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I'm staying in the Euro/Aussie slacker tourist area. It's cheap and fun, but pretty far from the gay strip. I finally found out where there's a gay club near here and I went last night. They actually gave me a little look up and down at the door,grilled me about ID, etc. I realized why when they decided I was okay and let me in. I was the only non Asian in the packed club! That's very unusual least from what i've seen so far. There are some very mixed bars full of guys who want white trade/sugar daddies etc. Then I've gone to places that are largely, but not exclusively Thai. This was different. I guess it's just off the obvious track for most tourists.

The format is nothing like we have at home. Everyone stands around cocktail tables with small groups and order bottles. I didn't know how to order a single cocktail, and it was too loud to ask anyone. It looks like a dance place, but you just dance at your table. Luckily I made a friend quickly or I would have felt really awkward. If there was a show I missed it. I'm sure there was one. I think everyplace here has a show.

In a few days I'm going to see this show on a floating theater on the riverfront sponsored by the princess. I went last year. It's very pageant meets theme park. That one was all about Thai history, battles on elephants, etc. They did a lot of special effects with spraying water and projections. At one point this lady grew taller (on a hydraulic lift) and her dress was just streams of water coming from her waist. I'll steal that when I get a backer for my fantasy drag show! There were hundreds of extras, it was very pretty.

This years show is something mythological. I passed the theater and the set looks like stone and caves. I'll tell you all about it.
Asia loves color. Pink and green are everywhere, and I don't just mean on the Hello Kitty products. Chinese, Japanese, and Thai graphic, package, and industrial design is full of that candy apple green color that I live for! At home I'm the last person to ever notice a car or a bus, but here I snap photos of them. The regular busses are apple green. There's some sort of long distance busses that are orange with a big "Mod Era" looking stripe. There are pink and purple cars. I took a picture of a batch of refrigerators in a shop. They were pink,red, had the NY skyline on it!
Even in a temple they surround Buddha with bubble gum pink flowers, candles, and fabrics!
I see all colors everywhere... without acid. Just Pink and green are just especially prominent. In the U.S. the trend for color in product design is FINALLY returning thanks to the late 90's IMAC. All of a sudden there are colorful boom boxes and telephones. I wish they didn't all have to look like a tranclucent jelly, but it's better than the black and beige of the last two decades. How I long for an avacado refrigerator!

The reason I'm not going on and on about how there are trannies EVERYWHERE in Thailand is because I'm trying hard not to repeat last years posts. So, if you wanna hear all about it, go to "Best of the Motherboards" under "Front Door." It is really easy not to notice all of the trannies, because sometimes they really dress down. Especially if they're just waitressing.

I'm currently working on starting an online retail business so i want to begin to dabble in importing stuff from here. Things are very cheap, but the process of getting everything home is still something I need to explore. For those of you familiar with the East Village, you know those hip-but-pricey boutiques like Lanceloti and Alphabets(the fancy side)? You can find all of that stuff here for beans. Still, shipping and reselling it is a whole other chore.
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I was delighted to find this year's edition of your Thailand topic in full swing on my recent return to the Mothership. Last years Thailand topic (now on Best of the Motherboards for posterity) was one of my favorite travelogues on any vc - and I do read quite a bit.

So report on Miss Understood - we shall be peering into a thousand screens and monitors, cheering you on. And keep on shopping without guilt: You are doubtless keeping many nimble fingers happy and well fed.

I'm in Pattaya, the flashy trashy beach town with the giant drag shows I spoke of, ALcazar and Tiffany. I just went to both. Wow. Wow. Wow. These shows are multiple orgasms for costume lovers. They are overdone beyond belief! It's Vegas in Asia on a sugar rush! Yes, lots of pink and green. There are girls rising from the floor, flying through the air; name a stage effect, they do it. I want to drag all my friends here just to see these extravaganzas! I could see you all squealing wit delight.

I know I said all this last year but I can't help going on about it. These tranny revues are famous all over Asia. They are Thailand's glitziest form of entertainment. Everyone's either been to one or seen them on TV. They are both in HUGE thousand seat theaters, they do 3 shows a night, 7 days a week, and they're PACKED! They each take place in palatial Liberace-esque venues with big neon street signs. Lot's of fountains, columns, and dramatic lighting. Before each show there's a mad rush of people flowing out of rows and rows of tour busses. Lots of people bring the kids. The are all there to see hot tittie queens parading around in amazing fantasy wear, much of it based on traditional costumes from different Asian countries.

After the show we wandered across the street. There's a big open area with outdoor bars, each a vestibule with it's own name, full of hookers lounging around. In the center is a stage with a never ending lip sync show. It's like the low rent version of the show across the street, you know, if you just wanna get drunk and get laid!
I looked for Messy B.R. but she was no where to be found.
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Today is the 1st day of my "Cleansing Fast". I've had 2 days of "Liver Cleansing" during which I had to drink the "Liver Cleanse" drink which tasted like marinade.

Today I have to drink the "detox" drink and go for a you-know-what. I must cleanse my colon of over a decade of swallowed glitter lipstick.

I'll pass the time reading. So far I've read Carol Channings "Just Lucky I Guess" and "Auntie Mame." Those are two people I can really identify with! Now I'm readng "Weird Like Us".
Koh Samui ('koh" means island) is a large somewhat developed island. Certain areas have flashy hotels, but where I'm staying it's still somewhat lazy and cozy. I'm not actually sleeping at the place where I'm doing my cleansing fast, they were full. I'm right across the road. In the past when staying at Thai beaches I'd rented a cute little bungalow, like the one in the picture I posted. This time, I have a really big one, about 3-4 times the size. This one even has hot water and a refrigerator. Big whoop, all I can put in there is water!

But get this. You won't believe me but it's $9 a night. They generally rent them out on a montly basis for $7 a night but I have to pay extra since I'm a short term guest. I swear to you it's totally cute. There's nothing bad about it. It's just thet $9 is a lot more here. It's only when you go to a corporately owned place, like a big hotel, that you get ripped off.

Up the road is a luxurious little spa with private villas thet are really lush and designed. They're about $100-$150 a night.That's way out of my budget, but it's pretty wild that for the price of a blah room at home you could have this fancy villa!

Anyway, it's my 2nd day with no food and I'm bugging a little. I will savor my bowl of clear broth and 2 coconut waters as if they were a gourmet feast.
This fasting is no vacation! I just finished my 3rd day and I feel like I've been doing it for a month! Can you imagine how stange it would sound to an person who is poor and hungry that Westerners will pay money to someone to starve them? Gee, what if I lose weight and my new clothes don't fit?

Oh, by the way, I'm constantly running into European and Australian travelers that are HORRIFIED with our war mongering shit-for-brains president! Being from America has NEVER been more embarassing.
Hey Alex, I'm still jealous of your trip there. Well, except for the fasting part. If I were there I'd have a nice big plate of BBQ shrimps, some vegetable curry, some papaya salad, mango with sticky rice and a beer to wash it down. Wheee! As for being embarrassed about being an American, just get some maple leaf accessories for your bags and pretend to be Canadian.

Oh, by the way, I'm constantly running into European and Australian travelers that are HORRIFIED with our war mongering shit-for-brains president! Being from America has NEVER been more embarassing.

But Missy, darling, you're not from're from New York City!


Hanging on your every virtual word...
Don't think I don't constantly point out the fact that NY is an special oaisis.. a poluted oasis, but an oasis just as well.

Five times a day we drink a glue like potion consisting of:
Psyllium (seed husks: fiber)
Bentonite (clay: detoxifier)
Pineapple Juice
Lemon Juice

It's like cold, overcooked, thick Cream Of Wheat with a dash of fruit. We can also have up to 2 vegtable broths and 2 coconut juices (right from the coconut). We can throw in a carrot juice if we want.

The there are supplements every 3 hours. Three herbal nutrition capsules, three intestinal cleansers. Once at night we take an acidophilus capsule.

With all that goo, you don't get THAT hungry in your stomach, it's mostly in your head. I like the idea of detoxing, but like most people here, the hope of losing weight is a major drive.

I had two days of the pre-cleanse (light food and a drink that was like salad dressing) and I'm on my 4th day of a 7 day fast. It's very irritating, but I'll make it. I must say that this part of the trip is no vacation.
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THe world is a very SMALL place....
I have a VERY good mate of mine who is staying right by you right now! You two must meet! He's a hoot an lovely!
Hes a British boy (st8 but very frisky and funny), I have known him since i was 18! He used to be a big executive in the Music industry for Warners working with Madonna and Prince etc etc... he had enough packed it all in and has for over 7yrs now being living in Asia - mainly Bali - i JUST got a msg from him today that he is in Samui! which is where u r!!! Hanging out...
I told him all about u... if you are up for it, check him out... he's a great lad (not your usual str8 lad you know)...His name is also Alex he speaks fluent Indo etc and might be a good help for your export business idea... whatever.. i hope u both meet... hes a cheecky tinker ... hes at Lamai coconut bungalows (behind McDs) bglow No B4..... (FYI, he knows me as Jane not Anna!)
I called and called and called u for like two weeks then i saw this topic. havent been on here in ages until yesterday so i havent seen your posts. Nice to know ur back where u like it most- well other then my ass.

Bring me back something good and u know im not into Asians so make it food-type stuff. Peanut Sauce is my FAVORITE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

come back soon so we can go to Boiler Room again Smile and u can bring the cute boy who likes to play that centipede game.
and i can put some peanut sauce on his centipede. haha just kidding .

whats everyone doing for spring break now that were talking about travel. I think i saw Miss Understood on the new girls gone wild video.
I finally can eat in 20 minutes. It's been a long week! Now I have 2 days to relax and enjoy the beach.

I then go back to Bangkok to check on all the costumes. I'm bringing home a big batch of girl-sized showgirl costumes to use on girls at parties. I'm also getting myself a pannier dress. I hope it comes out right, they are very tricky.

Then I'm off to Vietnam... I mean Viet Nam. In the US we never hear about Viet Nam other than in reference to a war that happened 30 years ago. Than again, in the US we hardly hear about ANYPLACE other that the US. I've read up on it and it sounds beautiful. I won't really have time to go everywhere, but I'll try to leave the city (Saigon) at some point and see some nature.
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.......going to taste like heaven on your tongue, be careful not to eat too much though, it may upset your tummy. Please post a pic of your Thai showgirl outfits when you can, and your pannier dress! I'd love to see them! of course I would rather wear one- I would be happily be a prop for you whenever in NYC...

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I had a real health nut spa breakfast: fresh pappaya with goat yogurt topped with bee pollen. We're supposed to stick to raw fruits and veggies for a few days before eating rice, bread, eggs, meat, etc.

I cheated. I biked to another beach, smelled that thai cooking, and had some chicken curry with rice. I'll do salad for dinner though. I do feel really good and clean. I'll post a photo of my sparkling colon!

I visited Anna's friend Alex today. His little hut is so cute. It is literally steps from the ocean. He's spends his days on a hammock on his little deck. While my place is 5 times the size, there's a definite advantage to being right on the beach. The water was wavey and warm. It was like swimming in a jacuzzi.

If I can stay awake, I've been on such a day schedule, I may go to the local "Cabaret" bar. It's like a tourist bar with a drag show, but I bet it's somewhat hooker-ish too. The show is at 11:30 and I've been falling asleep at 9 or 10. I think I can handle it though. I'm not SUPPOSED to drink but...
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I don't know why I never bothered to before, but I finally bought a small knife so that I can buy fruit. If you only eat what is served ready-to-eat there are a whole range of interesting fruits you'd never eat. I had to go on the web to find out what some of them were. Like the Sapodilla. It tasted very sweet, as if it had been steeped in honey. I don't think I ever tased anything like it. Rambutans are similar to lychees. Pomelos are like mutant grapefruits (it's probably the other way, huh). It's amazing how location affects the value of something. Coconuts, bananas, and pineapples are so cheap and abundant they might as well be tap water. In street markets they find 101 ways to serve bannanas. They BBQ them, sometimes in the skin, sometimes out, fry them, make sweets out of them, sell them dried. Anywhere you go you can get chilled coconut with a straw for about 35 cents.

No matter how hard you try, you can't cook things 100% authentically at home because certain things are unavailable. Kafir lime rind and leaves are a main ingredient in many thai dishes. When I was trying some recipes in NY I found a Thai specialty shop in Chinatown that sold the frozen leaves but not the rind. Since it's not something that appears much in Chinese cooking you can't find them in Chinatown. You can import a lot of things but nothing replaces actually being here. There are so many unique herbs and ingrediants that are commonplace here. That's why a $1 roadside meal is so good. It's fancy to them to make a hamburger, it's nothing to them to whip up a curry.

Thai Fruits CLICK HERE

When I was with Vu, my friend fron Viet Nam, he wanted to eat at McDonalds. Since they don't have it in Saigon, he thought it was exciting and different. Interesting perspectives, right? To him, Thailand is this place to try all of this Western stuff and for me it's a place to get away from it. He thought the salad in the cup was interesting, but what really got him was the 1000 island dressing that came with it. He got really into it. I told him that that right there is the reason we are all fat and you are all so damn skinny, so be careful!

[This message was edited by Miss Understood on 02-17-03 at 02:47 AM.]


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Yes, but it's incredibly WARM snow!

Yes, this is why I escape each winter. Just getting through December an January was not pleasant for me. I hate freezing weather. People here are fascinated by the idea of snow because most of them have never experienced it. They don't know how lucky they are.

Well, I do my part to stop it. Global warming has certainly progressed through my excessive use of Aqua Net. I can't do it alone, we all need to pitch in together! QUIPGLOW Queens United to Promote Global Warming.
WOW.... am reading your posts out to my co-workers and we are ALL jealous of your travels... the fruits sound amazing...the fasting sounds awful!.... Keep shopping, can't wait to see all the new outfits... business in NYC is getting worse and worse... war fear on the rise... lay offs even more... but the snow and the trash on the telly is warming the cockles of our hearts - AND your tales!! Glad you met Alex, hope he was fun an useful!?
Well, no one's been accusational towards me personally, but the whole world seems to really be hating Bush right now. They also see American News networks on cable, and they're horrified by the biased coverage.

If Bush DOES start WWIII, I don't think we'll end up with many allies. They'll all be blaming us and they'll probably group up against us. Maybe we'll be lucky and they'll do what America allegedly does: take over and put in a democratic government. That might not be so bad.

Well, if the shit hits the fan I'll hide out in a hut on a beach here for a few years. I'll lease one of you my "character" for a while. All of the wigs and costumes are in my apartment. No one will know the difference. Hey, Ronald McDonald does it! Any offers? Anna? Gigi? Zazoo and Satori could take turns!
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I was checking on costumes and rather than brave the 5PM traffic jam to get to my guesthouse I came to Babylon. Well, they're having a Giuliani-style crackdown and all of the "mazes" are closed. Still, this place is hopping as always. Everyone is in towels, just lounging, eating, drinking, chatting. I love that they don't blast music everwhere. I used the pool and now I'm at the computer where they're playing 1950's easy listening.
Last night went to Freeman, my favorite gay club here. They have an ever changing show 7 nights a week and every number is a group number. There's always a crowd. There's nothing like it at home.

They do a lot of black girl numbers. Last night there was a "Shirley Bassey) and a "Diana Ross". They also do some numbers is severe fashion looks. One girl wcame out in black lipstick and and a sexy/gothy exaggerated black ruffly collar and did an Amanda Lear song. The backup girls were modelish trannies with these gorgeous jeweled masks that covered one eye. There was also a dead serious boy number. A handsome guy in a slick suit, with expert smoke machine and lighting effects, did "You're my Inspiration." Not my sort of music, but he did it with such sincerity that it was gorgeous. Drag is never lazy here, not even boy drag.

The hostess is a nutty queen named Dae. She's not what you'd call a traditional beauty, but she's genius. I always call her the Thai "Carol Burnett". She usually does a Thai number in a weird outfit. I couldn't understand it, but I could tell that it was campy. She's very "Pyramid 1987." Then she does a funny monologue, intereacting with the audience. Then everyone hits the dark room.

I've heard that Dae has become a regular on a Thai soap opera.

Yesterday I went to check out another sauna called "Chakran."
*******Chakran Website******
I really can't explain the dreamlike ambiance. The decor was very Moroccan. The lighting was magical. The transition from indoor to outdoor was so seemless, you're never totally in or out. It just felt so luxurious, the pool, the tiles, the billowing curtains, the hidden courtyards. The photos on the website really don't say it. It's so weird, when things are dumpy here, they're really dumpy and dirty, but anything nice is so extreme. I felt like I stumbled into some exclusive place for millionares.Hardly anyone was even in there when I went. I think you have to know when to go.. unlike Babylon, which is always crowded. But honestly, this place was so gorgeous you'd want to stay for all the legitimate reasons: food, steam, sauna, pool, gym. You really get a lot for 6 bucks.

I spent the last few days working. Yes, this is a working trip. It takes many days and long hot sweaty hours in the market getting costumes made, it's not like shopping. But, I'm going to own the only collection of real-girl-sized showgirl costumes! You got a "Vegas" or "Carnivale" theme going on, I'm the one to call!

Tomorrow I'm off to 'Nam. I hear they make a lovely agent orange glazed chicken.
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I'm in Saigon, oficially know as "Ho Chi Mihn City." So far it's nuts. I love it. There's this crazy energy at night. Almost everyone in the street is on a motorbike. They outnumber cars 50-1. It's noisy, but exciting. There's a lot of eye contact. I've heard it's a good way to cruise.

I have a friend named Thang(prounounced "Tang" )who's a local. He's the boyfriend of my American friend Benjamin (an old friend of *BOB*s) who's in the U.S. at the moment. Thang is very flamboyant for someone around here, bleached spikey hair, trendy clothes, etc. I'm glad I tapped into the local crowd of freaks. Last night we went to a streetcorner place for beer and snack food and all of these wild looking girls kept pulling up on motor bikes and sitting with us. They were all really fierce, sexy clothes, lots of makeup. Most of them are singers.

Here, when people go to clubs, they always see live singing shows. The singers become nationally famous and they are played on the radio, seen on TV, etc. Most of the male singers are big fags but the general public is clueless about it. I guess this clubby crowd are hip-and-in-the-know. I can't wait to go see some of the shows. Oh, some of the girls were hookers too. They call them "PR girls." as in "public relations." They were VERY stylish PR girls. The mood was...hmmm... relaxed decadence.

I love the whole little table on the street scene. The snacky food was interesting: deep fried fish (I thought they were slivers of fish, but after eating a few I realized they were breaded whole small fish.), mango salad with dried salty fish, roasted dried squid, noodles with squid, fried seasoned squid, some sort of tiny hard boiled eggs. It was all really good and, from an American's perspective, insanely cheap!

There's a lot of French influence here, it's a former colony. The coffee is very strong and good. They serve it with a little dripping filter that takes 10-15 minuted to drip. Unlike much of Asia, they're really into baking. There are lots of bakeries and you see baguettes

Salespeople here are a lot more agressive than in Thailand, but you just smile and keep walking and it's fine. I love they mystery of wandering the streets alone. You never know what you'll find.
I know I keep going on about food, but I'm always faascinated at how something so ordinary in oneplace seems so odd to to people from other places. We went to a birthday party last night and again, it was all about beer and food... with a little Henessey thrown in. The main diah is a broth full of vegetables and fresh herbs. On the table there was fish, noodles, more fresh herbs. While eating you pick up the various things and drop them in your soup. They're really into eating all sorts of fresh green strong tasting herbs in their soup.

So then Thang ordered some barbacued birds... I'm really not sure what they are in English, maybe pigeons. Well, it is a bit horrifying from an American's perspective to see that little blackened whole bird with long chopstick like legs and little claw feet arrive on a bed of greens. It's also surreal that no one at the table thinks it's at all odd but me. I agreed to try some if he would break me off a little piece. I couldn't look to closely at the bird as a whole. It chicken. The cliche is true. Of course I didn't get to try the head, since Thang crunched it right down, so I'm in no position to give a full report. I also was a bit of a scaredy cat and passed on the little slad made of nuts, scallions, and rabbit blood. I'm sure it's very tasty, I'm just a bit handicapped by my culture. I'm trying to get over it.

On the drag front: I bought some amazing purses at amazing prices. I got a pink silk handbag covered in little pink tortoise-shell like squares of buffalo horn. It was $7. I'm getting some boy clothes made, but I can't get any drag without my damn corset and boobs which are sitting in Bangkok. Since Thang knows people directly we don't have to go through tailor shop middlemen, the prices are amazing. I'm getting some shirts made for like $4 each!

I must add that I LOVE being the exotic foreigner! I can hook up with guys here so much more easily than at home. Can you imagine what it's like for blondes!
A message to all the New Yorkers working hard to resurrect live perfromance, Vaudeville, and Burlesque: it is alive and thriving here in the Viet Nam! I went to a club the other night. It was like some of the ones in Bangkok, it looks like a disco but people sit at cocktail tables and watch a show. We entered as a sexy girl pop singer was finishing her set. The next act was a slapstick comedy team that looked like they just stepped out of 1935. One guy was like a hobo W.C. Field. Every time he went to tip his tophat the brim seprated from the hat. The other guy was in frumpy lady drag: no makeup and a silly dress. He wore a funny headwrap that old ladies wear here. W.C. kept trying to do magic tricks but the "lady" kept picking up the objects in such a way as to give away the trick. Like, she'd lift the cards and you's see that they're all connected.

The next act was a singer who seemed to be very popular. He was in his mid 40's, wore tight flared jeans and a Western belt, and sang mostly rock power ballads ("You're My Inspiration" etc). He was actually very good and had a lot of star quality. The fact that they don't do this with any sense of irony is actually very sweet. While I'm no supporter of the alleged "death of irony," a little break from it is not only refreshing, but good for the spirit.

The emcee was a queeny guy in a silver suit. That's as close as it gets to drag here.

Speaking of drag, I hit the jackpot yesterday! I went to Chinatown (yes, they have one here too) and with the help of a very nice moterbike driver, I found a place that sells Chinese opera-type headpieces. You must see them, they are sick! I bought a few in Bangkok two years ago, but these are a bit different. They are certainly NOTHING you'd find in NY! I have discovered a way to impulsively shop without guilt. I just buy things that I love BUT are also an investment because I can use them for my entertainment business.

I went into a furniture shop and I saw some amazing hand carved chairs with silk cushions. The prices were unbelievably low! You would gag! It's like going into one of those pricy SOHO places and getting 80% off. But:

A)I'd have to deal with shipping
B)I live in a tiny NY apartment with no room for such things, and
C)It's better to invest in costumes which I'll enjoy just as much but they will eventually pay for themselves.

It's a haphazard sort of discipline system, but it works for me.

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