The Occidental Tourist

I arrived in Singapore on July 28 – my first trip across the date line, and my first journey to Asia – where I met up with Larissa, who was attending a symposium on electronic arts.

Singapore has a reputation for being a pretty rigid place, where gum chewing is against the law. From my brief visit, it didn’t seem so bad. I only saw one cop in the four days I was there and he wasn’t caning anyone for jaywalking. As I understand it, most of the dictatorial power of the state is applied to discouraging opposition to those in control of the government. This has apparently been quite successful, as the same party has been in charge since 1959.

Although we had done no planning ahead of time, we’d intended to take a vacation while in the region. After considering Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Laos, we settled on Thailand, and flew to the island of Koh Samui on August 1, where we checked into a small, middle-brow resort called The Secret Garden.

I was excited about visiting Asia for the first time, though now that I am here I am less excited about it. Samui, which once consisted of a bunch of fishing villages, is pretty much one big resort where the locals cater to the tourists in standard colonial fashion. Every town is comprised half of resorts, one quarter bars and restaurants, and one quarter tailors who make clothes cheap that bear labels of big designers, like BOSS and Armani. What sort of person would have so little self-esteem to buy an ‘Armani’ suit in Thailand and seriously add it to his closet, I don’t know. If you aren’t rich enough to buy the real thing, it just seems white trashy to try to fake it. Kind of like a labourer putting plaster lions on the fenceposts of his 33 foot lot in East Vancouver. Oh well, to each his own.

I am also disappointed by the amount of garbage on the beaches. I’m not sure it originates directly from tourists, or from poor disposal infrastructure. On the other hand, it seems generally safe here.

I did not bring my laptop on this trip, so I am using Larissa’s MacBook, which I am finding a challenge. Linux has spoiled me. I cannot even figure out how to resize an image or start an FTP client, so there will be no photos uploaded until after I get home.

On Monday, we’ll be flying to Bangkok for one night (where the world’s our oyster), and then returning to Singapore for another night. From there, Larissa will head for Toronto, via Vancouver, and I’m off to Korea, to visit my cousin Jennie for a couple of days in Seoul. Back to YVR on the 16th, the Aeroplan gods willing.