Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sand in My Converse

Mike and I got to the Ekkamai station around 1:15pm. The Ekkamai bus terminal located on Sukumwit takes passengers to destinations east of Bangkok. We bought our tickets for Pattaya and sat down to wait for Joy and our departure. While lounging on the comfortable blue plastic seats we enjoyed a bout of the national pastime. The match was in its third round, and the two fighters were viciously kneeing each other with no clear lead. In the fourth round one of the young fighters pooped out and the referee called the match as fighter was unable to defend himself. I grimaced in pain for the poor lad.

The trip to Pattaya took about 3 hours. From the Pattaya bus terminal we rode in a songthaew (a pick up truck/local bus) to the Ambassador Hotel. The hotel complex is huge with three wings and a gigantic pool. Around the chlorinated waters were big Russians that looked like beached whales. They hung about the waters, lounging on chairs while baking themselves and their grotesquely tiny speedos. My sense of cultural relativity always goes out the window when I'm in Pattaya.

We rode down the beach, and spoke of whoring instead of going to the rock festival. The Thailand Rock Festival held on a military base outside of Jomtien (a town south of Pattaya) would be a two day event. The festival would have a number of popular bands, of whom I particularly wanted to see "Slur," and "Modern Dog."

We arrived at the festival around 6pm and hung about the Channel V tent for a bit gourging ourselves on free food and liquor. The generous people of Channel V had given Mike extra tickets, and Joy and I libations and nourishment. Along with vegetables and rice I also ate some french fries, and som tum acquired in the "food court." One of the great things about thailand is that where there are Thai people there is food. We hung about then checked out the Rock Stage. The stage was large and had several big screens to watch the action on stage. We sat on the sand for a while then went over to the beach stage which was smaller and had reggae/ska bands playing. The first band we took in was called T-Bone and no, it was not a rap band. Instead it was a second wave ska band whom the Thai kids really seemed to enjoy. We watched the band play and danced a little bit then went over to see Slur.

Slur is one of my favorite Thai rock bands. They're hip, they sound good, and the bassist opened up with a riff to a Joy Division song which automatically gets my approval. Before we got to see Slur we had to sit through and awful band called Crescendo who Mike labeled as "Trashy southern california 90s grunge rock with metal influences," or something akin. I hated them and the awful MCs who presided during the down times. The MCs screeched into the microphones and kept yelping out "nnnaaaaaggggggllllllluuuuuaaaa!!!!! (frightening)

At some point in the evening Mike and I demonstrated some hardcore dance moves for Joy (she's a brit). My recent haircut and dress have made me look like a 90s hardcore kid and so we wanted to show her "The lawnmower," "The floor punch," "The spinning windmill," and "Picking up change." I was able to do the dances awkwardly never practicing them much on the dancefloor. Wong was a bit better but more pensive about engaging in embarassing American antics.

Slur came on and played for about 45 minutes. They were a good stage presence and blasted through their songs.

After Slur we went over to the beach stage where we caught some of Groove Rider, a disco funk band. They were so so and killed some time before we got to see Modern Dog. Modern Dog's lead singer had a great stage presence and made the crowd scream with glee despite the late hour (it was almost 2am by the time they played). They played all their hits and ended their set with "Gon" one of my favorite songs and something that will garner the envy of my peers in Thai language school back at the Wat in Berkeley.

WE got back to the hotel around 4 am and I washed off my dirt tanline. I think that I'll have sand in my shoes for a while.

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