Tuesday, April 15, 2008

New years or soaking wet

The whole "please don't shoot I have a camera" thing... doesn't really work!

WoW. I mean, Really... WOW.... 3 days have gone by, and I'm amazed I've passed through them, alive, without a pneumonia or at least a cold. I was soaking wet for 3 straight days. I was having total fun for 3 straight days. It was unbelievable.
The bus came to a sudden halt, which woke me up. I was gratefully feeling a bit better, after the rough ride and the sickness I've had all of the day before. Me and Ofer went together to book a room at some fancy shmensy hotel he desired to dwell in prior to his flight home. I really didn't mind, even though It was costing me a relative fortune, but I wanted for a change to stay at something a bit more classy than the usual dump of choice. Anyways, after securing our luggage, we went out...
Hardly a minute passed by, and already we were fleeing from mobs of energetic Thai people with huge squirt guns and buckets of freezing water. But alas, the scene of war was everywhere, and scores of foreigners were staggering along the sidewalks as if they were beaten to a pulp with a wet twinky. We could only join their ranks, and laugh like crazy about that.
And it was only the beginning.
At about 4pm, the streets were insanely packed with humans of every kind. men, women and the undefined were dancing, shouting and screaming to the beat of the sub woofers next to them while spraying water everywhere and smearing gray clay on every one passing them by. Hot girls and hot Lady-boyz were standing a top of small stages everywhere, dancing like professional pole dancers while holding the "4 beers for 100 baht" ads. From time to time, groups of medical teams were rushing towards the moving mass of the crowd, trying to rescue countless fainting girls from exhaustion.
All the foreigners could do, was to hide in their rooms, or join the raging sinners. I, of course, joined. For 3 days and nights, Ofer and I were touring different places in Bangkok (mostly to satisfy his urge for last minute shopping), but everywhere we went, war was raging on different scales. On MBK for example, which is a huge mall, clerks and shop-keepers were firing upon Innocent shoppers, usually without any means of counteracting. I on the other hand, had two blazing water guns ready for action, and I spared no one! whether it was a jewelry shop or a clothing shop, whoever fired upon me got the full Monty of my wrath!
but it was fun :)

since water was everywhere for the duration of the festival, It was really dangerous taking out the camera, since i did not have any cover to protect it. Many others tried different approaches to the problem - We saw one day a man who covered his entire SLR camera with Always ultra pads, for better protection. Others put their cameras in plastic bags and hoped for the best. I tried it, but the quality of the pics is relatively poor. But I still would like to try to convey the actual feeling of being at this sort of festivities for 3 whole days. You can do it yourself by going to the shower and just stay there for 18 hours a day while putting on a facial mask and chalk on your hair.
otherwise, you could try to watch my pics, and imagine what it could be.

Deep conversation

Before I was comfortable enough to stop being a pompous ass with the whole weed thing, I got a chance one night to video a group session of what you can call a typical conversation among people when smoking weed. The video quality is beyond crappy, but the sound is priceless. You can hear me from time to time, and understand the difference between their trail of thought and my own annoying comments while sober. I hope I'm beyond that behavior... :)
By the way, the conversation is in Hebrew, so I'm sorry for the inconvenience...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Sandwich Town or Joint Effort

"Oh Gilian!" Johanna spluttered, "You are the, nicest, sweetest person In the whole wide world... and I really wanna thank you! you are just so nice!". I nodded and murmured once again my thanks for her praises, which were pretty much on a daily basis after me and Jesus (i'll explain later) helped her to her guest house after smoking too much Opium.

"You know", she added, "I'm veeeery sexy... you know?"... after swaying a bit back and forth, she continued, "can I kiss you?". Once again, I murmured something unintelligible, and she kissed me on the cheeks with the exact tenderness of a drunken ox.

To tell you the truth, I don't really remember what happened afterwards, except for the fact that nothing happened. Even for me it was obvious that, drunk or not, she was hitting on me... in a way, it made me really excited. Unfortunately, non of the excitement reached any parts of the rest of my body... you see... I was too stoned; while she was babbling, I was flying way above her head, high as a kite, reaching for the blazing stars.

But again, I'm wayyy ahead of myself.

Lush green. Beautiful.

Reaching Laos was made not out of choice, but out of necessity. I had to leave Thailand because my visa ran out. So I hopped on a bus to Veng vien, somewhere north of the Lao Capital, Vien-tien (Although "Capital" is an exaggeration... Vien tien looks like a big suburban nothing).

I heard a few recommendations about Veng-Vien, but I didn't know what to expect from that place. To my amazement, it was paradise.

As I got off the bus, I was overwhelmed by the simplicity and beauty of the town. The town itself was no more than two or three relatively big streets, designed specially for the comfort of the tourists. It was, after all, a Touristic place. Nonetheless, the view of the mountains was simply stunning.

At the Champalao.

I set out to find the cheapest place to stay. Since I was alone, with no Israelis backing me up, I had to find a cheap single room. I walked along the road parallel to the river, till I found a place suitable for my needs. What I didn't know back then was that I found the best place there was, whether it was the scenery, the company or the food. That was the "Champalao".

Believe it or not, Ofer is not imitating me... Its his own style :)

After lodging in my room, I went up the balcony/restaurant, where other Israelis were lying in their hammocks, or just conversing with one another. After a quick introduction to both the people and the house-broken big frikkin` spider named "Milo", I was invited to go with a small group of them to what they call the "Main bar", which was located on the river. We took a "Tuk-Tuk" to the Bar, which was not only banked on the river, but also at the base of the huge boulder- like mountains. Simply beautiful.

Ofer and "Milos" father, an even bigger frikkin spider (the size of my entire hand)

Soon I was engaged in whatever activities they had to offer over there - the Swing, volley-ball, Ping-pong, and of course, drinking and mud.

Hans, Ofer, Dima, Micha Michal and Me.

We stayed there till nightfall, when only the dim abstracts of the mountains were visible. We traveled back to the "Champalao", where I took a good long shower at what I called the "2/3 shower, which I immediately grew fond of.

Later that night, I was invited to go to the only night time activities available in Veng-Vien, which are the pubs on the other side of the river, in front of the "Champalao". It wasn't the best clubbing scene I've seen in my life, but it was rather nice to go with other people, just sitting and drinking, or dancing and drinking. I also encountered the Israeli guys I've been with in "Pai", the small town in north Thailand.
towards the end of the party, me and Ofer were about to go back to the "Champalao", when suddenly a voice next to us was yelling "Jesus!!!". Ofer turned to find a girl named Johanna he met in Don-det (4000 islands, south Laos). Together, with a guy from some Latin country named Roberto, we retired to his Bungalow by the river, where we sat down for a while. At that time, I was acting only as a spectator as they were passing along the joint, getting higher as they were taking more hits. At that time, I "knew" I would never touch one of these.

After a while, Roberto retired to his bunk, and Jesus and I were, for the next hour or so, to help Johanna find her Guest house. That was ME being soooo nice and all that Jazz.

I woke up early the next morning, and I settled for the Balconies Hammock, next to the huge familiar spider. The sun was only coming up from behind the mountains, and the sloshing of the slow river echoed gently in my ears as I was gazing at the beautiful view.

Typical day at the "Champalao"

Since it all happened two weeks ago, I do not possess any exact recollection of my daily activities, except for some main events. I remember walking around town, surveying it for a while, looking at the Theme restaurants ("Friends" theme, "Family Guy" theme, "Simpsons" theme), and checking out all the activities available for the common tourist. If I remember correctly, on the second day I joined some other Israelis to see the "Blue Lagoon", which was a lovely tiny spot of deep Crystal blue waters. To conclude the day, Once again I ended up at the "Main bar", playing volley-ball and enjoying the cool murky waters of the river.

On the third day, the Storm came.

I don't really remember what I did that day, but I remember exactly where we were caught off our guards.
As we were sitting down at the "Simpsons" theme restaurant for an evening meal, we, Ofer and I, caught a few glimpses of lightning far ahead, but we didn't make anything out of it. We decided on heading back to the Champalao, and as we were walking, something just snapped. It happened all at once. The wind picked up really fast, and we were almost swept up by our feet as a mini tornado like wind crashed upon the poor little town, wreaking havoc on all those shabby looking wooden and bamboo houses and restaurants. We quickly found shelter next to a cement building, as we watched shards and debris of trees, houses and dust rendering all visibility down to almost zero. A few seconds later, rain came pouring down, bringing with him a mouth dropping Lightning show. A few seconds more, and there came a total black-out.

It took the better part of two hours for the rain, wind and lightning to subside. Although there was no electricity, we could see pretty much everything due to the massive lightning bursts, which came, believe it or not, almost every other second. For me, it was both exciting and gorgeous - the view of the mountains illuminated by the lightning was simply stunning.

The next morning, the fourth day, I toured around town for a bit, just to asses the damage that has been done, only to find out those industrious Lao people, fixing and building anew altogether, as if the destruction made by the storm encouraged them to build bigger and better. I did a little asking around about that special storm, and I was informed that this kind of storm never happened before, with its suddenness and destructive behavior.

I don't really remember if it was on the fourth or the fifth day that I experimented my first "Happy shake" (Marijuana in a shake). I do remember what were the consequences. Somewhere around half an hour after I drank, I began feeling the symptoms of being high. Since it was my first time ever, I was thrilled as to my awareness of the whole transformation process. I remember all my sour muscles and back cramps dissolving away. I also remember that at some point, every sentence I heard from someone else felt like a really funny joke. So I laughed. Then I continued laughing because the whole situation was funny. I even laughed more when I realized what I'm laughing about, and then everybody else joins you to a good laughing marathon, till you forget the reason why you were laughing in the first place.

The Canadians and I

What was really interesting for me was the inability to remember previous lines of thought. It felt really bewildering that for one second you talk about a certain subject, and a few seconds later you don't really remember what you were talking about, and you just drift to the next subject.

The most Scary Barber shop I've seen in My life

The next phase for me was the "flying" part. When the drug really gets a hold on you, usually it becomes impossible to continue conversing with the others around you. So you withdraw to your own self, feeling your soul and the mass of your body lifting up with thoughts, or even a good music you hear. I remember my first musical realization on my first day, when I uttered "So THAT'S how you listen to Jimi Hendrix..." And I just let the notes carry me away way above the mountains, where I joined the others, altogether and alone at the same time.

Daria and me on the Hammock, really stoned

The next day, I drank another shake. I remember it quite clearly, since I did it before going to the "Main bar" to play volley-ball. As I was standing on the sandy court, I found myself bursting with laughter on each and every pass the ball was making. I actually found the movement of the ball really hilarious. I don't know if I played any good, and I really didn't care. All I was interested in was the gracefulness of the ball, flying up the air, and landing on top of my hands. It was pure physical poetry.

If I remember correctly, that same evening, I inhaled for the first time in my life. I never smoked cigarettes, nor tried Hookah... so my First intake was Weed. The taste was awful, and the burning sensation at the back of my throat was horrible, but after a while, I'd gotten used to the whole process. And wow, was I high... I don't really remember all of the days going by... I just remember that from the 4th day or so, I was practically stoned for 24 hours a day, for almost 10 days straight. In the mornings, I would still get up early, only to find 50 years old Hans, rolling up a morning joint, and how could I say no? we would later smoke after the noon meals, and then during the evenings. I practically stayed at the Champalao balcony with the others most of my time in Veng-Vien. The only reasons we went out were mainly out of Munch fever. So it was either Family guy theme restaurant Munch during the day, or the awesome Tuna sandwiches during the night.

Everybody had a good laugh on me due to my inexperience

The Sandwiches themselves were particularly a hit in Veng-Vien. You could see throngs of Stoned zombies, staggering towards their favorite Sandwich stand, craving for a piece of that crunchy crust, flavoured with whatever ingredients they desire. I know... I was one of them. I remember eating once 3 consecutive tuna Sandwiches, one after another, at a crazed munch fever. I could feel my bones aching for an intake of food, and the sensation of fulfillment was exalting.

"Main Bar"... Beautiful, hmm?

So that's how my days were in Veng Vien. 10 days passed by, without me really noticing it. People came and go. storms passed by. The river sludged forward.

It was time for me to go. Already at the beginning I desired to go back to Bangkok for the Water holiday, otherwise known as the Thai new years celebrations. I heard it was quite fun, so I booked a bus ticket back to Bangkok, with Ofer (Jesus).

In a peculiar way, My last hours in Veng-Vien were the worst. I woke up quite early in the morning with a stomach ache and it wasn't long before I threw up probably more than 5 times till I had to go on the bus. It was as if my body had done a clean up for whatever food and narcotics I had inserted my body for the past two weeks. But it wasn't really over... I had a 17 hours of a bus ride to Bangkok, with me feeling like an overturned turtle with a hangover. It was horrible... I don't really know how I survived all the way, but I do know that when I got to Bangkok, I felt a little better...

But my plights weren't over. It appeared to me that I have entered a war zone...