July 31, 2009. Tattoo Day

I got up about 07:00 and went out for coffee. The hotel has free breakfast, but I was supposed to eat with the girls at 09:00. There was a cafe close by the hotel that is open early. I went there and sat at a table on the very quiet sidewalk.

I was having my first cup when a group of 5 or 6 Irish kids came in and sat down. They had three Thai girls with them, and had been partying all night. They were in fine spirits and were friendly with all the other patrons in the cafe, including me.

Eventually they started challenging each other and everyone else to arm wrestle. I accepted and promptly lost every match. It was in good fun. I never felt uncomfortable.

Then I returned to the hotel where the girls were waiting in the breakfast room. We all had the same thing, bacon, eggs and toast. I had coffee, they had orange juice.

Then we went to a certain shrine Sea was interested in seeing. It had a four face Buddha that is significant in Sea’s religion. It turns out I had been there before. It was a

small Buddhist shrine on a street corner in a very nice section of town. There was a Burberry’s next to it and a Gucci across the street.

After the girls did their prayers and I took pics, we went into a nearby McDonald’s to use the toilet. I have never seen such a McDonalds. Inside it looked like a Starbucks with overstuffed sofas and chairs, wooden paneling, WiFi, fancy tables, granite floor, etc. No Formica! No Ronald McDonald! In fact it even had a gourmet coffee counter that was separate from the food counter. I didn’t think to look at the food menu to see if it was different from the usual.

Then we went to a nice mall where the girls ran around looking at things. I found a seat in a public area to wait. I suddenly felt very tired, and in fact might have dozed off a few minutes. When the girls had finished their looking (they bought nothing), we grabbed a taxi back to Khaosan Road.

Bangkok, I have learned, is one of the great cities of the world for tattoos. In the backpacker district there must be 10 tattoo parlors every block.

It was my understanding that Sea and Vivian were going to get matching tattoos on the back of their necks. But either I got the story wrong in the first place, or their plans changed. Only Sea wanted a tattoo this day.

Tattoos in China are fairly scarce. The few I see are mostly on young girls. There are few on young men, and virtually none on older people. Sea has two tattoos and she is the only person her age, male or female, I have ever noticed with them. Maybe the older people have them where they do not show. Sea’s are both visible

We walked around the district looking at displays in the tattoo shop windows. We entered a few places and looked at the picture books. Finally we found some drawings Sea liked and we went in to talk to the artist. He was a very young kid and very personable. The shop was immaculate, and we had to remove our shoes before entering. Sea picked out a little dolphin to go on the outside edge of her palm, so it would be visible when she prays. That part of the hand has a name,

I am sure, but I can’t think of it now.

So the kid sketches the picture on Sea’s hand, she approved, he began to work. The shop was small and crowded. There was no place to sit. Since it was close to our hotel, I left and went to wait in the lobby. After about 15 minutes I went back and poked my head in the door. Sea indicated the tattoo was extremely painful. Vivian and I went back to the hotel where we got Sea a watermelon drink. Vivian took it to her. I remained in the lobby.

After a few more minutes they appeared. Sea’s hand was wrapped and taped in cellophane. She was smiling and showed me her new piece of art. It cost 1000 baht (about $35.00 USD).

I think at various times Sea had talked about getting another tattoo somewhere like the outside of her shoulder, inside forearm, ankle, or the back of her neck. But apparently this one was so painful that she was finished with tattoos, at least for a while. Or maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about and she always intended to get only one.

The

girls went back to their room. I went out on the street to look for some vinegar marinated sausage on a stick that was so good the previous night. I found a street cart selling them and bought two. Then I went back for two more. It is my new favorite Thai food.

Later we met up at the same cafe where I went the night before and listened to the same band. Vivian got up and danced in front of the stage with a few other people. We went back to the hotel about midnight.

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About Charles Kirtley

Have been living in SE Asia and China since 2007. I have an opinion on most every subject, and don't mind sharing them. Lover and collector of worthless facts.
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