By the time I was back in Bangkok, I was ecstatic to see Joy again. Not only was she there, but she said, “If you stay a couple day extra, Tor is coming back!”
I’m writing this post quite long after the fact of it happening, and I didn’t really see anything new aside from some movies. However, I made some really good friends and I miss them all dearly already.
First, there’s Ricarda (no one could get her name right) from Germany. At first she seemed very shy, until Joy started talking about my life story (which she now knows by heart). After that, she said, “Can I ask you a personal question?”
“What was it like with your family when you came out?” I told her the story in the most condensed way possible. It happened. It sucked. I’m over it. Everything is gay forever.
“Want to go to the mall?”
“Yeah, sure!” And then we were friends. (We went to see Jurassic Park)
We spent like half of our days in Bangkok in the malls, escaping the heat, eating out at the market and eating terrible things like Burger King. At one point, we spent time in the market OF a mall where I encouraged her to eat Thai food for the first time. Somehow, everything was terrible. There was a fish paste that from a distance had looked like salsa that we tried on an avocado slice that made me want to die.
“Oh, that’s terrible!” Ricarda said as her face scrunched up.
“I think I would like to have my tongue removed now,” I replied. “Let’s go get something to wash this down with. Like, now.” Right off to the side was a woman selling grass jelly beverage, which I’d been waiting to try. I bought one and we both tried it, and it was terrible. It was like molasses and the “grass jelly” tasted more like “ass jelly” cut into thin strips that flew into my mouth through the straw like little unpleasant eels. “Okay, crap,” I continued as we walked over to the fruit stand, “the fruit has to be better.” Ricarda was still moving her mouth like something had crawled in and wouldn’t leave.
“Noooo, it’s still in my mouth!”
We tried a piece of fruit I’d never seen before, which I didn’t think tasted that bad. Ricarda hated it.
“That’s sick!” she said.
“Okay well I promise street food is better. Don’t be afraid of the street food. I’m so sorry!”
Then, there was Josh. Josh was with his Swedish friend Hanna, traveling through Thailand and it seemed like they were having a blast together. Joy made sure Josh showed everyone his phone case, which was pink and shaped like a vanity mirror, which included a mirror on the back for taking selfies.He convinced me and some other guys to go out the first night I was there, so we went for Khao San Road (despite my absolute hatred for it). I was trying not to spend money so I didn’t end up drinking, which is fine, but watching a bunch of drunk people dance while you’re sober isn’t a great activity when you’re crammed into a small space and local women are trying to find men that will pay to take them home. It wasn’t long before I gave up and went home after that.
Then there were the Joes. Jo, a woman from California, was about the most eclectic, energized, hilarious, quippy, goofy person you could ever meet.
She quickly formed an important part of my new traveler group which consisted of me, Ricarda, Jo, and a british guy named Joe. Joe is really sweet (and young to be traveling by himself) and one of those people that just seems impossibly smiley and happy all the time. One night, we all decided to go to a gay club together. It happened to also be the day marriage equality passed in the U.S., so I was ready to party. Joe offered to go with us.
“I’ve never been to a gay club before!” he said. “It’d be a good experience I think. But Brandon, you have to protect me if something happens.”
“Uhhh you’ll be fine. But alright, let’s go!”
What followed was a slowly-rolling snowball of mayhem.
First, we went to Silom (with a few extra people from the hostel but mainly consisting of me, Ricarda, Jo, and Joe). Tor had come and left by this point, so he didn’t make it out with us. Silom is the business district in Bangkok, which, during the day is filled with businessmen in suits and bankers and such. At night, it turns into a giant clubbing area. We tried the most popular collection of clubs contained within “DJ Station.” There are multiple levels to this club area and one of the clubs has an entrance fee (I thought they all did, later regretting my decision to pay to enter). They let Joe through because he’s 9000 feet talls despite being 19, but checked Ricarda’s ID and wouldn’t let her in because she wasn’t 20 years old yet. I begged and pleaded with the bouncer.
“Pleaaaaase let her in! You let her in last night!”
I even tried giving him a thousand baht as a bribe. It didn’t work.
We left and walked around slowly, trying to find a good place to dance and drink. Every three seconds, someone was coming up to ask us “Ping pong show?” “Sex show?” “Banana show?”
“I think I’ll just go back. You guys should go, really it’s no problem.”
“I’ll head back with her,” Jo offered.
“Aww, you guys, I’m so sorry,” I said.
“No,” Ricarda told me with intensity, as if this were my mission to go clubbing. “You go. Do not be sorry.”
“Okay.” And in we went with one other guy from the hostel whose name I can’t remember. He was a linguist from California or something but was a little creepy for my liking.
Inside, the club was absolutely packed. It was difficult to move, but never difficult to get drinks. For the most part we stuck together as a trio. At one point, a man started to approach Joe, who was thrashing about with the rest of us to campy club music. Seeing this, he immediately latched onto me like he was about to be knifed and went, “Sorry, I’m here with my boyfriend!” to which I added, “Sorry, he’s tall so you have to believe him.”
I think I may have had a little too much.We didn’t stop until the club was closing, and it was at that point that I lost the other two. They had made it home in a taxi, but I was walking drunkenly down the street and into a restaurant where I could use a restroom. For the first time ever in my life, I was starting to feel actually sick while drunk.
The mayhem continued. I called my ex.
“Hellloooo, I’m so sorry I’m calling. I’m drunk. I don’t like it. I don’t feel good. I miss you.”
The conversation went on for a few minutes. In truth, I have no clue how long I was on the phone, but it ended abruptly.
“Anyway,” I said, “wait. I really don’t feel good. I don’t want to puke,” I cried. I hated puking more than anything in the world and was not ready to break my streak of never having thrown up from alcohol.
“Well, then don’t throw up,” he said.
“Hang on, I’ll call you back,” and with that I hung up and proceeded to blow groceries into the toilet for however long my body needed to. After that, I felt much better. I called him back to let him know I’d made it back to my hostel and that I had not, in fact, thrown up (I rectified that later).
Long story short– careful when you’re celebrating. It was a lesson I had to learn the hard way.