S M F G · A Counter-Clockwise Trip Around The World

Welcome to Tom’s world!

Mar 19th 2009
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Bangkok, three o’clock on a hot, damp afternoon. The monsoon is shying making his first approaches. I’m shouldering my way through a jungle of sellers, schoolgirls in uniform, beggars and dogs, trying to join the cheap-and-fast boat pier under a bridge. I see something different, different colour, no, it moves in a different way. It is a young guy, pale, with yellowish short hair, his arms and neck covered in tattoos. He looks so British. He’s holding a big beer bottle, taking a sip every now and then. His balance is very uncertain as he approaches me with a shouted Hi mate!

He is obviously drunk, I wonder if he is still drunk from the night before. I suddenly feel very uncomfortable and show all of my diffidence. But he seems harmless.
—I’m Tom!
—I’m Piergi.
—Eeeh?!
—Whatever, I’m P. Like the letter, P. I’m from Treviso …
—Eeeh?!
—… close to Venice.
—Venice, I’ve heard of it! I’m from London!
—Yes, I’ve heard of it.

We chat a bit until the boat arrives. He speaks in Thai to the sailor—but at that point I didn’t know if he was really speaking or if he was just meowing. The boat leaves the pier with a deafening roar, that doesn’t seem to bother Tom, who goes on heedlessly talking without me hearing a single word—let alone understanding. He tries to jump off the boat at every pier, but the sailor holds him pulling his shirt (so I assume Tom actually told him our destination). We eventually arrive at the last stop, and after a short fight with the tuk-tuk driver, I suggest to share a cab.

The short trip is filled with Tom yelling in Thai at the driver, and touching him all of the time—with evident discomfort on the part of the latter. Then his phone rings, and I rest my ears as he speaks in English in a much softer volume. As he hangs the phone he goes:

—There are only two women you always have to lie to! Your mother and your wife! Because they don’t want to know the truth, believe me! I said to my wife that I was on my way home, and I was not, but my home is there, and in that moment the taxi was pointing to that direction, so I didn’t lie completely!

[Me wobbling the head the Indian way]

I’m early for my meeting, so I follow Tom in the maze of alleys around Khao San Rd. We stop at a lousy bar. I order a coffee, while Tom shouts at a guy walking by: —Paul! You old wanker! Have a drink!

I meet Paul, a non-drunk British, looking a bit tired of the situation—probably this is not the first time. He tells me that Tom lives in Bangkok since seven years, and he has a Thai ex-wife. He is 26. As we look around we find our man sitting at two tourists’ table, with his beer, two glasses of tequila and some lime.

Paul says to me with a bit of a smile: —Welcome to Tom’s world.

The guys kindly decline his offer, and Tom gulps down the two drinks. A sudden rain drums heavily on the metal roof, covering the sound of Tom throwing up with ample spurts on the very floor of the bar, still sitting on his chair, but not smiling any more.

The rain stops. The two guys change table, Paul reaches the counter murmuring something to the waitress, I wave goodbye to Tom and go for my meeting.

Welcome to Tom’s world.


This post is filed under Asia, Thailand and tagged , , , , , , .

12 Responses

  1. Matta says:

    Piergi, did you changed character? It’s impossible to reed.

    • pt says:

      No. I didn’t.

      It should be (in that order, depending on your installed fonts):
      Adobe Caslon; Hoefler Text; Georgia; Palatino Linotype; and then fallback to standard serif font. I took out of the list Garamond because it was too small on a Mac.

      If it is too small for you, you can go to “View->Zoom” (e.g. “CTRL++” on Firefox or “+” on Opera).

      I tried to put a dynamic link to change text size, but it is WAY too much effort (because the template I’m using is not suited for it).

      If I stumble upon a feasible solution I’ll use it, though.
      Ciao ciao.

    • pt says:

      Eventually I did it: I rewrote the style-sheet so now the sizes of fonts and line-height are expressed in EM.

      It took me too too much time, but I’m almost satisfied. There are still glitches to be fixed, though.

  2. a-l-e says:

    YEAAAAHHHH!!!!!! kao san thanon!!!! (the road of the holy rice….this is for Ur words collection!)
    at 1st moent I thought U made up a tattoo on Ur arm…eheheh!!!:-)))

    pay attention “P.”! It’s hard 2 leave thayland!!!
    BIG SUGGEST: phi phi islands!!!don’t miss it! Chock dee!

  3. Ally says:

    Cheers to Tom, I be t you’l meet him again!

  4. buck! says:

    There’s a “Tom” in every place!
    What about “el negus”? ;)

  5. luca says:

    Ciao Pier, sono Luca (Pechino) finalmente riesco a seguirti in questo bellissimo sito o blog non capisco bene, goditelo sto periodo che sara’ indimenitcabile, purtroppo la famiglia ti ha incastrato con il matrimonio del brother torna, presenzia e poi riparti con la gioia di mamma che se sta leggendo mi maledira’ in eterno!!
    Ciao e da ora keep in touch
    Luca G.

  6. Matta says:

    Piergi, I saw in TV about the disorders in Thailand. How is the situation. How about you?

    • pt says:

      I’m fine. In Malaysia :-)

      Piuttosto, ti trovi bene con il sistema che ho messo per cambiare al volo la dimensione dei caratteri? Nel caso non l’avessi notato, sono le tre a in alto a destra, sulla barra di navigazione. Se ci sono strani effetti fatemelo sapere (io ho solo due browser e un sistema operativo, da qui vado male a fare test).

  7. Matta says:

    Bene .. tiriamo un sospiro di sollievo.

    Pe quanto riguarda il blog,io continuo a far fatica a leggere, ma ingrandendo i caratteri mi arrangio. Il carattere è tanto più fine di prima e si fa fatica col fondo bianco.

    • pt says:

      Come ti dicevo, non ho cambiato carattere. O meglio, dopo il tuo commento ho tolto dalla lista il Garamond, che è ottimo ma è disegnato un po’ piú piccolo degli altri, per cui non può essere semplicemente sostituito senza un cambio di dimensione.

      [Piccola parentesi per i profani: la scelta di un carattere in un sito web è possibile solo a grandi linee: il sito fornisce una lista dei caratteri da utilizzare (in ordine di importanza) che devono però essere già installati nel computer di chi legge. Altrimenti cicca. Tutti i siti che usano caratteri fighi in realtà mettono al posto del testo un’immagine del testo con il carattere voluto. Ritengo questa un’abitudine dannosa.]

      Cliccando sulle tre a in alto a destra (nella barra scura che sta sempre in cima alla pagina) puoi cambiare la dimensione del carattere da piccolo a medio a grande. Questo cambio riguarda solo il mio blog, e non gli altri siti che visiti, e dovrebbe essere permanente (solo sul tuo computer) per 30 giorni.

      Mi piacerebbe sapere se funziona o se avete qualche problema (o se i caratteri medi e grandi sono troppo medi o troppo grandi :-)

      Io faccio del mio meglio (e nel frattempo imparo nuove cose). Tanto qui sta piovendo :-)

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