Thailand 2008!

Okay, no long winded diary-ah as in some past years, I have all the same observances all over again.

The vacations have turned into working trips. Having costumes made for myself has led to making costumes for skinny girls (as opposed to "gurls" as the crossdressers say) to be worn at events. This years working themes: sequin animal print, butterflies, and cowgirls.

There's a lovely, cozy, east village like (sorta) neighborhood that I can't stay in... I need to be near production. So, I'm in a more crowded gritty part of town. I'm in a cozy guesthouse that has wireless Internet. It's not as cozy as the website makes it out to be, but it's fine and only $300 for a whole month. I'm learning about renting monthly, it's way cheaper.

My American friend Benjamin, known in his New York days as "Benjalady" has lived here for a few years. He's gotten all Weezy Jefferson and moved into the equivalent of those glass condo buildings taking over NY. It's got a killer view and the most luxurious pool that I have ever seen in my life. It's nice to know the locals

I have not done any nightlife yet. I did take off for a few days and go to Cambodia to see Angkor Wat, the ruins of a thousand year old temple. The scrolls said Hattie supervised the construction.

Original Post
So I'm walking down the crowded sidewalk in this busy wholesale garment district area I'm staying in and I see a storefront with a big poster on the door for "Miss International Queen," a major pageant held each year in Southern Thailand, a recent winner being Chicago's Mimi Marks. I peer in the window and see brightly colored posters all over the room of advertising various "ladyboy" show and pageants. All of the writing is in Thai. The room contains a a main desk facing rows of plastic chairs, lined up like theater seats. Hmmm, could it be? Yes, it's a storefront trannie surge clinic! I'm really not sure if it's just for facial fillers and breast implants or for the whole enchilada. I just love how it's sitting out here on this busy block, not in any special neighborhood, boasting about the trannie clientele. It seems like something they would play down in New York so as to not turn off their more conventional customers.

You know how in New york the whole neighborhood changes in a few blocks? It doesn't come close to this place. There is a cluster of huge malls which are very sleek and modern. Each one has a movie theater, some of which are so grand that nothing at home comes close. Now I'm not a mall person, but they serve a different purpose here. It's a hot city, so indoor air conditioned atmospheres are a big deal.
Right around the corner from those malls is the canal boat which takes you through some very old school areas, yes slums, but colorful slums with very cute old wood houses that have been patched up with ticky tacky. I always love places that remind me of Mortville.
The canal boat cuts through a lot of traffic to get you from one place to another fast.
when i was there in'90, (seems like a lifetime ago) i walked past one of the malls under construction. All the labor except for the welders was FEMALE! And Butch doesn't even begin to say it.

One of the best times was on a fantail boat through the canals where my adoptive hosts, Panth and Thanth, took me to a Wat that wasn't on the map. Totally neighborhood,like going to a Pentacostal church on the LES. I got to do the whole ritual from the head cleansing to rubbing a less than paper thin piece of real gold on to the neighborhood buddha. Unforgettable. The whole neighborhood turned out to just grin like fanatics at the white guy botching it all up, but they all loved me with their smiles.
Hi Miss Understood,

It's been ages since I've posted anything on the M'boards. And it's been ages since I frequented Lucky Chengs, miss much! It's also been ages since I've been in NYC or even the US...the last 2 years I've been living in London (been drumming and roaming) and now I find myself living in Bangkok working for a world music organisation.

Anyhoo, happy you are in town and would love to hook up sometime or see you if you are on stage somewhere?

Hugz, ^bEaT^ (Douglas)
Oh my god Missy you just made my day. Mortville, Panth and Thanth, Fashionista, I mean the layers keep peeling back to reveal another gem. I'm leaving for Thailand pronto! Glad you're enjoying yourself. When not in Bangkok where are your fave places to visit? I'm more beachy than Bangy and I want to go back but maybe visit different islands (went to Ko Lanta and Ko Lipe before).
This year I'm on Koh Samet. If you want a perfect place I'll tell you. Go stay at Beer's House on Koh Samui. I know Koh Samui is supposed to be overdeveloped, but it's big and there are some very cute quiet strips. Koh Samet, where I am now, is less developed but the places are clustered much closer together and, while I like it, it doesn't have the intimacy of my little place on Samui. Beer's was about $15 a night, though it's probably up a bit since the dollar went down.

Beer's House
This trip has definitely been more business than "vacation" though I still love everything about this nutty place. I am dealing with about 10 different shops, most existing in this very unassuming maze-like marketplace. It's completely unhip and untrendy, totally away from most tourist traffic. Yet, they have a certain specific international following of queens, trannies, and other show people who come to get costumes, wardrobe shows, etc.

Perfidia and I notice little trends in what's going on each year. Like, one shop will start making headdresses from a glittter-covered vinyl, then they next year so are all of the others, then the next year they are making flower shapes out of the vinyl, etc. This year they finally discovered corsetry. Also, I saw quite a bit of period costume, totally new. It probably started because one of the mega drag shows, Tiffany, had a Marie Antoinette inspired production number in the show this year. They started out in huge pannier dresses. When the music picked up and got dancey the panniers tore away and they were in sexy high cut corset/pantie ensembles.

Today I discovered a new place that is totally away from the other shops. I spotted it from a cab last week and wandered back to look for it. It was a storefront with a glass windows and mannequins, though it is nowhere near the fancy shopping districts. It turns out to be a 5 story building owned and operated by trannies who make, sell, and rent costumes. I never ran across a rental place but it all makes sense. There are so many shows in bars and clubs that have amazing costumes, I always wondered where they were all coming from. I'm getting a few items from her this week but there's not time to start anything big, I'm leaving soon. She took me upstairs to see her collection, she has a lot of those Japanese-style anime-inspired outfits, like the uniforms with puffy shoulders and petticoats. Unfortunately like many of these shops, her English is limited and mail order would not be a good idea. That's why I stay here for a month!
Fruits

When Thais say "lemon" they mean "lime" The limes are round like an orange. The oranges are tiny, about the same size as the limes. A kaffir lime, known in Thailand as "makrut", is a wrinkled looking lime with a useless juice. The zest and leaves are used in a lot of dishes and they really add amazing flavor as well as aroma. I have sound the leaves fresh frozen in New York but not the rind or whole fruit.

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