Stickman's guide to Bangkok
Thai Thoughts And Anecdotes 30
THINKING AND PONDERING
It is my first trip to Thailand and I have booked myself on an 8 day tour of western Thailand through an international trekking company out of Melbourne. I did this because Thailand and Asia were new things to me and the cocoon-like safety of the tour allows me to reconnoitre the whole situation with reasonable stress levels. Who knows? Maybe I won't like Asia or be charmed by Thailand. So it just seems prudent to keep the safety issues in hand, and the expense low, and the logistical hassles reasonable. It turns out to have been one of the good decisions I have made in my life. The tour has been just exactly what I should have done. One of the nice things about controlled environments is that they allow time for reflection. You are not constantly being internally peppered with problems of too much decision making with too little information. Adventure is when things are going wrong. I am on vacation.
One day we were bolting down a dirt highway in the back of a truck when the guide pounded on the roof and made the truck stop. Across the road was a bunch of Buddha statues. Probably about 50 feet tall and I think I remember four of them. It's a photo opportunity. We get out and walk around. Up close you can see typical Thai Buddha statuary lack of maintenance. The statues haven't been repainted or re-gold leafed since day one. The paint is chipped, and everything is dirty, and the plaster is falling away in pieces. Thailand. Around the statues is high grass and trash. The trekkers line up and start taking pictures. There is appreciative oohing and aahing. I am not a picture taker. I don't believe that the act of taking a picture or the later act of looking at the picture necessarily delivers more information. In later conversations with picture takers, I am almost always struck by what they didn't see and by what they didn't experience. I think in some way the act of bringing the camera up to the eye may actually remove you from the direct experience. Maybe that is why picture taking in strange places is so popular. It acts as an insulator. Sometimes I think I see detail that others miss.
Across the road I see a monk. He is aged and he is smiling and he is directing his gaze at me and he is holding something in his hands and showing it to me. I walk across the road. He is smiling in a winning way. His teeth are black stumps. Probably 50 years of chewing betal nut. A mild sedative. No wonder he is happy. Probably a smoker also. Another mild sedative. Let's see: Don't work, free food, mind numbing substances, community respect, philosophic high road--no wonder he is smiling. But I am wrong. That isn't why he is smiling. He is smiling because he is a salesman. He is holding in his hands a Buddhist brochure open like a book and tucked into the right hand side for me to see is an American $10.00 bill. He is begging. And like all good salesman he is using props and a smile and he is priming the pump with a sample donation. All I have to do to feel good about myself is match the size of the bill. I am a salesman also. It is how I make a living. I know the game and I know the drill and I know a player when I see one. I smile and laugh a little. He thinks I am smiling and laughing because I am a rich farang on vacation and my guard is dropping on this dirt road in front of these unloved statues under the hot sun. He is mistaken. I am smiling and laughing because it is the only way I can deal with the disappointment of life. Here I am half way around the world anxious to be seduced by new enthusiasms--and it is the same old hustle.
I'm not being critical or negative. It is too soon for that. I am too new at this. Innocent. I am just doing what farangs do best. Traveling far from home. Open and generous to new experiences. Hoping something or some idea or some person will be able to negotiate around my critical faculties and wow me. Slap me and seduce me with a new point-of-view or a new valued memory. But so far it has been dusty roads, and plastic bags of spice poisoned rice on elephant trips, and village girls with crooked teeth and motorbike scars and sores on their legs, and rural adults hampered by post-malarial-bout lifetime lassitude. I am like an open wound of hope. Please get my attention Thailand. So far, nothing. Normally, this time of year I would be in a Virgin Islands paradise--Sailing!
I turn and leave. We pile back into the truck. I look at the monk as we leave. My tour guide has to worry about schedules and charm. Not me. I can just think and ponder and reflect. That has value too. If you listen to the backpackers and trekkers tell their stories they are rich in the detail of adventure and misadventure, the action and experiment of youth. But I wonder if they had time to ponder. Simple things like "What am I doing here?" and "How much value can there be in associating with rustics?" and "On what level could I ever interact with that old monk--and if not--what's the point?" and "Why don't these religious people clean and pick up around the objects of their veneration?" and "What would my $10.00 donation have been spent on--more betal nut and more cigarettes?" and "What has his life been like--was it a life well spent or only the best of several poor choices?" It's been years since I crossed the road to see what that monk was holding towards me. I am still thinking and pondering. Maybe that was his purpose.
Not one of the picture takers, not one of the camera people--noticed the monk!
THAI NEWBIE PRIMER
For you newbies who are about to get on the plane for the first time and wing your way to Thailand here is a Thai sex primer.
In theory Thailand is a sexual wonderland where all manner of sexual pleasure can be obtained. In fact, 99% of all sexual activity falls into three categories. They are
Boom-Boom is the Thai slang for missionary style sex. The advantage is that both parties can turn their heads away from each other and close their eyes and pretend they are not even there. This is sex for people who think sex is bad. By closing their eyes they imagine their mothers and God can't see them. During Colonial and post-Colonial times in the United States there were court cases where wives could not identify their husbands by scars or marks or warts or birth marks in the husbands genitalia region. They had never seen their husbands naked. The ancestors of these sex ignoramuses are legislating my sex life today. But it is still a very popular sexual position and it does get babies made.
The disadvantage of the Boom-Boom position is that it is almost anatomically impossible. Presumably this is the position that Adam and Eve used. Well, if Eve went starfish and wouldn't get her legs up off the bed it is no wonder Adam was eating apples. You don't see any other primates or mammals using the missionary position because it is not anatomically convenient. Leave it to human beings to make a simple thing hard. All your Thai heart throbs will do Boom-Boom.
The second sex position is Yum-Yum. This is Thai slang for oral sex. The advantage of yum-yum is that it is anatomically convenient in many positions. It is easy.
The disadvantage of Yum-Yum is that there is no way for either party to pretend that you are not having sex. If God or your mother are looking, they don't think you are working on your stamp collection. This is SEX. You are not making babies here or continuing the family lineage--you are just making each other happy. More of that suspicious naughty pleasure. You know, that stuff many religions have tried to snuff out. And because it is real sex, it takes real interested parties to be done right. Since most people are lying incompetents at sex, and since most people don't really want to work hard at anything; finding an oral partner of enthusiasm is difficult. But worth searching for.
The third kind of sex in Thailand is Ow-Ow. This is anal sex. The advantage of anal sex is anatomical. Convenient and easy. Plus you don't have to look at each other.
The disadvantage of anal sex is. . . . . there aren't any disadvantages!
Now if you have been thinking while you have been reading, the following may have occurred to you. A girl who will do Boom-Boom may do Yum-Yum, but probably won't do Ow-Ow. A girl who will do Yum-Yum will almost certainly do Boom-Boom, but probably won't do Ow-Ow. But a girl who will do Ow-Ow will ALWAYS do Boom-Boom and Yum-Yum. In other words a girl who will agree to Ow-Ow will do everything else. You have hit the sexual lottery when you find a woman who will do Ow-Ow. So with that important fact in mind; here is what I do when looking for love.
When I am cruising the parking lots and the sidewalks and the boardwalks I always have two things in my pants pocket. The first is a playing card that shows a couple making backdoor love. I show the picture to my potential partner. Looking at the picture there can be no doubt about what I want. If I get a nod then I have a player. Next I take a packaged condom out of my pocket and put it in the palm of my left hand. Then I take my right hand and cover it up and shake my head from side to side. There can be no misinterpreting the meaning of this. If I get a head nod again then we have gone from player to lover and it's off to the hotel. The beauty of this system is that I know in advance that I have a partner who will do everything and not argue about the details. No surprises. No disappointments. Value for my time. Value for my money. Try it.
Well guys, that is my simple Thai sex primer for newbies. Sure there are other contortionist and controversial things you could be doing, but this is only a primer. If you just stick to finding Ow-Ow's you'll be miles ahead and you'll be smiling. Good Luck.
SMACKED BY A CAT or IT'S HARD TO BE ELITE
It was a quiet Sunday in Bangkok (I had my earplugs in). I was head down and feet up on the couch when I heard a splash, a meow, and a scream--in that order. Before I could get my feet down and my head up, a wide-eyed Poom arrived couchside to announce that the blind soi kitty had fallen into the toilet bowl. Inspection followed. There the cat was, head bent back against her side, and sporting a festive blue Tidy-Bowl waterline. What to do? Being only rich Regent condo people, a cat in a toilet bowl was a real puzzler. If Poom and I had been members of the lower classes we could simply have reached down with our hands and pulled the cat out of the toilet bowl. But as members of Thailand's new elite we don't touch anything except shopping bags, and credit cards, and airline tickets, and restaurant menus, and car keys, and mail-order catalogues. We don't even touch ourselves, or each other, or door knobs. We also like touching and holding the condo documents and condo bills and trustee meeting reports that are sent to us. We don't know what any of it means but it is a measure of our worth. We are elite. I have forgotten the ways of the evil West and Poom says she has forgotten the name of her childhood water buffalo. I believe her. Elite relationships are built on trust. Fortunately, Luck and Fate were on our side. I remembered that I had a Metro magazine special edition that spoke to the problems of rich farangs and their bubble headed companions.
Chapter 7 was entitled, "How to Remove Domestic Animals from Household Appliances". Here is what we did. Following the directions carefully, we first made two slings out of white coat hangers and slipped them under the Domestic Animal (cat). You have to use white coat hangers because you want them to match the toilet bowl. Here at the Regent everything has to be color co-ordinated. Anyway, the next step was to attach a rope to the coat hanger slings, pass it up and over the shower curtain rod, and then out the door to the balcony. While Poom calmed the cat, I went out on to the balcony and tied a concrete block to the rope. What happened next requires diagramming, but I'll do my best to describe it. I DROPPED THE CONCRETE BLOCK OFF THE BALCONY. Boy, talk about simple physics. According to Poom, the cat came out of the toilet bowl like she had been shot from a gun, did one turn around the shower curtain rod, spraying blue Tidy-Bowl disinfectant all over the tile, then headed for the balcony like a cruise missile. All I remember is dropping the block, turning around, and being smacked by a cat.
Everyone is happy now. The wide-eyed Poom is happy, the disoriented farang is happy, and the blue cat is happy. But if you want help getting a cat out of a toilet bowl; speak to Poom, not me. Been There, Been Smacked.
#30, and Dana has promised to go to #40 at least, if not further!
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