Dear Korean Cops, What Do You Have to Do To Get Arrested Around Here?

While sharing a few drinks in front of yet another convenience store in Seoul, South Korea, my friends and I noticed that someone had placed a most wanted poster onto the window. This listed South Korea‘s 25 most notorious offenders and within moments my friend George, who speaks Korean fluently was making his way down the list.

# 1: Wanted for the murder of one person

# 2: Wanted for the murder of one person

# 3: Wanted for the rape of one woman

# 4 to # 25: Wanted for fraud…

This list is as close as I have ever come to an explanation for the sheer incompetence and security guard type nature of the Korean police force. Actually come to think of it, security guards actually chase you, so scratch that, taxi drivers are probably a more apt comparison for Seoul’s police department. My working theory is that a lack of actual crime since the dissolution of military dictatorships in the early 90s has resulted in an inability to breed crime fighters. It’s also possible that they just leave white people alone because they know we don’t speak Korean.

I first took notice of this problem while I was drying my clothes in the laundromat around the corner from my apartment one early morning. While I sat down listening to my mp3 player and waiting to put on a respectable pair of pants, I spotted two cops sitting across from me, playing with their new I pad. I was a bit curious why an otherwise empty laundromat in a dead part of town at two in the morning required police protection but I soon realized these men weren’t here to serve and protect my colours or whites, they were just looking for somewhere warm to escape to while on “patrol”, because really, what the fuck else were they gonna do with their time in a country where the top criminals were stealing debit cards?

On a side note, Korean debit cards do NOT require a pin or code of any kind to purchase goods and services, in fact all it requires is that someone “signs” an electronic keypad which usually amounts to little more then scratching it to make a line. Call me crazy but maybe fucking PIN codes would put an end to all that fraud but hey what the fuck do I know.

In any event, to drive home this point I’ve decided to compile my own list of the 3 most ridiculous police interventions that I either witnessed or heard of, during my stay in the city of Seoul.

# 3 we got a fighter! someone get the massage table!

While in the hospital for a sex change drug testing job I came across another foreigner who was all too happy to swap stories with me about the Seoul police. In fact everyone there were foreigners, we were all getting paid to try a new acid reflux drug which was being developed as a result of their competitors having had their patent run out. Oddly enough the American FDA required that all drugs tested for a US market be tested on Caucasians specifically (this has fuck all to do with the police but it seems weird enough to be worth mentioning). So over dinner my new roommate mentioned that he had once spotted two Ajumas (elder Korea women) arguing in the road. When a young police officer approached and attempted to diffuse the situation one of the women apparently slapped him and garnered no reaction. This did not surprise me too much considering the incredibly high degree of importance that age plays in Korean culture but his next tale certainly did. Apparently he had also witnessed a drunk Korea man (this is somewhat redundant considering that they’re all severe alcoholics) who had been trying to take a swing at the cops. Their solution was to sit his ass down and have one officer hold his wrists while another gave him a gentle back rub to calm him down.

# 2 A German, a Frenchman and an American walk into a bar.

So my German, French and American friends walk into an abandoned bar (sandwiched between another bar below and an abandoned bar above). Nearly a week prior to that Yannis and Maxime, my German and French friends respectively, had smashed their way into an abandoned bar, above the abandoned bar they were currently standing in, and destroyed everything. Television sets, lights, tables and chairs were all trashed beyond recognition and bolstered by this success and a night of alcohol buckets the three amigos decided to try their chances yet again, now having brought along Alex, a tall Alabaman to join in the party

After breaking in they began going to town on the usual targets, lights, chairs etc. but unfortunately for them, unlike the previous bar, they were now within earshot of the patrons and workers at the bar below them and consequently the police were called in.

When they came strolling up the stairs the American simply stood there, confident that he would no doubt walk away unscathed, the Frenchman threw up his hands and surrendered and the German fled to the washroom to hide… funny thing about traveling, it tends to reinforce stereotypes more then break them down.

They wrote down the three men’s names in Hangeul, Korean script, and took down their phone numbers as well. This was of course incredibly pointless considering that there’s no register in which foreign names would be recorded in Korean script but in any even the police seemed unfazed by the situation as a whole. They provided my friends with a stern warning not to do that again or…. well I guess then they’d give them another stern warning, and then, their job clearly completed, they were off.

# 1 Merry Christmas?

While the typical westerner celebrates their Christmas with family, meals and presents, the holiday has taken on a more kitsch value in Korea. Young men and women head to the clubs and bars, dressed in their best slutty Santa costumes and proceed to get completely shitfaced. On this particular Christmas eve, Dieuke, a Dutch exchange student and arguably Yonsei University 2010’s hottest mess, decided that she had grown tired of acting sane and instead opted to get hammered and spit and kick at her friends in the bar. Quickly enough someone called the fuzz and myself and her other male friends took turns restraining her, mostly for the protection of our own balls, which she seemed to enjoy kicking.

Upon the police’s arrival they offered to drive her back to the dorms and myself being the only man whose balls hadn’t been assaulted, I offered to go with her for the five-minute ride and make sure she made it in alright. So my friends and I tossed her into the back of the cop car and I hopped in with her. Now you may be asking yourself, what kind of police let random civilians handle their back door. This, while it is no doubt a legitimate question, pales in comparison to the question I was asking myself. “Where the fuck is the cage?”

Not only was there absolutely no obstruction of any kind between the back seat and front (other than the seats of course) after paying careful attention to all police vehicles over the following months I would come to learn that none of the typical Korean police vehicles had cages, even their vans just use the extra space to install a coffee table for paperwork. Now if you ever wondered what those cages are for, part of the reason is that so when you and your drunk ass friend are in the back of a cop car you won’t have to keep grabbing her wrists to keep her from swinging towards the front seat.

She kept trying to punch the cops and I was sure that at any moment the pigs would lose their shit, but they just kept smoking away and laughing at the crazy bitch in the back. When they finally pulled up to the dorms, Dieuke threw her door open and took off. I, still in a Canadian mindset thought that I should probably catch her before the police did and took her to jail, so while the cops kept smoking and laughing I took off running. Once I caught her she spun around, kicked me and fell on her ass.

“That’s it! Take this crazy bitch to jail!” I screamed over to the Police who were now leaning on the hood of their car, still smoking and laughing. I took off in one direction while Dieuke approached the cops and took off yet again, now in another direction. Within minutes we had crossed paths again and while she slowly ran down the road in her heels, crying all the way, the cops followed behind slowly in their car, having the time of their life and enjoying the show.

Ultimately the cops abandoned their 3km/hr pursuit and Dieuke ran all the way back to the bar, leaving a trail of clothes behind her but it was nice to know that if ever I ran out of cab fair there would be the trusty Seoul police to give me a ride.

Ultimately I’m not quite sure what exactly my opinion is on the Korean police, on the one hand they offer little to no incentive for not acting like a fool and yet if I were Rodney King, moving my ass to Seoul would probably seem like a good fucking idea… you know before he was found floating dead in his pool that is. Ultimately they do appear to often be genuinely decent people, which cannot be said for all Police Departments, so I suppose that’ll do pigs, that’ll do.

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Unwasted Land

The growth of the Urban garden is not a new trend but I found myself intrigued by the new garden community within the electrical corridor near my apartment, which has recently sprouted in North York, a roughly five minute walk from the York University campus.

Underneath the towering power lines over 130 plots of varying sizes are marked off by makeshift fences and adorned with hanging boots and shoes. Some of the spaces have constructed ramshackle huts for escaping the Sun or cleaning up, one woman even had a mirror.

The land costs 76$ to rent for a year and in exchange the city provides spartan water lines and… well, nothing. Yet that’s the beauty of the entire project, Kumar, one of the local gardeners doesn’t need the government to provide fertilizer, fences, hoses or skill, he has all that, land and water is all it takes and in this massively sprawling, otherwise unused setting, land is abundant.

Kumar currently has green onions, tomatoes, chilies and green beans all growing on his small lot and of course this garden fails to cover all of his family’s food needs but it does supplement their diet with healthy, naturally grown produce and in a world where GMOs and pesticides are indistinguishable from corn that doesn’t contain “acceptable” levels of poison that will explode root worms’ stomachs, this seems like a good thing.The only remaining question is why it is, in this unused corridor of arable land 10.4 km long, that we are only instituting this program along 15 400 square meters, when the cost to the taxpayer is no more then setting up a drinking fountain?

Korea’s Sexual Whack-A-Mole

As Yannis, my German friend and I looked over the gallery of black and white photos depicting various sex positions at Love Land, in Jeju South Korea we began playing a game, “Done it, done it, need it, done it, need it” etc…

Around the corner strolled a gang of young Korean men, they stopped dead in their tracks, their jaws dropped wide and to this day despite my shit poor grasp of the Korean language I’m nearly positive one of the men exclaimed “Wow there’s more than one position!”

Love Land is the modestly sized South Korean amusement park dedicated to teaching Koreans about sex and what better way to do that then to cover a park in statues of turtles fucking, dogs fucking, old women chasing down skinny young men, the Terminator’s penis… you get the point.

Parks like these in Korean society are not an anomaly and represent a type of whack-a-mole effect, while their sexuality is clearly oppressed in very conspicuous ways it emerges in strange incarnations like the former. Haesindang Park or as it is more commonly called, Penis Park, is another example of this trend. As the official tale goes a young virgin had been awaiting the return of her man along the shoreline only to discover he had died at sea and in her grief she plunged herself into the ocean. The locals decided to erect hundreds of Penis totems to appease her soul and keep the waters calm, although oddly enough all the statues are clearly new or at the very least, fairly new.

So who visits these parks? Well why not take the whole family, a trip to the Penis Park will yield not only a forest of cock but also showcase young children playing and frolicking while their grandparents reminisce. And if your trip to the country hasn’t satiated your craving for wooden dildos you can stroll into any number of bars in Seoul casually adored with them…. everywhere.

So what does all this say about Koreans and their approach to sex? Well I can only provided the perspective of an outsider looking in and as such any opinion I express is inherently lacking but certain clues do emerge. One fact that every foreign man is quickly bludgeoned with upon entering Korea is that all the young women, whether they’re wearing sneakers and a sweater or heels and a miniskirt (most of them are wearing the later, winter be damned) swear up and down that they’re virgins, even twenty-three year old women who have had a series of rotating foreign boyfriends will lie their ass off.

This has given way to even more disturbing trends such as voluntary molestation. When I say voluntary molestation what I’m referring to is a behaviour by which Korean women will purposely act far more shitfaced than they really are. They then collapse in a very unladylike manor onto their men and these guys use the small windows as opportunities to grope their girl as they sometimes quite literally carry them home.

Ultimately this short article neglects to factor in major sociological factors, such as the role sexuality plays in women’s social position in the country and how Korean history plays into these bizarre dynamics but in any event like in every country we can all find common ground. While drinking at one of Jeju’s hostels I struck up a conversation with the young bartender/ owner who had mentioned that she had been dragged by her friends to Love Land a few days before. “Its weird having to see a big penis that early in the morning”, she said to which I responded ” Well I have to see a big penis every morning”. That got me a free Jack & Coke, it seems our cultures have at least a little in common.

Zombies & Zimmerman

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1IpDiYlfm0

It’s happened, Florida’s cultural zeitgeist has become so massive and entangled that it’s begun to collide in odd ways. Inspired by the states recent facial gourmand,Rudy Eugene, Vitaly Zdorovetskiy, a 20 year old prankster, has taken to Florida’s streets in an attempt to ride that beautiful comedy wave of fake zombie attacks over panic stricken black people.

[Rudy Eugene, 31,  was shot and killed by police as he chewed the face of Ronald Poppo, 65, May 26]

On a side note Rudy Eugene’s autopsy showed no sing of human flesh having been digested, there was also no toxicology report or documentation in anyway linked to bath salts, or even any hearsay that he had been linked to the drug but there’s no need to let facts get in the way of a good headline. Although perhaps New York Daily News’ article Bath salts: Officials say the synthetic drug in disguise was behind recent ‘cannibal’ attack” could have more apply been title “Bath salts: Officials say sometimes bad things that happen might or might not have absolutely anything to do with completely unexplained face chewing”

In the video, featured in the link above,Vitaly Zdorovetskiy dawns an impressive zombie costume with an even more impressive growl, he lurches and jogs towards local black people, mostly young men and all who watch laugh hysterically as they run the fuck away. In an interview with Tosh.0, when asked if he had chosen to attack black people specifically, he stated that he had tried going after white people but they “didn’t give me any reactions, they were just standing around laughing”. On more then one occasion however the prank came dangerously close to going wrong and he even found a gun pulled on him at one point. Luckily cooler heads prevailed and even in the worst situation when he had been chased by a gang of young men at a basketball court he explained the prank and they all had a good laugh, according to Vitaly they even offered him a crack rock afterwards, and people say there’s no community spirit anymore.

This story did not go unreported but what did not get asked was what would have happened had those young men not had the calm and possibly good nature that they did. Had he been gunned down on the concrete would his assailant have been standing his ground? With the Trayvon Martin/ George Zimmerman case hanging in Florida’s ether I can’t help but wonder if a black gangster gunned down a white 20 year old in the street, only to tell police that he had been standing his ground against the encroaching zombie, would it have gone over quite as well as George’s excuse? Perhaps, perhaps not but more importantly it makes me think of the role that panic plays in our actions.

The thing about the Zimmerman case is that whatever the result, the law itself will remain unscathed, simply because if Zimmerman is convicted it will simply serve as proof that the law did not apply to his case. It will be nothing more then an acceptance of the fact that following children with a gun in your pocket can hardly be dubbed self protection but the interesting thing about the zombie scenario is that it is, for all intents and purposes an example of self defense, ridiculous as fuck but self defense.

What the stand your ground law does is turn crimes of passion or panic into justifiable homicide. It allows us to forgive people by accepting the notion that in times of crises men and women must be forgiven for acts of weakness or acts that were poorly calculated but what this does not take into account is that this would all be a none-issue without guns. So everybody you have my word, the Rudy Eugenes of the world aside, no one is going to try and eat your face, leave your guns at home (locked if you have kids please).

The Seoul’s Dictionary

Fishing for Fuck Ups

When thinking about writing a post on my 10 months spent “studying” at Yonsei University in South Korea the task seems daunting to say the least. Take a city of 25 million Koreans, all plugged into the StarCraft zeitgeist and filled with cheap liquor, add a few million foreigners with a penchant for smashing things and an equal affinity for 20% booze at a 1.50$ a bottle, stir in with cops who behave more like taxi drivers and taxi drivers that behave more like gangsters and you have Seoul, the bright, claustrophobic, neon clad metropolis of every alcoholic’s dreams. Understandably stories abound and so the question becomes, where to begin?

I thought I would take my first bite of this monster by laying out a bit of vocabulary to help the reader better understand the region’s local slangs and idioms.

Soju:

The traditional Korean rice wine is actually nothing more than cheap paint thinner sold for 1.50$ a bottle at 20%. It tastes like I imagine a homeless man’s taint does but somehow it mixes better than anything I’ve ever drank.

Somek (etymology: Soju + Mekju [Beer] = Somek):

Somek is beer and Soju mixed into the same glass, its excellent for those times when you don’t feel like standing up anymore.

The Chinese Philosophy Drink:

To make the Chinese Philosophy drink take two shot glasses, fill the first with Coke and the second with Soju. Rest the Soju shot on top of the Coke shot and place both into a beer glass. Fill the glass with beer and chug, the shot glasses should slide towards your gullet and once the Somek is all gone there should be a shot of Coke at the end to cleanse the pallet. As the philosophy was explained to me, you have to go through the bitter to get to the sweet, which is a really deep way of saying this gets you fucked up.

Bed:

The traditional meaning of a bed still applies in the city, however it has now grown as a term to encompass all areas where Koreans are used to sleeping; bushes, sidewalks, subway floors, the middle of the fucking street and of course the hood of our stopped cab. Be warned though, when a passing Korean passes out on the hood of your cab excercise caution in how they are awakened. As for us, our cabbie honked the horn, our winno woke up and looking quite indignant, kicked the bumper, unfortunately for him he was wearing sandals.

He started up on the seat but stop by stop tipped his way off the side until he fell over, although it didn’t seem to bother him

미국 (Pronounced: Mee – Gook):

This translates literally to American but has taken on an entirely different interpretation. As no one likes to embarrass their nation and I myself am Canadian, I took to shouting out “Mee-Gook!!” whenever I was drunk enough to be getting myself in trouble or irritating the locals. Soon enough the French and Germans caught on and eventually the term came to be yelled out every time a westerner fucked up. Broken glasses and smashed bottles would soon come accompanied with cries of ” America! America! We’re American!!!!”, all in Korean of course. The way I see it this is just Karma for Americans who sewed the Canadian flags on their back, damn hoser posers!

DVD Bang:

The proper Korean term is a DVD Bong, a room which can be reserved by whomever to lay on a bed and “watch a movie” for a few hours. Don’t let the quotation marks fool you, there really is a movie, the only thing is that you’ll be seeing clips of it at best, as you should be using the time to fuck.

Putting Money In The Bank:

If you ever find yourself in Seoul and you happen to be in Sinchon (my old district), stop by Echo Bar. From 2010-2011 they had a running deal that for roughly 10$ you can drink unlimited MGD, Smirnoff and Heineken from whenever you get there to 1am, we usually got there about 6pm. After beer #5 we came to the realization we were starting to drink  more than we paid for, around beer #20 I’d banked about 30$, the more beer, the more money in bank, with logic like that who needs a job?

Pulling an Abby Road:

In Seoul one often finds one self drinking on a street corner or the deck of a convenience store only to come to an impasse. Where in this maze of alleyways can a man find a little privacy to take a piss? Luckily while hanging out in front of one of our favorite Family Marts my friends and I spotted an oasis. Over the door of the abandoned stairwell were written the words, Abbey Road and so…. Pissing down an abandoned stairwell was henceforth known as pulling an Abbey Road, we later amended the abandoned part to be more inclusive. On a side note you always wanna keep close attention to which stairwell you happen to be pissing down, otherwise you may get disoriented and find yourself fleeing a bar tender who wishes to stick his piss covered loafers up your ass.

The Upside Down Abbey Road:

Why just piss down a stairwell when you could piss up the stairwell and race yourself, trying to shake off the last of your piss before the stream reaches your feet, brilliant.

막걸리 MAN!/ Makgeolliman:

This super hero is said to drive a Ferrari and be a secret millionaire but rumors persist of him being homeless. In any event he wanders the streets of Sinchon & Hongdae clanging his town bell and calling all lovers of cheep Makgeolli, Korean milk booze. He greets his beloved clients with high pitched cries of, “I love you!!!” and offers free samples in small paper cups… then he asks for the cups back.

Cop Dodging and Jaw Dropping In Bangkok

ImageWhen I first arrived in Bangkok, coming from the overland boarder with Cambodia, the word best used to describe myself would have been lost, completely fucking lost with nothing more then a vague notion of where I needed to go. I’d crossed the boarder with Laura, a sweet British girl who, despite her penchant for biting people when drunk, as my scared shoulder could testify too, had been a good friend but was separated from me at the roadside “restaurant” just across the Thailand/ Cambodia boarder. If I use quotation marks around the word restaurant it’s only because it tended to lack some of the common amenities one would expect from back home in Canada, like walls. Whereas before we had been traveling in a large Greyhound type bus, which had of course been overbooked and was littered with people sitting on plastic chairs in the isles for 6 hours, we were now divided up into groups of 6 or 7 and taken away in mini vans towards the metropolis. She, having gone off in another van told me to meet her at Rainbow hostel, off of the infamous Khaosan Road.

My van dropped me off… somewhere and I walked into the nearest 711 to get what was essentially a Big Gulp of Ovaltine and some cash. Bangkok appeared to be so much more orderly and “civilized” then Phnom Penh or Siem Reap back in Cambodia, I wasn’t being swarmed by street kids looking to lift my watch or shoes and gas no longer consisted of tables by the roadside with empty liquor bottles filled with petrol. I flagged down the first Tuk Tuk I could spot, the driver pulled up on his bike dragging behind him yet another variation of the ever changing scooter wagon and I told him the name of the Hostel. He nodded, had me get in and sped off through the streets. He pulled up to a gang of Thai men by the roadside, he apparently failed to understand what I was saying and was trying to have his friends translate. After realizing these men spoke barely any more English then he did and had no idea where the hostel was, I asked to be taken back to where I was picked up.

When I got out he started hollering and demanding 100bach (3.15 USD) for the ride which had taken me from here to….. back here. I responded something to the degree of “Go fuck yourself” and turned to walk away. Within about 30 seconds I was flagged down by a cop who offered me two options, pay or accompany him to the small neighbourhood jail about 60 meters away, I paid, welcome to Bangkok motherfucker.

After making my way into an internet café, finding my bearings and subsequently my hostel, I sat down for a beer outside with Laura and some of her friend’s, one of whom I swear on my life had laugh that sounded exactly like a monkey. This has no real bearing on the story but seems worth mentioning because it was so fucked up and I mean really, it was exactly like a monkey.

That night passed along fairly normally, we hit up bar or two, played drinking games, it appeared to be a normal foreigner neighbourhood in South East Asia, no different then the one in Saigon or Vientiane. It wasn’t until the following night I started to get a feel for just how fucked up Bangkok and Khaosan Road in particular are. I had headed out on my own for the night and was on the lookout for a drinking buddy. Soon enough I found a tall, lanky Kiwi by the name of Caleb, he had plugged in his own mp3 player into a street vendor’s speakers and was dancing by himself to dubstep in the middle of the road.

This seems like a good man I thought, I struck up a conversation and within a few minutes it took a delightful/fucked up turn when he began offering a Thai vagrant 50 Bach (1.57 USD) to let him try out his new taser, which were sold, along with batman brass knuckles and ninja stars, just about everywhere in the neighbourhood. The vagrant, although interested, ultimately declined and I was about to ask Caleb if he wanted to head over to a ping pong show with me but before I could utter the words a Tuk Tuk driver snuck up behind us and began making that distinct cheek popping sound that could only signify he wanted to take us to see some fucked up shit

The show was just about to start when we walked in, the crowed were mostly foreigners, young western men and women as well as a cadre of Saddam Hussein lookalikes in the front row, who did not seem to appreciate the kitsch quality of the show and may have been taking it a little too seriously. As the first act came up we were mesmerized by the long silk cord the performer began pulling out of her pussy, a meter, then 5, then she began wrapping it around the five poles on stage, one at each corner and one in the middle, the cord was 20 meters long, then 30. A round of applause and an exchange of glances between me and Caleb conveyed the overwhelming feeling that things were about to get weird, although he seemed more preoccupied by the blond Dutch girl he was trying to pick up.

I still think about that sometimes, what would have happened if he had actually managed to steal her away. They could begin traveling together, he could move to Europe, get married, have kids and one day while sitting around a dinner table, sipping wine he would tell the story about how he met his beautiful wife one night in Bangkok during a ping pong show. Maybe talk about how he noticed her green eyes right around the time the second act came on stage and started launching ping pong balls out of her vagina and towards the audience. Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be.

This was like a magic show; the following act kicked it up a notch by yet again pulling a cord out her Vajayjay yet this time with a twist. Tied into the cord was a razor blade, actually many razor blades, the first of which was used to slice up a piece of paper to prove they weren’t dull. After watching several meters of razor laden wire be yanked out of her bearded clam, like she was starting a lawn mower, I wasn’t sure exactly how to feel but it definitely wasn’t turned on, the Saddam Husseins however seemed to be disagreeing with me.

By the way, during the writing process of whatever this is it has now become a challenge to see how many euphemisms I can use to describe vaginas, I’m hoping to reach at least 9. When the next act made her way up on stage, she simply opened a Pepsi bottle… with her catcher’s mitt (That’s # 4 by the way). Then she drank the Pepsi, again using her honey pot and in a somewhat less impressive feat, crossed the stage and emptied it back into the bottle. I picked up the bottle cap, it now sits at home on my mantle with a little sign that reads “caution do not touch”, you would not believe how well this works in provoking people to touch it.

Pushing a dildo out of her beaver, clear across stage in and arc and kicking her feet off one of the poles while lying on her back, to launch herself across stage and catch the skyrocket in flight was the next performer’s specialty. My favorite act however would have had to be the warrior woman who stepped up next, equipped with a blow dart tube, her pink taco launched dart after dart at passing balloons in what was to date my favorite ground to air assault. The following act however was most likely my least favorite, it yet again involved the innocent silk cord but this time it was tossed to me by the performer and I was now expected to extract it from her snatch. This would have been fine, if a little odd, if not for the fact that she approached me afterword and began harassing me for a tip. Arguing that I had performed a gynecological procedure and should be the one getting paid did not seem to convince her I was in the right, in her defense however the word gynecological may have been a bit much and she stormed off. The show wrapped up with live sex, which oddly enough offended a large group of white girls causing them to walk out. Admittedly it wasn’t especially pleasant to watch but compared to the razor wire it seemed pretty enjoyable and all the Saddam’s for once seemed to be in agreement.

We made our way outside and walked for a few blocks to distance ourselves from the Tuk Tuk drivers charging obscene prices. Upon our arrival back in Khaosan we crossed paths with a gang of shirtless, peacock Albertans looking to get there dicks pierced. For those of you who don’t know, Alberta is a province in Canada populated by secret Americans from Texas. They have rodeos, assholes and to date are the only people I know of in the world who routinely toss change at strippers, who apparently catch the loonies and toonies (Canadian for animal covered money) with funnels, where these funnels are aiming I will leave to the readers’ imagination. Cowboys also tend to heat up the coins with lighters before hand because…. well they’re cowboys and that’s about the closest thing to an answer I’ve come up with. In any event my opinions on Alberta are somewhat skewed being that I’m from Ontario/ Quebec, for this reason I have always maintained the notion that we should trade Alberta to the US for Alaska, a seemingly senseless move but at least then the American map would resemble a hand giving the middle finger and thus, make a lot more sense.

After growing disinterested with my countrymen, Caleb and I made our way down Khaosan and as he mentioned his disappointment over having yet to use his taser a moment of sheer serendipity followed. “WHO WANTS TO GET TASED!!!” I yelled out, hoping someone would be drunk enough to answer and sure enough upped stepped a South African who could double for Lemmy from Motorhead. After surviving his shocking ordeal (I apologize but I just couldn’t help myself) a gang of foreigners began to form around us and what I can only describe as a tasing orgy ensued, all in all about 30 people were tased and I’m pretty sure a fight broke out. Admittedly I was a bit distracted at the time chatting up a girl from my hometown. While a few Punjab men were taking their tasing with laughter, they began yelling out “Punjabi!!!”, to which I responded, “Fuck its like Brampton (my hometown) around here”, the girl caught this and responded with dismay, only for the two of us to begin exchanging our credentials.  “Do you know about the time that guy was beaten to death in Brampton Towers with the baseball bat?”, “Are you kidding me, I was there.” Unfortunately despite the great story this would be for how I met my soul mate, yet again it was not meant to be.

The night moved on and soon I found myself in a guitar circle beside a McDonald’s, tossing down beers, singing and meeting people. It may have been my favorite moment in Thailand but as per usual in Bangkok the cops showed up and acted like assholes, they rode by in their trucks and ordered us off the street so for a while anyway the party moved into the restaurant. As the night wound down Caleb left but I was lucky enough to meet Marto and Mojo, two Aussies and some of the coolest people I’ve ever met. Although at the time I thought Mojo was a bit of a douche since I had spotted him earlier burning an American 100$ bill in the road, this opinion came to change while I was smoking a joint with Marto at her Hostel. She mentioned the cash happened to be fake but since that carried, along with heroin and crank, the death penalty in Thailand, that info was to be kept on the down low. This fact became especially funny when Mojo took to burning bills in the club, within minutes he had Thai men and women offering him drinks to try and drug him and steal his cash, little did they know he didn’t have any.

I finished the night of by smoking and chatting with Marto out on the balcony, she happened to mention that she too had been to a ping pong show and that when she had gone the girl on stage had a live bird fly out her axe wound (That’s # 9 by the way, I’m a little disappointed I had to resort to “axe wound” but I was out of pleasant sounding names). Marto was a veteran of Bangkok and had spent a few months there getting dental surgery she would not have been able to afford back in Byron.  When she grabbed her dope from her room she mentioned that she kept it behind a poster on her wall. “You don’t fuck around here mate, the cops will come into your room and tear the place up to try and bust you” She wasn’t kidding, Thailand had started playing the world cup in their prisons for all the foreigners who’d been snagged of the streets for what any reasonable country would consider minor offenses. Part of these policies could be attributable to the nation’s huge problem with crank and a poorly paid police force but its more then just that. The city lives in state of police impunity and there’s a constant feeling that every one of the locals is looking to put their hand in your pocket and compared to the rest of the nations on my trip (China, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia) they were by far the best at it.

Everyday on the street there was always a helpful Thai man with a word in you ear about how to avoid being scammed, they would warn you about being drugged on buses by the staff and robbed, having your camera yanked by a monkey only to have it returned upon paying its handler etc… They would tell you these stories right before trying to scam you; it was really an art.  The best way to avoid being scammed when a Thai person tells you something; like its rainy season down south and you should book your trips through an “official government registered organization” since rooms will be hard to come by. Is to start by observing your surroundings, ask yourself why this highly reputable travel agency, recommended by that kind Monk you met, has a sing out front that makes it look like a pawn shop. Math helps, for instance your going to want to break down what the maximum travel expense could be for transportation and subtract them immediately from the total price, then divide the remainder by the days you’ll be staying. This should give you the amount the package deal would charge you for every hotel stay during your trip. When it comes out to 30$ a night for the cheapest rooms available and you’d had a 3USD a night room across the boarder with 2 beds, Wi-Fi, washroom and a fan, common sense should prevail. Subsequently you may want to ask a Thai friend or foreign person whose been living there for a while and you’ll start to see what I’m talking about. The real price by the way for a private bungalow on the beach down south is 7USD and it was not rainy season. Even the temples were in on the trend, you could pay a dollar for these small birds kept in a horrendously undersized cage in order to march them up the temple mount and release them. What they don’t tell you is that the birds fly back.

My second brush with the Popo in the police state of Bangkok came a few nights later. I had been drinking in some bar and had wandered into the nearest Mc Donald’s to use their facilities. I had developed a somewhat bad habit from having lived in Seoul, South Korea for a year which was to smash anything made of glass when I was drunk. This had become common since Korean police are essentially taxi drivers for drunk people and since we could break things and simply scream out “Miguk Saram!!!” roughly translated to, AMERICAN!!!! Seeing as how Americans under the Bush years took to sewing Canadian flags on their bags to not be treated like assholes, this seemed like a fair trade. Maybe not but in any event the Mc Donald’s did not actually have a washroom inside, you had to go out into an alley, pay a security guard a dollar and head down to the basement. On the wall were three long florescent tube light bulbs and I thought I could simply remove one, smash it, finish pissing and head back to the bar. However when I pulled it down the two other lights it was connected to flew of and smashed over my head, Karma no doubt. I made my way upstairs with no real appreciation for the amount of blood pouring out of my forehead and covering my face. The security guard began to push me around and throw in a few whacks with his night stick, I made some week excuse about tripping and hitting the lights with my head but as soon as he let go to grab the cops I took off running.

There are a number of surreal moments that have come and gone in my life; running away from the police with a blood covered face through the streets and alleys of Bangkok was most definitely one of them. I washed up in the washroom of some sketchy bar, covered in concrete and indiscriminate stains, it was truly a fight club moment. I made my way back to my hostel, woke up Laura to brag about what my drunken, dumb ass thought was a daring escape and crashed.

Waking up I had resolved to watch my behaviour for the rest of the short time I would be spending in the city, fuck jail. There was however a familiar problem I had to deal with, I hadn’t smoked weed since leaving Cambodia. I usually took my weed over land border crossings but Thailand being Thailand I was warned against it. The warning turned out to be bullshit and now I was out and bored. There was no asking Tuk Tuk drivers, they’ll sell it to you and just as quickly tip off the cops for pay and when they pick you up, they squeeze you for every penny. When you get snagged in Bangkok, the cops will look for a bribe, the “officials” at the station will look for a bribe, you may find yourself out thousands of dollars and after all that you’ll still end up in front of a judge who may very well be in the wrong mood and give you two years of jail time for a few grams. The general going rate for a fine seems to be 50 000 Bach (1 578$ USD), along with deportation and a ban on entering the country but this is only for the lucky ones. Of course none of this entered into the internal debate in my head, it went more like, weed is good, fuck the cops.

So I met up with Marto and headed out around town. She had bought weed a time or two from Harley Bar off of Kosan and we began wandering alleys in search of it. We essentially covered every inch of ground in the neighborhood with the exception of one alley in particular where Marto had gotten her tattoo done the previous night. She assured me the bar wasn’t down that way… it was.  The process was simple enough we sat down in the alley bar, ordered a few drinks, chatted and waited for the offer. In the meantime the bartender wrapped our wrists with good luck bracelets she had gotten from the temple earlier that day, I still have mine. Soon enough she offered to sell us a few grams and I obliged her. Upon handing it over she quickly cautioned me to put it in my ass crack and Marto was quick to back up the policy. We continued having our drinks until a young couple asked us for directions. “Well I have no idea where the hell that is but why don’t you join us for a drink” was more or less my response.

They sat down and as the conversation went on the small baggie lodged between my ass crack began getting irritating. I eventually had enough and made my way to the washroom where I took the lens of my DSLR camera and shoved the weed inside. To this day this remains the smartest thing I’ve ever done. After finishing our drinks Marto and I took off down the alley and within minutes were waved down by two semi-drunken cops riding with an open case of beer on the back of their scooter. They searched Marto with what appeared to be pretty reasonable means but felt it necessary to check my ball sack, ass crack, pockets, shoes and every inch of my camera bag. Luckily my camera was in hand and despite the nuclear meltdown going on in my head I managed to remain calm on the surface. They told us to walk along and I felt like the winner of the lottery. Marto and I made our way over to Mojo at a nearby rooftop pool, smoked our victory and I got the fuck out of Bangkok within the hour.