Monday, October 31, 2011

"It's better not to go deciding too many things now. People go through changes like you'd never believe."

dance dance dance by haruki murakami. page 366
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Saturday, October 29, 2011

"Nothin' to do
No where to go, oh,
I wanna be sedated."

i wanna be sedated by the ramones
.

i can't wait until life returns back to normal here in bangkok.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

more and more people i know have decided to evacuate bangkok and even flee thailand.

as for me, i'm perpetually broke so leaving for my non-existent escape-destination is not happening---i will be staying put in the city.

today alone, i was told such a range of stories from different people about what is to be expected from the floods, and a lot of it to me just sounds like frenzied hearsay: "when the water hits the inner areas of bangkok, the city's plumbing is going to give way and the floodwaters are going to be filled with human waste and diseases" OR "the second wave of flooding will hit this weekend, but the unreported third and fourth waves will be coming soon after" OR "one of the dams in the northern region of the flooded areas has gave way, and the floodwaters are approaching more violently because of it" OR "the floodwaters are going to be swarming with crocodiles that will eat people."

it's easy to be swept up in all the inevitable hysteria that is affixed to any situation when residents are forced to wait for an impending natural disaster to reach them. however, i refuse to believe anything unless i've learned about it from a credible source or seen it with my own eyes.

the one thing that actually does scare me however is the fact that drinking-water and basic food supplies are still impossible to find here. every convenience store and supermarket i went to today is still in dire lack of supplies. even though i walk into them hoping to find shelves re-stocked with basic necessities, all of the stores in central bangkok just seem to get emptier and emptier with each day.

i also just read an article in the Wall Street Journal (link HERE) recognizing this issue, and the newspaper stated that bangkok should not expect to see shipments of drinking-water and basic food supplies until the middle of next week... i really hope that it's much sooner than that because i already know of people who are out of drinking-water.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

the flooding in thailand seems to be only getting worse.

drinking-water and other basic necessities are pretty much still impossible to find in stores that are located in the center (main parts) of bangkok. the message that thailand's ministry of education has obscurely-communicated by shutting down ALL schools until november 7 (a far-away THIRTEEN DAYS FROM NOW), is extremely worrisome. the government has declared tomorrow and the day after---thursday and friday---national holidays in order for people to evacuate or flee. thailand's death toll from the floods is also rising and currently stands at 373 lives.

the thai media is reporting that while the first wave of floods has hit the capital city, a second wave is to come again this weekend. however, the flooding-situation seems to have been going on for some time now with a lot of contradictory reporting, so it's difficult to say whats's going to happen at this point. since the flooding became a credible threat to bangkok, the media and government have been assuring residents that everything will be fine, but in actuality things seemed to just have continued to get worse. i think in situations like these, it's easy to jump to conclusions and be melodramatic---which i always try to avoid---so i'm trying to stay grounded and calm until i know there's a credible threat to my area. but all i know is that with each passing day, the water seems to be reaching closer and closer into the center of the city, which is where i live, and i'm starting to hear of more people that are deciding to flee the city and the country.

the flooding is on everyone's mind and while it's impossible to not be affected by it, life for the most part is still moving on. while some places have closed, most stores, restaurants and other establishments i've passed by in the unaffected parts of the city have all remained open but with a wall of sandbags protecting them. the mood of the un-hit parts of bangkok is still relatively calm as well. however, if you go into stores and supermarkets, the air is filled with this nervous energy as people uneasily scramble to stock up on whatever they can. i was in a supermarket earlier today trying to buy some lunch, and immediately left because i could feel myself getting anxious and tense just from being in there and surrounded by the frenzy.

thankfully though, i was able to score some bottled water earlier in the week. on monday, i accompanied this korean mom to her son's parent-teacher conferences at an international school in order to translate for her. the school was on the outskirts of bangkok and one hour away from where i live. while there, we randomly stopped at this nearby, small mom-and-pop convenience store to purchase some cool drinks, and lo' and behold, the store actually had some drinking-water available. there wasn't much remaining, but i was able to score two 12-packs of small bottles of good quality bottled water. i have to note that they were good quality because even though there's a large selection of bottled water that's sold here in thailand, sometimes i'll study the labels and be reluctant to allow it to enter my body. nevertheless, i was so excited to have scored some water that afternoon---and then my paranoia kicked in. when we left the mom-and-pop store, the owner put each of the two packs inside individual, clear plastic bags. since i already sometimes get puzzling looks when riding the city buses due to the fact that foreigners rarely take them, i didn't want to attract any more attention to myself with my priceless bounties. so when we rode a taxi back to the korean mom's building, i asked her to spare two non-clear plastic bags. she asked me why, and i told her that i needed them in order to cover up the water for my 30-minute bus-ride home (i'm from nyc and i always just have this gut instinct to protect my shit). i'm happy to say that i made it back to my place with no issues that evening, and i now have enough water to last me about a week (if i ration it and drink it sparingly).

i google-mapped bangkok's flooding situation, and the images below are how the city is standing as of this very moment. bangkok is nearly surrounded by water on all sides. i'm so grateful that where i live is still unaffected, and hope that it will stay this way. but it's really upsetting to see all the effected areas while imagining the 2.5 million lives that have been altered or destroyed from this natural disaster since it began.

please send your well-wishes and positive thoughts to thailand, and keep the country and its residents in your prayers.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

as of now, 356 people have perished due to the catastrophic floods that are inundating thailand.

the floods hit the northern region of the country the worst and while bangkok was mostly unaffected until recently, the water has slowly been moving towards the capital city. i live in the downtown area of bangkok and haven't seen any flooding around here so far. however, i went to the outskirts of the city this past week to run an errand during the daytime and encountered areas that were already flooded. while there, i also saw that some of bangkok's elevated highways in that area only have a few available lanes that cars can pass through because as a last resort, massive amounts of people have been parking their cars on the outermost lanes in order to protect them from the rising waters.

in addition, trying to purchase drinking-water in bangkok has been IMPOSSIBLE for the past week because every store has sold out. i'm not sure when or how stores will be selling drinking-water again, but i only have about five bottles left in my fridge so i'm trying to ration as much as possible. the store shelves that are usually stocked with canned-goods and instant-food have also been wiped clean throughout the city, and whether you're going to a local convenience store or expensive supermarket, encountering sections of empty shelves is quite common.

i've been trying to keep as updated as i can on the flooding situation and what the impact on bangkok will be, but it's been difficult to know for sure because all the media outlets seems to be reporting different information. for the most part, life in bangkok has remained pretty normal. some exits of certain subway stops have been closed but apart from that, i haven't seen anything out of the ordinary when it comes to the city's public transportation. all the stores, restaurants and other establishments i've come across have all remained open as well, so it's easy to feel unaffected by everything at times.

the only thing i've really seen that's out of the ordinary from where i am is that my building and soi (thai word for side-street) lost its electricity about an hour ago, but thankfully it came back on. i've been living at my place since march and this is the first time i've ever experienced a power-outage here, so it's slightly nerve-wracking. but so far everything else has luckily been alright, and i really hope it stays this way.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

i went to a g-shock event this past friday night. the whole night was pretty unexpected because i originally was planning to only have dinner with a friend since i had to get up early on saturday morning. our night just somehow snowballed---in a good way---and we ended up at this g-shock party that was sort of far (for bangkok's standards) from the main area of the city.

the space was large and everyone was having a great time inside and i had a lot of fun. the stage was pretty trippy as well---here are a few photos i was able to take while inebriated.




Thursday, October 20, 2011

i don't know when this happened, but i think something about my aura has assimilated with thai culture. recently, some thai people have mistaken me for thai and assumed i spoke the language. i don't think of it in any particular way, but i guess it sort of makes me chuckle because it never used to happen and then it's just been consistent since it began. i think if i plan to stay here for a substantial amount of time, i should probably at least attempt to learn the language and not be such an idiot about it.

i'm a daily bus rider and i know how to get around to wherever i need to go by public transportation. i personally don't enjoy riding taxis every time i need to go somewhere because it's not practical and i've just had too many issues with cabs here---i don't want that to become a part of my daily norm. i grew up walking and riding the bus, trains, and subways anyway and actually prefer public transportation if i'm traveling alone. relying on bangkok's public transportation system is fun and i don't mind it because i usually don't want to deal with people. i just want to stare out a window instead.

riding the bus in bangkok is especially interesting because there are such a variety of different buses and the vehicles that comprise them. there's the pretty nice city bus that is the cleanest and has tv's inside, or the ฿6.5 one that is super old and has to have all the windows drawn up because there's no air conditioning. some of these really old-seeming buses are huge as well, so it's sometimes nice to ride one when it's empty on a cool night. i was on one the other evening and sitting in a single seater positioned next to the right side of the bus. this was near the door, and when i saw a grandpa get on, i offered him my seat. i was quite sweaty at that moment because it was humid and rainy in addition to the fact that the bus had no damn a.c. and couldn't roll its windows up because of the rain. when he sat down, the grandpa started talking to me in thai and i wanted to tell him i couldn't speak thai, but he kept going on and i wasn't able to find the right moment to interrupt him. instead, i just smiled, laughed and nodded my head along with him. and at one point the woman sitting in the seat in front turned around to look at the old man and smile at him. i sure wish i knew what the hell he was saying. i finally told him i wasn't able to understand him and then the grandpa smiled and said "thank you" while pointing to his seat.

the buses in bangkok also have this thing where even though the route-number might be the same, that doesn't mean the buses will go in the exact same way. there's four different versions of bus #11 that i've been on, and while the majority of their routes go along the same path, they all have different end-points. another factor that differentiates these buses is that even though they share the same bus-number, some of the buses might be the ฿6.5 bus or the nicer one with the tv's for ฿20. that's how i learned that the bus fare doesn't really depend on the distance you're going, but rather what type of bus you're on. i'm sort of proud to say that i learned all this through the old-fashioned way of trial-and-error. whenever i asked anyone i know about how to ride the buses in bangkok, they never know since none of my friends ever take the bus.

sometimes when i'm on the bus though, people will look at me with a "HUH?" look because i'm a foreigner and not many ride the buses. and it's especially annoying at times because i'll be standing at the bus stop waiting, and taxi after taxi will pull up to me thinking that i'm in need of one. i understand that they're just doing their job, but it's like dude, come on---i'm standing at a bus stop! if i needed a taxi i'd get one and not just stand there like an idiot.

the last thing i want to note is that 95% of the time, the buses don't come to a complete stop when you're boarding or getting off, so be ready to hop on or jump off as it's moving.

here are some random bus-related photos i took while in bangkok before my camera got stolen.





Tuesday, October 18, 2011

trying to always go down the mature route when it comes to life-decisions is really hard.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

i recently read an informative and wonderfully-written 1996 profile of haruki murakami that was published in the new yorker, and i just wanted to share the piece's aptly-written first page.


(i thoroughly enjoyed ian buruma's writeup and it took it upon myself to produce this image to post on my blog with my digital subscription to the new yorker. all rights are reserved by the new yorker and will be removed upon request).

Friday, October 14, 2011

loneliness can sometimes make you do crazy things.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

most of thailand is flooded and sadly---as of now---over 280 people around the country have perished because of it.

the current situation is the worst flooding the country has seen in half a century, but luckily so far, bangkok is one of the few areas that have been pretty unaffected. however, the floodwaters from the northern area of the country are supposed to hit bangkok within a day or two, and some people are starting to freak out, especially the students i tutor. yesterday, every kid i tutored mentioned the impending floods that are supposedly going to overtake bangkok, and listening to all their somewhat exaggerated versions really made me wonder if i should be worried as well. i've been keeping current with the news about all of the country's historic flooding, but it all seemed so distant so imagining that it might reach bangkok didn't cross my mind.

i really hope the flooding doesn't reach the area of bangkok i live in, but just in case it does, i've stocked up on a few days worth of water and light food, thrown away my trash, and i guess that's really all i can do. i also hope the rest of the country is able to recover from this tragic natural disaster.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

one thing i miss the most about nyc is its food. i'm not a big fancy eater, so it's all the everyday dishes that i'm hankering for. if i could fed-ex some food overnight to bangkok, i'd go for:
  • a mutligrain bagel with sun-dried-tomato-cream-cheese from murray's bagels.
  • pork buns from momofuku.
  • chicken over rice with extra, extra white sauce.
  • greasy chinese takeout of fried chicken wings w/ vegetable fried rice, and extra packets of duck sauce, please.
  • a hotdog from the street with mustard and onions.
  • a gyro with fries.
  • a baoguette sandwich with extra cilantro from baoguette.
  • a jamaican beef patty.
i've come to learn that loneliness is usually a state of mind, but then that can also be a load of bullshit as well.

if you spend most of your time alone with no one to talk to, that will naturally lead to thinking constantly and sometimes obsessively about stuff, and that is what i think leads to my actual loneliness. you can try and keep busy, but whether you're bored or busy, there's still no one but your own thoughts to engage with. i spend most of my time alone and find myself feeling pretty lonesome. then i think about how i would really like to experience being in a serious relationship with someone i genuinely like, but i've felt lonely like this before even when i was in a relationship, so i think it's just me. and so now i'm really adamant on figuring out how to fix this.

Friday, October 07, 2011

"You get your hair cut: you shave every morning. You aren’t a poet anymore, or a revolutionary or a rock star. You don’t pass out drunk in phone booths or blast the Doors at four in the morning. Instead, you buy life insurance from your friend’s company, drink in hotel bars, and keep your dental bills for medical deductions. That’s normal at twenty-eight.”

new york mining disaster by haruki murakami in the january 11, 1999 issue of the new yorker
.
i'm house-sitting.



Thursday, October 06, 2011

"The striking feature was his style in the discussion of hot topics with a lot of big egos. His style was to step back and listen. There were some important people who looked pretty bored; he was not, he was following. He carefully listened."

the bridge: the life and rise of barack obama by david remnick. page 306
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Wednesday, October 05, 2011

i just want to vanish.
frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration. frustration.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

contagion started playing this past weekend in bangkok's lido theatre.

this theater is a bit more low-key compared to all the large mega-plexes that are located in every mall of bangkok, and plays movies that generally have more layers and dimension. i enjoy going to lido because it has more personality, and is usually less crowded than other bangkok theaters as well.

as for the movie itself, it was nothing short of awesome. i thought it was very well made, and the storyline is plausible and terrifyingly realistic. after watching contagion, i instantly thought of my best friend in nyc, junho, who is an ER doctor, and how grateful i am to have him as a best friend haha.

it's been awhile since i watched a movie in the theatres that i really enjoyed---i definitely recommend checking out contagion. also, it was such a trip to walk out of the theatre and into the masses at bangkok's bustling area of siam after watching the movie alone.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

it's such a beautiful sunday here in bangkok.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

so much can happen during a walk home.
i don't know how some guys nowadays still go about their lives without carrying any sort of bag to hold all their shit.

it's been a while since i've been out of my house without a backpack, so i decided to leave it in tonight. but i look like a complete idiot with so much shit tucked into my pockets and i think wearing a bag might look less stupid.