About last weekend...

My apologies for the delay in this update (and the exhausting length). It’s a tough task to live through these adventures AND write them down. It’s a wonder I can even remember them!
The weekend (and my babysitting duties) started on Wednesday again last week for my roommates Gib and Leif. They started around midnight at Harden’s new apartment by drinking tallboys of “Strong Zero” (a dangerous, 8% alcohol beverage that tastes exactly like Fresca) and smoking a Marijuana-alternative called ‘Spice’. Spice is essentially a natural’ oregano-like plant combined with synthetic cannaboids that is sold as an incense-product in head shops. It’s similar to the now-popular ‘Bath Salts’, except Spice doesn’t usually inspire zombie-like side effects like the desire to eat flesh. Spice’s side effects are moderate by comparison and include rapid heart rate, agitation, confusion, vomiting, myocardial ischemia, raised blood pressure, heart attack...

...and in this particular case; Kleptomania. I woke up on Thursday morning to find an army of traffic cones occupying our living room floor. In the model van my roommates explained that the glow of the cones was impossible to resist and that they don’t even remember bringing them home. 

Harden smacked Leif “You guys can be so immature. I feel like I’m hanging out with children.” He immediately changed the topic by showing us pictures of a Polish girl he’d picked up at Jumanji that night. 

I ordered them to get rid of the cones as everyone except Eric-the-Brit and I got out of the van after the last casting. “That’s right, little ones,” Eric said “the old men have to go to their casting now. Try not to get too wasted tonight and pull any more immature stunts.” He slid the door shut.
“Eric, you’re 36. I’m 23. Can you please not include me in the old man group yet”
He patted my back, “You’re more than five years older than those little shits. We are in a very different league when it comes to maturity... by the way the stylist from my GQ Magazine shoot last night invited me to a party. Liam Gallagher [the lead singer from the band Oasis] is doing this big event for his store opening in Ginza if you want to come after this casting.”
We picked up a couple Strong Zero’s after our driver dropped us off in Ginza (castings usually end around 9pm). It was almost an hour (and 6 Strong Zero tallboys) later when his GQ friend showed up and got us into the party. Eric was already as drunk as last weekend (I had to drag him home from Roppongi) when Liam Gallagher finally showed up. Eric barreled over to him and explained how they shot GQ together, how much he’s loved growing up with Liam’s music, how he’s not gay but he’d totally suck his cock, etc... When it came time to go, Eric pulled me over and asked Liam for a picture but was turned down. Eric put his arm around the man little dressed like the fifth Beatle and said a few things in ‘English-English’. I was able to make out the words “Prat”, “Right cunt” and “Have a go” Liam finally acquiesced. 
After the photo his bouncers pried Eric from the rock star who immediately fled the party. We got in a taxi at about midnight. “ROPPONGI! JUMANJI! PUNANI!” Eric yelled at the driver. I convinced our annoyed driver to take us home instead. 
We went to Eric's apartment, directly below mine. His Aussy roommate was sitting in bed wearing a Batman towel that doubled as a hoodie-shirt. 
It was during this picture when a traffic cone fell from the sky onto their balcony. The Aussy was about to kick Leif’s ass at this point, but I told him I’d take care of it and told him to go out and have another drink with Eric.
Friday morning began with a police officer knocking at the door. A little woman standing with him informed me that she was my next door neighbor and showed a picture of some traffic cones on her balcony. I acted surprised, asked her to wait a moment, went into the living room and smacked the sleeping Leif on the couch. “Morning. You have a visitor.” He dealt with the situation like any normal 17-year-old would; by lying. He was rattled for the rest of the day and didn’t say anything in the van all afternoon. 
Eric was silent as well. On the way to pick up the other guys, his Aussy roommate told us about their adventure to the park nearby where they encountered a couple of local girls in manga costumes playing with fireworks. Things went smoothly for a few minutes until Eric started singing to one of them. Then he got physically aggressive and started saying “Give us a kiss, darling” over and over again. He took Eric home after he called the girl a ‘right cunt’ for not speaking English. 
Harden crawled into the van looking like strung out shit. He hadn’t slept all night, but he did have some new pictures of the Russian twins (one of which was the ugly girl Leif had over last week) who were waiting for him in his bed. 
Both of my roommates were fast asleep within five minutes of getting home. They woke up around Midnight and we all went out to Jumanji. They were moderate that night, since they had a job starting at 4am Saturday morning. It was Eric’s Aussy-roommate’s turn to make an ass out of himself. Around 5 AM he shuttled between hitting on a pair of Slavic girls outside and sitting on the curb counting imaginary change. He didn’t get out of his Batman towel the for the entirety of the next day, even when we went for lunch at the fancy cafĂ© down the street. He fell asleep at the table and vowed to stop drinking and eat better.
I got back after lunch and found my roommates finally at home, getting ready for bed. They made their usual vow to never drink and again. There was a famous fireworks festival across town that evening, but only one guy from the agency (the ginger, ugh) was feeling well enough to go. There were no drinks and we were home by midnight, but we managed to make some new friends. 
Can you spot the Ladyboys?
At one point a man in a kimono held out his fan and challenged me to a fight. I warned him in Japanese that I was a ninja, but he didn’t listen. He ended up in on his ass in a bush and I almost ended up arrested. Things turned out fine though and we hugged it out.
I apologized for waking my roommates when I got home, but they said it was okay because it was time for them to go out. Leif and Gib told me about their job that morning as they got ready. They were outside in Shibuya at 4AM looking for the place when a pretty girl came up to them. Assuming she was a model, Leif asked if she was there for the “Job”
The girl nodded excitedly and repeated “Job! Yes! Job! Job!” and took them up five flights of stairs to a dingy room lit with red lights and handed them a menu featuring various types of “Jobs”. Somehow they managed to get out of their and to work without getting jumped by any pimps. 
My roommates tried to coerce me to Jumanji but I refused to go back to that breeder nightmare. Despite being worn out, my internal clock was heading towards nocturnal and it was 4am before I found sleep. Around 7am my roommates brought the party home. For three hours they serenaded a couple of model girls with country music in the living room (separated by a rice-paper-thin sliding wall). By 10 it was apparent they weren’t going to get laid so I kicked everyone out. I woke up at 1pm and the place looked like a frat house. 
I went to Akihabara (‘the electronic city’) that afternoon. Everyone except Harden was too hung over to join me, but Harden had disappeared to Disney for the weekend with the local sugar daddy Wabi.  I was currently regretting my earlier decision to not associate with those types anymore. The electronic city looked like the 1980’s picture of the future, already in decay. The most state-of-the-art robots to be found in any stores were of the Rock ‘em Sock ‘em variety (“at least they’re wireless”). Most of the area was tourist shops, maid cafes, computer stores, Hentai (anime porn) dungeons, Sega arcades and pachinko towers (thinks slots, but with little mettle balls and noise like you’re standing under Niagara Falls)
Akihabara was still a nerd paradise, despite the outdated electronics. Maids and manga girls roamed the street and almost outnumbered the dorky dudes cruising the innumerable Hentai stores. My Japanese friend Chigusa joined me in the evening and we hung out in a few of the millions of multi-story Sega arcades shooting Zombies and fighting Dragon Ball characters. 

On Monday morning the gang in the van looked weathered. Everyone except Harden and I were still hung over. It was the best Harden had ever looked, despite the cheesy Mickey Mouse shirt. He distracted the crew from their misery by showcasing a new photo album who’s subject was the 16-year-old girl he had taken home from Disney Land. 
“My god...” Eric dramatically removed his aviators, “She looks like my daughter!”

“I know! It’s great, right?! Dees kids love Disney.” Harden beamed. We all laughed, but then there was an awkward silence. 
Leif asked if anyone would be going out that night. The Aussy threw an empty bag of almonds at his head. 


You know you’re in Tokyo when...

-the poor people are all white 
-this is $50: (not kidding)
-you see the Statue of Liberty AND the Eiffel tower from the same viewpoint
-weights at the gym only go up to 30 pounds
-90% of the locals have dyed their hair into any spectrum of unnatural colors
-corn costs $5/ear
-they have temples dedicated to Pokemon
-participating in karaoke is not optional
-you dress like this and nobody even bats an eye
-you can get a sushi at 7-11
-you can get sushi in vending machines... and also red bull, beer, cigarettes, bowls of noodles, crepes, shoes, porn and even used lady’s undies!
-you can never find shoes in your size... or height
-male models aren’t allowed in any of the nicer clubs (for good reason) 
-cantaloupe costs $90
-you say “kinichiwa” to local women (adolescent girls excluded) and they run away as if you’re Godzilla
-the only way you can tell if you’re in a poor neighborhood is that the toilet doesn’t wipe your butt for you
-they fine you for talking on the subway
-saying “Yakuza” is kind of like saying “Voldemort”
-tattoos are banned in spas or hot springs (great job, Voldemort), yet 70’s style bushes are completely acceptable 
-model rates are so high that you can’t go for a walk without being recruited by a local to do an ‘under the table’ shoot
-blackface is still funny
-it’s completely normal to eat sushi off of other humans
-chicken is fair game as sushi 
-watermelons cost $200, but at least they’re square
-the models wear designer clothing that’s NOT knock-off
-used jeans cost $1300
-you search for over a week and still can’t find any homeless people (drunk locals passed out on the street don't count)
-you have a hard time telling if it’s an earthquake or you just have gas
-one of these girls is your waitress
-beer at the 7-11 costs as much as water
-the sun comes up at 4am
-seeing the sunrise is a regular thing
-any morning (afternoon) after going out feels like this: 


It must be the radiation...

Leaving Bangkok last Monday was tough. I missed Sergio, Marissa and the Kyleys already and I hadn’t even taken off yet. It had been twelve hours and I already missed getting $6 massageys... I even missed my Russians! Sure, they weren’t the Canadian adventure-crew I’d hoped for, but they turned out to be a lot of fun and making a true connection with them wasn’t as hard as originally anticipated. 

At 11pm the plane touched down in Tokyo and was greeted by a public toilet with a heated seat that even offered to wipe my butt for me! By 1am I was at the door of my new apartment in a fancy-looking neighborhood near Shibuya, Tokyo’s Time’s Square. I buzzed the apartment and a guys voice answered in perfect English, “Oh, you’re the new guy, ehh? NEW GUY!!!” 
A young, Canadian version of Neil Patrick Harris opened the door for me. His name was Gib. A white Jamaican guy stood up from the 'sushi' he was rolling on the couch, slapped my hand and introduced himself as Harden (he asked me to use his porn name, "Harden Rough"). Both spoke perfect English, so I was confident that sharing a one-bedroom apartment with these guys (at a cost of almost $2,000 each!) wouldn’t be so bad. 
That week we had between five and eight castings per day... that’s more castings in one week than my entire time in Bangkok (complete with 5X higher rates)! Harden had done campaigns for Emporio Armani, Gucci and Prada in the last year so had a much higher guarantee for his trip. They moved him into his own apartment nearby on Thursday. It was definitely a good move, since it seemed obvious that his primary mission in Tokyo was to find and fuck as many “Manga Girls” as possible. A very quiet and shy 17-year-old Canadian named Leif took Harden’s place. 
A few of the guys went out on Wednesday to a dive bar called Jumanji: the only bar in Tokyo that still gives free drinks to male models. I opted to be a dork and go for a run instead. On Thursday the Bravo Models van smelled like stale cigarettes and cheap liquor. All of the guys were making fun of Leif for making out with an ugly Russian girl at the bar. Gib became the van-hero for having a three-and-a-half-some (the third girl just watched) while in the Jumanji bathroom. Harden had christened his new apartment by inviting a stranger from Facebook over. She said that she loved his look and wanted to draw him. Harden's home-made sex video on Thursday proved her intentions to be much friskier. She still drew him, nonetheless. 
It looked like the three-day weekend was getting off to a good start. My friend from Bangkok introduced me to Tokyo’s most famous modelizer, Wabi (short for Wabisabi). He brought the guys and I (and about 20 other models) to a dinner on Friday at a place called Conpache; the restaurant that inspired the Lucy Lu scene from Kill Bill. The crew gorged on sake, sashimi (DON’T try the sea urchin...) and kobe until it was time to head to the bars in Roppongi. I had a shoot for a magazine in the morning, so stumbled home after the dinner. 
The magazine on Saturday was called “Athlete Safari” and was Japan’s source for outdoor style. The makeup artist had me in his chair for over an hour and used an air-brush to apply the signature “outdoor orange” look that their magazine is famous for... 

The shoot was only two hours and paid almost $1,000! For an editorial!! I met up with Harden and an Australian agency-mate named Nicklas in a neighborhood called Ginza (the Fifth avenue of Tokyo, complete with Abercrombie-smell!). We decided our Japanese exploration wouldn’t be complete without having lunch at the local Hooters. We got the gang together and went out to Jumanji that night. I played wing-man for my roommates Cameron and Leif, who were planning on going straight to their job on Sunday from the club. I left the club around sunrise with Eric, our vetran 36-year-old Brit who proved to be the least mature of the bunch. Between the time we left the club and got a taxi, Eric managed to grope four Japanese girls, sing loudly to a dozen more and almost get into a fight with some of the black dudes who congregate in Roppongi to promote the strip clubs. 
On Sunday Nicklas and I met up with Wabi again. He’d gotten a suite at the Ritz for the weekend, claiming he’d gotten too paranoid to have parties at his own house down the street. He offered to book massages for Nick and I, but then found out they didn’t have availability that day. We went to the hotel gym and then out to dinner with some more models. Nicklas and I agreed that we wouldn’t go out clubbing that night, but by the time we got out of dinner the sun was coming up again. 
I got home to find my apartment trashed. A fat, naked Russian girl was clinging desperately to Leif who was curled up at the far-end of his bed next to mine. He woke up at nine, despite waking up at noon every day so far. “Get up, babe. I have a job to get to” She didn’t budge. My shy, quiet friend looked like he hadn’t had a decent sleep in a few days now. “You gotta get up, I need to go!” He smacked her foot and she sat upright.
“Alright, I’m up. Do you know where my bra is?”
“What? You speak English all of of a sudden? Get the fuck out!!” He chased the Russian  out of the apartment and then collapsed again on his bed.
The rest of Monday was rough. I had three days’ worth of hangover to work off. Yoshi invited Nicklas and I over to the Ritz again and booked us massages. The facilities were amazing (at $60/workout it better be!) but the staff insisted that tattoos were not allowed in the spa and must be covered up. Max was not pleased... 

Despite the inconvenience to the little friend in my pants, the workout, steam and massage did the trick! The first weekend in Tokyo had a happy ending after all! 



A Vicious Guide to Thailand

On the 12-hour flight to Tokyo, I decided it would behoove potential visitors of Thailand to have a little bit of knowledge about the country before their visit. Here goes:

Population: 60 Million
Average minimum wage: $12/day
Languages: Thai, Chinese (in most corporate board-rooms), Pigeon-English
Religion: Buddhism, and that one with the crazy looking elephant
National Bird: the Queen 
National Flower: Opium Poppy
National Emblem: An elephant chained to a post, wearing a funny hat
National Song: Hotel California (or anything by Lady Gaga)
National Animal: the stray dog
Notable Exports: hard drives, rice, ladyboys, hung-over Europeans, STD’s and illegal tiger parts (those Koreans just can’t get enough of those tiger testis!*)
Slogan: “Sabai, Sabai” (Translation: Hakunnah Matatta)
National Sport: Massagey
*Not kidding! It costs 100x more than their regular delicacy, dog-meat.

10 Must-Do activities in Thailand

  1. Use whitening cream (found at any 7-11) to write something on your friend’s back while they’re asleep. 
  2. Make up words and pass them off as English to the locals (Ex: queeg, mung, purple nurple, tittyfuckeroney)
  3. When in Southeast Asia, do as the LadyBoys do. Make sure to do it well, though. You’ve got some pretty fierce competition. 
  4. See how much money you can get for yourself at Soi Cowboy
  5. Pay your motorcycle taxi drivers to race each other to the liquor store, chug a fifth of Thai whiskey and then race back. 
  6. Pay a pair of those begging children to fight each other... to the death. Give them durian-fruit as weapons.
  7. Visit a Northern hill-tribe and convert them to a made up religion (“Church of the Platypus”?)... or just turn them Mormon, they would look adorable in those little uniforms.
  8. Get a two-hour oil massage at a fancy spa, then demand a refund because you didn’t get a happy ending
  9. Yell “The King of Siam is a turd-burglar!” in a police station and see what happens
  10. Play the ever popular guessing game “Boy or Girl?” and then find out. Go ahead, it’s not rude to ask outright. But then again it’s not as fun. 
  11. Make a top-ten list that goes to eleven.

Word to the wise:
  1. Offer 30% of the initial price, pinch the salesperson on the butt and smile. Eventually they’ll agree to at least half of the asking price.
  2. Jeans: ‘Loose Fit’ means ‘Skinny”, ‘Regular’ means “Hipster”, ‘Skinny’ means “May cause infertility” and ‘Super Skinny’ means “For post-op ladyboys only”
Getting around:
  1. If you can get a taxi to stop for you and he won’t take you where you want to go, (or refuses to use the meter and demands a crazy price); simply say “Tourist Police”, smile and take a picture of his ID at the front of the cab. He may try to snatch your phone and then drive like he’s on meth, but you’ll get home without getting ripped off those extra $3. It’s about the principle.
  2. When possible, take the train or the water taxi... but for the love of Buddha do NOT take the bus! This rule applies for most cities, though in Thailand their busses are known to be worse than the prisons
  3. It’s okay to imitate their accents. It actually helps the locals understand you... and it’s a ton of fun. It will only offend the white people eavesdropping.
Eating out:
  1. The food quality tends to be better here than in other SE Asian countries (even the bug carts!), so feel free to get adventurous. 
  2. Unless you’ve got a death wish, don’t ask for anything ‘extra spicy’
  3. By the next morning, Thai Whiskey will cure even the most raging alcoholic’s urge to ever drink again.
  4. When in doubt, just eat it.***
***Please note: Those with sensitive stomachs should choose wisely as to whether or not they should follow my advice in this last section... since “Maximus” has recently become a Thai word meaning “Destroyer of Bathrooms”
Happy Trails!


The Happy Ending

One last night in Bangkok and it felt like the world had made me its oyster. In six weeks I've booked two national campaigns, a catalogue, two editorials and only made $200 after commissions, rent and stipends and other agency expenses were deducted... That wasn't even enough to cover my plane ticket, let alone my massage habit! 

The trip to Thailand wasn't for money, however. To get upset about losing money in a place where a national TV commercial pays $700 is just plane stupid (and I've already told you how smart I am...) It's definitely not what Buddha would do. Regardless, I had to think fast to make some last minute cash!

The flight to Tokyo came up way faster than expected, but there was still enough time for one more adventure; Sergio and I had one last item on the Bangkok bucket list... another trick up our sleeve, so to speak.

After packing on the final day, I took a two hour massage at my favorite place. I splurged and got the oil massage instead of the usual, clothed Thai massage. As usual I had to ask the lady to go harder at first. The word for hard in Thai is pronounced "Nock-nock". The little Thai groaned and got to work.
It may have been the oil or the lack of clothes. It may have been that the Internet was out in my building and I hadn't... well, you know... in three days. It may have just been a really good massage. Whatever it was, pitching a military-grade tent for 90 minutes of the two hour massage. In the thirty massages I've gotten in the last six weeks, this had never happened before; at least not for more than a minute or two. Every time it popped up she giggled, "you big boy, like nock-nock"  I kept my eyes closed and tried to cool him off but he wasn't taking no for an answer. It got so hard I thought it was going to Charley-horse! It was the first time in my life where I would have actually let her go for the you-know-what. Luckily she was the classy type and spared me in my moment of weakness.

I got out of the shower after the massage, paid the madame at the counter and tipped my girl... At least I think that one was my girl.  Four little Asian ladies stood behind the desk giggling like 13-year-olds in front of an Abercrombie and called me 'Nock-nock' as I drank the tea they gave me. While putting my shoes on, the chubbiest of the bunch wiggled forward and said "you come back tomorrow I give better massage!"

My pigeon has gotten pretty good, "I go Tokyo tomorrow, sorry" Good thing it was my last day, because I knew I could never go back to that spa again. In the doorway I blew my lady a kiss and they all screamed as I shut the door.

I headed uptown to Sergio's to get ready for the model dinner at the St Regis at nine. The plan was to meet up with everyone at the fancy dinner and then strip down and try to sell ourselves at Soi Cowboy, bangkok's premier Vegas-style hooker street.

A 16-year-old model named Kaikai had just come into town from Hawaii with her muay-thai-fighting mom.  She had art supplies so we made our signs at her house as Mama D took pictures. She was going to let Kaikai go out alone with us until we finally convinced her to come and protect us from potentially abusive clients... We raced tuk-tuks to dinner.

Mama D, Kaikai, the Swede,  Kiley, Sergio and I met Daniel (the guy who thought we were going to get killed at Nana plaza on Ladyboy night) at the St Regis only to find out that the dinner had been cancelled, despite the fact that they confirmed our RSVP! Luckily the Russians stood us up so we didn't have to deal with them moping around behind us as we found some Thai food nearby.

My childhood friend Harris (an English teacher) was waiting for us at Soi Cowboy. He refused to get naked with Sergio and I because we didn't have a sign that said "no discounts" and he felt it wouldn't be true to his Jewish roots to offer any bargains.

We spent about 15 minutes taking pictures and getting chased around by frisky hookers in Spandex when Andrei and the Russian girls showed up and did a lap with us. At one point a lady-pimp kidnapped Sergio and took him to her den. I bolted in to get him and accidentally knocked a drink all over a fat European guy sitting next to a chubby post-op in spandex. They kicked us out of that bar.  

Nobody offered to buy us, despite our various promotions.

We got a final drink at one of those VW hippy-van-disco-bars on the street outside. The lady-pimp of that bar massaged Mama-D's shoulders (obviously assuming Mama D was OUR lady-pimp) as our drinks were delivered by her spandexed minions.

My going-away party had grown to a very mixed crowd of about about eleven... an amazing turnout for a location where the drinks aren't free, and on a Sunday no less! I was mostly naked but still overcome with warm fuzzies. At 1:30 we called it a night and I sadly hugged my American friends goodbye. The Swede made me do my ladyboy laugh a few dozen times before she let me go and got in their cab.

Daniel, the Russians and I piled six-deep in a taxi headed to our home. I sat on Daniels lap in the front seat and he made sure to mention how we were probably going to die... for old time's sake.

I paid for the cab and nobody said 'thank you' (they ARE still Russians, mind you).  It was very surprising  how close I had gotten with my agency-mates, despite not being able to share more than fifty words with most of them. In the lobby downstairs we hugged goodbye and the girls taught me how to say "I love you" in Russian*.

The trip to Thailand came with a Happy Ending after all...

*Note: the entire phrase was actually "Hello, I love you, will you buy me a car?" (they ARE still Russians, mind you)


The Immaculate Honeymoon

In honor of America’s birthday, I’ll tell a story about an adventure last week with my fine up-standing, patriotic, healthy, normal American girlfriend; Kiley. (*I promise that’s the last musical theatre reference in the story.) Kiley is a twenty-year-old Portlandian who’s modeling in Bangkok during her summer break from college.
We took a trip to Thailand’s first capital city in northern Thailand, Chiang Rai. It’s known for it’s scenic beauty, hot springs, waterfalls and proximity to the Golden Triangle (the border of Laos and Myanmar; once the world’s leading supplier of Opium). On the journey out of Bangkok, Kiley and I got to know each other better.

MAX: “So you’re twenty years old and a virgin. On purpose?” 

KILEY: “Yep.”

MAX: “Really?” 

KILEY: “Yep.” 

I believed her. She and I were the only models I knew (single or not) who hadn’t gotten laid in Bangkok.

MAX: “REALLY?! Not even...” 

KILEY: “No. It’s in the bible that you should maintain your purity until you’ve found true love. Plus, I haven’t really met anyone that I’ve even come close to feeling that way with.”

MAX: “So not even when you’re by yourself. You’ve never had...” 

KILEY: “No, Max. I don’t think I’ll ever get married, though. I’m probably doomed to die a virgin.” She smiled.

MAX: “Wow. I kinda know what you mean. Does that mean we can pretend we’re on our honeymoon then? Since you’re not going to get a real one. I know you wanted to marry a real Christian, but I come sort of close, right?” 

KILEY: “Yeah. You’re the most Christian person I’ve met here.”

MAX: “Uh, Wow.”

We flew in at 9pm and were picked up by a Thai named Soon who rented us our dirt-bike for the weekend. A bamboo hut in a national park about an hour outside of town was already reserved. Kiley had never ridden on a motorcycle before and the road to the huts looked dangerous, so we decided to stay in town for the night. We drove for about twenty minutes and came to a magical Cartoon Hotel with themed rooms. We opted for the Thai Boxing  room where our bed was the floor of a boxing ring. My blushing bride was much more feisty in the bedroom than I expected. 
The hotel looked remarkably ghetto in the morning’s light. We set out for the Bamboo Nest. It started raining half way into the drive and took almost two hours to get to the hot spring near our destination. Our host Nok drove by with a SUV full of British tourists headed for the airport. The brits took our picture after we dropped our bags in her car and got back on the bike. We spent the rest of the day riding elephants and hunting down waterfalls at the end of poorly marked clay trails that were too thin and hazardous to qualify as roads.  

Our hut was at the top of a hill in the middle of nowhere. Nok and her husband Noy ran the place and cooked an amazing dinner for the seven tourists staying in other huts (a full house). Another couple of about 50 years old were on their honeymoon as well. We discussed the joys of marriage over a couple beers and passed out by ten pm. Before falling asleep, I asked Kiley why we hadn’t consummated our marriage yet. She groaned and turned away.

Sunday was Adventure-Time. Kiley and I went caving, bungee-swinging and rock climbing at a park near town. She was terrified at first, but by the end of the day I’d made a full-on adrenaline junky out of my little Portlandian friend. 
We got lost on our way home and found a field of Opium poppies while looking for another waterfall. I took one of the glowing red flowers and stuck it in the top of my backpack. 

It was dark and storming monsoon-style when we got back to the hot springs near our house. We snuck in there for a bit and by the time we scrambled up the clay trail to our hut it was almost ten. Nok and Noy had been worried sick, but still cooked us dinner. Noy’s eyes went wide when he saw the red flower in my bag and said “No good! No good!”
On monday we woke up early and set out for another waterfall. It had been raining all night and the trails had essentially become rivers of soft clay. We spent too much time finding the waterfall and fell off the dirt bike twice on the way down to the main road. There were no injuries, but we were both covered in orange mud. Instead of being mad, Kiley was beet-red and laughing her face off. A Thai on a moped zipped past us as I picked up the bike. He stopped and asked “Kun okay-la?” We nodded. He laughed and sped down the hill at top speed. 
By the time we got to the main road, we were wet, dirty and going to be late for our flight. The dirt bike was rattling a lot after the fall and I was getting numb from the extra vibration. Kiley was clutching me in spasms and I could hear her breathing in hard jerks. I looked back and asked “Okay-la?”

“Yeah!!!” She squeeled.

There’s a 5k straightaway between the mountains and Chiang Rai town. Kiley yelled for me to go faster. My butt was numb and my hands were hurting from the vibrating bike, but I hit the gas and got the bike over 120kph. She kept yelling “Faster, faster!” until she wasn’t making words anymore... just a high pitched moaning noise. Her hands were clutching my sides like claws but I continued to speed up until the blue lights of the Thai police came up behind us. 
Kiley was still panting as I stopped. “Why did you stop?” She sounded disappointed. I pointed at the police truck behind us. “Oh my god. When did they get here?"

A dark little man in a skin-tight suit got out of his car and barked at us in Thai. “Driver license!” he finally said in Engrish. I showed him my driver’s license and he motioned for me to step off the bike. He pulled the red flower out of the top of my backpack and laughed. “Oooh... This no good. Big trouble. Very bad. Sit up.” He motioned for us to sit down on the ground and went back to his truck. 

It was raining slightly. In my mind I imagined what the trip to Thai jail would be like. For the first time in years, I prayed. Kiley looked stoned and slightly embarrassed. The officer dropped out of his truck after a few minutes and came back to us. “You pay fine now. 200 Baht.” he said. We paid the $6 speeding ticket and got to Soon’s motorbike shop just in time to make our flight. 

We were the last ones onboard and were sat across the aisle from a fat Australian couple. The man looked at the two of us, soaking wet and caked with orange mud, “The fuck happened to yous?!” 
Kiley leaned over from her window seat and chirped,  “We’re on our honeymoon!”

“Best one I’ve had so far” I added.

The fat Australian looked at us queerly and asked “You guys are American, huh?”

“That’s Goddam right.”