- Our scooter landlord came and picked up scooty puff yesterday, and I am mourning her loss. Thanks for all the sweet rides, scooty puff.
- When it rains hard, we lose internet access and sewage bubbles up the pipes, so basically life isn’t worth living right now.
- I wore a pair of very tall red high heels out to Monkey Club, one of Chiang Mai’s trendiest music and drinking establishments a few nights ago, and for the first time I didn’t feel like a huge, pale leper with a troll nose. If only I had known earlier that fitting in is as easy as wearing Zara, getting blisters, and walking like a cyborg gorilla!
- At our apartment we have one overly friendly security guard who is really into speaking Thai with us, and by “really into speaking Thai with us,” I mean he questions us relentlessly in the attempt to see us squirm with incomprehension. Last night when I went to pick up some dinner, he asked, as everyone does, “gin kow lao?” This basically translates to, “eaten yet?” and is used in small talk much like “What’s up?” in America. However the phrase’s literal translation is closer to, “eat rice already?” Because I can’t ever do the easy thing, I decided this would be the perfect time to explain that while I was going to eat dinner, I certainly wouldn’t be eating rice. Though I thought my Thai was excellent, given the look on his face, I’m pretty sure all he heard was, “No rice! Formal evening meal. Rice no food bad. America!”
- I am on a mission to pack the perfect minimal fall wardrobe into a carry-on. I think I am failing because I have not been in cold weather since that trip to Pai in February, and anything under 70 degrees sounds like it will require the pelts of three to four bears to obtain adequate warmth. Here is what I have: four button up t-shirts, and handful of tank-tops, three thin wool-blend sweaters, one fleece, one fake pashmina-style scarf, my fake Thai chucks, a pair of nice leather shoes without a tongue, four pairs of sweater tights, some random socks, three pairs of pants, one pair quick dry pants (for Mongolia), two skirts, PJ pants. I do not have a winter coat because I had a panic attack in a Bangkok mall and decided to drink some tea and watch ice skaters instead. It was a good choice.
- I have pinned all my hopes on Beijing for finding an adequate winter coat and Russia for a tall fur hat.
- I think I will regret packing my hiking shoes (because I’ll probably thrown them away after Siberia) and not packing my hiking shoes (because then I’ll have to throw away my chucks).
- Did I ever tell you about the time I was ridiculed in a Parisian nightclub for my vintage turquoise ski jacket? No? Okay, here goes.
Ah, a Sunday morning at Bickford’s diner in Worcester. My shirt has been blurred, because the shirt was part of a Halloween costume that might not be considered family friendly, and I have a reputation to protect. This is the only known photo of the notorious jacket.
It happened like this: I rescued a ski jacket from my friend Laura’s Goodwill pile because I loved the color and it looked warm and I was terrible at keeping myself warm when I lived in Massachusetts. In 2006, I thought the jacket worked as an ironic piece that paired well with my wardrobe full of used clothes, concert tees, and items lovingly culled from Buffalo Exchanges round the country; I felt bad ass with my torn Levi’s, faded Sonic Youth tee, and my chucks when I wore this jacket, and I assumed that badassery would travel well.
Enter Paris. I go out with my cousin Theo for an authentic Disco experience. As we walk to the club, I buy a can of Guinness–the kind with the nitro ball–and feel as cool as an American 20-year-old can possibly feel as I walk down the street with a beer, iPod ear buds wrapped ’round my neck, and a fresh 20 Euro note from my Dad in my pocket. We arrive to a long line filled with men wearing sleek sweaters and tailored pants, and girls shivering their little heinies off in cocktail dresses. A few guys have flat-billed baseball caps and puffy jackets, clearly taking some style inspiration from their American friends. They catch my eye and do a head nod of solidarity. These are my people, the Parisian puffy jacket renegades, and I think I flashed them a peace sign, or something equally as lame as I pound the rest of my beer and get ready to face the trio of door people.
The woman is obviously the ringleader of the bouncers, standing in the front and calling the shots, with her henchmen ready to use muscle where needed on command. As we approach, Theo nervously tells me to act cool, speak some English if necessary, and basically do anything to deflect from my giant, puffy, turquoise jacket that has been the subject of lengthy death-wish glares from the door woman for the duration of our time standing in line. I have not charmed the gatekeeper of electrobeats and overpriced watery drinks with my ironic wardrobe piece, the pounding of a beer in line, or consorting with men with urban style, and I am deflated.
Theo speaks to the woman in French as I pull out my passport. I mention something about being in a band to the nearest henchman and basically project boredom and put on airs until they let us in to the cavernous space below, where I am subjected to like 7 hours of nonstop house music and learn the true definition of Euro trash. I nurse two gin and tonics over the hours and think about my friends in Massachusetts doing much chiller things, cursing Paris all the while.
The next morning my jacket smells like a wet, dirty cigarette and I hate that I must wrap it around my body for warmth. It’s an early wake-up call; my dad has decided we’re going to explore Sacre Coeur. I am miserable for the rest of the day.
Two years later, on my next trip to Paris, I opted for a long, pink and white brocade coat, known to many as Couch Coat. It was still too colorful for most people, and I certainly didn’t fit in, but I was saved from the glares of evil door ladies. Feeling like a frumpy American or grungy backpacker sucks; it’s like going straight back to sixth grade and not having the cool shoes or the right haircut and feeling terrible about it. As such, I’m feeling a bit anxious about my fall wardrobe that has to last me through Europe this time around.
Hi! I'm Susan, and this is my travel journal. You can read more about me here.
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