Stickman Readers' Submissions August 6th, 2003

Thai Thoughts And Anecdotes Part 5

Thai Anecdotes And Thoughts Part 5

Years ago I signed a two year contract to work for a U.S. based construction company in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. I was at that green adult stage where I wanted to please and be well liked. I said "Yes" a lot. Upon going through immigration in Jeddah myself and two associates were approached by five guys who said they had a taxi waiting and they would take our bags. We said "Yes". They grabbed the bags and started running. Out of the terminal into the night. It was two in the morning. When we finally found them, the bags were locked in the trunk of the car. We had to pay a 'fee' to get them back. All this grief and money lost would not have occurred if we had just said "NO". Following are some experiences of mine in Thailand where the best thing to say was (is) "NO".

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1. I'm in a bus about 6 miles from the Burma border. The newspapers and the TV have been talking about Burma/Thai cross border violence. People are shooting at each other. It is my first trip to Thailand. I am riding in the front of the bus because the view is better and the suspension is better. The bus starts to slow. I look up. I see figures darting and a tree across the road. The bus stops. A man steps through the open bus door and climbs the steps. He is holding a handgun. Words to the driver. The driver turns off the engine. The guy then stands up on the seat next to me. I notice he hasn't got splayed toes and dirty sandals. He is wearing military issue boots. And they are shiny. He just stepped out of the jungle and his boots are shiny. He isn't wearing a uniform. He isn't talking. He steps down off my seat and walks VERY slowly up the aisle making eye contact with every non-farang. I'm thinking this is way too much tourist trekking adventure for me. His bus visit over, he leaves. The tree is dragged away. We proceed. I breath.

The next day I am in some no-name cross-roads market trying to buy ice cream from a vendor. The Thai next to me says something in English. I respond. We talk. It turns out that he was in the U.S. Air Force for 12 years and he has retired to his village. He invites me to his home. "Where do you live?" I say. He points three quarters up the mountain that rises right behind the village. High up. Remote. Isolated. There will be a shack on a dirt road deep in the jungle. I don't even know how to say "Please help me!" in Thai. I think of the day before. The guy on the bus with the gun. I say "No".

2. One day I'm walking down Sukhumvit and an attractive Thai woman falls in step with me. She's got painted toes and those black, strappy, sexy shoes I like. She's dressed and she's confident and she's a player. I'm interested. She's wearing a T-shirt with the sleeves cut off. Big sleeve holes. No bra. On no! I can see her breasts. STRETCH MARKS. That means stretch marks everywhere. I say "NO".

3. Noi and I are cruising the Night Market at Chiang Mai. It's more than and better than I expected. But to her it is just same-same. Then she spots the side street that is all food. This woman is four and half feet tall and about 40 kilograms. She eats like a shark, a beast, a machine. I've never seen anything like it. She spots a favorite item that is apparently hard to find in Bangkok. Fried worms. They come in very big cellophane packages. That's a LOT of fried worms. She picks up FOUR packages. I do a quick calculation. In no way do we have enough room in our (that means my) pack, and in no way can this sexy beast consume all these worms here in Chiang Mai, and most probably the other three packages are for her 'sisters' and of course I am paying for it. Additionally, she wasn't that great in bed last night. I say 'NO".

4. I'm in the Patpong Night Market and it is the usual bedlam. A person being chased could disappear in a second. A pretty street vendor woman wants to put on my gold nugget watch just to ". . . see how it looks." I say "NO".

5. Toy and I hit the street in front of the AA Hotel in Pattaya. I have just paid her 1500 Baht upstairs. Across from the hotel is a little hair salon place. She wants to get her hair done. She holds out her hand for more money. I say "NO".

6. Lek and I are going home in a taxi from the Golden Buddha. We are passing a park. There is a big national kite festival going on. I love kites. We stop. We walk around looking at kites. I take pictures of her posing in front of kites. It is hot. There is a Thai selling iced soda pops. He charges Lek 10 Baht. He asks me for 20 Baht. I say "NO" and give him 10 Baht. He takes it.

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7. This is a no-brainer even for newbies. You've done the deed and the bill has been paid. At the door she turns and asks for taxi fare. "NO".

8. I'm with Wan in Pattaya. Wan is from the Northeast and has the most dramatic skin reaction to the sun I have ever seen. If she gets direct sunlight not only does her skin darken but she gets two black patches under her eyes that make her look as if she had been slapped twice with a black paintbrush. Under NO circumstances is this woman going in the sun. Across from the AA Hotel is a vendor that sells women's bathing suits. Wan has never gone swimming in her adult life and she isn't going to go swimming (go out in the sun) for the rest of her life. She tells me she wants me to buy her three bathing suits, and she doesn't want the sales girl to take them out of the packages, and she doesn't want to try them on, and she doesn't seem that concerned with size or color. Then it hits me. Tomorrow as soon as my minibus takes me back to Bangkok, these suits are coming back for a cash refund. I say "NO".

9. Often when you have a travel service book you a plane trip to another Thai city they will also try to book into a hotel in that city. You pay them cash and they give you a voucher for the hotel. When you get to your new hotel you show them the voucher. You have paid in advance. Don't do it. Because sometimes the new hotel doesn't have a record of the transaction; etc, blah, blah, blah, blah. . . You end up paying twice. Now when travel agents run this voucher thing past me, I just say "NO".

10. This one is a pip. I don't care how long you have been an ex-pat, this is a new one. I go to the Hog's Breath bar in Nana to pick up Noi. We've done this a lot. I used to pick her up at the Bottom's Up bar but she quit. So now she works at a different bar, Hog's Breath. I pay the barfine at the Hog's Breath and we leave. On the way down the stairs she says she would like to visit some of her friends in her old bar, the Bottom's Up. So we go in and sit down. And after a few minutes she turns to me and says, "You pay barfine for me?" She wants (expects) to get barfines in both bars. I say "NO".

11. If this has never happened to you; then you are either a rapist or the light is broken in your hotel room. You pick up a woman off the street. She looks ok. You are not looking for much. You just want to pound meat. And then she takes her clothes off. Holy fucking jesus christ she is horrible looking. You say "NO".

12. You finally get to the god damned country after 30 hours of layovers and long flights. Then there is the immigration line, waiting for baggage, nothing-to-declare line, currency exchange, and taxi-cab line. You get in the taxi and you are off. Is it over. It's just begun!!. You have officially entered the war-zone. How you behave in the next 30 minutes will determine your character. At the very first toll booth the driver tries to pocket the extra change. I fight him for it. I'm like a terrier backed into a corner. I'll die fighting in this cab right now rather than let this little fucker pocket my change. I say "NO".

13. I'm besotted with a woman so I am about to buy her a nice silver choker necklace in an expensive hotel gift shop. I don't bargain too hard because I am mentally unbalanced by my state of infatuation for this bar girl. I'll give it to her tonight in the bar. It'll be a big hit. The other girls will cheer and scream and Noy will smile and I will feel better than I have ever felt in my own country. This is great. Because I didn't bargain too hard on a high mark-up item I know there is plenty of profit in the transaction for the store. I ask them to gift wrap it. They tell me there is a gift wrap charge. I say "NO". They refuse to budge. I walk.

14. Wan and I have agreed that tomorrow we will go to the River City Shopping Center so that I can get some crocodile shoes and then we will go see the Golden Buddha which is something she wants to do. It's all arranged and scheduled and agreed upon. The next day she shows up late. Now there is no time for my shoes. And she shows up with a girlfriend. The girlfriend isn't smiling and I am not introduced. I get a taxi for Wan and I to go to the Golden Temple and the girlfriend automatically gets in. Apparently she (they both) thinks that I am automatically going to squire the girlfriend around on my 'date' with Wan and of course pay the bill. I get out of the taxi. There is a stand-off on the sidewalk. Finally I win. It is me and Wan, or nothing. Wan asks me for 250 Baht 'taxi' money so that her girlfriend can get home. I say "NO".

15. Noi and I are coming back from a day spent 'touring' around Chiang Mai. The tour guide has been great. What could ruin it? He asks us if we can detour to his child's school so that he can pick her up. In the euphoria of a happy day I almost say yes. But I have had many, many experiences with simple things going wrong and suddenly getting very complicated. I decide to keep to the plan. I am the customer. We have paid our money and have a contract. It's best to finish out the contract by just taking us back to our hotel. I say "NO".

16. I go into the Rainbow 1 bar in Nana Plaza and see a woman that you almost never see in these bars. An Alpha woman. The reason you almost never see them is that they are barfined with two minutes of showing up for work and then they are gone. Their passport is stamped with trips to Denmark and Australia and Germany and Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong and Korea. They use the bar as a mail drop and payroll center. They are almost never there. I sit down next to her. I am temporarily blind. I am about to burst because I have stopped breathing. And I am coaching myself in my head. "Come on Dana. Act like a man. Speak to her" I finally manage to say "Hi". She is no conversationalist. I am dirt. I soldier on. I ask to barfine her. She agrees (with the enthusiasm you feel about going to the dentist). It takes her so long to get dressed that I figure I've been stiffed. I've had to wait so long for her that I have turned the event into philosophy. "Even if things don't go well at the Nana" I tell myself: "At least I'll get to see her naked. That's more than most men can even dream about." Finally she shows. We leave the bar and start to walk out and across the street to the Nana. But before we get as far as the motorcycles at the entrance, she stops me and points upstairs. No BG at the Nana has ever done this to me before. She doesn't want to go to my hotel room. She wants to go to one of the short-term rooms. I smile and try to 'sell' her on us going to the Nana Hotel. She isn't having it. She points upstairs again. And she ain't smiling. So, I get it. She doesn't want to earn the money. She just wants to cycle me in and out as soon as possible. I know from experience that in that short-term room that I won't get what I paid for and I won't get a smile and I won't have a good time. She's picked on the wrong guy. I know too much. I turn to her and I say something to her that no man has said to her since she was fourteen years old. I say "NO".

Stickman says:

More wisdom from Dana…

nana plaza