Post-modern, self-aware title

I am an anti-social lunatic who steers clear of other backpackers. Most of the kddies I met on my travels north through Malaysia were making the pilgrimage to the Full Moon Party on Ko Pha Ngan. I was planning on joining the trek, but changed my mind on my way to the train station. Something about a crowded island, with ramped-up prices, and being devoid of authentic culture steered me away. I realized that by making the reverse commute, I could have Bangkok all to myself for a few days! I jumped on the beautiful, 22-hour, sleeper train and arrived in Bangkok yesterday morning. I don’t exactly have the city to myself, but I am confident there are dramatically fewer backpackers than there will be in a week.

Judging by my first impression, I passionately love Bangkok — I seem to enjoy the cities other people hate! This city is smoking hot, crowded and in-your-face, but it has a palpable energy and vibrancy that was completely devoid in Malaysia. It was hard to figure out what was wrong about Malaysia, but spending a day in Thailand makes it glaringly obvious. It is boring. I ate dinner in a bustling mega-mall’s food court last night and then people-watched for a couple hours before catching a 21:00 showing of Watchmen! I loved the graphic novel, so I couldn’t resist checking out the movie.

I loved the film and was shocked at how well it was adapted. Anyone who has read the comic will attest to how difficult of a conversion this was. However, to anyone reading this over 30, don’t necessarily run out and see the film because I enjoyed it. It is very dark and hard to understand. I am sure that most people will leave the theater disgusted. Having said that, the concept and execution are brilliant.

The people watching in Bangkok is excellent. I cringe every time I see an ugly old Westerner with a cute young Thai. I passed by dozens of prostitute on my walk home after the movie — none were older than me. After the last couple years, America may not be able to export finance as well as we used to — but we are still exporting an incredible amount of culture. I am getting the impression that the road to being cool in Bangkok is by out-americana-ing your peers. Last night, I saw an early-twenty-something wearing a vintage yellow packers t-shirt and dragging two babes around. Speaking English, wearing American brands, listening to American music — these are symbols of status in Thailand. At least we still have one thing going for us.

My passport is going to be full after China, so I made an appointment at the US embassy for 7:30 tomorrow. I am going to jet over to the Chinese embassy after to try for a China visa. Wish me luck.

I am staying way out of the backpacker’s zone, close to Lumphini park. The park is massive and has an adult-playground where thousands of elderly Thais exercise in-synch every morning and evening to the sounds of blaring techno beats. More of that epic Thai people watching.

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One Response to “Post-modern, self-aware title”

  1. Steven M. Kendall Says:

    To Shaun Maguire- Shaun, I’m a very good friend of your mom, Lisa & your uncle Tim, as well as Phil & Amy,etc. I was 20 yrs. old when myself & two buddies took a backpack, surfboard, & took off on a surf-trip that became ‘The Endless Winter’, as we left in Jan.,’79 , surfed our brains out, experienced everything we could, be it legal/questionable, but mostly morally acceptable with respect to the ‘locality & customs’! I wrote heeps of letters to your Lisa, as she is & always will be a ‘truly special’ person; What I’m trying to say is, Shaun, grasp onto as much experiences as you can, but also allow yourself the time to let it all soak in. If you like or care about a certain place, or person pull back, put it in cruise-control & enjoy…sorry, just a little friendly advice, as I believe Lisa & you will be hooking up very soon for a bit of ‘grape-juice’ tasting…drink hearty, have a blast, keep smiling,etc. Hopefully Lisa can explain the rest. Until then, ‘Pura Vida’…’Pure Life’…travel well..be safe, Steven M. Kendall (World-Traveller-Extraordinaire)

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