Coffee and Book

“Deprive a man of his life-lie and you rob him of his happiness”. (‘Wild Duck’ by Henrik Ibsen, 1828 — 1906)

Another cup of coffee in Bangkok. The truth is, I hate the pictures I take on a daily basis, and therefore I do not consider them worthy in any way. They were to become a documentation only… a lousy one too.

So yeah, I was born to become the worst photographer.

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Coffee diary. Day 2

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The very beginning of the coffee diary

Despite having faces&words, which has been a burden since my attitude towards people changed, I decided to share my coffee diary pictures for a while. Not that I have a particular reason or goal, but that’s what I love the most at the moment: coffee, books and stumbling through WordPress blogs. Combine all — that’s how I got my coffee diary idea.

9th of March
McDonald’s latte, and Last Exit to Brooklyn by Hubert Selby, Jr.

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The very beginning of the coffee diary

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Bike

How your day gets ruined

Okay, so before I start I have to confess: I wasn’t going to write this post. I wasn’t going to share a story of my shitty day with WordPress community, either. But then accidentally I realized that somebody else might have experienced something similar, so I decided to give it a try. It’s a story of coffee and the greatest expectations colliding with sad reality. Or maybe it’s just a regular complaint about my life. 

Today was a regular Sunday in Bangkok. I woke up late, watched a short film, fixed a light breakfast. Sounds perfect so far, doesn’t it? Then, at about 3 pm, I took my bike downstairs and hit the road, planning to spend the rest of the day in my new all-time-favorite coffee shop Bike Cafe. It didn’t take me long to notice the sign: “Sunday: 8:30 – 4:30” on the door. Four-fcking-thirty! On Sunday! Weekend! Well, without showing anger churning inside my stomach, I unlocked my bike and took a long ride to Li-bra-ry cafe, making my way through the Sunday traffic.

Li-bra-ry cafe is a seemingly nice place in Bangkok, Japanese-style coffee shop, packed with book shelves and local hipsters. And that’s where my day was totally ruined. To start with, I love coffee with hot milk separately. It’s just nice to add milk yourself, without asking waiter or barista. Well, not today. Not in Li-bra-ry cafe, where you have to pay extra for heating up the milk. Isn’t that ridiculous? Never mind, I got over it, found small table and was about to finish Karamazov Brothers by F.M. Dostoyevsky but…something was bothering me.

– Can I ask you for a glass of water, please, I asked.

– Only bottled water, was the reply.

That was a last drop for me. I almost rushed out, making my way through oblivious crowd . I’d opened the door a second before the idea about writing a ruining-my-day post occurred to me. And so I did. Even though my day was ruined and supposedly enjoyable time in the coffee shop was spoiled, I feel some kind of relief after writing and sharing this post with the whole world of coffee lovers and (maybe) coffee shop victims like me.

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Life

Line of Sight. A Bike Messenger Story

I ride my bike every day. It was fun to be in the traffic for the first time, but then it started to annoy me. Traffic is every major city’s pain in the ass. Here, in Bangkok the streets are always full of crazy (but friendly) taxi drivers, scooters and tuk-tuks, so you have to really pay attention to where you go. Of course, it’s like that everywhere and, I am sure, you know how it feels to be almost squeezed or – it’s even worse – cut on the road.

Few days ago I was coming back home and almost broke a mirror of a cute pink girl car (double parked on the main street, nobody inside), making my way through the massive jam. Yesterday I came across this documentary about New York messengers. Surprisingly for me, none of them ever paid any attention to the mess and confusion they make on the street. They hit one or two pedestrians, too. I mean… it’s a good movie for independent (and YET unknown) director, but don’t you think cyclist should care about traffic a little bit more? The movie link below:

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Life

Bangkok, The City of Life

Before writing the post I tried to collect all notes and memories from the last 2 months in Bangkok, Thailand. My first exhausting day here. First padthai (Thai fried noodles). First ride on the river boat in Bangkok. First longboard ride.  Even though my life hasn’t changed that much, everything is so completely different and new here that it feels like everything is happening for the first time. I never thought I would trade my favorite club sandwiches for extremely spicy spring rolls and fried rice. But I did.

When I saw the city traffic for the first time, I though I would never be able to cross the road. Apparently, 3 weeks after I found myself on the longboard, crossing six-lane road, tacking between thousands of cars, scooters and tuk-tuks (Thai 3-wheel taxi). Surprisingly, none of the drivers were angry at me for slowing down the traffic, some of them even tried to give me a high-five and say few words of appreciation.

It is also fun to see how different the life is. Big shopping centers and skyscrapers leaning over slums and crowded China town neighborhoods. But nobody minds. White-collars buy food from the street. Beggars sit near the entrance of the newest shopping centers.

And it happens every day. Smiles from the strangers on the street. Random high-fives. I have stayed here for 2 months already, and for the first time in my life the city actually welcomes me. I had been living in bitchy Moscow for two years before I realized that I do not belong here. It took me less than a month to fall in love with Bangkok (and Thailand altogether). Bangkok is not only a heart of Asia, it is also a part of my own heart.

Next time I will tell about things to do and see in Bangkok. In the spare time you can check my impressions of Cuba, Colombia and Israel.

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The Adventures Continue: Lao PDR

After staying in the city of Bangkok for about a month I, once again, had to hit the road. Luckily for me, just for a few days. I truly believe, that modern world has lots and lots of positive sides, but one really big drawback is impenetrable bureaucracy. Traveling nowadays is not like traveling 20 years ago (I can only imagine it though), so, I can assure you that you will spend a good deal of time in the embassies, consulates, etc. You know how it feels, right? Waking up at 6 am, getting your 3-digit queue number, spending the rest of the day just on snacks and Red Bull. This is the real spirit of traveling, not fancy “no limits” pictures. Like yeah, there are no limits once you have had all your paperwork done.

downloadThey say “Buy the ticket, take the ride”, you add “And check whether  you need visa or not”. Oh well, it’s a wild world. Anyway, I am not going to criticize the current situation for it works perfectly for me. I’ve just got my Thai student visa and so I have nothing to worry about for the next few months. The application process, although, is pretty rough: first, you’re most likely to be annoyed  by locals offering you help within first 5 minutes. And, believe me, they don’t care that you can fill the application yourself, they just want your bloody touristy money.

Here, in Laos, people are not that rich, or should I say “not rich at all”? Surprisingly for me, I haven’t seen any beggars on the streets yet, only kids approach you and ask for change from time to time. But the capital (Vientiane) itself looks pretty poor: old roads, rusty tuk-tuks (3-wheel taxis), small tents with food and drinks. Street food (comparing to Thailand) is not cheap at all, so I had to double my daily budget. One great thing about Laos are cheap bicycle rentals where you can get a city bike for just 1$ a day. Hard to believe, huh? Of course, bikes are old and rusty, but c’mon, it is just once buck!

I hate judging and rating something and I won’t. But my advice to all future Vientiane travelers is to stay no more than 2-3 days here for you will be just bored. Now, I find myself eating ice cream all day long (shipped from Thailand), drinking ice green tea with lemon and honey (from Thailand as well) and watching movies, And yes, finally I’ve found a time to pick a WordPress theme I like. I am leaving for Bangkok on Friday and by then I will treat you with a cute Bangkok adoration post.

LGBT backpack

Patouxai Monument

Patouxai Monument

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