'Tempting fate' is a really beautiful expression that I just came to appreciate this week. The words themselves, they way they sound; the reference to the mystical, the dance between predetermination and free will…it's something that I seem to do a lot.
When I came to Bangkok, I landed in the middle of a revolution. I SWEAR, I didn’t have any idea that this was happening until I met some folks from Detroit that filled me in on the details on the way to the airport from Phuket. Protesters were calling for government recalls and opposed a proposed bill that would essentially have given amnesty to politicians accused of corruption and murder. I’d been obsessed with protest movements since I was a teenager and researched international movements at the beginning of my career.
When I landed, I felt like a kid on Christmas morning.
The drive to my hotel took hours. Streets were blocked with barricades and demonstrators. I heard yelling, cheers, screaming, and horns as we traveled through the busy streets, trying to find our way through. The city felt like it was on fire and I felt like I was exactly where I should be.
I didn’t know anyone in Bangkok, so I wandered around on my own for a while, trying to get in on the action. I wasn’t sure how close to get—demonstrations can be unpredictable—but there was something in the air telling me I’d be ok. When night came, I considered visiting one of the red light districts, but ventured out to Khao San road, aka the hippy/tourist trail, instead. Since it was Thanksgiving in America, I ate as much street food as possible and scoped out the scene to figure out where it’d be fun to party that night.
The streets pulsed with dance music and flashing lights, but it all felt a little too spring-breakish to me. When I came to the end of the road two guys approached me and asked where I was going. I told them I didn’t have any plans and they invited me to the RCA neighborhood to dance. They told me they were from Iran (I am obsessed with Iran, FYI) and to get on the back of one of their motorcycles to go to the club.
I knew at that moment that night could end in several ways:
-an amazing and unique club nite adventure
-me sticking to the traveled path and regretting not accepting invitation to said adventure
-me being sold in to the white sex trade and regretting said adventure forever (If this every happens to me, you can reference this blog at my eulogy and have a laugh about it)
I consider myself to have very good intuition and only go on these adventures when I feel 90 percent sure I’ll be OK. These guys felt safe, plus one of them said, ‘I can tell you are a powerful woman by the color of your dress.’ SOLD!
It felt amazing traveling through Bangkok at night on the back of the motorcycle. I got to see the city in a totally different way.
The Iranian dudes were totally cool the whole night and gentlemanly, paying for all my shit and not being more than marginally creepy, although I did make sure I had an eye on my drink the entire night and got it directly from the bartender (Rule #1, ladies). They seemed very conscientious and protective of me. I found out the one dude owned a business ‘exporting motorcycle parts’ which after talking to my friend about Iranians in Japan, I’m pretty sure is code word for IRANIAN MAFIA.
The whole experience was surreal because in Iran, public music is illegal, dancing is illegal, alcohol is illegal and women have to be covered up…culturally, this night was a total 180. It was a western posh club with pop and hip hop, bottle service, and super cute thai girls (some which bought me drinks!). I wonder what meeting me was like in their cultural context. We talked a ton about Iran and America and they invited me to stay with their families if I come to Tehran…and I do plan on visiting Iran in the very near future.
At the end of the night, the one dude asked if I wanted to stay at his place because it was close to the airport, but I politely declined and he thankfully wasn’t pushy. That night goes down as one of my best nights of the year.
So, this is the end of my 2013 travel log and coincidentally, my 28th birthday. The experiences documented in this blog have truly changed the course of my life. After spending a month in Asia, performing around the world, going through family deaths, trusting strangers with motorbikes, and meeting and reuniting with some of the kindest people ever last year, I’ve had a number of lessons that I know will keep me excited and eager to learn and having fun and committed to making each year better:
- fuck it
- trust your intuition
- when in doubt, do what Iggy Pop would do
- follow your heart
- don’t let other people’s fears and hang ups discourage you
- smile, dance, and talk to strangers
- do you
- believe in the good of people
- don’t be afraid
- you will survive