Monday, January 23, 2006

The pictures below are from my trip to Thailand. I think some of them are truly fantasic, not for their composition, which can be mostly credited to me, but for their content, with which I had nothing to do. But before you scroll down to marvel at their "fantastic content," allow me to climb up onto my soap box, pull out the world's smallest violin and play the world's smallest song called "Why I hated Thailand, In a Nutshell." The pictures alone cannot express and complete experience.

I went to down to Bangkok with my roommate Perrine last week and we came back yesterday. But that was not actually the plan. Not at all. The plan was that she was supposed to come back, as she only had a 10-day vacation, and I was to blow off the return leg of my travelling-as-two reduced-rate ticket and carry on to Cambodia and Vietnam, taking the train back to Beijing from Hanoi. But what really happened was that I got pissed off and disappointed and for the first time in my life, I told myself that I didn't want to travel anymore, and I cashed in my chips and went home early.

I understand that this was a slightly exteme response, but those who know me know that I have a propensity for occasionally doing extreme things like, at the drop of a hat, pulling up stakes and moving to China.

Hm...actually, I will stop here. I just got bored writing my own thoughts, so I can only imagine that others would be even more bored reading them. Nevermind.

Thailand's got some really cool things going for it, but it really sucks because it's like any other heavily touristed place. Scams, rip-offs, dred-locked white kids talking about all the places they have "done" (how the fuck can you "do" a place, anyway? You can "do" things and, in all fairness, you can "do" people, but how can you "do" Angkor Wat?), sparkly bars blasting American hip-hop, aggressive sales people selling trinkets imported from India, getting nickel and dimed at every turn, beggar children, other tourists mucking up the photos...the usual. When tourism is such a part of the infrastructure, as it is in Thailand, travelling is not really travelling, but an exercise in accepting alternate level of reality where nothing is quite genuine, but sort of looks it, and the acceptance is so strong that the image is really all that's left.

We made the mistake of going to the wrong places, the places too easy to be, and we paid. Someone who's travelled and lived abroad as much as I have, especially after having grown up in Hawaii, should have known better.

But even having recognized that, I'm definitely, sincerely turned off. And it's all a bit sad because it seems that it can only get worse. It's a race against the clock before the best beaches of the world all look like the shores of Waikiki, if they haven't gone that way already. Or maybe I'm just disappointed that my romantic notion of travelling and adventuring has suffered a smart smack of reality, so much so that I doubt the sincerity of the feeling in the first place.

In any event, enjoy the photos.

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