A rivulet of rotting dog meat reaches my nose as I eat my noodles-- squatted on a plastic stool-- breathing in tuk tuk exhaust.
This has become my evening ritual: a 50cent meal on a roadside by the river-- a plate full of noodles with a side of Bangkok stench.... Chao Praya flowing through my veins-- spices & filth in my nose-- eyes awash in jumbled markets-- gut bathed in chilis.
I have arrived: living the life of a squalid expat- guts twinging with each breath of dogmeat... a stench that evokes memories of dysentaric anorexia, IVs, vomit, long nights spent clutching sides, the tinny taste of antibiotics on the tongue: the anti-hero of a Conrad/Kipling vision.. white man drowning in the tropics.
I push these thoughts from my mind and shift on the stool... hoping to escape the aromatic stream... hunker down over the plate, fork in left hand, chopsticks in right.
I lift my eyes and take in the spectacle in the park across the street:
Aerobics in the park. Movement.
Relentless metronome movement. Dancers, river, tug, and headlights pulsing to an unheard beat. Bending branches under the summer breeze- also in sync. Slow breath, heaving chest-- in sync.
Breasts gliding above hips, Floodlights in my eyes, slow saunter of sandaled feet,
spreading numbness in toes and ankles, sinus ache, the lillies' surge,
In sync and in tune. In sync, in tune, in harmony and intertwined.
The scratch of an ear, the taste of fear, and a Black beast bouncing through the dancing crowd,
Nothing missing, nor in excess.
This is a relaxed awakening... a cleansing of the eyes with each evening downpour..
- Purple clouds roll over skyscrapers,
-Ferns wave to the impending rain.
On the far side of the park, the river surges:
Pulls black barge
Through brown water
I am in love.... love the stench, love the movement, love the filth, love the perpetual reminders that I am alive... Love this international freak zone for the lost, the lonely, the lazy, the wild-- all those refugees, periodic and permanent, seeking escape from the drudgery of the Work Machine.
Thats why I'm here: To escape wage slavery I will endure heat, filth, stench, and disease. I will endure scorn, dismay, disrepute, and exile.
All pretense, all claim to respectability, has slipped away.
I am the eye around which this storm of Bangkok revolves.