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A couple of friends of mine, both men, were telling me about the "lady-boys". Apparently that's what the TSs are called by the locals. One of my friends is around 30, the other is around 50 yrs, and both of them just got back from there. They do not know each other, but described almost identical instances of being hounded by hookers. If you want to fit in and you are a lady-boy, you may go up to a foreign man and ask, "Smoke? Smoke? You wanna smoke?" If the foriegn man doesn't get it, you may point at or grab his crotch while emphasizing, "SMOKE?"
Unfortunately, both my friends were not interested at the time in the lady-boys, already having paid the female hookers they were holding hands with for the week. One hooker said, "No lady-boy. I here, need money. Family buffalo die."
You talk even more online than in life! I joined MotherBoards just to talk to YOU while you're Saigon? Good God honey...and you never did give me my birthday gift from last year. Why not get me a new one?

Just wading through all your postings...when you returning?

Love Raven
Hi Snook,
I have a lovely pigeon head for you!

I just took a 2 day bus tour through the Mekong Delta. Lots of waving children and conical hats. I'm outta here soon. I just need to stop in BKK and pick up costumes. I forgot to mention what a fabulously international trannie meeting place those costume stalls are! Every day some wacky queen from somewhere in the world is loading up on gear. I met a queen from Paris who is VERY surged and pumped, but still 24-7 male. I met another one who's also from Paris and does a big "showgirl" revue. I met an Asian tranny from Australia. I met this nutty one from Malaysia who tried to get lezzy with me. Yo, yo, I don't go there! It's a very wacky thing, smack in the middle of this otherwise gritty marketplace. I live for it!
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Help us all ....Miss Understood, the drag community of New Yark Sitie could greatly ben-e-fit from ya findin of this ole great thai secret for da fab outfits you be pull ova there in kathy lee gifford land.... could ya please pack one of the elderly people up in ya bag- slip him or her a roofie and pack'em up- im sure customs won't mind, and we could all let them live underneath grand central, or some slum with cheap rent, and have the the person soup up sum nice little frocks so us po gals don't haveta fly all the way over there.....feed'em some dog food or chinese white rice, what's the difference...i think dogfood has more color.... i think that's a great idea. But what do i know?
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I have had outfits made by actual professional Asian tailors IN Asia. There is such a job over there (as in other countries) designated "tailor". That little nugget of knowledge out of the way, how many sweatshop workers do you figure go into making a one-of-a-kind little do?
We save the sweatshop numbers for midwest Wal-Mart specials.
So, don't jump on the little Asian tailors and the people who need them until you've visited one of our BEE-U-TEE-FUL countries and yelled at all the tourists for keeping commerce alive.
Well come on, i understand that, but, just one little 85 year old that sits in a corner and beads and sequins things can't hurt!!...... Just 1...ok ok, we'd feed her more than dogfood and white rice..... They are the best workers, yes, i know. Needle-thread-sequin-bead and repeat....and repeat....and repeat..........If my grandmother can do it for only 2.25 an hour, surely i could pay a smuggled one in 3. 50 an hour...patrica field only paid me 6. 50 an hour...that's a sweatshop for ya......
She's just some piece of crazy talkin' Southern trash, don't take her seriously. She's actually one of the few privileged ones who actually gor a Thai-sequined souvenier last year. There won't be any this year I'm sorry to say. I need all my time and space to stock up for my new fleet of showgirls.

I'm at the beach in 'Nam with my temporary BF Tung. It's lovely here. I'll be home in a week. Damn.
I wouldn't exploit him like that... besides, I have no way of uploading a photo here.

(Hey moderator, if you're out there, can we keep this going instead of starting a part II? I'll be hope in less than a week, it seems silly.)

Viet Nam is significantly more poor than Thailand. Still, people seem to function quite well. There's just so many people... and children, trying to sell you gum or some other thing, that it gets a little upsetting. Don't get me wrong, it doesn't look like a Save The Children commercial, but it really reminds me that we are VERY rich in America. The way we got that way may not be fair or right, but we are privilaged just by being born there.

I's funny though. People who have a decent job always have a live in maid. Their money doesn't go far OUT of here, like they probably can't afford to trave to the US, but a live in maid here is $35 a month.

Today I went to a nice beach that was free of foreigners... it helps to make local friends. I bought a kilo of bbq scallops for $2 and a big steamed crab for $2. These ladies in conical hats walk around with freshly caught seafood and serve it to you right on the beach. In an hour I'm back to Saigon.
Having lived in Miami for almost a year, i think i went to the beach about 4 times. 3 times at night. Sorry, they have not came out with the spf 284 that i would need to wear.....the sun would need the shades i'm so white...
The state of how the US lives is amazing, espically since i got to know alot of people from latin america that just came here recently, and how different things are in every way from here to there. But,there's a big catch 22 about the rich and poor vs. the who's right and who's wrong, who's priviledged and who's not and it's all relative towards what you want outta life anyhow....
I'd love to go scuba diving over in that area of the world, scuba diving in the atlantic is mild compared to all the weird fish and prehistoric fishes and creatures from that blue lagoon over there. But, i don't know. Being not a fan of swimming due to a jellyfish attack on me when i was yng, i think i would be more likely to have fun exploring asian ruins and the jungles of asia and talking with the wildlife, being i speak their lanuage of crazy well. Make it back safely.....Mason
I just got my 10th massage in 6 weeks. I think all 10 add up to the price of 1 in NY! Thai massages are rough, but they make my back feel alright again. I got one in Vietnam that was a bit different. She did a lot with her feet, walking on my back and the back of my legs. I guess fat people don't give massages. Well, the 6 fat people in Vietnam will manage to find other occupations.

Maybe it IS the diet in Asia, but I'm skeptical. Thang is over 30 and packs away beer like a German truck driver, and he's still thin as Kate Moss. Some DNA researcher will isolate and sell that gene, you just wait!

Saigon was wild but I have to say, it really makes Bangkok seem peaceful. Thai people are much more calm and laid back. Don't get me wrong, people in Vietnam were generally very warm and friendly. They're just in a big scurry to survive.

Did I already tell you about the insane driving situation? Seiously, you take your life in your hands every time you drive anywhere in Saigon. It's like being in some crazy road race. They will U-turn ANYWHERE and they always, on 2 lane roads, will cross onto the other side to pass someone... even at night. I was trapped in a speeding van staring at the lights of 5 motorbikes barreling towards us. It was quite a thrill ride. And crossing the street? Well, basically you just slowly wade your way across and people will either stop, or swerve around you. It sort of feels like your trying to kill yourself. Isn't there a scene like that in some drug-scare movie?

Importing is hard. Vietnam has amazingly cheap embroidered and beaded handbags, but the shipping prices are crazy. I had to buy a suiotcase to take my Chinese headdresses to Thailand to ship them from here. It's still going to cost more to get them home than it cost to buy them. It gets easier when you have large quantities and can buy cargo space, but I'm just dabbling. The only thing I bought for resale are these cowboy hats and handbags made from soda cans. Coke, Diet coke, and Lipton Iced Tea. The writing is a mix of English and Thai which makes them extra special!
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Alex, we are all LOVING these journals... it sort of will be sad for us when you get home (in the nicest possible way!)... its so frustrating that you can't ship all of this stuff home...don't suppose my goofy mate ALex was any help on that front eh.... I remember being in San Angel outside of Mexico City for a while and theres all these really fantastic furniture stores... huge hand crafted armoire for about $20 US!! But the shipping was a MAJOR issue... so much black market for shipping... would cost around $700 to ship.... EVERYONE i spoke with said it was impossible... and to hire a van and drive there are bandits and extortions on the way... but sometimes as i look around ABC carpet i think back to those armoires!! how sad am I.....Keep posting.... can't wait to see the new frocks!
Well, my friend may start a furniture importing business, which could mean piggybacking on his quantity (cheaper) shipping, so there's always hope.

While on this trip I read Michael Moore's "Stupid White Men". To all of you out there with any concern about what's happening in America, it's very important to go get this book. It's full of humor and easy to read and it REALLY fills you in on the creepiness of the Bush family and exactly why this is all about oil and money. It's getting too late to ignore it.

I was watching BBC news today. A group of 60 relatives of 9/11 victims who are AGAINST the war went to Afghanistan to meet with survivers on that side. They were all hugging and consoling eachother. I'm so against all the sentimentalism attached to 9/ll and "The Families" but this one made me teary. This is the point that needs to be made. One tragedy does not compensate for another. People are always ready to hate people they don't know. Travel a little, meet people on the other side of the planet, and you will NEVER approve of another bomb.

When I travel I not only learn about where I travel to, but, by stepping back, I learn a lot about home. We live in a bubble in America. Our culture and media IGNORE THE ENTIRE WORLD. Every other civilized country I've been to watches foreign television and films, it's not just for "artsy" people. There are European pop stars as huge as Britney and as important as Janis Joplin and we've never heard of them.

Remember the "Kids in The Hall"? When NBC picked up the show they demanded that all Canadian references be removed. The producers refused. What is wrong with a few foreign idioms? It's already an English speaking show! So you'd learn a new word once in while! Jeez!

All of this self centered behavior makes us ignorant and afraid. People who look and dress differently are scary. Or they look silly. Or they're crazy. Why don't we refer to Catholics as "fundementalists" or "Christian Extremists"?

Okay, I'm off my soapbox. Back into to my drag fantasyland. I have to see if they finished my dresses. XXOO
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Fantastic! This is totally what I keep saying... but as a Brit in the US... I keep getting told by Americans to shut up or go home... and again we are in the land of the free... In some Bizarre way Sept 11th (and no doubt other terrorist acts after) have and will sadly show that America is not the King of the World and every other country does not want to be like America... People only learn this fully when they travel...MOST Americans DON"T travel! And, if they do they visit Club Med or Carnival Cruise! Glad that you are reading Michael Moore ...Check out Bowling for Columbine.... Unbelivable truth about media, fear and the fact that more people kill each other with guns in America than any other country in the world!!!
mmmmm the land of the free, home of the brave...
Saw it. Everyone needs to. Really. Anyone reading this, if you haven't seen it, please go soon.

People seem to think international travel is expensive. It's only expensive if you follow packages and agents. Get a Rough Guide or a Lonely Planet and you'll see how cheap it can be. I gag when I see the prices people pay for resorts like club Med. You can come here for a month with what they charge for a few days.

Here's a trick for you: I met a woman on Koh Samui who had been living in a beach house for months. Before that she traveled through India etc. for about a year. She is French Canadian. Her job is to translate manuscripts. She works by email! She SAVES money by traveling and not having a rent to pay at home. Her beach house was $200 a month. Anyone who has a job like that should really consider taking advantage of the Internet.

I know a lot of people are broke and can't go anywhere, I've been there. But GW Bush? He's incredibly wealthy. What king of idiot with that amount of money lives to be his age and NEVER GOES ANYWHERE? And then, a man so unworldly becomes PRESIDENT! It's frightening.

Anyway, I'm home soon. I'll come to Chez Essada on Wednesday. I'll be going through financial culture shock. After a while, you just get used to prices here and when you go home everything seems so extremely expensive. Eight bucks for a drink! In Vietnam I took 3 people out for drinks at a club and it cost less than that! No more Mr. Sugar Daddy!
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I know it's time to end this blabbering, but I just need to tell you about yesterday. Yesterday I really realized how wealthy we are in the US. See, I love slumming it in the street markets etc. and getting everything that's authenitc and cheap. But there's a real luxury circuit here that I'm pretty out of touch with. Like if you want to spend the $15-$20 for a meal that you might spend in NY at Yaffa Cafe, you can eat in some real swanky place equivilent to a $100 meal at home. I just don't bother because I need to SAVE on such a long trip, and the cheap stuff is so great anyway.

Story 1: I had time to kill while some headpieces were being finished, so I cabbed over to "Siam Discover Center" a fancy mall with a young clientelle. "Iron Ladies Part 2" was playing! I'd seen part 1 last year. It's about a gay/drag queen/tranny vollyball team. I was so excited I went right in. It didn't dawn on me right away that I was paying $11, a crazy amount of money for Thailand. Movies are generally about $2.25.
This film was in a special VIP theater! First, you enter into a luxurious bar where you are served a complimentary drink and some fresh baked cookies. Then, you go through some fancy doors into the theater and your jaw hits the floor! It must be based on the look of a 1st class section on a plane, but it's even more cushy. You get a GIANT overstuffed red electric recliner that can recline into a bed. Remember, people in Asia are smaller and this thing was giant to me! Next to you is a cocktail table with a ring to hold a champagne bottle. Included: pillow, blanket, complimentary socks. It must have taken up the space of 6 seats! It was all so surreal. They must have gotten this idea from Japan. It was nice, but if WE had this what would it cost? $60? Would anyone be decadent enough to pay for it? There's a much greater division between the haves and the have nots here, and I think the haves are even MORE showy, attitudy, and label concious that at home. They feel the need to strongly distance themselves from the poor who they see as low class.

Story 2: I've had a sore throat for a week, so I decided to go see a doctor. Well, there's this hospital that all the foreigners go for plastic surgery. It's the most expensive hospital in Bangkok. It's huge and it looks like a luxury hotel, gorgeous lobby, valet parking, etc. It even has a McDonalds and a Starbucks, which, as I've said before, are Western imports and seen as fancy here. Well, I didn't even have to sit down to wait. I escorted in and examined immediately. I was given 3 medications (antibiotic, painkiller, decongestant) in a fancy little giftbag. The price, at the expensive luxury hotel/hospital for an emergency room visit AND three meds: $20. Ladies and gentlemen, we come from a very rich country.
anna -Thats exactly what the director of my last film said to me!-when i said how much i disagreed with bush and war-(i guess he was a staunch republican)-unfortuently i decided that it was not worth discussing with him why i liked america and did not want to live in england -i guess he did not believe in feedom of speech!!
In high school I was physically forced out of my seat by other students when I refused to stand for the Pledge. I was told to leave if I didn't like it here... and I was BORN here! We allegedly have all these freedoms, but people rarely consider USING them, and when you try, you're punished for it.

I'm killing time in the Tokyo airport on the way home. Se y'all soon

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