(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.

XXXXOOO,
Miss U

[This message was edited by Miss Understood on 02-05-02 at 11:56 PM.]
Original Post
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!

Lex
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...
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!
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
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.
incredible!!
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!
well that's why the people of india only eat with their right hand. you will never see them using their left to eat.
i think it's great to bring this out in the open.
i didn't know about this until adulthood. we think it's a small world but in so many ways it's not. we are unaware of how so many cultures live.
BUTT WIPING...new 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"
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.
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!
xoxo
Lex

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