Getting down in Surin party town

Trip Start Oct 02, 2008
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Trip End Oct 12, 2008


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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Today was another great day. On the way to Phanom Rung, the site of an ancient temple, I break out the bugs and share them with people on the bus. Only Naomi is brave enough to try a few, but everybody wants to take some pictures. She enjoys them, and everybody else enjoys their pictures.

We find ourselves at an ancient temple, built before Angkor Wat, and just as impressive. Hindu worshippers brought sandstone up atop this volcanic mountain to build a perfect place to honour their god of destruction, Shiva. Twice a year, the sun lines up perfectly in between the front and back doors of the temple. You can see just how precisely the architects planned this sacred place. The same temple was then used by Buddhists and renovated accordingly. This is definitely not the day to wear a tight skirt. I have to hike it up to my mid thigh in order to climb the steep steps. At this point, the cheap sandals that I bought in Bangkok are wearing a little thin. The foam on the bottom has been completely obliterated, and I can now feel every bump and stone underneath my feet. I feel like I should probably buy some nicer sandals soon. I don't think I'll be keeping these for much longer. Also, the hikers that I wore here fell apart in the jungle trek, so I left them in my hotel room, muddy and broken on the floor. It's not a good week for my feet.

I take a little bit of a walk by myself in the nearby forest, watch the kids playing in the fields on this balmy Saturday afternoon.

On the way to the bus, I contemplate what I have just seen, and I realize that world-class astrologer and all-round renaissance man, Mr. David Perez would have been just ecstatic to have experienced this place, so I beg Yui for two minutes so that I can buy him something that he might like. Most of the stuff they are selling is crap, but quickly I find a little souvenir for him.

At lunch, we stop at a cute little restaurant, full of teak and delicious curry. I order a watermelon juice and it is divine. There is also a little pond full of giant goldfish. I play with them for a bit while our dinner is prepared.

From here, we drive to our next hotel, in Surin, Thailand. We arrive tired and sweaty, to a giant table full of coconut juice. Mmmmmm, I fill my belly with the sweet liquid, and trudge up to my room. We've got a few hours of downtime before dinner, so I go down to the pool too update the blog, talk with some ex-Brits and Aussies, who have retired in Thailand, married young Thai women and had babies... I speculate that they are all over the age of 60...at least, and decomposing slowly from the inside out; not so innocent victims of drink and smoke. They sit around the little round wooden table, talking about the state of the Thai roads, and complaining about the price of living back "home". They make mean jokes about their wives, one even calling his beloved "the fat one", to much raucous laughter. She did not acknowledge this comment, I'm not sure if she didn't understand it or if she just chose to ignore it. Another man's son is begging his father to get something to eat, he and his mother have not had anything to eat since breakfast. Daddy dearest lingers over his whiskey and chats some more about their home country. I try not to take part in the conversation, I just came over to use the table and the plug. My laptop has just died and I need to finish the day's blog as well as charge up the battery.

Alan and Naomi go swimming and briefly come by to visit to see what the deal with these old guys are, no doubt. Eventually they leave to get their families some food, and Alan comes over to do a little bit of work too.

After a buffet dinner at the hotel, Sean and I want to go see where the cool kids in Surin hang out on a Saturday night. I look it up on Wikitravel, and find out there are two short streets, in a town of 40,000 that have music, karaoke and dance clubs.

Everybody else hops on a rickshaw to another night market. We just start walking down the street. I figure that Sean knows where he's going because earlier today he went walking and photographing, while I was writing and hanging out with a bunch of old drunkards.

The streets seem deserted and we start to think that maybe we're not going in the right direction. We come to a little congested intersection and try to cross the street. I thought that the light was green in my favour, so I start to get on my way. Yes, it was, but as I glance to my left, I see a giant bus come screeching to a halt to turn left. In my brain, I'm thinking that the bus is slamming on the brakes because maybe I'm doing something wrong, so I run back to the safety of the sidewalk, only to find myself directly in the path of an oncoming motorcycle. Wildly waving my arms and screaming like a crazed maniac, I panic and I think Sean senses my panic too, and we run laughing our heads off in the opposite direction, finally safe and sound.

We decide this must be a sign, so we hail the next tuk tuk and ask him to drop us off in front of Thong Tarin hotel. He seems to drive us in the direction of where we came. Sean is freaking, saying that the driver's taking us to the wrong place. Just as I think he's about to jump right off, the driver rounds the corner and we see the giant marble sign.

"Ohhhhhh my god, we were so lost!" he says. We all laugh again and give the driver a nice tip, since we thought he was probably trying to rip us off and lying the whole time.

We wander around speculating on which girls may or may not be prostitutes, drinking beer at the "Beer Garden" and looking around for some crazy teen Thai action. No, not that kind.

Earlier today Sean was craving chocolate, so we picked some up at a little pastry shop, took it to the Beer Garden and watched a Thai jam band play beside a giant jumbotron screening the latest RAW wrestling match.

We leave, and then find a cool club called Bar Code, inside a pretty girl is singing Evanescence and some Thai reggae songs, it was really great and interesting. Her voice was so much bigger than her body. It was incredible.

Continuing on down the street, we notice there are girls, dressed in the same colours, just hanging out outside the karaoke bars. Putting on our speculation hats again, we decide that these are indeed prostitutes, but they are not officially connected with the drinking establishment. We assume that the potential customer would invite them in for a drink and a song, then they would leave together, and from there what they do together is none of the karaoke bar's responsibility. The bar can wash its hands of everything, and the customers go home doubly happy.

Sean and I split up, because he doesn't want to sing karaoke. He goes to the gogo bar to try and get some photos of the girls dancing there. I find a little karaoke club and sit down with a rowdy bunch of teens, perhaps 20-somethings, who have taken over the centre couch. They are singing and laughing, trying to buy me drinks, one particularly aggressive fellow (missing some front teeth) is trying to force some yellow liquid into my hand. It looks like ginger ale or beer, but who could be sure, really? I politely decline and scan through the songs that they have in English. Before I could choose one, my new friends have already paid their bill and left. All that's left is me, an old man and a girl who's probably a hooker. I settle on singing Leaving on a Jet Plane and Barbie Girl, pretty much the only ones out of the list that I know. They only have about 50 in my native language anyway. My song comes on and it's this weird remix of the original, superimposed on some old wet t-shirt contest footage, taken probably in Miami beach in 1990. So strange. "So kiss me and smile for me, tell me that you'll wait for me" is ringing out while you're watching some women fondle their breasts and shake their soaking wet hair. I couldn't look away from the screen because I was reading the words, right? It was horrible. I was trying to shield my eyes from the top half of the screen, while still being able to read the words on the bottom.

Anyway, by the time I got out of there Sean was waiting for me and we go back to the hotel. It's about 1 a.m. and he's tired. I get back and figure that Alan would probably want to know all about it. So, I call him and he wants to go back out. So we quickly hop another tuktuk and I head back over there with him. Our first stop is Speed 3 this time, I figure it's probably just as awesome as it was last time I was there. Yep, totally. There's this super skinny Thai dude, dressed up like a woman and telling jokes onstage. He sees us standing a few feet away and says:
"Where you from? Britain?"
"No Canada!"
"Ohhhhhhh Canada, hello, thank you, goodbye!"
Then he obviously starts talking about us to the crowd in Thai and they all stare and laugh. We can't do anything else but laugh.
Next, a rock band takes the stage, and we realize that it's the lady boy, changed into rockstar clothes and singing the songs. Wow. What a show!
After that comes to an end, we check out the karaoke bars to see if any of them are still open. None of them are, and the only place still bumping is the gogo dancer bar. We watch a couple of women sing and a group of them dance around in a circle on a big pedestal. You can buy them glittery boas for extra money, and maybe if you're lucky they'll come talk to you after you're done. Most of the women look bored and vacant, but there is one lady who is so expressive and just totally loving her job that it cracks us up. The spectacle is just so bizarre that I can't take my eyes off of it. "It's like the sun!" I yell at Alan, over the throbbing bass and pumping house music. "It hurts so much, but I can't stop watching!"

We pay our bill and stumble on home, it's not far so it's not a big ordeal at all.
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Comments

gildo
gildo on

What Can You Do?
'So strange. 'So kiss me and smile for me, tell me that you'll wait for me' is ringing out while you're watching some women fondle their breasts and shake their soaking wet hair.'

Now that must have been quite the Kodak moment. LOL

starlagurl
starlagurl on

Re: What Can You Do?
Yeah it was crazy, just too bad that I had to experience it by myself.

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