Where I Dig Up Some Travel Journal Writing Because I'm JUST TOO BUSY to Blog, Pt. 1: Waiting for Marla in Chiang Mai
“I’m about to do something I really don’t want to do,” the man says, sipping his beer.
“Do tell,” I say, scanning the scant shelves for martini fixings.
In the preceding two weeks, I’ve learned that Thailand doesn’t do martinis, and in the preceding two minutes, I’ve decided that if an expat bar owned by a retired war correspondent didn’t know how to marry ice-cold gin and vermouth, I’d have to teach them.
“You see, there’s this—person—on her way over,” he continues.
I’ve only just sat down at the bar, and I’ve only just arrived in Chiang Mai, a one-hour flight north from Krabi. I was not prepared for the reality of the city: the scores of European and Australasian tourists crowding sidewalk-bereft roads; the open-air bars and restaurants piling on top of one another—mostly empty, containing three or four bored but attentive Thai girls to every one pale pensioner; the pair of rats that ran over the tops of my feet, running for their lives in the same way I did across streets of clamoring tuk-tuks, taxis, and motorbikes.
“I used to know her, oh, about ten years ago, when we partied in Bangkok. Wild parties. I guess you could say I’m pretty goddamn nervous about it.” The man laughs and takes a sip, then another. I have nothing yet to sip, and am distracted by this, but the man interests me nonetheless.