I’m A Villain Too
The girl’s nickname in this story has been changed to Nong. Nong must be the most common nickname in Thailand. Actually, guy I meet on Samui thought Nong meant “Bargirl” – but all the girls are called Nong?!?!
This is the true story about how an innocent trip around the world developed into an experience, changing me for life. My life is not the important part here; the life I affected is the core of my “confession”.
“It is better to have loved and lost than never loved at all”. What a load of BS. I had the love of my life in Thailand, and I didn’t even loose it, I let it go. In 99% of the stories about Thai girls vs. Western men, the Thai girl is the Villain. In my experience, I accept more that 50% of the blame. You be the Judge, but beware; you’re a Villain too…
8th April 1997 – 20 years old – I just waved goodbye to my sister and father as I walked into the customs area. I was on my own – for the first time really on my own! I had trusted my backpack to the airport personnel. This was madness. I had never been outside Europe, and now I was going to a country some odd 9,000 km away. I can say I hadn’t been warned; don’t do drugs, never leave passport or credit card out of sight. My friends had loaded my backpack with 100 condoms (no kidding). “Hey, you are going to Thailand, the country where smiling isn’t the most important thing the girls use their mouth for” I brushed their comments away. I would never even consider shagging a prostitute.
Sitting in my seat by the window, I laughed out loud as the plane started moving. I was on my way to discover the world – first stop Bangkok.
In my ears Bangkok, sounded like drug trafficking and 2 dollar hookers. Hookers were not on my mind. Swedish girls with backpacks, hot pants and small tops covering their voluptuous breasts were on my mind.
It’s strange how the first smell of Bangkok air impacts on people. At first I thought, the heat was caused by the jet engines of planes, but I was soon to find out it wasn’t! Also this strange sweet smell freaked me out. I trust, everybody notice the smell when arrive in Bangkok. I could arrive blindfolded, and I would know I was in Bangkok by the smell of it!
After an hour or so in customs and baggage claim I had my first shocking glimpse of Thailand. Literally hundreds of taxi drivers and Hotel staff an mass made me want to board the first plane back to Europe.
Arriving in my prebooked hotel room in Royal Hotel near Khao San Road I felt a sensation of freedom I have never felt before in my life. Actually it took me a while to locate this infamous Khao San Road (150 meters from my hotel), but when I finally did, it became the synonymous to Bangkok for me. I really believed this place was the real Bangkok. On a few occasions I hauled a tuktuk down town to find coolness in the huge department stores.
I hindsight I realise how naive I was. I never questioned the 50 bath for half litre of water (yep, fifty) outside grand palace, the beautiful and extremely friendly local girls I meet on Khao San Road during Songkran. Only now do I know that they were properly prostitutes, who would have shagged me senseless if asked the right question. But really, I had NO idea how widespread prostitution was. I enjoyed my stay in the “City of Angels” (I always thought LA was the “City of Angels”) I politely rejected all cons, even though they are very persistent and there were loads of them. Let me tell you – they can spot a newcomer from miles away. How do they do that? I have only been approached by these “artists” on few occasions during my later visits.
After a week or so in Bangkok I headed up north like everybody else. I visited the hill tribes where only few tourists have ever been before. It seems like these few other visitors left a whole lot of western stuff – hmmm makes me wonder… After the usual crap I was on my way to Phuket, but a fellow traveller was kind enough to let me know not to go there. The place to go was a place called Koh Samui. I’m not too posh to listen to advise, so I did as I was told.
After the scariest bus ride of my life I found my self sitting in the early morning sun on Don Sak ferry pier, waiting for the boat so this tropical paradise called Koh Samui For the first time since I left from home, I felt very alone. Watching the birds eating pieces of bread thrown to them by other backpackers only few meters from my feet reminded me of home and I got really homesick, a feeling I totally forgot as the boat approached Samui. I had never seen anything like this in my life. I will never forget the first sight of Koh Samui. I’ll refrain from describing what I saw, simply because I can’t.
I soon checked into a bungalow in the outskirts of Chaweng. 150 baht a night was a barging. The moment I got to the beach I got on my knees kissing the white sand – I guess this must have looked a bit strange! After a quick dip, I ordered some food and sat down in the restaurant by the bungalows. I must have been there eight straight hours talking with the caretaker – a one-in-a-million guy (Thai standard). After a shower and change of clothes I went back to the restaurant, and to my big surprise saw an Aussie surfer I already knew from my trek in Chiang Mai. Isn’t it a small world? He arrived a day prior to me and had already had a quick tour of the nightlife. Only happy to have some one to go out with we started out in a nice bar, had a few beers and on his advice headed to Lamai.
Let me just stress – I had no idea what the scene was all about.
We found a good bar (one of the round ones in the centre of Lamai) with some pretty attractive waitresses. Especially one girl caught my attention. Unfortunately she was talking with another guest. After a few hours the guest left and this beautiful creature came to my side of the bar. This might sound like a cliché; but I remember how she was dressed and how she looked like it was yesterday. An orange dress reaching halfway down her thighs reviled a body to die for. We talked for hours and hours (keep in mind, I did not know her exact job description, I thought she was just a very charming and pretty bartender – nothing else) Around 2 am the other girls started closing down the bar. During the hours spent in her company, I offered her a few drinks, but she only accepted a few Vincoolers. I turned to my drinking partner Greg and told him that it annoyed me she didn’t accept any hard liquor, as I considered getting her really drunk my only change to “score” her. He shock his head laughing particularly loud and went to the “Chief of staff” (I later found out that “Mamasan” covers it better) had a few words with her and came back. “1000 baht and she is yours for the night” My world collapsed! I had NO IDEA!!! This girl I was falling for (the way men do when drunk) was a HOOKER. The girl (Nicknamed Nong) very upset and started talking with Mamasan in a very strict voice for a while and came around the bar to me and dragged me out of the bar. As we walked down the street, she told me it wasn’t like that. She did not go with men “short time” and “I like you, you have good heaaaart”. As the true gentleman I am, I asked her to go to the disco with me, and if that made her uncomfortable, she could bring her friends. 10 minutes later we all stood in “Bauhaus” – the disco where I in the future would spend a great deal of time. When the place started closing down, I politely thanked the girls for a spectacular night, and I would of course come back another day.
Next day I woke up when my drinking buddy Greg knocked on my door, just to say bye. He would head down to Bali to check out the surf. We agreed to meet up down there a month and a half later.
During the next week I kept away from the bar scene (“forget her” was the last thing Greg ever told me) but I kept thinking about Nong. I just could not believe she was in the oldest profession for woman. I took my diving certificate during this week, spent time on the beach, had my share of Swedish girls (and other nationalities too) Backpacking girls are easy…so was I!!
After little more than a week I got the ol’ backpack on my shoulders and went to Nathorn to catch the ferry – I missed it by 10 minutes (nemesis?!?!) So I decided to take a day in Lamai and maybe shag the girls of my dreams. When I got to the bar at night I was welcomed like a long lost friend. Nong gave the warmest hug I ever had, almost cried when she told me she thought she would never see me again. I was drop dead horny and offered to pay her to go with me, but she declined the cash. In my bungalow we talked for a while and made love (it wasn’t shagging or f******). The sex it self wasn’t anything special, but her “innocence” blinded me. I never knew what hit me, but I can truly say, “For the first and last time of my life I was in love” Four weeks and some 50,000 bath later I left Samui. I still had a lot of travelling to do. Beautiful Malaysia, fascinating Singapore, lush Sumatra, historical Java and spiritual Bali. One problem – I never noticed it, all I could think about was my beloved Nong.
After Bali, I was supposed to go to Australia, Fiji, Tonga and the US – instead I got on a plane to Singapore, a train to Penang and a bus to Suratthani. When Nong saw me, she started crying and hugging me for 10+ minutes. I was so happy. I totally ignored all warnings – I knew better!
Two weeks and another 50,000 bath later I was back in Don Muang airport. Tears in my eyes, leaving my heart behind.
Back home, working double jobs, hocked on Valium and eating Prozac like candy to ease the pain of a broken heart. Saving everything I earned (except what was transferred to a Thai bank account) Four month later (December 1998) I was back in Bangkok, boarded the first flight to Samui for the great reunion.
During my time back home I did a few tests to check how real this girl was. I called the bar a few times under false name, asking for Nong. “Nooo – Nong no work more, Nong have Boyfriend. She only stay in Bungalow” When I called her asking what she did, she told me she worked in a Beauty saloon. A few friends I made during my stay confirmed this to me.
Indeed it was a great reunion. She cried and cried. Wouldn’t let me out of sight. When we walked around at night, a lot of girls came up to her, asking where she had been lately. This was all proof enough for me. I felt good.
Nong talked a lot about her family, how she missed them, but she never asked for money to them. Before Christmas, I bought two tickets to Udon Thani. When I gave them to her on Christmas Eve, she acted like a little kid finally getting that Bike she always wanted.
Seeing how these people live was terrible. Eight people living in the same house (one room) Cooking on open fire etc. Her family were really nice to me. Always making sure I was well, taking me to the Wat and on trips. Her dad went the app. 30 km to Udon Thani for Doughnuts and Marlboros to me on a few occasions. I felt like I had a new family. But…
After a while the whole show started. Her dad got stoned with his buddies every night. Her mother and sisters started talking. All I understood was: Bla. Bla. Falang Bla. Bla. Falang Bla. Bla. Bath Bla. Bla. etc. etc. After a week or so they started talking about their drinking water was too hot. Apparently we had to go to Udon Thani to get ICE?!?!? When arriving at Robinson’s in Udon Thani they didn’t want any freaking ice – they wanted a Fridge!!! As I was the only one with credit cards… Well, you guess the rest! (I bought a stereo as well)
After our shopping spree, they obviously felt that I was pretty annoyed and they left my credit limit and me alone. Still, I was hopelessly in love… I asked Nong to stay with her family when I left for home, which she happily did.
Back home. Valium, Prozac, sky-high telephone bills and two jobs.
Back in Udon Thani in July 1998 for two weeks. Nong’s mother started talking about marriage. I felt the ground burn under me!!! (…but still in love) The marriage subject gave the father dollar signs instead of eyeballs. Numbers flying – 50,000, 75,000, 100,000 baht. When I left this time, my heart felt less heavy than previously.
Back home I started on a normal life – back to College to finish my bachelor's degree and a job on the side. When I finally came back in April 1999 it was a totally different girl greeting me, but still. In the evenings, friends came around. I noticed her eye flirting with one of the local boys, which pushed me over the edge. I had way too much moonshine that night. The next morning her dad started getting on my tits (and me on his) So, Nong decided we should make a trip to Khon Kaen. At the Hotel in Khon Kaen, she told me she wanted to go there to make a passport – SHE WANTED TO GO HOME WITH ME!!! Talk about cold feet! Fortunately immigration was closed for a public holiday, and I had time to think. I told her that I’d take her home with me next time I came to Thailand, which she accepted.
We broke up sometime in the fall of 1999. It was just getting too much. I still loved her, but I didn’t trust her. I know for a fact that she had some sort of a relationship with the guy she was eye flirting with. Furthermore a buddy of mine told me that she did indeed have some “lose jobs” now and then. Sometimes, during the time I spent in my home, she came down from Udon Thani to Samui “on requests”
Next time I sat foot in Thailand was in August 2000. I did not see her for a while, but eventually bumped into her at “Bauhaus” I couldn’t believe what I saw. She looked like a wreck. Huge tattoo and obviously on drugs. She recognised me on the spot, but moved slowly towards me, the way a drug addict on the way out of a high moves. She gave me a limp hug and almost collapsed. I took her outside and we had a walk to the beach where we sat and talked until sunrise.
Her slow voice telling me stories so cruel I got goose bumps all over. I believed every word she told me that night. Prison for drugs, abusive Thai boyfriends, lack of customers and dishonoured by the family that encouraged her to go into this line of business when she was 14, the family happily spending the money she made on her back. For the first time in more than two years I felt tears running down my cheeks. When I looked at her, her eyes were swollen and she had a small puddle of tears on the back of her hand. You can fake crying like that – you can’t!
I left Thailand a few days later. I saw her from the cap taking me to the airport; she was waving her skinny arms at me. I returned her gesture with a smile and a nod. I swore that day; I will never go back to Thailand.
I still love Nong and I still think about her. I only hope the best for her, I hope she is well; I hope some young lad will fall for her and she for him. Nong has had all odds against her since the day she was born. She was never given the change.
I have been tested negative for HIV twice since my last visit to Thailand; I hope Nong is just as lucky.
What is my conclusion? I don’t know! Is it possible to draw a conclusion from this at all? Again, I don’t know, I’ll let you be the judge. If you consider having a relationship with a girl like Nong, be sure you don’t bail out half way through.
I wasted time and money? – So what? What’s really shitty is; I took part in wasting a wonderful girls life, and for that, I will never forgive myself.
Don't be so hard on yourself. This girl's life has not been wasted. Sure she may have become hardened by the bar scene but who is to say that it might not have been worse had it not been for meeting you?