#54 – Thailand

23 12 2009

The recent proliferation of discount airfares has seen the rise of the wise, well-travelled bogan. Five years ago, Bali was the best place to observe herds of shirtless, migratory bogans in the wild, but the rise of terrorism in Indonesia, Schapelle Corby’s well-publicised failure as an importer/exporter, and the entry of Jetstar into the Australia-Thailand route has seen a new habitat emerge. Motivated by the lure of cheap alcohol, spicy foods (ordered ‘mild’), and sexploitation, the bogan has embraced Bangkok, Phuket, and that full moon place as its modern spiritual retreat.

Thailand is close enough for the bogan to leave its nest at dawn, read the latest movie readapted to novel or watch Anchorman, and land in time to be slurping from a bucket by evening. Much like the Contiki tour, Thailand allows the bogan to believe it is having an exotic cultural experience, while speaking English, interacting only with other bogans (hopefully including British and Scandinavian bogans) and engaging in activities they engage in at home abroad.

Safely ensconced in a Phuket tourist resort or an Australian themed bar, the bogan can drink near toxic amounts of cheap beer, “get bronzed,” eat spring rolls, adorn itself with braids, tramp stamp or tribal tattoos, and watch Anchorman again. The more adventurous bogan can have its photo taken sitting on an elephant, have its photo taken in front of a temple, or have its photo taken posing shirtless and sunburnt on a generic beach.

At the end of the week, the Bogan can round out its travel experience with its fourth visit to the Khao San Road tourist pit, where they can interact with impoverished locals for the purpose of methodically screwing them out of $1.30 of the $1.40 profit margin in their fake sunglasses’ starting price. Invariably, one of the items purchased is a beer singlet for itself or a loved one to wear at the gym back home. Other items regularly witnessed by Jetstar cabin crew include Buddhist iconography, stolen bar mat(s), painfully idealistic (and often misspelled or erroneously translated) tattoos in the local language, bogus high fashion brands, and a new found capacity for credible racism.

Once home, the bogan will get mild Thai food delivered to their next house party, enthusiastically regaling attendees with its bucket guzzling exploits through a mouthful of Pad Thai. The worldly bogan will employ its one word Thai vocabulary to attempt to say thank you to the food delivery guy, even though he’s an engineering student from Delhi.