Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Super Awkward Superheros

Sitting at work on Friday, I was feeling more than ready for the weekend. I had had an insanely busy week, with several late nights at the office doing mundane but necessary work for an upcoming project (I’m talking about twelve straight hours of formatting CVs and that sort of jazz), complete with two nights in a row in extreme insomnia. I was excited, however, for the few upcoming, fun-filled days I had planned. That evening I was going to see date night with my boyfriend, Robo, and three girls I had met briefly during Songkran in Chiang-Mai, and Saturday night we were all going to attend one of my friend’s superhero/villain dress-up birthday party. Due to the craziness that is Bangkok right now, with all the political unrest and red-shirt protests, a bomb had exploded the night before at a popular skytrain stop in a scuffle between pro- and anti-government protestors, causing all public transport to close down by 6pm Friday evening- a very unfortunate event, the only plus side of which allowed me to skip out of work 40 minutes early so I could make it home before my means of doing so shut. I met up with my girlfriends on the way back to my house, jetting home to take a quick shower and change before heading out to see “Date Night” with Steve Carrell and Tina Fey. One of the things I love about Thailand is that, while their movie cinemas are equally as nice if not more so than those in America, the staff could care less what you bring into them. Normally I have to hide the gummy bears and Pringles I brought from Walgreens at the bottom on my purse so I can sneak my cheaper version of movie treats into the film with me – not the case here. I ran to the salad bar at the food court while Robo hit up the burger joint, and we both strolled into the movie openly carrying our non-theater bought goods without someone giving us a second glance. The movie, while not as funny as I had hoped with two such hilarious leads, was very entertaining and funny, and I felt relaxed and ready to take on the weekend full force after it ended.

Since it wasn’t even 9:30 by the time the movie got out, we decided to head to a local joint called “Cheap Charlie’s”. Featured in literally every travel guide about Bangkok or Thailand, Cheap Charlie’s lives up to its name and is probably my favorite watering hole in town. The entire bar is outside, wrapping around the corner of some other building and covered with the most random paraphernalia you could imagine, ranging from a fake boob to a boomerang, with a few tables set up, and a white chain indicating where you are allowed to stand on the sidewalk and drink. Almost every single drink is 70 baht, or two dollars, and the bar tenders are not shy about pouring you an overflowing shot of alcohol. Although we headed to Cheap Charlie’s for just a drink or two, we ended up staying till close (midnight) and getting relatively smashed. As last call was announced, two large Swedish girls approached us and in an incredibly strong, slightly slurred accent, asked if we wanted to go dancing with them. What the hell, why not, so we got up from our table and hopped in a cab with our new Scandinavian friends. Arriving at a place called Titanium, a bar relatively close to my house, we went inside to listen to the live band, where I rocked out to Lady Gaga like a moron, getting way too excited for the live version of Pokerface, and watching the giant Swedish girls get jiggy with the Thai bar girls, whom they dwarfed in both height and width, and trying to unsuccessfully hit on expat men whose eyes were glued on the locals. Feeling sufficiently drunk and danced out, we headed home about 1am to drop into a very nice, non-insomniac sleep.

The next morning, I was definitely feeling a bit seedy, but not as bad as I expected to feel after our unexpected big night. I called the girls to see how they pulled up, and everyone was in the same boat- definitely felt as though we’d been out, but we were ready to spend the day preparing for that evening’s costume party. We had decided to make our costumes, as I am a bit of a costume party connoisseur, meaning I wish every single day was a costume party, and I try my hardest to make this a reality. In London, we got pretty darn close, dressing up almost every weekend just to go out to the local pub and dance. I’m talking full on angel, devil, cop, and unidentifiable party regalia for completely non-themed nights out on the town. For this particular costume party, I had decided to be Wonder Woman. Almost peeing my pants with excitement for my first Bangkok fancy-dress experience, we hit up a local fabric store and loaded up on cheap, bright fabrics, elastic, and hemming tape. The hemming tape was key, as we didn’t actually have a sewing machine, we had decided just to stick everything together with this magical stuff, that when ironed, will adhere two pieces of fabric together. Not very well, however, as I was to find out.

Back at my house, I spread my fabric out on my floor, ready to put my craftiness to the test and create a masterful costume design, equipped with only an internet picture, some cheap lining fabric, hemming tape, incredibly dull scissors and my own initiative. The funniest part is that I actually expected to be able to pull together a professional looking costume, which might not last long due to the lack of using any thread at all, but which I could simply reinforce with a sewing machine later and wear time and time again. In hindsight, I was a complete moron. The very first problem I encountered was that the scissors, in fact, did not want to cut any of the fabrics I had. Any attempt to do so ended up taking an extraordinarily long time, as only the very inside of the scissors was sharp enough to make the smallest cut, and the edges turned out incredibly ragged and worst than something a four year old could do. At first, the hemming tape seemed to work great, as I was using it to create a tunnel to run my elastic through to make my skirt. The problem there was that my Wonder Woman skirt, once complete, was looking less than wonderful. The fabric I had bought was cheap lining fabric, a decision I based on the fact that it was only 34 baht a meter, and the results definitely reflected my stinginess. I sort of looked like I was wearing a blue diaper, the fabric not at all falling in the graceful manner I had anticipated. Oh well, I decided to return to the skirt later, and make my top first. This turned into an even bigger disaster. Somehow my measuring skills were way off, because the first red “tube top” I made could have fit a Barbie doll, but not a human being, and certainly not me. Shit, ok, well I had already cut my fabric so I was just going to have to have the less than perfect version and add another piece into the back. Back to the iron with the hemming tape, I pulled apart my original tube top and added in another section of fabric to the back. When I went to try it on, somehow I had gone from doll-size to a muumuu. Frustrated, I pulled my red tube top off, just to find the hemming tape was already beginning to un-stick. By this point, it was hours later, and my costume was definitely NOT coming together, and I was starting to be an outright bitch to anyone who talked to me. I had promised Robo I would cut out his bat symbol to tack to a black shirt, but when he brought it up I nearly started crying, so the result was he decided to do this himself. Let’s just say while the bat symbol was somewhat recognizable (again, trying to cut cloth with dull scissors didn’t end up so well), it was sewn on to the shirt so crooked you almost had to look at it sideways. I tried to calm down by cutting out my head band and belt from this really cool gold fabric I bought, just to find that even the slightest pull pretty much pulled the fabric apart, causing weird looking lines to run through everything, to say nothing of the fact that the scissors seemed to work even worst on this fabric. Freaking out because I wasn’t going to have a costume for the party, I rummaged through my closet to see if I had any saving graces. Turns out I forgot about my blue American Apparel dress, which I decided I was just going to wear as a skit. I also pulled out my tried and true black Primark corset, which I bought on a whim and seems to literally come into handy for every single costume party, and decided to just tuck and pin the red fabric around this. By this time it had been over four hours, and it was time to meet up with the girls from last night again to go out to dinner.

We decided to go to our local Mexican restaurant, where the food is delicious and the service is absolutely the most atrocious thing imaginable. Not that the servers aren’t friendly, but I seriously think they must have some sort of amnesia or other mental defect. While our waiter took our order, and we watched as we pointed out what we wanted on the menu and he wrote it down, even asking the girl behind the bar to help him understand if we asked for something he couldn’t understand (like extra tortillas for me and Robo’s fajitas), the results were shocking. Despite the fact that Mexican food is normally the quickest food in the world to make, and we watched as every table around us was served, it took almost an hour for us to get our food. And this restaurant is tiny, so it isn’t that the chef is just very busy. What goes on in the kitchen is a mystery. While waiting, we literally asked for chips at least 10 times. Pointing to the chip bowl and going “Can we please have some more chips?” and the waiter going “More chips?” and us replying “Yes” every single time, nothing would happen. Surprisingly, once our meals came, they were actually the correct order, which is sort of an achievement in and of itself at this place, as I’ve gotten completely different dishes from what I asked for in the past. However, as always, the dishes were not all delivered together, as you would expect in a restaurant so that everyone can begin their mains at once, but spaced apart by almost by fifteen minutes. While Robo and I got our fajitas first, there were only two super small tortillas, for a giant plate of veggies and chicken. Despite watching our waiter write down our order for extra tortillas, and then asking him three times, the tortillas didn’t arrive for another half hour. I’m not sure why, since all they had to do was pull them out of the tortilla bag and put them on a place. My friend Holly had ordered rice and beans, which hadn’t arrived by the end of our meal despite her very polite request for them every ten minutes or so. Finally, we decided to skip the rice and beans and just get the check, which was a mission all in itself. It took about 20 minutes to receive, perhaps because only one person in the entire restaurant actually speaks English and she has to re-write almost every check they give out in English instead of Thai. Once we had it, we began to look over it, and realized some of the items were things we hadn’t ordered, and others were missing. I went to speak with the bartender/English speaker, and she fixed the incorrect items. Around this time, Holly’s rice and beans came as well, and even though we had canceled the order and they weren’t on the check, we figured she deserved them after waiting for nearly two hours to get them. To pay, we each added up our individual meals, and put in exact cash. Which kept coming up over 200 baht over the tab. Deciding NOT to try and fix this problem, as it worked out in our benefit and the experience had been one of the worst ever (despite the delicious food), we decided just to put it towards our bottle of Sam Sung, or Thai whiskey (or rum, not really sure) which is insanely cheap and palatable.

Back at the house with our bottle of Sam Sung, we spent the next hour getting ready for our party and drinking. It was already really late at this point, but we figured as I only knew the birthday boy and possibly one other person, and the girls and Robo didn’t know anyone, we would arrive fashionably late. At midnight, we hopped in a cab to head to the party. What we expected was a large group of people in costume (the online event had about 30 people registered as yes) socializing, drinking and dancing. What we walked into was a private upstairs party of about twelve people sitting around singing karaoke. As we walked in, the entire room went silent, looked up at us, stared as I gave James the most awkward hug ever, and then turned back to their karaoke without another glance. You could literally feel the awkwardness steaming off of us. There was no way we could even pull the excuse that we were just dropping in to say hi and wish James a happy birthday- we were 100% dressed up in super hero gear. Practically RUNNING downstairs to get a drink, the five of us gathered at the bar and just started laughing. Four unknowns and me, someone who sort of knew the birthday boy as an acquaintance, had shown up to a very imitate party dressed up in full costume. Oh well, we decided to drink as much as we could for the next hour and get the hell out of there. As we made our way back upstairs and awkwardly stood in the back of the group, a few girls came over to chat, but all in all, the next hour could not have gone faster, or been more awkward. At 1:30, we high tailed it out of there, more than ready to call it a night.