Posted by: facetothewind | September 20, 2013

My Barefoot Birthday Party in Thailand

It’s been consistently nearly 100 degrees every day for weeks here in Tucson. As a cyclist it’s just unbearable. Talk about oppression! My tropical linen shirts and menthol powders from Thailand have been wonderful, but still only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in this sun. Tucson once again feels like a broken place for me. So many memories of past friends, lovers, and happier times haunt me here. I sit still in the dry desert sands like a lizard waiting for my next move. If I stay here more than a month I start slipping into a black hole of loneliness, listening to sad music, sleeping a lot, watching movies and getting caught up on American politics which does not cheer me up. It is not a vibrant life.

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I was so happy over the summer in the freewheeling chaos of Thailand, unplugged from the idiocy of the United States and its priorities of war, wealth protection, and obsessions with security. To me everything in Asia is new and fascinating even if it is at times unpleasant. At least it’s THEIR country, not mine. I can shake my head and walk away unencumbered by responsibility. The people are adorable (if inaccessible), the food excellent and I get to be exotic as a hairy foreigner. In the US I’m immobilized by my lack of wealth. In Thailand, everything is within my reach. It’s not paradise — no place is. But it is where I was last happy.

And so I’m going back.

YOU ARE INVITED TO MY OVER-THE-HILL BAREFOOT BIRTHDAY PARTY

FEBRUARY 5, 2014 in PAI, THAILAND!

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I turn 50 on February 5, and I am going to have a big party in Pai, Thailand to celebrate having made it this far. (Click here to see more about Pai.)  Surprise me, loved one, and show up. Or let me know and I’ll help you make your reservation at Ing Doi guesthouse. Make your flight reservations soon-ish. You can fly RT from Los Angeles to Chiang Mai on Cathay Pacific (via Hong Kong) for about $1200. From Chiang Mai you would take a 20 minute flight on Kan Air. Someone at Ing Doi will get you at the air strip. If you’re going to be in Chiang Mai, stay at the Triple Palms Hotel. I will be in CM before and after my birthday. I will leave Thailand on February 8 for the States.

Join me in the rice paddies for cool nights, warm days, banana pancakes, beautiful Thai curries, cheap massages, and the general good cheer and ease of the Thai people.

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So here are my dates if you wish to synch up with me on my travels:

  • Chiang Mai: December 11 – 25 (14 nights)
  • Pai: December 25 – January 2 (8 nights)
  • CM: Jan 2 – January 9 (7 nights)
  • Kuala Lumpur Jan 9 – 13  (4 nights)
  • CM: Jan 13 – 27:  (14 nights – could do less)
  • Pai: Jan 27 – Feb 6  (10 nights) will fly on Kan Air on the 27th
  • BIRTHDAY PARTY: February 5 in Pai
  • Feb 6, leave Pai on Kan Air and change in CM for flight to Bangkok
  • Bangkok: Feb 6 – 8 (2 nights) Will stay at Malaysia Hotel
  • Leave for States: February 8

* * * *

Love notes…

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It happened again. I fell in love with a closeted young man from a foreign country. I guess it’s a pattern! And so this is what my relationship with Yee has looked like like since we parted physical company on a windy street one night in Wellington, New Zealand, last June. Since then we’ve carried on a cyber relationship texting and sharing pictures back and forth with occasional visits on Skype. It’s pretty unsatisfying to have a long term non-physical relationship with no concrete plans to see each other.

Yesterday I decided to end this cyber relationship. Yee was planning to come to the States to see me but in the end his fears overcame him and he decided he just can’t do it. Fears of his sexuality somehow being discovered by his family, fears of his whole life in the closet collapsing on him with his newfound (though temporary) freedom. Both of these were likely to occur given that I was promising a grand time in America for Yee who has never had more than a few hours being out in the gay world before rushing home dutifully to his mother. I felt like it was time for him to break free from those shackles and experience love and adventure and be accepted and loved for who he is. I wanted him to be a free man. My idea of freedom is apparently not his if he has to go back home and pretend to be straight and work 2 jobs 6 days a week and calls that a good life. The eventuality of changing all that was just too overwhelming for this tender, young man.

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Handing someone a new life is perhaps a loaded situation that is ultimately unsatisfying or at the very least, it is delivering to him a life that is no longer his own. I’m sure it’s extremely disorienting. And so with compassion for this golden-hearted young man trapped in a bad situation unable to muster the strength to wrest himself free, I said goodbye.

This adds more poignance to my life as I do care for the guy as I cared for Sebastian, who was caught in similar circumstance. But I am not a savior and I have my own needs for love and support. I’m eager to help anyone who is able to ultimately help himself. But if someone is not willing to do the work or take steps toward his liberation, then it is only an exercise in frustration as I have to sit by watching someone snagged like a bug in a spider web.

All of this has shed light on the dark side of China. I have new insight into their family structure, their loyalties, and their undying commitment to work obligations at the cost of personal happiness. I have seen how much damage is done to the spirit of a young gay person trapped in a homophobic society. In spite of how adorable the Chinese are, and how earnest and loyal I think they are, I find it terribly sad to see how messed up they can be by their oppressive society. Shouldn’t we all be allowed to be ourselves free of the weight of judgment from our families, religion, and government? Shouldn’t we all be able to love whom we want? Homophobia seems so last century to me, but that is, of course, a Western perspective.

My heart goes out to little Yee. I hope he one day finds the courage to stop lying and hiding his true and beautiful self. The world will be a better place if and when he does. For me and my enduring and perhaps contracting heart, it’s back to the drawing board. The quest for love continues with diminishing faith that love will one day come. And stay.

* * * *

NEXT STOPS: San Francisco and maybe Esalen around Halloween; Ft. Myers for Thanksgiving with my family; Thailand for December and January.

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Responses

  1. Every time I think about the U.S. health care, I immediately hear the word “shit” in my head.

    That also happens every time I think about the U.S. army/military.

    Is health care in U.S. the most expensive in the world? Like its higher education?


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