Scenes from Chiang Mai: Part 2
Scenes from my life in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
I returned to Thailand, two months later, via a ten hour layover in Singapore where I arrived at one in the morning, found the 24 hour Burger King, and then attempted to sleep in the airport. It was a horrible sleep interrupted by security who wanted to check my boarding pass.
I then spent one night, going to bed entirely too early, in Bangkok before heading back to Chiang Mai. I wanted to spend my last month with friends, in a place I love, not over-exerting myself. And I needed to spend a lot of time catching up with work.
But we all know the real reason I came back to Chiang Mai was because I am in love with someone who lives at the hostel…
I was sitting at Babylon, drinking a SangSom and Coke that the Aussie whose hand was on my knee had bought for me, when I noticed a guy at the bar. His face and tattoos looked familiar. It was a Thai artist who I’d met a few months ago in Pai. I ran up to him and we cheered and danced and drank. And it was nice to see him. And it was nice to have an excuse to get that hand off my knee.
(p.s. seriously, in what world have I entered that I’ve been turning down Australians left and right?)
I’d left the dinner table to grab another drink. As I passed by a table full of Thai men, one of them asked me why I was leaving. “I’m just getting another drink,” I said. He handed me a glass and said “here’s one.” So I sat down at their table and drank rum and water as they all told me that I was beautiful and told me that they loved me.
Why again do I have any desire to leave a country where all of the men are in love with me?
We spent the night drinking and, when it got late, they didn’t want me to leave. When I did, finally, escape them, one walked with me and my friends home, following me to the hostel, where I said goodbye and goodnight to a disappointed new friend.
“Oh my God!” I exclaimed, seeing a table full of vegetable-based fruit clips at the Sunday Market. “It’s a giant carrot. I think I need this giant carrot.”
Jenny officially thinks I’m crazy.
I realized that I was alone in the bar. The last of my friends had drunkenly disappeared while I was talking to Suwat, who owned the place.
He’s an artist with thick black dreadlocks and earlier while we were smoking together in his room I told him he should draw me. So, while sitting at the bar, he took out a scrap of paper and a pen and drew a portrait. I spent the rest of the night looking back at it.
He looked at it later in the night and determined that I looked sad in it, and so he took out the pen and made a few modifications. He told me he remembered the first time he’d saw me and that I had looked sad then. I had been.
When I realized that no one was left, Suwat offered to take me home on his motorbike and when he dropped me off he hugged me and asked if he could kiss me. I declined but was thankful that he was a gentleman who asked permission first and knew how to turn a sad girl happy.
“You’re beautiful” my friend told the woman at the market in Thai. “No,” the woman said, pointing at me, “She’s beautiful.” No, she was beautiful.
It was nearly 2am. I’d been sitting out back all night, playing pool, drinking red wine. I was told “go with Taki” – the man who spoke little English, the one who I’d danced with at a bar the night before, the one who, when I said “I like your tattoo,” responded with “I like you.”
“Where are we going?” I asked, but was repeatedly told, “just go with Taki, you can take the cat.”
And so, in one of those moments where I teetered on the probably not a good idea line, I got on the back of his motorbike (sans cat).
Where we went was his apartment, where the mattress took over the entire room, where I showed him the photos I’d been taking all night, and where he tried repeatedly to kiss me.
I returned to the hostel where I hugged him goodbye and where everyone was still drinking and still playing pool and giving looks of surprise that I had returned so soon.
I’m pretty sure that the bunny that lives in the hostel garden is really a unicorn in disguise…
We had been walking together down the street, him in search of coffee, me in search of a new nose ring as I’d realized that morning that my last one had fallen out. I’d seen him walking ahead of me and at first, slowed down, but then decided to catch up to him. During a lull in the conversation I forced myself to say something, finally, after way too long, probably well past the window of it being acceptable to bring up. “Is this totally awkward?” I blurted out.
“Um, no, it’s not awkward. It shouldn’t be awkward for you.”
But it was. And I think I managed to make things even more awkward.
I didn’t say anything, really, and the conversation moved on.
I had been rehearsing what I wanted to say to him in my head for entirely too long . “I understand you were just really drunk,” I’d say. “But it hurt, that you just avoided me afterward, that you had said you wanted to go to the fight with me and then disappeared. I felt like you wanted nothing to do with me.”
But, in real life, given the opportunity, I said nothing. And pretty much lost the chance to ever say anything again.