night. You would pay in advance and he would guarantee you a ride back to your hotel when the party was over

For like $5 bucks.

I didn’t know until the following night that how much money this ended up saving me. And how much trauma.

Well, we get in the back of a big truck with a bunch of other Brits and Ozzies, everyone excited about the events to come.

I heard not one stitch of drug talk. I was shocked. I always heard scandalous stories but never even once smelled any wafting marijuana or spied anyone popping random pills.

Boring!

Instead, the three of us went to a booth, chose our booze and our mixer and watched as the bartender poured each into a bucket of ice and gave us three straws.

This was a bucket ‘o trouble!

full moon party buckets

I was never a big drinker before so I was not exactly equipped to deal with two seasoned alcoholics and a trough filled with exotic libations.

I never thought I would black out…

THAILAND – BIG TROUBLE, LITTLE THAILAND – PART #1

  • August 3, 2010 9:46 pm

thailand tsunami

As I click “purchase” on Travelocity, for my airline ticket to India, I’m reminded of my past bad luck with international travel.

Specifically, the black cloud that followed me during my first foray abroad, Thailand.

It was 2004. I had been in LA four years and was itching to move to NYC.

I worked at a dreadfully dull job, where one colleague would smoke pot in the parking garage before we’d head out for a three-glasses-of-wine lunch and another colleague only represented clients who were dead and was begging for a sexual harassment lawsuit.

I had planned this 3 month, round the world adventure before the big move. A month in Thailand, a month in Egypt (renting a room in a church), 2 weeks in India and 2 weeks in England. All on my own. Scary!

10 days in Thailand and I was back in LA.

Let’s rewind, shall we?

Days after Christmas and I’m at the airport and I see on the tiny TV screens that there has been a big earthquake in Southeast Asia.

Luckily Thailand and India aren’t in Asia….wait a second…

Regardless, I begin my long journey to Bangkok, arriving on the 27th.

I don’t know what’s going on as I exit customs and am being yelled at by a thousand travel agents to book day tours with them.

All I could think of was get me some damn air conditioning!

The only thing I have arranged in Thailand is a hotel in Bangkok and then my resort on the island of Koh Phangan for the New Years holiday. Other than that, I was on my own and had to figure out how I was gonna spend my days.

I was coerced into hiring a tour guide the following day to see three major temples. The woman’s voice was so annoying, I said “yes” only to stop the ringing in my ears.

I took a taxi to my pseudo fancy hotel, passing some of Bangkok’s finest ghettos.

The next morning, I’m already bored and lonely.

At that moment I had realized I HATE traveling alone. How was I gonna get through THREE MONTHS of this???

To make matters worse, I open the hotel room door to find a newspaper stating “100,000 PEOPLE FEARED DEAD IN TSUNAMI”

I had unknowingly arrived in Thailand the day after the 2004 Tsunami.

Lovely.

Bangkok has the worst pollution of anywhere I’ve ever been to date. Which seemed odd, because everyone seemed to be driving brand new Toyotas.

Obviously with built in carbon monoxide enhancers.

I met my oddly shaped tour guide and she showed me to some beautiful temples.

Bangkok and Pattaya Beach

But I was so depressed I didn’t take a single picture.

Granted, my digital camera was less than 2 megapixels (no joke) and the size of the Brady Bunch’s first camcorder.

”Hey kids, put on your Sunday’s best! We’re going to Bangkok.”

At the end of the tour, the woman basically asks for a tip similar to the price I paid for the tour.

I suddenly hated this country. And her too, of course.

I gave her less and then had a sense of dread.

My friend who had inspired me to add Thailand to my list used to brag “I only spent $5 bucks a day, it was great! And that included booze!”

That lying bitch.

I had already spent hundreds and it was only my first day. My budget went out the window.

I soon realized I did not bring any appropriate clothing on my trip. I had just gone to REI and then the airport.

I was a complete geek.

And hot as blazes.

I needed some sandals, stat.

I went to this enormous mall, bought some pad thai from a cart for less than .50 cents and purchased a pair of flip flops from hell. Hell Flops.

I received matching, painful blisters in milliseconds and my hatred for Bangkok began to increase exponentially.

I sat down on a bench by a disgusting river to eat my pad thai and noticed lots of anorexic cats and dogs meandering around. It was sad and frankly, unappetizing.

thailand pad thai

After my time in Bangkok was done (get me outta here!) I arrive at the airport to book a flight to Koh Samui for the islandy, beachy, fun part of the trip.

All the flights were full for days.

This is where some pre-planning would have been effective.

The Tsunami had basically screwed everything up. Most people were leaving Thailand and those who were staying were all going the same places I was.

My first night in Bangkok was spent drinking multiple Singha beers at the rooftop pool and trying to find anyone staying. Every single person was getting the hell out of Dodge. I should have known then.

So, at the airport, I met a collection of backpackers and we all tried to find a helicopter to take us to the island. The pilot seemed to be missing from his office. We waited for hours.

Finally, a British couple (Lee and Carla) and I decided we’d take a train south and then take a ferry to Koh Samui.

You’ve not seen chaos until you’ve seen a Thai train station in the middle of the day.

There wasn’t a single legible sign.

There wasn’t a single clean smell.

There wasn’t a single moment of silence.

We knew pretty instantly we weren’t going to be able to figure this shit out.

So, we talked to a taxi driver and were able to negotiate a pretty reasonable rate to take us about 5 hours south. I was shocked and he must have been broke!

What a bullet we dodged! We got to see the pretty countryside and nap comfortably in a quiet, air-conditioned car. That would NOT have been our fate otherwise.

When we get to the edge of the mainland, we waited for about 4 more hours, constantly swatting mosquitos away (mozzies, as the Brits called them) before the ferry arrived to take us to Koh Samui.

Arriving in KS with a fresh case of Malaria, we waited for a smaller ferry to take us to our final destination Koh Phangan.

I had promised Lee and Carla that they could stay in my room at the Panviman Resort.

We take a taxi through the interior of the island to the opposite side. The ride is so bumpy I feel vomitous.

I also realize we’re light years from where all the action is. All the bars and restaurants are where the ferry’s landed.

I spend about an hour and a half begging the staff at Panviman to put an extra bed in my room for my unexpected guests.

For some reason, this request is completely foreign to them and they are refusing. I’m so frustrated, I almost start crying.

I just want something to go my way!!

Eventually they give in. Perhaps they knew what was to come and felt pity for me.

My round the world adventure was becoming a doomed nightmare.