Sunday, November 25, 2007

Goodbye Flatheads

We hardly knew ye.

Well, it appears I completely forgot about our friend the blog when I updated on Superfuture-here it is.

I had high hopes for these before they left. Ran a quick message by Analyst (another member of our forum who lives in Bangkok) to see where we could perhaps get some good photo opportunities before I sent them away to Cotton Duck. Naturally, both of our thoughts gravitated towards-

Soi Cowboy, the red-light district tucked away off of Sukhumvit Road downtown. We had thought that perhaps "accosted by ladyboys" or "drank with go-go dancers" would have been a nice touch on the list of Flathead 3001 accomplishments...unfortunately, I never ended up in the city at night, and my weekend was shot so I was stuck out in the edge of the city for the last ten-odd days. I did go into the city for one day to get dental surgery, but found very little that was picture-worthy. I did briefly stop to give some tourists 'culture lessons' while they were discussing something inane over why this tree:

Was planted in the middle of the sidewalk. This is probably because they built the sidewalk around the tree a long time ago. It's home to spirits. Given that it's by the side of the road, probably the spirits of people who died in vehicle accidents, if I remember correctly. Either way, you can't cut it down.

The top of Central World. Downtown Bangkok. Not sure why I took this picture, either. By this point I was light-headed on painkillers from the dentist, so the rest of the day was a bust. So that left the rest of the Bangkok tour here:

The township style place I live in. It's a nice enough spot, but as mentioned, really in the middle of nowhere. It's mostly middle to upper-middle class Thais who live here, which is why at first it was a bit startling to turn around and see:

The 'neighbors' place. These houses made of metal sheeting seem to spring up overnight, usually next to construction sites where the workers live. They're literally everywhere in Thailand. I wouldn't be surprised if these are from when they were building the township I live in. Sometimes I'll jog over here and have a drink with the mototaxi drivers. I have no idea how those guys manage to consistently do their job-they always seem wasted. So, my remaining time was left to:

Bike around the township taking pictures. Note the broken-glass 'barbed wire'. Since there's no real businesses or restaurants aside from the clubhouse in front of the township, to kill time I went to visit my neighbor who runs a restaurant of sorts out of her driveway, and drank in the rain.

To be fair, there are plenty of nice, large-ish houses here too, but the further back you get, the more run down it tends towards in places. Until you hit a huge field of vacant lots. Bad for most things, decent for photo ops.

Then, time was running short so I got a hold of Cotton Duck and got things ready to send him the jeans. They didn't seem to smell that bad, but I'd been wearing them for a month in Thailand, so it would have been pretty nasty to send them as-is. I threw them in the water with a dash of soap, and was faintly surprised.

Not the best picture, but I guess they were pretty filthy. So, I rinsed them out a few times and left them to dry-oddly, this denim seems to dry really quickly. Then I threw everything together and headed out the next morning to take pictures and ship the jeans....but I forgot the damn camera. So at any rate, they're on their way to the Netherlands as we speak. It was a fun time, wore the jeans to two countries, multiple cities, countless drinks, and one dentist visit. Wish I'd been able to get out a little bit more with some extra pictures, but either way I'm glad I got a chance to do this. So, next one up is one of SuperFuture's finest, Cotton Duck! Hope they get to him soon, and you can put up some wear pictures to see how they've progressed fading. I've figured the erstwhile Flathead 3001 Video should get it's final touches once everyone's participated, and I can flush it out with extra pictures. And now.....AMSTERDAM.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A Slow Week

It's been incredibly uneventful here in Thailand since I got back. The little that happened was when I came back from Laos last week.

Immediately upon getting out of the airport, I was whisked away to a restaurant near RCA run by a famous Thai singer.

This hunk o' man was apparently slim and all the rage in the '80s in Thailand. Like, top of the charts and whatnot. Turns out he's a nice guy and still has quite a voice, and the food there was delicious. Still, it was a little odd to see the usual buttoned-up 40s-ish Thai crowd pounding drinks and singing along.

The next day or so, we went out to eat again at a place near my house. It's quite literally a shack on the edge of a rice field, but the food there is delicious. Easily one of my favorite spots in the city.

Stir fried seafood with fresh pepper.

Yam salad (lemongrass, lime juice and chiles, basically) with fresh shrimp

Possibly my favorite Thai dish: Pan fried soft shell crab with black pepper.

That being done, it was a boring five or six days until I headed out to MBK shopping center, one of Bangkok's meccas for fake and legitimate goods to see what was new.

I was briefly tempted by a food cart, but all they had to offer was grilled hot dogs and unripe mango. Conversely, two of my least favorite Thai dishes.

Mahboonkrong, seven floors of replica and authentic....almost everything, and notably Tanner Lee & Na, our one good Japanese denim shop.

But all I found was the Bape. Crap

The center stairwell at MBK. The bottom floor there always has some half-assed sale going on, but it always sucks. This week? Ugly men's suits and huge blankets.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Jeans update: Day 15 in Thailand

Jeans update:

It's only been about half the Thailand Tour so far, but I was still a little surprised inspecting these. I know Kiya said the 3001 denim fades fast, but still....

The 'knee combs' are starting to fade in pretty noticeably, and there's some light 'train tracks' fading in fast as well.

The roping is beginning to look nice as well. I slipped a zippo in the coin pocket a la Ryu, and it's already a really defined fade.

The combs are setting in nicely, and should be starting to get very distinct by the time I send them off to Cotton Duck. I carry a small metal case for cigarettes, loose change, or whatever in my back left pocket-as you can see, it's already left a distinct imprint. Overall, I think these are setting in really nicely! Luckily Justiz2 and I are about the same height and weight. Ideally when the jeans tour Amsterdam the creases will be hitting the same spots.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

To Vientiane, Lao & Back

Okay, got back from my visa run to Laos!

Wasn't much to report before then-dropped off my relative at the new airport, Suvarnabhumi. It's not quite high season yet since so the place is relatively empty.

Few days after that, it was time to skip the country myself. The new airport is shiny, but the old one, Don Mueang, has this aged '70s jet-set disco feel to it. There were some local celebrities wandering around from the god-awful American Idol-esque Academy Fantasia show, but I neglected to get my picture taken with them.

A stiff drink in the terminal, and then it was about an hour north to Udon Thani airport, and another hour to the border at Nongkhai by bus. Then....waiting in line to check out of the country.

A Thai friend of mine picked me up at the duty-free shops, and we drove up to Vientiane, the capital of Laos. It's a pretty dull ride, mostly farmland until you hit the city. I DO find water buffalo oddly hilarious for some reason so.....

Then, into the city proper to relax and take a break until we headed out to the disco. Between my trip and the celebratory Beer Laos I'd drank upon arrival, I barely lasted a few hours before heading back. The next night went a little better, with mandatory Azn Group Photo to boot (who can pick the fey Lao gay dude out of the group?).

So, after more Beer Lao and a trip to the Thai consulate, all I had to do was kill time. I appreciate the fact that drinking heavily in Vientiane is practically a patriotic act. They're very uh...supportive of their brewery in the city. So, I took a visit to the Chinese Market (empty, sucked), the Morning Market (not so bad, fake Rolexes and Thai Levis 'Repros'), a random beer stall on the river, and a local wat (Temple).

The Graveyard section of the Wat. Always kind of creepy.

Buddha w/seven headed Naga.

There really wasn't a lot else to see. Vientiane isn't necessarily that small a city, but it's spread out and most of the interesting and/or accessible landmarks and areas are close together. I checked them out and investigated the outskirts of the city, but there wasn't much to report.

The Vientiane version of the L'arc du Triomphe, as taken from the back of a speeding Tuk-tuk. For reference, the one constant I've found between Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand, is that the taxi drivers will do their best to try and fuck you over.

The Mekong River. Not pictured: Some waitresses flying kites, and a few fisherman wading across the border. Vientiane is pretty laid back during the day. Small houses, local businesses, and faintly curious locals mark the areas outside of the landmarks, restaurants, and hotels. The Thai and Laotian languges are similar enough I didn't have much problems communicating. Once my friend had gone back to Bangkok, I rented a room for two days in the heart of the tourist district:

Compared to Sukhumvit in Bangkok or well....anywhere, this is pretty mellow. Guest houses, tailors, and a few spa/massage places. Since I had met up with two Lao people who worked in the area (aforementioned Gay dude and a girl who lived out on the outskirts of Vientiane-stayed at her house one night and was woken up vaguely hung over by the sounds of roosters and cavorting goats-good times!), I demanded we go to a local disco for whatever passed for a Halloween party.

I'm not sure anyone has any idea what the hell Halloween is for, but there was the typical mix of drunken backpackers, Laotian club kids, and a few working girls on the prowl. It was a good time, and this particular place, the disco at Don Jon hotel, stays open two hours past curfew, until 2 am! Scandalous!

So, I woke up early, said goodbye to my Lao friends, and headed back, stopping briefly to get drunk on the border at the Duty-Free while I could still buy Beer Lao.

After I got back to Bangkok, I met an aging Thai rock star and enjoyed some food, but I'll put up that stuff later. Plus some updates for the jeans.