When I arrive in a new place, you may think the first thing I do is to sample some of the local cuisine or find some adventure activities at the nearest national park. Quite the contrary, I actually enjoy buying a newspaper, walking to the local Golden Arches, and sitting down with my international iPhone translator app in order to gain a true sense of where I am, read up on the cuisines of the region, and hunt for an additional husband in the personal ads. If FOX news and other sensationalized media have your hair constantly standing on end, I think you’ll find the honesty in these Asiatic countries rather refreshing.
Here, for example, is a clip from a newspaper tourism section I found:
The Cuisine of India: Here, it’s Our Food that Brings You Hair-Tingling Experiences
Ah…so that’s why I got nasty black hairs in my food nearly every day.
Or take these two charming ads I found in a Bangkok daily:
Single Thai Male, 31, 5’7”. Enjoys sitting idle and rubbing feet and/or picking toenails. A lifeless look while moving hands from feet to snack food is my specialty. What gets me going? Girls who get turned on by the site of my belly showing in public. Ladies who will wear the same shirt day in and day out. If you enjoy snotting on it and wiping the day’s food remains on it too, even better. A gal who enjoys a brisk shower with no option of heat. If you’re good at hula hoop, that’s hot.
Single Thai Female, 18, 5’7” with 5” stilettos: Inspirational quote: “Tee-hee-hee-hee! Giggle, giggle, oh you so funny, tee-hee-heeeee!” About me: “Shews!””
On the subject of personal ads, I found this one to be extremely upfront and honest. And who can fault one for that?
Malay Muslim Man, either single or already married, 47, 5’7”: I’m staring at you. From across the way. No, not in a romantic way. I mean literally, right as you’re reading this, I am the creepy guy across the way who keep my eyes on you at all times, no matter where I am in the coffee shop/bus/mall. You just looked up and caught my eye, then quickly looked down. Sketchy? Yes. Threatening? Sure. Thinking of calling the cops? // If you enjoy these possibly dangerous courtship procedures and want a life with little or no power and choice, call me. Or just give me a nod, ‘cause I’m still staring at you.
And you know, I had a lovely, albeit short, time in Laos while renewing my Thai visa. I saw this advertisement on the front of a Laotian expat monthly:
Laos: When the White Man tires of the Thai WoMan, we Lao Women will step up to the plate.
Oh right, one of the guys I knew had a fling last month with a Thai woman after a trannie cabaret show. He said he was too drunk to be sure of…well… ANYHOW, in other news, Laos is the new Thailand when it comes to lonely, disheveled, bearded, post-divorcees wanting an Asian wife. Total stereotype, but you can’t ignore what’s smack in your face all the time.
And finally, a welcome booklet I saw in Singapore:
Singapore: We love welcoming visitors to our future city, but make sure you read up on our rules before entering the country. To make learning about Singapore a little more fun, we’ve put our rules into a quick little jingle for you to remember. It goes something like this (sung to the tune of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” but not really):
Jaywalking = A FINE
Littering = A FINE
Leaving Singapore in a Singaporean car without a ¾ full tank of gas = A FINE
Gum, Firecrackers, or non-sanctioned alcohol and cigarettes = A FINE
Doing drugs and getting caught = THE DEATH PENALTY
Drug trafficking = THE DEATH PENALTY
Getting caught carrying drugs, including “just” marijuana = THE DEATH PENALTY
Anyone who does something wrong in Singapore = THE DEATH PENALTY
He he, we’re just kidding on that last one. See, we have a sense of humor, too. Everyone is welcomed who will obey!
Before I got to Thailand, and after I said farewell to my brother, a photographer approached me out of the blue. She was probably curious to know why a white girl was sitting in her apartment’s courtyard, but had no idea that I, too, was a photographer. Wonder of wonders, and as seems to happen in Asia, we ended up chatting the day away and she ended up hosting me for two days. I learned so much from her—about the life of a Malay Muslim woman, about her photography, and about her as a person. Not only that, but she let me play around with her photo equipment and even had her youngest model for us during a shoot. “Baby,” as she is called, enjoyed throwing the leaves up in the air so much that I had to laugh each time she giggled with glee. After saying a sad farewell to her, I visited my friends yet again, then caught a bus up to the Thai island of Koh Tao for more diving. Dive I did, but I quickly got sick of seeing drunk Westerners crash their motorbikes, injure themselves, and general gain the disrespect of the Thai community. It just wasn’t my scene, and I was eager to escape the 100+-degree heat and visit my friend in the mountains. I boarded a bus to Bangkok…and got delayed again by my friend there, whose hometown I was visiting. My remedy? Laos, but that’s for next time. Here are some photos of the island and more, macro shots from experimenting with lenses, and one happy (and unphotoshopped!) kid.