Bangkok, the First for the Year

I loved Thailand. I really did. For a trip I was lukewarm about I was surprised at how much I enjoyed my time there. I was already planning to go back for Songkran in April while riding at the back of a tuktuk as the sleepy landscape of Ayutthaya whizzed past on a halcyon Saturday afternoon. There is no single thing I can point out that made me love the place so much; it's more of a vibe, a pleasantness hanging about in the air (or was it smog)? I guess that's why Westerners flock to the country in droves and stay for extended periods of time or even end up living there. 

And the food. My god, the food. Usually I dont eat food with ingredients I can't identify, but in Thailand no fucks were givenI ate everything. I ate spicy duck noodle soup with blood cubes on a rickety metal table on the side of the road and enjoyed every morsel of it and I dont even eat dinuguan in Manila. I went to a certain stall in the night market in Thonglor, some 15kms away from our hostel, for three nights in a row in search for what was reportedly the best mango with sticky rice in the city—only to be greeted by a boarded up stall each time. This then led to me on a mission to hunt down any street cart selling it on our last night in Bangkok on the eve of my birthday, and apparently it's pretty damn hard to find mango with sticky rice at 11PM. We managed to stumble on one while walking around and observing human mating rituals in progress at Patpong District. It was the perfect dish to ring in my 24th birthday.

Much to my surprise I didnt buy anything for myself save for a leather key chain when Bangkok is dotted with shopping malls and there's Jatujak Market on the weekends, not to mention night bazaars like Talad Rot Fai to satisfy one's shopping urges. Honestly, I was far too absorbed in everything else Bangkok has to even think about shopping, or even to stop and take photos. I did, however, manage to score a backpack for my guy as a souvenir in one of the labyrinthine alleys at JJ. He seems happy with it. The money I allotted for shopping I spent on massages instead. Massage spas are everywhere, making it convenient and cheap, instant gratification guaranteed.

Bangkok reminds me a lot of Manila in many ways, albeit cleaner and with a better train system. While walking down some streets you could've been walking down Edsa, Cubao or Taft, except there's a giant billboard of the King peering down on you. As in both cities, the police are everywhere. The buses are old, creaking chunks of metal, just like here at home, but there are designated bus stops, an alien concept in Manila. They say Bangkok has a distinct smell of pollution, trash and stagnant swamp water. To me, a person who grew up in an Asian city, Bangkok smells like... nothing. There was no wall of stink to punch me on the nose as I stepped out of the airport. I'm curious as to how people from other places perceive this smell.

I cant wait to go back. I imagine Songkran would be Thailand on steroidsit's going to be a blast (literally, with water). I really wish it was April now.


It's 2015

Hello and Happy New Year to everyone.

The photo above looks like it was taken in any random street in Manila, but I was actually standing in an alley somewhere in Bangkok where I rang in 2015 along with my sisters. New Year's Eve celebrations in Thailand are rather subdued and quiet, as it was in Singapore where I spent NYE 2012, but the trip itself was very eventful. There's really no place like Manila on New Year's Eve. All the noise, the fireworks, the street parties. Of course there were also the fires, the firecracker-related injuries and the people who got hit by stray bullets but we like to live on the edge. When you have a firecracker named "Goodbye, Philippines" that's as big as a man's forearm of course there will be consequences.

I'll talk about the trip on a later date but the gist of it is that Thailand is beautiful and Thai food is wonderful. Profound thoughts those are not but I will do better on the actual post. 

I wish everyone a great year ahead. My New Year's resolutions for this year are the same as last year's—to continue to improve myself, to get enough sleep and to stop being so damn late on everything. 


Time for Polka

Skirt, Comme des Garcons AD 2009 worn with a white button up shirt for a classic CdG pairing.

Oh wow, I'm wearing a print! Gotta do something new before the year ends, I suppose. Wore this to the MMA Reframed Exhibit at Green Sun two weeks ago where our multi-wall video projection for Up Dharma Down's "Nightdrops" was shown along with presentations from nine other groups. 

Whenever I see polka dots I immediately think of Comme des Garcons; the pattern and the brand is so closely linked in my brain that in my eyes no one does polka dot anything quite like Rei, except maybe Yayoi Kusama. The dots on the skirt are printed on a sheer black background overlaid on a white body that joins the printed fabric at the end with a bubble hem, except on one part where the white fabric just hangs there, like a deflated balloon. You can actually put your hand in between the two layers thanks to that opening and it comes in handy when ironing—a task which, when it comes to this thing, a definite challenge. You have a skirt with a complicated construction with lumpy flaps that appear to be placed randomly, made from 100% silk with some sheer fabric thrown in there and you have a fun ironing time in your hands. As much as I adore this skirt I abhor the whole process of making it not look like I just pulled it out from storage and treating it gingerly as I'm wearing it, which runs counter to my philosophy that clothes are meant to be worn, worn often and worn to an inch of their life. This is not a workhorse piece of clothing, for sure, but it is beautiful.

The takeaway from this post is that I ought to get myself a garment steamer for Christmas.