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|Essays · Travelogs · Poetry · Comedy · Art · Digifilm||spring 2007|
Tuesday, May 21, 1996, 2:35 PM
I get this sad feeling that Boy-Boy is somehow collapsing. There seemed to be many fewer boys hanging around than before, and I asked Jung about this. He said that there were only 9 boys now (down from 30). Many had gone back to Bangkok. Many who had been wounded in the Petchabun accident continued to live at Boy-Boy only until their wounds were healed; then they went elsewhere. Also, a new bar had opened and had drawn away several boys. The other night, Prae had to go to Jung's house to make a phone call, because she couldn't afford to pay the phone bill and no longer had long-distance service.
Yesterday, during my free English class, I asked them for what situations would they like to learn English. "With the customers," they said. I told them that I wanted to teach them English so that some day they could find a better job if they wanted to. Jung immediately corrected me, "I speak English and German, and I still work here." He again maintained that many guys who even have high school educations choose to work as prostitutes, simply because they enjoy it. And of course, because the money is good. It really sort of threw cold water on my glowing "selfless missionary" notion. Nevertheless, I will continue to teach them English.
Wednesday, May 22, 1996, 7:25 PM
For months now, I've kindly said, "no thanks," or something. But the other day I was feeling spanky, and the uninvited invitation hit me at just the right angle to elicit a more creative response. I cheerfully called back, in my extremely elementary Thai, "Doi Suthep mai dii! Doi Suthep suung. Suung maak maak!," which means "Doi Suthep is no good! Doi Suthep is tall. TOOooo tall!" I think that confused them just the right amount.
Magic Elephant Progress
Car horns honk, and I look around to see that the Bangkok alleyway we just came out of has led us into some American city! Two young black men emerge from the darkness and start punching and kicking my elephant.
"Hey, leave her alone!" I shout, "She didn't do anything to you!"
One of them pulls out a 9-mm pistol, but Jung's elephant is too fast for him. She squats on the armed robber and he accordions into a giant, tarnished nickel. Meanwhile, my robber is still punching my elephant in the face, eyes, and trunk. For some reason, she doesn't snarf him, though. She only looks up at me with frightened, helpless eyes. "Oh!" I realize this requires my action; an elephant cannot snarf in self-defense. I reach out and tug on her left ear: SNNNNNNNNAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF!! One monster snarf-bolt comes flying out, and this guy gets turned into a smoldering 1944 steel war penny.
David SaiaDavid Saia traveled extensively in Southeast Asia in 1995-96. These travelogs were originally sent out via email to a select group of friends and acquaintances. The collected travelogs, now in manuscript form, are awaiting print publication.