We went to Asiatique on the waterfront of Bangkok’s Chao Praya river. As many times as I’ve been to Bangkok, I rarely see the river. I’ve been on a boat twice. I’ve never taken a water taxi. I’m just not used to rivers and canals being a legit form of transportation, being born and raised in Toronto.
Asiatique was built just a few years ago. I think it used to be a fisherman’s landing; the bones and structure of the main warehouse is still there. It’s mainly a tourist enclave, a gleaming, sparkling marketplace with stalls selling clothes, accessories, massages, bubble tea, ice cream. No street food – weird because that’s where local and tourist interests align.
There’s a ferris wheel and go-karts and a boardwalk where cruise ships drop off Chinese mainlanders who travel in huge groups wearing fanny packs and carrying selfie sticks (I have nothing against selfie sticks, but what’s the point when you’re traveling with others?).
So it’s touristy, but it’s great fun. It reminds me of that amusement park in Karate Kid, the one with the water park and go-karts and carnival games. That scene has bored itself into my memory and stayed there. I would kill to live that scene, when Daniel tries to apologize to Ally but she’s not having any of it and shoots him with that video game gun and then her snarky friend snarks him. That became my ideal date place and probably the reason why I love bring dates to places like CNE and Asiatique.
Right, so I’ve brought maybe 4 girls to Asiatique, beginning with a girl I traveled to Bangkok with a few years ago. As me and Good Girl Local Girl were walking down an aisle towards the restaurant area, I asked her, “When did we first meet here, again?” She looked at me shocked and said we never met there. “Are you sure? I’m sure we did.”
“Ma ti ni gub kai?” Come here with who? Or, Who the fuck did you come here with?
“I don’t know,” I replied, naturally and cool. “I thought it was you. Oh well.”
“Ma ti ni gub kai?”
“Mai roo. Ma ti ni mak mak.” I don’t know. I’ve come here many times. “Bangkrang poo-un, bangkrang pooyeeng, bangkrang poochai…” Sometimes with friends, sometimes girl, sometimes boy…
“Ma ti ni gub kai?!”
This went on all night, her asking me who I came here with, smiling but not really smiling. Bad move. Every time she asked – joking or not – I would feel my independence slipping away. I would feel the noose around my neck tighten. I would give her a look and spite her and think, “I didn’t ask for this. We never agreed to this. You are not allowed to do this.”
We sat at a fancy-ish Italian restaurant. She ordered a Bolognese thin crust pizza and I had the squid ink seafood linguine. A baked spinach and cheese dip appetizer, though it didn’t come with bread or crackers so we just ate it with our forks.
She ordered water and it was Chang. She asked if they had another brand. She’s very particular about which bottled water she drinks, since she works in the industry. She swears she can taste the difference between brands since they use different methods to filtering and purification. Singha was the worst, she claimed, while her company was the best (they white-label water for the big supermarket chains).
The other day, she was feeling the thickness of a plastic water bottle because her company wanted to switch to a thinner, lighter material in order to decrease shipping costs. I love this shit.
She didn’t want to ride the ferris wheel, but she wanted to ride the 5-minute “4D” ride, where you sit in a theater and the chairs move and shake according to the scene on the screen, which was some mining cart thing like in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. More fun that I expected, with sprays of actual water and smoke emanating from the floors. Afterwards, she had to sit down to gain her composure.
“Keed tung.” We were at my condo now, on my couch.
“That means ‘I miss you’ right? How can you miss me, I’m right here.”
“It means I missed you.”
“Then how do you say, “I miss you,” like, right now?”
“Then how do you say, “I’ll miss you,’ like, tomorrow?”
“Thai is stupid.”