I’m not sure where the time goes. We’re in Bangkok at the moment. As I’ve written on a few postcards to internet-adverse relatives this evening, there’s not much to recommend this vast city if you’re not into prostitution. We’re not. I do think it’s funny how many dorky white guys there are walking around with one, maybe two, young Thai women on their arms. They call them “Thai wives”. Close your eyes and picture it. Receding hairline, pasty complexion, black socks and sandals, paired with four fake boobs in two slinky spandex dresses. Mmmmm. They’re everywhere, perhaps outnumbering us, the more traditional visitors. What’s more, there are at least two elephants roaming the street in the vicinity and I get get all sorts come-ons for massages and dirty movies whether or not CeCe is at my side. And we’re only scratching the surface here.
CeCe wasn’t by my side for a brief spell this afternoon. We spent two and a half hours apart, perhaps the longest such interval on this trip, as she ran errands and I subwayed, or more accurately skytrained, across town to pick up our Myanmar visas. Although we’ve had several friends who’ve successfully obtained such visas and have visited this reclusive and, some would say, backward country, I was nervous that we wouldn’t be able to enter and that we ‘d have to radically rethink our itinerary. My concerns were unwarranted and a smiling fellow in a loud shirt and tie combo handed me our passports and we were set. Photos aren’t allowed in embassies generally, but if they were, I would have loved to have taken his photo. He wore the same shirt and tie that he wore last time we were in. The neon rainbow has me hoping that our Burmese jaunt will be colorful. We fly on Sunday.
I should note that Myanmar and openness and freedom have had a rocky relationship to say the least. I’m going to spare you the short course at the moment for two reasons. First, I haven’t experience the country myself yet, so everything I know comes from the same news sources many of you read as well. Second, I don’t want to jeopardize the visa we just waited a week for. So, I encourage you to read up on Myanmar and its recent history on your own. I think our friend Thornburg, the one with the gold embossed business card who fist-bumped Hillary last month, told us that the Myanmar government takes a picture of every computer screen in every internet cafe every five minutes. Or maybe that was Lonely Planet speaking. Either way, there you have it. Expect even fewer posts from us in the weeks to come.
What else have we been doing in Thailand? First, some celebrating. We learned yesterday that CeCe was accepted to the Master’s in Environmental Science and Policy program at Bard College. Yay, Ceecers! We still have three programs to hear from in the coming weeks, but hopefully before too long we will have a re-entry plan in place. Second, we took advantage of the cheap tailors here in town and I had five monogrammed dress shirts made, and CeCe and I have commissioned a matching shirt and tie set as well. Yeah, I know… Then there are errands, laundry, computer repairs, and all the other things that don’t factor in when you think of vacation. Tomorrow it’s more of the same. Two trips to the Indian embassy top the list.
The last two days were more memorable. While the embassies were doing their bureaucratic best, we decamped to Ayutthaya, the former capital of the Thai kingdom. It’s monuments are sort of Angkor Wat-lite, mercifully minus the tourists. A separate post is in order.