I Am Not A Nugget

As I waited patiently for the nurse to puncture the ole biceps with a tall drink of rabies vaccination this morning, I decided to scroll through my phone and reread the notes I took while in Asia.  

What a pleasant surprise, that visit to my old, weird brain.  

The first thing that struck me was the title of this blog, a t-shirt I can’t believe I neglected to mention.  It’s either a Denverite’s local athletic protest or one from a disgruntled Tyson chicken, but either way it’s lexicon gold.  

Time out for a quick Google.  I want to know if I can buy one of those… ah, shoot, it’s a PETA thing.  I have a semiconscious aversion to PETA, and I don’t have a concrete example to share explaining it, but I feel like maybe their tactics are extreme.  Or they somehow hurt people in their protests?  Or maybe it’s just that I’m okay with being passive aggressive and mean-girly to one particular monkey now and I don’t want a collective anger organization getting in the way.  Wait, okay- I played the research card again and here’s the first headline under news: “PETA Calls To Ban Pregnant Women From Wing-Eating Contest, Cites Concerns Over Unborn’s Penis Size”.

I want it known that I don’t, in fact, read merely headlines like some sort of shock absorbant, single celled mouth breather.  I’m a scholar, y’all, and I skimmed the whole thing, and I’m linking to it here, for your pleasure, and also you guys might want to bone up on your phthalates.  

Furthermore, I would like to point out that in the interest of reading critically, you should note that Heather from North Tonawanda didn’t offer any empirical evidence- not even with the metric system- about her children’s dangling participles, so go ahead and strap on your dubious faces before calling these people to the witness stand.

Back to my phone, though, wow- tangent.  Anyway, my second favorite discovery was a rant I managed to write when about 28 hours into my failed safari home.  The closest airplane tv was broken, but by crinking my neck juuuuuuust so, I was able to surreptitiously follow our flight path on the screen on the back of 37B, seat number invented.

At just about the time the attendant was pouring complimentary morning whiskey into my empty stomach, I noticed that we were directly over northern Maine, and if I had been thinking clearly I would’ve picked a fight with the weakest-looking window-seater and shoved the child aside to look for my favorite road in the County, the one that leads to Nicky’s house and translates to something along the lines of “I Like Wearing Culottes Boulevard”.  I was thinking fuzzily, however, so I did not do that and I also didn’t wave to all my friends because I didn’t think they could see me since I was sitting in the middle.  Instead I adjusted the “Song Sung Blue” in my earbuds and fingerscrawled this, while thinking ironically and mildly disgustedly about how I was soaring over my home, bypassing it to purposely land in Jersey:

“Nothing weirder than flying over the Saint John Valley while eating hot peppers from the Air India flight from Mumbai while listening to Neil Diamond while slightly drunk from breakfast and not having slept for a billion hours.  I want to brush my teeth SO MUCH.  And I thought that hot pepper was a green bean and I am Catelyn Stark, raving mad.”

Does that effectively illustrate my mental state?  What a flippin’ mess.  I kinda like my Game of Thrones/Wheel of Fortune Before and After there, though.

Regardless, I didn’t hit that emotional low again until the infamous (in my brain) “a monkey bit me” Google of two-ish weeks later.  The one that sent me crying to the ER with a fractured worrybone and an imagined intestinal parasite.

As of today, however, the mess is all behind me!  The last shot burrowed its weasely way subdermal at 10 o’clock this morning, and boom, a Bugs Bunny bandaid later, I was out of there.

Clean.  Healthy.  The Non-Artist Formerly Known As Rabid.  

Thank you!  Thank you, Louis Pasteur!   Also, please note the non-PETA-friendly sheepskin in the photo.  I ate the rest of it, true story.

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Like a monkey to the back of my hand, I ate it.

I Could Quite Literally Be a Rabid Anti-Dentite. (Except I Like Dentists… Dang.)

Last night was decidedly not magical.

The doctor’s last phone call to me- around quarter of four, I think it was, which means at least three different parts of me had been rolling around and growling for the seven hours it had been since my initial phone call- went approximately like this:

Her: “So, hello, Caroline?  Yes, you do need to go directly to the emergency room to get treated for rabies, and you should also have them give you a tetanus shot.  Oh, and you should describe all of your other symptoms because there’s definitely something else going on there.  Okay?  Okay, great.  We’ll go ahead and order the rest of the rabies shots and call you tomorrow.  Oh, do you happen to have a picture of the monkey that bit you?”

Me: “What?!  Oh.  Um, yes, I do.  I have a video, actually.  Do I need to take that with me?”

Her: “No, you just go ahead and get there right now and bring us that picture tomorrow so we can have it for the CDC’s investigation.”

This was all of a sudden sounding very “Monday night cable line-up 2009”, so I got a little overwhelmed and teary and shuffled dejectedly out to my car.  

In the waiting room at Brighton First Care, some nosy little bugger was spying on me so I decided to mess with him in order to distract myself from my woes… which ended up making me feel worse because I was scaring a child.  Regardless, while he was “whispering” to his mommy a play-by-play of my every breath, I turned around and asserted myself:

“Hey!  You know why I’m in here?  A monkey bit me.  Yeah, that’s right.”

He quickly crawled under a chair and my intestines and I were left speaking only with each other until I was called back behind the curtain.  Weighed.  Temped.  Blood pressured.

Now, back in Japan, I was sitting in a science class with two other American students, and since we didn’t have materials for the lesson, we were sort of chatting about, I don’t know, breakfast or some other ridiculous banality.  And out of nowhere, one kid was like, “You know what I do?  Sometimes I weigh myself.  And then I go to the bathroom and think- huh- I’m going to weigh myself again.”

At the time, I responded appropriately with snorted laughter and a faux-adult “I’m above that” attitude, but it was all I could think about after my first emergency room emergency, after which I wanted to burst out of the restroom saying “weigh me again!  Weigh me again! I’m totally skinnier now!”  

It was the last kick I got out of any of the proceedings.

I desperately texted away my last battery line in an effort to ignore the anaphylactic shock and the wailing child and the frantic all-calls happening around me.  Nothing like being nervous about your health and having someone almost die not ten feet away.  

Overall I spent about five hours in the hospital.  Pretty much everything that has ever been in my body was collected and labeled, and I’m not going to go into detail about that because it was terrible and embarrassing and gross.  My psychosomatic personality disorder reared its ugly head the first time they grabbed my wrist and tried unsuccessfully to draw blood, and I had a horrifying panic attack that involved hysterically crying and failing to explain why I can’t have people do that.

So now I can’t go back there, like ever.

The nurses then pinned me down and punched shots in both my arms, both my legs, and both of my butt cheeks, after which they explained that I’d have to do that three more times in the next two weeks. 

It was not the most excited I’ve been about my trip to southeast Asia.  

After a horrifying talk about what might be causing my intestines to violently secede from the union, they sent me on my way with a promise to call in 48 hours.  With a diagnosis for my symptoms, which are thankfully outside of the rabies because once you show symptoms of rabies, the shots don’t work and you’re dead in a week.  Dodged a bullet there, y’all.

Hopefully, the doc will also provide me with a non-disgusting treatment.  Meantime, I’ll just be sittin’ here, drinkin’ Ginger Ale and not eating solid foods.

 
Sooo… anybody know any jokes?

Unpleasance

So I just hung up from the fifth conversation I’ve had with the doctor’s office today, and I’m getting a little antsy.  

Her: “So you said you got bit by a monkey?  In southeast Asia?  Hmmmm.  We should probably call the CDC…”

Me: “Yes, the Internet said that I should get a rabies vaccination because once I start showing symptoms, I’m pretty much dead.”

Her: “Yeahhhh.  I’m just, I’m not sure of the timing.  Let me call you back.”

I’m going to be really pissed off if I get rabies.  And dead.  I’m also going to be dead.  I want that vaccine, like stat.  

The Internet is so scary, and probably kind of alarmist, too, but that doesn’t help my fear.  Neither does the fact that my traveler’s intestines have gotten progressively worse in the past couple of days and I can’t be more than skipping distance from my bathroom.  

I- perhaps stupidly- even ventured out to basketball today.  It was my first serious exercise in two months, so of course everyone made fun of me the whole time because I have new lightning-colored sneakers but not the speed to match.  And I didn’t have enough energy to launch a counter-attack to their teasing because each time down the floor, I was more concerned about maybe needing to veer off the court for a wind sprint to the bathroom.  And I didn’t want to say anything, because I’m always really aware that I’m the only female and therefore have to work extra hard to not be perceived as a total wuss.

Luckily the session ended without incident and I was happily chatting with Tyler about my trip when I happened to mention that I’d been bitten by a monkey.

He stopped in his tracks- and he’s spent a ton of time in southeast Asia so I was listening- and said, really gravely, “Carrie, that’s serious.  I’m not kidding, you need to do something about that.”

I sort of giggled, and he didn’t, and I went directly home to Firefox and fear… and being sick eight (check that, nine now) times in the next seven hours.

ADDENDUM: Ten times now.  I really feel like crying.

I’m glad John’s at work.  I’ve taken to moaning and whining through my struggles because I want it to make me feel better, and that’s way too embarrassing with company.

So rabies, yeah.  Didn’t you just kind of think that’s a thing that only dogs in movies get?  Even in Goonies, during that funny cave part, it never actually crossed anyone’s mind that she was really going to contract something.  It honestly didn’t even occur to me when I was bit that anything might be wrong, and hence didn’t seek any attention for it beyond sort of cockily showing off that it had happened via blog and facebook.

Then today, I googled “a monkey bit me” and this is the first thing I read:

A monkey bite, no matter how trivial, can quickly turn dangerous. Monkeys are regular carriers of rabies; even the ones not rabid can create dangerous infections and fevers thanks to the high level of bacteria in their mouths.

Macaque monkey bites have been known to cause infections such as Bacteroides, Fusobacterium, Streptococci, Enterococci and Eikenella Corrodens – all are as unpleasant as they sound.

Every bite must be checked by a local doctor who will probably recommend getting a tract of painful and expensive rabies vaccinations. You have little choice, rabies has no early symptoms and is fatal if not treated immediately.

Thank you so much, about.com.  You have totally ruined my day.

And I really wish the doctor would call me back…

PS Doc just called me back.  Looks like I’m headed to the hospital…

This Message Brought to You by Upper Case and Amtrak and It’s for Attila

What kind of a BIG DUMMY schedules 34 hours of consecutive travel time?  A nice dummy, that kind.  Still a dummy, though, because I gave up my window seat on a 16 hour flight so a family could sit together, and I ended up oozing tears and excess body parts between the Bombai Squishmeisters for a very, very long time. I had three people and an aisle on each side of me, but if I’d kept my original seat I would’ve been able to look at Scandinavia!  SCANDINAVIA, you guys!  I’ll bet they were all on NordicTraks, too, and I missed it. 

 My ankles are like elephant trunks again; you could hollow them out and make a matching set of koi ponds.  And my seat tv doesn’t work so I’m watching Game of Thrones on my laptop, even though people are having a LOT of really naked sex in these episodes and I’m in public.  I’m sure the little boy vomiting behind me had a different reason for his incessant wailing.  Hey, did you know they’ll serve you two free giant whiskey drinks right before you disembark?  It’s a BIG DUMMY move to drink them, because airplane Indian food consists of white bread and caloric insignificance.  And I hate white bread, because I’m a food snob now.

As well as being a big, squelching, smelly dummy… who’s still trying to fumigate via Nivea men’s.  Oh, I’m SO glad this trip’s almost over!

I have to type this part really quickly, so I can then immediately (space space space space space space… wait, that didn’t work ENTER ENTER ENTER ENTER ENTER) until he doesn’t see it on my screen, but I couldn’t sleep at ALL because this guy on my right kept trying to sleep-suckle me and he leaned on my tricep for a very long time, like until I got angry and started elbowing him like I’m doing the one armed chicken dance.  And I’m really mad at him but not in a “public confrontation” kind of way, so on the off chance he can read 12 pt font English, paragraph done.

I KNOW I’m an ungrateful wretch and Louis CK is cringing somewhere making obscene gestures at the fact that I’m complaining about having just traveled halfway around an entire planet in a day rather than the more historically common bajillion months.  But I do not care, because of… I’m tired.  

I wrote this for Attila.  Somebody’s doing voltage tests on my neurons so they’re not working very well right now, hence the capital letters and exclamation points instead of, like, descriptive vocabulary.  

But I’m back in the United States, though!  And I’m really excited about it! And I’m going to Boru’s on Friday, you wanna come?

GOODBYE.

Lively Voice Greeting With Your Big Smile

Whaaaat, I get to turn on my phone again tomorrow!  I hope I get some lively voice greetings with some big smiles.

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This is to be the random photo blog entry, encapsulating my entire time in Asia in a couple of weird signs and a monkey.  Here’s the first, which greeted me as I disembarked in Tokyo.  They dropped babies, there, at least enough times to create this:

ImageHere’s the giant “tube sushi the size of a murder weapon” (are quotation marks appropriate when quoting one’s former self?  Who cares.):

ImageThen the wedding.  To be fair, I would not have wanted to marry this guy, either. 

ImageThe next one was one of my very favorite “l/r” misunderstandings. 

ImageAnd for some reason I felt like this train photo was telling:

ImageOkay, so this guy, Paul- on the left- was one of our guides in Japan.  He’s got this awesome, infectious laugh, and likes beer, baseball, and pork cutlets.  The restaurant is Ichiro Suzuki’s favorite place to eat when he comes home; his father still goes there all the time and there are pics all over the interior.  The pork katsu is absolutely unbelievable. 

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The sake there was excellent, too.  However:

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The kindergartners dancing for us were beyond cute:

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and we celebrated the 4th of July in style.  In the hallway.  With American flags taped to chopsticks that third graders made for us.  Here’s Tara with hers:

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The porn store was very explicit about what kind of visitors it would allow.  Luckily, I fell into the “foreigner” category.

ImageAnd afterward, Tara and I found a photo booth complete with a fun box!  Don’t worry- we’d left the fetish superstore at that point.

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Dave made friends with my favorite Lego in Odaiba:

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And we later hit the giant ferris wheel.  These are my gondola buddies.  Aiden politely asked if he would be allowed to vomit all over me.  You can probably guess which one is Aiden.

ImageSome crazy statues guarded Tokugawa’s tomb in Nikko, including the one with the most frightening belly button I’ve ever seen.  (Katie, skip this one…)

ImageAt Edo Wonderland, we saw a ninja play:

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Then for our last night out in Tokyo, Tara and I armed ourselves with cameras and a script and pretended we were documentary producers from the BBC.  This guy was one of the very few who would actually talk to us. 

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And then I got to see the monkeys!

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I already posted most of the pics I took in Thailand, but of course I had to do the one cliched pool shot with feet.  This was my last full day in Asia, not counting today… which will conclude in a Mumbai airport.  I’ll see you guys soon!  Especially you, Irene!  ImageI’m looking very much forward to your lively voice greetings with your big smiles….

XOXOX from my bed in Bangkok,

Carrie

Luck Be A Lady… But Not I

Good afternoon; I smell like a man.

It was either men’s Nivea or women’s whitening deodorant today- or none at all- and since the second prospect terrified me and the third likely terrified others, I made the easy decision between this and Axe body spray.

At least I smell like a grown-up man.

There aren’t a lot of things left here that I particularly want to do (exception: eat stuff) but I figured I’d hit the famous weekend market to give housekeeping a chance to replace my two free water bottles a day.   Also, I read that there might be pythons, so I figured maybe to find myself a yellow one and pretend I was Britney Spears for awhile. 

You know… do some public writhing. I hear dudes dig that.

My first stop, however, had to be the exchange counter, but I found myself there ten minutes early, gazing wistfully at the shop next door: The Pink Pussy.  The place sold accessories, and upon realizing this, it was without hesitation- I still follow Pumps the Pumps’ sacred commandments- that I confidently strode in.

Side note: what with all the slowbie amblers slothing about town, I told myself before leaving my room that I needed to find a pragmatic solution because it was either deal with it with a sense of humor or make like Shel Silverstein and show ‘em where the sidewalk ends. Thus, I made a pact with myself to “stride” as much as humanly possible, allowing for a) a more gratifying pace, and b) the singing of “nobody gonna slow me down!  Nuh-oh!  I got to keep on movin’!”

Scoff if you will, but I’ve been playing Candy Crush for a couple of months now.  Does anyone else have that problem: the one where every time the screen says “Clear all the jelly!” you start singing Destiny’s Child?  Because I have been mentally harmonizing “I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly” more often than I care to admit.  “Ain’t nothin’ gonna’ break-a my stride” seemed like trading up as well as being useful, and I’ll defend that decision ‘til the sacred cows come home.  End side note.

What was I talking about?  Oh, right: The Pink Pussy. 

The little shop was full of deliciously tacky costume jewelry, and as you may know, I eat that stuff for breakfast.  Plus I wanted to be able to tell Trav that I’d been inside the Pink Pussy because I think he’d giggle.  I love it when I can make college professors giggle at dirty or scatological jokes.  

It’s totally okay, you can judge me for that.  Also for this: when Carly Rae Jepson came on, I took it as a sign to buy something.  

Anyway, I was finally able to grab some baht and a cab, and then I played the game I recently invented when dealing with cabdrivers who don’t speak English well but still want to chat.  It’s called word association, and it involves basically just me identifying isolated syllables from their babble and saying the first word that comes to mind.  It works out much better than continually asking a person to repeat himself- which makes both parties feel terrible- because I’m either identifying his English correctly and making socially appropriate responses, or not translating properly at all and spewing nonsense, thus appearing too weird to converse with further.  I win either way.  Not that I was worried about “socially appropriate” with this guy, because look:

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He has a sticker prohibiting farting.  Sorry it’s blurry (and sorry I used that word- gross- I hate it…)  but it was tough to photograph around the asphalt mines.  

I also had to pop my daily anti-malarial, which I’m learning to hate.  I usually have the digestive constitution of a world superpower, but these stupid pills make it feel like an eddy in the stream.  (There’s your scatological joke, Trav, did you like it?  You’re probably not reading this.  You’re probably reading, like “Astrophysicists Monthly” or something.  You know what?  Get over yourself.  Hmmph.)

Right.  So when I finally arrived at the 35 acre market, I resigned myself to a couple of hours of wandering.  See, I’m not really a shopper and honestly wasn’t that amped about the prospect of such a vast acreage of trinkets.  Plus I knew that, with the 90+ heat and humidity, the Nivea and whiteners weren’t going to work on everybody.  I frankly do not love odors.  

It was much of what I expected- without the pythons- but I actually did see some really interesting things!  The place was huge and specialized, and there honestly was something for everyone: antiques, books, clothing, the expected trinkets.  There was also a ton of stuff for pretty much no one: an entire stall of assorted “toilet” signs, a compendium entitled The Lichens of Great Britain and Ireland, and phallically carved drug paraphernalia.  I saw a chinchilla at the I Love Guinea Pigs World Farm, and a bunch of baby rabbits dressed in baby rabbit tutus.  It was the perfect mix of cute and nauseating.

 
I hate to admit it, but I would, in fact, happily furnish my entire apartment with the stuff I saw in some of the other stalls.  Especially the dragon gates, man!  I want my friends to come to my door through dragon gates.  

Eventually my nose decided it was time to go, so I strode my way toward an exit from the maze, with no intention of making the trip’s only purchase: a Portland t-shirt with a horse and jockey, which I will henceforth wear proudly for Derby prep.

I know… it’s not even remotely Britney.  But alas, I smell more like JT, anyway.

The Gods Must Be Lazy

The party gods are in various stages of recovery today.  Some still lie where they landed, their surroundings awaiting the moment of bleary awakening, the consequent search for recognition.  Others are gathered in small, laughing groups amid rashers of bacon and those feeble imposters: mimosas.  Still more do the recap with friend or phone, and groan or vow empty vows when society necessitates.

All of them, to a T, are making fun of my pathetic attempt to join them.

I started yesterday with a yawn but a sense of adventure.  After checking out of my beach bum bungalow before noon, some kind courier shuttled me across the peninsula in a golf cart so I could meet my second mode of transfer transportation: this seaworthy tractor with a trailer. 

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Though I’d been worried about my luggage getting wet, a secret angel had put it in a plastic wrap cocoon:

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and the trailer meant I wasn’t going to have to wade cautiously through a lapping tide while trying not to drop my three bags.  Great start!  The thunder had retired, too, for a bit, and the rain was down to gentle from driving, so all in all I felt pretty good about the next six hours of travel.  On to the longboat:

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This, too, was a quick ride.  Since the outboard was loud and other passengers nonexistent, I faced away from the driver and bellowed Sound of Music tunes while making my last assessments of southern Thailand’s wondrous natural beauty.

This ended quickly as we approached the crowded mainland and couldn’t find a place to port.  My captain adjusted his plans by smashing, once again bringing to mind the moped incident of 2009.  I had to scramble across a couple of other boats’ bows- almost on four legs, but with my bulging pack turtling my back- before finding a place to put down on the pier.  I could feel the butt cheek wet spots on my shorts and quickly went from satisfied to ridiculous as we made our way to the tuk-tuk, which brought me to the van, which brought me to the airport.  A big, giant, gorilla’s middle finger to the terrible Thai toileting that accompanies a bus trip; for my jaunt back to Bangkok I spent the additional $40 that it took to hitch a plane.

Excellent choice.  Some airport’s little brother was trying hard to be a big boy in Krabi, so even though the food choices were poor and drink choices were zero, the little stall did have the last book I needed to finish the Game of Thrones series, and that’s all I really need to pass the time.  

I emerged triumphant at the cab stand shortly after five, managing to not to punch the hovering, loud-speaking, phlegm-hacker right in his toxic alveoli, and hailed a taxi for the last leg of my trip.  Pleasant talk radio droned until six, when it was interrupted mid-sentence by the ubiquitous national anthem, and I sat happily in the backseat playing Candy Crush and pretending I was Daenarys Targaryen.  For most of the next two-ish hours.  I say “most” because toward the end, the cab driver was having foreigner fits (this is what I call it when you can’t understand a word the person is saying, but there’s clearly an anger seizure happening) over traffic, because apparently it usually only takes forty minutes.  I was feeling a little prickly, too, because I’d agreed to meet this girl at 7, and I had intended to shower, dress carefully, and practice having a conversation or two beforehand. I’m not necessarily sure I remember how to do any of that.

Thankfully she was running late, too, so after I painted some face and put my hairs into a place from which they’d immediately fall in a humidity-induced unspooling, I headed out.

Clubbing, she’d said!  And ladyboys!  And a rooftop bar that probably wouldn’t let me in because I didn’t have a closed-toe shoe!

For a half an hour I wandered, getting progressively more frustrated.  You have to understand that the sidewalks here are an outdoor thrift mall, and the streets were just packed.  The same-old, same-old elephant wares and t-shirts dominated my periphery, while my direct line of sight was constantly occupied by some moron idling at a complete stop in this one-lane-only herd of pedestrian traffic, usually either gabbing on a cell phone or staring blankly at his drug addled imagination.  Even when not at a standstill, the pace infuriated me.  If I decide to move, I generally do it purposefully, and there’s nothing that makes me more claustrophobic than slowly moving foot traffic or when statues breathe and block the escalator.

I stretched out my fingers a lot and raged.

Also, then I got lost.  By the time I got back to my hotel room to try to contact this girl with an apology, I was kind of spent and had jettisoned my taste for adventure.

Alas, she’d put so much work into getting there, I returned to the streets.  This time I got better directions and found her quite easily, and she turned out to be a sweetheart: this cute, friendly, Thai girl who speaks flawless English and a has boyfriend who lives in Portland.  

Rooftop bar: check.  Awesome views: check.  Delicious chocolate martini: check. 

Overwhelming exhaustion at the effort of nursing said martini for 90 minutes in order to a) keep my head together, and b) not actively guzzle: check. 

At 11:30, I gave up the ghost.  No way in bloody hell was I staying awake for ladyboys, even, and I guiltily bade farewell and sleepwalked home.

I was feeling pretty terrible about myself until I woke up in the best bed ever, read for a couple of thoroughly contented hours, then ventured out for one of the best sushi meals I’ve had all trip, up to and including Japan.  

Sorry, party deities.  I know I’m in your church, but without the presence of friends, your wantonness fails to inspire me.

I worship the gastronomical gods now.  World without end, amen.