diow [bangkok]

griping the rain and photographing lavender clouds isn't a sufficient idea of bangkok as i've seen it to this point. i happen to be reading borges - who i doubt ever visited bangkok - and he says (of something entirely different and, in fact, wholly made up):
there is a nightingale and a night; there is a secret duel on the terrace. (though almost entirely imperceptible, there are occasional curious contradictions, and there are sordid details.) the characters of the first act reappear in the second - under different names.
wacky aphorism for bangkok? yes. amorphous, amok with vice and indulgence, labyrinthine, impatient, insomniac, these savages tout sweetened-condensed milk laced nescafe as real coffee! fumes assail nostrils every third step. gleaming, ancient temples appear from nowhere. you meet people, unbelievable people. proof: last saturday we'd no sooner plopped down in a dime a dozen storefront chosen solely because it advertised cheap beer, when bjorn ferm, 1968 modern pentathlon olympic gold medalist, began to regale us with stories of his famous-to-him acquaintances and sing the praises of unicorn - the best all-female rock band in thailand.

what i'm coming the long way around the bend to is the reminder that the people you meet in a place are often more important than the things you do or see in that place. i would be remiss if i were to yap any further without mentioning kosin jeenpradit - diow to you and me. a bang-up pen and ink artist, m and i met diow when we bought one of his drawings and asked him about the city. later he took us to a fabled hovel for pad thai and we three were all grins. since, he's helped us figure out a few bus routes and neighborhoods, but most importantly, he's taken us into some shadows that we'd have otherwise overlooked. as genuinely anachronistic as demure bell-bottom buddhist long-hairs come, diow undertook one of the great fool pilgrimages of our generation a few months ago when he forsook his office job to pursue things he deems real and worthy of his passions. so, this boy's gone and got it in his rose-colored glasses to up and learn guitar-making. in tennessee. he leaves tomorrow.

as a send-off, we all went out for that same pad thai, wandered a most ramshackle night market and then diow led us through a literal patchwork of corrugated scrap and pressed board to a tiny private dock directly across the chao phraya river from wat arun (temple of the dawn). yet another of the innumerable faces of bangkok revealed itself as tugs yanked trains of barges against the current in the otherwise silent night. diow wasted no words in telling us how he'd found the place ten years ago when, in a fit of insomnia over a girl, he'd gone wandering. women.

good luck, diow.

DOWNLOAD: carl perkins - tennessee [mp3]

No comments: