Thursday, August 25, 2011

Pattaya City Plus Bangsaen (Part 1)

Note: I should have posted this three weekends ago.

Because I was so determined to prove to my friends that I can reclaim the former glory of being a true, unattached single adventurer, I decided to go on a spur-of-the-moment trip to visit two places which I have been eyeing to discover for some time now.

So one, boring Saturday night (after I ran out of things to do in my apartment), I put on my fave travel clothes (specifically, a hooded t-shirt and a pair of shorts), slipped into my havies, packed Iko, some much needed toiletries plus snacks, and stashed my passport in my back pocket. After making a quick call to a friend, I was off to Pattaya City on my own.

My first dilemma was getting to Victory Monument. Although I have passed through this route countless times, I was still unsure. I checked google maps so to know which bus to take and since this supposedly fail-free site failed me several times in the past, I decided to call a friend as well to inquire about the bus number. After 20 minutes on Bus 39, I finally arrived in Victory Monument.

The second dilemma was finding the cheapest transportation service in the area. The last time I went to Pattaya City, we rode on a van and paid 130 baht but when we went back to Bangkok from there, we only paid 90 baht. We discovered too late that there were several transportation services strategically stationed around Victory Monument. When I got there, I couldn't find the van with the 90 baht fare but I was able to get on a van which asked for 100 baht. Once I was comfortably seated on the second row, I logged into facebook (my account then was still not deactivated) and anxiously waited for three hours to get there.

Travel time from Bangkok to Pattaya City is approximately 2-3 hours and it will help if you have a book or an ipod to keep you preoccupied. If you think that technology is too much of a nuisance, then you can enjoy the astonishing change from Bangkok's sky scrapers to the countryside's crop paddies. The safest stop in Pattaya City is Walking Street. Safe in a sense that you are right in the center of everything --- you have easy access to hotels, restaurants, bars, travel agencies, and the beach.

When the driver dropped me off in Walking Street, I went to the nearest travel agency to inquire about Mini Siam's location. Thailand's addresses are a bit tricky. The spelling you will see online may not be the same spelling you will see in the actual place, and the language barrier will only make matters worst. You can try as hard as you could to speak pasa-Thai but in the end, you'll only get a "mai kao jai." Being just a few months old here, I am still groping with getting the right accent. People here always say that I speak funny.

The manager of the travel agency told me to get on a song teaw (a converted pick-up truck used for public transportation which can accommodate about sixteen people in the back and two in front) and get off in Sukhumvit Road then get on another song teaw going to Mini Siam. Song teaw fares are usually 10 baht per person. The driver (after seeing my camera and map) tried to scam me by offering to take me to Mini Siam if I paid 170 baht. I opted not to take the offer and waited for other passengers which I am thankful for because Sukhumvit Road from Walking Street was just a 15-minute ride.

I met a motorcycle driver while I was searching for my first stop - Mini Siam. After asking seven other motorcycle drivers, we finally bumped into someone who knew where Mini Siam was. People here are more accustomed to the Thai names so it will be best if you knew both Thai and English names of the places that you plan to visit. This same driver (oooppppsss, too lazy to continue this now...)


If I were to reclaim the red skies I greedily owned and wage my wars again like the witch who danced into any man's heart, I will wash everything with white and repaint a different picture. Maybe a calm moon and few hundred stars here and there for a change, and the skies will be soaked in violet and vanilla, then maybe (just maybe), the storms will not be so harsh but would be like a lover's caress and the chilly air will smell like a thousand memories rolled into one.

If I were a gypsy again, I will find a man with no face, no name, nor family and friends to claim him. I will take his will in a single stride and leave him with a memory of a beautiful dream; one that he can always go back to at the comfort of his own mind. I will bear children with names like Luna, River, Redienne, Violet and Autumn.


But I am, otherwise.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


A friend asked, why I deactivated my FB account----------just BECAUSE.

Why you should date a girl who reads.

Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes, who has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve. (Probably not twelve, maybe even younger!)

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she has found the book she wants. You see that weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a secondhand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow and worn.

She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.

Buy her another cup of coffee.

Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.

It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas, for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry and in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.

She has to give it a shot somehow.

Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who read understand that all things must come to end, but that you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book, lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

Or better yet, date a girl who writes.

- Rosemarie Urquico