Ralph Waldo Emerson

The health of the eye seems to demand a horizon.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Kepunka=the only word I can say in Thai.

Alright, kids, I don't have much time but I posted up some pics so I figure I should give you some reference points:

1) Bangkok

I arrived to people flinging water and smearing this weird muddy stuff on each other...and me. Turns out it was the last day of their 5 day celebration of the Chinese New Year. The tradition began with people peacefully sprinkling water on the Buddha for good luck. It's now a no holds barred, 5-day water assault. Not water fight, that sounds too playful, this is a massacre. After a few hours of laughing and playing along, I finally put up the white flag and slunk back to my guest house to hide.

Though the I'm waiting on getting pics from my buddy Adam, the rest of the week was a blast. Met up with some NZ friends as well as my brother's best friend from high school who is from Bangkok. Lots of live bands, eating and drinking. Sweet action.

2) Chiang Mai

Opting to go north to try and experience some "culture" before I head to the tourist saturated beaches in the south, Chiang Mai seemed like the way to go. Took a cooking class which I RULED at (this of course is hyperbole: I was the worst in the class. But definitely front runner for "Most Spirited") and will be very willing to give you a demonstration when I get home--though I'm quite certain that when a chef and his 4 assistants aren't around things are gonna look quite a bit different.

Met a couple travel buddies who then went with me to...

3) Pai

A hippie village to the north west that's chock full of farangs (again, the name for tourists) but a good time anyway. Met amazing people including a dude that's been on the road for 15 years and still has remained un-weird (a great feat in my book) and went on:


That's in caps because it deserves them. It deserves every exclamation point ya got. We ate freshly sling shotted squirrel and other mystery meat, helped construct a bamboo/banana leaf hut in a driving rain storm and clambered about on some sweet waterfalls. Ooh and got leeches. That was fun. The second night was the best--spent it at a rural Thai village whose towns men were just a little too ready to shove rice whisky down our throats...and of course, in order to be polite, we acquiesced. I still feel sick.

Okay, that's the quick and dirty, but enjoy the pics and I'll try and be more verbose later!!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Oh no you d'int...

Woo yes indeed things have been moving full force. Where shall we begin?
Ah yes, I’m in Thailand.
I know, I know, you’ve probably lost all faith in my competency as a autobiographical narrator, but listen, it took me this long just to figure out what the hell happened this last month. You're as up to date as I am.

So my mom mentioned in the last post that they dropped me at Lakewood Lodge to make a little promo video for their website. I was then going to hop back on the Flying Kiwi bus and do a little editing stuff for them before returning to Wellington and meeting up with my buddy Damon…

But then Hollywood came a-calling. Yes, my friends, I was lured into the trap of celebrity one day after arriving at the Lodge.

Way back in September I had gotten myself an acting agent in Auckland who had then proceeded to make promises of getting me a spot on Power Rangers before dropping out of communication for the better part of 7 months. Having totally forgotten about our little arrangement, it came as quite a shock when I received a call saying, “Kari, Lili here, have I got an opportunity for you! Give me a tinkle when you get a chance”. Ha. Tinkle. I love that they say tinkle in New Zealand.

Turns out she’d gotten me an audition for the leading female role in an ABC TV series that’s going to be filmed in NZ. Now, let’s think about this one: the role calls for a beautiful, long-haired brunette with an athletic body (read Evangeline Lily), excellent acting skills and, here’s the clincher, an American accent.

Now let’s not kid ourselves: in Hollywood a casting agent would read this description and think, “Oh, maybe there’s a cute best friend character we could slip Kari in for”. But no, we are in New Zealand, where the sole fact that my American accent is pretty damn believable made all the other “requirements” quite a bit less important.

So, after finishing my film for the Lodge people I got myself into Auckland to prepare for the audition I should not have gotten. It was actually quite a nice time, I stayed for the majority of the two weeks in a jungly area outside of town with a couple of guys who employ backpackers to do odd jobs around their house in exchange for accommodation and food. This, by the way, is a brilliant idea and one that I hope to mimic back in the states: you throw some sweet young backpacker into whatever corner of the house has some space and, in turn, they make you dinner, bake you tasty treats and do whatever crap job you’ve been putting off doing yourself. Yes. Everyone needs a backpacker.

But I digress…finally the big day came, I got myself as cuted up as I could while still looking “athletic” and “American” and gave my performance. Whereupon they said thank you, well done, next please. Sure, yes, you changed all your plans and schedule and dropped quite a bit of cash for these 15 minutes in a back room with a camera, but yeah, shoo shoo. The next girl looks like she’s done some Hawaiian Tropic modeling and you need to deal with some frizz issues.

How the hell do actors maintain any sense of self respect?

Oh that’s right. We don’t.

So off I flew back down to Wellington to stay a couple days with some friends before meeting up with Damon and cruising around the South Island for a couple weeks in a campervan. All the while I kept my cell phone on in case Hollywood decided to call…as of yet it seems they must be having some phone issues.

But I wasn’t fussed, I was busy hiking around and seeing many of the places that I first experienced back in September, October and December. How different they all were when I was just passing through and not trying to earn a buck. It was a really great way to say goodbye to the country that I had grown to love and definitely fun to eat at all those restaurants and do all those hikes I’d been meaning to.

Two weeks and lots of hikes, learning to drive stick shift, hours of Flight of the Conchords watching/mimicking, fishing for the first time and watching sunsets later; Damon was off on a hellish journey back to Boston and I was setting my sights on Bangkok.

Oh dear god. I will save you from the grisly details of the 40 hour journey but let me just say: planning ahead may actually be a good idea. I’m looking into it. I’m now out a few hundred bucks but have built lots of character from the journey. Lots of character.

But it’s now nearly 8am on Tuesday morning and the new adventure has begun. I’m a bit wary because I know it will be a very challenging place, but that’s exactly what I want. New Zealand was so safe and accommodating and familiar; thus far Thailand has been none of the above. But the stories will be good, and I guess that’s really the point, eh? So I’m off to follow my nose, to ride an elephant, to sample as much curry as humanly possible and have a freaking amazing time. Much love to all.