Finally woke up again, and found I have email from a 63-year-old Chinese guy in Bangkok. He’s been following my adventures on Spin-List (the handspinner’s mailing list) and wants to meet me for lunch Sunday–he doesn’t speak much English or Thai (his native language is Mandarin Chinese), but wants to meet me.
This sounds just bizarre enough that I have to do it–although, he did warn me that he probably can’t help much w/sightseeing etc. because he doesn’t know Bangkok very well. He’s lived here 15 years and hasn’t yet had the courage to catch a bus (!). He offered to pick me up at my hotel, but I rather think I’ll meet him at the lunch spot…safer for me and means I get to see a bit more of the city. It may turn out to be a horribly boring experience (at least a 50% chance), but it’ll help me brush up my Mandarin, and it’s a good chance to meet with a local resident–so I think I’ll go, if I’m still in Bangkok.
I’ve now heard from quite a few people on Bali–I gather it’s major news back in the U.S.. It is here too, of course, but people are perhaps more philosophical about it (?)–basically, if a bomb goes off, you die, but the odds of getting “lucky” are probably on the order of getting hit by an earthquake in California. I’m reevaluating my travel plans for Bali, but haven’t canceled them yet–I’m going to wait and see what happens. My guess is that if tourism goes through the floor (which I’m pretty much expecting), there will be no further incidents and I can go. If there’s additional trouble, I’ll probably skip Bali and stick with the beaches in Thailand.
I am of course a bit worried about terrorism in Thailand (and the rest of Southeast Asia). I mean, I spent last night tripping through the exact same kind of club that got blown up in Bali (popular, packed with Western tourists, etc.)–which does give one pause. But Thailand mostly gets Asian tourism, and doesn’t have the terrorist infrastructure that Indonesia does, so I think it’s basically safe. If not, well, fuck it; I’m here, and I’m staying. You can’t travel without taking risks.
Off for dinner, and then not sure what next–I may go poke around the Siam Square shopping center, or I may go look for the scorpion-seller in Patpong. Or, I might go back and plan my travels–I’m thinking I might go spend a week on the beaches of Ko Samui before returning to Bangkok for the party on the 26th. Haven’t decided yet, in part it depends on what I hear back. I just fired off some emails to the travel agent in Burma, to Nima, and to the woman I met last night who knows the person in the AIDS NGO, so we’ll see what happens. I’m also giong to try calling the AIDS expert from san Francisco.