I am still patiently awaiting the shipment of the “Vikings NFC Champions” T-shirts to arrive in Thailand. I will straight up tackle a small impoverished child to get my hands on one of those.
I am currently in Pai. A small mountain town a few hours North of Chiang Mai. My time spent in Chiang Mai was interesting, to say the least. Here’s a quick recap.
I got off the train and walked about half a mile into town without much of a plan as to where I was going to stay for the next few days. I stumbled upon a guest house in the middle of old town and figured it was as good as any place to shack up for the first night.
I asked the owner how much it was for a night stay and he told me three-hundred Baht, which is roughly nine USD. Really not that much, but being on a tight budget I said something along the lines of
“How about you let me stay for free, and in return I’ll do a little cleaning here n’ there and make this place look like less of a shithole?”
He seemed to understand what I was trying to say and handed me a set of keys. Then a big smile came across his face and he said, as if I had just signed my life away,
“You my volunteer now!”
Right then and there I should have noticed the sly smile and the way he said “volunteer” and been like oh fuck, what did I get myself into. But I didn’t. Instead, I shrugged it off saying
“Sure man, whatever you say,” and proceeded on with my day.
Two nights passed without him having asked me to do a single thing. I was beginning to feel bad about not having done any work, but figured I’d stay one more night. If he didn’t approach me with a task by then I’d go and see what he wanted me to do.
In the meantime, I had heard that it was very easy for white guys with blonde hair like me to get acting jobs in Thailand, so I began to put out some feelers on Facebook for potential job offers. Within a few hours, a man by the name of Ann contacted me claiming he was a “talent agent”. He offered to buy me dinner, and tell me about possible acting opportunities. I figured a free dinner couldn’t hurt, so I took him up on his offer.
I quickly found out that he was anything but an agent.
The job he described to me was something along the lines of a male beauty contest. He described it as Miss America but for male tourists. He began to show me pictures of the show. They were all photos of him with a bunch of shirtless dudes flexing pretty hard.
Nope. Not for me. When I was thinking about an acting job I had in mind starring in like a Thai Sprite commercial, or maybe even being the poster boy for a local beer company. You know something with a bit of pizzazz. His offer didn’t seem to have any of that.
I have nothing against male pageants, I mean to each his own, but this seemed to be a borderline ladyboy drag show, I was out.
Now, if any of you reading this fall on the more sensitive side of the spectrum and get triggered by my use of the word Ladyboy. Don’t be. They fucking call themselves that. I have had multiple walk up to me and say
“Hello, I am Ladyboy nice to meet you.”
To which I usually respond
“Oh, cool nice to meet you too.”
I then proceeded to respectfully walk/run away. Why? Because it’s 2018 and if you want to be a ladyboy then be a fucking ladyboy, I couldn’t care less about how you choose to live your life. Just know that you won’t be able to pull a fast one on me. You can try, but I will see those knuckles and Adam’s apple coming from a mile away. I’m not falling for it.
I thanked Ann for the dinner and told him I would be in touch if I was ever interested in taking part in his Pageant. I don’t plan on contacting him again, but hey who knows, times might get tough.
I returned to my guest house and went to bed early. I was prepared to do the “cleaning” I had promised the owner first thing the next morning.
When I awoke, I found the owner and asked what needed to be done. He smiled again and said
“Ahh yess, you volunteer! Come with me.”
I was thinking I’d be sweeping up some dust and maybe moving some furniture around. Nope, I was way off.
Instead, he had me moving the bones of a goddamn temple across town. Bags of cement, window frames, unhinged doors, that kind of shit. It took me the better part of a day to complete.
I think the workers could tell I was only good for being a mule because when I asked if they wanted actual help building the temple they laughed in my face. Honestly, good call on their part. I’m pretty lousy with a hammer, but moving bricks around, that I can do.
I may have been better off just paying the nine dollars a night, but hey I got a good workout, and my labor helped in the rebuilding of an ancient temple. That has to count for something, right?
Apparently, the owner of the guest house though I was a great worker because he told me his cousin’s friend’s Dad was looking for help on his farm about thirty minutes outside of the city. In exchange for a few hours of farmwork a day he would provide me with three square meals and a place to sleep.
Farming? Now that sounds a little more up my alley. I figured it would be a great way to learn about the origins of the food I’d been eating and really connect with some locals. I was picturing harvesting exotic fruits, feeding chickens, shearing sheep, genuine, cool farm shit. I accepted immediately.
The owner of the guest house told me the farmer would arrive that night to pick me up. I packed my bags and got ready to send it.
Things were suspect from the beginning. I met the farmer, a big Polish guy who went by the name Kuba, at the bus station. He was waiting for me with two mopeds. He pointed to the one on the right and said
“This one you.”
Now, I’ve ridden mopeds before but that was in America, where we drive on the right side of the road. Here in Thailand, they drive on the left like a bunch of sociopaths. Night had also fallen and I had a forty-pound backpack on, so you can understand why I was a bit wary to drive thirty-some minutes into the countryside.
My nerves were slightly calmed when Kuba offered to carry my pack for me. The sense of calm didn’t last long for he grabbed my camelbak, which weighs at best three pounds when full of water. You’re fucking kidding me man. You’re a seasoned Thai motorist and you’re offering to carry an empty camelbak while leaving the kid whos never driven in this strange land with a massive top heavy backpack… Gee thanks!
I didn’t have much of a choice so I strapped on my backpack, hopped on the bike and went full steam ahead into the dark of night. I had to constantly remind myself to stay on the left side of the road, but aside from some minor back pain I had no real problems. Traffic was light and we made it to the farm in just over thirty-minutes.
Apparently, “farm” has a very loose definition in this country because the place where I ended up couldn’t have been further from one. There were no sheep, no chickens, nothing. In fact, the only animal around, aside from the pet dog, was the neighbor’s rooster that woke me up with its crow at four-in-the-fucking-morning.
I was later told the neighbor uses his rooster in underground cockfighting matches. I’m sure if I stayed around long enough my 4:00 AM alarm clock would have eventually been permanently silenced.
Kuba was no farmer, and his “farm” was nothing more than a big construction site in the middle of a rice field. Still a very cool part of the countryside, I’m happy I had the opportunity to see it. I put a solid day’s work in then bounced. It wasn’t for me. I was expecting to be farming but instead was sanding floors and painting walls.
I hitched a ride back to Chiang Mai with a German guy named Daniel. We puttered along slowly, as we were two big guys with backpacks on one small moped. We made it to the city center safe and sound. I spent another two days there, during which, I had the opportunity to fuck around in an elephant sanctuary. Houndin’ through the jungle with a pack of elephants is an experience that I can’t describe in words, it was surreal.
From Chiang Mai I caught a bus North to Pai, where I am now. It’s a great little town tucked away in the mountains. I rented a mountain bike for three bucks and have been skrtin’ through all kinds of trails with my French friend, Arnaux. I’m a big fan of the French. They know how to hound.
I’ve been hearing tales of a Monastery in the forest that anyone can stay in for free for up to ten days. Legend has it if you go you have to follow the exact practices of the Buddhist monks. That means you dress in a robe, do a lot of meditating and stay on a strict diet. Oh ya, you’re also not allowed to talk. For ten days.
Sounds like some Bruce Wayne Batman/Avatar/Jedi shit. I’m so in. I was also told that it brings good luck to your mom, so at the very least maybe she’ll have a great week.
I guess this one’s for you mom. Just know that if you find a hundred bucks on the ground or win a scratch off it wasn’t due to chance or fate, but rather because your son is somewhere deep in a forest cavern kicking it with a bunch of monks.
I may be off the grid for a few days so don’t worry if you don’t hear from me. I’m not dead, I’m just learning how to use the force, bend water and move with the shadows.
Peace Peace Peace
Tuesday, January 30th 5:44 PM Pai, Thailand.