As a born and bred project manager, I often have to fight my natural instincts to plan every single moment of my days. Especially on vacation. So, Day 12 was one of those days where I blissfully chose not to plan a thing. I’m glad I did.
It had been a fitful night’s sleep, and I awoke to feel a bit groggy. And, in all honesty, nauseated. Now, as a chronic sufferer of IBS, it can be hard to tell when you’re just dealing with regular intestinal issues vs. when you have a bug of some kind. But even I could tell that this was not regular.
I lazed around a bit, but still made it to breakfast fairly early in the morning. I had met another couple from Utah the previous morning while we waited for our rides to different Elephant Sanctuaries, and I ran into them again while eating. They were an older couple, close to retiring, and had come to Thailand to investigate moving there semi-permanently. Having close Utah connections myself, we had a good time chatting over our breakfast that morning while sipping coffee and enjoying the light breeze filtering through the trees. As we ate, we watched the resort staff picking up Loy Krathong lanterns that had fallen on the grounds or, in one unfortunate case, in the pool.
Breakfasts at these hotels and resorts are a much different affair than the “continental” breakfasts you normally get at hotels in the states. They were usually lavishly prepared and presented, with a wide variety of both western and eastern dishes. For instance, at Yaang Come, on of my favorite dishes was a grilled, triangular sticky rice dumpling, kind of like a tamale, cooked in a banana leaf and stuffed with Thai bananas. But I could also get sausage, eggs, waffles, and a huge variety of fruit. Also, the orange juice in Thailand is drastically different than it is in the U.S: It’s thinner and a clearer shade of rich orange. I think it’s made from mandarin-style oranges rather than the juice oranges we typically find in the states. It’s also significantly sweeter, with less of the tart acidity than I am used to.
Before breakfast was over, however, I could tell my stomach was in a bad way. I had to cut my meal short and head back to my room, where I stayed for the next several hours. I slept as much as I could, and spent a bit of time going through pictures on my laptop. Finally, around 1PM, my stomach felt a bit more settled, and I decided to venture out a bit. I went to one of the commercial shopping districts near the resort and found a McDonalds.
Now, before you start with me, let me say this: I had been in Thailand for nearly two weeks at this point. I hadn’t purchased a single bit of food from a chain restaurant or fast food joint. I had experienced a lot of the local food. But with my stomach in open revolt, I just wanted something with which I was familiar–so a diet coke and chicken nuggets it was. Sadly, even that didn’t bode well with my stomach, and I had to rush out of the restaurant to find another public bathroom. Which, again, had no toilet paper. (This time I managed to avoid soaking my underwear with the cleaning hose, which I will consider an undeniable win.)
I returned to the McDonalds, ordered another Diet Coke, and just sat in the powerful air conditioning using their fast wi-fi. (The wi-fi at the resort left something to be desired.) Finally, feeling a little better, I walked back to the hotel. I had really wanted to visit this super-cool hedgehog cafe they had near my resort, but I didn’t think my stomach was up for any more coffee. I figured I’d try to catch it the next day.
Finally, toward the end of the afternoon, I decided to get a massage. I went to a massage parlor just north of the old city, where I enjoyed an extremely pleasurable 90-minute body scrub and massage for a grand total of $30 USD. I had taken a Grab to the parlor, because I didn’t have a sense of how far away it truly was. On the way home, I decided to walk, even though I knew it would take me about 45 minutes. I strolled through the middle of the old city and past some of the most important temples inside its walls. I stopped at a coffee shop called “Into the Woods” and had an incredible iced latte. (My stomach felt a LOT better after the massage). And, I stopped at a small convenience store for some Pepto, a couple of Diet Cokes, and some cookies.
Finally, at around 9:30 that evening, I left the resort and walked back to Ram Bar, where I ordered a stiff drink and sat in the back of the crowded bar next to a real cutie from New Zealand. We talked for a solid 30 minutes before the show started, and again during intermission and after the show. The place was wall-to-wall.
The show itself was interesting. Drag is a performance art that I have never really understood. I know it requires a certain amount of skill, but it’s just not a skill of which I have any sort of appreciation. Nevertheless, it was an entertaining evening. (Even if most of the entertainment came from the choice of music and the people watching.)
Not being any sort of drag aficionado, I don’t have a vast array of experience, but I will say this: My limited experience with drag in the U.S. is that the performers are often far more interested in portraying a heightened, over-the-top image of anarchical femininity. In Thailand, however, the lead performers looked amazingly like real women…albeit with a bit of extra bling. Obviously, a large part of that comes from the surgical enhancements they undergo, but even still, I found the aesthetic completely different.
It was also pretty entertaining watching people who don’t speak English natively try to lip-sync to English lyrics. Some did a fantastic job at it. Others…not so much. One, in particular just made me laugh. She performed the song “Never Enough” from The Greatest Showman. Unfortunately, every time she mouthed the titular words of the song, she couldn’t form the ‘V’ sound, and instead mouthed “Neber Enough.” She sure did sell the performance, though.
Finally, around 12:30, the show ended, I was beat, and I had another big day planned, so I decided to head back to the hotel and crash. It hadn’t been my favorite day in Thailand, but I had experienced several new things, so I counted that as a win.