girl downing the steps with the rising sun

girl downing the steps with the rising sun
Hitchhiking from Chumpon to Phang Nga, Thailand

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Backstage Confessional

This, by far, has been one of the weirdest jobs I've ever had. I've had a handful of odd jobs before, ranging from flute-making (drilling holes into PVC tube) to selling imported Chinese paintings to rich ex-pats, to serving lemonade (the real-deal shake-up kind) at the Wisconsin State Fair. I've been a bartender in a traveling country fair in Mexico. I've been a nanny, been a "hostess". Sold coloring books at the Shrine Circus, sold my own dinky bracelets to street people. I've been a clown. Been a street canvasser, a door-to-door girl, a dishwasher, of course a waitress, a produce girl, heck, I've even been a lecturer at an Islamic University. I haven't been so bored for hours on end quite like this as I have while working as a "celebrity" in Indonesia. (Okay, sometimes you do get bored-up-the-wazoo kinds of jobs) Sure, I've had doors slammed on me and drinks poured down my skirt, but this one is definitely the weirdest.
Sitting in the boys dressing room waiting for the moment I begin to glisten under the beaming lights, waiting to be probed by the piping glare of electric fame, on a stage with an entire production crew milking their way through headphones in a frenzy. It's a dating show, a type of show that I only secretly love, it's not true love by any means, I'm only here to be a star on TV. I'm here with real people, real boys who are here out of desperation. They expect to meet their "life partners", their "soul mates" on this here trashed set, a stage composed of nothing but garbage from the nights prior. The white wall on the main stage is no longer white, instead it's grey with strips of fabric that are decaying off. The toilets reek of that "urinal" smell and have no soap. My butt (I had to take a dump after eating the fish box meal) had to drip-dry its goo in that heinous shitter. It's a waiting game as much as it is a "dating game", it's a small-talk atmosphere backstage. It's a mask I wear that they can see is crumbling when they realize I'm only here for the money and the fame.
I met the dancer girls of the show at the Canteen when I needed to pop out. There was a homely cat tip-toeing along the shelf of hot food when I saw them. We sat and chatted for a while. Chatted about the latest exorcism in East Java and celebrity scandals. They recognized me from the last TV show I was on (as did the entire crew of immigration officers yesterday). You know, folks in the street actually recognize me as being the white girl who can sing dangdut and "goyang lucu" ("shake her bum funny"). It's getting a little bit overwhelming. But I like it. I don't want to quit it.
The production assistant beckons me into a new hall. Turns out I'm headed hurriedly down to the girls' dressing room. They need me on stage. The girls' dressing room is cluttered with girls, all actresses like me, none of them real girls looking for their "soul mates," (unlike in the boys' room where I was laying on the floor typing while they were sitting there eating chocolate bars and trying to get my number). High heels are flying across the room, it reeks of iron-burnt hair, gay boys are standing in front of the lit mirrors blowing in girls faces and batting their hands drying fake eyelash glue. I walk in, unmakeuped in junky tennies. They throw me into some high heels and a skinny dress that they borrowed from one of the other girls. (Thank god for mentholated baby powder. Just completely emerse yourself in the crap like a chinchilla in the Mexican desert dust at sunset. Yeah, so you smell like a Throw-up Baby and your skin feels like a friggin shuffleboard, but you don't sweat and you're simply cooled the heck off.) Man, so now that I'm on stage, I've got to choose between check it out: A super wealthy Indian businessman who doesn't wear deodorant, a kid from an East Javanese hick town who bleaches his hair and is the son of one of the female contestants, a Frenchie ex-pat in suspenders who is just very Eiffel towery, and a kid from Afghanistan who enjoys going clubbing and dressing his women in traditional Afghan clothing (ahem...burkas). Wow, the choices! I, surprise suprise, am very disinterested in all of them and I've got to bang this darn buzzer to switch my light from green to red. For Chrissakes, it's like banging a cardboard box and telling it to brew espresso. I don't normally wear high heels, the pain was excruciating let me tell you, I have never been a hold-your-farts-in kind of a girl where your abs are literally acting like God at the gates of heaven trying to negotiate with a Puerto Rican Jewish lesbian serial killer if she can enter or not. "No, farts, you can't go out there, It's just not gonna happen. Keep sucking girls! Keep sucking!" And the fake eyelashes I had to wear were horrendous. I had to do eyelid lifts to strengthen the muscles just so I could keep my eyes open under the weight of the damn log of glue they rolled on me. Most of the other girls insisted I shave my armpits because it would just be too embarassing if I could only raise my arms from the elbow down and not by the shoulder during the energetic dance numbers.
It was so much fun. The lights, the massive warehouse studio, the laughing audience, the loud music and the mic checks, the amazingly organized and friendly people dressed in black, the speed, the adrenaline. It's me in a new light. It's a secret life that I adore. It's another aspect of the "real me" when you see it on television. Behind the scenes, I'm another girl and goddamn is it ever a blast living the American dream in Asia.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Jakarta Star

You know those boys that are going through that awkward-phase, where they grow really tall and develop acne, they grow their hair out really long, then they do the 90's skater cut where just under the backside is shaved and then it's just a permanent comb-over, but then they dye it blonde, but not enough to where it's blonde, it's stinky yellow and putrid and has gone mad frizzy, you know the type? Well, maybe they are in their thirties and you don't really find that much sex appeal in them. Until you meet one and it turns out he's the funniest comedian to ever set foot on a stage and you want to just ravish him.You want to jet set through his hair like it's a tropical waterfall. I met him, Sule, on the set for Opera Van Java, the funniest sketch comedy show in Indonesia. Although I missed my opportunity to be the greatest young American comedian Indonesia has ever seen, because I was too distracted by how talented the others were, I was able to be a part of their act, just for once, by being a wacky clown and singing dangdut (a specific genre of music only found in this country that brings together catchy 80's pop and Indian sounding vocals in a marriage of costume and booty grinding- the girls look like they are boys in drag and are no less than classy in their most urban-Latina middle school dance outfit, their grinds are shy, timid and unfulfilled). I wasn't able to make a full-throttle with just a one-minute appearance, but I was able to get some laughs out of the crowd. (I made myself look like a fool, they made me look foolish none-the-less, by pulling my hair back so tightly I looked like a 14-yr old Russian gymnast. My legs were confined in a pair of jeans - if rubberback pencils were made with just 20% string cheese, that's what my legs were. I had beaty-eyes, pencil-black and green shadow stretching to the browline. They gave me the pinkest blouse you would've thought was even "too much" when you were 9.) I was thrown onto the set, thrown into costume, thrown backstage, hell, I was thrown into leading the prayer circle. (To Allah, in Indonesian.) This girl, let me tell you, has only ever had to pray to God on special occassions. (I was taking a bus down the mountain side from Cloud Forest to a town somewhere in Eastern Peru coming from the Amazon, when I knew that fart wouldn't be less than explosive and the pee itself would be a river. I held it in until I could feel the pee practically tracing my gumline, spraying out of my teeth I was so filled to the brim. When I managed to escape the bus as soon as it stopped, I grabbed my pack, threw it over one shoulder, hobbled about five feet before I tripped on my own pee-pee dance and fully crapped my pants and pissed wildly in them.) But I was asked to pray for the cast and crew of Opera Van Java. These are "real" stars, these people, you know, so there was no chance that I was gonna fuck it up. You know what I said? I said, "If you fall off the stage, it's okay, just get back on the horse," Wow. What a dumbass. (This English phrase doesn't quite translate to Indonesian...) At least they used that joke later on in the show when someone pretended to be riding a horse, another actor ran out and said: "What? Did someone fall off stage?" I was thrilled. That joke was for me. Was that luck, or was I going somewhere with life? I was on national t.v. And I made a fool of myself. In front of Allah, too. Sheesh.

Check-In, Check-Out

There was always a beatific zing that kept me excited to trot along from place to place. During the time we hitched down to Batam island and stayed in the grossest squat I've ever layed my eyes on, crawling with as many street punks as there is light flowing through a ghostly X-ray of a mad-man's skull in a clinic, I was excited to move on to the next place. To see what it would be like. To board the giant ship that would take us two days across the equator in the South China Sea to Java. But don't get me wrong, the squat, Base Camp, was indeed a place that I'll remember for going through a packet of cigarettes the fastest, a place where a ukelele would get passed around and played most entertainingly by each kid (mind you, I counted about 27 of them, clad in red plaid, dingy black, stone-wash and leopard print, most or all of them under 22 years of age) a place where during the night, the tacky, buggy night, they were all softly snoring in an MC Escher-drawn tetris-globe head-to-toe in the smallest one bedroom they built themselves. The next morning, when I peeled myself up from the mattress I'd just left a body print on (reminds me of the time when I was only 7 or so and I slipped on the playground at recess because I was wearing these dainty black Victorian shoes, face planted onto the pavement and knocked out a tooth and busted a lip- I didn't get up, I just put my face back down in the pavement, right where it'd just come from because it fit so perfectly) I felt like a skink buried in a swamp. Two of the boys from the squat sweetly brought us to the ship's port where we began the next leg.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Still, Still Malaysia.

Played badminton in the park across the street from the Food Not Bombs house today. I’d forgotten it’s an actual sport. Looks so easy, you just need to get a few rounds into it at first. Our game got cut short because we got rained out. It’s beautiful rain though, speckling the shiny cement, glossy from the sun. We watched a busted umbrella fall from it’s hook outside when the thunder cracked. The kitchen door kept slamming shut in a scream from the wind. Everything was shaking. Everything sweats- the buildings, the plates and napkins, the clouds, even the hands on the clock and of course the dog and cat sweat during the sunshine so it feels extra nice when we get cooled off.
The night has been sweet and breezy. I’m sniffling now from the change of weather. It was inevitable I’d get sick throughout the journey, I just figured I’d grab a cold out in the snow-bunny cities of blizzards but I guess germs couldn’t even survive that, perhaps they just thrive here in the tropics. I’d forgotten about mosquitoes and how they’ll fancy my blood again. Took the train to an art gallery opening. The show wasn’t much to talk of but my, were the people ever lovely. Afterwards, we rolled about 10 deep to a food joint. About half of us was a bicycle crew. We were leading the way, on foot, as they were following behind. They kept looking our way, straight ahead, riding slowly and staring at us. We were chatting and bouncing our little heads around like we do so much, that it felt as if they were a film crew going along behind us. When we’d stop, they’d stop, then we’d keep going and they would too. We continued chatter boxing while they just stared ahead in a caravan like spies. Just on the other side of the joint, I noticed a man hunched over a book of cd's. His cigarette was slimy on the lip-end and the ashes coming off of the cherry were longer than the filter itself. He was hugging a microphone in his armpit that another man was tugging on. I gladly, joined them for a few songs of karaoke.
Today I went in for an interview. I met a guy last night at the art show who kindly invited me to come in to his art gallery the very next morning. I finally arrived there, with a sniffly nose and strong, sudden affects of jet lag. It’s one of those things that has just begun to kick in, a few days into my time on the other side of planet Earth. I nearly snoozed my way through the talk with my potential boss. My eyes wouldn’t stop watering and my mouth stayed open (by accident) so as to let the snot drain down the back of my throat and into my stomach, I couldn’t possibly have let it run down the front of my face into my mouth, or into my hankie like I usually do. (The blue and orange cowboy one, the one my dad gave me seven years ago I never travel without- it‘s been trekking through the snowy Andes, hitched a ride in an 18-wheeler from the Atacama desert in Chile clear up the mountains to central Bolivia, it‘s been rinsed out and dried out on the salty beaches of northeastern Brazil, was a dust and sand mask for cliff-cycling, has been an emergency period-catcher, held a shell collection from the Oregonian coastline, secured bandages on some of my bloody joints, it even pulled my hair back this morning in the bath. It‘s been a picnic landing-strip in the Idaho cemetery, it’s masked me from the fumes of Asian spray paint and 2004 Miami tear gas and it has cleared the sweat from my brow and neck copious amounts of times. My mother once said, “You know, Maya, you should really have your father give you one of his handkerchiefs, he has so many.” and I said, “Oh, he already did. He gave me the blue and orange one with cowboys on it. I love it.” She thought about it for a moment and then declared, “Oh! I remember that one! It’s always been my favorite.” “Mine too, Mom. How neat.” My dad told me grampa Noah never left home without one. It was one of the many important lessons my father learned from him. Sure enough, before grampa Noah died (on my 19th birthday when he was in his 100th year of life), whenever I’d visit with him I’d notice that he did always carry one. He’d wipe his drippy nose with it. And that’s what I’ve been doing all day long. Sneezing and running. Later on, I suffered the worst case of jet lag I can remember. My eyes were on springs during my delirium, dropping in and out of my skull, bungeejumping all the way past my blemished chin. I had to push them back in by coiling up the long, rusty loops and jabbing them into their sockets with my teeth-torn nails. Went home and slept, slept long and well even while the mosquitoes came to feast on my fresh, white meat.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Finding a Shortcut

In Malaysia. My feet have never suffocated so much in their whole wide lives, I think. I know it was all my fault for wearing woolly socks and black leather cowgirl boots on a 6-hr flight arriving to the tropics but you can't really take the Midwest out of the girl when it's February. (You do get some cred for wearing the boots back in January when you got locked out of Doom School in Portland at 4 in the morning when you tried crashing there, after you'd come back drunk from eating donuts and playing pinball, and had to sleep on the porch under the giant table umbrella canvas and a burlap sack.) First day out and had to find a pair of cheap shoes to air out my twenty baby carrots. Went to eighteen different stores, I swear, (either didn't like the shoes they sold or they didn't carry my outrageously giant size 10- sheesh) so I wound up buying a pair of flip-flops and I don't really like those either. Realized I'm running so low on money that I may have to find some work here in Kuala Lumpur just so that I can get home. Looked at an online jobs board and I'm going in for an interview as a kids TV show host tomorrow. The show is meant to be in Malay but when I get the job I'll make sure we do it in English. Staying at the Food Not Bombs house I'll forever be indebted to, they make me a home every time I breeze through on a whim. Despite the hard, cement floor I sleep on with a blanket, I enjoy spending time here.
It is, however, the type of town you really feel lonely in. You take public transportation a lot and you find yourself eating out because it's cheap and delicious. There are many tourist attractions like the zoo or museum or the marketplaces or Chinatown, but you never want to do these things alone, yet I do them alone just about every single time. So, I've been thinking of boys recently. Dreaming them up as I roam the streets in search of the most succulent Chinese vegan spring rolls and sweet soy milk dessert. I dream of boys I’ve loved, boys who’ll never love me, boys who I’ve only met once, boys who I’d one day be with forever, boys who I wish were there with me, to pull the hair out of my backpack zipper when I’m looking for a pen or some bubblegum. Sometimes I find myself dwelling in the wishes that I had a boy to love and with whom to share the exciting joys in the theatre of life. But none of those boys could ever keep up with me.
Last night, I slept at a decent hour and woke at about 9 o'clock. Seemed great. My body was on a track that I could work with. In fact, it was exciting- I thought, oh boy! I could really get used to waking up at this time from here on out. Alas, jet lag hadn't yet kicked in. I just looked at the clock. It's nearly 7 in the morning and I haven't croaked. It must be after 7 by now and I need to get in the swing of things. How am I going to fund this next leg of my journey? I've come so close.
Had a job interview today. The call-out was for those interested in becoming a host for a children's television show. The catch was that the show is supposed to be in Malay. The least I could do was scramble together a resume in 20 minutes, slap some blush on, take a few headshots against the white-washed brick wall, borrow a pair of decent close-toed shoes and pop on down to the photocopy joint. Okay, so I had to do a few other things, too. I hurried on down to the train station. Watched the cultured cross-section of Malay people get breathed in and out by societal gills, being loaded into one thin, gray tube on tracks. I saw the races in uniform.
The Indians all wear Indian garb, gold a must, wearing saris and whatnot. The local Malay Muslim ladies flaunt the long, flowered shirt-dresses to cover their womanhood curves, matching veil of course. And then there are the Chinese who have their own "traditional clothing" but who never rock it, you know the type, it was big in the nineties. The silks with that funny rope-knot on the side by your collar bone and a high slit up to the thigh. No, they never really wear those on the subway. Sometimes they rock the cotton nighties with prints on them like fake-quilt or strawberries or cartoon characters. Could be high-fashion to some, if a studded belt was added and a pair of ripped up stockings and a baseball cap and one feather earring or anything else congealing into an awkward mix that makes it seem so "high-fashion".
I'm thankful for Indians. They are like a breath of fresh air. They are so hairy I remember what it's like to be an animal and not a hairless freak like most Asians who may or may not grow just one white, wiry hair on the side of their chests when they are like 90 years old. Malaysia is like that old board game we used to play, don't you remember it? Like a children-of-the-world-type-game where each kid of each country would wear a traditional costume. (And didn't the US always just have a brown-haired girl wearing a dumb Betsy Ross outfit?) I like walking into that game in real life. But don't get me wrong, my oh my, do they ever suffer racism. And God forbid you ever encounter a darn Nazi punk at a show... I just thank the Lord Almighty I'm not wearing a giant American flag beanbag for a skirt.
After many hours and bucketing rain that dumped on me heavily during the train-to-train ride (that last train ride I caught I swore would go clear up to Thailand if I let it, and we were kissing the cargo train beside us that was not going much faster) and a taxi ride later, I arrive at the office of the audition. I was nervous walking in. I climb the narrow, carpeted stairwell to be enthusiastically greeted by a chubby Malaysian 21 yr-old guy with long dyed blonde hair and clear braces. He was carrying around a clipboard and handing me some papers. "You must be here for the audition?" "Sure am." I answer with a nice, full crocodile smile. He sits me down on a sofa that if your nose got closer to, you'd notice smelled of stale cigarette smoke.
The other intern at the agency, a girl, came and sat down right beside me. I pulled out my resume package with some washed out photos I was certain they would know were taken 2 hours beforehand. She looked at me and said, "I very impress your resume." Like a sprout during it's happiest days of growth, my eyes popped up towards her, then squinted in a smile. "Thank you!" I said, in an accidental false accent that could've been mocking hers. I look around the room while I'm filling out the information card on the clipboard. The Spice Girls are blasting. The blonde guy started singing along. "If you wanna be my lover...!" Then he looked down at my resume and said, "Wow! Cats on Broadway!" and I said, "Yeah, but if you notice, that's just the name of it. Cats on Broadway. Brooklyn, see? Not the real Cats, in Manhattan." I explained. "Oh, but that's still cool!" I smirked humbly knowing I wasn't fit to audition here.
They waddle me into the next room after my lousy attempt at memorizing a folktale in the Malay language, a language I butcher for the most part. When I get inside the room, there were cameras and lights set up and a bumbling crew of clean-cut, rich Malay dudes. They said to me, "We don't want you reading this story in our language. We want you to do what you want. Anything you want. But you have to sing." I paused. I was actually well-prepared to read a story in Malay from a piece of paper. I would blow them out of the water with my skills. Okay, done deal. I decide to tell them a good old American folktale instead. I choose, of all things, the Little Red Riding Hood (God, what thinking-on-your-toes does to a girl) knowing there would be a variety of voices and characters to bring to life.
Part way through the story, which was being filmed mind you, I forget the story and basically kept circling it around the climax of how the Red kept dropping her cookies from her basket and needed to pick them up. (What? Does that even happen in the real story?) Eventually, the suicide mission of retelling the forgotten moral was saved by the bell when the director yelled, "Cut!" He made me sing a song, a song of my choice. I chose Glory of Love, a cliché that would wash it's way out of the alleyway back home but was a cut of primo-choice for Southeast Asian virgin ears to be hearing. The director said, "Okay, lady," (though he definitely didn't add the "lady" part, it would've been awesome if he had) "We'll call you when our decision is made. Thank you." I shook his hand, smiled and walked out of the room to hail the cab that took me to the train that took me to the next train that took me through the bucketing rain that took me 2 hours later walking back to the Food Not Bombs house.

Dear China,

I'm trying hard to figure you out. I know this is my first night here but things have been quite difficult so far. At first, my complex frustrations almost overtook me. It is a full moon (a "wolf moon" someone mentioned to me at the party in the City, he said it was the "brightest moon of the year." Really? Hmm. I could've said the same thing without even looking into the sky or on the weekly "oracle". My body is perfectly cued up with the waves of the ocean and the moon itself, you know what that means, let's just call it a 'vagina'.) I was convinced that gaining happiness again was like putting toothpaste back in the tube.
Now, I'm nearly glowing- I, myself, am a navigator of technology. I'm sitting at Starbucks (a place I would never normally be unless I was desperate in a frigid airport where nothing was else was open), over 3 hours since I've been off the flight from San Francisco. It took a while to get the free wi-fi going. A long while. Who thought these days it'd be so tricky setting it up? I'm on a 26 hr-layover. Tomorrow I fly to Malaysia. I remember the first time I ever stepped foot in a Starbucks- probably won't ever forget it. We were taking a walk, my mom and dad and I, around the Japan Alps during our two-and-a-half-month-long business-turned-leisure trip there. I had just turned thirteen. It must've been November and the chilled land, in all its firmness, felt nice to walk on. The road was open and the air, I imagine, was breathable. We had pink noses and I was probably wearing my usual sweater (that originally came wrapped in plastic- for all I know it'd come from a Tokyo vending machine), some chartreuse corduroy flares and a pair of skate shoes (though I was never a real skater). We entered the coffee shop after my convincing requests. We walked in and it was there I first witnessed the feeling of recognizing that I was truly a foreigner in a strange land and that the simplicity of being in a place that reminded you of home was joyful and necessary for grounding yourself while living on the road. This time, thirteen years later in China, I didn't get that feeling at all, (although I am now able to embrace how warm and bubbly youthfulness really is) because I was only being shell-shocked from airports, which is not very culturally outlandish.

I thought about leaving the airport, taking the hour-long bus ride into the city, booking into a cheap hostel that I'll have magically discovered by flapping my big lips or looking up online, and playing some pool there, exchanging some recipes from the road (like favorite skin rash-healing remedies) with some lame foreigners (like the French or English, Japanese, German, or God-forbid the Israeli) and grabbing a bite to eat. I don't see all the trouble in going bankrupt for a sleazy night out just so that I may come back in the morning with no cash in hand. I perched up a nest for the night on a couch the length of a Chinese 9 yr-old and used the blanket I stole from the airplane for cover. As usual, I slept on my most important belongings which included this laptop and some wallets and other electronics. Made for a shifty night but I managed to get in some deep snoozing none-the-less. I woke up at 6 a.m. China-time (which makes it 2 pm California-time- hey, at least I'm following some kind of a believable sleep schedule) and it seems I've been picking my nose for nearly two hours now but nothing budges, not the high-top crust patrol, dried out from having a night out in an arctic, neon gymnasium, not even the ones around the edges. They remind me of the saltine crackers I jacked from the diner in the Castro at 5 in the morning after the dance party. Five packages, the two-pack packs, now squashed, pulverized sandstone in their plastic shells. (We rode the ambulance down there to that food joint before going to pick up my borrowed chopper bike from the 5th Ave. marina.)
Earlier that night, there was a benefit party for our friend who had some drugs on him when he drove the bus down to the desert- turns out there was a warrant for him or something like that, he got out on bail and got a lawyer just in time so that he could fly to England and Germany where he'd already booked a trip to see some family. I was dressed like a bear, with makeup that used to be so-bright-turned-dingy from making out with this cute boy I once saw pictures of during my days in high school. (He was in college at the time and my friend from high school met him somewhere and during his travels in France she went to go visit him- when she came back she brought some photos that she showed me in Ms. Cunt's American Econ class so that's how I first saw him.) It was the hottest make-out sesh ever, behind the ripply vent on the rooftop of the dance studio the twins operate, on top of gravel we called "sandcastles" that was wet from the rain. It was a full, beaming moon, remember, and the sky was clear and the vent was gently producing a most elegant breeze for the set of the movie we were starring in. His bear costume was undone and I could feel his skinniness from the skin-down. I wrote “AM” in the sand (our initials, so we could “hear the radio of our hearts”) but when I lay down in all our sandcastles, my fur coat got wet on the backside- made me “look like a wet cat,” my friend later explained. On my knuckles, a trapeze-girl had written 'ASIA 1350' in permanent marker, a reminder that I was flying to China at around 2 o'clock the following afternoon.

I'm now sitting at the other cafe I slept in, still in the Beijing airport. The girl who woke me up to tell me I had to buy something just sat a cup of pipingly hot water down on the table without my asking, I think all the girls have been staring at me while I've been picking my nose and they must think I'm sick and could use a good steaming- awkward. (God, the water actually tastes like butt.) (Are they trying to passively suggest something about my personal habits that Americans portray or is it simply a Chinese gesture of kindness? Do I appear that dehydrated? Do I look poor? I mean, there are plenty of other customers around me, this is an airport for chrissakes, and I'm the only one who's been given hot water.) I also quit coffee during the past couple of months or so (the coffee in Indonesia has turned me to mush, everything else tastes like crack-coffee compared to the weakness of a real cup of "java" so I've had to slowly get back into the swing of being a beloved coffee-drinker) but I've indulged in the most perfect blend of espresso, milk and sugar. It will be savored, this is the breakfast of champions most ritualists consider as being the first serious thing of the day. They things like, "no can do, not before coffee", or "I actually did it even before coffee", paired with things like, "don't talk to me once the sunglasses are off and I've had my cup of coffee". I've never been like that, I am an afternoon-indulger, an after-meal-tastist, a social-desserter. I'm also being polite to the cafe I slept in by buying the product they sell and making it last as long as possible, which I can't see a smoothie or a mug of tea doing.

Last time I was at this airport I came across with a most "homebum flava" as well. (That time, however, I wasn't wearing the shortest free-boxed skirt you've ever seen, a "dish-rag", if you will, that I pulled from a bucket of coulda-shoulda-woulda-scabies from out in Oakland cause when I gave the dress back that I borrowed for the party I didn't just want to rock the leopard-print stockings as-is, and I was running what I thought was terribly late and the taxi was waiting so there was no time to change clothes which meant that I took the cross-Atlantic flight wearing that skanky outfit with half-smudged Bear makeup.) When I rolled in at 6 a.m. with a 12-hr layover that time, however, I didn't have any Chinese Yuan, nor did I have any U.S. dollars. China and it's nationalists decided they don't exchange Malaysian or Indonesian currency anywhere in the country, so I had to "homebum" my way into getting some free food from the girls at the buffet (Chinese food food buffet, of course). I was stoked about the thought of returning to the same buffet at the international terminal and walking in all like, "Remember me, girls? Well, guess who's back?! And for a fine 26 hours!" and then like the whispering wind asking a Singaporean businessman standing impatiently behind me, "Sir, could you please tell me how to say "mop" in Chinese?" Alas, the international terminal would not accept me as it was indeed too early for check-in so I've befriended the clan of bite-sized girls at the next joint in the domestic terminal, as equally as bored and emptied (like the trash they took out) from their brainless jobs just like the last girls were.