22:19 March 6, 2554
Throughout the entire ten-hour bus ride south I fervently occupied my mind with thoughts of making the homeward bound voyage on foot.
Because there was absolutely no way I was ever getting on a bus again, at least not for the next year and a half of my life, until I forget what the entire experience of “traveling by bus” entails.
The air conditioning running throughout the bus cabin seemed determined to deny all accusations of global warming with the fierce intensity with which it was pumped all through the air. Nissi and I managed to shove a couple of tissues in the vents to block the obtrusive air conditioning.
I think the worst part though is the neck thing.
And the where to put it and what to do with it complex.
Mom always used to say that she wanted to remove her arms Mr. Potato Head style when she was sleeping, because they always got in the way of comfort.
Well in this specific eternal bus ride scenario, I wouldn’t have minded popping my head off for a couple of hours, Barbie Doll fashion, or at least, that is, if there’s an older brother involved.
My head just kind of sat there flopping around heavily back and forth on the edge of my neck with nothing to do but wobble ever so slightly and think far, far too many thoughts.
At long last in Phuket, we stumbled off the bus into the cheerful screeching sunlight of eight A.M.
A self-proclaimed beach day as nothing sounded more delightful than a nap in the sunshine, we declared our spot of warm sand on the ever-crowded, overpopulated Patong Beach.
When the attendant asked us as to whether or not we’d like our beach umbrella up, Nissi and I simultaneously retorted with conflicting responses.
Ah, the beauty of intercultural friendships and yet more evidence that we are but creations of our culture.
Asian culture, particularly Thais, value white skin as a vital characteristic of beauty. Modeling after Japanese icons, the paler the person, the prettier. Dark skin is associated with poverty, because you’re out in the sun laboring at a low class job. Thai people will even carry umbrellas around with them on sunny days so as to avoid getting a bit of color!
And myself raised with Western the browner the better mentality, I wanted this prime opportunity to get as much pigment as possible into my ghostly hide.
In the end we used a chunk of creative compatibility, and with a bit of artistic angling of the umbrella we managed to keep both parties happy.
I roasted and she paled with the small price of shifting around every hour in accordance with the fidgety suns restless pattern.
Waking up after a sprawl in the gritty sunshine we discovered that, with all due respect, we seemed to be encroaching on official territory of “old people beach.”
Let me correct the above statement. It appeared that we were on, “old naked people beach.”
At least that’s the conclusion I arrived at after a quick survey of my surroundings.
I’ve decided that you get to this point in life, when you really just don’t care anymore about what other people think.
And you can do things like read trashy romance novels topless on the beach with a flowery swim cap on.
And existing just becomes a steady pulse of long afternoons and pot roast dinners.
That must be a nice point in life.
I definitely haven’t hit it yet.
Like, whatsoever, like, at all.
I am still back at that stage of being acutely aware of the strange mole on my left thigh.
I can’t even imagine trotting around with my boobs hanging out… or lack thereof as the case may be…
But in a way, it was sort of beautiful, just how absolutely not perfect we all are.
It was refreshing to see so much realness so out there in the open.
The leave no rock unturned, bared all version of humanity… literally.
Bodies sagging out of bathing suits and bulging from beneath elastic seams.
And more old women boobs than I’d ever seen in my life, roaming free and bouncing around.
I felt like I’d appeared inside of a Dr. Seuss picture book rhyming about the differences in people’s bodies, “Outie belly buttons, strange moles, hairy legs and people resembling trolls! Some are big, some are small, some are meek and some the most hoola-zinga-wonkalist of all!”