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(Please excuse any errors. I have no spellcheck here)
How's the weather suckers! I'm here in Bangkok for the 4th time. Perfidia invited my a few years ago and got me hooked. This place has the nicest people, the most amazing food, gorgeous men, and shockingly cheap prices. Also, trannies are very common and, although there is some discrimination, they are far more accepted than in the West. The term "katoey" or "ladyboy" applies to anyone from a very queenie boy to a full blown trannie. It is intersting that transsexuals here do not insist on being classified as women. Maybe it's just because being a transsexual is a valid, somewhat accepted identity, Anyway, you will see katoey, not just trannies, but sissy boys with tweezed eyebrows and long nails, even in very conservative looking shops. That is rare in NY. Yes, we have the ghetto of Pat's, Trash, and MAC, but here they would be in like Polo or a hardware store.

Yesterday I took a really long walk around the weekend market.. I don't have the words to explain how enormous and outrageous this market is. It is impossible to walk the whole thing. It just goes on forever. Clothes, art, food, housewears, china, animals, flowers, toys EVERYTHING. I need to tell you, I am the fussiest person around when it comes to shopping. I walk through a store like Macy's in disgust. I hate everything. I find it all so boring. Even in a "funky" store, I usually only like this and that. But here, I go crazy!

Now, whatever you're imagining, it's that and more. If you're picturing funny Asian misspelled T shirts like in Chinatown, yes they have those. But also, there is some serious fashion going on here. They are more influenced by Japan then us, so there is a lot of wild knock off J-fashion. Then, there are a lot of independant designers making lovely things that are so affordable. I wish I were on a wholesale buying trip! I got the most elegant glass beaded art deco Chinese looking puse. It relly looks like something that would cost hundeds in Bergdorfs, for about $20. You will really gag when you see it!

There is a great balance of beautiful junk and beautiful quality items. Like, some cheap plastic 14th St. quality household item might have such a different style that it's exotic to us. They love pink and green, so I like to stock up on plastic kitchen things. I bought this absurdly large wall clock with a picture of the king and queen of Thailand!

Then, there is great quality stuff. I would get some statues or pottery but there's nowhere in my apt. to put it! I did get some Thai silk to make pants out of. Also, there are booths with cool boutique-type stuff like you'd see in Alphabets or pricy West Village shops. This is where it all comes from folks! It's dazzling. It's hot and sweaty and very crowded, but dazzling.

I know this post is all about shopping, but hey, I never shop at home. On monday I'm off to the dressmaker who makes me those lovely hand sequined things. This year I'm going for a ripped up and sequined glam punk dolman sort of look. They make stuff exclusively for showgirls and drag shows!

Like in many places, the gay and the bohemien worlds seem a bit seperate. I ran across booths in the weekend market selling rock-n-roll regalia, punk t-shirts, etc. There were tatooed guys, one even had a mohawk and his face covered with tattoos. I don't see any real freaks in the gay bars. But hey, if you visit NY and go to the wrong bars you might miss out also. Maybe I'm just not clued in.

The gay bars though are fun and non threatening. The awful gym body culture peeks in here and there, but it's not so prevalent. The queens who do shows here always put a lot of effort into their drag. Even if they're trannies, they still go for heavy makeup and showgirl looks. What's cute is that they actully do boy lip syncs! Last night this guy did "I Want to be Your Underwear" while dancing with 4 trannies.

More later. I need to stop shopping and do something cultural and museumish.

Miss U

[This message was edited by Miss Understood on 02-05-02 at 11:56 PM.]
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The food here is amazing. There are many levels, but even the cheapest stuff you get on a streetcorner amazing. See, everything's cheap for what it is. If you eat in a cute cozy place that has an atmosphere, you can get a great meal, and I mean with seafood and all, from $3-$5. If you want to go for luxury, which I really don't do, You can pay up to like $20, I guess maybe even more, and eat in some palatial gourmet restaurant that would cost $100 back home. But on a streetcorner, well, yesterday I had spicy vegetables over rice, a small deep fried whole fish, and a bottle of water for less than $2. Tom Yum Koong, that shrinp and lemon grass soup, is less than $1!

The first trip I took here I thought the corner places looked scary. There is sort of a gritty look to them. I'm over that. It's all fresh and authentic. It took time to get used to seeing all the raw meat right out there and the hanging ducks etc. Also, they serve shrimp with the legs and heads on them. It used to freak me out, but I got used to it. I think the artificial way we live in America has made us very unsophisticated when it comes to food. We are living in this fantasy world where we believe that everything comes in a package.

In even the cheapest place here they still use only fresh spices and they put a lot of effort into blending the flavors. Even people without a lot of money here have high expectations when it comes to the quality of their food. Even snack food, like cookies and sweets, look freshly made.

Well, if it's midday and hot I do go to the cozy indoor places. I'm still a fussy American.

I tried fruit today that I've never seen before. I forget what it was called. It looks like a big nut and inside is a white fruit that peels apart like a maderin orange. It tasted like kiwi. I need to find out what it was.

I met with my dressmaker today. I'm getting a green sequined outfit with an oval cage hoop skirt. There will be no overskirt and the hoops will be covered in green sequins. I feel pretty, oh so pretty!

No daddy, Perfidia's not here. All the Thai hustlers asses have to heal before she can come back.
Thailand sounds amazing! (though the raw flesh foods make my stomach turn - - I'm a vegetarian).
A friend of mine went there recently and said the same thing about the drag shows there, that they're very showgirl and the girls put a lot of work into their performance and look. Someday very soon I hope to check it out for myself. We miss Miss U!

you're making me miss it, miss u...
is the fruit you're talking about durian??
that's a true thai taste.

i stayed in a guest house near "teh wet" called the shanti lodge. great rooms, great restaurant, sweet and sassy girls running it.

have you been to the "local" (non-tourist) b.y.o.b. discos? they're gorgey!
keep having fun!!
When I said Americans are unsophisticated about food, I meant myself included. I'm still afraid of the Durian. For those who don't know, it's that big spikey fruit you may sometimes see in Chinatowm. It's supposedly delicious, but it smells like a sewer. I'll try to taste it this time. Like I said, you try things and you get over the queasiness. It's like anal sex.

I give an exemption to vegetarians. I just find it interesting that those of us who eat meat (I don't eat much of it, but I do eat it) are so freaked out by where it comes from. Our little corner of the earth for the last few decades has developed this fetish for packaging and processing. We think it looks cleaner, but people here would probably be grossed out because it's not fresh.

Do you know that billions of people in the world use water and their hand instead of toilet paper? They think we're dirty because paper doesn't get you as clean as water. Again, I can make these observations, but I still need the paper. I think I'll stay queasy about that one.

The boys here are GORGEOUS! Thai people tend to have beautiful teeth and it is part of their culture to smile a lot. As for the hooker thing, I haven't gone to those places since I came with Perfidia three years ago. They are fun though. You may have heard this; they dance in their underwear with numbers on and you pick them by number. But it's more fun than just that. These little bars put on amazing shows. Fire acts, traditional Thai costumed dances, drag shows, and live sex hanging from the ceiling! In one, they do a drag show, then the girls get out of beat and sell it as boys.

I don't really do the hustler thing because I like to meet them the regular way. We are considered exotic here so getting laid isn't too hard. There's this disco that is 95% Thai that has a drag show and a darkroom. What more do you need.

I did, though, go in for the "special massage". It's more than what a mere prostitute does because it incorporates a legitimate massage. It starts at the feet, goes up the legs, to the butt (inside and out) up the back, etc. No date, not even a long term boyfriend will do that for an hour and fifteen minutes! Then there was the naked shower...
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All this talk about getting over fears got me thinking. I know a lot of you out there are into pain... or can at least deal with it. I have always avoided it. I have no piercings or tattoos. Well, the street I'm staying on is full of salons offerings every sort of treatment and it's all dirt cheap. Massages (the G-rated kind) are only about $5 an hour (although I think it's nice to tip 100%). Well, I decided to go for my first waxing. I downed a little Thai rum first. It didn't hurt as much as I thought it would.

You know how in NY you can go a few blocks and the atmosphere changes drastically. Well, that goes double for this place. Today I went to the Indian shopping district. Anyone who loves fabrics and notions would cum just walking through the place. I bought a green and pink silk sari for $15 and I'm having a (boy) suit made from it. I never did stop to have boy clothes made here before and I've always regretted it.

I took the water taxi today. We should have them in NY. We do have a river on each side.

It's very quick and lot's of fun. I spooked some Thai dykes on the pier. In Thailand the dykes are very butch/femme. The butches are called "Toms" and the femmes are called "Dees". That's funny 'cause the only Dee I know is Dee Finley and she aint no "Dee". Anyway, the Tom had a buzzcut and was wearing total man drag. The Dee was a hot little number. They were carrying home bags of vegetables.

I'm still tipsy from the hooch I drank for my waxing. I'm off to the fag bars. Mabe I'll meet a cute "Tom" with a big strap on!
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Thre are a few different kinds of drag shows here. There are the gay club shows, the hooker bar shows, and the huge flashy Vegasy shows referred to as "Cabaret." The huge shows are amazing. While they don't incorporate the intentional sense of irony that we NYers love so much in a show, they are SO excessive and overdone that they don't need it. They emulate big splashy musical and music videos. Every number had over 20 dancers in huge, HUGE, costumes. The set keeps changing like on Broadway. The numbers are usually ethnically themed: Thai, Chinese, Korean, Brazillian, etc. There's sometimes some techno thing tossed in. One had a whole Disney song medley. A show like this couldn't happen in NY. It would be too expensive. Anything that large in NY couldn't get away with not paying for the music rights. And all those lavish costumes would cost millions. I'm not exaggerating, you'd have to see it to beleive it.

Last night I saw a much smaller gay bar show. It was mostly standard drag. Still, there is this effort I just never see in NY. They do a new show every night, and each number (there are maybe 6) has about 4 choreographed backup dancers, sometimes queens, sometimes boys. I just don't know how they get that together every night, even on slow weeknights.

The star of the show is this nutty queen who is not at all pretty. The girls here are so gorgeous that I think a homely queen is their idea of funny. She never comes out until the second to last number. Every other queen does American or European songs but she always does something in Thai. It's all over my head, but I'm pretty sure she is sending up Thai pop singers. The other day she did a really druggy look for a rock song. She kept rolling her eyes up and pretening to almost walk off of the stage. Her backup singers were making that crooked mouth coke face. You know the face.

The crowd will be polite and clap for everyone, but when the curtain goes up and she is there in some new garish character look mugging at them they go nuts and start cheering. I think she's the Thai drag Carol Burnett. Then she does this 10 minute standup that sounds really cunty and bitchy. It's all in Thai but the faces she makes are fun to watch. big grin razz big grin razz big grin razz
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i saw a show that sounds eerily similar... if not the same queen. in a neighborhood bar, packed back room with tables (no chairs) and the stage had stairs leading down to it from the back.

i remember she held a pink and green plastic toy microphone in her hand for the lip synch. and that thai voice in the stand up section... i can still hear it in my head.
Bare Hands & Water vs Toilet Paper: I'm a big advocate of using baby wipes myself. It's just like using toilet paper but instead of just wiping you are cleaning at the same time. Afterward I have the satisfaction of knowing my hole is sparkling clean and as dewy fresh as a spring morning. With that soft aroma of baby powder. And it feels just like you're getting a rim job when you're doing it. Gosh, sometimes at home I rush into the bathroom even when I don't have to go and give myself a quick wipe just 'cause it feels so good!
BUTT topic Mommy?

So I don't want you all to get the impression that's it's all this gritty street thing. I was just hanging there to experience the realness. Today I did the flashy mall thing. There is this big cluster of huge flashy malls full of affluent Thai teenagers. While there are a lot of American fashion chains, there are also some great Thai designer shops. There's lots of Japanese influence. The American fastfood places are all there in a cluster (KFC, Starbucks, McD's, etc). Although they exist here, there are not enough of them to make them seem mundane to the Thai people. They are actually, in the eyes of the Thai, a cool Western import. It is twice the price to have coffee at Starbucks, so they think it's fancy. Get this, my companion (I'll fill you in below) took me to Au Bon Pain in the mall for breakfast. He sees it as a "trendy" coffee shop. He said that, later in the day, it attracts a gay and lesbian crowd. AU BON PAIN! It's a hip, cool thing to them, so the fags, being on the cutting edge, meet there and feel fierce.

I met this guy last night at Babylon, this big hoitsy toitsy bathhouse. It's weird to instantly feel rich here. It's like $5 to get in and it looks all luxurious and grand. His name is Anthony, he speaks English very well, he's smart and very cute but he has a boyfriend...well, a long distance one. Still, we had a really good time together. They have an open relationship.

Years ago, at Robots, *BOB* had this friend Benjamin who would wear lipstick and giant lashes and call herself "Benjalady." Well, he, at the age of 21 picked up and moved to Vietnam. I find that very impressive. Now he's here in Bangkok with his cute Vietnamese Boyfriend. They took me to a stunning Vietnamese restaurant. It looks like a fancy place that would be at least $30 or more in NY. It was about $5.

Oh, hey, there are a lot of Thai covers of American songs here, sometimes in Thai and somethimes in English. I stocked up on CDs today. Come to my next DJ gig and here the "China Girls" sing "That's the way I like it" as well as the Thai 8 year old boy that sings dance versions of "Da Da Da" and "Kung Foo Fighting" Oh, and the girls that sing "Come on Feel the Noize"
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The pop music here changes quickly, but a few years ago there was a popular trannie pop singer named "Jern Jern". I bought her album. It was nothing amazing but just a cool thing to have. There is also a popular TV host who appears regularly in and out of drag. I haven't seen him on TV (my cheap room doesn't have one) but My friend showed me a book about her. While they are prim about some things (they edit sex scenes out of Western films)they seem much more comfortable with gender varience. They also do a lot more looking the other way when it comes to sex entertainment, as you all may have heard.

A lot of countries are ahead of us when it comes to queens and trannies.

Turkey, which is very behind us when it comes to accepting overt gayness, has a trannie pop star who is like the Turkish Streisand. Her name is Bulent Ersoy. She was famous as a man, and in 1980 he became a she. The government banned her music for a few years, but when the ban was reversed she became popular as ever. When I was in Istanbul last year we'd see her in the newspaper all the time. Her music isn't really pop, it's more like Turkish classical. Although I can appreciate a lot of non western singing styles (chinese, Indian, etc.) I really couldn't get through a whole album of Bulent Ersoy. She sounds like a wailing man. Sort of like Hedda Lettuce.

While her name is still male, I guess she was already known, so it was easier to keep it, her look is fish. She looks and dresses very cha cha, like an Latin Krash/Escuelita trannie. She's very surged, I think she's in her 50's. I'll post photos when I get home.

Turkey also has some queenie male singer that's very painted. He's sort of a cross between Liberace, Michael Jackson, and Luxury Lex.

I've also heard about Trannie soap stars in S. America. When I get home I'll start a new topic and maybe we can create a collection of international famous transladies. It will put America to shame.
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Bless the day that I'm put in the same category as Liberace & Micheal Jackson! Bliss!

Thanks so much for these posts. The nightlife and drag shows are reason enough to visit Thailand, and I'm dying to go now. I think next winter a visit may be in the cards for me too. I really am extremely curious to see the kind of spectacle and grandiose shows they put on there, the paegentry of it all as well as the smaller weird stuff and the endless cultural kitsch. It makes me want to slide uptown to The Web to see if they've any sliver of this flavor going on there. A great forum and very informative!
Have I had any goons made?!!?? Bitch I've got 6 in the works! Have you ever seen that queeny series of paper doll books, like "fashions of the 1930's" etc. Well, I brought the "Carmen Miranda Paper Dolls" book to use as reference and I'm having this gorgeous red gown copied. It'll have a train so I won't be able to use it too often.

Getting clothes made is really cheap but it's a bit of a job on my part. I have to go back and forth a lot to the place and I have to do fittings in the middle of this unairconditioned flea market type place. They have a small booth full of showgirl clothes. They make them in a different location. They tie up a piece of fabric for me to change behind. I've got to get into the Danskins, the corset, yada yada, then I have to come out in the aisles looking like some nutty crossdresser (no offense intended Hattie) and get measured while people walk by. They are used to "Katoey" but I don't think that they can see me and understand that I'd look different in makeup. It's very funny!

I'm leaving for the beach soon. Bangkok is very polluted and the heat mixed with the exhaust can really get to you. In stark contrast, the beaches down south are pristine. When I come back Benjalady and his boyfriend Thang (yes that's her name) are going to go with me to Pattaya, the town with the huge drag shows. We're going to try to see both in one day.
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I'm writing to you from the fancy bathhouse. It's one of those places you could never leave. But I will. I'm not THAT pervy. I am being a little more pervy this year though. At home I would be wayyy too self concious to walk around in a towel. I hope Chelsea culture stays away from here forever! They do have some reverse body image issues here. They'll have perfect flat abs and then think they're too skinny!

You know here, the country not just the bathhouse, they would never think of making a frozen drink with syrup. There's always pineapples, oranges, pappaya, bannanas etc. On the street you could get frozen drinks for under $1. Here, since it's classy and expensive, made with Bacardi instead of local, and seved in a tropical garden courtyard full of cute guys in towels, I had to pay a whopping $2.25 for my frozen watermelon drink.

Oh, I meant to tell you about one of the most twisted things I've seen around town: Osama Bin Laden T-shirts. No, the Thai are not pro Taliban. It's just that throw-anything-on-a T-shirt mentality. Like in NY they are selling baseball caps that say "ground zero". What's that about?

Well, at the same T-shirt stand I'd see some anti Osama shirts, some with just his face (pro?), and some weirdly neutral ones. The most comman has the WTC in the center with closeups of Bush and OBL hazily superimposed on either side. It says "The Day The World Changed"

Mind you I've never seen anyone wear them. It's like those shirts and 9" buttons you used to see on 8th street that said things like "Bend Over Bitch!" Did you ever see them on a person?

Well, I'm gonna go git me some action. I need a break from my nunlike life in NY. Take care, don't slip in the snow.

[This message was edited by Miss Understood on 02-09-02 at 10:03 AM.]

[This message was edited by Miss Understood on 02-09-02 at 10:04 AM.]

[This message was edited by Miss Understood on 02-17-02 at 03:08 AM.]
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You can get boots done, boobs done, anything ya'need!~

I'm taking a break from all the shopping. I'm in a beach town called Krabi. I'm staying in a Bungalow on a nearby quieter beach. This area is known for dramatic rock formations, huge spooky limestone cliffs surrounding the beaches, and caves. Yesterday I took a boat ride that took us to 4 islands. It was an all day trip that included lunch and snorkeling (less than the price of a movie). The fish here are so colorful. I really relate to them. There is this one fish that is pretty large and colored with every color in the day-glo spectrum {A little bit of trivia: did you know that the term "day-glo" is copywritten! If I ever sell those fish I'll have to call them "Fluorescent"}

Today I am going to some temple that's in a cave. Very Indiana Jones, huh.

Yesterday I saw this shallow cave in the side of a cliff that has been made into a shrine for some mythical princess. It is comman to bring her phallic offerings. There were piles of big wooden weenies all over the place. No, I didn't take any! I'll post a photo when I get home.
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So the caves were shallow, no big deal. But then I went on this loooong walk up to a mountaintop shrine. It was all steps...2200 steps! It was exhausting but the view was breathtaking. There were lots of monks meandering around. I was dying to suck one off!

Let me explain. Thailand is swarming with monks, usually dressed in these orange or mustard robes. Most men, sometime after high school, become a monk for a few months to a year, as a learning and spiritual experience. They are not necessarily the oh-so-serious-devote-my-life-to-Buddha types. They're always doing things they're really not supposed to do like shopping for CD's. In Bangkok there's this big big mall full of computers and software called Pantip Plaza. It is chock full of hot twink monks in their swaggy robes playing video games and shopping.

So here, by the beach, it's warmer and the robes are more abbreviated. It's just the mustard skirt and the matching one armed top (very trendy) that has ties up one side. Not only is one arm free but the one nipple is almost always exposed! There was this one muscular monk with little goatee, tattoos on his arm, and a nice big pinkish brown nipple! He also had that big Thai smile that I love so much. I'll dream about him tonight! What secrets does he hide under his holy robe?
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Have you ever noticed how bad travel articles in magazines an newspapers are? They are all formatted around overpriced packages. Even here, if you pick up a free (advertiser funded) tourist guide or map, it is full of listings for things that are absurdly overpriced for what things cost here. This place is so gorgeous that there's not much more the pricey places can offer you. You don't need a pool with a crystal clear ocean in front of you! A simple, lovely, Gilliganesque bungalow is about $10 a night. The "roughing it" bungalow with no screens is about $4. I went for the extra fancy, tiled floor, air conditioned, $17 one! I felt extravagent! Everything is very tiki-like. The places you eat are patios covered in thatched roofs. There are swankier places that can cost anywhere from $40 to hundreds but it's a bit stupid to bother. The cheap places are so cute and the atmosphere is amazing. And, you get gourmet food for the price of a Happy Meal! Okay, there are some concessions. Cheap places on the beach have no hot water. After one day it doesn't bother me.

Last night I discovered where the local fags are. The disco of course! The manager is this mary with long nails who kept trying to get jiggy with me. Why do I always get hit on by the queens and the women!

Traveling alone can be weird at times, but it gives me a chance break my regular routines. I never get a TV in my room, so I fall back into a habit of reading, something I hardly do normally.

I read an great book about Jayne Mansfield. She was such an amazing freak! Then I read The Celluloid Closet. Anyone out there who's a fan of film should definitely pick it up. There is so much interesting dirt about changed plotlines and industry politics. There's also a lot of info about early "sissy" characters in films. I can't wait to make a list and hit Kim's Video!

Now I'm reading "Infinite Variey" about the Marchesa Casati. Chi Chi you must have read this! In the early 1900's this filthy rich exhibitionist eccentric constantly shocked Venice with her "goth" wardrobe, her bizarre home, and her dramatic antics. She would walk down the street at night nude, wrapped in a tiger skin, walking two Cheetahs on a leash! There's a lot more! She was sort of a high society Amanda Lepore. Maybe we need a "reading list" topic!
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There are more internet places in Thailand than there are bodegas in NY. The standard price is less than $1 an hour, although when you are in a beach town the price goes up and the speed goes down.

I finished that book and I now say that Marchesa Louisa Casati was a cross between Morticia Adams, Amanda Lepore, Lynn Yeager, and Edina Monsoon, with a little bit of PT Barnum sprinkled on for flavor!

Oh by the way, I think I got a little 24 hour (I hope) bug. It happens.
That hairy backed man in a wig (though a well styled wig I might add) has been lurking and not posting!? Will someone please teach her how?

I wish I could have been there. I always hear great stories about Pat Field's balls.

It was a 24 hour thing, so I'm up and ready for my next adventure... breakfast.

[This message was edited by Miss Understood on 02-17-02 at 03:05 AM.]
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In these countries copyrights and trademarks are not so easily upheld. I think all of the bootleg CD's and software are technically illegal, but you see them everywhere, even in stores.

I love the kooky business names that pop up like "Coffeebucks" and "Pizzaria Hut". In Turkey last year we saw "The Hard One Cafe". Yesterday I saw the "Harry Potter" Hair Salon, complete with the real logo. How Harry Potter would relate to hair is beyond me.
That's like Japan. In Tokyo you would see these big huge Times Square-ish billboards with words misspelled. I remember one time I flew to Tokyo to open this new club. They had these brass letters imbedded into the concrete with the club's name. It looked really nice except they spelled club "culb". They didn't care. It just had to look Western. Once we stayed in this fancy hotel called "Hotel With". With what? They just don't care, it's all about the look. Boxes of tissues would say, "Dear my friends how many happiness". That was a huge ad campaign there. I remember Malcolm McClaren telling me before I went to Japan. "You will love Asia, it's like going to another planet. The only problem with the Japanese is that they don't speak English...
they just think they do".
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Well, I was actually talking more about obvious knock-offs and rip offs of brand names, but your point is well taken. Although the Thai do that somewhat less than the Japenese, there are a lot of Japanese knock off products (t-shirts,etc) that are very that.

I'm sure Americans were occasionally guilty of the same thing. Remember those 80's shirts with the big red sun and the chinese writing? What the hell did they say? And didn't we have a period of French writing on T-shirts?

But yeah, nobody so blatently mangles English like the Japanese. Dany's friend found some cartoon stationary that misspelled something as "cunt." Dany, if you're reading, do you remember what it said?

Oh one thing that is interesting, the Japanese and the Thai both love the song "Happy Birthday'. Even if they don't speak a work of English, they'll sing "Happy Birthday." I heard it here on TV to a different tune. I should see if it's on any CD's.
I have a watch from Japan that has a picture of a flower on it and it say's FROWER! right on the face.
Miss Undertaker, what a fabulous adventure you are on, here's an idea for you, since you have such business savvy, organized trans-tours to Asia! think about it, Also I have been looking into Marchesa Casati, what an amazing woman, we love her, I smell Wildenstein...
Actually M. Ra, as I was reading that book all I kept thinking about was how you would live for it! It gets sicker as it goes on but I won't spoil it for you. If Todd ever finishes "My face for the world to see" this should be his next film!

I won't embarass anyone by name, but you should see some of the emails I get from certain Asian queens in NY. You sometimes forget that people with limited English will write the way they speak. It's very cute, it's always the "L" and "R" switch. But they're not publishing or printing anything! Why these big companies don't have decent proofreaders is beyond me... but I like it.

I saw a drag show at "DJ Station" last night. It's a hipper gay disco. The show was fierce. They do so many of those boy numbers, but the boys wear adorable outfits. Last night the looks were so fashion forward it blew away anything I've seen in NY for a while. They also do those group dances that are all about looking great and being synchronised but not at all about great dance moves. I love that! I love artifice! The show was definitely more "with it" than the big super-shows, but the big ones are sick in a different way.
Wow. I went to Pattaya to see the drag shows. We went to two, "Alcazar" and "Tiffany". While they were both dazzling, Tiffany, which started in the 70's, blew Alcazar out of the water!

While the photos on their website look great, they don't begin to translate all the glitter and texture of the costumes, nor the kinetic grandeur of the sets... but go take a look around anyway:
Tiffany Website
On the "show preview" page, give it time to load and it becomes a little roll-over-the-photo slideshow.

As you can see, it's in this giant gaudy theater surrounded by fountains. Then there's a big neon sign along the road. It's like a Miami version of Vegas, only it doesn't exist in Miami.

Inside 1000 seats are filled with tourists who had arrived by the busload. I would say they were 80% Asian and 20% European/Australian. I figured out what makes these shows tick. They are the Asian equivilent to a La Cage show.

La Cage is drag for the American masses, they can relate to familiar celebrities. In the Thai show, they present glamorous renditions of traditional Asian songs. During the Korean number, a row of, I assume Korean, old ladies behind us clapped along from beginning to end.

What makes it so fabulous is that Asian imagery is so just so bright and gorgeous. And, their Vegasizations are overblown dayglo sexy extravagazas! Most of the girls have titties and there's lots of cleavage. The boy dancers also wear Asian/Vegas sequined costumes with provacative cutouts. There was this one number where the boys were dressed in "Native American" inspired looks, all shirtless with little loincloths, feather headpieces, and gorgeous mini muscled bodies!

NY girls who are all into their dancing might read for the lack of dance skills. I think that, surrounded by all that opulence, the clunkiness of the dancing makes it all that much more fabulous. If you put this show on in NY, the production costs would be so high that it would be a Broadway budget. Therefor it would not be all real trannies and it would not have this authentic Asian flavor. Globalization has not won, there are some things you can only see here.

There would be these numbers that didn't even have songs, just music and parades of costume. Just when I'd be screaming over the twelve outlandish creations before me, they'd step back and ten more would enter from stage left!

I'm not a person who's easily impressed by most things called "fashion." Labels bore me. I need stimulation, I need my buttons pressed. Well, after this show, my buttons need a week to recouperate!
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All is well with the costumes. Kathy Lee is here supervising the workers.

I am really going a little nuts with the buying. It's like when I used to go thrift shopping at Dompseys in Brooklyn. I would get so excited at how cheap all this great stuff was that in the end I would buy too much and really overspend.

Well, every time I spend too much on clothes I go eat a cheap dinner at a street vendor to repent for my sins.

You wanna know something cute? It's standard here to sit in the front when you get in a taxi. It felt weird the 1st time, but now it seems kind of sweet. Sometimes, even if their English stinks, they'll make friendly chit chat. It's certainly more personable than a wall with a money slot.

So this evening I went for dinner at one of those streetcorner places. I had a BBQ whole fish, stir fried veggies, rice, and bottled water ($5, fancy!). Two of the people serving were "ladyboys." You know, they were sort of hard, but not hard in a manly way, just hard. They were very casual, T shirts, a little lipstick. They were so plain it would be easy to walk by and not notice. If you really keep your eyes open you will spook them in the most mundane places.

In NY it is very rare that I see trannies in everyday jobs (KFC, Home Depot, bodegas). We really do have a serious job discrimination problem at home. Thai trannies just blend in with the working class. Don't get me wrong, they hook here too, but they seem to have more choices.

I procrastinated and scewed up my travel plans. Now I can't go to Viet Nam. I'll probably go to Chiang Mai for a few days. It's a beautiful city in the north of Thailand. They sell a lot of amazing hilltribe fabrics up there. Those hilltribes, they live in beige thatch houses surrounded by beige dry dusty soil and beige dry grass, yet they make and wear the most elaborate colorful clothing! It's like they need to compensate for everything else!

[This message was edited by Miss Understood on 02-23-02 at 01:58 PM.]

[This message was edited by Miss Understood on 02-23-02 at 02:04 PM.]
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your travelogues are incredible, missy.
they remind me of my trip to thailand and point out to me all the great things i missed.
keep on rockin' in the "kinda" free world.

when you head up into chang mai, you'll be wooed into hill treks to see these tribal people in their native environs. they're really just human zoos. i was grossly (and i do mean GROSS) disappointed... the akha women were hostile to us when we didn't wanna spend money on their crappy trinkets. they would yank their kids away from playing with us (and our sunglasses and water guns) gnashing their betelnut stained teeth. come to find out the government provides them with these souveneirs so they can keep up the show.

our group was kept to one side of the village. when we went walking around we found another group on the same tour. not the deep trip into the hills we had expected. we spent the night in a thatched hut with a group of gassy canuck frat boys. it was cold and the village rooster(s) crowed all night long.

apparently the thai government also compensates the northern tribe that does the neck stretching with gold rings so that they will continue to do that. (personally, i don't see why they'd want to quit. i've always LOVED that look.)

don't mean to put a pin in your balloon or piss on your parade, but these are some of the other realities of travel. it's good to see it all.

however... our second night we did get to spend time in an opium den....
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Yeah, I've heard mixed reviews of those Hill trecks. Supposedly the system has been reformed to space those groups from eachother, but there are so many of them I don't know if that's possible.

I've been to Chiang Mai twice but I've never done the treck. I did, by car, visit 2 of those human zoo/villages. One was that pushy trinket situation. Then, at the longneck lady place, they just ask a fee before you go in. I think it's a bit more honest and less stressful. Look, they know you want to see them, it's somewhat invasive, so you may as well pay for the privilage. Then, once you're in, there's no tension or pressure. It was very relaxed.

I don't think it's totally wrong. It's natural that people would want to see how other people live. For them to set up a little part of the village for that purpose, and then charge us to see it, I think affords them a little control and protection. Then again, I don't really know all the real details of what's going on, but it does seem more respectful that having foreigners just show up, take photos, and leave without giving something back. It just acknowledges the reality of the situation.

It's a lot like Lucky Chengs.
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Well, I finally caught some dirt on Monks.

I'm in Chiang Mai, the second largest city, much cleaner than Bangkok, in the North of Thailand. Fifteen minutes one way you're in farm country. Fifteen minutes the other way your in the mountains.

I hooked up with this really sweet guy who's been driving me all around on his motorcycle. So he was a temporary monk for much longer than normal because he was orphaned at 9. His uncle was a monk so he went to live with them. I asked if they got nasty in the monk barracks. He said when he was about fourteen he and the other monkettes would have these circle jerks. Like, who was bigger (he won) and who could come first. There's a little more.

He said that since all the walls were made of simple wood, you could often see through the slats into the next room. He's often catch this older monk banging this younger one.

Furthermore, the monks DO NOT wear underwear under their robes. He said in the morning, when they would walk through town with a big bowl for donations, if they had a boner they would have to hold the bowl low enough to cover it. That's why they usually look down while collecting. If they see a pretty girl they might get hard and embarass themselves.

I gotta go soon, he's patiently waiting for me while I email. It's so amazing when you meet locals. They take you to places you might not find as a tourist. Tonight we ate for hours at this Sukiyaki Korean Grill place. It's like a raw buffet, then you cook at your table. Get this, it was less than $3...for both of us!

Tune in next time and I'll tell you about the lizard oil that they use to make their dicks bigger. they slice open this lizard, squeeze out the oil, and rub it on "make dick grow big". You can also buy the stuff from an herbal medicine guy. I wonder if they have that in Chinatown? Well, I guess if any of the girls go off the 'mones and they want to restore their trade, they can try lizard oil.

Chiang Mai is full of Euro-hippie types. Lot's of health food, yoga classes, etc. It's like the Thai San Francisco. There are these stoes full of beads, beautiful fabrics, silver, pottery, etc. The stores will look soooo lovely. Coming fron NY you see a pretty store and assume it's expensive. Some of the prices are so low that it's shocking. I'm not really buying much, because it's not stuff that I need (or can carry) but it's wild. I saw these amazing dishes. They were glazed in green, and toward the center, they were a deeper green and the glaze had a shattered glass look. They would be so expensive in a boutique in NY. The large plates were about $1 and the small cups and saucers were maybe 50 cents! They were really heavy though. I'm sure it would cost a lot to ship them.

When you buy things in NY you're not necessarily paying for the items, no matter how nice they look, you're paying for the importing, and, mostly, the crazy NY rent for the shop!
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I took a one day Thai cooking course. They actually cover a hell of a lot in one day! I'll soon be the green curry queen of NYC!

So this guy I'm dating here in Chiang Mai, Wat, the one who had the circle jerks with the monks, he's really great to hang out with. I feel like a biker chick on the back of his motorcycle! He's entering graduate school to become a teacher.

He's a bartender in a very odd location. At this three level flea market type place there is a weird long hallway on the side between the basement and first floor. It's like a barely noticable mezzanine. It houses five small gay bars in a row, like a long railroad apartment of bars. The crowd is made up of a lot of young (18-25) locals, many of whom are part time prostitutes. They are not really hard core hustlers or anything. They just make so little in their day jobs that they will go with a Euro guy for some fun and money. Most nights it seems like they just hang out at the bar with their friends and have a good time. Then sometimes, if a date comes along, they'll go with someone for some cash.

Bangkok is significantly more affluent than Chiang Mai. They have much more of a non-commercial gay scene. Here I think if it comes along, you take it. It's just a neccesary way of life.

Oh, here's a tidbit. There's a night bazaar that's very popular with tourists. Along the block there's a walkway that leads to a big food court that advertises free shows: Thai Boxing and "Cabaret," which in Thailand always means a drag show. There's a cute little stage right next to the boxing ring!

While the show is a little shlocky compared to the big famous ones in the beach towns, they still always do choreographed group numbers with matching costumes, feather headdresses, etc. The girls are mostly flawless trannies. This show had one freaky one. She was definitely NOT a trannie and she was pulling a freak look: blue hair, Jackie Beat lips, severe makeup. Her wardrobe needed help but I loved her. I tipped her and took her photo.

I happened to go on a slow night, when the show started there were only about eight people watching this lovely revue. The applause sounded sad. It was like the scene in Hedwig when she was playing at a salad bar. Toward the end a better crowd rolled in. razz razz razz razz razz
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Thank you for the link Shema. I found the site to be informative as well as insightful.

My dresses look GORGEOUS! Dany Johnson (legendary DJ) and Andy Whyland (Legendary nightlife photographer/"that dyke at the door") are arriving in Bangkok tonight. They're spending a few days here on their way to Japan.

Perfidia is ever the trend setter. She brought me, then Jojo came, then Dany and Ande...

Next year the Bridge and Tunnel crowd will all be here!
They got here okay. We went to the Bangkok Weekend Market. It's probably the best shopping place in the world! So many interesting and colorful things. I got some green silk to have pants made. Between the silk and the tailor it'll cost about $24. How could I ever go back to buying off the rack???

I'm still a little heartbroken over the end of my 5 day relationship in Chiang Mai. At home I go very long periods of time without getting that close to anyone. sorry that your relationship with your lovely boy had to end.

i wish i could get cool pants made for 24 dollars. im really picky about my pants and the way they fit and how my jeans hang - so i usually just opt for making them myself - or buying a pair and butchering them into how i want them to be.

when are you coming back to nyc?

nick(y) lazaro
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aww. I want to see Wat...he sounds lovely. Man, it was so funny, cause tonight - I was sitting here in New York and watching tv and saw that "Drag Time" was on. I started freaking out, just as I did when I was wayy back in Michigan having big dreams about being "up there" with the "girls". All in all - it was different watching it this time. I have met alot of the guys in the film - like you...but I still got just excited. Being here and being in the nightlife and seeing everything hasn't dampered my vision of New York as being a magical place, even if it can be a "big, fat, greasy ho" at the same time.

It's funny to me - because just a little less than two months ago I was just this kid from Michigan with a dream of coming here - and with a little wish - I was catipulted up here and landed myself dead in the middle of everything. I remember when you introduced Sweetie to me on the mother boards. You did an amazing thing because me and Sweetie have become really close and are really good buddies...although we haven't become lesbians together yet. I have hung out with Perfidia in the dj booth recently at Marrion's and let me tell you, your friend is a trip - I Love her!!

But you, the divine Miss U, remain on my list as one of my "biggest influences". You BRING it! smile

p.s. - can i have some silk pants too??


Nick(y) Lazaro
I made the mistake of promising too many friends too many favors. I just had to spend a fortune mailing home a big box of other peoples stuff. My enormous luggage is jam packed! Diandra gave me the HUGEST Miss-Ross gown to have sequined, and girls, it weighs a ton!

Ra, that gorgeous stuff that I know you would want is in the Indian district and I don't know if I'll make it there before leave. I will try to pick you up some little something.
You KNOW that I am being obnoxious! just one small 30-40 ct. emerald or saphire will be fine.
I can imagine the merch you have already gathered. I just shipped 2 boxes myself, in 5 month's I managed to gather lot's of junk too, including tacky, painted 10 commandments plates,10 of them!And I am shipping the Theremin, so they don't think it's an explosive device.I don't want anything messing with my pill high...
You know, I had all sorts of ideas like that. All I think about here is how much fun I would have doing some creative buying/designing/importing. It just comes down to the lack of a system. To really make it work I'd need to deal in some amount of quantity. That involves having a shop or showroom or doing trade shows.

I could not only scout really direct sources here, but I could custom things to give them a unique look. Anyone out there want to back a project? Send me an email. For a big buying trip it would be totally worth the expense of traveling!

I have considered opening a store. My problem is that I would enjoy the buying, I would absolutely love the designing of the shop, but who wants to sit and run it day after day? I need a partner who wants to run a store! Oh yeah, and some cash. Any takers???
hey miss u...

i import piercing jewelry from indonesia with my friend phoebe. we've thought about how great it would be to have a shop, but it does seem like a royal pain in the ass, too.

if you're serious about wanting to do more of this stuff, i've thought it thru and done some of it. (i was in thailand and india for about 5 months a coupla years ago.) let's talk.

LOVING your travel-logue, totally taking me back there. have you found the shanti lodge in bangkok? that's my lil' thai oasis.

stay safe and HAVE FUN!!!!

- goblin
You're lucky. Jewelry is sooo much easier to ship!

So we went to this straight club called "Hollywood." It's set up like a NY dance club, a big room w/a stage, lots of lighting, and very loud techno. The difference: the room, even the would-be dance floor, is filled with cocktail tables. You either sit or stand at your table. Maybe 15% of the crowd will dance next to their table. Most people tend to get a bottle and mixers. We do that every night we go out drinking here. It's dirt cheap, even if you drink imported liquor. I would absolutely never do that at home. In NY it can cost $300 ($250+$50 tip).

There is always a long show. It's usually a pop music thing with costumes and dancers. Even non drag entertainment here is usually like that, I've seen it on TV. That night they happened to be featuring a famous Thai boy band. They were very cute but not as theatrical as we would have hoped. In the middle of the show a crazy drag queen came out and talked for a while. She flirted with the boys, patted their sweat, sniffed the napkin, and stashed it in her bag.

I'm coming home in a few days. All good things must end.
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I saw yet another glizy drag revue. This one was in Bangkok. While it was the sorry little sister of the Pattaya shows, it still took place in a huge glitzy theater and had very big cast.

This was the only one that got a little raunchy, in sort of a stripper sort of way. During one number the trannies all were dancing seductively in whorey outfits with their nipples popping out. The predominantly Indian tourbus crowd was living! If ya' can't get it driving a cab in NYC, go to Bangkok!

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This trip ran way longer than I had planned. I need to return and pick up the pieces of my life.

I'm trying to enjoy all the cheap little "spa" treatments before I leave. I got a haircut; they chopped too much off. I had a 2 hour Thai massage. It was AMAZING! You know that feel of relief after taking a big dump or having a good orgasm? Well after a really good Thai massage you feel that all over your whole body. I must add that a 2 hour massage in NY would generally run you $120. Here, in a very nice, clean, salon, it was less than $9. Yes, I tipped.
The sucky part is that the time I REALLY need a massage is when I'm home and stressed out from work. If Star Trek's "transporter beam" is ever truly invented, it's going to have a crazy ecconomic effect on the world!

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