Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Live Modeling

To earn a little extra money and to see what it's like, I sit for an art class.

It is quite boring (though not as boring as meditation), but I love seeing all the different visions of myself when the artists are done.

I am either voluptuous and womanly

or a cartoon.

My good friend Alexia does a whole series

ranging from scary to pretty.

She gives me this one. I feel validated and narcissistic, which is fun!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

What I've Been Doing

On one hand:

Going to a Moi Thai fight

where whitey tourists

watch lady boys.

On the other hand:

Wandering through the Chiang Mai Art Museum:

A garden of dolls in jars:

Very Thai pop art:

And a room of stuffed animals sprawled on the floor:

Friday, September 26, 2008

At Warm Up

The only table left is beside the sushi.

But the conversation is good.

The most interesting people watching is in the girl's bathroom.

So I hang out there for a while.

Until a random Thai girl befriends me and insists on taking one of these photos:

Soon I will lose my friends in the crowd, the cover band will play Santaria by Sublime, and I will decide it's time to go home.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Border Crossing

My friend Anna tells me they used to be called U Turns. Now they say Visa Run, but the concept is the same.

After two months here, I must leave Thailand, enter somewhere else, renew my Visa, turn around, come back.

Stations of transit in all countries are the same.

At least, they inspire the same feelings in me: restlessness, loneliness, excitement.

I had forgotten how much I love staring out a bus window.

Four hours later, we arrive at the Thai-Burma border.

These in-between places fascinate me.

On one side of the river is Thailand, on the other Burma. Thailand. Burma. Thailand. Burma.

Here I go:

And here I return:

Travel is odd. Sometimes I wonder what I'm doing here. But I must be on the right track somehow, because crossing from Burma to Thailand, I make a new friend. And we talk the whole way back.

Stranded at 711 in the Rain

I'm riding my bike when the rainstorm hits, halfway between the coffeeshop and home.

Under the 711 awning, a crowd has gathered.

We watch and watch and watch the rain. It seems we will be stuck here forever, eating banana chips and peanuts from the aisles, making frantic calls until our cell phones run out of batteries.

Finally, a lone girl departs.

I feel abandoned.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Magic Hotel

On a walk around the city, Joey, Meg, and I wander into the lobby of a seemingly decrepit hotel. Entranced by the antique mermaid doorknobs and mosaic tiled floors, we follow a winding staircase to the second floor.

It is lovely. There's even a dining room that reminds me of home:

And the canopied bed I always wanted as a child:

Up another flight and there's Chiang Mai in all its cloud-colored glory.

We are all three in love with this place, and we spend the next hour brainstorming how we can afford to stay there. Joey has a friend's father visiting. Meg could tell her employer her basement's flooded. I suggest we rent the whole thing for a New Years Eve party. Or a wedding. Any takers?

Monday, September 15, 2008

What We Get Used To

Mike says he doesn't notice the temples anymore.

They are just part of the landscape now.

Maybe he feels like I do about the hills and woods in Ashfield.

And one day, you're going ten miles over the speed limit down Williamsburg Road, impatient, annoyed at the same slow curves, when you look up and see the sun coming through the newly bare trees, and you feel the weight and beauty of where you are. And it lights you up inside.

Maybe someday the temples will be like that for me too.

But now, they still surprise me every time, and each one reminds me I'm here.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

More Cute Shopgirls

When I told this girl she looked pretty, she shook her head. "I'm fat," she said. "You're sexy." I wasn't sure how to take that.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Flower Market

Maggie, her friend Tom, and I head to the Flower Market.

They have big, classy cameras. I take their pictures with Mike's tiny point and shoot.

We arrive.

I don't know anything about flowers, but Maggie says it's amazing to see so many orchids. She buys a huge bouquet of dead bamboo. I like the woven baskets:

When we wander away, we can see down the river:

Rooftops and umbrellas:

And the (un)usual assortment of sites.

Bank-robber mannequin heads:

A dog asleep on a case of gold jewelry:

The grocery market, full of delicious practicalities:

And piles and piles of scarves: