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Day 9 – The World According to Anne

March 12, 2010

Dateline: Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, March 12, 2010

“Man, there was so little fucking traffic, I didn’t even have time to fucking finish my joint.” Anne rolled a half-smoked marijuana cigarette in her hand. She wasn’t pissed as much as she was surprised.

I feel kind of the same way. Nothing much happened today, and I know that I have to write something about this nothing.

I mean, do you really want to hear about how I spent all morning writing the previous entry and e-mailing to the editor? How I didn’t head to the bus station to buy a ticket until noon and how much my bus ticket on the overnight VIP bus cost and that the whole ordeal took longer than I thought it would because the station is in BFE? Or how I wandered an English bookstore for a couple hours afterwards, loading up on reading material for the islands?

If that sounds interesting, drop me a note in the comments and I’ll fill you in there. The day was pretty devoid of anything interesting to the point that I only took one picture worth sharing (above).

The only half interesting thing that happened was that Anne and I saw a movie (“Green Zone”). The tickets for the best seats in the house only cost 220 baht ($6.90). The theater was gigantic (seats for 500, probably). The movie started with a half-hour of commercials, which was only surprising because the phenomenon has apparently afflicted Bangkok. Right before the movie started, everyone stood while the theater pumped the national anthem accompanied by a reel of clips showing the benevolence of the king. If everyone weren’t so serious, it might have felt cheesy.

The movie was adequate, if occasionally overwritten.

Matt Damon: “The reasons we go to war always matter!!!!!” I think the scene would have worked if it had gone unsaid. It reminded me why Quentin Tarantino is a genius. It also made me think that it’s surprising that Matt Damon is today’s only legitimate “action” star. Who’d a thunk the chubby kid in “Good Will Hunting” would be the last decade’s Arnold/Stallone/Seagal?

Afterwards, Anne and I headed to the Lumpini Night Market to browse and grab a beer. It was as we were getting into the car to drive to Lumpini that she lamented her half-smoked joint.

Instead of recounting our trip through the stalls and our time at the restaurant, I thought I’d give you a brief summary of the world according to Anne. I don’t think she would mind my sharing. I didn’t have a recorder running, so I’ll just try to capture what I think are the essence of her thoughts and quotes. Any mistakes should be blamed wholly on me.

Oh, and when you read this, make sure you add a German-Swiss accent and a lot of swearing.

Without further ado, the World According to Anne:

• ”Voodoo is real, man.” Voodoo is heavily practiced in the village where she lives and runs a restaurant. A year ago, she succumbed to its power when a worker of hers put her under a spell by slipping something into her food and drink. She gained a ton of weight and couldn’t think straight. Voodoo’s not just magic, it’s based in science with a little mystical stuff on the side. She warned me not to trust the Thais in her village and that I should fear the black magic. She also wants me to visit her.

• ”The red shirts are peaceful. They have no weapons, man. The yellow shirts will blow [things] up and blame the reds.” There is a giant conspiracy by the yellows to frame the reds. The yellows are the ones who blew up the buses and bombs at last year’s red demonstrations. The yellows will do the same this year. The yellow are “lies lies, always lies, man.” The local media is in the pocket of the elites and lying to the world press. It may sound crazy, but part of me believes some of what she says. Aren’t the rich and privileged and those in power always in a better position to tell their story and write history?

• ”It’s D-day for the people. There will be revolution.” The people will follow through. A million people will converge on Bangkok and peacefully overthrow the current regime.

• ”I’m a dyke.” She’s a shaved head lesbian that won’t take shit from anyone. At the same time, from what I’ve seen, she’s a very kind and thoughtful person. She calls for revolution, but I can’t imagine her doing anything violent. That said, I’m pretty sure she could kick my ass on principle.

• ”I only ask whether the food tastes good for the money.” Anne’s a chef. A damn good one if she and Becca are to be believed. One of my great disappointments is that Becca didn’t call me before I bought my ticket to Krabi yesterday. Anne is cooking for Becca’s family and I would have been invited. Unfortunately, I’ll be on a bus headed for the south.

As a chef, I expected Anne to be very critical about food. She is, but only in the context of how much it costs. She seems to have an excellent palate (she ID’d ingredients quickly and accurately and gave me the secret to crisping duck skin without baking or roasting.). For her, though, what’s only “okay” for 200 baht can be “very good” for 30 baht. I like this philosophy and will steal it as my own.

Okay, I’m running out of time here. There’s more, but I’m in a rush to get this out. Perhaps I’ll have another segment later. I have to run out and catch a bus to Krabi. Tomorrow, expect a summary of my travels from Bangkok to the coast on the overnight bus. Oh, and as requested I’ll be posting a picture of Becca’s “family unit.”

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