Readers' Submissions

Tales From Thailand but Written In England – Part 2 The Return (VERY LONG)

  • Written by No1 Dejay
  • September 3rd, 2003
  • 399 min read


Tales From Thailand But Written in England
– The Return Part 2



Day 6 (Bangkok+Phuket)

My phone started vibrating. That vibrating then turned into an alarm. It was 7am, Saturday July 12th. Today we would fly to Phuket and would remain there for 8 nights. I checked to see if Neil was awake, he was.

I was very tired. I figured out that by the time I got to sleep and by the time my alarm went off, I would have had a grand total of 4 hours sleep at the most, and I felt it. We both got up, Neil went in the shower and I started to pack. There wasn’t much to do because most of my clothes I’d kept in my case. Staying in Bangkok for only 4 nights had made me do that, I didn’t see any point in unpacking everything, only to pack again 4 days later. I also knew that packing the second time round, the inside of my case would resemble a pile of washing rather than a neatly packed suitcase.

I finished the last of my packing and Neil was now out of the shower. I went in the bathroom for a quick shower and a shave. By the time I’d finished and got dry, Neil had finished his packing. I got dressed and we were ready. It was nearly 8am so we had plenty of time before we got picked up, although we still needed to check out. Just then the phone rang in our room. I picked it up and it was T. I said hello to her and she told me she was downstairs waiting for me. I asked her if C was there and she said yes. I told her we would be down in 5 minutes. I had to smile when I thought about it, I knew she would have only had a couple of hour’s sleep, if any, and here she was, here they both were, at 8am, waiting to say goodbye. We did one last check of the room to see if we’d left anything and then we left. I said a silent goodbye to our room as we went through the door.

We made our way in to one of the lifts and pushed the down button, I thought to myself "thank god I don't have to use these things again with their stupid cards" Once we got out we went over to reception and checked out. The Baht2000 deposit we had left for our room was now down to Baht1100. Baht900 had been spent on phone calls. After checking out, the porter took our bags to keep them safe for us until our bus arrived to take us to the airport. We started to make our way outside, I looked through the window and I saw T and C just sitting on a wall next to the main doors. We walked outside and they looked up and smiled. I walked over to T and gave her a hug; she then kissed me and asked me how I was. I told her I was tired. I said to her that she must be tired and she said yes. I thanked her for coming here and saying goodbye to me, she just smiled and said it was ok, she wanted to do it.

She asked me again about my night and asked how I had enjoyed my time with my friends. I told her a little about it. I didn’t mention the trouble I’d had with K or any of that stuff, I just told her that it was a great night and that I’d got a few pictures, including one of me and the DJ. T then told me that when she had rang my room to let me know she was here, the woman who put her through had said to her that I was a very popular man, lots of girls had rang my room and I’d also received a package through the post (the book off K) I felt a little awkward when she told me this and I also cursed the receptionist for saying this to T. T knew I had friends in Thailand but the person on reception had made it sound like I had a thousand girlfriends. I told T not to worry and that they were only friends, which they were, and she said ok. Just then a bus pulled up and our rep got out of the passenger side of the bus. She noticed us sat on the wall and waved, we waved back. “Well, this is it” I said to T. She looked sad but there were no tears, she just looked at me and then got up, I also got up. She threw her arms around me and held on to me tightly, she said she wouldn’t forget me and asked me if she could come to Phuket with me. I told her that there would be nowhere for her to stay in Phuket, but I would ring her when I got there and got settled in. She hugged me even tighter and smelt my neck saying she wanted to always remember my smell, she then looked up at me and kissed me. I told her I’d miss her and I would be thinking of her. I also said I’d never forget her and the time we spent together. I got out of her grip and asked Neil if he was ready to go, he replied yes. I kissed her and hugged her one last time and then said goodbye. I walked over to the bus with Neil. I got in first and then Neil followed. Our cases were now in the bus and the rep and driver were ready to go. He started the engine. I looked behind at T and C was stood next to her. I could see T was crying again. What is it with me and Thai girls crying? It seems to happen all the time. The bus pulled slowly away and I waved, T waved back. I didn’t take my eyes off her or stop waving until the bus pulled onto the main road and T was gone from my view.

As the bus drove to the airport I sat there thinking. I didn’t really feel that much sadness with saying goodbye to T. Yes she was nice and I’d really enjoyed meeting her and getting to know her, but my heart wasn’t aching, I didn’t get any ideas to tell the bus driver to turn around and go back. I was sorry to leave her a little, but it wasn’t a major thing and by the time we’d got to the airport, the only thing I could think of was getting to Phuket. Was I becoming a little more hardened towards these girls? Less naive than when I first came to Thailand? Who knows, but at that point it did seem like it. I asked Neil how he felt and he was more or less feeling the same as me. Yes he liked C but it was nothing major. The other thing on my mind was what the person at reception had said when T had asked to be put through to my room.

We got out off the bus and the driver got our bags. Neil put them on a trolley and the rep took us into the airport to get checked in. We put our bags on the security check machine and luckily there were no problems, they just went straight though. Just then, I got a text. It was from K. She sent me a text wishing me luck for my flight. I thought that was nice of her to do, I sent her one back saying we were now at the airport and getting ready for our flight. We walked up to the check-in desk and got our tickets sorted out. The airport was pretty quiet so we were checked in straight away. We got our tickets and we started walking again with the rep. To our right was customs and straight ahead of us were some shops. The rep asked us if we’d like to do some shopping before we went through customs, we both said no. We said goodbye to the rep and thanked her and then she was on her way, saying she had to meet some people from a flight very shortly.

We walked through the first security check point and wouldn't you know it? When I walked through the machine, it went off. I was told to stand on a small platform so I could be searched. It turned out that my phone was the culprit. Neil went through without any problems. The next check point was nothing really; they just checked our tickets and passports. As we walked further up we saw a welcoming sight. Burger King was just up ahead and we were starving. It was like we hadn’t eaten for days. We decided to get something to eat. Our flight wasn’t for another couple of hours so we had plenty of time. We ordered our meals, got them and sat down. I remember coming to this BK the previous year. As we ate our meals I looked around at all the people. I love people watching. Obviously I don’t do it in a way that it looks like I’m staring at someone, I just like to people watch and an airport gave you a great chance to do that. I saw a few westerners, but it was mainly Thai and Chinese people I saw. Some were sat by themselves while others were with their families.

After finishing our meals, we cleared up after ourselves and looked for our gate. I looked around to see if there was anywhere I could smoke, but I was out of luck. I just thought if I could survive a 12 hour flight, I’m sure I’d survive a few hours. We found the way to our gate and went to it. It was a case of following one path, then another, then down some escalators and we were there. In this part of the airport there were 4 different gates. One was for Chang Mai and I thought of Ann, the ex-pat who was sat next to us on the plane to Bangkok. We found a couple of seats and waited. I got Neil’s disc man out and listened to one my mixes that I’d brought. I thought it would pass the time quicker. Neil read a little more of Dreamcatcher, the book he’d borrowed off me back in the UK for the trip. He was actually getting pretty far into it. He’d certainly beat me. I’d brought that book with me the previous year and only managed to get 30 pages into it before giving up. Not because I wasn’t interested, but because I never really found the time to get my teeth into it.

Listening to the CD worked. My foot was tapping and I was really getting into the CD when it was announced that our flight was boarding. It always amazes me when flights are announced and you see a big rush to be the first in the queue. It’s like these people think that if they don’t hurry up, the flight will leave without them. “Sorry, you were the last in the queue and on the plane, so you can’t fly with us” We made our way into the ever growing queue and waited. It wasn’t long before we got to the front and had our tickets checked. The next thing we knew we were on a bus, making our way to the plane.

The bus arrived at the plane in just a few minutes and off we got. We made our way up the stairs of the waiting aircraft and went inside. We were greeted by ‘Wai’s’ and hellos from the cabin crew and then found our seat. We were towards the middle of the plane and I had a window seat. It was good because I could actually see out of this window. Usually I get a window seat with either a wing in my way, or the window itself so far in front of me, I’d be on the persons knee in front to see out of it. We were joined by a Thai man after a few minutes that made up our three seats.

After what seemed like hours, we were finally setting off. Every time I see the safety video on Thai Airways I always laugh. The guy who speaks in English which has to be the worst dubbing in the history of, well, dubbing. I decided to get the take off on camcorder, sad I know, but you think it will make good TV for when you get home. We lifted off and I looked out of the window. Bangkok growing smaller by the second as the plane flew higher and higher. I looked out over this vast city, thought about what I’d done there in the last four days. I was sad to see it go behind cloud cover, but I was also happy in the fact that I was on my way to Phuket, the place I also loved and had so many good memories from thanks to the previous year. I thought of walking down Bangla road again that night, I thought of walking into the bar I’d met P and L, I thought of the happy times we’d spent on the beach, the times we’d stayed up all night talking. I couldn’t wait to get back.

Just over an hour had passed and we were coming into land. We’d had a little meal on the plane. I haven’t got a clue what it was, but it was nice. As we came into land I got the camcorder out again. We’d got so much footage of this trip so far, I didn’t want to stop now.

The landing was pretty smooth which I was glad about and as I looked outside, the sun was shining brightly, just a few little clouds were scattered across the sky. I turned to Neil and said to him “well here we are, Phuket” He looked at me and smiled.

We got off the plane and made our way to the area where we would get our bags, “here we go again” I thought. Would I get to see my suitcase? Or would it go missing? Well I got it and you guessed it, it was more or less last out. As we made our way out of the airport, there were two girls in uniforms stood behind one of the exits, they looked at us and told us to just stand outside to the left. We took it to mean they were our reps, or one of them was our rep. We went outside the airport and waited. It was very hot and humid, and certainly a lot hotter than when we first stepped out into the Bangkok daylight four days earlier. As we stood there and waited, various taxi firms came up to us and asked if we needed a ride, we told them all no and said we were waiting for our rep. After 10 minutes of waiting we were getting pretty worried. Where the hell was this girl who told us to wait here? Was she waiting for some other passengers? It turned out she wasn’t a rep at all, she was just there directing passengers. After another 5 minutes of waiting, a driver came up to us and asked our names and looked on his little clip board. Our names were there and he asked us to follow him. We got to a van and there were two guys already inside. As we got in I heard them speak and noticed they were Italians. Once our bags were in the van, we set off. The rep in the van, who I thought was a man at first, introduced herself to all four of us. She spoke to us in English and told us how long it would take to get to our hotel; she also confirmed our leaving date with us. Then she turned to the two Italians and spoke to them, but what surprised me is that she spoke to them in Italian. I was thinking “she may look like a man, but she’s a clever man lady”

As we drove to Patong I looked out of the window and saw familiar sights. I couldn’t believe I was back here again. This place had some special memories for me and it was weird making this trip again. The last time I saw this place was when I was going home, too sad to really speak, too distant to take anything in around me, but here I was, going back again. I felt sad because I wouldn’t get to see P here in Phuket. After getting back home last year after my first trip, I’d had all these visions of getting back here and walking in the bar I’d met P in and surprising her. Creeping up and tapping her on the shoulder and then her turning round, smiling and giving each other a hug. I played scenes like that over and over when I first got back home. It’s great thinking of stuff like that, it keeps you going, it makes everything ok and it keeps you from going out of your mind when you miss Thailand. But, there would be no scenes like that this year. All that planning, all those fantasies I’d played out in my mind would be just that, fantasy.

As we went up the big hill that would lead us to Patong, I couldn’t wait to get to the top and see over the other side. Patong would be just in front of us, coming closer and closer. We got to the top of the hill and there it was in front of me and it hadn’t changed a bit. Not that I expected it to change or anything. I thought of my last day there, saying goodbye to P, how sad I’d been as our bus started driving away and I saw P turn the corner on her bike. I snapped myself out of the trance I was in. P was last year. I still missed her and would like to see her, but nearly a year had passed, and as we got nearer to our hotel, I wondered what this year would bring. As we turned onto the main beach road, the sea and beach on our right hand side, I looked at the shops as we went past them. Neil was doing the same and just as I was about to look out the other side and check out the beach, I saw it. It was gone in a flash but I saw it, Bangla road.

We turned into the street that our hotel was on. It was situated at the bottom. There were a few shops on one side and a wall of another hotel on the other, one of the shops was a massage place. It did traditional massages like the face ect. There were a few girls sat outside the shop and as our bus went past, they all waved when they saw us. Our bus stopped outside the hotel and one of the porters came over. Neil and I both got out and so did the driver to get our bags, the Italians stayed where they were, obviously they were staying in a different hotel to ours. We stood outside waiting for our bags and when they were brought out, we went inside the hotel and then to the reception area. To our right there was a large restaurant and to our left was the pool area and a small bar selling drinks and Hagan dais ice cream. We spoke to girl behind reception and told her we had a booking under my name. She didn’t seem to understand and told us to fill out a card and told us it was Baht2000 a night. I tried to explain again but it still went over her head. Eventually she spoke to the other receptionist and it was sorted out. She found our booking and checked us in. A man then came over and gave us a free fruit drink; it was pink in colour and very nice. I had to sign a couple of things and then we had to hand over a deposit of Baht2000, we were also told that if we brought guests to the hotel, in other words, any girls we met, it would be Baht3000 to have them stay in our room. Neil and I both looked at each other, I was thinking of the girls we met in Bangkok and that night we had them stay in our hotel, I was also thinking that there would be none of that in this hotel and I’m sure Neil was thinking the same thing.

We were given our room number and told which floor we were on. We were in room 1710 and we were on the 7th floor. We were then given our room key and told our bags would be up shortly. We thanked the girls behind reception and made our way to the lifts and pressed the button. I was hoping they wouldn’t be the same kind of lifts we’d had in the Bangkok hotel. As we got in the lift, I let out a sign of relief when I noticed it was just a case of pressing your floor and you were taken there. No thinking involved, just a little finger action and hey presto. We got to the seventh floor and got out of the lift. To our right was a walkway to the different rooms and to our left, there was a staircase going up and also down. We turned right. The view from this walkway was quite nice. We could see over Patong a little. Just at the start of this view, directly in front of us, there was some building work going on. There were people working on a giant pool, a Jacuzzi and also a building that looked liked a smarter version and larger version of a beach hut. We looked for our room and a bit further along the walkway we found it. We had been lucky with the lifts in this hotel, but it all changed when we got to our room, we didn’t have a clue how to open the door. Our key itself had a little plastic seahorse on one part of it and the main part was a piece of plastic with the name of the hotel written on it and our room number. The door had a little button to press and when you pressed it, it would light in red. We tried putting the piece of plastic to it but nothing happened. After 15 attempts a guy came around the corner that worked in the hotel and showed us how to work it. You had to press the button on the door, and then put the little plastic seahorse to the red light and it would unlock it. He took us inside the room and showed us around. My first impressions of it were “wow” I thought my hotel in Phuket last year was nice, but it wasn’t a patch on this, in fact, it made the hotel last year look like a slum (slight exaggeration). The view from the balcony was stunning. We could see the sea and beach and we also had the afternoon sun and of course, the sunset. The beds in this room were closer together than they were in Bangkok, and it made me think back to the two girls who came to our room that night and I thought how we’d cope if it was this room. I wondered if Neil’s panic attack would instead turn into a heart attack. After showing us the room, the man left, telling us our bags would be up in a minute. We had a proper look around and we liked it, a lot. It was gorgeous. They even gave us a nice bowl of fruit as a bit of a welcome. I had the banana; neither of us touched any of the other fruit.

We went on to the balcony and had a look at the view. The pool area was just below us and it was nice, but the view of the sea and the beach was the best thing about it, we couldn’t believe how lucky we were getting this room with this view. Just then, there was a knock at the door and Neil went to answer it, I told him it would be our bags and to give the guy who brought them up baht20 as a tip. Neil answered the door and the man brought in our bags. Neil handed over the money; he then thanked us and left.

So here we were in Phuket, where we would spend 8 nights in comfort. Tonight we would go to a few bars and then go and see L in her bar. It would be nice to see her after all this time, it had been 10 months and it would be nice for Neil to get to meet her. We decided for the rest of the afternoon we would sit in the sun on our balcony and chill out, get a bit of colour in our cheeks and move away from our pasty complexions. We changed into some different shorts I slapped on the factor 15, got out the shades and went outside and sat on the deck chairs. Within minutes the sweat was pouring off us, god it was hot. But this was the life, sitting in the sun with this view in front of us without a care in the world and sweat dripping in your eye; it couldn’t get any better than this. Well, the sweat thing I could do without but you can’t have everything. I then decided to ring P and tell her I was in Phuket. I rang her and she was happy to hear my voice. I told her how much I’d enjoyed Bangkok and how it was great being back in Phuket, but I was sad that she wasn’t here. She said she was sad too and wanted to see me before I left, but she couldn’t get there before the 25th. After 10 minutes I told her I’d call her again before I left Thailand, she said she would look forward to the call. I said goodbye to her and put the phone down.

We stayed on the balcony for a couple of hours, talking about this and that, what we were going to do. I asked Neil how he was finding it so far and he said he loved it; the thought of going home was something he didn’t want to think about. I told him a little about Bangla road and about some of the bars there. He couldn’t wait to see it for himself.

It was now going on for 5pm and we noticed there was a lot of grey cloud coming over and the wind was picking up. It could only mean one thing, there was a storm coming. I went inside and sat on the bed watching TV. Neil decided to stay outside, although by this time, the sun was behind the clouds. 10 minutes later everything was dark, the wind was now very strong and when I looked out over the sea, it was like there was a fog covering it, you couldn’t see into the distance. Just then, Neil shot up out of his chair and came inside “it’s raining” he said. I looked outside and saw that is was. It wasn’t just raining though, it was like someone from up above was having a shower. We both stayed inside and watched the storm and also watched the TV. Every now and again our eyes would flip from one to the other, the way heads will flip from one side of the court to the other in a tennis game.

The storm lasted a couple of hours and around 7pm we both decided to go to the shop and get a few things, also to have a look around and have a bite to eat at our favourite Thai restaurant, Mc Donald’s. It would be a trip down memory lane for me, walking down the beach road again. We left our hotel and walked down to the main road. As we walked we heard a big “hello” from the girls outside the massage shop. We turned to look and there were 4 girls all sat outside, one of them caught my eye straight away. They asked us if we’d like a massage and we said no, they also asked us where we were from and we told them. We carried on walking past them. We got to the beach road and turned left and went towards Mc Donald’s. I noticed that it seemed pretty quiet on the streets. Whether that was to do with the storm we’d just had or Phuket was quiet. I’d spoke to L earlier in the year and she told me Phuket was quiet, I’d also read on certain websites that it was quiet and by all accounts, what I was seeing now, everything I’d been told and read was true. As we walked further down the road, MD’s in sight, we were stopped by the usual suit sellers, saying hello to us as though we were old friends, some even saying they didn’t want us to buy a suit, just look at their shop, weird.

We reached MD’s and went inside, ordered our meal and sat down to eat. It was quiet in here as well, which was never the case the previous year, it was always pretty full. After our meal we walked up the road a little further and found a shop. Neil and I went in and Neil found some electric tooth brush heads. We’d noticed in our hotel room that they had provided us with an electric tooth brush, so Neil wanted to use that but needed the extra heads because god only knows who had been using the one on it already. He bought the heads and we walked further up the road to another shop. Just before we got there we walked past the hotel I stayed in the precious year, I pointed it out to Neil. We got to the shop and bought a bottle of Singha each and some water and milk. We paid and left. As we walked back I came up with the idea of walking in to the hotel from last year and seeing if any of the pool guys we had met were around. I told Neil and we both walked inside to where the pool area was. I had a quick look around but I couldn’t spot anyone I knew, so we left and went back to the Hotel. Once again we passed the massage shop and all the girls let on to us, we waved, said hello and went to our room.

It was now getting on for 8pm so we had our beers quickly and started to get changed and get ready to go out. Neil went in the shower first and I decided to ring N and tell her we had arrived in Phuket ok. I used the hotel phone. She sounded happy to hear from me and told me she was at work and asked how everything was going. I told her about the trip and the hotel we were staying in. I also thanked her again for being so nice to Neil and me and showing us around. I really had warmed to N, she was such a great friend, and I really can’t shower her with enough praise. She’s one of those people you feel richer in life knowing. She told me she enjoyed Ministry so much, she was going to go again with her friends. After a few more minutes of talking, we said our goodbyes and I told her I’d call her again before I left, she asked me to say hello to Neil.

Neil had finished in the shower and I went in. I decided to use the electric tooth brush with a new head on it. Me being me, I turned it on before I put it in my mouth; it sent toothpaste in every single direction. After cursing myself for doing it and shouting to Neil that there was some toothpaste splattered in the bathroom so he should be careful, I got it in my mouth without anymore problems. After my shower, I got changed into fresh clothes and got some money from the safe in the room. Neil was more or less ready as well. We did a little filming, took a couple of pictures and we were on our way. Neil decided to take his camera out and I also took the mixes out that I’d brought over for L

The massage girls were still there, and they let on as we walked past, we did the same. On the main beach road heading towards Bangla road, I saw the usual mix of tourists and street sellers. The suit sellers were out in force, hands at the ready. We ignored their pleas of “I don’t want to sell you a suit, I want to just talk to you” and turned down Bangla road. I noticed again how quiet it seemed to be, Neil asked me if it was usually this quiet and I told him no. We walked down the road, passing bars and soi’s I knew so well. About half way down I saw the Soi that we had met L and P in, it was weird seeing it again and I knew it would be even weirder when we went in there a little later on. I pointed it out to Neil. We walked to the end of Bangla road and went into the Margarita bar. I loved this bar the previous year; it was so relaxed and easy going. No hassle from anyone. I looked around for the manager Steve who we met and got talking to the previous year, but he wasn’t there. We found a table and sat down; a girl came over and took our order which was 2 Singha’s. Rugby was playing on the big screen and there were quite a few people watching it. In front of us on two separate tables were two men and two Thai girls. I looked at both couples and noticed how bored these two girls looked. Here they were, out with their boyfriends who had rented them for a couple of days and they were sat in a bar watching rugby. The guys they were with just didn’t say anything to them all the time we were there. Two guys out with two beautiful girls and they just looked bored as hell. I wanted to scream at them that these girls were so bored; they would find messing with their shoelaces more interesting. “Talk to them” I thought “before they die of boredom” maybe if they did talk to them though, it would be much more boring than if they said nothing at all.

We had a couple of beers in the Margarita bar and then we headed for L’s bar. Walking up the street and past the different bars playing all kinds of music, it reminds me of a theme park, some fantasy land where all your dreams can come true. We got to L’s Soi and went in. I had this idea of surprising her, we would sneak past some of the bars and get to hers, her back would be to us and I would creep up and…..someone grabbed me from behind, I didn’t see who it was but I heard a loud cheer to my right. I turned round and I was then being led by the hand over to a bar on the right, I looked at the person who grabbed me and it was L. How in the hell had she seen me first? I turned to Neil and said “this is L by the way” We sat down at the bar and L asked us what we’d like to drink, we asked for two Singha’s. I asked her why she was in this bar now and as I looked around, I understood why. This place last year had been packed with people, all the bars were doing great trade and you had a hard time wondering which bar to settle at for the night. As I looked at it now, quite a few of the bars were closed. What made it seem weird was that the bars that were closed were at the front of this Soi, all the bars towards the back were open. I would have thought that it was the bars at the back which would close down, but in here it wasn’t the case. L said to me that the bar Dave and I had met her and P in was now shut. I felt a little sad in a way, that bar had held so many memories for me, and now, it was closed, gathering dust. L introduced Neil and I to the rest of the girls in the bar, L’s half sister was also working here and she said hello, as did the rest of the girls, telling me they had heard so much about me. One of the girls recognised me from last year, she was talking to Neil about it, I looked at her and she did look familiar and then I recognised her. I said hello and asked how she was doing, she said she was leaving the next day to be with her boyfriend, he was a 38 year old Italian. She showed us his picture and I laughed. He looked about 45, had no hair and a beer belly. I asked her how old she was and she said 22. I wished her luck but giggled a little, L also laughed and then the girl laughed as well. It was all in good fun and she didn’t take any offence by me laughing which was good.

I got one of the CD’s I’d bought for L out of my pocket, and asked her if she’d get the DJ to put it on. She gave it to her sister and then her sister went over to the DJ booth which was situated at the back of the building. Neil took a couple of pictures of me and L and then my CD came on. I couldn’t believe it, my mix was being played. I told L and whoever else listening that it was me playing, they laughed and started dancing. The bars games then came out, old favourites like connect four, blocks and the dice rolling game were on offer. I played connect four with L and her sister and Neil was chatting to one of the girls who worked in the bar. I lost every single came of connect four, damn these girls. After about 40 minutes my mix was turned off. Neil and I both looked at each other with disappointment in our faces. Then someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned round and there was a Thai man of about 25 stood there, I said hello and he told me he was the DJ in this soi and asked me if he could borrow my CD to copy, he said he loved it and wanted a copy for himself. I said that would be fine and then he said he would get it back to me after the Thai holiday. I asked him what holiday and he said that on Sunday (the next day) it was a religious holiday in Thailand and all the bars were closed. I asked him how long for and he said just the one day, the bars would re-open again on Monday night and he would be back in work on the Tuesday and would give me my CD then. I said fine and I also told him I had another one that he could borrow and I would give that to him when he had finished with the other one. He then asked me something I couldn’t quite believe, he asked me if I could DJ in the bar tonight? He said he was going home to get more CD’s and when he came back in about 30 minutes, he wanted me to get on the decks and DJ for a while. I turned to Neil and asked him if he’d just heard what was said, Neil said yes and said go for it. I told the DJ I’d love to and he shook my hand and said he’d be back in about 30 minutes. He then left.

Now the thing is, I was quite drunk and now I needed to sober up and sober up fast. I asked L for a bottle of water and drank it down in record time, I then asked for another. I repeated this process of drinking water until the DJ came back with his CD’s. He let on and asked me to come over to the DJ booth with him, so I did. I walked past all the bars, girls were grabbing me left right and centre, asking me to have a drink at their bar, it was a little hard shaking them off. We got to the DJ booth and I went in with him and had a look at his CD’s. There was another DJ in here with us, it was a girl and I thought she was gorgeous. I said hello and she said hello back. The male DJ told me she was a hip-hop DJ, I thought to myself it must have been her who had taken off my mix so she could play Hip-Hop. He showed me the mixing set up and I had a look at it and got a feel for it. I then chose the songs I was going to play and set them to one side. I still had some water so I was drinking that. I queued up the first track and started playing it. I put in the next CD and started getting the song ready, but then things started going wrong. The first song that was playing decided to mess up and skip, so I had to take it off because it just wasn’t playing right. I then started the second song and that seemed fine, but my main problem was that the DJ booth had no monitor speakers, so the sound that I was hearing in the DJ booth was slightly delayed to what I was hearing outside it. You may not understand what I’m talking about, but it’s all about sound waves and to put it simply, it was more or less impossible to get the sound right by listening to what was being played outside the booth and inside the booth. My only way around this problem was to listen to it all through the headphones, which wasn’t easy, but it was bearable once I got use to it.

I was now on a role, things did screw up a little every now and again but for the most part it was fine. There were now four Thai girls in front of the DJ booth watching me and smiling, they were asking who I was, where I was from, would I buy a drink and come and sit with them in their bars. The male DJ just laughed. After they went away I carried on mixing, I saw a flash just above me and I guessed someone had just taken a picture. After about 30 minutes I handed it all over to the male DJ and let him do a little mixing while I manipulated the sound for him, adjusting the treble and bass, telling him when to bring a song in and what sounds to cut out and the sound levels to use. After 30 minutes of this I told him that I would now go back to the bar and have a sit down with my friends. He thanked me for DJ’ing and teaching him a few things, he shook my hand and told me he’d see me on Tuesday. I said goodbye to him and the female DJ and made my way back to L’s bar. Walking back was like a rat race with all the girls grabbing me and saying hello and thanking me for making them dance and playing good music. I got back to L’s bar and L got me a drink of water, which I needed, she also gave me one of those flower necklaces that you can buy from the sellers that come round all the bars, she put it round my neck and said it was a present from her and the rest of the girls, I thanked them all and said it was really nice. I looked at Neil and he was kissing the girl he’d been talking to earlier, I left him to it and messed around with L and her sister. I was calling her a muppet and she was calling me the same thing. It’s a word Dave and I had taught her the previous year and she’d remembered it.

At 2am the bars all closed and me, Neil, L and the girl Neil had been kissing and talking to all went for something to eat. L took us to a place just across from Bangla road and down a little side street. It was pretty dark in there and there was a male Thai singer on a guitar singing Thai songs. He was very good I have to say, Neil thought the same. We ordered our food and some drinks and sat there talking and listening to the singer. It was a great end to the night. The girl Neil was with asked him if he’d go with her that night but he said no, he was tired and needed some sleep, she looked quite sad at that, or was it moody? It was hard to tell. I asked L about the bars being closed the next day and I asked her what she was going to do, she said she planned on hiring a jeep the next day and going round Phuket with some of her friends. She then asked if Neil and I would like to come. I said yes and Neil said he’d like to go. I asked her what time and she said she’d pick us up at 2pm from our hotel. We finished our food, paid and then left. L and the girl walked up to the top of Bangla road with us and we said goodbye to them, thanked them for a great night and said we’d see them tomorrow. They got on a taxi bike and left. Neil and I made our way back to the hotel. We saw three girls just up ahead and they stood in our path and said hello. I decided to give one of them the flower necklace I’d gotten earlier from L and the girls in the bar. She thanked me and they asked us if we’d go with them, we said no and that we were tired and we said goodbye. The girl I’d given the necklace too thanked me and they all waved.

We got back in our hotel room and Neil said he was going to ring C. He rang her up and I laughed at the way he was speaking. He was using that English/Thai speak that everyone seems to use to make the Thai girls understand you better. C told him she wanted to come to Phuket with T to see us both, Neil tried explaining that there would be nowhere for them to stay and she got upset and started crying a little, but she stopped after a couple of minutes saying that she missed him and wanted to see him again. I asked him to ask her about T and he did. He then said that T was on her way with the girls from her bar and the boss to his house somewhere just outside Bangkok. He was treating them to a couple of days off because of the religious holiday. C said that T wanted me to ring her and was waiting for my call. After Neil had finished I rang her, she was happy to hear my voice and told me she was missing me. She told me she wanted to come to Phuket to see me. I told her more or less the same thing that Neil had told C. She then said that I didn’t want her to come, but I just said that I would love to see her again but it was too expensive for her to stay in the hotel we were staying. She told me that she’d bought a new mobile phone from MBK, she wanted the same one as me but it was too expensive so she brought a Nokia 6100. After a bit more small talk I told her I’d ring her the next day and see how she was doing. We said our goodbyes and I put the phone down.

Neil and I talked for a little while as we were getting ready for bed. We talked about the night and how we both felt about it, we both agreed that it was a great first night in Phuket. Both of us now had colds which were a bit of a pain, we said we’d go and get some tablets from a shop the next day. We talked a little about C and T and how they wanted to come to Phuket. We both agreed that we’d like to see them again, but we just couldn’t afford to have them stay in this hotel. We were both looking forward to going out with L and her friends; we knew it would be something we’d just never get to do in ordinary circumstances. After our little chat we turned the lights off and went to sleep.

My final thoughts before sleep took me were of how great it was to be back in Phuket, and how the party had only just begun.

Day 7 (Phuket)

My cold was starting to get worse, my nose wasn’t running or anything, but my head felt cloudy, my nose felt blocked up and generally, I just didn’t feel right. Neil had started with his cold in Bangkok, but at the time we thought it might just be the traffic and the pollution. I tried not to think about it really, I knew it wasn’t going to spoil my holiday or me having a good time. It was just a minor inconvenience and nothing more. We had to get up for 11pm to meet the rep in the hotel reception area, it was just a quick meeting to sort out our travel arrangements for when we left Phuket, When the meeting was over we went back to our room and went back to sleep.

We woke up just over an hour later, it was now around 12.30pm and Neil and I both got up. We would be going out with L in a couple of hours so we decided to get ourselves something to eat before our trip. We talked about it and as we were both feeling adventurous (maybe it was the sea air) we decided on a KFC, we were both bored of Mc Donald’s and the fries were doing my head in. So we got showered, changed and headed out. It was pretty overcast, very warm but lots of cloud around, I hoped it wouldn’t rain.

Phuket seemed really quiet, certainly a lot quieter that it had been the previous day and night. I decided that the main reason for this was because of the Thai holiday; even the Thai massage girls we passed when we left our hotel had shut up shop and stayed at home. I was a little sad as we walked past the shop because they weren’t there to greet us, in particular that one girl who had caught both mine and Neil’s eye.

We walked down the beach road to KFC. The suit sellers were still around and seemed pushier than ever, but we said hello to them as we walked past and always smiled. We reached KFC and walked inside. There were a couple of other customers inside but we more or less had the place to ourselves. We ordered our meal and sat down. I talked to Neil about T and C and how they kept on asking if they could come down and see us. We both knew that they couldn’t stay in our hotel because it was far too expensive and even if it wasn’t expensive, the idea of having them in our room for the night, with the beds even closer than they were in Bangkok was not something we really didn’t want to think about. We had the idea of maybe finding another hotel for them, a cheap hotel where they could stay, but we soon forgot about the idea and got onto the topic of what we were going to do that day with L and her friends and where we were going that day. We were both looking forward to it.

We finished our meal and left. As we walked back to the hotel, we decided to cross the road this time to avoid the suit sellers, the plan worked and we didn’t get hassled by them, that’s not to say we didn’t get hassled mind you, we had the people who hire bikes, cars and Jet Ski’s to deal with.

We got back to the hotel and I received a text message off L. She asked me if I could hire the jeep because it’s cheaper for a tourist to do it rather than a Thai. I thought that was pretty strange really, although seeing how some of the people drive in Thailand, I can understand it in a way. I didn’t really want to hire it for the simple reason that if anything happened; it would all fall on my shoulders. I sent a text back saying no, but I would help her pay for the jeep hire, she seemed happy with that. She then sent another text back saying to meet her outside her bar at 2pm. By this time it was just after 1.30pm so we just watched a little TV for a while and had a cup of tea, using the milk I’d bought from the shop the day before.

At 1.50pm we left to go and meet L, we took the camcorder with us. When we got to the bar she was already there with her sister. She told us to wait there and she would be back with the Jeep very soon. We sat on the steps just outside all the bars and watched the people walking past; it was mainly westerners, some with children and some with Thai girls. After about 15 minutes there was a beep, we looked up and L was parked outside in a white Suzuki Jeep. We got up, walked over and got in. She was on her own and told us she was going to pick up her friends. We drove for about 5 minutes and it hit me that I’d been here before, it was the place Dave and I had come to the previous year on our last day in Phuket to see P and L at their home. We parked outside a house and I asked if she lived here now? She said yes and got out. Now Neil and I expected L to bring along just a couple of friends, but she brought three of them, resulting in four people on the back seat. Luckily I was in the front, but Neil ended up sitting on the arm rest which wasn’t very comfy for obvious reasons. So here we were, there was me, Neil, L, her sister, the girl Neil had met in L’s bar and also another girl from L’s bar. We set off.

We drove out of Patong and went towards Karon beach which was a little further down the coast road. Going up some of the hills to get to Karon beach was a bit of a struggle but we managed it, we drove past Karon beach and headed up and down some more hills. The air con in the jeep wasn’t very effective so L decided to open her window which resulted in a sudden surge of hot air. I felt it and thought it was bad, so god only knows how Neil must have felt being cooped up in the back with three other girls and sat on an arm rest.

After 20 minutes of driving we pulled into a small car park. There were a few cars scattered around and L parked. We all got out; I heard Neil let out a giant sigh of relief. There were quite a few people walking around, all Thai and Chinese people. We walked past a few little carts selling fruit and drinks and then came into a clearing. We were right on top of a hill overlooking some of the places in phuket. We could see Patong in the distance and also Karon beach. Just next to us were some very steep steps leading up to a higher point so you could get a better view. Neil and I went up leaving L and her friends down at the bottom. The view at the top overlooking Phuket was amazing, truly breathtaking. We got some camcorder footage of it all. Now we would have stayed up there longer, but suddenly Neil and I started to get attacked by giant bees that looked like bats. These things were massive. I shit it, Neil shit it and we just ran down those steps as though our lives depended on it. L and her friends were laughing at us. Once at the bottom we decided to move on and went back to the jeep. We stopped at one of the carts selling drinks and we all got some water each. When we got back to the jeep, L got in and unlocked the doors, as I opened my door, one of those giant bees decided to attack me again and I ran like I had ants in my pants, everyone was laughing at me. Eventually it went away and we all got in the Jeep and we were back on the road heading somewhere else. I noticed that every small temple that L passed, she would beep the horn on the jeep.

We were driving for about 20 minutes and then we turned down a road that had shops, eating places and a little market on the left hand side, but on the right, there were rows and rows of coaches. As I looked out of the window, I saw hundreds of Thai’s all walking around. There were no westerners at all. We parked up behind a coach and we all got out and started walking. Neil’s shirt was now sticking to him and I could understand why. Not only was he cramped in the back of the Jeep, it was also about 90 degrees inside it because of the window being open and there being so many people inside it. I was very hot myself and I was in the front with lots of leg room, so I felt sorry for Neil, he was turning into a wreck. The girl Neil had met in L’s bar was being a little off with him. She more or less ignored him the whole time and it was like she was giving him dirty looks. I couldn’t understand why, he hadn’t done anything wrong. Just because he wouldn’t go with her the first time he met her was no reason to treat him like a leper.

We got to some very steep steps and went up. The steps were never ending. Thai’s and Chinese were going up and down these steps. I did feel a little out of place but I didn’t know why. It wasn’t like I was being stared at or anything or people were whispering behind my back saying “what are those farangs doing here” maybe it was due to the fact that I felt I was invading the space of these Thai’s. It was their holiday, their time away from westerners and people on holiday. I don’t know, I couldn’t put my finger on why I was feeling that way. We reached the top of the steps and again, we were at a very high point. As I looked over the wall I could see a lot of Phuket. Beaches and little islands spread out in every direction, it was a great view. We walked a little up the path we were now on and L, her sister and one of the girls went up some more steps, I followed them and Neil and the girl who he had met in the bar who was treating him like a leper walked further up the path. There was a little outside temple for praying and the girls went over to it to Pray. I stayed just by the side and watched them. There were lots of people praying and lots of people taking pictures and walking around. I got the camcorder out and did a little filming, that was until one of those giant bee things decided it wanted to have some fun and attacked me. Now me not wanting to look like an idiot if front of all these people, I tried to act as calmly as possible and move away and go back down to the path. But it didn’t really work, if you were stood watching me you would understand why. As it came in for the kill, I said “shit*” and ran away. I forgot that I was still filming with the camcorder and I left it recording, you can’t blame me really, I had visions of this thing picking me up with its giant legs, taking me back to its nest and feeding me to its babies. I got back on the path and shouted to Neil who was now making his way towards me with this girl. I told him what had happened and he said he was getting sick of being attacked. No one else was being attacked; they were picking on the white men, me and Neil.

All three of us then walked back up the steps and waited for L, her sister and the other girl to finish praying. They came over and L asked if I would I like to pray? I told her no as it wouldn’t seem right me doing it as I wasn’t a Buddhist, but I thanked her for asking me. All six of us then walked over to another temple, but as we got nearer, I noticed it was kind of a small museum. It had details of, well, I couldn’t tell you as it was all in Thai. We had to take our shoes off and we went inside and had a look around. The place was very small and dimly lit. It had glass cases holding many things made out of gold. We walked up some stairs and we got to the top and went outside. We were now on the top of the small building and the views were amazing. We had a look from all four sides and got some more footage. On one of the sides Neil and I looked over and saw a shocking and scary sight. There were hundreds of those bee monsters flying all around the trees below. It sent us both into sheer panic and we moved away and went to a different side, I looked over and it was the front of the building. I saw my trainers waiting for me and had a slight moment of panic when I thought a Chinese man had taken a shine to them and decided to discard his and take mine, but he didn't, his were just next to mine. After about 10 minutes we made our way out. Neil stayed for a second to get some last minute filming done. I got outside and waited for Neil. When he came out he had a grin on his face and told me something that made me laugh. He told me he was waking down the stairs and got to the bottom and felt something brush against his leg, he thought it was one of those giant bee things and he panicked and kicked out. He then looked down and realised it wasn’t a giant bee; it was a young Chinese lad of about six. He said sorry and the Chinese lad looked puzzled.

We all walked back to the jeep. More coaches were arriving with more Thai’s and Chinese on board. We got back to the Jeep and got in, Neil said as he got in the back “here we go again” We headed off down the road and after 15 minutes, we got to another place with lots more temples. This place was very busy. There were about 5 or 6 large temples, all of them looked very nice with gold and all kinds of colours painted on them. Again I saw no westerners, but by this time, I felt fine about it. The feeling I had before about being out of place had gone, I felt a lot more relaxed being here now. L parked the Jeep and we all got out. We walked past a couple of temples and came to a small temple and L asked if we would like to go in. The girl Neil had met and the other girl decided to sit on a bench and chat, leaving me, Neil, L and her sister. We all took our shoes off and walked up the steps. At the top we were greeted by a Thai lady of about 50 who then informed us that the temple was now closed. So we went back down the steps and put our shoes back on and walked back towards the Jeep. L asked me if I’d like a drink and I said yes, so we walked over to a little cart selling water and juice drinks in a big ice bucket. We got our drinks and L paid. Neil and the two girls who were sat on the bench had walked over to a different cart to get drinks. The three of them then came back and we all stood by the jeep drinking our drinks. Just then there was a loud bang, then another, then another. We looked over to where it was coming from and we saw that someone had let off some fire crackers. They seemed to go on for about an hour and there was lots of smoke. It was like a fine mist covering the road. After we finished our drinks we all got back in the jeep and headed out. I asked L where we were going to now and she said she would take us to a beach. We drove back towards Patong and pulled into a petrol station to get some petrol, a young Thai man spoke to L and he put the petrol in, L paid and we were on our way again, but, sadly, the heavens opened and it started pouring it down. We drove through Patong and headed down the beach road in the opposite direction from Karon. Eventually we pulled in to Phuket Fantsasea, which is a cultural theme complex which has carnivals and big shows. We all got out of the Jeep and made our way over. It was still pouring with rain and we got under cover. We were all deciding whether to go in, but after debating for all over 3 minutes, and learning of the baht1500 each entry fee for each person, we decided against it. It was pretty busy here; there were lots of Chinese all queuing in the rain and waiting to get into the show. We walked back to the Jeep and got in. It was now going on for 7.30pm and we headed back to Patong. On the way back I asked L what she was planning to do that night, as she didn’t have to work. She told me she had the jeep till the next day as was just going to drive around. Because we both had colds, Neil and I had decided to stay in the hotel that night and get something to eat in our room, and then get an early night. I think we both needed a proper rest after getting only a few hours of sleep each day since arriving in Thailand. We both weren’t well so a good nights rest would do us good and maybe help us get rid of these colds.

We pulled into our hotel and we Gave L Baht700 which was our share of the jeep hire. L thanked us and then we thanked L and the rest of the girls for taking us out and spending time with us. We walked back into the hotel and went to our room. We were both pretty tired from the day’s events and our colds weren’t helping matters. But we both agreed how much we had enjoyed it. We both knew that the places we went today, you couldn’t book on any tours, it was just a case of it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. It certainly was fascinating. Neil told me about the girl from the bar who was off with him all day. He said she seemed to blow hot and cold. One minute she was fine with him, the next she more or less ignored him and gave him dirty looks and he couldn’t figure out why. He asked me my opinion and I said I couldn’t figure it out either, and being a Thai bar girl, the chances of either of us figuring it out were very slim, we had more chance of running a mile in 2 minutes.

We chilled out for a little while and watched some TV on our beds. K sent me a text asking how I was. I told her about my day and how great it had been, I asked her how she was and she was fine. I missed K. Before I left for Thailand we would text each other six of seven times a day, and now, being in Thailand and after everything that had happened, I had more or less forgotten about her. It wasn’t because I had been busy and not had the time, it’s because I just didn’t have any real desire to text her. I thought about that for a while. We had been such good friends before we met, and both of us had looked forward to meeting and spending some time together, she even had plans to spend three days in Phuket with me, but as things turned out, those plans we talked of, those little dreams we’d had and shared, just didn’t come true and it made me sad. How could something so great and so perfect, turn into what it had done more or less over night? I just didn’t know.

We decided to order our meal from the room. Neil found the menus and we had a look through. We both decided on Thai noodles with pork and all the trimmings. We also decided on a big bottle of Singha each. Neil rang through the order and then took a shower. I sat there and watched some TV. The movie 15 minutes was on so I was getting into that.

20 minutes after ordering the meal, there was a knock at the door, Neil was still in the shower. It was our meal and the guy brought it in. I paid and gave him a Baht20 tip, even though a service charge was already on the bill. I didn’t have the right amount so he went back down to get the change. Neil was now out of the shower. There was a knock on the door again and Neil went to answer it, the same man who brought up the meal was here with the change. Neil thanked him and came back in the room and we opened up our Singhas and tucked into our meals. We were now both getting into the movie 15 minutes. Now when I ordered these noodles, I expected them to be the thin stringy type, but they turned out to be these very thick type of noodles. Neil liked his, but I didn’t like mine, well, it was ok, but I wouldn’t have it again.

We finished our meals and drank our beer. We were both full and I was very tired, I asked Neil how he felt and he said the same. After finishing our beers I went out onto the balcony to have a smoke. I loved it out here, the thick warm air surrounding me, the sounds of crickets, and bikes, cars, the sea and the wind in the trees. It may not sound peaceful but it was, it was very calming in a way. I thought about K again and what had gone on between us. I knew then we were both losing each other, the wheels had already started turning in those first moments of us meeting, that cold hug from her had seen to that, and it felt like there was nothing I could do to stop it. I’d seen a different person to the one I knew and grew very fond of. Maybe that was a good thing that I’d seen it, it was hard to think about really. My thoughts then turned to T; I wondered how her trip was going, if she was having fun. I thought about her coming to Phuket and seeing her again. I couldn’t believe I was thinking it, what was wrong with me? Half of me wanted to see her and half of me didn’t. I finished my cig and went back inside.

I walked in the room and Neil was on the phone to C. I sat there listening to his English/Thai speak and laughed, I couldn’t resist getting the camcorder out and filming a little of it. After he said goodbye I rang T. She was happy that I’d called and told me about her trip, she was enjoying it but had gotten a little too drunk and fell asleep in the toilet of the house she was in. I laughed and asked her if the floor was comfy, she told me no and said she had a couple of small bruises on her legs because of it. She said she was missing me and wanted to see me again. I told her I missed her as well and said I’d call her again the next day as I was going to bed very shortly and getting an early night. We said our goodbyes and I put the phone down.

Neil told me about his conversation with C. She had mentioned Phuket and coming to see him again. I think we were both actually warming a little to the idea, even though I didn't really want to warm to the idea, but we were just worried about the cost, well that was one of my worries, the other being, well, getting attached, there, I said it. We’d only brought so much money on this trip and we didn’t want to get to the stage where we would run out. It was still only our second day in Phuket so we had a long way to go. We decided to sleep on it and we also decided to get up early in the morning so we could take advantage of the free breakfast in the hotel. I set the alarm on my phone for 9am. I said after we had breakfast I’d need to get some travellers checks exchanged and also get some stuff for the cold I had, we were going to go today but it had slipped our minds.

At 11.30pm my phone rang, it was L asking what I was up to. I told her I was going to bed soon as I was pretty tired and full of a cold. I asked her what she was doing. She said she was at Mc Donald’s with her friends and they were sat outside having a beer and messing around. She asked me if Neil and I would like to go. I told her it was nice of her to offer…..wait a minute; you could buy beer at Mc Donald’s? Well yes, you could and I couldn’t believe it, beer at Mc Donald’s? I told her thanks for the offer but we were going to bed, she said ok and called me a Muppet. I laughed and told her I’d pop into her bar tomorrow and put the phone down.

I turned out the lights and got into bed. As I slowly fell asleep my thoughts turned to K and I felt sad again. I also thought of what we would do the next night now that all the bars were open. Would it be a night to remember? Well I didn’t know at the time, but it would be for Neil.

Day 8 (Phuket)

Monday July 14th. Damn those vibrating phones. It was 9am; my phone let me know that little detail. I sneezed and grabbed a little tissue I had by the side of the bed. So much for a good nights sleep maybe helping me with this cold. I also felt just as tired as I had done in the last few days. It was a different kind of tiredness than the one you may feel at home. I didn’t feel as though I wanted to sleep and sleep, it was just a little spaced out feeling. I was in holiday mode, so sleeping for 8 hrs a day never entered my mind, I could easily have made do with 4 hours of sleep a day. I had plenty of time to recharge my batteries when I got back home. Neil kept on saying to me on this holiday how it was possible for me to be so awake and alive all the time, he said I was like a robot, who never seemed to get tired. I just told him that once I was on holiday and in holiday mode, being tired is just something I never thought about or wanted to think about. I didn’t want to waste any time on thoughts about going to sleep.

Neil started to stir and I got up and had a look outside. I was greeted with blue skies and bright sunshine. Finally I would be able to sit out in the sun and get a bit more colour in my cheeks. Not that I looked like a ghost or anything, but a little more colour would be nice. We both decided to grab some breakfast first and then have a shower. We got dressed and left the room and went downstairs to where they were serving breakfast. It was pretty busy in the restaurant. It looked like everyone was going to take advantage of the glorious sunshine and hot humid weather that Phuket was producing today. We found a table and then got back up and grabbed some cereal and fresh orange juice. After wolfing that down like we hadn’t eaten for three days, we got up and went over to the self service buffet. We both got a couple of sausages, pieces of bacon, an egg and a couple of slices of toast each, plus tea and more orange juice. I have to say I was quite full after all that, fit to burst as the saying goes.

After finishing our breakfast we went back up to the room and I had another cup of tea, Neil had coffee and we saw that we were running out of milk. So we thought that while we were out buying pills and cold remedies, we’d grab some more milk from the 7-11. We both had a shower and slapped on some sun cream and I got my passport and some travellers checks to change at one of the many exchange places. Before we left, we decided to use the laundry service that the hotel provided. It was pretty cheap for what we wanted washing so I put in one top and Neil put in a couple. We filled in the form, put our tops in a bag and left the bag on the bed then headed out.

We walked past the massage shop and they were all there, including that girl who had caught mine and Neil’s eye. They all said hello and we said hello back. It was nice to see them again after the shop being closed the previous day. As we got onto the main beach road and turned right and crossed the road, I noticed how busy it seemed today. There were lots of people today, the road was pretty busy and everybody seemed to be out in the sunshine and heat. We walked past the beach. There was a big group of girls on the beach, all dressed in some kind of orange uniform. I looked at them and one of them turned round, saw me, then turned to a girl next to her and they turned round and looked at me, smiled and waved and wanted me to go over to them. I nudged Neil and showed him what was going on. I laughed and just waved at them and we walked past. As we walked a little further down, shops and eating places on either side of us, I saw an exchange place, but wouldn’t you know it? It was shut, they were due to open in about 30 minutes, and I just told Neil I would come back a little later. We then saw a Boots just up ahead. We were both as hot as hell and as we reached Boots and walked inside, it was a welcome relief to get inside an air conditioned shop. We had a look around and got in the way of the cleaner a couple of times, she didn’t seem to mind and just smiled. Eventually we went up to the counter and asked the lady if she had anything for a cold. She took us over to where everything was and picked something out for me, she told me what to do with them and then I picked up some paracetamol and Neil got some more sun cream and some stuff to put on a hanky or tissue to sniff and clear your nose. We went up to the counter to pay but it came to over Baht1000 and we didn’t have enough money on us. Luckily Neil had bought his card and went to an ATM machine to pull out some cash. I was thinking when he went that he could have paid for the stuff on his card, as they took Visa, even though it was only a debit card and not a credit card. While I was waiting for him I had a look around. I tried searching for this stuff L had the first night we were in her bar. It was this Thai cold remedy in a small little tin with a picture of a monkey on it. You put it on your nose and on your temples and it cleared your head and nose. Of course, L had taken it too far and started to put it below my eyes and all over my face, resulting in my face burning and my eyes watering. I couldn’t see the stuff.

Neil came back in with the money and paid. We thanked the lady and left and started walking back to the hotel. We walked past the beach and the group of girls in uniforms were still there. The two girls who had let on earlier spotted us and asked us to come over and join them, we laughed again and told them no. They looked disappointed. One of the things in Thailand that I could never get my head around that always amazed me was the attention you got from the girls. Where ever you went, what ever you were doing, they gave you attention, either by a smile, a wave or a hello. They didn’t do it with everyone, but for some reason, Neil and I had our fair share and more of attention from the girls each and every day and it was bloody great, whether it was because we were young, or young looking, that’s me not Neil, or some other reason, I just don’t know. But it was always great when it happened, plus, it was a very big ego boost.

We crossed the road and went down a side street with a few market stalls on either side; we came into a clearing and saw the 7-11, just before we walked inside we heard someone shouting to us, we looked up and saw an Indian man stood in a shop doorway at the end of the clearing. The shop itself was a material shop that sold fabrics from India. The man asked where we were from and we said England, he then said to come and see him after we’d been in the 7-11, we told him ok and we went inside. We went to the fridges just at the back of the shop and found some milk, we also got a couple of bottles of Singha and Neil got some fruit juice. We paid at the counter and I got some chewing gum. We left and went over to the Indian man who had called out to us. We said hello and we got talking to him. His name was John?? He told us he liked English people as they were friendly and he asked us how we were enjoying our trip. We told him a little about it and we chatted to him a little more. He was a nice guy. Just before we left, he asked us a riddle that we couldn’t figure out, he told us to come back the next day and he would tell us the answer, we said ok and then waved goodbye to him. Neil decided to go to the ATM machine again and we went over and he pulled out some more money. We then went back to the hotel.

As we walked passed the massage shop I called the girl over that had caught our eye. I said that I was going to bring the camera out and get a photo of her, she laughed and then got her phone out which had a camera on it and she put her arm around me and took a picture, I laughed and said I’d see her later. We walked back into the hotel and went to our room.

We were hot, very hot and the air conditioned room was a welcome relief. I took a pill I had gotten from Boot’s. We decided to get changed and get ready for an afternoon in the sun. Neil made us both a tea and coffee and we drank it on our beds. We tried figuring out the riddle John had given us, but we couldn’t work out the answer. After finishing the drinks we got changed, slapped some more sun cream on and went onto the balcony into the afternoon sunlight. Within minutes the sweat was pouring off us. We may have wanted a little colour but it was a hard job doing it, plus it was boring. There’s nothing worse than just lying there and doing nothing. I decided to listen to some music on the Discman, saying to myself that after the CD I was playing had finished; I’d reapply my sun cream. Neil passed the time by reading Dreamcatcher.

As we sat there baking like turkeys in an oven at Christmas, we talked about the holiday so far, about the people we’d met and the things we’d seen and done. We knew our time in Phuket had only just begun and there was still plenty to see, do and experience, colds or no colds.

The CD finished and I went inside to get a little cooler, dry off and then put some more sun cream on. Neil continued to read Dreamcatcher. I went back outside and sat down once again with the blazing hot sun on my body. I put in another CD and started listening to it, but wouldn’t you know it, after 25 minutes, the battery’s ran out and I just had to sit there with nothing to do or keep my mind occupied. As I sat there I heard a knock on the balcony window. Neil and I both turned round and all I saw was my top which I had put in the laundry bag earlier. Neil got up and went to see the person who had brought the laundry back. After a few minutes he came back out. I said to him “that was quick, I didn’t think we’d see those tops for a couple of days” I went inside and had a look at my top; it smelt great and had been ironed and brought back with a nice new hanger.

At around 6.30 pm the sun was stating to go down and it looked very nice. Neil and I both got some pictures as well as camcorder footage. We carried on watching it and decided to have the beers we had bought earlier. It felt great sitting here, watching the sun go down over the sea and having a cold beer; it couldn’t get any more perfect. Although I don’t drink alcohol at home, sitting her with this beer just complimented it all, although I’m sure a cup of tea would have had the same effect. We talked a little about what we were going to do that night. We decided to get an Indian meal and then hit a few bars including L’s bar and the Margarita bar. We both agreed we wouldn’t spend long at L’s, just show our faces and stop for a couple of drinks.

The sun was now completely down, it was 7.30pm. We finished off our beers and went inside and watched a little TV. I took another pill for my cold and decided to have a shower and shave, also to get this cream off and get the after sun on. I’d certainly caught the sun, especially on my stomach, chest and face, in fact I noticed while I was in the shower, that my stomach was stinging a little, but just thought it was normal, after all, I’d been in the sun for about 4 hours. After my shower I looked at my stomach in the mirror and yep, it was a little red, so was my chest. I didn’t think it was that bad and I knew it would brown off in a couple of days, plus, the after sun cream would take care of it. I looked in the mirror sideways and I looked liked a weird version of a domino, I knew then I’d have to do my back the following day to make myself more even. I came out the bathroom and showed Neil my new found colour and lack of colour, he laughed.

Neil took a shower and I got dressed for the night ahead and watched a little TV. When Neil came out he got dried and dressed and we were more or less ready to leave. I looked at my money situation, I had forgotten all about going to get some of my travellers checks exchanged but I had just about enough for the night ahead. I took a paracetamol for my cold and we left our room at about 9pm in search of an Indian restaurant.

I’d told Neil about the place we went to the previous year and we tried to find it, but, for some reason we couldn’t find it. Then we thought of an idea, why didn’t we ask one of the Indian suit sellers if they knew of a place we could go? They couldn’t get us to buy a suit but they still had their uses. We asked one guy and he said he knew of a place that he went to. So he took us there. It wasn’t the same place as last year but it was an Indian restaurant all the same. We thanked him and he went back to the beach road to sell his suits. We sat down and ordered our meal and a couple of bottles of Singha each. There were a few other customers, a family of Australians and another group of Australians consisting of two guys and two girls. Our meal came and it was gorgeous, although what kind of ruined it for me was blowing my nose every minute to stop it running.

After finishing our meals and paying, we thanked the owners and we were on our way.

Walking down the beach road we decided to go to the Margarita bar first for a couple of drinks. We got onto Bangla road and walked down. It was a lot busier tonight, certainly not packed but there were a lot more people walking around. What amazed me as we walked down the road, just like last year, was the amount of parents and children walking up and down this road. Now I know Bangla road is no Patpong or Nana Plaza but I would still regard it as kind of a red light area, certainly an area for the sex tourist. So why the parents of these young children are taking their kids up and down this road is a mystery to me. I can just imagine the conversation in the hotel rooms of these family’s “so kids, tonight we are going to take you to a place where there are half naked girls dancing on bars, half naked men dressed as women dancing on bars and where lads, old men and married men can get their rocks off and rent a girlfriend for a few baht” the kids response being “gee dad, that sounds like fun, I can’t wait” dad is thinking to himself “it sure does sound like fun hehe” We reached the Margarita bar and went in. There was no rugby playing tonight which was nice to see. We sat down and ordered a couple of beers. Pool on one of the sports channels was playing on the big screen. A Chinese man was in the game and some of the looks he gave were priceless. I started making up things about what he was thinking, saying stuff like “Bloody hell I've just realised I’ve left the oven on at home and I need to ring the wife to let her know” after the Chinese man had lost his game, he was being interviewed so I was making up what he was saying, I came up with things like “well yes, I did lose, but the oven incident was scary and playing on my mind, we had a chicken in the oven and the cat was locked in the living room, it could have been messy, so I thank my lucky stars the wife picked up her mobile phone when I called her” After a couple more beers we left and decided to go in Tiger bar which was just across the road. I told Neil about the girl I’d met in there the previous year and wondered if she was still working in there. I knew in my mind she wouldn’t be, a girl like that wouldn’t be working in a bar for long. We walked in and went to the bar that she worked at, but, she wasn’t there. We ordered a vodka red bull each and I needed a lighter. The girl serving behind the bar saw my plight and gave me a lighter for free, I thanked her and we carried on drinking.

After we finished our drinks we decided to go to the Banana disco just near our hotel to see what it was like. I said to Neil that I would stop off at the hotel and get one of my mixes first and see if I could get it played. In a way I was promoting myself, the more I got heard in these places, the more I would get recognised, well, I was happy with it, it probably wasn’t working but it hadn’t done me any harm so far, after all, I did get one of them played and ended up DJ’ing. We went back to the hotel and I got the mix and we went over to the banana disco. We walked in and it was shite, utter shite. There were about 20 people in there; a group of about 6 people were on the dance floor break dancing, they were quite good though. The music being played was Hip Hop which was crap until Dr Dre came on and our heads were nodding and our feet were tapping. We stood at one of the bars and ordered a bottle of water each. We would have sat down at the bar but there were no stools to sit on. Because of the music being played, I decided not to get my CD out because with the people in here it wouldn’t go down too well, plus, I didn’t fancy being the cause of a group of break dancers breaking their necks trying to keep up with the BPM of my mix. After we finished our water we left, never to return.

We then decided to go to Tai Pan which was another club at the bottom of Bangla road, just across from the Margarita bar. I went in there the previous year with P and it had been ok. So we made our way down the road, got to it and went inside. They had a live band on which consisted of a Dane of about 50 who looked like one of the guys in AC/DC and a Thai girl singer who I have to say was very good. His voice was ok, but hers, well, if you are down in Phuket and you see Tai Pan, go in and check her out. We stayed there for a couple of drinks and we spotted a man of about 60 dancing next to a table with a Thai girl of about 25. What was funny about it was the fact the he reminded us of how your granddad will look at a wedding, the way he will try and dance with everybody else to a fast beat record and come off looking, well, like your granddad dancing. We finished our drinks and then left. We then decided to go into L’s bar for a couple of drinks. We got there and L and her friends were happy to see us. We were hot so L got us some of those face wipes which was nice. Neil and I both spotted the girl he had met on his first night in Phuket, the one who had treated him like a leper the day we went out with L and her friends. She was sat at one end of the bar with another guy and they were playing tongue Olympics. Neil wasn’t bothered about it in the slightest, he thought she was ok, but after the way she had treated him, he couldn’t be arsed with her. I needed the toilet but I didn’t have the Baht5 in change to get in so I asked L for it, she gave me it and off I went. All the girls I passed went to work on me, most recognised me from the first night I was in there and when I was the DJ. I was messing around by running away and hiding my face, they laughed and said I was crazy. I managed to get to the toilet unharmed. After I had finished, I let on to the girls again, they all said hello and some wanted me to have a drink in their different bars, I passed and said I’d see them again. I got back to L’s bar and Neil was sat next to the girl who had treated him like a leper. The guy who she was with had now got bored and left. I looked at Neil’s face and he didn’t seem happy. I looked at L and she shook her head. Something was going on. I started playing the dice game with L and her sister and was messing around with them. I told L about my cold and asked her if she still had that stuff she had put on me the other day, she said no but she did have something else (where was she getting this stuff from?) It was a liquid that you sniff. I started listening to what was being said between Neil and the girl. She was having a go at him, saying he was married and that he was a butterfly. He told her he wasn’t and tried to keep calm, I then stepped in and said to her that he wasn’t married, but she wouldn’t listen. Neil told her he’d been with one Thai girl since coming to Thailand and that was all, but she didn’t believe him and was getting more and more wound up. L told me she had been drinking and I said to L that it would be best if we left after we finished our drinks. L looked a little disappointed but she seemed to understand where I was coming from. Neil knew not to lose his cool and start having a go at this girl, I told him before we came what they could be like and how it was best just to stay relaxed and take it on the chin without getting mad or raising your voice. I turned to Neil and said “drink up because it’s best we go” he said ok. I carried on playing with L and Neil just sat there looking at the drink in front of him while this girl constantly called him a cheat, butterfly and a married man. Eventually we finished our drinks, I thanked L and said we would be in the next day to see her, she said she was sorry for what had happened and Neil and I both said it was ok. We waved and then left. Neil had gone pretty quiet over what had happened, so he needed cheering up a little. As we walked down Bangla road towards the Margarita bar end, it started raining, we looked to our left and saw Rock Hard a Go Go and I knew if anything would cheer Neil up, it would be girls dancing half naked on a stage. We went inside and we were shown to a couple of stools just in front of the stage and we ordered a couple of beers. We hadn’t been in here before but it seemed quite nice, the music was a great mix of rock and dance and it was cool from the air con. I asked Neil how he was feeling and as he looked up at the girls dancing on stage, I knew he was getting better by the second. When each song was over, the girls would move position, or move up a pole. The ones at the front, who couldn’t move up anymore, left the stage and two other girls got on. Just then a song came on that lit up both mine and Neil’s faces, it was the Jungle version of Kosheen “Hide U” we both looked at each other and smiled. It was certainly a head nodding and foot tapping tune and if the stage wasn’t full of Go Go girls, I’ve no doubt that Neil and I would be dancing around those poles. After that song, it was great song after great song. We were really enjoying it in here and Neil had certainly forgotten about the girl in L’s bars giving him a hard time. Neil then went to the toilet and I was on my own watching these girls when I felt a tap on my shoulder, I turned round and saw a Go Go girl stood in front of me. She said to me “my friend like you” I said “which friend” and she pointed to another part of the bar where lots of girls were sat; there must have been about 20 of them. At the back of those girls there was a small stage with two girls dancing on it. I asked her which one and she just pointed but I couldn’t see where she was pointing too. I said to her “why doesn’t your friend come over and tell me” to which she replied “well when my friend likes someone, she gets shy and will not introduce herself” I just said “oh right, well thanks for telling me” she then walked off just as Neil sat down. He asked me what that was all about and I told him.

The next song came on and two more girls got off the stage and another two got on. One of these girls was very nice; she had short hair and was memorizing to watch. She kept on looking down at me and smiling. I wondered if she was the girl who liked me. I turned around and had a look at some of the people inside this place. There was the usual mix of old men and young men. The older people made me laugh, some looked liked they had had all their wishes come true at once and others seemed to try and act as young as possible by dancing on the spot, well, swaying their hips with a drink in their hands, it was a funny site to see. Just then I spotted someone I had to do a double take over, I tapped Neil on the arm and shown him who I was looking at. We both looked and couldn’t believe it. James Cameron the film director was in Rock Hard a Go Go and he was wasted. It seemed he was taking a break from filming Dark Angel and headed down to Phuket for a little RAR. We watched him and then a girl on stage caught his swaying eyes and after she finished dancing she went over to him. He nearly fell off his chair. He talked to her for a little while but she then suddenly screwed up her face and walked off. Neil and I started laughing. He was all over the place. I was tempted to go up to the girl and ask what he’d said, but decided to leave it. I went to the toilet, as I walked past all the Go Go girls sat in the corner, I tried to see if any of them might be the girl who liked me, but there were too many of them to really make any judgement, plus, every one of them seemed to smile at me as I walked past. When I was in the toilet I saw a very funny poster on the wall, it was advertising Red Bull Kamikaze. It had a picture of a Thai girl that had been made ugly by computer graphics, it showed her with great big teeth and she looked like a dog. The slogan above this picture said “before red bull kamikaze” there was another picture of the same girl underneath but this time the picture was normal and she looked very beautiful, the slogan under this one said “after red bull kamikaze” well, I thought it was funny.

It was now 2am and the bar was shutting. All the girls came off the stage and went into the back to get changed. Neil and I finished our drinks, James Cameron had fallen asleep. All the girls started coming out and I saw the girl with the short hair, she saw me and as she walked passed, she felt my arm, touched my chest and smiled. Could it be her that liked me? Who knows? We finished our drinks and left.

We walked up Bangla road and I had to stop a second because I thought I was going to be sick. I hadn’t drank that much and didn’t feel drunk, plus I’d had water, I also noticed that my stomach and chest were burning a lot more now than before and I felt quite dizzy, it passed and I wasn’t sick. We carried on walking and I had a quick look in L’s bar but she had already gone. There were a still a lot of people walking about. We got on to the beach road and as we walked past the Banana disco and turned down the road to our hotel, I felt someone tap on my shoulder. I turned round and it was the Thai massage girl from the shop just near our hotel. She was out of her uniform and looked more beautiful than ever. She was with a group of her friends and it looked like she had just been in Banana disco. I resisted the urge to tell her we were there earlier and it was shit. She asked us where we had been and if we had enjoyed ourselves, we told her yes. We then said we were going to bed and we said our goodbyes and told her we would see her when we went past her shop the next day, she laughed and said she would say hello and ask us again if we wanted a massage.

I was feeling pretty rough now, my chest was burning, my head was all fuzzy and I just didn’t feel right. We got back to the room and flopped on our beds. I took my top off, the whole of my front was red raw, I showed Neil and he was a little shocked, it wasn't like this before and over the course of the night, it had gotten worse. Neil said he was going to ring C. I got myself some water and half watched TV and half listened to his conversation. He mentioned her coming down to Phuket and he also mentioned me and T. He put the phone down and I asked him what she said. He told me she was coming down. She was going to get a bus about 7pm Tuesday and come to Phuket for a couple of days. He told me that I had to ring T because she wanted to come as well but she didn’t think I wanted her there. Half of me did, half of me didn’t. I rang her and told her about the night, I told her I was feeling pretty rough. She thought I was drunk but I was far from drunk, I just didn’t feel well. She asked me if I wanted her to come to Phuket with C and I said yes, but she didn’t believe me, she said again that I was drunk. I told her that I would ring her the next day and tell her the same thing and that was that I wanted her to come. She laughed and said she would expect my call, I said ok, she told me she missed me and we said our goodbyes and I put the phone down. Neil and I both looked at each other. It was happening, they were coming, and it was more or less signed, sealed and about to be delivered. We wondered where they could stay and the only hotel I knew of that was cheap and had air con was the hotel I had stayed in with P. But the trouble with that hotel was that it was at the back of L’s bar and to get to it you had to walk right past L’s bar. It didn’t really bother me because P wasn’t there any more, but I was more concerned about Neil and the girl he had met in that bar. She was calling him butterfly and if she saw him walking past the bar with C, then it could cause all kinds of trouble. We decided that when we got up, we would get something to eat and go looking for a cheap hotel they could stay in for a couple of days. There were bound to be loads around here and it was just a case of finding one. In a way, we were both looking forward to seeing them again. I asked Neil about the girl in L’s bar and he just said it was a nightmare, but he knew she was drunk and hoped the next time he saw her, it would be easier.

We got ready for bed and switched the lights off. As sleep started to take it’s hold I thought of T coming to Phuket, I was quite happy I’d get to see her again and I’m sure when she came, it would be a good couple of days with some great memories, well, I got that right, it certainly would leave me with memories, but, that was something I didn’t know at the time. Something I also didn’t know at the time, as sleep took me to the land of dreams, was that this night for me was far from over.

Day 9 (Phuket)

I was half dreaming and half awake. It was one of those times where you knew you were dreaming, you are fully aware of what’s going on around you, where you are and what you're doing. I was in L’s bar, lying in my bed, L was stood next to my bed and I needed the toilet. I asked L where the toilet was and she pointed to where it was. I got out of bed and went over to the toilet. I was now awake and inside the toilet. Suddenly I started feeling very sick, like I was going to throw up at any moment, the sweat was pouring off me and it hit me what was happening. I knew this feeling very well, it had happened to me the previous year when I had chicken pox. That feeling would result in me losing consciousness. I started to panic, I knew I had to get somewhere safe and the only place I could think of was my bed. I left the bathroom, but it was too late. Just as I started to walk past Neil’s bed I collapsed, hitting my head on the wooden floor of the hotel room.

I don’t know how long I was out, but as I started to come too, I tried to get up but the sick feeling came back again and I knew that if I got up, I wouldn’t make it to my bed before it happened again. All I could do was lie there and wait it out, wait for that sick feeling to go away. I’m not sure how long that was but eventually it passed and I got to my bed and I lay there wondering why it had happened. Why here? Why now? I went back to sleep. Neil didn’t stir at all through the whole thing.

A woke up early. Well if you call 9am early. My head hurt, my stomach hurt from the sunburn and all in all I felt pretty crappy. But the good news was that my cold had gotten a little better. I asked Neil if he was awake and he said “mmmmm” I took that as a yes. I asked him if he had heard or seen anything last night when I had collapsed and he said no. I then told him what had happened; going into all the detail I could think of. Neil’s response to this was “oh right” then he turned over and went back to sleep, charming. I did the same.

I woke up a few hours later feeling a little better. This time Neil seemed fully awake and I asked him if he could remember me telling him about what happened to me last night, he said no and sat up. I then told him again and he said he couldn’t remember me telling him the first time round and said he was sorry, that he must have been asleep and just not taken anything in. I made a joke saying that I could be bleeding to death on the floor asking for help and his response would be “oh right” he laughed. He asked if I was ok now and I said yes, and I just said that I think the combination of the pills I took, the alcohol, my cold and the mild sunstroke had probably taken its toll on me and that was the result. I felt the corner of my eyebrow and it was a little tender, I’m guessing that is where I must have hit myself when I went down, although I seem to remember when I got out of bed I think I hit my head on one of the posts at the end of the bed, but I’m not sure. It wasn’t swollen or anything, just a little tender. We decided to get up and get something to eat. I needed to change some money and we also had to try and find a hotel for the girls to stay in. God, they were coming tomorrow, it hadn’t been a dream, it hadn’t been some story we had talked about, it was all true and in 24 hours time, they would be in Phuket.

I got up and looked outside; it was another day of glorious sunshine and blue skies. Neil went for a shower and I made myself a tea and Neil a coffee. I then went onto the balcony to drink it and have a smoke. As I sat there I thought about me passing out and it scared me a little because it could have been a lot more serious, I also thought of what would have happened if I’d passed out in a bar or on the street. I also thought about T coming down and how it would all go. Would I be happy to see her? I guess I knew I would be and I knew it would be a nice couple of days. I told her I’d ring her today to reassure her that I wanted her in Phuket. I decided I’d do it now. I went inside and called her. I told her I wanted to see her and I was really happy she was coming down. She seemed happy and laughed a little, it seemed from the tone of her voice that she was excited and a little nervous at the same time. In a way it was like she couldn’t believe what was happening. She told me her and C would get the bus from Bangkok at about 7pm that night and would be due in Phuket around midday on Wednesday. I thought about it and realised that was 17hours. I couldn’t believe it, on a bus for 17 hours just to see me, that’s commitment for you. I said goodbye and told her I’d call her later on to see how the trip was going, she told me she was looking forward to the call.

Neil was out of the shower and I went in. My stomach was still stinging quite a lot so I knew that if I did any sunbathing today I’d have to keep it covered up. After finishing in the shower, I got changed and put on a little sun cream. I grabbed my passport, some traveller’s checks and a little money for something to eat and I was ready to go. We then left the hotel room and made our way to the beach road. The massage girls were there again and we said hello, they all waved when we walked past.

We crossed the road in order to avoid the suit sellers. It was very hot, the sun was beating down and because it was after 12pm, it was at its strongest and it certainly felt like it. As we got to Mc Donald’s (you didn’t think we’d go somewhere else did you?) the sweat was pouring off us so once again, the air con was a welcome relief. It was pretty busy inside but we managed to find somewhere to sit and we ate our meal. We talked a little about me passing out and the girls coming down from Bangkok. We both hoped we would find a hotel and wouldn’t have to resort to the one at the back of L’s bar. There were a couple of reasons why I didn't want them to stay in that hotel. One of them being the girl Neil had met and had trouble with. The girl he'd met in that bar had called him a butterfly and this would only throw more coal on that fire and could cause problems. The second reason was because of the P thing from the previous year, it wouldn't feel right me going to that hotel with T and having to walk though the bar with L and all her friends, they all knew about me and P and I just felt weird about it. In a way it sounds like I wanted to hide T, but it wasn't the case, I think I was doing it out of respect for P, sounds strange but it's true.

We finished our meal and left and headed to an exchange place so I could get some money. Neil also needed some money so we stopped off at an ATM. He pulled out some money and we walked a little further up the road. Neil said he wouldn’t mind getting a couple of new T-shirts from one of the market stalls so we found the place that I went in the pervious year to get my tattoo and also a new cap. Neil had a look and picked up four new t-shirts and also got himself a cap. After a bit of haggling on my part he paid a grand total of about £10, not bad really.

We walked further up the road and came to an exchange place and I got my money. Before we went looking for a hotel we decided to go back to the room and drop off Neil’s new stuff and my passport and money. The massage girls said hello again as we walked past, the one we both liked came down the steps from her shop and said hello; we talked to her for a minute and said we’d see her again soon as we would be walking past again, she laughed and said "see you soon, I wait for you" There was a travel and tour shop just at the end of the row of shops where the massage place was and we went inside and spoke to a woman in there, asking her if she knew of a hotel with air con for about Baht500 a night. She said to leave it with her and she would get back to us if she had any places or came up with anything. We gave her our room number, thanked her and then went into the hotel. We went to our room and put all the stuff away. We also got cool as we were very hot. After 10 minutes we left once more and went in search of a hotel. We said hello to the massage girls once again and headed off to Bangla road.

Bangla road during the day always seems so strange. When you see it night after night with all the action, hustle and bustle and everything going on around you, to see it during the day it’s like a different world, it just doesn’t feel right and walking down the road in search of a hotel, I just felt that I was lost, in new surroundings. We went down a couple of Soi’s but with no luck, just dead ends or people telling us “you cant go down there, it’s private” We walked past L’s bar and saw a sign above one soi which said “Sea Dragon hotel, 50 metres” it had an arrow pointing down the Soi we were now stood at. We walked down and there were bars on our left and Go Go bars on our right. I also saw a very small Hard Rock Café which obviously wasn’t the real thing but I’m sure if the owners of Hard Rock had seen that little shop, they would have them changing their name faster than you could say “burger please”

We didn’t see the hotel at first; we just came to the end of the soi and wondered where it was. We turned back scratching our heads and then we saw it, just next to a small Go Go bar. The front of it was all open and there was a man sitting on a sofa just inside. We walked in and spoke to him, saying that a couple of friends were coming down from Bangkok the next day and how much Air con rooms were a night. At first he said they were Baht600 but I told him that a hotel just down the road was charging Baht500, he said ok and agreed of Baht500. He told us to check in when our friends arrived. We thanked him and left, we also let out a sigh of relief because we had found somewhere so quickly. I had visions of us walking around all day without any luck and then having to settle on the place at the back of L’s bar. Neil asked about the woman from the travel shop who said she would see if she could find somewhere for us, I just said that I didn’t think she would get back to us and if she did, we’d just tell her it was ok as we’d found somewhere.

A friend on Neil’s in the UK had asked him if he could get him some Thai Boxing shorts, so Neil had said he would. As we walked back to the hotel we had a look at a few stalls selling clothes. We saw that one of them had some Thai Boxing shorts so Neil decided to get some. They cost Baht300. We’d been in another couple of shops when we came to Phuket, one of them a sports clothes shop and the other was a kind of surfer/skater type shop. Neither of them had the shorts. Neil paid and we left and went back to the hotel. Our favourite Thai massage girl was sat outside her shop and she waved and said hello as we went past.

We got back to the room and decided for the rest of the afternoon we would sit out in the sun. It was time to do my back, I was sick of the domino look. We got cooled off and I came up with an idea for sitting out on the balcony. The previous couple of times we’d sat in the deck chairs but I decided to do away with those and grab the duvets on our beds and lie them on the balcony floor, grab a couple of pillows and hey presto, comfort sunbathing. We got to work and within 5 minutes the balcony was ready and it looked pretty good as well if I do say so myself. We slapped on the sun cream and went outside. I’d charged the Discman so I was sorted for music, Neil had Dreamcatcher.

Within 40 minutes I’d had enough; it was just too hot and too boring. I went inside to cool off and have a drink of water. Neil soon followed. After a quick break I went back outside but couldn’t be bothered with my back, I mean who was going to see it anyway? It’s not like I was going to go back to the UK and walk around with my top off. So I lay on my back and covered my stomach with a towel to stop it getting any more burnt than it was already.

I was bored again within 20 minutes. I’m just not a sun worshipper. It’s just too boring lying there and doing nothing. Listening to music or reading a book does take that boredom away for a certain amount of time, but my mind starts to wander too quickly. How anyone can sit or lie there for hours on end is a mystery to me. So for the next few hours it was a case of a bit of sun, then a break, a bit more sun, then another break. Before I knew it, the sun was setting and we were taking the covers back in the room and putting them back on the beds.

The sun set was gorgeous; the only problem was that we didn’t have a cold beer to toast it with. Neil said he’d go to the 7-11 and get us some Singha. I gave him the money for mine and off he went. It didn’t take him more than 10 minutes and we were both now sat on the balcony watching the glorious red sky and seeing the sun move behind the sea. We talked about where we would go that night. We called it our “last night of freedom for a couple of days” because the girls were coming down the next day. I asked Neil the time and he said 7.10pm. They would have just set off. In 17 hours they would be here, it was weird to think about it. We were both glad they were coming down, both of us looking forward to it and seeing them again. I told Neil we had to go in L’s bar because I was going to get my CD back off the DJ and also give him the other CD I had with me, but we both said we weren’t going to stay long, not because we didn’t like it, but sometimes too much of the same thing can make it feel like routine and as we were on holiday, we wanted to be away from routines, we had enough of those back home, but we always enjoyed ourselves when we went in L's bar, we could have a really good laugh with her and the others girls and because they all knew us, it made it just that little bit more special. We finished our beers and went back inside and went to get ready for the night ahead. I looked at my phone and noticed that K had sent me a message asking how everything was going. After all that had happened when we met, she was still keeping in touch. I was glad in a way but my mind just kept on going to that first night, that cold hug. I sent her a message back saying it was going ok, how I burnt my stomach and about me passing out, but I didn’t go into detail as there is only so much I could write in a text, so I told her I’d call her instead. Neil went in the shower and I called her from the hotel phone. It was nice hearing her voice, I did miss her and if I’m honest, I still held a torch for her. Even though those things had happened, I always remembered what we were like before we had met. We were great friends and I loved talking to her each day and seeing how she was and I missed it, I missed her. I told her everything that had happened and she asked how I was now. I told her I was getting better, I asked how she was and everything was going ok for her, she said she was busy with work and things were more or less the same in her life. I told her I had spoke to N on the phone and thanked her for coming to Ministry with us, I said she was a great friend. K gave me quite a sarcastic comment back and said “well, I’m not surprised you like her so much” I didn’t say anything to her about it; I just decided to leave it. After a 10 minute chat we said our goodbyes. I didn’t know it, but that would be the last time I would hear her voice.

Neil came out of the shower and I went in. It was just a quick shower to get rid of the sun cream I had on me. Plus, Shrek was on the TV so I wanted to watch that while getting ready to go out. I came out of the shower feeling refreshed and got ready to go out. Neil was still only half dressed as he was watching Shrek as well, we both sat there like zombies watching it. When we were finished getting ready, we got our money together and talked about getting something to eat. We decided we both wanted a steak. We’d go to one of the restaurants on the beach road. I told Neil I needed some more cigarettes and would get some after the meal and bring them back to the hotel room before we hit the bars. We left the room and made our way out of the hotel.

The massage girls were there to say hello to us. I was amazed at the hours these girls worked; it seemed they were there for about 20 hours a day. We let on and walked past. We got onto the main beach road and found a large open air restaurant that looked ok. We asked a girl just at the entrance if they did steak and she said yes and took us inside. Were shown to a table and given the food and drink menu. We both ordered a beer each. There was a group singing on a small stage just at the back of the place and in the middle. It consisted of two Thai female singers and a guy on keyboards. The girls were going for it, dancing up and down to Abba like their lives depended on it. They had a couple of admirers as well, two guys of about 45 were sat just near them with their digital cameras taking photos and drinking their Carlsberg’s. We both ordered Steak and waited for the food to arrive. My cold was getting better but I still had a bit of a runny nose, and the heat wasn’t helping. It seemed a lot hotter tonight and the humidity was extremely high, and because we were sat outside and not near any fans or air con, I was feeling it more than normal.

Our steaks came and we started to eat. Our resident band decided to sing “I’m having the time of my life” but the guy on the keyboards fluffed his lines and sang out of tune and out of time. The two Thai girl singers tried keeping it together by dancing around the stage throwing their hands in the air, it didn’t really work, but their admirers who were sat just near them were snapping pictures like they were on speed. After we finished our steaks and beer we paid and we walked to a shop so I could get some cigs. I found a shop and went inside, Neil stayed outside. As I went inside, there was a Thai man and woman behind the counter. The Thai man was watching TV and the Thai woman was reading a book, they were both sat down. I stood at the counter and waited, and waited, and waited. Eventually the Thai man looked up and I asked him for a carton of cigarettes. He couldn’t be bothered stretching over and getting them so he asked the woman to get them. She just carried on reading the book and then he asked her again, she let out a sign and turned round and got the cigs. I paid and then left. They left me feeling like a truly satisfied customer.

We walked back to the hotel, I told Neil about the cig buying incident, he just laughed, so did I. The massage shop was closed so we weren’t greeted by the girls. We got back to the room and I put the cigs away and grabbed the CD I was giving the DJ and then we left the room again and made our way to Bangla road. As we were walking down, Neil said he wouldn’t mind going to an internet place so he could send an email to his sister to let her know everything was going ok. I took him to one I went in the previous year which was just next to the Margarita bar. It was practically empty apart from the woman controlling the computers and a Thai male sat at one of the computers. Neil checked his email and he had 276 unread messages. You may be thinking Neil is Mr Popular, but 270 of those emails were for various things like Viagra, penis enlargement and how to make your lady very happy. He sent the email to his sister and I did a quick check of mine. I didn’t send any out, I was just curious to see what was there. I had 8 new emails and none of them were for Viagra or anything like that. After I finished, Neil paid and we went next door to the Margarita bar for a couple of beers. We decided on Carlsberg but instead of bottles, they had it on draught, so we had a couple of glasses. As we were sat there drinking and talking, a couple of UK singers came on, they did an acoustic set and sang all kinds of songs, and they were very good indeed. Neil said we’d have to get them on film and I agreed. After finishing our beers it was just after 10pm and we made our way to L’s bar. Patong was getting busier, there were loads of people walking about and going to the different bars. It certainly wasn’t rammed with people but it was a big improvement from our first night here. We got to L’s bar and went in.

We did something stupid Neil and I and I can’t believe we did it and I don’t think L and her friends could believe it either. As we walked in, we walked straight past L’s bar and walked a bit further down. We both stopped and I said “where the hell is it” we looked back and there was L and her friends laughing their heads off at our stupidity. I’m not sure if they thought it was a joke or we actually did it for real. I decided to keep my mouth shut and not tell them it was for real. We went over and sat down and all the girls said hello to us. The girl who had called Neil a butterfly sat next to him and started talking to him. L got us some drinks and asked me how I was; she also called me a Muppet. I told her I was fine and told her what we’d done that day. I then said I was going over to the DJ to say hello and get my CD back. As I went over, all the girls let on in the different bars, they seemed to know me now and smiled and waved when I walked past. I messed around with a few of them and got some laughs. I reached the DJ booth and the DJ was in there with the female DJ. He smiled and said hello, the female DJ did the same. He gave me the CD back and I gave him the other one, he said he would play it in a second because the female DJ was playing hip hop and he had to wait for her to finish, I told him I was going back to the bar and said I’d see him a little later, he waved and the female DJ just smiled. I then went back to L’s bar and sat down and played a few games. Neil was playing the blocks game with that girl. My mix them came on, it was greeted by a small cheer from the girls in the different bars. I got off my chair and took a bow, L and her friends stared laughing and some of the girls in the others bars waved. I then sat back down and started playing Connect four with L and her sister. After a few minutes I heard “MARK” I turned round and I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was the mamason from the previous year. She was the one who had looked after the girls in L and P’s bar the previous year. She came over and I stood up and we hugged each other. She asked me how I was and asked how long I was in Phuket for. I told her what I’d been doing and I asked where she was working now and she said she was working in one of the bars in Tiger Bar and she told me to come and see her before we left for England. I introduced her to Neil and told him how I knew her; they had a quick conversation and shook hands. It’s was great seeing her again as we’d got on so well the previous year, she'd called me her son. L was just laughing at us. She then said she had to go and I said I’d see her before I left. She gave both Neil and I a kiss and then left.

About 40 minutes of my mix was played and then it got turned off and Hip Hop came back on, I was a little sad because it was starting to really pick up and people were loving it. Just then, a girl came in between me and Neil and put a bottle down on L’s bar. I looked at this girl and she was absolutely gorgeous, I’m talking model looks and she just oozed sex appeal. I looked at her and she looked at me, smiled and then walked off. L snapped her fingers and I looked up at her and she started laughing. I asked her what she was laughing at and she said “lady boy” I looked at L, then looked at this girl who was now making her way out of the bar and then looked at L again and said “no way” and she laughed and said “yes, lady boy” I couldn’t believe it and if you saw this girl yourself, you wouldn’t believe it either. I turned to Neil and asked him if he’d just seen that girl but he said no. I told L I was going back over to the DJ booth. As I walked past the bars some of the girls clapped and cheered, I did some cheeky bows as I walked past. I got to the DJ booth and said to the DJ he could borrow the new CD to copy if he liked and he said yes. I told him I’d be back in a couple of days to get it because I wouldn’t be coming in the bar because some friends were coming down from Bangkok. That was the thing, I didn’t really want to bring T in here because, I didn’t think it would be nice for her being around all these other bar girls, plus, like I said before, there was that respect for P, even though she wasn't here anymore, it still felt like her place, her spirit was still there, to me anyway. I thought she’d like it much better if we went to some other bars away from the bar girls and sex tourists. The DJ said fine and I said I’d see him in a couple of days. I said goodbye to him and the female DJ and started to walk off, but he shouted me and I turned round, he then said “you like Thai lady” and I said “what do you mean” he then pointed to the female DJ and said “she like you” I started laughing and the female DJ hit the male DJ and said “no I don’t, I don’t like you, you’re an underground techno man” and started laughing, I started laughing and walked off. I did like the female DJ, she was very nice looking and of course, she was a DJ. Her only fault was that she was a Hip Hop DJ, but I couldn’t hold that against her, well, I could, but decided not too.

I got back to L’s bar. Neil was still playing the blocks game with that girl. I played a few more games of connect four with L and her sister and we had another few drinks in the bar. Every so often, someone new would walk into the bar and the girls would shoot over to him and try dragging him to their bar, or dirty dance in front of him, it was pretty funny to watch. L's sister kept on doing it and so did the other girls in L's bar. Neither I nor Neil minded at all, after all, we were just friends with everyone in that bar; they knew that just as much as we did. In a way, it was like we respected each other, there was an unspoken understanding there. We'd have fun with them and they would have fun with us, but when it came to men walking past, they had a job to do. L of course didn't do it, L didn't go with customers. You might find that hard to believe but it's true. She never has gone with customers. Even when she met Dave the previous year, she never had sex with him. Just then, the bug seller came round and offered me some, I ran away when she showed me what she had. All the girls laughed at me as I shot off and stood by one of the empty bars with a look of “I’m going to be sick” on my face. In her bag she had cockroaches, beetles, crickets and what looked like dragon flies. They were all cooked and ready to eat. L then bought some of the dragon fly type and I stood there in shock. The bug seller then moved on and I went back to the bar. L kept on putting them to my face; I thought I was going to be sick. All the girls in the bar were laughing at me. It was now getting on for 1am and Neil and I decided to go somewhere else. I told L we wouldn't be in for a couple of days because we had some friends coming down from Bangkok, but I told her we would be back in on Friday to see her. She seemed ok about that and we then said goodbye to everyone and left. Just as we were walking out, L shouted to me, I turned round and she said “come here, I have a present for you” I walked back over and she gave me the stuff she had for a cold, the stuff that had a picture of a monkey on the front. I laughed and thanked her and then we left. Walking down Bangla road we decided to go to the soi where all the lady boys were. If you’ve been to Phuket then you will know where that is, plus, they were playing pumping dance music so I had the idea of getting my CD played, the one I’d just got back off the DJ. We walked in and found a bar; it was the second bar on the soi, just to the left as you enter. We sat down and ordered a Vodka Red bull each. The whole place was full of Lady Boys. They were walking around, dancing on bars, dancing inside bars and also dancing on this little podium that was situated at the very front of the soi. I asked the girl behind the bar where the DJ was and she pointed to the first bar, just next to the one we were sat at. I got my CD out and told Neil I was going to ask if he’d play it. I walked over and told him I was a DJ from the UK and could he play this mix. He asked me what type of music was on it and I told him that it was progressive and euphoric trance. He told me he didn’t like trance and wouldn’t play it. I said fine and walked off. It was weird because he was playing cheesy euro crap, the kind of stuff you might get on a Flip and Phil compilation, in other words, the worst type of dance music, even more worse than firkin Garage (for those wondering what the hell I’m talking about with this music, I will spare you the details and just say that you may know it as thud, thud, thud music) I told Neil and he shook his head. We finished our drinks and then we left. There was only one place we felt like going now and that place was Rock Hard A Go Go.

We walked in and found a couple of seats just next to the bar. I did a quick scan of the faces in here tonight and wouldn’t you know it? But James Cameron was in again. It seemed JC was becoming addicted to watching the dancing girls and drinking himself into a stupor. We ordered a couple of beers and watched the show. I turned to the right, towards the front entrance and saw a Go Go girl coming towards us with a bunch of flowers. I looked at her and she looked at me and then I signalled that I wanted to look at her flowers. She came over and handed them to me, I then got up and said “for me, thank you” and started to walk to the front entrance. She laughed and so did Neil and then I turned back round and handed them to her. She then asked where I was from and I told her, she then said she was going to dance very shortly, said goodbye and walked away, she took the flowers with her.

Neil and I liked it in here, we weren’t there to pick up the girls or anything, but just to have some fun and like with the flowers incident, have fun with the girls as well, just a laugh with them. We were both in agreement that we liked the mix of music in here and it sounded great on the sound system they had. We finished our beers and ordered a couple more. I saw the girl with the flowers on the stage and I pointed at her and smiled, she started laughing and carried on dancing. James Cameron had now fallen into a coma. I also saw the girl with the short hair just in the corner where all the others girls were, she looked at me and smiled and I smiled back.

It was getting on for 2am and all the girls got off the stage. Neil and I started to drink up the remaining beer we had left. I looked over to where the girls hung out in the corner and noticed one of the fattest guys I’ve ever seen, this guy was huge. He came down from that area and made his way to the front door and seemed to know everyone who worked there as they were either letting on to him or saying goodbye as they walked out of the front door. I guessed he was the owner of the place. I felt a tap on my shoulder and it was the flower girl, she asked me if I wanted a lady for the night and I said no and she pulled a sad face. I told her I was sorry and she smiled and touched my arm and then said goodbye. Just as I was drinking the last of my beer, the girl with the short hair walked past and looked at me and smiled, I smiled back and just as she got to the bar she moved her head to signal that she wanted me to go with her, but I shook my head and she smiled and walked out.

Neil and I had now finished our beers and we left. We headed back to the hotel. It was now 2.20am and everywhere was more or less shut down for the night. There were still lots of people about. There were lots of western men either in groups, on their own or with Thai girls. We had a quick look in L’s bar as we walked past and there was no one at her bar. We got onto the beach road and just before we got to the road that our hotel was on, we were stopped by two girls and we started chatting to them. They asked us where we were going and if we wanted a lady. We just had a laugh and a joke with them. I got the stuff that L had given me for my cold out of my pocket and one of the girls took it off me and opened it and put some on her temples, she then gave it back to me. I noticed that she had something on her tooth and I asked her to show me her teeth. I looked and she had some sort of diamond on one of her front teeth, I asked her if I could have it and she laughed. We said to them we had to go but they tried dragging us back and pretending to cry. They asked us our names and we told them. We managed to get away and the one with the diamond in her tooth said “goodbye Mark, I hope I see you again” I just laughed and we walked back to the hotel.

We got back to our room and sat on the beds. I told Neil I was going to ring T as I said I would when I spoke to her earlier on the phone. I called her from the hotel phone and said hello. She sounded really happy to hear my voice and told me she had been waiting for my call and that she was tired but couldn’t sleep and the bus was very cramped. I felt really sorry for her, I think it’s because of all the travelling she was doing just to come to Phuket to see me, plus she was tired and it couldn’t have been easy for her on that bus. I told her I missed her and I was looking forward to her getting to Phuket. She let out a nervous and excited kind of laugh, like she couldn’t believe I meant what I had just said, like it was a dream of some kind, my heart went out to her a little. She really was a very sweet girl and I did want to see her. She asked me about my night and asked if I was drunk. I told her no, which was true because I’d been drinking water as well as beer. I told her to try and get some sleep and to ring me when she got here. I asked about C and she said she was asleep. We said goodbye to each other and I put the phone down.

Neil and I talked for a while about the night we’d just had. Neil told me that the girl in L's bar, who had called him a butterfly, had said sorry to him for being so nasty with him. She said she was drunk and hadn't meant the things that she said; we were both pretty surprised about that. We also talked about the girls coming down. We knew they would be here at about 12pm so we had plenty of time to get a good rest and be ready for them arriving, plus, we knew it would be our last night in this hotel for a couple of days, we were going to miss these comfy beds. We carried on talking and watching a little TV. It was now getting on for 4am. Both of us were slowly nodding off. We weren’t ready for bed, we were still in our clothes and the lights and TV were still on and before we knew it, we were asleep.

Wednesday for me and Neil was going to be a great day, the girls would be here and we’d spend a couple of days with them, it was going to be great, or so I thought. Little did I know that our first night with the girls would turn into the night from hell for me.

Day 10 (Phuket)

I heard something, what was it? I heard it again, was that my phone ringing? I reached over to the bedside table, my eyes were still shut and I grabbed my phone “hello?” “mark, it’s T; we are here now” What?” I said “We are here now, we wait for you in hotel reception” “you’re here now?” I said with shock in my voice “Yes, we downstairs, we just arrive, we wait for you” “ok, I will be down in 5 minutes” I put the phone down.

I opened my eyes and looked at the time on my phone, was it 12pm already? Nope it was just after 6am, we’d had two hours sleep. The lights were still on in the room, the TV was still on. 6am? What’s going on? Their early, this can’t be happening. I turned to Neil and said “Neil, are you awake? That was T, they are here, they're waiting in reception” Neil stirred and went “mmm” I carried on “Neil, did you hear me, they're here, we’ve got to get up “mmm” “Neil, get up” “mmm” “NEIL, GET UP” “mmm “GOD DAMN IT NEIL GET UP” Neil shot up, he asked what time it was and I said “just after 6am” Neil looked at me and said “6am, what the hell are they doing here at 6am, they aren’t due for another 6 hours, I’ve had two hours sleep, what the hell are they doing here, what am I doing in my clothes”

We both got up and we tripped over each other. We were rushing around, we didn’t know why we were rushing around, and we didn’t know what we were doing or where we were going. We were tired, disorientated, not with it at all. There was no time for a shower, there was no time to change our clothes, there was no time for a cup of tea, hell, there was no time for me to have a smoke on the balcony. I just wanted to go back to sleep. Was this a dream? Would I start feeling sick any second and then collapse again? Was L stood next to my bed pointing to the toilet? What the hell was going on?

We finally pulled ourselves together and got some money, had a drink of water and then left the room. We went downstairs and into the hotel reception area and there they were bags by their sides and sat on a couple of chairs waiting for us. They saw us and smiled. I smiled and went over to T and kneeled before her and gave her a hug, telling her it was great to see her and that I was tired. I asked them how come they were here at this time. T laughed and said “why, you have lady with you in your room?” I laughed and said “maybe” and she hit me on the arm. We were now ready to go and we left the hotel and made our way to the Sea Dragon Hotel on Bangla road. They both had backpacks with them so I carried T’s and Neil carried C’s. Patong was quiet, very quiet, it was 6.30am so I kind of expected it, but to see it this quiet was kind of strange all the same. T insisted on holding my hand all the way to the hotel, she said to me “you look tired” and I said “I feel tired, I just didn’t expect you to be here at this time, I thought you would be here around 12” she told me they had got an express bus which was a little quicker” I thought “yes, 6 hours too quick”

We got to the Sea Dragon and went inside. There was a woman sat behind the counter and a security man sat on a chair watching some Thai TV show. I went up to the counter and told the woman that we had been in the day before asking about two rooms and could we have two air conditioned rooms. She got out a couple of keys from a draw and said “Baht 400 for each room” I thought to myself “Baht400? The guy told us Baht500 yesterday, oh well, looks like if you check in early, you get a discount” we then paid the money, got the keys and made our way upstairs to find our rooms. After a couple of flights of stairs, we were facing two long corridors to the left and right. We walked down to the left and I found mine and T’s room. Neil and C’s was on the next floor. I said goodbye to them and T and I went inside our room.

There was no air con in our room, only fans. Great, I thought, no wonder she charged Baht400. It was warm in the room but once the fans were turned on, it didn’t seem too bad. There were two single beds against the wall and a bed side table separating them. There was a small table against another wall straight ahead of us. On the bed there were a couple of blankets and a couple of towels. There was also a bathroom just to the left. As you walked in the front door, there was a small wardrobe and mirror combination thing. It didn’t seem bad at all for the price. It certainly wasn’t first class but by no means a dive. We both sat on the bed and T gave me a hug and asked if I was happy, I said yes and she hugged me tighter. She said she was tired and was going to take a shower, I said fine and then she put her bag just next to the wardrobe and got some stuff out. She then put her hair up and grabbed one of the towels and went in the bathroom. I lay on one of the beds and had a smoke. I was very tired. After 10 minutes T came out with just the towel wrapped around her, she smiled and walked over to where her bag was. She looked very beautiful. I couldn’t believe we were actually here, that she was here in Phuket, it seemed so surreal, like it wasn’t happening. She turned to me and asked me if I was going to have a shower, I said yes and then grabbed the other towel that was on the bed. I looked at the towel and it was more or less the size of a face cloth. I then looked at one of the blankets for the bed and it kind of resembled a towel, so I took that instead. T laughed. I went into the bathroom and got undressed. I then turned the shower on and it was cold. I waited a second for it to warm up but it remained cold. I shouted to T and said that the shower was cold; she replied that it didn’t have any hot water and I’d have to have a cold shower. Great I thought, but at least it will wake me up. I put my head under the shower and let out a huge breath, it was freezing. I did bits of myself and didn’t stand directly under it until I was more use to it. Eventually the huge breaths stopped and I had my shower. I came out about 10 minutes later and she was sat on the bed. I was still drying myself with the big blanket towel I had.

We decided to get rid of the bedside table and push the beds together. Once that was done, we then lay on the bed and she put one of her arms over me and the other arm under me. We lay there just holding each other. I asked her if she was happy to be here and she said yes and kissed me. We carried on kissing and then one thing led to another. We had a blanket over us, it was all very sweet and very nice and I was happy to hold her and be here with her, even though I was tired, it was worth it because she was here and to see her smile and see her happy was a nice sight to see. We then fell asleep with our arms around each other and her head on my chest.

I drifted in and out of sleep for most of the morning and then finally we both woke up around 12pm. We lay there for a while talking and she showed me her new mobile phone and the little sock she put it in. I kept on waiting for it to go off all the time with other guys phoning her, I didn’t trust her completely, after all, she was a bar girl. I know it sounds awful of me saying that and I feel awful saying it as well but I’ve been to Thailand before and I’ve read all the horror stories so I wasn’t getting too attached, whether that lasted I wasn’t sure, only time would tell. But her phone never really rang that day, she got the odd message and the phone rang once, but whoever was on the other end, spoke in Thai so I didn’t think anything of it. My phone went off a lot more, with calls and messages.

T got up and went into the shower. The room was now like the inside of an oven, it was roasting. Even T was sweating a little and saying how hot it was. There was no way I was going to let her stay in this room. Once we got ready and knocked on for Neil and C, we’d go down to reception and change rooms for Air conditioned ones, hopefully this time we’d actually get one. When T got out of the shower I told her I couldn’t face another cold shower in this room (even though it was extremely hot) and said that we would walk back to our hotel so I could have a quick shower and get changed, she said fine.

When she was dressed I told her to pack her bag again as we weren’t staying in this room. She packed her things and we were ready to knock on for Neil and C. We left the room and found Neil and C’s room and knocked on the door. C came to the door and I walked in and the heat hit me. I thought ours was bad but this was 10 times worse. Neil was lay on the bed, his shirt was sticking to him and he said to me “I’m dying, I’ve got to get out of this room” I laughed and said “I know the feeling mate” Neil and C were already dressed. I asked T and C if they were hungry and they both said yes. I told them we would go back to our hotel and I’d grab a quick shower and then we’d go and get something to eat on the beach at one of the little places along the beach itself. After a few minutes we were ready to go. I noticed that C had brought a couple of Thai comics with her to read and I had a quick look at them, I didn’t have a clue what I was looking at but T found them funny, she was just stood next to me looking at them as I was looking at them.

We left the room and went down to the small reception area. There was a different woman behind the counter this time and we asked her for two air conditioned rooms and we handed over Baht500 each, we also gave her the keys back to the rooms we’d just had. She handed us two more keys and we said we might as well go to them now so the girls could put their bags inside the rooms. We went back upstairs and found our rooms on the first floor, this time they were both next to each other. I went into a room with T and Neil went into the other room with C. We turned all the power on and there was the air con unit. I went over to it and it worked a treat. There was also a fan in the room as well. I went into the bathroom and there was a shower unit, but this time it had a hot water dial. No more cold showers for me which was good. T put her bag down and we left the room and went to knock on for Neil and C. Neil came to the door and we went inside. Neil had a smile on his face because they had air con, I knew the feeling. After C put her bag away we left the rooms and made our way downstairs and outside.

We walked out into the street and it was a glorious day once again. Blue skies, very hot, it was perfect. We made our way to the hotel; T grabbed my hand and held it. We walked past L’s bar and I told T that was where one of my friends worked (Big Mistake number 1). I’d already told her about the friends I had in Thailand. She looked at me and smiled and said “you very popular guy” in a way she repeated what the hotel receptionist in Bangkok had said to her the morning she rang our room to say her and C were there to see us off.

We got to the road our hotel was on and walked down it. The massage girls were there and they said hello, Neil and I smiled and waved (Big Mistake number 2) I then looked at T and she looked at me with a straight face but didn’t say anything. I just told her that they said hello everyday when we walked past. We got to the hotel and went inside to the reception area. We asked the girls if they wanted anything while they waited. I asked them if they wanted any Hagan Dais ice cream, they both said yes and we bought them some. We told them we’d be about 10 or 15 minutes and they said fine and they made their way to a couple of seats just near the pool. Neil and I then went up to our room.

We got in the room and the maid had already been. We sat on our beds and let out a sign and laughed. I asked Neil about his night or morning in this case and he said that it was certainly better not having me in the room with him; I laughed and said I agreed. I told Neil I was getting a shower and he said ok. I got in the shower and just had a quick one. I knew the girls were waiting for us and I didn’t want them waiting too long. I finished my shower and went back into the room and Neil went in. I decided to make some tea and sit on the balcony and have a smoke, I asked Neil if he wanted a coffee and he said yes. I made the drinks and left Neil’s just next to the TV and went outside with my towel wrapped around me. It was just getting on for 2pm so the sun was on the balcony and it was roasting. As I sat there having a smoke and drinking my tea, I thought of the night, well, morning I’d just had. That phone call after only two house sleep, trying to wake Neil and make him get up, seeing T and C in the reception waiting for us. It had been nice seeing T again even if I was a little sceptical about it. I don’t know why I felt sceptical, but it was there all the same but I tried not thinking about it. The best thing to do would be for me to enjoy the next couple of days for what it was and everything would be fine. I was glad T was here and I was happy that I was going to spend the next couple of days with her, away from girly bars and her bar, away from bar fines, even though I never had to pay her bar fine.

Neil came out of the shower and came onto the balcony with me. We talked a little about the girls and what we would do for the rest of the day and for the night ahead. We decided on the beach for the rest of the day and as for the night, we thought the best thing to do would be to take them to some quiet bars, away from other bar girls and sex tourists. I’m sure they’d seen enough of those and they were here to have a little break and some fun away from work and the sort of bars they were use to. We both left the balcony and got ready; we slapped on some sun cream, grabbed some money and then left.

When we got downstairs the girls were in the same place we’d left them. We went over to them and T said she wanted to smell me? She leaned in close and smelled my neck and said “mmm, just how I remember you in Bangkok” that was one thing I forgot to mention. When we were in Bangkok and Neil and C had gone to the hotel pool leaving me and T in the room on our own. Just after she had cried, she smelled me and said I smelt really nice all the time and she wanted to remember my smell. After she had finished her smelling test, we all left the hotel and made our way to the beach. As we walked passed the massage place, the girl Neil and I liked was stood there in a straw hat with the words “Beautiful Thailand” written on it. I waved her over (Big Mistake number 3) and asked to have a look at the hat, she gave it to me, I said thanks and then I started walking off with it. She laughed and I stopped and gave it back to her. We all started walking again. We crossed the road and got on to the beach and made our way up the sand looking for a place to eat. The beach was pretty packed with tourists and there were women doing massages. A woman stopped T and I, she had a picture book showing girls who had had their hair braided and said "you would like" I said "well my hair's too short for that I’m afraid" T started laughing. The woman then looked at me and said "not for you, for the lady, I was talking to the lady" I laughed and said "no thanks"

We walked a little further down the beach and we saw a little eating place and went inside and sat down. It was a pretty nice place, everything was under cover and it had a small bar inside it and it overlooked the beach. There were a few people inside, mainly westerners, some on their own, some with young Thai girls and there was also a few Chinese. There was an elderly couple in there that were just sat at the open entrance that led onto the beach. The elderly man was sat reading the paper in the shade and the elderly woman was sat in the sunlight with her eyes closed and her shoes off. One of the waitresses came over and gave us a menu and asked us what we’d like to drink. Neil and I ordered a coke each, T ordered water melon and C ordered Fanta. The girls spoke to the waitress in Thai and then she looked up and signalled to a woman on the beach. The woman then came over and talked to the girls in Thai, the woman then went away. I asked T what that was all about and she said she was just ordering some food. The waitress went to get our drinks and Neil and I looked at the menu, we both decided on fried rice. When the waitress came back with our drinks she took our food order and then went away. A few minutes later she came back with plates for the girls as well as a couple of spoons and a couple of forks for them.

While waiting for the food to come I asked the girls what they thought of Phuket, they both said they liked it. I’m not sure why I asked that question, after all, they weren’t going to say it was crap and that they wanted to leave. I guess you could call it small talk. After a few more minutes the woman from the beach came over with the girl’s food. I didn’t have a clue what it was so I asked T and she just said it was spicy food with noodles and I looked at it and could tell it was spicy, it gave off that “if you’re from the west, don’t try me because I will kill you inside” look. T asked me if I’d like to try some and I said no. Once all the food was laid out on the plates, and believe me, there was a lot of it, T paid the woman and she went back on the beach and disappeared. After a few more minutes mine and Neil’s food came. It paled in comparison to theirs but what the hell. We tucked in and it was nice, I was the first one to finish. The girls said I ate too fast but I just put it down to the fact that I hadn’t eaten all day and I was starving. The girls ate very slowly, which was ok really because I liked it in this place, it was outside; it was very relaxed and had a really nice feel to the place. C looked onto the beach and saw a small child and did the whole “isn’t it cute routine” but he was very cute. He was half Thai and half western. C waved at the child and he smiled and laughed.

When the girls and Neil had finished their food, Neil and I paid for the drinks and our meals, the girls had already paid for theirs and we made our way down to the beach. The old couple were still there. The guy was reading his paper and the woman’s eyes were still closed. A young Thai man came up to us and asked if we wanted any sun lounges, we asked for four together and he took us to some. He asked us if we wanted the umbrellas blocking the sun and I looked at T and C and they both said yes. Well you guessed it, the girls didn’t like sitting in the sun and they didn’t want to get a tan. Once the lad had set up our spots on the beach, Neil paid and we all sat down. We all talked and had a laugh and a joke, did some people watching. Neil and I made fun of the men we saw in trunks. Didn’t these guys have any clue at all that swimming trunks on a man just look stupid? Neil summed it all up by saying these simple words “trunks are shit” we saw plenty of them that day. Most of the men wearing them were over 40 and it was hilarious seeing them, even the girls were laughing at them and making fun. If you are a guy and you are reading this, here is a piece of advice for you. You may think you look good, you may even think that you look attractive and girls are drooling over you in those tight swimming trunks of yours, but believe me, you look like idiots and people, including girls are laughing at you. So get yourself a pair of shorts and leave the trunks at home gathering dust.

A woman came around selling drinks and we got a couple of bottles of water, she was also selling boiled eggs and the girls got some of those with some kind of brownish sauce in a small see through plastic bag. The woman liked us so much she gave me and Neil a bunch of bananas. They were very small bananas but bananas all the same; the girls called us monkey men. While I was watching some of the jet skiers in the sea, one of them decided to come back onto the sand to hand his in, as he left the sea and came a little way up the beach, the jet ski got caught in the sand and came to a sudden stop, this resulted in the guy nearly flying over the handle bars head first. Luckily for him he didn’t go all the way over, luckily for me I saw it all and I couldn’t stop laughing.

The sun had now set and it was starting to go down and it looked stunning. I decided to walk down to the sea and have a mess in the sand. I got off my chair and went down to the sea front. I saw a couple of crabs on my travels and some weird worm’s break dancing in the sand. As I got to the waters edge I looked out to sea with the sun going down. It was gorgeous; it was such a great view. Soon after T came and joined me and we stood there for a while looking at the view, she had her arms around me and was leaning on my chest. We moved a little away from the sea and messed around in the sand looking for crabs. After that we made our way back up the beach to join Neil and C. I gave T a piggy back for part of the way then I bent backwards as though I was going to drop her, she started laughing and then I straightened up and she got down and hit me on the arm. We walked back up the beach holding hands. I saw a lot of joggers on the beach, some western and some Thai, I also saw a group of Chinese joggers and decided to run after them for a little while, T was laughing at me the whole time, I stopped and went back to her and she said “Mark you crazy”. We walked up to where Neil and C were and we talked about what we were going to do that night and what time we were going out. I suggested that the best thing for us to do would be for the girls to go back to their hotel and we went back to ours so we could all take showers and get changed for the night ahead. Everyone agreed. We then left the beach and got onto the main beach road. T said she had to buy a couple of things from the small supermarket just on the corner of Bangla road. Neil and I said we’d wait and walk them back to their hotel. We crossed the road and the girls went inside the shop. As we waited outside a young Thai guy came up to us selling cigarettes. I asked him how much a particular brand was and he was cheaper than some of the shops in the area. I told him that I wanted to buy five cartons off him on Saturday and promised him I would be true to my word and buy off him. He said ok and said he was always in this area so he would look out for me. He then left. The girls then came out and we made our way down Bangla road to the hotel. C spotted a couple of stalls selling clothes and she wanted to have a look at them, so we went to them. Neil noticed that one of these stalls was selling DVD’s so he asked the man if he had the film Identity. He took Neil off to the back of the stall and they disappeared behind a curtain. I was left standing on my own twiddling my thumbs then a girl who worked at one of the stalls came up to me and asked if I would like to sit down while I waited, I declined her offer but said thanks anyway, and she smiled and went back to her stall. The girls came out of the small stall and we stood there for a minute, they asked where Neil was and I told them. C said she wanted to look at a few more stalls and said that if we wanted to go that would be ok. Neil then came out with his film and we told the girls we would pick them up around 9pm. It was now just after 7pm. They said fine and we said our goodbyes and left and made our way back to the hotel.

On the road leading to the hotel, our favourite massage girl was there to greet us, we said hello and waved. We then got to our hotel and decided it was our turn to get some Hagan Dais ice cream, so we bought some and went to our room. Neil asked me if I wanted a drink and I said yes, so he made me some tea and made himself a coffee. The sun was still not fully down so we sat on the balcony to a glorious red sky. We sat there eating our ice cream and drinking our tea and coffee and talked about the day we’d just had. We were both in agreement that it had been a nice day spent with the girls and we were looking forward to spending the evening with them and going to a few bars. I was glad it was just the two of us now, just sitting out on the balcony, chilling out and talking. It was a good feeling being in Neil’s company, we’ve never been on holiday together and it had been great so far, we were alike in many ways and that helped us get on so well. We called each other names and we were sarcastic to each other, but it was just banter and all in good fun, neither of us took it serious.

We ended up talking and chilling out for too long and before we knew it, it was 8.30pm, we were to pick the girls up in 30 minutes and neither of us had had a shower. I went in first and had a shave and a quick shower. When I got out, Neil went in and by the time he got out, I was already dressed and ready to leave. Neil got dressed quickly but neither of us was quick enough as it was now 8.55pm. I sent T a text telling her we were running late (Big Mistake number 4) and that we were about to set off. We got our money and left just after 9pm, we took the camcorder with us as well. We left the hotel and went past the massage girls and said hello and we got onto the main beach road. Neil got stopped by a couple of suit sellers and as I was stood there I heard someone say my name. I turned round and it was Jon, the Indian guy we had met the other day when we went to the 7-11. He asked us how we were and I said we were both fine and that we hadn’t worked out his riddle. Neil had got rid of the suit sellers and he came over to where I was talking to Jon. Jon then told us the answer to the riddle and it was such a stupid answer I couldn’t believe we hadn’t thought of it. We told Jon we had to go but we would pop in to his shop to see him before we left for the UK. We said goodbye and made our way onto Bangla road and then to the girls hotel.

We were stopped by girls from every bar we passed, some holding price signs in our faces, others just holding onto us asking for us to go inside their bars. We were tempted of course. One thing that made me laugh was that coaches would come down this road and they were full of tourists, either arriving in Phuket or leaving, but it always made me laugh when you looked at the peoples faces on these coaches. With the men it was utter amazement if they were arriving or utter sadness if they were leaving. When you looked at the women’s faces on these coaches, it was utter happiness if they were leaving and “oh my god, get me out of here” if they were arriving. When we reached the soi the hotel was on, we were stopped about 10 times by guys asking us to go into the Go Go bars, we told each one of them we were staying in the hotel on this soi and that was good enough to get rid of them. We reached the hotel and went inside. There were a couple of people in the main reception area watching Thai TV, none of them seemed to notice us as we walked past them and got to the stairs that took us up to the rooms. We got to the rooms the girls were staying in and Neil and I both knocked on the separate doors. T answered hers first and I went inside. She had the big room light on which was too bright so I put the lamps on over the bed and turned off the big light. I looked at her and she looked beautiful. She was all dressed up and looked so pretty, I couldn’t take my eyes off her. I sat on the bed and told her I was sorry for being late. She asked why I was late and I just told her Neil and I were talking on the balcony and we didn’t realise the time. She came over to me and sat down next to me and put her arms around me and kissed me. She smelt me again?? Was she doing this to see if she could smell another girl? She then said to me “you smell so nice, I love to smell you” I had visions of her being a zombie and eating me when I fell asleep, the visions went straight out of my head as soon as they popped in there. The comics I’d seen earlier in the room C was in were on one of the beds. I asked if she’d been reading them and she said yes, they were very funny. She then got up and checked herself in the mirror. As she was stood there someone knocked on the door and she answered it. It was Neil and C. I had another look at the comics and then T said she was ready. We all made our way to the door and then we left the room. T held my hand all the way. When we got to the stairs, T asked me to give her a piggy back, I told her to piggy back off.

We got downstairs and left the hotel, the two people in reception didn’t notice us going, they were too into their Thai TV show. We got onto the soi, C said she was hungry and would like to get something to eat first. I suggested going to the Thai restaurant that L and her sister had taken Neil and me too on our first night in Phuket. We made our way there, walking past all the bars and shops on Bangla road it seemed very busy that night, it looked like as each night passed, more and more people were coming to Phuket. Because we were with the girls, no other girls came near us, they looked, some even smiled, but they didn’t say a word. We got to the bottom of Bangla and crossed the road, we saw Tai Pan and went down the side street just next to it and found the restaurant. We all went inside.

Now two things hit me when we walked inside. The first being the heat, the air con hadn’t been switched on and it was well over 100 degrees inside and you couldn’t breath. The second being how empty it was. The first time we went in with L and her sister it had been really busy with lots of Thai people coming in and sitting down in big groups. It was mainly bar girls, Go Go girls, hotel workers, shop workers, you name it. But seeing it now, we were the only people in there. I think the reason why is because this place didn’t get any trade till after 2am. It was still open, but you knew that the people working in there didn’t expect any customers, which is probably why they all had a look of shock on their faces as we walked in. I had a vision of a group of people planning a bank robbery, all huddled together discussing who was doing what and suddenly the police coming in and the group looks up and they split up in every direction to get away. A waiter came over and I noticed it was the same waiter who had served us the first time we went in with L and her sister. He showed us to a table and we sat down and ordered some drinks. Neil and I were burning up big time and the girls noticed our suffering and asked the waiter if we could be seated somewhere else so we were near the air con. The waiter said ok and we all got up, he showed us to another table and put the air con on. A cool blast of air hit us which was great but it was far from cool. It would take quite a while to make this place cool. The waiter came over with our drinks and we ordered our food. T and C ordered, well, I haven’t got a clue, and Neil ordered a Thai Curry and I ordered some rice. A girl who worked in the restaurant put on some music. There was a little stage just near the back of the place; it was the same stage the Thai singer we had seen the other night had stood, singing all those Thai songs.

Our food came and we started eating. It amazed me where T and C put all this food they ate. There was loads of it and I just couldn’t believe how much they ate. They just didn’t get fat. Of course, they both thought they were fat and no matter how much you told them otherwise, they just wouldn’t believe you. After 10 minutes of eating, the Thai singer came in and got on stage and set up. We told the girls about how good he was and Neil and I both looked forward to hearing him again, he was a great singer. We couldn’t understand a word he was saying mind you, but he was still good. As he started to sing I told the girls I knew what he was singing about, they looked at me and laughed and they asked what he was singing about. I told them he was singing about a guy who went to the library to get a Stephen King book, but they didn’t have one so he had to make do with a James Herbert book instead. They laughed and called me crazy. When he finished the song, he spoke in Thai and C spoke in Thai back to him. She was asking him to sing a song she wanted to hear. He started singing it and she clapped. Again, I told T and C I knew what he was singing about, they asked me what and I said it was about a woman who fell in love with the wrong man, it turned out the man was not a man at all, he was a girl of 17. They laughed again and called me crazy.

When we finished our food, we ordered some more drinks and listened to the singer some more. It was pretty cool in the place now and Neil and I felt a lot more comfortable. When we were close to finishing our drinks Neil asked for the bill and the waiter brought it over. Neil and I paid and we finished our drinks and left, the waiter and the singer both said goodbye which I thought was nice.

We decided to take the girls to the Margarita bar and have a few drinks in there. We walked past Tai Pan and I said to Neil that we should go in there after here and see if the band we saw the other night was on, plus we had the camcorder and we could film the female singer because she was really good. We got onto Bangla road and went into the Margarita bar. One of the girls inside showed us to a table and said hello to us. They were starting to get use to me and Neil coming in because as I looked around, all the girls working in there smiled at me. We ordered some drinks, Neil and I got a beer and the girls ordered a Bacardi Breezer each (a very popular drink in the UK) we sat there drinking and talking, T was holding my hand. I remember the two guys Neil and I had seen in here on our first night in Phuket, the ones that had Thai girls sitting next to them while they were watching rugby. None of them were speaking, the girls were looking bored. It was a far cry from that night with us. We were all talking, all having a laugh and a joke, it was fun. The girls thought Neil was Kiai (shy), I asked them if they thought I was Kiai, both of them looked at me and straight away and in unison they said “no” I laughed.

We finished our drinks and ordered some more, and I noticed that Steve, the manager of the Margarita walked in. I met him the previous year and I decided to go over to him and have a chat. He remembered me and asked how I was doing and how I had enjoyed Thailand this year; I told him a few stories and asked him how things were going here. He told me that just further down the road, there were more bars being built and he was going to buy one and run that. He was only a partner in the Margarita bar and wanted a place of his own. I wished him luck and said if he was around before I left for the UK, we’d have another chat. We shook hands and I went over and joined Neil and the girls.

We finished our drinks and ordered some more, we decided to make this our last in here and move on to the Tai Pan across the road. The band came on again, the two English guys I’ve mentioned before. We listened to them and it was nice seeing them again. T said she was just going to the shop, I didn’t ask her what she was getting. She got up and went to the shop. A few minutes later she came back and we finished our drinks, settled the bill and left. We walked across the road to the Tai Pan and went inside.

We were shown to a table and ordered some drinks. The band weren’t playing but I noticed that they were setting up. The music playing in there for the time being was provided by the DJ. I heard some barking from a dog behind me and I looked round. Just at one of the bars there was a poodle dog sat on top of the bar barking at a man, I recognised the man, it was the male singer in the band. He was teasing the dog by barking back at it, the dog didn’t find it funny and carried on barking. Eventually he went away and got on stage ready to sing. C thought the dog was very cute and went over to see it. At first it barked at her but eventually it stopped and she asked the woman behind the bar if she could bring it over to the table we were sat at. She then picked it up and brought it over. I decided to get it on film and recoded a little of it. The dog must have been camera shy because it didn’t bark once. C then gave the dog to Neil and he held it for a minute and then gave it back to C who then took it back to the bar she got it from. I put the camcorder away and wouldn’t you know it, but the dog started barking again.

The band started playing and we got a little of it on film, the female singer was in fine voice, the male singer wasn’t anything special but he was pretty funny to watch with some of the things he did and the actions he did to the music. We finished our drinks and ordered some more and listened to the band. I looked to my right and did a quick scan of the people in the bar. I noticed there was a western man with Thai girl. The man was about 45 and the girl was about 25, well, I thought it was a girl but as I looked a little closer, I noticed it was a lady boy. Now whether this guy knew it was a lady boy I don’t know, but I’m guessing that if I could tell, then he could tell. It was hard to spot some of them, very hard, but there was no mistaking this one. Perhaps that was his thing though, that was what he liked who knows?

When we finished these drinks we settled the bill and decided to leave and go somewhere else. We crossed the road and got onto Bangla road and started to walk up. We passed the many bars and street vendors, Tuk Tuk drivers, Motorcycle riders and people just enjoying their night out. As we went passed L’s bar I looked inside and T said to me “is that your friends bar” I said yes, then she said “let’s go inside and see her” and I said “no” (Big Mistake number 5) she looked at me and asked me why. I just said “well we didn’t think you would want to go in those bars, you know, with all the bars girls and farangs and would prefer to stick to quieter places because it would make a nice change for you” she looked at me and didn’t say anything. We stopped just outside a bar that looked ok and I asked if everyone fancied going in. I looked inside and noticed there were a few couples in there, mainly western couples. There were a couple of girls stood outside with price boards. C said she wanted to go to the lady boy bars just further down. I looked at T and her face looked weird. She didn’t seem happy at all. She didn’t look mad and she didn’t look sad, it was kind of in-between. I looked at Neil and asked if he fancied going to the lady boy bars again and he said it would be ok. I really didn’t mind either, Neil and I had been to that Soi before and it was ok, even though the DJ wouldn’t play my mix. So we turned around and walked back to where the lady boy bars were.

When we got there, there was a group of them just on the pavement dancing and there was also a group of them dancing on the stage. As I looked at them, some of them you could tell were men straight away, but the others, well, I couldn’t believe they were men, or use to be men, it was just impossible to tell. We went inside and settled at the bar Neil and I had been sat at earlier in the week. We ordered drinks and I sat there and watched what was going on all around me. I didn’t really know where to look, there was just so much going on and so many comical characters. I saw C go walking off to another bar and I lost site of her, I asked Neil where she was going and Neil told me that one of her old friends from Bangkok was working in one of the bars here and she had gone to see her. I turned to T and went to ask her what she thought. She was facing the bar and I tapped her on the arm, she turned round and had tears streaming down her face. I asked her what was wrong but she didn’t say anything. I asked her again and she just shook her head. I sighed and said “T, tell me what’s wrong”, I wiped some of the tears from her eyes and she said “you have another lady” “what” I said, “what makes you think that” she looked at me and said “why did you not want to go in your friends bar, you said no straight away, you are hiding something from me” I told her again the reasons for not going in those bars, the reasons I had told her only 10 minutes ago when we walked past L’s bar. She didn’t believe me, she just carried on crying. She then said “you don’t want me here, you didn’t want me to come to Phuket” I couldn’t believe what she was saying. I told her “if I didn’t want you here T then you would be sat here now, when you asked to come down to Phuket and I sad yes, it was because I wanted to see you, if I had something to hide or I didn’t want you here, you would still be in Bangkok right now” she just looked at me and shook her head and said “I don’t believe you, the girl in your hotel in Bangkok say that you are a very popular man, girls ring you all the time” (damn that hotel receptionist) I said “T, I’ve already told you about the friends I have in Thailand, and that’s all they are, friends, I’ve also told you about the girl I met the first time I came to Thailand, you know everything about me, I’ve got nothing to hide from you, please believe me” but she didn’t believe me. Just then, C, who had now come back from seeing her friend, said something in Thai to her and T turned round and faced C. At this exact point, Neil turned and looked at T and C, he then looked at me and raised his eyebrows and mouthed the words to me “what’s going on” I just looked at him and shook my head and mouthed the words “I’ll tell you later mate” and I shook my head. He could see I was getting a little pissed off. I looked at T and C, then C looked at me and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. C was now crying, tears were streaming down her face.

So here we were, in the packed lady boy soi, sat at a bar with the two girls crying their eyes out for no reason other than paranoia. Neil saw that C was crying, looked at me and shook his head as if to say “Jesus this is a joke” I then said to Neil “let’s finish these drinks mate and get going” he said “good idea, I think it’s best we went back to the hotel now” I nodded in agreement. I got my phone out of my pocket and looked at the time, it was 1.40am. C was now talking to Neil and I looked at T, she had stopped crying a little. I wiped her face gently with my hand and said “T, please don’t be upset, I’ve got nothing to hide from you, I haven’t got another Thai lady, you’re the only girl I’ve met in Thailand and spent time with, there is no one else” but she sat there quietly. I said “let’s finish our drinks and go ok” she nodded her head.

We all finished our drinks and started to leave and head off back to the Sea Dragon hotel. T didn’t hold my hand this time; she just chose to walk very slowly. I had to keep stopping so she could catch up. We reached the hotel and went inside. There was a man and a woman sat inside watching the TV, they looked up and I said hello to them, they smiled back and carried on watching TV. We went upstairs to our rooms. As we got to the rooms Neil asked me quietly “what’s going on” I told him that I would tell him later and he said ok. T and I then went in the room and I sat on the bed. She didn’t say anything to me. She went into the bathroom and after a few minutes she came back out and went over to where her bag was and got some things out. I watched her the whole time. Then she came over and sat on the other bed. Just then, my phone started ringing and T looked at me, I looked at T and then I got my phone out of my pocket. I looked at my phone and it was L. The phone stopped ringing after a couple of rings. I will stop here and just tell you something about L and me and our phone games.

*A couple of months after getting back from Thailand. L started to play these phone games with me. She would ring my phone for a second and then end the call. At first I thought it meant she wanted me to ring her. So I would send her a text message asking what she wanted, but only very rarely would she reply back. So, this carried on every week, ringing and then ending the call. So I started doing it back to her. She always did it when she finished work. This carried on for the whole time I was in the UK to the time I flew out to Thailand. When she knew I was in Phuket, she would ring daily and I would do the same. It’s silly I know, but it’s just something that carried on, we’d been doing it for about 9 months and now, because I was in Thailand and Phuket, we carried on doing it like I was back at home, only this time, it would carry on for 5 minutes. She would ring, then I would ring, then she would ring. Are we up to speed on this now? Good, now, back to the story*

T asked who it was on the phone and I said L. Just then, my phone rang again and then stopped after a second, it was L again. T asked who it was again and I said L. She looked at me and said “why is she ringing you, why don’t you answer it” I said “I can’t answer it because it’s just a joke call, its phone games” T said “what do you mean phone games, she wants to talk to you, why don’t you talk to her” I tried explaining to T about the phone games L and I had played for the last 9 months, but she just looked at me in disbelief. She then said “I don’t believe you, you are hiding something from me” I tried explaining again but she just wouldn’t listen. Now in ordinary circumstances I would and should have switched the phone off to stop it happening, but it just didn’t dawn on me to do that (big mistake number 6) so now I was getting phone calls every few minutes off L, T was getting more and more wound up and paranoid and I was just getting wound up because T didn’t believe a word I was saying, even though what I was saying was the truth. I got up and went over to T and told her again that there was nothing going on, I didn’t want her to be upset over something that didn’t exist. She then put her arms around me and cried. I hugged her for a while and my phone went off again, she then pushed me away and got up. She then said “I going to speak to C” she then left the room.

Now, I could understand all this if I had something to hide and I was trying to cover my tracks. What I said to her about going in L’s bar and the reasons behind it were true, but, I was also covering for Neil. The girl he met in that bar which he didn’t do anything with, but it might cause a scene if she saw him with C. But the fact is, T just didn’t believe a word I was saying and I knew then that there would be nothing I could say to make her believe me, I was backed against a corner with no way out of it. T came back in the room after 5 minutes and just gave me a dirty look and sat on the bed. There was no need for her to be like this, no need what so ever and I didn’t need this, Christ I was on holiday, she wasn’t my girlfriend and she wasn’t my wife. I had wanted to see her and was happy that she had come down to see me, but this was a joke. Not only was she making herself look stupid, she was ruining what little time we had together. I said to her “look, I’ve told you there is nothing going on, I’ve explained why my phone keeps ringing, and I’ve explained why I didn’t want you to go in L’s bar, but you don’t believe anything I’ve said to you, if you want me to go then I’ll go, I’ll go back to my hotel, all you have to do is say so” she looked at me and thought for a second and then said “I don’t want you to go, I want you to stay” my phone went off again and she got up and sighed. I said to her “if you want me to stay then I have to go back to my hotel and get my toothbrush” she looked at me and said “you want to go on your own right, you don’t want me to come” obviously she thought I said it because I was going to meet another girl or meet L who I think she thought was the other girl (did that make sense?) I knew she was thinking it, I could just tell by the way she said it and the look she was giving me, so I said “If you want to come with me, then you can come with me, it’s up to you, but I need to get my toothbrush” she said “fine, I will go with you” we go up and went out of the room.

Neil had the room key so I knocked on the door and C came to the door. She looked at me and seemed to give me a dirty look, and then she looked at T and said something in Thai (how I wish I could understand Thai) I shouted Neil and he came to the door and stood behind C. I asked him for the room key and he went to get it. When he came back he passed it me and asked if I was ok, he could tell by the look on my face that I was far from ok. I just told him that I would talk to him later. We said goodbye to Neil and C and made our way out of the hotel.

We walked through the reception area and the two people I had seen earlier sat there watching TV, were still sat there watching TV. Once we got off the soi and onto Bangla road, there were still a few people about. I didn’t really pay that much attention to what they were doing, I just kept my head down most of the time. I turned round to look at T and she was very far behind me, walking so slow that if she slowed down any more she would stop. I stopped and waited for her to catch up; we didn’t say anything to each other. We got onto the beach road and there was a big group of Thai people just ahead of us stood around a small cart selling drinks. There seemed to be an argument going on between a Thai man who was across the road and a Thai girl who was in the big group. As we got closer, the Thai man came across the road and slammed his fist on the cart selling drinks. I got a little worried for a second, thinking to myself that this guy would see a farang and decide to take his anger out on me instead of the cart. We walked past and luckily nothing happened. We got onto the road my hotel was on and walked down it, my phone rang again and T heard it and decided to slow down even more. I reached the hotel and turned around, T was still a bit behind and instead of waiting I just said I’d be down in a minute, and she never said a word.

I walked through reception and made my way to the lifts and pressed the button. The lift arrived and I got in and pressed the button for my floor. I let out a sigh when I was in the lift. The lift stopped on my floor and I got out and made my way to the room. I got to the room and went inside and sat on the bed for a minute. I really couldn’t believe what was happening, I was fining it hard to grasp the situation I was finding myself in. Was this a dream? Had T actually arrived? Or was I dreaming all this and any moment now I would wake up and it would be 11am and there would be an hour before T and C arrived. Well it wasn’t a dream; everything that had happened and was still happening was real. I got off the bed and made my way to the bathroom to get my toothbrush. I decided instead to take the disposable toothpaste and tooth brush the hotel had provided. I grabbed them and went for the front door to the room and stopped for a second. I thought to myself that I would simply stay here and go to bed. Sod T, sod C and sod all of it. I’d done nothing wrong and this shouldn’t be happening. My phone went off again, it was L. I laughed a little and left the room.

Once I got into the reception area I saw T sat on one of the chairs waiting for me. For a split second as I saw her there, sat on a chair with her head down, she looked so tiny, like a child who had lost its parents and thought the only thing it could do, would be to wait and hope they would come and find them. I walked over to T and said “are you ready” she got up and we left the hotel. I got on to the main beach road and turned around; T was still miles behind me. I had this urge to drag her. I was now starting to get really pissed off with the whole thing. She caught up to me and I started walking again. The group of Thai’s I had seen before had now gone. We got onto Bangla road and headed for the hotel. I kept my head down again, T walked slowly again.

After what seemed like 3 hours, we got to the hotel and went inside. The couple watching TV looked up this time and smiled. I forced a smile and got to the stairs leading up to the rooms. I turned round but T wasn’t there. I waited for a second and then she came around the corner and walked into the hotel. I went upstairs and got to our room and unlocked the door. I looked at T and she said “I go and see C” I said ok and went in the room and lay on the bed. My phone went off again. I decided at that point to switch it off. After 10 minutes of waiting, T came back in the room and seemed to slam the door and she stormed over to the bed I was lay on. At first I thought she was going to hit me but she shouted “if you want me to go, then I go tomorrow, you just have to tell me and I will go” I sighed and thought for a second, I really did want to tell her to just fuck off right then, this was doing my head in and I just wanted to get up and walk out, walk away from her but instead I said “look T, I’ve already explained to you a thousand times that there’s nothing going on, if I didn’t want you here then you wouldn’t be here, I don’t want you to go but no matter what I say you will not believe me, so if you want to go then you go” she looked at me and said “I want to see L” I said “you want to see L, when, now?” she said yes. I turned my phone on and looked at the time, it was nearly 4.30am. I said “it’s nearly 4.30am T, why do you want to see her now, she will be in bed” she said “I want the truth, I need to know the truth, you don’t answer her when she calls, she wants to speak to you but you don’t answer” I said “she doesn’t want to speak to me, I’ve told you about the phone games we’ve played and have played for the last 9 months, L is a friend that’s all she is, she met my friend Dave last year and we became friends because of that” I sighed again and said “right, fine, if it will make you happy I will call her and ask her to meet us at her bar and she can tell you herself” I then called L on the phone. She answered and I said “L I need you to do something for me, I need you to meet me right now at your bar” L said “why now, what do you want to meet me for” I said “I can’t explain now but it’s important and I need you to meet me because it can’t wait, I need you to sort something out for me” L then agreed and said she would come down straight away. I said goodbye and ended the call. I turned to T and said “happy now, she’s coming down so let’s go” we left the room and left the hotel.

We got to L’s bar and waited on the steps just in front of the Soi. To my left there was a small bar still open, I looked inside and there was about 8 Thai girls all drunk and drinking shots of something. I looked at T and she was just looking down at the ground. I lit a cig and looked up at Bangla road which was just in front of me. Just then I saw L come around the corner, she was in her pyjamas, and her sister was just behind her. She saw me and then saw T and had a look of shock on her face and started to back up as though she was about to leave. I called over to her and asked her to come here. She came over and her sister waited where she was. I said to L that this was my friend from Bangkok and she was in Phuket for a couple of days. Both T and L looked at each other and said hello. I then said “L, can you please explain to T that there is nothing going on between us two, we are just friends, can you also explain to her that I haven’t got another Thai girl and I’m not hiding anything from her” L nodded and sat down next to T. L then started talking in Thai to T. I didn’t understand what they were saying, but I did hear L say “muppet” a couple of times. I looked at the bar with all the Thai girls in and two of them walked outside. One of them then bent over and threw up; the other girl was looking after her and patting her on the back. After watching this girl throw up, they both then went back into the bar and carried on drinking. I lit another cig.

After about 20 minutes L and T had finished their talk and L said to me that I should have told her that it was a girl coming down from Bangkok. L also said sorry for ringing my phone. I looked at L and said “you have no reason to say sorry, it wasn’t your fault, you don’t have to say sorry for calling me, it’s just what we do, we both know it’s meant to be a joke and that’s why we do it, the reason why I didn’t tell you about T is because of what happened last year, I just felt a little awkward because of last year” L’s sister then came over and said hello. All four of us sat there for a minute and then I said to T “are you ready to go now” she looked at me and said yes. I then thanked L for coming down and told her I’d see her in a couple of days. She said ok and then we said goodbye and left. I turned around and said thanks again, she smiled and waved and said “no problem muppet”

We made our way back to the hotel. T was walking a little faster now. I came across a woman sat outside a closed shop selling drinks and asked T if she wanted some water, she said yes and I asked the woman for two bottles of water. She got them out, I paid, said thank you and we started walking again. We got to the hotel and went up to our room, I didn’t notice if the people in reception were still watching TV, in fact, I didn’t even notice if they were there at all. We got to the room and T said she was going to speak to C for a minute, I said fine, unlocked the door and went in the room and sat on the bed. I opened my water and drank some. The room was pretty cool because of the air con and it was a welcome relief because I was boiling hot.

After 5 minutes T came back in the room and locked the door. I was ready to say to her “I told you so, I told you there was nothing going on but you wouldn’t believe me and now you look stupid for doubting me, you’ve lost face tonight T, you’ve lost face and you know it” but I didn’t say anything, I decided at that moment that I wouldn’t bring any of it up, I decided that tonight hadn’t happened. I’d tell Neil all about it of course, but I wouldn’t mention it again to T. She came over and threw her arms around me and then started kissing my neck. She never said sorry, she never mentioned what L had said, she never said anything about what had happened tonight. She just kept quiet. She knew she had lost face and I’m sure she didn’t want to mention it any more than I did. She then went to the bathroom and said she was taking a shower. I said ok. I lay on the bed thinking of the night I’d just had, it just didn’t seem real to me. I played it over and over in my mind but it just didn’t seem real.

T came out of the shower and asked me if I was taking one. I said yes and went into the bath room; I took my toothbrush and toothpaste with me. I stripped off and had a shower and it was nice and warm. After I’d finished I brushed my teeth and then dried myself. I came out of the bathroom and T was laying in the bed with the covers over her. I went over to the bed and got in and turned off the lights. T put her arms around me and kissed me on the neck and smelt me again, she said I smelled nice and I said to her that I always smelled nice; she laughed and said “yes you do, always”

Neither T nor I mentioned the night’s events again to each other, nothing was said about them, it was like they never happened. She did say one thing though and it took me by surprise. In the morning when we were slowly drifting off to sleep and it was light outside, T had her arms around me; she leaned forward and whispered in my ear “don’t ever hurt me again”

Day 11 (Phuket)

We both woke up around 1pm. Well I’m guessing both of us because when I opened my eyes, T seemed to open her eyes as well. The first thing she did when we woke up was hold me close and kiss me then she smiled. It was a far cry from the previous night’s events. She decided to get up and take a shower.

I lay in bed thinking of last night. It was like a dream. It was weird thinking about it. I knew it had happened, but seeing T as I woke up and her holding me close and kissing me and smiling, it was like it hadn’t been T at all, it had been some other girl, some weird girl who was big on jealousy and low on trust. There was a knock on the door and I got up to answer it. It was Neil and C. They came in and I went back over to the bed and lay down. Neil sat on the end of the other bed. C looked at me and said “you hurt my friend last night” I looked at Neil and he rolled his eyes, I then said to C “it was just a misunderstanding but it’s now sorted out” C didn’t say anything else. But at that moment I felt like telling her to just get out, that last night was just that, last night, it was over, finished with and neither me or T wanted to talk about it or even think about it.

T came out of the bathroom and said hello to C and Neil. I then told C and Neil that we were just going to get changed and would be ready to leave in about 15 minutes. I said to Neil that I wanted to go back to the hotel and change my clothes; he said he needed to as well. I asked if the girls were hungry (silly question I know, they were always hungry) they both said yes and I said that after Neil and I had gotten changed, we would get something to eat from the same place we had the previous day on the beach. C and Neil left and I went into the bathroom for a quick shower and to brush my teeth. I didn’t take long, maybe 10 minutes.

When I came out T was dressed and ready to leave, she was sat on the bed reading the comics that C had brought with her. She was laughing to herself. She looked at me as I came out, smiled and said “come here for a second” I went over to her and she put the comics down and put her arms around me. I sat on the bed next to her and she smelt me again. She said “I don’t ever want to forget what you smell like” I think this smelling thing was kind of becoming an obsession of hers. I got off the bed and got dressed, after a few minutes I was then ready to go and I asked her if she was ready and she said yes. We left the room, T took the comic with her and we went to knock on for Neil and C. Neil came to the door and we went inside and I sat on one of the beds. I noticed that the bananas that the woman on the beach had given us the day before we just on the table next to the bed, I leaned over and grabbed one. It was that small I had it in one bite but it was very nice.

We were all ready to leave and I said to Neil that when we got to reception, we’d pay for another night in these rooms. We all left Neil and C’s room and made our way downstairs. Once we got to reception, we noticed that there was no one there. We stood at the counter and waited and then after a minute someone came in, it was a male and he smiled. We told him we wanted to pay for another night and he said ok. We handed over the money and then thanked him and left. It was weird because he never asked what rooms we were staying in or anything, we just handed over the money at that was it.

Outside it was blue skies once again and lots of very hot sunshine. It was perfect weather for another day on the beach. We made our way back to mine and Neil’s hotel, T held my hand the whole way. Once we got onto the road to our hotel, we walked passed the massage shop, T chose that moment to put her arm around my waste and hold me close to her. I looked over at the girls at the massage shop and saw the girl Neil and I liked and waved, but I did it discretely so T wouldn’t notice and get upset. She waved back and smiled. We walked into the hotel reception area and told the girls we’d be about 10 minutes, they said fine and sat down to wait for us. Neil and I got in the lifts and went to our floor.

We made it to our room and went inside. I sat on my bed, sighed and said “well mate, what a night” Neil laughed and asked me if I wanted some tea and I said yes, he also asked me what had happened last night. I told him the whole story and how I felt about it all. I also told him what T had said to me just before falling asleep, the words “don’t ever hurt me again” he asked me how I felt now and I said I was ok, which I was. I still liked T even after everything that had happened. I got it into my head that if T didn’t care or didn’t really like me, she wouldn’t have acted that way. Neil then told me that C had given him the third degree in their room. She kept on asking him if I had another girl in Thailand, if I’d seen another girl on this second trip, if I’d met another girl in Phuket. Neil felt awkward about it all but he said it wasn’t like he was lying to her and covering up for me. He knew I hadn’t seen anyone else or met anyone else, but he got the feeling that no matter how many times he told C, she wouldn’t believe him. Eventually she had no choice but to believe me because L had set the record straight. He also told me that as we were all walking back to the Hotel a few minutes ago, when we walked past L’s bar, T had pointed it out to C. Neil guessed that T was saying “that was where we met L” I didn’t notice any of this. Neil then told me something that took me by surprise a little. He said that there was no attraction for him with C. He just didn’t really like her in that way. He’d seen a different side to her, a side he didn’t like and the attraction of when he first met her had now gone and there was really nothing there for him. He told me that he wasn’t going to say anything, or doing anything that might upset her, after all, she was going home tomorrow so he was just going to act as if nothing was wrong. We all know that we can’t force ourselves to like someone, if the attraction isn’t there or there’s no spark, then it never will be, there’s no point in kidding yourself that it might change, you either like someone or you don’t and as Neil got to know C, he didn’t like what he saw. We both agreed that last night shouldn’t have happened, we were on holiday and in a way, the night was wasted on all that went on. Neil said he was looking forward to T and C leaving so it would be just us two again, where we could do what we wanted and enjoy the rest of our time in Thailand and Phuket. I had to agree with Neil on that. I knew that I was going to be sad to see T leave, and that’s something I was trying to fight, but I knew that fighting was no good, I’d grown attached to T and to see her leave tomorrow would hurt a little. But the thought of it just being Neil and I again was something I was looking forward too and I think that was due to last night.

We got changed and had our drinks, slapped on a little sun cream, grabbed some money, got the camcorder and the cameras and left the room to meet the girls downstairs. Once downstairs they saw us walking over and smiled. They both got up and T hugged me, and then grabbed hold of my hand. We then made our way out of the hotel and walked up the road leading to the beach road. I smiled at the massage girl as we walked past the shop. Once on the beach road, we crossed to the side of the beach and made our way to the place we had eaten the previous day. We walked along the beach and I was asked by an elderly lady if I’d like a massage, I declined the offer. We got to the eating place and sat down in the same seats we were sat at the previous day. The same waitress came over and took our drink order and gave us the menus. Neil and I ordered coke and the girls ordered Fanta. The waitress then went away to get our drinks. I looked around and noticed a few familiar faces in here. The old couple I had seen were here again, the man was still reading his paper and the woman still had here eyes closed and was looking out to sea, well, not looking, just facing. I also noticed a man of about 50 with a Thai girl. This man I saw yesterday in here, but yesterday he had been with a male friend and both of them had Thai girls next to them. The girl he was with today wasn’t the same one he was with yesterday, it was a different girl altogether. I listened to his accent when he said something and he seemed German, oh, and he was wearing trunks (tosser)

Our drinks came and we ordered our food. Neil and I decided on a Pizza (hey, it’s better than Mc Donald’s right) and the girls ordered, well, I haven’t got a clue what they ordered and when their order came, I was still clueless.

When all the food arrived we tucked in. The pizza was quite nice and very filling, so filling in fact that I couldn’t finish it. The girls seemed to enjoy their many plates of I don’t know what. I never bothered asking what it was; I just know it looked spicy. When we finished our food, Neil ordered another round of drinks. The German guy and his new Thai girl got up and went onto the beach, I looked at his trunks when he walked past, Neil did the same and we both looked at each other and laughed. The cigarette seller who I had seen the previous day and who I was going to buy some cigarettes off on Saturday came over and said “you haven’t forgotten, we meet on Saturday right” I told him yes and then I gave him a time, I said I’d meet him at 2pm, and look out for him around here, he said ok and then went away. When we finished our drinks we asked for the bill, Neil and I paid half each, we thanked the girl waitress and then we all got up and left and went onto the beach. We found four sun chairs and T put mine and hers together, Neil did the same with his and C’s. Neil and I paid for the chairs between us and we all sat down. C said she was feeling pretty tired and she lay down over Neil’s legs and went to sleep. Neil was fine with this at first but after 20 minutes one of his legs went to sleep and you could see the pain in his face. I talked to T and fooled around a little, we had a laugh and a joke and she tried to explain the Thai comics she had, she found them very funny and when she tried to explain some of the jokes to me by pointing at the pictures and translating the words, it just went straight over my head. She was lay across me and looked up at me. She seemed so much more relaxed and happier than she was the previous night, it was like she was a different person altogether. I was also talking to Neil about this and that, Neil filmed a little and I asked him to marry me, he refused, but T found it funny and said “he will not marry you because you are crazy”

After a little while I stood up and messed around just in front of the chairs we were all on, Neil filmed me a little and I had a look around me. I noticed the German guy in trunks; he was sat just behind us and to the left. He seemed relaxed with his new Thai girl and she didn’t seem to mind his trunks, although secretly I’m sure she thought how stupid he looked. A woman came around selling drinks, it was the same woman as yesterday and we got some water off her, I also got some more bananas but had to pay for them this time, they were only 10Baht so it was nothing really. I sat down and drank my water; T was leaning on my chest. I noticed a lot of stray dogs walking along the beach, it was sad to see really and I remember seeing all the strays the previous year and how I’d felt about it. This year it wasn’t so bad in how I felt, I think it was one of those cases where you know it’s all around you, but you just don’t think about it, pretend it isn’t there, I knew that if I thought about it too much, it would get to me and upset me. There was nothing I could do about it, I couldn’t save all these animals and give them a home, all I could do was if one of them came up to me, is give it a stroke and show it a little affection, unless it bit me of course and gave me some weird virus that made my hair fall out and my fingers drop off.

The sun was starting to go down and I walked out to the sea. There were still a lot of jet skiers on the water and the boats with the parachutes behind them. I always wondered to myself what would happen if one of the ropes holing the parachute came loose and then the parachute coming loose and floating away. I stood there watching the sun go lower and marvelled at its beauty. It was gorgeous, I loved watching the sun going down but watching it here, in Thailand, in Phuket made it even more special. T came and joined me and held my hand as we stood by the waters edge. I heard someone coming up behind me and it was Neil with the camcorder and his camera. He took some footage of the sun set and took a photo of T and me looking out to sea. I said I was going to go back and get my camera, so I walked back to where our chairs were. C was now up and she came walking with me as I headed back down to the sea. T was now making something in the sand, C joined her. I took a couple of pictures of them with the sun going down behind them; I called them my “mood” shots. I joined T and C and Neil took a photo of us as well. T had built a kind of sandcastle with these little blobs of sand all around it. She then got more sand and made my name in it, rather than using her finger as a type of pen, she actually made it with sand. I have to say it was quite good, and she showed a lot of artistic flare in what she did. I drew her name in the sand; I took the easy option and used my finger as a pen. Just underneath my name T wrote the word “crazy” and under that I wrote the word “lady” T laughed and said “mark crazy lady” I took a photo of her sandcastle and the writing in the sand.

A jogger went past, it was a man of about 45 and as he ran past us, C ran after him, he laughed and said “yes, you come with me” she stopped and then came back to us. We stayed there for a while and just messed around laughing and talking and taking pictures and getting camcorder footage. At about 6.30pm we decided to leave. We decided to do the same thing as the previous night where by Neil and I would pick the girls up later after we’d all got changed and freshened up. We told the girls we would pick them up around 9. T told me not to be late and I promised her I wouldn’t. As we walked up the beach to the main road, T held my hand. I noticed how close she had been to me that day, how affectionate she had been toward me; she never seemed to leave my side and always wanted to be around me. It was like she now trusted me completely, her mind had been put at rest and she was showering me with affection. We got to the beach road and I asked T if she wanted me to walk back to the hotel with her, but she said it was ok, although she did say she wanted me to go back to the room with her instead of me going back to my room at the hotel and then she winked, I laughed. She put her arms around me and leaned on my chest. Neil asked if I was ready and I said yes. I got out of T’s grip and kissed her goodbye. Neil said goodbye to see C and we said we’d see them at 9. T said as we walked away from each other “don’t you be late” I laughed and said I wouldn’t. We then lost site of them as they went down Bangla road. Neil and I walked down the road to our hotel. The massage girls were there and I saw this as a perfect chance to get a photo with the massage girl. I called her over and asked Neil to take our picture. We put our arms around each other and Neil took the picture. I thanked her and she smiled and I said I would see her again soon, we said goodbye and made our way into the hotel and to our room.

The sun wasn’t fully down so we went onto the balcony and watched it. I asked Neil if he wanted a cup of coffee and he said yes. I went back inside and made myself tea and Neil coffee. When the drinks were done I went outside with them and sat down. We talked about the previous night and all that had happened and I told Neil how she had been with me today and how she didn’t seem to want to be away from me for more than a few minutes. He asked me how I was feeling about her and I told him the truth, that I liked her, she was growing on me, I was getting attached to her but I didn’t want to. I told him that scared me a little; I didn’t want to get attached to her. Although I liked her and did care about her, I had to keep things in perspective; I didn’t want to feel the same as I did the previous year when leaving P. She was a beautiful, caring and funny girl but I had to, or at least try to keep her at arms length. Neil understood what I was saying. I asked him how he was feeling about C and he said the same as before that he just didn’t seem to like her anymore. The more he got to know her, the more he didn’t like. We sat there and interviewed each other on the camcorder, telling the camera about the day we’d just had and our thoughts and feelings on what we’d seen and done. We’d actually done this every day; it was kind of like a video diary. We had a lot of other footage but the camcorder interviews were good, it enabled us both to get down on film how we felt about things and we knew that looking back on these interviews would make the video that little bit more special. After the interviews we talked about the night ahead and what we were going to do. We decided again to just go to some quiet bars, although we were more in inclined to just “go with the flow” and see what happened and we both hoped we wouldn’t have a repeat performance of the night before.

Time was getting on, so we thought it was about time we got ready. The sun had gone down now and I’d like to say it was getting chilly outside, but this being Thailand, chilly was nowhere to be seen, even though it was getting on for 8pm. Neil went in the shower first and I decided to stay on the balcony and have another cup of tea and a smoke. I thought about T leaving tomorrow. Would I be sad? Would she be sad? Was it going to be a tearful goodbye and promises of keeping in touch and I’ll never forget you? I didn’t really know, but I knew that I’d miss her. Even after the previous night I knew I’d be sad to see her leave and I’d miss her in my own way. I didn’t feel like this in Bangkok. When I said goodbye to her that morning I didn’t really feel anything but because she’d come all the way down here to see me and spend some time with me, I’d grown to like her a lot. It wasn’t love or anything, I was keeping her at arms length but she did have a way about her, a kind of magic charm that even the hardest heart would have a tough job not falling for.

When Neil came out of the shower I went in. I had a shave and a nice warm shower. When we first arrived in this room, the shower blew me away, it was amazing. But we had a little problem with our shower, that problem was flooding. The water wouldn’t go down the plughole quick enough so the water would over flow at the bottom. But for some strange reason the problem had now gone away. Whether that was because it had been fixed by the maid who cleaned our room because she had nothing else to do because we hadn’t slept in the room for the past couple of nights or whatever was blocking up the plughole had suddenly been dislodged I really couldn’t tell you, but at least now I could have a longer shower without the worry of flooding out the bathroom.

When I came out of the shower Neil was already dressed and was watching a film on TV. I decided to listen to the Discman and put one of my mixes on to get me in the mood for the night ahead. I was already in the mood but some pumping dance tunes mixed by yours truly couldn’t hurt. I put on the CD and was nodding my head in no time. I got dried and dressed and was more or less ready to go. I got some money out of the safe, Neil did the same. We decided to leave the cameras and the camcorder here. I turned off the CD and we were ready to leave. It was 8.45pm; it meant we had 15 minutes to make our way to the girl’s hotel which was plenty of time. We then left the hotel room.

The massage girls weren’t there when we walked past, but we both knew we’d see them again soon enough. We made our way to Bangla road and to the girl’s hotel. It was another busy night in Patong but one of the most annoying things ever always happened when it was busy. That annoying thing was slow walkers. Now maybe this is a UK thing, well, a western thing, but when we walk somewhere and know where we are going or where we have to be, we get there quick. We don’t really rush, but we just know where we are going and we get there quickly. But when you are in Thailand you are always behind the slowest walkers in the world. It seems that most of them have no sense of direction, it’s like they are drunk and instead of walking straight, they seem to walk all over the place. From left to right, then right to left. But the weird thing is, is that it’s like they have eyes in the back of their heads and they know you are trying to pass them. When you try and move around them, they move in your direction and stop you from getting past, when you change direction, they also change direction. Eventually I just end up walking by the side of the road, that’s until I am confronted by a parked Tuk Tuk and have to get back on the pavement, but then getting back on the pavement is a job in itself, from out of nowhere you get a group of slow walkers stopping you from getting back on the pavement. You’re in a no win situation. If you add the suit sellers to the equation, you have serious problems getting anywhere fast.

We got to the soi the girl’s hotel was on and as we walked up the soi we were stopped by men holding cards telling us about the Go Go bars. I’ve decided that I will use the voice recorder on my phone and record the words “no thanks” and play it to these guys in the future as I walk along, it might make a night out in Thailand just that little bit more easier for me. We walked into the hotel and went upstairs. About 4 people were watching TV in the reception. We got to the girls room and knocked on each door. T came to the door and she smiled, I walked inside and said hello. She threw her arms around me. I said “what have I done to deserve this” and she just said “you just make me happy” the words I heard last night ran through my head “don’t ever hurt me again” T let go and I went to sit on the bed. I looked at her and again she looked so beautiful. I said to her “you look so beautiful” and she came over and kissed me, then she smelt me again. This time though when she smelt me she then whispered in my ear. Now I can’t remember what she said, the reason for this is because when she whispered in my ear it sent a shiver down my spine. When she whispered in my ear it was just, well, it damn nice. I think she knew straight away that I liked it because she went to do it again and I laughed and backed away. She laughed and said “ah, you like that” and went to do it again which resulted in her falling on top of me on the bed. We both lay there laughing and she started messing around trying to talk in my ear, at this point there was a knock on the door and in walked Neil and C. T laughed and got up, Neil just raised his eyebrows.

T finished getting ready and we were all set to go. We left the room and made our way out of the hotel. We decided that our first stop would be the Margarita bar again; we made our way through the crowds and crossed the street. Once we got there we sat down and a girl came over and took our drink order. Neil and I settled on Carlsberg draft and the girls once again had a Bacardi Breezer each. Once the drinks came over we sat there chatting and having a laugh, T never let go of my hand the whole time. The girls said to Neil that he drank too fast, which I have to say is pretty true. He drinks like a fish, blink and it’s gone. They thought I ate too fast and Neil drank too fast. T kept on trying to whisper in my ear and I kept pushing her off and laughing. She pretended to go in a sulk and moved her chair away from me and sat closer to C, she stuck her tongue out at me. I decided to move closer to Neil and attempt to hold his hand, T and C started laughing; Neil was having none of it and decided to escape by going to the toilet. I then stood up and went to T and kneeled down in front of her and took hold of her hand, then I looked up at her and she stuck her tongue out again but smiled. I carried on holding her hand and then I took the ring off my middle finger and went to put it on her wedding finger, then Neil came back and I changed direction and went to try and put it on his, she hit me on the arm and started laughing. All the girls working in the bar started laughing as well. I then stood up and took my seat again; T decided to move her chair back and she held my hand and put her head on my shoulder and called me crazy.

We had a couple more drinks in the Margarita bar and then we decided to leave and go somewhere else. We asked the girls where they would like to go and C said she wanted to play pool. There was a bar just a bit further up Bangla road that had some pool tables so we said we’d go there. Neil and I settled the bill and we left. We crossed Bangla road and walked up a little, we reached the pool bar and went inside. At first I wasn’t going to play but changed my mind and my name was put on the board. I was the first to play. I had watched the guy who I would be playing and it seemed my game would be a walk in the park, but, I made one mistake and that was it, he won the game out of sheer luck. The next person to play was a massive guy from Denmark. He was about 6 foot 7. He was with another Danish guy and I got talking to the tall one. He seemed a nice guy and was telling me about his travels and how he loved Thailand, but he was missing his girlfriend back home. His friend I didn’t talk to because he was a dick head, so I just ignored him I had tried to talk to him but he had an attitude problem. I had to play him at pool and we were both on the black, but I made a mistake and he had one shot and used the rule where you can put the white anywhere you want on the table, it’s a rule I never use because it’s stupid, so he won. The girls had a game each as well and they played the Danish guys, I partnered up with both T and C but Neil decided not to play, he sat in the corner drinking like a fish.

We had a few drinks in there and a few more games of pool and the Danish guys left, the tall one said goodbye to both Neil and I and I said for him to enjoy the rest of his trip, Neil and I didn’t bother saying goodbye to the other guy because, well, as I’ve already said, he was a dick head. They were leaving Phuket the next day. Just before they left the pool bar, a Thai girl who worked in the bar wanted her picture taken with the tall guy, it seemed she had never seen anyone that tall in her life and it was funny seeing them both stood next to each other. She was so tiny compared to this guy. We finished our drinks and decided to venture into the ladyboy bars again. C wanted to see her friend before she left the next day.

We got to the ladyboy bar and sat in the bar we had been in the previous two nights. Just as we made our way to it though, a girl stopped us, she looked Chinese to me and asked us to sit just in the middle on one of the tables they had, but we said no and just went to the bar. I noticed that all the people sat at those tables seemed to be couples. Neil ordered some drinks and I talked to T. This time she didn’t have tears in her eyes so I took that as a good sign. She decided to move her stool closer to mine and sit between my legs and leant and on chest. C went over to see her friend. C was staggering a little bit and it looked like she was a little worse for wear. Neil had also noticed this and shook his head a little. T seemed fine though, she’d had the same amount to drink as C but it looked like it was taking its toll on C.

We finished our drinks and I ordered another round, T was still leaning on my chest and also had hold of one of my hands. C then came back from seeing her friend and was a little hyperactive, so hyperactive in fact that she decided to play fight with Neil. Neil at first seemed ok with it but C seemed to get a little rough and not take it as a joke. I was starting to see now what Neil was seeing when he said he’d seen her in a different light, the more he got to know her the more he didn’t like her and I was starting to see it. I could tell Neil was getting uncomfortable with her trying to hit him but she didn’t notice and she just carried on, then Neil jumped up from his stool, put C over his shoulder and ran off with her to another bar and sat her on a stool. Neil came back to the bar we were at and sat down, C got off the stool and did a flying kick at Neil. At this point I could see that Neil was getting more and more pissed off with it. I decided to try and help him out so I stood up and made a fighting type stance in front of C (I did Karate until I was 11, I did pretty good as well, got to brown belt) C looked at me and made the same stance. Now I had visions of her running at me and then I would block her moves or just move out of the way, but C had other ideas. She ran at me fist and feet flying and punched me on the shoulder and kicked me on my hip. I didn’t hurt but god she was rough. I heard a German voice just to the side of me say “hit him in the balls” I turned around to see a German man of about 40 sat on a stool watching the whole thing. I just give him a look that said “don’t rub it in you trunks wearing idiot” and he turned away. She came at me again and did actually try to kick me between the legs, but this time I caught her foot, spun her around and grabbed her from behind. I resisted the urge to leg sweep her and put her on the ground. I told her it was time to stop and to calm down. I let go of her and sat back down on my stool and she tried to kick me again, I grabbed her foot and said “C just stop it now, sit down and have a drink” and she did just that.

We had a couple more drinks and then C decided to dance on one of the bars with some of the ladyboy’s. C at this point was off her face, it took her 5 minutes to get on the bar and I had visions of her falling off the bar and hitting her head or breaking her arm. A ladyboy then came up to me and asked me for 20Baht, I said “what for” and the ladyboy said, well it sounded like they said “I want some chips” I decided to just give the ladyboy 20Baht to get rid of him/her. C was dancing away with the ladyboys and they were all clapping and cheering, C’s friend was stood at the foot of the bar clapping as well. After 10 minutes C got off the bar and staggered over to where we were sat and drank her drink. It was now getting on for 2am and I said we would finish these drinks and go for something to eat as T had told me she was hungry. We finished our drinks; Neil and I paid and we went to leave. C then decided to jump on the dancing stage at the front of the soi and dance with the ladyboys on there. Neil, T and I stood just on the pavement at the front of the soi watching her. A ladyboy that was about 10 feet tall came over to Neil and me and asked for money, I said no and so did Neil. Now at this point, here is where luck was on my side. Neil was watching C, T was also watching C and I was watching C but at the same time, I was looking around, I then heard someone from behind me calling my name. Neil and T didn’t hear the person call me. I turned around it was one of the girls Neil and I had bumped into on the night before T and C had come down from Bangkok. It was the girl with the diamond in one of her teeth. She looked at me and smiled and said “do you remember me” I said yes. Now call it woman’s intuition or bar girl intuition but this girl knew at that point that I was with someone else. She looked straight at her and said “ah, you are with your lady” and I said “yes” she then said “ok, I sad but I go now” and she smiled and left. Now I thought of this situation for a second and realised just how disastrous it could have been. If T had turned around when she heard someone call my name, or if she had just turned around and saw me talking to this girl, it would have been a repeat performance of the previous night. I thanked my lucky stars that T didn’t see or hear any of it or see any of it. All I did was talk to this girl on the way back to our hotel, but still, it could have been nasty and blown out of proportion if T had seen this girl.

C got off the stage and nearly fell. One of the ladyboys helped her. We all then left and made our way to the Thai restaurant we had been in the night before. All the bars were closing now and the streets were packed full of people. T held my hand all the time, she never let go. There were a couple of moments that we nearly ended up banging into people because of us holding hands, but T didn’t seem to care about that, all she cared about was that she was holding onto me, that she was close to me and by my side all the time. Neil was having a hard time keeping C on her feet, she was a mess. I found it pretty funny really. She’d had the same amount to drink as T but T was just a little tipsy. We got to the bottom of Bangla road and crossed over, Tai Pan still had the band playing inside. We went down the side street next to Tai Pan and got to the eating place and went inside.

Inside it was cool, and it was busy. It was a far cry from the previous night we went in where it was 500 degrees and empty. The Thai singer wasn’t on; instead it was dance music coming out of the speakers. It was quite good as well. We found a table just near the bar and sat down. The waiter who had served us each time we’d been in the place came over and asked us what we’d like to drink. Neil and I ordered a beer; T and C both wanted a Bacardi Breezer. How C was going to drink hers I didn’t know, she was having a hard time keeping her head up. The waiter went away and got our drinks. We all looked at the menu and Neil and I settled on fried rice. When the waiter came back with our drinks he took our order. When it came to T and C ordering their food, once again I didn’t have a clue. The waiter took our order and went back to the bar.

C was starting to feel sick and needed to go to the bathroom. T took her; she had to more or less hold her up. I started laughing; Neil shook his head in disbelief. When they came back they sat down again. C now had trouble speaking. T was sat next to me and was laughing at her, she also found it funny. C mumbled that she wanted some hot water and T went over to get some for her. Now what made me laugh was that the hot water itself was actually boiling water straight out of a kettle. You could put an egg in that water and take it out in three minutes and you’d have a hard boiled egg it was that hot. T asked for a bottle of cold water so she could put some in the hot water to cool it down. C then said she needed the toilet again and T took her once more. Just then our food arrived and Neil and I tucked in.

T and C came back. C seemed worse this time. She could hardly walk. T was still laughing and so was I. Neil and I finished our food but T had hardly touched hers because she was looking after C. Every time T went to have something to eat, C would say something and T would help her either drink her water, or take her to the toilet. T finished her drink and I said to her that she might as well have C’s because she’s in no fit state to have it. T then drank C’s drink and tried to eat. C also tried to eat but took one bite and each time she took that one bite she had to drink some water to stop herself being sick. T and I were now in hysterics at what was going on. After we had finished our drinks I asked T if we should get the bill and leave and get C to the hotel and into bed. She said yes and Neil asked for the bill. T ate a little more and C just tried to sit there without falling off her chair. When the bill came we paid, thanked the waiter and left. Neil had to more or less hold C up and help her walk. T just held my hand and we walked behind them.

As we walked up the side street the restaurant was on, C and Neil stopped, Neil looked back and said “oh god” I started laughing and so did T and then C leant forward and was sick. We walked over and stood there as she got it all out, T and I couldn’t stop laughing. I then said to move her to a chair just by the side of the street and let her sit down for a minute to get herself together. I helped Neil move her and we sat her down. She was sick another couple of times and then she looked up at us and said “I ok now” we all nodded and Neil helped her up. She was far from ok, she couldn’t even walk. T held onto my hand again and we stayed behind Neil and C. We crossed the road and got onto Bangla road and walked up to the hotel. Everywhere was still pretty busy and a couple of times C bumped into people, Neil had to say sorry to them each time she did it. We had now reached the hotel and went inside and upstairs. Once we got to Neil and C’s room we went inside and Neil put C on the edge of the bed. T went to get a bin for her just in case she was sick again. I told Neil just to let her sit forward for a while and not let her lie down just in case she was sick. I asked C if she was ok and she just mumbled something I couldn’t understand. T and I then said goodnight to them both, I wished Neil good luck and we left the room and went to ours.

We got inside our room and I went over to the bed and sat down. T came over and sat next to me and then pushed me back and got on top of me and started kissing me. We then stopped kissing and she just lay her head on my chest and started laughing about C. T then said “I go back to Bangkok tomorrow, I want you to come back with me and stay with me at my apartment till you leave” I was a little taken back at first and then said to her “I’d love to, but it’s not that easy as we have flights booked from Phuket to Bangkok” she looked at me and said “I don’t want to leave here without you, I want you to stay with me” I told her we’d talk about it tomorrow and she seemed ok with that. I knew then that I wouldn’t be going back with her, although I would have liked to, there was Neil to consider, and the fact was, there was no way Neil would go back with me because it would mean he would have to spend the rest of his holiday in the company of C, something he would never agree to do and I couldn’t really blame him. She was very unpredictable and a lousy drunk. So I wouldn’t be going back with her, I’d be staying here with Neil and we would enjoy our last couple of days in Phuket.

All in all it had been a good night, we’d all laughed a lot, talked a lot and had fun. It was the perfect night really, in my eyes anyway and it was a night that I’m glad I got to spend with T. I was a little sad because it would be our last night together, but I was happy that it had turned out the way it had and we were both happy to be in each others company. There was to be no showers that night, T didn’t take a shower which I was very surprised about and she never asked me to take a shower either. I will spare you the details of what happened.

After all the fun and games, it now was early morning, the sun was coming up and we both fell asleep in each others arms. My last thoughts before sleep were of T and how happy she had made me feel and how lucky I was to have spent some time with her and to have met her.


Day 12 (Phuket)

It was my last few hours with T. As I woke up I reached for my phone and checked the time, it was nearly 12pm. T was lay next to me and I looked at her for a second. She was still asleep, quietly breathing and in a land only her mind knew about. I thought of the first time I’d met her and also a couple of hours later when she had said hello and I didn’t even recognise her. I thought of the phone call I’d got at 6am to say she was waiting in the hotel reception. I thought of the night it all went pear shaped and she thought I was seeing another Thai girl. But after everything that had happened in just a small amount of time, I was sad that in just 4 hours time she would be gone from my life. Everything that we’d talked about, everything we’d laughed about, everything that we’d done together and experienced and felt together would be memories. I wouldn’t get to wake up with her again; she wouldn’t be the first thing I saw as I woke up in the morning. “God” I thought, what do I sound like. It seemed to me that I sounded like someone falling in love, but I knew I wasn’t in love with her or falling in love with her, I didn’t even know her, she didn’t know me. Even after spending a few days together we didn’t really know anything about each other or each others lives. I was happy that I’d met her and spent time with her, but I wasn’t in love with her, I did care about her and yes, I wanted to keep in touch and yes, I would miss her when she left but who wouldn’t miss her? It’s weird because when you meet a bar girl you think you have met one that’s different. Out of the many thousands of bars girls In Thailand you think you’ve been one of the lucky ones and found a nice girl, but you know it’s not really true, you don’t want to believe that it isn’t true but you know in the back of your mind that you haven’t found one that is different. You also say to yourself that you weren’t even looking for a girl, but here you are thinking about it. It’s not to say that these girls can’t fall for you, even fall in love with you or want you as their boyfriend. Everyone needs love in their life, everyone looks for that special person and these girls were no different. Yes they are there to do a job, but underneath they are human beings with wants and needs like everybody else. Thailand is one strange and amazing place, it can take hold of you so quickly that before you realise it, you are part of it. I’ve said it before but it’s like a drug, after that first hit, you are hooked, you are hooked before you’ve even realised it yourself. T was a bar girl, plain and simple and the moment she went back to Bangkok and back to work, she’d meet another guy and spend time with him, in fact, she’d probably meet several guys while I was still in Thailand. She may think of me and she may miss me, but she had a job to do. I was just someone she had met and liked and wanted to spend more time with that’s all. I wasn’t here to find a girlfriend, I wasn’t here to find a wife, I wasn’t here to fall in love, yet, here I am, thinking about some girl I met in a bar, I needed to snap out of this fantasy world I was living in and snap out of it quickly. I was here because I loved this country, I loved the people, I loved the way of life, the pace of life, the culture, the weather (because I didn’t have to work in it) and yeah, this country had some of the most beautiful girls in the world. Everywhere you looked there they were, damn it, snap out of it.

T woke up and smiled; she leaned over and kissed me. I said “we’d better get up, you have to pack and get your bus in a few hours” she said “I know and I want you to come with me, I want to spend more time with you” I looked at her and said “it’s not really possible T and although I would love to come back to Bangkok with you, I don’t think I’m going to be able to do it” she looked sad but there was nothing I could really do or say to her. As I’ve said before, I had to think of Neil, plus I didn’t really want to leave Phuket, I wanted to spend my remaining days in Thailand here and then go home in a couple of days as planned. Although I knew that I didn’t want to go home, I wasn’t ready to leave Thailand just yet and if I had my way, I’d spend the rest of the year here. I did feel that I would like to spend more time with T, but that would mean her staying in Phuket which was fine but that would also mean C staying in Phuket as well. So I knew that I was stuck in a corner and the only thing that could be done, or would be the right thing to do, would be to say goodbye to T and although I’d be sad doing that, it was the only thing I could really do. T got up and went for a shower. I stayed in bed and had a smoke. I was pretty hungry and I wondered if C would be hungry today or whether last nights drinking spree would leave her feeling a little under the weather and unable to stomach any food.

T came out of the shower after 10 minutes; she had a towel wrapped around her. As she got dry she also packed a little, putting clothes in her bag and other little things like make up. I got up and went into the bathroom and had a quick shower and brushed my teeth. When I came out T was dressed and finishing off her packing. I got dressed and lay on the bed again, T didn’t really say anything, she just seemed distant, like there were things on her mind making her unable to really speak. I resisted the urge to ask her what was on her mind, I’m not sure why.

When T had finished her packing we were ready to leave and go to Neil and C’s room to check if they were nearly ready to go. I asked T if she wanted something to eat before she left and she said yes. I gave the room a once over to check if we’d left anything behind but I didn’t notice anything. I asked if she was ready and she said yes, we then left and locked the door behind us.

We got to Neil and C’s room and knocked on the door, C answered and we went inside. Neil was in the bathroom and I sat on one of the beds with T. It seemed C had already finished her packing and was just brushing her hair. Neil came out of the bathroom and said hello, he sat on the bed as well while we all waited for C. I asked Neil if he was hungry and he said yes, so I said we’d go back to our hotel, grab some money and go and get something to eat. C had now finished brushing her hair and she was ready to go. Again, I gave the room a once over to see if anything was left, and then we left the room and made our way downstairs to reception to hand in our keys. There was a woman behind the counter and a man was sat on one of the chairs just near the entrance watching TV. We handed over the room keys and thanked the lady and left. I carried T’s bag for her and Neil did the same with C’s. We got onto Bangla road and made our way to mine and Neil’s hotel. T grabbed hold of my hand and kept hold of it until we reached the hotel. The massage girls were there and smiled when we walked past, Neil and I did the same. We got to our hotel and I told T and C we would be a few minutes, they said ok and sat down to wait for us. Neil and I went over to the lifts and got in and pressed our floor number.

We got to our room and went inside. I sat on the bed and Neil asked me if I wanted a quick drink before we went back downstairs, I said yes so he made me some tea and himself some coffee. He asked me how I felt and I told him a little sad but I was ok. I told him that T had asked me to go back to Bangkok with her and he told me C had asked him the same thing. But he told C the same thing as me that he couldn’t because of the flights being booked from Phuket. He then told me that he had promised C he would buy her something before she left and she had said she wanted some new jeans so he’d told her he would pay for those. He couldn’t believe he had offered, after all, he didn’t really like her now so he wondered why he’d opened his mouth. The drinks were made and we sat on the balcony to have them and I had a smoke. The girls were leaving Patong at about 4pm and would get a bus to Phuket town and leave Phuket town for Bangkok around 5.30pm. I told Neil I’d enjoyed the time I’d spent with T even though the night it all went pear shaped had put quite a downer on it but I was glad it had worked out ok in the end. He said to me that he felt nothing with C leaving, he wasn’t sad. He didn’t think he would ring her again, but he had promised to send her an email with a couple of pictures but that would be it, he wouldn’t be keeping in contact. He told me that after T and I had left the room, C had passed out and just slept the whole night and woke up around 9am but didn’t feel ill.

We finished our drinks and went back inside, we both decided to go to the restaurant on the beach again. Neil and I both got some money out of the safe and left the room and went back downstairs to the girls and to get something to eat. It was now 2.45pm

When we got back downstairs T was speaking on her mobile phone and I noticed she was talking in English. When she saw me she told the person on the phone she had to go and then hung up the phone. I asked her who it was and she just said it was a friend who was now staying in Phuket but I noticed the awkward and embarrassed look she gave me, it was a look that said “I’ve been caught out”. I knew it was a guy she’d met, it was obvious. Whether she’d met him the year before or the week before it didn’t matter to me. Whoever it was she had kept in contact with him or he had kept in contact with her and it wouldn’t surprise me if she had arranged to meet him in a couple of days. It made me a little sad really, it made it hit home that I wasn’t the only guy in her life. I knew that anyway but just didn’t really want to think about it, I had blocked all that out for the simple reason that if I thought about it too much, it would spoil what little time I had with her. Hearing her speak on the phone to another guy in English just made blocking it out harder, in fact, at the point; I didn’t bother trying to block it out. I didn’t hassle her about who it was, I didn’t mention it again but can you just imagine if I’d reacted the same way she had reacted the other night? I went pretty quiet then; I didn’t really feel like speaking much. You see, the not blocking it out had now made me into a silent thinker, that not blocking it out had done to me exactly what I didn’t want to happen, I was thinking about the other guys in her life, the other guys she had yet to meet and the quicker she left, the better it would be because it would now eat away at me with each passing minute, the moment she left it would be something I wouldn’t have to think about because she wasn’t there. We left the hotel and made our way to the restaurant on the beach. It’s funny because we just made our way there automatically, Neil and I hadn’t discussed where we were going to eat and we hadn’t discussed it with the girls either, but here we were just walking there without thinking about it. We passed the massage girls again and they smiled but my smiled was forced, I had other things on my mind.

When we got to the beach restaurant we sat at the same table we had sat at the two previous times and the same waitress came over and took our drinks order. Neil and I decided to get a tea and coffee while the girls ordered coke. The waitress went away to get our drinks and we looked through the menu. There was a breakfast menu just near the back and Neil and I decided to get one of those. Now the weird thing is that they had a German breakfast, an American breakfast and even a Swedish breakfast but the best breakfast in the world was not on the menu. The best breakfast in the world being the English breakfast. It didn’t make sense to me or Neil. How could they not have the best breakfast in the world on the menu? I mean, a Swedish breakfast? Who the hell eats a Swedish breakfast apart from the Swede’s? The waitress came over with our drinks and took our order, Neil and I ordered a Swedish breakfast each and the girls ordered, well, something. The waitress went away to sort out our order.

T grabbed hold of my hand and put it into hers. I didn’t really feel like holding her hand. It seemed like this fantasy land I had myself in had now gone away and been replace by reality. I tried taking my mind off that phone call, I tried to think of the positive rather than the negative, but it was no use. I wanted to ask T all these different questions but I knew it would do me no good and would only spoil the remaining time we had left together. I just needed to bring myself up, make myself happier again. Our food came and we started to eat and I have to say it was quite nice. While we were eating, a small cat came over to our table and looked up at me and cried. I gave it a stroke and got a little piece of bacon off my plate and gave it to the cat. T also gave the cat a little stroke and told me it was pregnant. The cat was a stray and I wondered what kind of life it had had so far and what would happen to those kittens when they were born, it’s not something I wanted to think about so I took my mind off it as quickly as possible. I gave it a little more bacon and Neil also gave it some. T tried giving it a little piece of chicken but it didn’t touch it, I’m guessing that was because it still had a few spicy bits on it and if the cat would have tasted those, I’d see it running off into the sea with smoke coming out of it’s mouth. The cigarette seller also dropped by and asked me again about Saturday. This guy seemed to find me everywhere; it was like I had a homing beacon strapped to my arm. I guessed that if I hid myself underground, I’d turn around and there he would be with his little cigarette tray asking about Saturday. I told him I hadn’t forgotten and told him again the time I would meet him. He said ok and went.

After we finished our food we settled the bill and left. We headed to Bangla road so C could get some jeans from one of the shops. Once on Bangla road T grabbed hold of my hand, I was a little better now and had managed to take my mind off the phone call and all the thoughts it had brought with it. We walked down Bangla road and came to a mini shopping centre and went inside. There were different kinds of shops from household goods and clothes to Jewellery stores. I saw a few western men in the shopping centre with young Thai girls on their arms. I’m guessing they were doing the same thing as Neil, buying their little darlings gifts. We went up the escalator to the second floor which was a big clothes store with lots of big brand names like Timberland, Henri Lloyd and Levi. I saw a nice Henri Lloyd top that I was tempted to buy but decided against it at the last minute. I noticed that all the girls in the store were looking at us. We’d left C looking and jeans and T had stayed with her so Neil and I went for a little wander around and the girls working who we saw as we walked through the store that worked in there all looked at us, some smiled while others just seemed to stare. We went back to T and C and C had chosen a pair of jeans that were nearly Baht1100. Neal had only brought Baht1000 out with him so C had to put the rest too herself. She didn’t seem pleased but did it anyway. T asked me for my email address and she gave me a pen she had in her bag. I didn’t have a piece of paper so I asked one of the girls behind the counter we were at if she had a little piece of paper, her reaction was that she didn’t have a piece, but if I bought something then I could have a piece, or, they sold packs of paper so I could buy one of those and I’d have 500 sheets to do what I wanted with. I told her thanks but no thanks. C had now paid for the jeans and gave me her receipt to use for the email address. We left the store and got outside and found a bench to sit on so I could write down my address. I wrote down my email address for T and then she wrote down hers for me. It was now going on for 4pm so we made our way to the main beach road. I put T’s email address inside the cigarette packet I had so I wouldn’t lose it and I told her I’d email her when I got home.

We got onto the beach road and the girls said they would try and get a bus from here to Phuket town because otherwise they’d have to get a Tuk Tuk. We noticed that there was a travel shop on the road that led to our hotel so we went there. Neil and I sat outside to wait for them as they went inside. We sat just on the steps outside the shop. After a few minutes the girls came out and said they wouldn’t be able to get the bus because it wouldn’t be here for another hour and that would make them late for their bus trip back to Bangkok. So they now had to get a Tuk Tuk. We walked back up to the main beach road. This was it, she was going, in just a few minutes she would be gone. T held my hand and asked me again to some with her, but I said I couldn’t. She seemed sad but really there was nothing I could do, well, ok, I guess I could have done something but I didn’t really want to go back to Bangkok, I wanted to stay here. I told her I’d call her later on to see how the trip was going and to see if she was ok. We got to the main beach road and C asked a Tuk Tuk driver to take them to Phuket town; he agreed and took the girls bags. Neil gave C a quick kiss and T turned to me and said “I’m going to miss you very much, I wish you were coming with me” I said I was going to miss her as well. She gave me a quick kiss then said goodbye and got on the bus. The Tuk Tuk driver then did a U-turn and started up the road. I waved and T waved back. Then she was gone from my sight. All I could think at that point was “is that it? Is that the goodbye? It was so quick, so meaningless, what happened to the tears, what happened to the pleas of don’t go, I don’t want to leave you” neither of us had done any of that and you know what, I felt cheated, it was a big anti climax, it was like watching a truly amazing film only for the ending to spoil it. Christ what a day.

Neil and I walked back to the hotel and our favourite massage girl was outside and said hello, we both said hello back and smiled and then went inside the hotel and made our way to our room. We got to our room and went inside. I asked Neil if he wanted a drink and he said yes, so I made the drinks and we both sat on our beds. Neil asked me how I was feeling and I said I was a little sad, I told him about the phone call and the quick goodbye and he said he’d noticed how quick the goodbye had been and even he thought it would be different for me, he knew that I’d grown fond of T. At that point I just didn’t know what to think or feel. I did know that I was sad and it had sunk in that I wouldn’t be seeing her again but because of the phone call and the quick goodbye, I was a little confused about everything. Neil said he couldn’t believe he’d offered to buy those jeans for C, he said he should have kept his mouth shut but for some reason he’d offered to buy them, it just came to him and he’d said it. I asked him if he was going to miss C but he said no but he would be ringing her again before he left Thailand and he would send her an email with a couple of pictures. He certainly wasn’t upset in the slightest that she had left and it was a far cry from how I was feeling. We decided for the rest of the day that we’d just stay in the room and maybe get a little sun and just chill out before we went out for the night. We were going to go and see L and also go to a few bars, I needed to have some fun to take my mind off T.

At around 6pm I decided to ring my family back home on my mobile. Bad idea really because it was going to cost me an arm and a leg in phone costs and all I had to do was go to the 7-11 and buy a phone card. I decided to ring my mum first but it was engaged, so I rang my dad who was at work. He answered and I spoke to him for a couple of minutes. He asked how things were going and what I’d been up to. I told him little bits but didn’t go into too much detail because of the cost. I told him I’d tell him everything that had happened when I got back home, although my parents and my Niece and Nephew were going away themselves the day I got back so it would be a case of telling them everything when they got back from their holiday. I then said goodbye and tried ringing my mum again. This time she answered and asked me how everything was going, what I’d been up to, what time I would be landing in the UK, all the usual questions really but then she hit me with some very bad news from home about my sister. I’m not going to go into details but it was very shocking and upsetting news. I was sad already with T going but this was the icing on the cake. I told my mum I’d speak to her when I got back in the UK and I told her I was going to ring my sister. I said goodbye and put the phone down. I told Neil what had happened and he was shocked as well and asked if I was ok. I said I was but I wasn’t really, the news had knocked me for six and I needed some air, so I went outside and sat on the balcony and had a smoke. I thought about what I’d just heard and then I tried calling my sister. She didn’t answer so I left a message on her voice mail and said I would try again later. I finished my cig and went back inside.

Neil and I talked for a little while longer and watched some TV. The sun was now going down so we decided to sit on the balcony and watch it but we both wanted a beer so Neil went down to the shop and got us a big bottle each and I waited on the balcony for him to return. While he was gone I thought of my sister and I thought of T. A couple of times I had to take deep breaths to stop myself from crying. After 10 minutes Neil came back with the beer and we sat talking, drinking and watching the sun go down. It was our last couple of nights in Thailand and we were both surprised at how slowly it had gone. Usually your holiday seems to be over in no time, but things had just gone perfect and instead of it feeling like there was only a couple of hours in a day it had actually seemed like there was 24 hours in the day. We were both glad about that, we didn’t want to come here and it to be over before we knew it and luckily that wasn’t the case.

The sun had now gone down fully and we’d finished our beers. We weren’t sat in the dark because we had the balcony light on but we both decided that we would go inside and get ready for the night ahead, it was nearly 8pm. I told Neil that I would try and ring my sister before I came back inside and he said ok and that he would have a shower while I was speaking to her. Neil went inside and I called my sister. This time she picked up the phone and I asked her if she was ok and she said she was. After a 5 minute conversation I told her I’d see her when I got back to the UK and we said our goodbyes and I hung up the phone. I sat there for a second thinking about the conversation I’d just had and what had actually happened to my sister. With T going back to Bangkok and now this with my sister, deep breaths didn’t help me and I sat there and cried.

After letting it all out I went back inside the room and Neil was already out of the shower. He asked if everything was ok and I said yes. I knew that tonight we’d have to have fun to take my mind off everything. I knew there was nothing I could do about the situation with my sister, I couldn’t get on a bus and go home, I was useless here, my hands were tied so the best thing for me to do would be to enjoy the rest of my time here in Thailand and just make the most of it. Home and what was going on there was thousands of miles away and I had to forget about it and not let it prey on my mind. It was the same with T, I was sad about her going but I didn’t want to mope around and think about her all the time, what would be the point? So I made a decision to just forget both things for the time being and just enjoy myself.

I went into the bathroom and had a shower and shave and came back out and got dried and dressed. Neil was watching a movie on the TV. I got some money from the safe and Neil did the same, we also decided to take the camcorder out with us that night and get some footage and I also took one of my mixes out with me. We were both pretty tired but we were ok. We left our room and made our way to Bangla road just after 9pm.

Bangla road was busy once again and there were lots of people walking up and down the street and inside the many different bars and down the various soi’s. We decided to head off to the Margarita bar at the bottom of Bangla road. Once we arrived we were shown to a table by one of the girls who said hello to us and we ordered a couple of Carlsberg draughts. Our drinks came and we talked a little about the holiday and our time in Thailand. Neil asked how I was feeling and I was a little better, being out and having a good time would be good therapy for me. We finished our beers and decided as we were pretty tired, to get a jug of Red Bull Kamikaze, if anything would wake us up, that would be it, and at Baht350 for a jug, it was a bargain really. One of the girls came over and we ordered the jug and she told another girl behind the main bar in the Margarita to make it for us. Neil got out the camcorder and filmed a little of the bar and also filmed me a little. After a few minutes Neil put the camcorder away and the girl came over with the jug and two shot glasses and poured out our first shot each. We both downed the shot in one and it was very nice. We poured ourselves another and did the same, then another and another and before we knew it, the jug only had about a ¼ left in it. We were pretty full and the drink had done the trick because we were now both wide awake. We didn’t think we could drink the rest of the jug so we asked one of the girls working in the bar if she’d like to hand it out to the customers in the bar because we’d had enough. She misunderstood the instructions and instead of handing it out, she put the remains of it in a plastic bottle and gave it back to us. We both laughed and said thank you. I asked Neil if he was hungry and he said yes, so we decided to leave the Margarita bar and go across the road and into the KFC for something quick to eat. We called one of the girls over, settled the bill, thanked her and then left, taking our plastic bottle with us. The other girls who had seen us in here every night all waved and said goodbye.

We crossed the road and went into KFC. It was pretty packed with Chinese people. There was a coach parked outside so we guessed they’d all come on that and were just having something to eat before they moved on to wherever it was they were going. We went to the counter and just ordered a Zinger tower burger each, paid and then sat down with our burger. We both tucked in and it tasted great, both of us were taking it in turns to have a drink of the Red Bull we had left. After finishing our burgers we drank the rest of the red bull and left.

We decided that we’d get some camcorder footage of some of the lady boys to take back home with us and show people just how hard it is to tell with some of them. We thought the best place for this would be the lady boy soi we had been too before. We got there and went to the same bar we always went to and sat down and ordered a Vodka Red Bull each. The girls serving behind the bar recognised us and one of them asked where our lady’s were. We told them they had gone back to Bangkok and they were only here for a couple of days. The girl got our drinks and I got the camcorder out to do a little filming, which turned out to be a big mistake because that camcorder acted like a homing beacon for lady boys. Not the lady boys you couldn’t tell were lady boys, but the other kind, the ones where it’s very obvious. About four of them crowded around us and said hello to the camera and asked us where we were from, they blew kisses, kissed us both of the cheeks and at this point I decided to put the camcorder away. One of the lady boys stayed with Neil and put his/her arm around him. Neil looked in a state of shock and the lady boy kissed him on the cheek leaving a big lipstick mark on his face, then he/she did it to me. We’d both had enough and wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible. So much for out plans of getting the lady boys you couldn’t tell the difference with. For some reason, they all asked us for money; all four of them wanted paying. What the hell did they want paying for the cheeky gets? I decided to give one of them 20Baht which didn’t go down well but I said that was the only change I had and if he/she wanted a few coins instead he/she was more than welcome. The lady boy took the money and went away. Neil gave another one of them the same and he/she went away. We both then downed our drinks as quickly as we could, settled the bill, thanked the girls behind the bar and left.

We decided to head off to Soi Easy and L’s bar, it would be the first time I’d seen or spoke to L since meeting her that night (or morning) with T. We walked in and went over to L’s bar and all the girls said hello, L was behind the bar as usual and smiled, she also called me a muppet. We ordered a couple of beers and sat down. I noticed there was a new girl working in L’s bar tonight and I said hello, Neil did the same and she said hello back. I noticed how young she looked and my guess was that she was no more than 18. She looked pretty nervous and didn’t really say much. L brought our drinks over and got out the different games. I had a few games of the dice throwing game with L and her sister while Neil played the new girl at connect 4 and considering she was new, she certainly knew how to play connect 4. After we finished our beers Neil ordered another and I ordered water. When they came over I decided to get the camcorder out and do a little filming. L and her sister and the rest of the girls in the bar all waved to the camera and then I decided to go and walk about and do a little filming. I walked off with the camcorder on record and went to all the different bars. All the girls laughed and said hello but the men who were sat at the bars just looked at me funny and wondered who I was. I’m sure a lot of them were thinking “god, I hope my wife doesn’t get to see this” I wandered over to where the DJ booth was but the female DJ and the male DJ I knew weren’t there but the DJ who was there waved anyway. I started walking back to L’s bar and I walked past a bar just near the toilets and my cap got took off me by one the girls and I stopped and filmed for a while. There was a group of Americans in this bar and they asked me why I was filming and where I’d got the camcorder from. I told them I was doing a documentary for Channel 4 and I was making it as natural as possible, they seemed to believe me. The girl who took my cap kept on asking me to get a drink in her bar and asked me whether I was DJ’ing that night and I said I didn’t know, but I would buy a drink from her bar before I left Thailand. She then gave me my cap back and I went back over to L’s bar. In the bar just next to L’s there were a few girls working there and sat down, but one of them got up and came over to me as I was walking back, she waved at the camera and asked me to get a drink in her bar and again I told her I would before I left Thailand. She talked to me a little bit and I had a bit of a laugh with her and then sat back at L’s bar. Neil was still playing connect 4 with the new girl.

After a couple more drinks in L’s bar, the male DJ came in and said hello to me and made his way over to the DJ booth. I said I’d go and see him in a little while and he said ok. Neil was now playing the Blocks game with the new girl, L and I just threw things at each other. L also told me something very interesting. We talked about T and I said she’d gone home that day and L showed me some pictures. One of them was of her with a balding man of about 45. He had the biggest head I’ve seen and I asked her who it was, she told me it was her Swedish boyfriend and he sent her money every month. Now the thing is, L doesn’t go with customers, as long as I’ve known her, she never has and it proved it last year when she wouldn’t sleep with Dave and the reasons she gave for it. I asked her if she’d slept with this guy and she told me no and then I said “why is he sending you money every month” and she said because he loved her and wanted to marry her. I asked her if she loved him and she said no. She also told me she was going to go to Sweden soon to see him and he was paying for everything. I asked how much he was sending each month and she said Baht20’000 and he was also going to give her Baht200’000 for her family. I didn’t really know what to make of this. Now this guy didn’t have to worry about L sleeping around, but what he did have to worry about was the fact that he wanted to marry a girl that didn’t love him. To be honest with you I don’t think L would marry him because she said she didn’t love him so she didn’t think she would but she seemed happy about him sending her money every month. L wasn’t stupid and if you met her you would know she is not your typical bar girl, she’s very clever and has her head screwed on. She also laughed when I said he had a big head and looked like an Alien.

After my little conversation with L I went over to the DJ booth with the camcorder and when I got there, she was there, the female DJ. I went inside the booth and said hello to the both of them and did a little filming. The male DJ still had one of my mixes so I asked him if he’d copied it and he said yes and he gave it back to me and then I asked him if he’d put on the last 40 minutes of the first mix I’d given him on the first night I’d met him and he said he would, so I got it out of my pocket, he said he would play it in 20 minutes because the female DJ was playing Hip Hop and they took it in turns with the different kinds of music. I sat there for a little while and talked, well, tried talking to the female DJ while the male DJ played with the camcorder. She was nice; I liked her even though she said she didn’t like me because I was an underground techno man. I could tell it was a love/hate relationship with this girl and was going to be a bit of a challenge. I then decided to leave and go back to L’s bar and the male DJ asked me to set up my mix as he would play it in a minute. I set it up from the point I wanted it played and got the camcorder back off him and just as I was leaving he started my mix. I told him I’d be back later to get it and said goodbye. He waved and the female DJ smiled. I went back to L’s bar. Neil smiled when I got back because he knew it was my mix playing. He was still playing the blocks game with the new girl. I played L’s sister at connect four and she beat me each and every time, L just laughed at me. I got another drink, this time I got a beer and also bought L a drink.

My mix finished and I went back over to get it. I got a couple of cheers from the bar girls in a few of the bars as I went past. A couple of them stopped me and asked me to sit with them but I declined their offers. I reached the DJ booth and the DJ gave me it back and said thanks. The female DJ just smiled. I said that it would be my last night in Thailand tomorrow as I was going back to the UK on Sunday. He asked me if I wanted to go back to his apartment after he finished work to listen to some music and have a smoke (not cigarettes) but I said no and thanked him for the offer but I was going to get something to eat with Neil, L and her sister when they finished work. I then left saying goodbye as I went. Just as I was going back to L’s bar and I walked past the bar where the girl took my cap, another girl from that bar stopped me and asked me what my friends name was. I told her it was Neil and she said that she liked him and would like to meet him. I told her that I would tell him to come over and speak to her, she said ok and then I went back to L’s bar.

I told Neil about the girl and his eyes lit up. He told me that when he went to the toilet before, he didn’t have change and a girl from that bar had given him the 5 Baht to use the toilet. I said that it must be the same one so he said he’d go and say hello in a little while. In fact, a little while turned into two minutes because he was off. I sat at the bar with L and she got the camcorder out and started to film. She filmed me and then some of the girls in the bar and then went to film some of the other bars as well. Now I don’t know how this thought came into my head but I was in a silly mood and decided to do something spontaneous, I decided that I’d go behind L’s bar and be a barman. I got up and just went behind the bar. L came back with the camcorder and started filming me. All the girls in L’s bar were laughing and so were the girls in the bars to the left and right of L’s bar. I got a cloth out and cleaned the bar top, got rid of empty bottles, a couple of the girls asked for some ice for their drinks so I got that, L asked for a drink from the fridge so I got that and opened and poured it out for her. Neil had now come back and got the camcorder off L and started filming, I don’t think he could quite believe what he was seeing. A girl from another bar just across the other side decided to come over to L’s bar after seeing me and got on top of the bar and did a pole dance in front of me. After me just cleaning the top of the bar I got the cloth back out and wiped where her feet had been, everyone watching was in hysterics. Then all the girls decided to get on the stools around the bar and dance. I handed out some peanuts and wrote out a couple of receipts for the drinks I had to get. When it came to L’s drink I put on the receipt “muppet drink” L paid for her drink and I took the money off her and got the change. I started to screw up her receipt to throw it in the bin but she shook her hand and told me I had to keep it and put it on a little thing that showed what had been sold that night. The girls got off the stools and the girl who was pole dancing on the bar got off and I picked up the cloth and went around to where the stools were and gave them all a clean. I then went back around the bar and continued my work. The flower seller came around and all the girls put their money together and bought me a big bunch of flowers which was nice of them. I posed for a couple of pictures and for the camcorder and then gave the flowers to the new girl in L’s bar. I think she had now realised that Neil and I weren’t there to pick up girls, we were just here to see our friends and have some fun and a laugh with everyone and she seemed a lot more relaxed around us, although I don’t think she could quite believe what she was seeing.

I decided enough was enough and finished my bar shift and came back around and sat on a stool. All the girls clapped and cheered and I took a bow. Neil said he couldn’t believe I’d just done that but he’d got a lot of it on video. The girls and the manager who was a male in bar next to L’s had enjoyed watching me so much they bought me a drink. They had it on the bar waiting for me. It was a single shot of Thai whiskey. Neil had the camcorder filming to get my reaction and I thanked the bar and knocked it back in one, it blew my head off, my stomach was on fire and my reaction was a Kodak moment. I had to get a drink of water because my insides had just melted.

It was now 2am and the bars were closing. I’d asked L and her sister if they wanted to get something to eat and they had said yes, so Neil and I were waiting for them. As I sat there someone tapped me on the shoulder, I turned around and it was the female DJ, she was just leaving and she smiled and stuck her tongue out at me. I said to her “come here a minute” but she carried on walking and just smiled at me. The new girl in L’s bar then said she was going and said goodbye to Neil and I and thanked us for making her laugh. The male DJ then went past and patted me on the shoulder and said goodbye to me. I waved and smiled.

L and her sister were now ready to go and we left Soi easy and made our way down Bangla road. Both Neil and I noticed that there were a lot of police out tonight and we wondered what was going on because they were all over the place. It had started to rain now quiet heavily and because it was so heavy, we more or less ran to the Thai restaurant. It was the same Restaurant we had been too with L and her sister as well as T and C, but when we got there, it was closed, we could believe it. We walked back up the street and noticed a 50’s themed place that was open and L led us inside there. It wasn’t too busy but there were a few people sat at the different tables and stood by the counter. MTV was on and I looked on the wall and there were loads of different photos of film stars and singers from the 50’s. A waiter came over and took our drinks order, we all wanted water. He went away to get our drinks and we looked at the menu. L, her sister and I all wanted fried rice and Neil wanted a chicken curry. When the waiter came back with our drinks he took our order and then went away again. We all sat there chatting and listening too MTV when suddenly 3 Thai policemen walked in and spoke to a man behind the counter in Thai. MTV was then switched off, well, the sound was anyway. The police then looked around at everyone in here and then left.

When our food came we all tucked in and it was as nice as fried rice can be. Neil said his curry was hot but nice. We all talked and had a laugh while we ate; it was good fun and nice going out with L and her sister again. When we had finished our food we drank the rest of our drinks. There was an English guy stood at the counter with a Thai girl and he asked the man behind the counter for a packet of walker’s crisps. I laughed and thought “you come all the way to Thailand to buy walker’s crisps, you muppet” says me who eats fried rice 24/7. When we finished our drinks we settled the bill, L also paid her share instead of me and Neil splitting it which I thought was nice of her to do. We then left and made our way up Bangla road. It was still raining and got heavier. Neil needed the toilet so we went into Tiger bar and I remembered that the toilet in here was upstairs so I told Neil where to go. He went but a minute later he came back down and said that there was nothing up there but building material, there was no toilets or bars. It was weird because the previous year when I had gone up there with the lads I went with; there were lots of bars as well as toilets. L then said that the toilets were straight ahead and just to the right, so off he went again but came back a few minutes later saying that they were shut, although some woman he had met had offered to cup her hands for him. We then left Tiger bar and L said we would go back to Soi Easy where her bar was and he could use the toilets there. The rain now was very heavy and when we got to L’s bar we were soaked. There were still a couple of bars open but I noticed it was only Thai people sat at them. I’m guessing they were the managers of some of the bars. They all knew L though and L asked Neil and me if we wanted a drink so we decided to get Carlsberg. L went to get them and paid for them herself, she also got herself a drink and her sister a drink. I needed the toilet now so L showed me where it was as the main toilet was closed. I went inside this small door just at the front of Soi Easy and turned the lights on and found the toilet. Just as I finished I heard the door close and I ran to it, L was going to lock me in as a joke and turned off the lights but she wasn’t quick enough. I came out and called her a muppet and then Neil went to the toilet. When he came back out we went to one of the closed bars and sat drinking our drinks and saying hello in different languages. L seemed fluent in everything and all Neil and I could do was say hello. I taught L the word “retard” and told her what it meant. I then did a little play acting where I sat at the bar and L and her sister walked past me and I said to them “welcome handsome man”. We just basically fooled around for the next couple of hours because the rain was so bad. I taught L how to play a tune with her finger on a glass with a little water in it, she was mesmerized by it. There was a bag of bugs that someone had left on one of the bars and L and her sister tried to force feed me one of them, I was nearly sick. All of us walked over to the bar where Dave and I had met L and P the previous year. The bar had now closed down and it was a little eerie seeing it this way, there was dust all over it and dust on the stools. I told Neil how we had walked in and sat at this bar and L and P had come over, L had then taken Dave away to the other side of the bar and P had sat with me.

It was now nearly 5am and Neil and I decided to call it a night. As we walked down the steps of Soi easy, there was a group of Australian men and women sat around and stood around talking, it seemed they were also waiting for the rain to stop. We walked up Bangla road and once we reached the top and were on the main beach road, L and her sister flagged down a bike taxi and we said our goodbyes and I told L that it was our last night tomorrow and that we wanted a party, she laughed and called me a retard and they then left. Neil and I made our way back to the hotel and to our room.

The sun was coming up as we went inside our room. I sat on the bed and I told Neil I was going to ring T to see how she was doing. She would probably be very near Bangkok by now. I got out my phone to look at her number and I noticed I’d had a missed call. I looked who it was and it was T, she had tried ringing me about two hours earlier. I rang her on the hotel phone and she answered after a few rings. It was nice to hear her voice and she said she was happy that I’d called her, although she had been asleep. She told me she was missing me and wished that I was going back to Bangkok with her. She asked me what I’d done that night and I told her about it. I then said that I was going to bed but I’d ring her again later that day to make sure she’d got back safely, I also told her I was sorry that I’d missed her call. She said she missed me very much and wanted to see me before I left Thailand, I said the same thing and then we said our goodbyes.

It was nice hearing her voice again but I didn’t feel too sad. I’d had a great night and I needed cheering up and tonight had delivered it in fine fashion. Neil and I both got ready for bed and I had a quick smoke before getting in bed. I sat on the balcony and thought of the day I’d just had, about my sister and about T leaving and hearing her voice just now. I felt sad but at the same time happy because of the night I’d just had. Tomorrow would be our last full day and night in Thailand and that was kind of hard to take in and something I didn’t want to think about. I finished my cig and went back inside the room. Neil was already in bed and I got in bed. I turned all the lights off. I could see light coming through the curtains. It had been a long day and night but I’d enjoyed most of it and felt many things that day both happy and sad and as sleep took hold of me I thought of T, as I shut my eyes I gave her a silent goodnight.

Day 13 (Phuket)

Neil was snoring when I woke up. I thought this would be the prefect opportunity to film him; after all he’d done it to me a few days earlier. I got the camcorder and started filming, after about 10 seconds I got this feeling that what I was doing was weird, I laughed to myself which was probably even weirder and stopped filming. I got out of bed and went to the toilet.

It was now Saturday July 19th and it was our last full day and night in Thailand. I didn’t want to go home; I didn’t even want to think about going home. I checked my phone and it was nearly 1pm. I wasn’t really surprised it was that late because it was nearly 6am by the time I’d actually got in bed and went to sleep. Neil stirred and opened his eyes. He asked me the time and I told him, I then asked if he wanted a drink and he said yes. I went over to make myself a tea and Neil a coffee. When I got the milk out of the fridge there was just a tiny bit left. I turned to Neil and said we’d have to get some more and when we went for something to eat and I met the cig seller, we’d stop off at the 7-11 to get some.

The drinks were made and I went and sat on the balcony and had a smoke and drank my drink. After a few minutes Neil joined me. It was dull and overcast outside and it looked like it was going to rain. The glorious sunshine we’d had over the last few days were now long gone. As we both sat there more or less in silence and just taking in the air I got a text message. It was off T and it said that she missed me very much and was thinking about me, it also said that she had lost her money bag that had her ID card in it and also her University card in. She asked me if I’d seen it. I replied saying I missed her too and would call her in a little while and I told her I hadn’t seen her money bag. She sent me another one back asking if I’d go to the Hotel she had stayed at and see if it was there, I replied saying I would and that I would call her later to let her know whether I had found it or not.

We decided to get something to eat at Mc Donald’s and then I had to meet the cigarette seller as promised. We didn’t bother having a shower; we both said we’d have one a little later. We got dressed and got some money, I took enough for food as well as my cigs. We left the room and made our way out of the hotel.

We walked up the street the hotel was on and the massage girls were there, we said hello and they waved and said hello back. Once we got to the beach road we turned right and made our way to Mc Donald’s. We got stopped a few times from the various street sellers but eventually we arrived at MD’s and went inside. It was pretty busy but it didn’t take long to get served. I was bored with fries so I decided on two double cheese burgers and a coke. Now I thought this was a pretty simple order but it wasn’t for the girl behind the counter. She got my cheese burgers and then she brought over two large cokes but this being Thailand I didn’t say anything, I turned to Neil and told him not to order a drink, and he said ok, problem solved or so I thought. I thanked the girl and went to sit down. A minute later Neil came and sat down and we started eating and I gave him one of my cokes, a minute after that the girl came over and gave me two packets of fries. Considering I was bored of fries this kind of took the piss. Instead of her thinking I had ordered two double cheese burgers, she thought I’d ordered two double cheese burger meals. I asked Neil if he wanted the other pack of fries and he said yes, so I handed them over, even though he already had a pack himself.

After we had finished our meals it was very close to 2pm and we left to go and meet the cig seller. As we walked down the main beach road it started pouring with rain. Neil said he needed some money so we found an ATM machine which was also under cover so we stopped by it and Neil pulled out some money. We waited a few minutes till the rain slowed down a little and then we left and walked further down the beach road to just near the beach restaurant. We walked down a little tunnel and Neil saw him. I went over to him and the guy was true to his word. He had the cigs in a rucksack and got them out for me, he even had a plastic bag for me to put them in. I didn’t try and haggle him on the price but he knocked 50Baht off anyway which I thought was nice of him. I paid and thanked him and we left and went back to the hotel. The massage girls said hello again as we walked past.

Once we got back the room Neil tried using the key but it wouldn’t work. He tried again but it still wouldn’t work. We both had a look at the door and noticed that the electronic lock had been pushed in so it had stopped working. “Great “we thought, we can’t get in our room. We went to search for the maid and found her just a bit further down and told her about our door. She came over and tried it herself but it wouldn’t work. She then went over to a phone that was just on the wall near our room, picked it up and spoke in Thai. When she hung up she said that maintenance would be here very shortly to have a look at it. Neil and I sat and waited for maintenance to turn up, we didn’t have long to wait, just a few minutes, it was a Thai man of about 40. He spoke to the maid and she showed him the door and he started to fix it. He took off the whole lock and had a play around with it. After 10 minutes he put the lock back together and he looked over to us and said it was fixed. We went over and thanked him and then he left. The maid said she wanted to clean our room so we said ok and that we would come back after she had finished. We decided to go to the 7-11 and get some milk, seen as though we’d both forgot to go after buying the cigs.

We left the hotel, walking past the massage girls again. They all shouted out to us and we waved at them. We got to the beach road and walked to the 7-11, it was still raining but only slightly. We got to the 7-11 and went inside. We both went over to the fridge and Neil grabbed some milk, we also decided to get a big bottle of Carlsberg each for later that day to drink before we went out for the night. We went over to the counter and as Neil was paying for his stuff, I looked outside and saw Jon the Indian guy stood in the doorway of his shop. He saw me and waved and signalled for us to come over, I nodded my head and waved. I paid for my beer and then Neil picked up some Fisherman’s Friends and paid for those. My cold was more or less gone now but Neil’s was coming back.

We left the 7-11 and went over to Jon’s shop and went inside. He was sat on a chair and a friend of his was sat next to him. He asked us how we were and how our time in Phuket had been and shook our hand. We told him a couple of stories and he asked us when we were leaving, we told him tomorrow. He said he was going to try and sell us something but we didn’t have to buy anything, he was just doing his job, we understood. He showed us a few things and we said that if we had any money left we would come in and maybe buy something. He then told us another riddle and said he would give us the answer when and if we came back tomorrow. We then said our goodbyes and left. Neil went over to the ATM machine to see if he could pull out more money because he was running low, all he could get out though was 500 baht. I still had some traveller’s checks left so I needed to change those and decided I’d get it done in the hotel as I couldn’t be bothered with an exchange place. We made our way back to the hotel, saying hello to the massage girls as we went past.

Once we got back to our room the maid had finished and we went inside. The door worked fine. Neil asked if I wanted some tea and I said yes. He made the drinks and I put my cigarettes in my suitcase. It started raining again very heavily, even though it was still 80 something degrees outside and stepping out onto the balcony to watch a little of the storm, it certainly felt like 80 degrees. I went back inside and Neil put my tea just on the bedside table. I sat on my bed and Neil sat on his and we put MTV on. We both knew that because of the weather, we were more or less stuck in the room for the rest of the day until we went out in the evening. It wasn’t too bad really, we were pretty tired and it was nice to just chill out and not do anything or go anywhere.

I finished my drink and decided to go down to reception and get the rest of my travellers checks changed. I got them out of the safe and told Neil I would be back soon and then left. Once I got to reception I handed over my passport and travellers checks and I signed them, the woman behind reception added it all up and gave me my money. I had just over Baht3000 left. Which wasn’t much but I knew it would last me. I thanked the woman and went back to the room. Neil answered the door and I put my money and passport in the safe and sat back down on my bed. For the rest of the afternoon we just watched TV and talked about the holiday and did a little filming of each other with the camcorder. L played phone games with me and rang my phone a couple of times; I did the same back to her, I also sent her a text message saying not to forget our party tonight and also her promise of free drinks all night, she sent one back saying in capital letters “NOT FREE”. Neil looked at how much money he had left and he had just over 1300Baht left. I told him he’d had to be careful when we went out that night and he couldn’t drink like a fish as normal. We decided we’d get another jug between us because it was pretty cheap and sent us crazy in the process. I did a little packing, which depressed me but it had to be done.

At around 7pm we opened our beers and drank them. We again talked of the holiday and the various things that had happened to us in such a small amount of time. So many things had stuck in our minds and everyday had something new and wonderful to talk about and laugh about. I talked to Neil about the disposable tooth brushes we had in the room and how I didn’t have a clue how to open it. It was the night we had the meal in the room and I decided to use one of them. When I got the toothpaste out of the box and took the lid off, it was sealed and the only way I could think of opening it was to get a fork and prick the top. It was a few days later when I was staying with T in the hotel that I found out how to open it. I had asked T if she had something sharp and she asked me why, so I told her that I couldn’t open the toothpaste, she had laughed and called me silly, took the toothpaste off me and opened it by turning the top the other way around and screwing it back on. I can fix computers, set up complicated sound systems and use multiple software applications with my eyes closed and I couldn’t figure out how to open a tube of toothpaste. Oh well, you learn something everyday.

At around 8pm we decided it was time to get ready for the night ahead. Neil went in the shower first and I went on the balcony for a smoke. As I sat there I realised I hadn’t spoken to K for a few days, I hadn’t sent her a message and she hadn’t sent me one. I didn’t really know what to think about it. I did know that I was still a little upset about how things had turned out and how she had been a different person when I’d met her. There was nothing I could do about that, she was who she was and maybe one day she would realise how she had made me feel. I thought a little about P and decided I’d call her tomorrow before I left for the UK. I also decided I’d ring N and say goodbye to her before I left. Out of everyone I’d met in Thailand, well, of the people I knew before I came, N had been the one person who had grown on me the most and I was a little sad that I hadn’t been able to spend more time with her in Bangkok. I knew we were just friends but it still would have been nice to spend more time with such a wonderful, caring, genuine and friendly person as her.

Neil came out of the shower and I went in. I had a shave and a shower and came back out after 10 minutes to get dry. My sunburn on my stomach had now browned over which was nice to see, although no one would be able to actually see it. When I was finished getting dressed I got the camcorder out and filmed Neil. We said on camera that it was our last night and we both agreed that when we left there would be a national day of mourning in Thailand, the day we left it would be marked on a Thai calendar and would be a Thai holiday every year. We decided to take both our cameras out with us as well as the camcorder to get lots of shots from our last night. We also wanted to get the band on film in the Margarita bar because we hadn’t got any footage of those guys. I told Neil I’d have to go to a shop to get another roll of film because I only had a couple of shots left on the one in the camera, I also got the two mixes I’d brought with me because I was going to give them to L. We were ready to leave; it had just gone 9pm when we left the room.

We got out of the hotel and walked past the massage parlour, the girls were there to say hello and wave. We got on the main beach road and made our way to Bangla road. When we reached it, I saw a shop just on the corner that sold camera film and I went inside. There were about 7 Thai girls all stood around and they looked at me when I came in. I went over the counter and asked for a roll of film, I felt a little awkward because all the girls were looking at me. I was tempted to say something witty but decided at the last minute not too because it would probably make me look stupid and rather then them laughing with me, they would be laughing at me. I paid and left and we made our way to the Margarita bar and the bottom of Bangla road. When we reached it we were greeted by one of the girls at the entrance and made our way to a table and sat down. We decided straight away to order another jug of Red Bull Kamikaze. The girl went away to order our jug. It was pretty quiet in here tonight. There were a few men sat at the main bar watching the TV, a pool game was on and there were a few people sat at the tables. When our drink came we dived in and it was gorgeous. We had shot after shot each and loved it. It was hard to believe but in about 30 minutes we’d finished the whole jug and we felt the effects. We decided to order another jug but this time we ordered the blue version of it. The girl came over and we gave her our order and she took the other jug away. I decided to ask one of the girls if she would put one of my mixes on in the bar. They all seemed to know us now and I called one of the girls over. I got one of the CD’s out and asked her if she would put it on, telling her I was a DJ and this was one of my mixes, she smiled and said yes. She went over to the music system with my CD and put it on. She came back over and said she could only play one song because the band was due to play, I said ok.

Our new jug was brought over and we dived in again. As my CD kicked in, the first song was played, then the second, then the third. We also noticed that the place was filling up. The girl who put the CD on seemed to be enjoying it and as Neil and I looked around, the rest of the girls and some of the customers seemed to be enjoying it. A few feet were tapping and some of the girls working in the bar were trying their hardest not to dance. The band came in and they kept it on. They seemed to like it so I decided to go over and say hello. I told them my name and I said I’d been to Phuket before and had met the manager Steve. They asked about my CD and said they would keep it on until they played. I thanked them and told them Neil and I thought they were really good and we were going to film them for a while. I then went back over to my seat.

After another 20 minutes my CD was in full swing and so was the bar, it was filling up fast, I’d like to think it was because of the music being played, or should I say because of my mix being played? Neil and I did a little filming and talked about my mix being played. We’d drank just over half of the second Jug now. At just gone 10.45pm the band turned off my mix and got ready to play. I was a little disappointed to hear it go off but at least I’d got 80% of it played so I was happy about that. I went back over to the band to get the CD back and they both said it was very good. I thanked them and went back to my seat. As I passed some of the girls working in the bar they clapped a little, I guess they liked the CD as well. I got back to my seat and the band started playing and Neil filmed it. They mentioned us having a camera and one of the singers asked us to send a copy to his mum in Doncaster and said his address over the microphone. We filmed them doing 3 songs and we finished the rest of the jug and decided to leave. We settled the bill, waved to the band and said goodbye to some of the girls and left.

Our next port of call was Rock Hard A Go Go. It would be the last time we would get to see this place for a while so we had to pay it a visit. We walked across the street and went inside and made our way to a couple of seats just next to the stage all the girls were on. A girl came over and took our order and we decided on a couple of beers, she left and went to get them. I looked around and didn’t see James Cameron in here tonight which was a shame. What I did see though and both Neil and I found funny was just towards the middle of the place there were tables and stools all set out. There were a few signs in here saying “couples welcome” and Neil and I noticed 2 Chinese couples sat together. I’d say they were in their mid 30’s and it was the looks on their faces which made us laugh. The two males were transfixed by the girls dancing on stage but their wives (I’m guessing they were their wives) just didn’t know where to look. Every 30 seconds or so they would glance and at the girls on the stage and quickly look somewhere else, they also looked very bored. It was comical to watch them. As we drank our beers I looked straight ahead of me to the other side of the stage where there was another bar. There was a man of about 45 sat there and next to him there was a line of Go Go girls sat on the stools. There was four of them in total and I looked at the man and then looked at them, the one sat next to the man looked at me then looked at the man and put her hand over her mouth to simulate a yawn. I started laughing and she did as well. She spoke to the three girls next to her and they looked at me and then looked at the man and did the same thing, they all simulated a yawn. I started laughing again. One of them shouted at me to take my cap off so I did and they all smiled and then they signalled for me to come over, I shook my head and said no and they all nodded their heads and looked sad.

We had another beer in here and I went to the toilet, the four girls all looked at me as I went and all smiled, I smiled back and put my hand to my mouth to simulate a yawn, they all burst out laughing and I went into the bathroom. Every time I went in the bathroom here I got a little scared, I always got this paranoid feeling that any moment, a group of girls would walk in. I don’t know why that made me panic or get paranoid, but it did. Of course it never happened but the feeling was always there. I finished and went back to my stool and sat down, smiling at the girls as I went past them. Neil and I finished our beers and we decided to move on and head off to our party at L’s bar. Just before we left I went over to the four girls sat with Mr Boring to say hello and goodbye to them. I walked round and their eyes lit up and they all smiled. I shook all their hands and they asked where I was from so I told them and then I said I was leaving tomorrow and I was leaving here right now. They asked me to stay and two of them asked me to meet them after they had finished work, I told them I couldn’t and that it was nice to meet them. I shook their hands again and said goodbye, they all waved and smiled and wished me luck for the journey home. I then joined Neil and we left Rock Hard A Go Go.

We walked up Bangla road and got to Soi Easy and went inside. As we neared L’s bar there was a cheer and as Neil and I got to the bar we saw that they had put up some balloons on the bell that you can ring if you want to buy all the girls in that bar a drink. Neil and I sat down and L brought over a couple of beers for us. Everyone was here including the new girl. They all said hello. Neil started to play a game with the new girl and I started to play the dice game with L, she tried cheating a couple of times but I caught her out. After a few games I finished my beer and asked for some water, Neil also got water. As L got the drinks I went over to the toilet and said hello to the girls in the bars that had come to know me. When I came out of the toilet, the bar just facing the toilet, a girl came over. It was the girl who had taken my cap the previous night and she asked me to have a drink in her bar and as I had promised her the previous night I asked her to get me a bottle of water. She went over to the bar to get it and I sat on top of an empty bar just facing the bar she worked at. She came over and looked up at me and gave me the water. The girl who liked Neil from this bar also came over and so did a couple of other girls. We all chatted and had a laugh and I was there for about 15 minutes until I finished my water, I then got down off the bar, thanked the girls and went, they wanted me to stay but I said I couldn’t. I then made my way over to the DJ booth and there she was, the female DJ. She looked at me and smiled. I decided to go for broke and start wooing her. I got my phone out and asked for her number but she shook her head, I then got a stool and sat in front of the DJ booth watching her, she started laughing. I then decided to see if I could find a present for her and told her I’d be back, she just laughed. I made my way back to L’s bar.

Neil was playing the blocks game with the new girl and he asked me where I’d been, I just told him I’d been wandering around saying hello to everyone and I told him I’d seen that girl who liked him, he said he wanted a picture of them both together later on and I said I’d take it. I got the camera out and took a few pictures and then I decided to go and walk about again. I went to the bar next to L’s just near the door and sat with a couple of girls and have a laugh and a joke with them, there was a lad there who was no more than 25 and I said hello to him, but he just ignored me, fair enough I thought. One of the girls had a mobile phone around her neck and I had a quick look at it, I then told the girls I was going but they wanted me to stay, I said I couldn’t and said goodbye and that it was nice to meet them. I then moved on to another couple of bars, one of them had the girl who had poled danced in front of me at L’s bar the previous night. She was on the bar dancing and waved as I walked over. I sat down and watched her and she kept on trying to get me up on the bar with her, I laughed and pretended to get up but then I sat down and shook my head, after another few minutes here, I said goodbye and then left and went to another bar just a bit further down towards the DJ booth and I noticed that there was a bunch of flowers on the bar and I asked one of the girls if I could borrow them a second, she said yes and I picked up the flowers and went over to the DJ booth and showed them the female DJ, she just laughed and shook her head. I got my phone out again asking for her number but she said no and laughed. I then left and took the flowers back over to the bar I’d got them off and thanked the girl. I made my way back to L’s bar.

I played a few more games with L and also her sister and I played the new girl at connect 4, she beat me, but we did have a game where no one won. I then decided to go for walk about again, but I didn’t go far, I just went to the bar facing L’s in the middle which had closed down and I sat on top of the bar. A girl from the bar next to L’s who I had talked to the previous night, it was also the bar that had bought me a Thai whiskey, came over and said that I’d promised to buy a drink from her bar and I said to her yes and I would keep to my promise and I asked her for a water. She went over to her bar and the guy behind the bar got a water out and threw it too me. The girl came back over and I gave her the money for the drink. She went over to the bar and gave the man the money and then came back to me. She stood there for a second and then decided to get on the bar herself. She sat next to me for a minute and then stood up and decided to do a pole dance for me. Neil had seen this and got the camcorder out and filmed this girl dancing around the pole. She was a pretty good dancer I have to say. When the song had finished I clapped and she got back down and sat next to me. She asked me to meet her after work but I said no. I told her it was my last night and that I would probably be going out to eat with L and her sister. She said ok and asked what time I was leaving the next day and asked if I’d enjoyed Thailand. I told her a little about my trip saying it was my second time here. After talking for another 5 minutes L’s sister came over and danced in between my legs, Neil got a picture of that on his camera. I then got off the bar and thanked the girl for dancing for me and talking to me, she smiled and I helped her off the bar and I went back to L’s bar to sit down. L hit me on the arm and told me to stop wandering off. I laughed and said ok.

The flower seller came round and L bought me a flower necklace, I thanked her and put it around my neck. I needed the toilet again (stupid water) but I didn’t have any change so L gave me 5 Baht and I went over to the toilet and paid. When I came out, the girl who liked Neil stopped me and asked if he was going to come over to see her and I said I would ask him. I then walked over to the DJ booth again but the female DJ wasn’t there. I asked the male DJ where she was (it wasn’t the same guy who I had met) and he pointed towards the bar I had got the flowers from. I thanked him and walked over, I couldn’t see her but then someone tapped me on the shoulder and I turned around. It was her, she had this big cowboy had on. I smiled and I asked her to come and sit with me a second and we walked over to a bar that had closed down. I grabbed a stool and sat down. I looked at her and was about to ask her for her phone number again but she suddenly said she had a boyfriend. I pulled a sad face and said to her “its ok, I just thought you were really nice and a pretty good DJ, even if you were a Hip Hop DJ” she laughed and called me a techno man. I said it was nice to meet her and that I was going home the next day but I was glad that I got to meet her. I shook her hand and she wished me luck for the trip back home and we said our goodbyes and I walked away. I looked back at her and she was stood watching me walk away, she smiled and I smiled back and raised my hand, then she was gone from my view, it was the last time I saw her.

Just as I walked past the bar near the toilets, one of the girls came over and put another flower necklace around my neck, I asked her who it was from and she pointed to a group of four girls all sat down at the bar, one of them was the girl I had gotten the drink of water off before, the one who had stolen my cap the previous night. They all waved and smiled and one of them said “we buy for you, for good luck” I smiled and said thank you and I went back to L’s bar. Once I got there I sat down and got another bottle of water from L’s bar and I asked L if she was coming to eat with Neil and I when she finished work, she said yes. The lad that I saw in the bar next to L’s and who I had sat with earlier that night came over to Neil and I and said that the girls from that bar wanted Neil and I to meet them in Tai pan at 2am. I looked over at the girls, there were six of them and they smiled and a couple of them I had talked to just a little bit earlier, one of them was the girl with the mobile around her neck. I told him to tell them no because we were going to eat with our friends from this bar, he said ok and walked off to tell the girls.

It was about 1.55am and L was clearing up and putting the bottles in the cabinet underneath the bar. The new girl came over to me and said she was leaving and wished Neil and I luck for our trip, I asked her if she wanted to come out to eat with L, her sister, Neil and me but I don’t think she understood and she just said “ah, enjoy your food” she then gave me a bracelet off her wrist, she had three of them and she took one off and gave it to me, I asked her what it was for and she said “luck” I thanked her and then she said goodbye to me and Neil and walked out of the bar. Neil asked me if I would go over to the bar near the toilets so he could have his picture taken with the girl that liked him, I said yes and told L we would be back in a minute. We walked off and went over to the bar. I got my camera out and when we got to the bar, Neil saw the girl and asked her if she would have her picture taken with him, she said yes. She also grabbed a couple of her friends, Neil got in the middle of them and I backed up and went to sit on the bar behind me, but the owner said no, so instead I went behind the bar and went to take the picture. There was a group of men just behind Neil and the girls and they all started waving, I started laughing and I took the picture. Neil thanked the girls and we both said goodbye to them all and they wished us luck for the trip back home, the girl that liked Neil looked pretty sad he was going, plus she never really got the chance to get to know him better which I’m sure she would have loved to do. Just then, someone grabbed my arm, I turned around and it was L and she laughed at me, called me a butterfly and dragged me back to her bar. I sat down and finished my water; Neil still had some water left so he finished his. The girls who worked in L’s bar all came over and kissed Neil and I goodbye and wished us luck, one of them was the girl that Neil had met on the first night in Phuket, the one who called him a butterfly and then said sorry to him the next day, they all left and waved. I decided to do a little filming. We were ready to go and as we started walking out, I ran to a couple of the bars, camcorder filming the whole thing and shook some of the girl’s hands. L and her sister just shook their heads while Neil just laughed. We got outside and made our way down Bangla road. I filmed all the way down. I filmed the various bars and all the different people walking up and down the street. As we walked past Tiger bar I looked in and noticed that a lot of the bars were still open, I told Neil that I was going to film a little and here and off I went with the camcorder. Neil, L and her sister followed.

I walked past all the bars inside with the camcorder, most of the girls waved and all the western guys at these bars just gave me dirty looks which I found pretty funny really. I reached the end of one side of Tiger bar and then crossed over and went down the other side, I stopped when I heard someone shout “MARK, MARK” I looked up and it was the mamason from the previous year. She was behind one of the bars and she came out and gave me a hug. She remembered Neil’s name and shouted him as well and gave him a hug. She asked us when we were leaving and we told her tomorrow. She said it was great to see us again and wished us luck on our trip. She gave me a hug and a kiss and called me her son, L and her sister were laughing. A young Thai man behind the bar she had just come from offered us face cloths, Neil took one but I said I didn’t need one but thanked him anyway. She asked when we would be back and I said next year and asked her if she’d still be here, she said “I will always be here” we then said we were going to go and get something to eat and she gave us another hug and a kiss and said “see you next year, you come and find me” We said we would and we left. I carried on filming the rest of Tiger until we got outside and it had started to rain. I put the camcorder away and we made our way to the Thai restaurant, I hoped it was open this time.

When we got to the restaurant it was open and we went inside. Once again it was pretty busy with the bar girls and workers all in big groups having fun and laughing and chatting with each other. We found a table and sat down. The waiter who had served us each time we’d been here came over and took our drinks order, we all decided on water. He gave us some menus and went away to get our drinks. When he came back with our drinks he took our order, well there will be no surprises in what I ordered, yep, fried rice with pork. L and her sister also ordered fried rice and so did Neil, the waiter then went away to order our food. I noticed the Thai singer was on tonight and I got the camcorder out and tried to film him, but it was too dark to really see him.

The waiter came back with our food about 10 minutes later and we all tucked in. L put all the hot sauce and peppers on hers and wanted me to have some, but I remembered what it was like from last year and told her to keep it. The food was nice and we all enjoyed the meal. We had a few laughs and enjoyed listening to the singer. When we finished our meal and drinks we asked for the bill. Neil and I paid and we decided to leave, but I asked Neil to take a photo of me and the Thai singer first. We waited for him to finish the song he was singing and then we all went over and I got on stage, I spoke into the microphone and asked for two bottles of Heineken, no one laughed. I asked him if I could have my picture taken with him and he said it was ok. I stood on the stage with him with my arm around his shoulder and Neil took the picture. I shook his hand and got off the stage and we left.

We up the street and crossed the road passing Tai pan and got onto Bangla road, we walked up Bangla road, we didn’t really know where we were going or what we were doing and just as we got near the top, we saw that a bar was still open and L asked if we wanted to go in there, Neil and I said ok and we all went inside. It was pretty packed but full of drunken idiots. A young Thai girl asked us what we’d like to drink and we all wanted some water, she went to get them for us. I sat down on a stool and I noticed a man of about 40 with a completely bald head, it shone under the lights. He was chatting up and feeling up a young Thai male. He then whispered in his ear and touched his hair and came over to where I was sat to go to the toilet. He looked at me and I looked at him and then he fell into me. He didn’t say sorry, he just picked himself off me and went into the toilet. The girl came over with our drinks and we opened them and started to drink them. The bald man came back out of the toilets and looked at me again as he walked past, I looked at him. His young Thai man had wandered off and he went over to a group of guys who seemed to know him. He spoke to them for a while and they all looked over at me, I looked back at them and kept on staring at them. Eventually they turned away. It was at that point that it was getting pretty uncomfortable in here and I said to Neil, L and her sister it would be best that we went outside. They all said ok and we walked outside. I looked at the group of guys as I walked past them, I never took my eyes off them, they glanced but looked away straight away. Once we were outside there were a few people stood outside the bar. A few Thai people and some western people, I also saw a group of western girls. L’s sister asked me which one of the girls was the most attractive and I looked at them. I told her none of them could be classed as attractive and she laughed, she asked me to pick one though, so I looked at them again and I picked one, she then said she would ask her out for me, I laughed and said if she was going to do that, then she didn’t have to bother because I could do it myself. She laughed and said “go on then” so I walked over to the group of girls. L and her sister were laughing at me. I stood there for a minute and changed my mind and walked back over to L and her sister. L’s sister asked me why I hadn’t said anything and I said “because I’m not that desperate” they both laughed.

We all finished our drinks and decided to make a move. I was getting pretty bored at this point but I didn’t want to go in just yet but it was looking likely that I would go in. As we reached the top of the road I said “let’s go on the beach” and I ran across the road and went down to the beach. They all followed and joined me. We found some sun chairs and all sat down and messed around for a little while. I went to get out my cigarettes and noticed I only had one left and I said I needed some more cigs from our hotel. Neil volunteered to go which I thought was nice of him. He said he’d be back in a few minutes and off he went. I talked to L and her sister and then I stood up and made my way down to the water, I heard running behind me and turned around, it was L and her sister and it looked like they were going to try and push me in the water. I sidestepped and ran, they caught up to me and got hold of my arms, but I shook out of their grip, this little move made L go flying backward resulting in her landing on her arse with a thump. L’s sister and I burst out laughing and I went running back to the sun chairs we had been sitting on. L and her sister came back up the beach and sat down as well.

After a few minutes Neil came back with the cigs and sat down. I needed the toilet so I walked over to the sea and well, did my thing even though it didn’t feel right doing it there but I didn’t have much choice in the matter. When I finished I noticed L and her sister were trying to drag Neil in the sea this time. I walked back to the sun chairs and lit a cig and watched them messing around. It was strange being on the beach in Phuket at night again. The last time I’d done this was the previous year when it had been P, L, Dave and I. I felt a little sad at this point, it was weird because as I heard the three of them laughing, I could hear the echoes of last years laughing. I could see P and I sat here talking while Dave and L drew in the sand. It somehow didn’t feel right being here right now and I felt I needed to leave the beach and go back to the hotel.

All three of them came back to the sun chairs and sat down. I looked at my phone to check the time and it was 4.30am. I said to Neil that I wanted to go. He said ok. I told L and her sister we were going to leave and they said ok. We all got up and made our way back to the beach road. I asked L if she was going to come and see us off later that day and she said yes. I got the CD’s out of my pocket and handed them over to L and she thanked me. L asked what time we were leaving and I said we were being picked up about 5.50pm, L said she would be there about 5.30pm to say goodbye. L flagged down a taxi bike and she got on with her sister. We said goodbye to them and they said they would see us tomorrow, the bike pulled away. Neil and I crossed the road and went down the road to our hotel; I had the camcorder out and filmed some of the walk. I noticed my legs were itching a little bit and I knew that I’d been bitten by mosquitoes; Neil said his itched a little as well. Neither of us had put on any protection so it was our own fault. We got to the hotel and walked inside, there was no one about except a receptionist and a security guard. They both smiled as we walked past them.

We got back to our room and went inside. The phone was ringing when we went in and Neil picked it up. He said hello and looked at me and rolled his eyes, I knew then that it was C. Neil chatted to her a little bit and then he said he would email her some pictures. After a few minutes he said goodbye and put the phone down. I asked him what she’d said and he said she just told him that she missed him and had been crying. He rolled his eyes, I laughed. I told him I’d ring T and I picked up the phone to call her. When it connected there was an engaged tone. I ended the call and rang the number again, engaged, I thought it was strange. I decided to get ready for bed and then try again after that. I went into the bathroom and brushed my teeth. When I came out I took my top off and shorts and tried ringing again. This time when it connected, the phone went dead. I wondered what was going on so I tried it again and the phone went dead again. I told Neil about it and he also thought it was pretty strange. I decided to just send her a text message saying I’d tried to ring but I couldn’t get through as it kept on cutting me off or was engaged. I sent the text and left it at that.

I went onto the balcony for a cig and sat there with the sun coming up and the warm air rushing over me. It was very relaxing just sitting here and I was sad because it would be the last time I’d get to do this. I thought of the night we’d just had and going to the beach and how I’d felt being there again. It was weird and it had made me sad because it hadn’t been with P and I wished it had been, but I knew that thinking like that was just living in the past, P was gone. I finished my cig and went back inside. Neil was already in bed and I interviewed him on the camcorder and he gave me his thoughts of the night, then he did the same with me. We then decided to go to sleep, although we did want to remain as tired as possible because that would help us sleep on the plane back to the UK, neither of us wanted to be awake for 12 hours feeling sad and depressed that we were leaving Thailand and going back home.

I got into bed and turned off the lights. As sleep took it’s hold I thought of T and wondered what she was doing right now, I thought of the goodbye we’d given to each other when she left Phuket and I decided I had to see her before I left, I had to say goodbye to her properly before I left Thailand.

Day 14 (Phuket)

I awoke to the sound of Neil snoring. I looked over at him and then turned over and reached for my phone to look at the time. It was nearly 12.00pm, Sunday July 20th. Today was our last day in Thailand. In about 6 hrs, we would be picked up from the hotel and taken to Phuket airport; it would be the first part of our long journey home. The thought of getting back home and back to reality was depressing. There were things I missed about being in the UK but I wasn’t ready to go back home yet. Usually after two weeks away in a different country you will say to yourself “well I’ve had a great time but I’ve had enough, I need my bed, I need normality once more” but being in Thailand it’s different, it feels so right being here, you become part of it and it becomes part of you. You don’t want to say goodbye to that feeling it’s given you, you don’t want to say goodbye to the people you’ve met and the thoughts, feelings and experiences you’ve had. I didn’t want to leave, I wanted to stay, to keep hold of that feeling I’d had the moment I stepped off the plane in Bangkok. But reality had hit me, I was on holiday and in 6 hours time, I’d be saying goodbye, I’d be leaving a place I loved, a place I thought of as home.

I got out of bed and decided to make myself a cup of tea. As the kettle started to boil, Neil woke up and asked me to make him one. I turned around and asked him how he felt knowing that we were going home today, his answer said it all “I feel like shit”

When I finished making the drinks I gave Neil his and took mine over to my bed and sat on it (the bed not the drink) Neil turned on the TV to MTV. It was another thing I would miss, MTV Asia, the Asian adverts, the Asian TV stations. I couldn’t understand a word they were saying but it didn’t matter, I loved watching them. We talked about going home and wondered if we’d sleep on the plane. We were both pretty tired and I was hoping the same thing would happen this year as last year. I’d slept for most of the flight home which had been great because 12 hours on a flight back home, leaving a place you didn’t want to leave and saying goodbye to people you didn’t want to say goodbye too would be a nightmare. I finished my drink and decided to do the rest of my packing. It wouldn’t take long, just a few clothes and little bits. I hadn’t fully unpacked my suitcase when I got to Phuket.

When I finished my packing I asked Neil if he wanted to go out for something to eat, he said yes and we both decided on Mc Donald’s where we would get our last Samurai pork burger, well, unless they screwed up again behind the counter and gave me three of everything. I didn’t want to bother with a shower; I just wanted a quick wash and would have a shower a little later on before we left. I went in the bathroom and had a quick wash and brushed my teeth. When I came out Neil went in and I went on the balcony for a smoke. As soon as I opened the balcony door the heat hit me. I noticed it was a lot more humid today than it had been since we got here. It was very dull and cloudy today but it was so humid it was hard breathing. I sat down and had my smoke. I then went back inside to get changed. I put on the clothes I was going to go home in and I was ready to leave, I just needed some money for my food. When I got my money out of the safe I looked at how much I had left, it wasn’t much at all, just a little over 1000 Baht. I wasn’t too bothered really; after all, the money was there to be spent not saved. When Neil came out of the bathroom, he got changed and checked his money situation. He was a lot worse off than me; he had just over 300Baht left. We were ready to leave, I picked up my phone and also the camcorder because I wanted to do a little filming of the hotel when we came back from eating, we both headed for the door and left, it was just after 2pm.

We got out onto the street in front on the hotel and made our way up to the main beach road. Our favourite massage girl was sat outside her shop and we said hello as we walked past. I told her it was our last day and we would say goodbye before we left, she looked a little sad when I said it. We reached the beach road and made our way to Mc Donald’s, we walked past the suit sellers and the people selling little things like bags and hammocks on the street. One guy offered me a hammock and I told him I had a perfectly good bed at home, he looked at me funny and said “as present, not bed” I told him no thanks. We reached McDonald’s and went inside. It was pretty busy and we had a wait a couple of minutes before getting served. I thought of the confusion yesterday and just decided to order a Samurai pork burger meal just in case. I got my food and paid and went to sit down just near the back of the restaurant. Neil joined me a couple of minutes later.

The burger tasted very nice, I was going to miss those things. You can’t get the Samurai pork burger in the UK, plus the fact that I don’t eat Mc Donald’s in the UK, I never bother. We finished our meal and left and made our way back to the hotel. The hammock guy saw me again but didn’t bother asking this time if I wanted one. We got onto the road leading too our hotel and said hello to the massage girls as we walked past. When we got inside the hotel we decided to film around the pool. Neil sat on one of the sun chairs and I walked around the pool with the camcorder. It was still cloudy but there was a few people sat on the chairs spread around the pool area. I did the usual thing of filming where our room was from outside and I turned back and went towards Neil. He was sat there quietly staring into space. I think we both knew the mood had changed now, it wasn’t excitement and wonder anymore, it was sadness and reflection. It was time for me to lighten the mood. When I reached Neil I said “right come on, let’s go do something” he asked me what and I said “we’re going to go and say hello to the massage girl we like” Neil got up and we walked out of the hotel, I was still filming with the camcorder. We got to the start of the row of shops and went up some steps and walked down towards her shop. She was sat just outside with three other girls. As we got nearer she looked and started laughing, so did the other girls. I gave Neil the camcorder and he kept on filming. I stood next to the massage girl and asked her to sit down next to me, and then I made a small joke how she was just a visitor in Thailand and she was going home today with me. She laughed and so did the other girls. I then turned to her and said that we were going today but we would be back to say goodbye to her and get a couple of pictures, she smiled and said ok. We then left and went back into the hotel and back to our room.

When we got into our room we both wanted a drink, but noticed that we didn’t have any tea of coffee left so Neil went in search of the maids little cart which had all the freebies on it. He came back a few minutes later with more tea and more coffee. I made the drinks and we sat on the bed and watched a little TV. I realised that I needed to make a couple of phone calls before we left. I wanted to ring N and P and also T to see if I could get to meet her in Bangkok airport to say goodbye to her in person before I left for the UK. I got off the bed and went over to the phone and called N first. Neil decided to take a shower. N picked up the phone and I said Hi. She sounded happy to hear from me and asked me how everything was going, I told her I was leaving in a few hours and thanked her once again for being so nice to Neil and I and I said I was going to miss her but I would speak to her when I got back home. She told me she’d written me an Email and to make sure I emailed her when I got back home to let her know that I’d arrived back safely and also for me to send her some pictures of the night in Ministry Of Sound. I promised that I would and we said our goodbyes. I wish I’d got to spend some more time with her; she was such a nice person and friend. But there was always next year. I then rang P and she picked up the phone. She also sounded happy to hear from me and asked how Phuket had been and asked what I’d been up to. I told her a little about what I’d done and how it would have been nice to see her before I left. She wished me luck on the journey home and told me to let her know that I’d got back home ok. We then said our goodbyes and I put the phone down. I then rang T and this time I got through ok. She answered the phone and I said hello, she said how much she was missing me and wished I was there with her. I told her I was missing her too and asked what was wrong with her phone and why I couldn’t get through to her. She told me that her battery had run out when I tried to call so she couldn’t answer it. She asked me what time I was getting to Bangkok and I said we would be landing around 10pm. I told her that I wanted to see her before I left for the UK to say goodbye to her in person, she said she wanted to see me as well and would ask her boss if she could leave and go to the airport to see me. I said to her I would let her know when I landed in Bangkok and give her all the details of where I was. She seemed happy and said she really wanted to see me because she was missing me so much. She asked me about her money bag and asked if I’d gone to the hotel to see if it was there, I’d forgotten all about it and I hadn’t checked for her but there was nothing I could really do now so I told her I had been and it hadn’t been there. She said she would have to go back home for a new ID card and get another card from the University. We said our goodbyes and she made me promise not to forget to call her in Bangkok and let her know when I was there. I promised I wouldn’t and I said goodbye and put the phone down. It was great hearing her voice again. I missed her a lot and it would be nice to see her before I left, although I knew that if I did see her, it would be hard to say goodbye.

Neil came out of the shower and asked if I’d made all the calls, I told him I had and that I was going to try and see T before we left for the UK. He said that if T came, then C would also end up coming. He didn’t really want to see her but if she came then he would be ok with her and not treat her any differently. I decided to have a shower myself and went into the bathroom. I also needed a shave.

After my shower and shave I came out of the bathroom and went onto the balcony for a smoke. A sat there looking at the view and taking in the warm air, watching the people on the beach and looking down at the beach road. I was really going to miss this place, I was going to miss everything about it, from the people to, well, everything. I finished my smoke and went back inside the room to get dressed. Neil was finishing off his packing. Once I got dressed and Neil had finished packing, he made us another drink and we both sat outside and filmed each other talking about going home and how we felt. We also talked about the things we’d done and the people we’d met, we talked about the many eventful nights we’d had and the stories we were going to share with our friends and family. We’d both gotten so much out of this holiday and as it was Neil’s first time, it made it all the more special. Coming back the second time for me had made me fall in love with the country even more, I didn’t want to leave this behind and get back to the UK and I knew that once I got back, I would be thinking about Thailand everyday and missing it everyday and the only cure for that would be to get back here as soon as I could. We both went back inside the room and made sure all our packing was done and we hadn’t left anything. We both took all the freebies the hotel had provided, just for sentimental reasons really. Once we knew we had everything, we shut our bags and cases and lay on our beds waiting for the time when we would be leaving.

At around 5.20pm I got a text message off L telling me she was at the hotel waiting for me. That signalled it was time to leave and check out. I sent her a text back saying we would be down very shortly and we had to check out first and then we would meet her. We got our bags together and did one final sweep of the room. Neil had his digital camera with him to get some photos of L and I had the camcorder to do a little filming. At 5.30pm we left the room, I said a silent goodbye as we left.

When we got to reception we checked out and handed over our room key. The Baht2000 deposit we had left for the room had been used and we actually owed the hotel Baht970. All the phone calls we’d made had mounted up and we owed them money, we’d nearly spent Baht3000 on phone calls, I couldn’t believe it. It was pretty lucky we actually had the money because we were both left with practically nothing. We paid the money and said thank you. We then made our way out of the hotel. Our suitcases were being taken care of by one of the porters who told us he would keep hold of them until our bus arrived to take us to the airport. When we got outside the hotel, L and her sister were waiting for us. They both smiled and L gave me a leaving present. I opened the bag and it was a doll that held your toilet roll. I laughed and thanked her. She asked when we were being picked up and I told her in about 20 minutes. Neil took a picture of the three of us together and then I took one of Neil and L and her sister. I asked them if they were going to miss me and L laughed and called me a muppet. After another 5 minutes of talking and messing about, L said she was leaving. We all hugged each other and she wished us luck on our journey home and I said I would see her next year. We all hugged each other again then L and her sister left. I was quite sad really, I was going to miss going into L’s bar and see her and the rest of the girls. Her sister was nice and Neil and I had both got on well with them all, but we knew we’d see them again, well, at least we hoped so.

We decided to say goodbye to the massage girl and went over to see her. I filmed as we walked over and she laughed when she saw us. We told her we were leaving very shortly and we asked her if we could have a couple of pictures taken, she said yes and Neil took one of me and her. When he had taken it she went over to Neil to have a look at the photo. When Neil was flicking through the photos for her she saw the one of me and T and sighed as if to say “he has a girl already” she then saw the picture of me and her and smiled. I then got the camera off Neil and took one of them two together; Neil wore her “wonderful Thailand” hat for the photo. When it was taken we waited outside her shop with her and she asked us if we wanted a drink and we said we’d like a bottle of water each, she nodded and went inside the shop to get us the drinks. A bus drove past and parked outside our hotel. She came back out with the drinks and we opened them and drank a little water. It was still very humid and the water was refreshing for the both of us. I looked over at the hotel and the bus parked outside and I said to Neil “I wonder if that’s our bus” we decided to walk over and see, we grabbed our bags and told the massage girl we would go and see if it was our bus and if it was we would wave as we drove past. We said goodbye and said it was nice meeting her and went over to the bus.

When we reached the bus I spoke to the driver and he had our names down, it was our bus. The porter came out with our cases and Neil and I got in the bus. The driver shut the doors and got in and started the engine. I realised that we wouldn’t drive past the massage girl, we would go up a different road and wouldn’t go past her, we wouldn’t be able to wave goodbye. I was a little sad about that. The driver started the engine and pulled away from the hotel. As we were driving away he put in a music tape and I started filming. We drove down the street and we went past another massage shop where all the girls were outside, they waved at us when the bus went past. When we got to the main beach road and we were turning onto it, there was a security guard just stood on the corner, he smiled and waved. We then pulled onto the main beach road and made our way out of Patong. I filmed for a while and then my phone went off. I gave the camera to Neil and looked at my phone, it was a text off L wishing us a safe journey and she hoped to see us again soon.

We got to the big hill and drove up it, leaving Patong behind us. Neil put the camera on me and asked how I was feeling, I only had one word for the camera “gutted” last year I was sad for different reasons when I left Patong, I was leaving P behind, this year was different, I was leaving all my new and old friends behind, I really was sad and the music playing in the bus wasn’t any help because every last song that played was about leaving, or going home, or missing someone. Was this guy taking the piss? Did he put this tape on just to see us get more upset? Did the label on this tape say “leaving songs for heartbroken tourists who don’t want to go home?”

Just before we got to the airport there was a big flood on the road. Cars and trucks had to drive through it very slowly because it was so deep, we had to drive through it as well, or did we float through it? When we reached the airport we got out and the driver got out our bags. We thanked him and he left, Neil went to grab a trolley for our cases. When he brought it over I had a smoke outside and Neil took a couple of photos and did a little filming. I still had the water that the massage girl had got for me. When I finished my smoke we went inside the airport to check in. It was 6.30pm.

The airport wasn’t too busy and we got checked in more or less straight away. Our cases would be going straight to Manchester so there was no need to worry about them, well, until we got to Manchester anyway. Once we had checked in and had gotten our tickets, we made our way to security and had our passports and tickets checked. That went ok and the metal detection machine didn’t go off for either of us. We made our way to the departure lounge and sat down. I said to Neil that I would look for somewhere where I could have a smoke before the flight so we both got back up again and went for a walk around. I saw a little place that looked liked a café and a western man was coming out, I asked him if I could smoke in there and he just looked at me, pointed in the café and walked off without saying anything to me, I turned to Neil and said “what an ignorant bastard” I had a quick look inside and couldn’t see anyone smoking. I decided to just forget it, in less than two hours we’d be on the plane heading for Bangkok and I could have a smoke when I got there. We headed back into the main lounge and just before we sat down I said I needed the toilet, Neil said he could use the toilet as well so we went over to where the toilets were and went inside. I went into one of the cubicles and I must have gone in the wrong one because the toilet was more or less on the floor? I did my thing and came out of the toilet and waited for Neil outside. When he came back out we made our way to some seats and sat down waiting for our flight. I noticed just to the right of us that there was a man and a woman sat just at the end of the row we were sat on, I saw that it was the ignorant man who I had met coming out of the café just a little while ago, I looked at them and noticed they were both using sign language, I started laughing and told Neil, he looked and started laughing as well. The guy wasn’t ignorant, he was deaf.

The wait for the flight seemed to go on for ever. At about 8pm Neil and I decided to get a cup of tea from a small café just at the end of the lounge. We walked over and went inside; we were the only people in there. I ordered tea and Neil ordered coffee. The girl behind the counter said she would bring them over for us. We sat down and a few minutes later the girl brought them over. We didn’t really talk much; we were both pretty sad and depressed about leaving so conversation was at a minimum. When we finished our drinks I paid for them and we left and took a seat again waiting for the flight. We weren’t sat down for long when it was announced that our flight was boarding. As we got up I got a text off T saying she missed me. I sent one back saying I was just about to board the plane to Bangkok and would ring her when I got there. We made our way to the gate and our tickets were checked and we went through the gate and made our way to the plane. We got to the little gate and walked down the corridor that led us onto the plane. We were greeted by Wai’s from the flight crew and we made our way down the plane and found our seats, I had a window seat. We put our seat belts on and waited to take off. Neil was falling asleep but I told him to save the sleep for the flight to London, he took my advice and tried keeping his eyes open; I was trying to do the same. After what seemed like an hour because of all the people getting on and finding and then taking their seats, we took off just before 9pm.

We arrived in Bangkok about an hour later. Our flight to London was at 1.10am. We had just less than three hours to kill before we had to board the plane. When we got off the plane in Bangkok I turned my phone back on so I was ready to call T, we had to get a bus from the plane to one of the terminals. When we got on the bus we waited 5 minutes for it to fill up and then we made our way to the terminal. The bus ride was less than 5 minutes and we got off and made our way to the main part of the terminal. I recognised it as the terminal we had landed in when we first arrived in Bangkok. I called T and she answered her phone straight away. I told her I was now in Bangkok and asked her if she was coming to meet me. She said she wasn’t sure because her boss was being funny about it because she’d already had time off to go to phuket to see me. She told me she would call me back in 15 minutes and let me know what was happening, she also told me she needed to know which terminal I was in and where to meet me if she came down. I already knew at this point that I wouldn’t get to see her; I just had a gut feeling that I would never see her again. I told her I’d get my ticket sorted out and then when she rang, I would tell her where I was, she said ok, she told me she missed me very much and would speak to me shortly, we said our goodbyes and I ended the call.

Neil and I made our way to the terminal we would be flying from, it was pretty confusing really but we followed the signs for international travel and kept on walking. We walked down a very long corridor that seemed to go on forever, there was a group of Chinese men just in front of us walking at a snails pace, we had to stay behind them because there was five of them and they were all in a line blocking the way past. When we eventually got to the end we saw a KFC and decided to get something to eat from there before we went any further. We walked up to the counter and was served by a girl of about 6ft, she was Thai Chinese and was very nice looking. I didn’t want to leave the counter. We just ordered a Zinger tower each, paid, got the food and sat down. I told Neil that I didn’t think I would get to see T before I left, he asked me how I felt about that and I told him I was sad. We hadn’t had a proper goodbye and I wanted to do it now, but I knew in my mind that it wasn’t going to happen. We finished our burger and made our way to the main part of the terminal where we could get our tickets to London.

We were confused. We saw where we went through security and had to pay the airport tax but there was row upon row of airlines and ticket offices just in the middle of the terminal. We wandered around for about five minutes and then we saw a desk for Thai Airways and made our way to that. When we got there we asked the woman behind the desk if we got our tickets here and she replied yes. She got all our details and checked our passports and we asked her if the rep in our hotel in Phuket had reserved two seats for us near the back of the plane, she replied that he had.

When we first arrived in Phuket we got a note through the door of our hotel room from the rep. He asked us to meet him the next morning around 11am. We went down to meet him and he took all our flight details down and asked us if we wanted to reserve some seats on the plane, we had asked him for some seats at the back where there are only two seats instead of three, it would be more comfortable and less hassle if there was just two of us, plus you had a little more room to breathe rather than being squashed with three or four of you sat next to each other.

The woman behind the counter handed over our passports and tickets and we said thank you and left. I said to Neil that I needed to check with security that if I went through customs, would I be able to get back out in case T came. We made our way over and I asked one of the girls checking tickets and passports, she told me that once I went through, I wouldn’t be able to get back out. I thanked her and we walked over to where the exit was for the terminal. I decided to have a smoke outside and send T a text message telling her that I was now in Terminal 3 departures. I had my cig and watched all the taxis dropping people off. It was very humid outside and quite hard to breath the air was that thick, but I’d come to expect it now and it wasn’t a shock to the system anymore. I finished my cig and went back inside the terminal. I needed to double check that this was terminal 3 departures just in case I’d got the wrong idea and sent T the wrong information about where I was. I walked over to a group of girls just inside a shop and asked them; one of them said that it was T3 departures; I thanked her and went back over to Neil. I sat on the floor. He asked what I was going to do and just before I answered my phone rang, it was T. Before she even spoke I knew what she was going to say. She told me that her boss wouldn’t let her leave and she couldn’t meet me. I told her it was ok but I also told her that I really wanted to see her before I left. She sounded upset on the phone and said she really wanted to come. We talked for a little while and then it was time to say goodbye, I said I’d call her when I got home and would email her and I said it was great meeting her and that I would miss her. She said the same and we said goodbye to each other. I ended the call and sat there for a second then I looked at Neil, but he already knew what I was going to say, I think he just saw it in my face. I told him she couldn’t come. I said that I was going to have another cig outside and then we would head through security and get ready for the flight back home. I got up and went outside into the hot and humid Bangkok air.

I lit my cig and sat on a chair and thought about T and the people I’d met, the things I’d seen and done and the good times I’d had. I was sad that I couldn’t get to see T before I left. It didn’t even dawn on me that we had a couple of hours and could quite easily get a taxi to where she worked to say goodbye there, I never even thought about it. Yes, I was sad because I couldn’t say goodbye properly, but perhaps it was the best thing, perhaps it was a blessing in disguise really, although I didn’t really think so at the time. I finished my cig and sent L a text message telling her I was in Bangkok and would be leaving in a couple of hours, I told her to tell P that I was sorry I didn’t get to see her. I sent the text and then I realised I’d sent it to T instead. I then had to send the message again to L and then send T a message telling her sorry but the text I sent was for L, I put at the end of it that I was missing her and thinking of her. I went back inside the terminal and went over to Neil, he got up and we made our way over to security.

We had to pay the airport Tax and we went to a little booth and paid the Baht500 charge. The man behind the little booth then stamped the piece of paper we had to say we had paid and we went over to security. They checked our tickets and passport and we went through. We then had to have our tickets and passports checked again at a little desk and then once that was done, we had to get checked again and go through a metal detector. We both got through it without it going off and then we were in the waiting lounge of T3 where all the duty free shops were. I wanted to get my mother a big bottle of Smirnoff but I didn’t have enough cash left, but I did still have some English money and decided to get some changed in to Baht so I could get the Vodka and also get another couple of cartons of cigarettes. We found an exchange place and I got my money. We walked around the many different shops and I found one that sold the vodka I was after and bought a 1 litre bottle which cost about £10, in the UK, it would cost about £40 for the same size bottle. I paid and we went in search of a cig shop and we also had a look in a couple of other shops that sold aftershave and perfume. I saw a big bottle of Issey Miyake that I was tempted to buy but decided against it. We waked a little further and I came across a cig shop and bought 400. I paid but while I was waiting for my receipt, one of the girls behind the counter kept on staring at me, she couldn’t take her eyes off me, and every time I looked at her she would turn away quickly. I got my receipt and left and we did a little wandering round. I asked Neil what gate we were flying from and he checked the ticket. We then made our way closer to that gate so we wouldn’t have too far to walk when it was time to board. Just before we got near the point leading to our gate, I saw a smoking room and decided to have a couple of cigs in there. Neil waited on some seats just across from it and I went inside. Now I’m a smoker, but even this room was too smoky for me. It was packed full of people and you could hardly see a thing due to all the smoke. I decided that one cig would be enough and had it very quickly and left the room and went back to Neil and sat down. Neil had filmed me when I came out and he said there had been a cloud of smoke all around me when I came out and it looked very funny. I told him he should try going in the smoking room and see how funny that is. We decided to sit her for the remainder of the time before our flight.

At 12.30am a girl sat just near Neil and I and she was very nice. She sat there for a few minutes and then went into the smoking room, I decided to do the same, our flight would be boarding very soon and we would have to get to the gate. I followed her into the smoking room and sat next to her. There was an English couple just stood in front of me and they were heading to London, I spoke to them and they were both dreading 12 hours without a smoke. I laughed and told them to just try and sleep. I had two cigarettes and then left the smoking room, saying goodbye to the English couple as I went and smiling at the girl sat next to me.

I went back over to Neil and we made our way to the gate we were flying from. We didn’t have a long way to walk, but we did have a lot of security to get through and it was the same as it was the previous year. We went through one metal detector, and then another. That went ok and then we had to make our way down too the gate and go through another security check. We were stood in line waiting and there was a sea of people all waiting to board the plane. We went through a metal detector and then we had to have our hand luggage searched and then we had to stand on a little platform and a man had a little wand that detects metal and moved it all around my body, when I was given the all clear I went past a desk that checked your ticket and passport, once that was done it was a case of waiting with the sea of people until the plane was starting to board. We didn’t have long to wait before it was announced we were boarding. Because our seats were at the back of the plane, rows 40 to 68 was called (we were on 66) we got to go on the plane first. We made our way down a long corridor and then onto the plane. The cabin crew all wai’d and said hello and we walked to the back of the plane and found our seats. The seats were great, right at the back, lots of space for leg room and between me and the window so I could put my trainers there and the camcorder. There was a man sat behind us from the UK with a very annoying voice, he was sat next to a lad from Australia and they were talking about everything from being a doctor to how bad the schools are these days. I got the camcorder out and filmed Neil for a minute asking how he was feeling, he said he was tired and didn’t want to go. I stopped filming and then turned my phone off and put it in my pocket. I was tired as well, very tired, it had been a long and emotional day. I thought about T for a minute, thinking what it would have been like if I’d got to see her before I left; I played the scene in my mind. I thought about Phuket and L and her friends and how they would all be at work now, I decided to stop thinking about it, it was hard but it was making me too sad.

The plane was late taking off; it came over the speaker that there was a problem with the flight navigation system and would be sorted out soon. Great I thought, thanks for telling us that there was a problem with the plane, that will certainly make this flight seem very safe for me. I wasn’t afraid of flying, I never have been, I love it, but messages like that I can do without. After another 30 minutes of waiting, the plane was finally ready to take off. I got the camcorder out and decided to film the take off in this massive Thai Airways plane. The engines roared into life and we started moving down the runway, picking up speed with every wheel turn, the engines making a mighty roar as we sped up even more and eventually, at just after 2am, we left the ground, we left Bangkok. As I looked out of the window all I saw was a mass of lights getting small and smaller and further away, until eventually all I saw was blackness, Bangkok and Thailand was no more, just a memories, just pictures on photo paper, just footage on a camcorder, that’s all it was now. I gave a silent goodbye to Thailand and thanked it for giving me so many wonderful memories and treating me so well.

It was time for our first meal. We were 30 minutes into the flight and this would be our last meal for about 10 hrs. After this meal all the lights in the plane would be switched off for people to get some sleep and get use to the changing time zones. I can’t remember what the meal was, it wasn’t fried rice or Mc Donald’s, that much I did know, but it was very nice. I also had a beer and a glass of wine to help me sleep, even though I was shattered and didn’t need their help. After we finished our meals, the usual happened where by everyone goes to the toilet at the same time. There was a man just sat opposite Neil, he hadn’t eaten his meal, he was dead to the world, he had fallen asleep more or less as soon as we took off.

When all the plates and glasses were cleared away and everyone had settled down, the lights went off and the window shutters went down; the plane was more or less in total darkness. The only sounds were faint whispers and the hum of the planes engines. I got my blanket and pillow and lay the blanket over me and put the pillow behind my head. I fell asleep more or less straight away.

Day 15 (UK)

I drifted in and out of sleep for most of the flight; just waking up for a few minutes and then drifting off again, sometimes I would get a drink off one of the flight attendants who would be bringing them round when I opened my eyes. Neil was snoring but it didn’t stop me sleeping. When I fell asleep for what seemed liked the 10th time, the next time I woke up a film started to play on the big screen, it was the film “what a girl wants” Neil woke up as well and we both watched it, and it was crap. After the film had finished the lights came on, I lifted up my shutter to have a look outside and it was light. It came on the big screen that there was 1 ½ hours left of the flight. I’d slept on and off for about 8 ½ hours. Breakfast was now being served and when it came, I tucked in and it was very nice, I couldn’t resist getting a few warm bread rolls instead off just one. The man who brought them round didn’t seem to mind. I also had a couple of cups of tea and some orange juice.

After everything was cleared away there was just 30 minutes left to go before we landed, I got the camcorder out and filmed a little of Neil and also of outside the plane, we were now over the UK. Neil also filmed me and asked how I was feeling, I said that I wanted to turn around and go back and I was glad that I’d managed to get some sleep and didn’t have to endure 12hrs of torture. I put the camcorder away and the seat belt signs came on, we were coming into land. Some people went to the toilet and then we starting coming in lower and lower. Someone came over the speaker telling the flight crew to prepare for landing. We touched down in London Heathrow Terminal 3 on Monday July 21st at 7.30am UK time.

It took about 20 minutes to get off the plane. Being at the back might have been nice but getting off was a different story. We made our way through T3 and I switched my phone on. I had a couple of messages, one of them was off T saying that she was at University and was missing me and hoped I had arrived safely and the other was off a Japanese girl I know called J, who was back in the UK for a month to do some more of her masters degree in Edinburgh. I sent a text to T saying I had just arrived in London and was missing her and I sent one to J telling her the same thing, well, apart from the missing her, we were just good friends.

We had to get to T1 for our flight to Manchester so we got on the free bus to take us there. When we stepped outside to get on the bus the cold, clean and crisp air hit us, yep, we were back in the UK. The bus journey took about 5 minutes and once we were in T1 we had to sort out our tickets. It was now just after 8am and our flight to Manchester was at 8.50am, we had to be quick. We went through a security check but we didn’t have to have our bags searched, we were two of the lucky ones, we walked straight through. We found the desk where we would get our tickets and we were stood in a queue. I noticed that the guy in front of us was the Australian lad who was sat behind us on the plane from Bangkok. After 15 minutes of waiting we got to the desk and got our tickets for Manchester sorted out. We thanked the woman and made our way to the departure lounge. We had to go through passport control but as we had British passports we didn’t have to wait in a queue, we just walked straight through. We walked in the opposite direction we had gone when we arrived in London a couple of weeks ago from the flight from Manchester. When we finally arrived at our departure lounge I went for a smoke and it was very nice, it made me dizzy and feel drunk for 10 minutes. I decided to ring my mum and dad to let them know I was in London and about to get on a plane to Manchester. They were leaving themselves at about 11am with my niece and Nephew and I said we would arrive in Manchester at about 9.45am and would get a taxi back home and hopefully see them before they left. I said goodbye and ended the call.

At 8.30am we were told that our flight was now boarding and we made our way onto the plane. I picked up a copy of the Daily Express to see what had been happening in the UK while we were away. It was the same old story of murders, suicides and David Beckham. We got on the plane and sat in our seats. Just as we were getting comfy a man came over who was going to be sat in the third seat, we got up to let him in. There was an American couple behind us and the large American man who was sat behind me asked me if I would be reclining my seat because if I was, the he would have to recline his because it would squash his legs, I told him that I wouldn’t because the flight was only 30 minutes.

Once everyone was on and seated, I switched my phone off and the plane took off just before 9am. During the flight we were given a warm bacon roll to eat which was very nice and I also had a cup of tea. It wasn’t long before it was announced we were due to land in Manchester. When we landed it took us about 10 minutes to get off the plane. It was 9.50am. Once we got off the plane we made our way to where our suitcases would be, except Neil and I got confused and had to ask someone where we would get them, the man pointed to a sign saying “luggage collection” and we thanked him thinking to ourselves how stupid we had just looked. We got to luggage collection and to my surprise; our bags came out pretty much straight way. That fear of my case being lost hadn’t come true and it would be a while before I went through that fear once more. We made our way out of the airport; we weren’t stopped by security to have our bags checked or anything. We got out of the airport and I switched my phone on and rang for a taxi. The woman on the phone who I spoke to said it would be about 15 minutes and asked which terminal we were at, I gave her all the details and she told us where to wait. I ended the call and we crossed the road to wait for our taxi.

I had to put a top on because it was pretty cold, Neil filmed me talking about the flight and how I felt and then our taxi arrived. We crossed over the road and the man put our bags in the car. We all got in and set off. He asked us where we had been and I asked him how the weather had been in the UK. He told us that they had had a heat wave and it had been very hot for the past couple of weeks, the weather had just turned cold again the previous day. The rest of the conversation was just small talk; I didn’t really feel like talking, the only thing on my mind was Thailand. After 20 minutes we arrived at my house. Neil and I got out and the man got out our bags. I paid and we went inside. Everyone was still at home and we said all the hellos and told little stories about what we had done, how the weather was ect ect. I made Neil a cup of tea and after 10 minutes my parents left with my Niece and Nephew to go on their little trip.

I got the camcorder out and filmed Neil, he was setting up his new phone to check if it worked ok, I asked him how he felt and what had been the highlights of the holiday. He then filmed and asked me the same questions. The video was coming to a close now, so far we had just over 7 ½ hours of footage which was pretty impressive and would be great to watch back. I got the camcorder back and did the last of the filming and then the camcorder was switched off, that was now the end of the Thailand video.

Neil stayed for a couple of hours, we had another couple of drinks and we had something to eat and watched MTV dance and a little of the Thailand video. Neil then left at around 4pm. It was now Monday and on the Sunday I would be back at work, with a thousand and one stories to tell and I would be repeating those stories for at least a week, or, to anyone that would listen. Thailand this year, my second trip was an amazing experience; it’s something that I will never forget. The friends I made, the friends I met up with, each day and night being totally different than the previous day and night. It’s a place where anything can happen, a place you can not help falling in love with. The people, the culture, the pace of life, the whole place is like a dream come true. I will be going back again for my third trip in 2004. I’m already counting down the months. It will soon be here and when it finally arrives and I get over there again, I know I will be back home and then come back with more stories to tell, more experiences to share and hold close to me. Thailand changes you; it grips you from the moment you step off that plane. It has me in its grip and it will never let go and quite frankly, I never want it to let go.

*Updates*

For a couple of weeks after getting back, I missed T very much. We spoke a few times on the phone and she told me she missed me and thought of me everyday. She wanted me to go back and see her as soon as possible to spend more time with her. She told me that she has clients who see her when they are in Thailand; she told me she never considered me as a client. I only ever paid her once in Bangkok that first day after meeting her and that was by choice and not by her asking. I never had to pay bar fines or for the time she spent with me in Phuket. She never asked me for money. We still send each other the odd text and we give each other the odd phone call, she tells me that she always wants me in her life and never wants me out of her life or to lose me and I’ve told her that I will never forget her and I will be in her life as long as she wants me there. She’s still attending University and I will keep my fingers crossed that she will finish and get her degree. I will encourage her as much as I can and be there for her when she needs me. Like with P the previous year it was a holiday thing, nothing more. I’m not in love with her and I never will be, but I’m glad that I got to meet her and spend time with her but what we had stays in Thailand and stays in our memories and that will never change. I do care about her a lot and I hope that one day she sorts her life out, gets through university, leaves the bar and makes a better life for herself. But only she can do that and I would like to still be in her life to see that happen. I’m also looking forward to meeting up and seeing her again when I go back in 2004.

Thailand screwed with Neil’s head big time. The first couple of weeks it was hard for him to get back in to the swing of things again. Thailand had Neil in its grip and he couldn’t wait to get back there. It seems like Thailand has now got another victim. He emailed C a few pictures of us all together and he has never contacted her since and she has never contacted him. Neil will be going back to Thailand with me in 2004.

A few weeks after getting back, P rang me from Phuket. She told me she was now there and L had told her everything, including what had happened with T. She asked me if T was my new lady and I said no, it was just someone I met and liked. P told me she missed me and wanted to see me again. I asked P how she was enjoying Phuket and she said it was nice being back and seeing her old friends, but she wasn’t there for long, she would be going back home soon, I asked her if she had a boyfriend yet and she said no, she had only met me and a few months later she had left the bar in Phuket and gone back to Bangkok to be with her family. I told P I would ring her again before she left. A few days later I rang P and an old sounding man with an English accent answered her phone, I asked who the hell it was and he put the phone down. I sent a text to L asking who it was and L said it was P’s English boyfriend. I then put two and two together (I don’t have any proof of this but it’s pretty obvious really) and realised that P hadn’t left the bar because of what I’d said to her the previous year, she had left the bar because her elderly English boyfriend was paying for her to stay out of the bar. She’d gone to Phuket not to see L, but to meet up with her elderly English boyfriend. I wonder if he knows how much P wants to be with me. And how every time we talk on the phone she always say’s she wants to marry me one day. Of course that will never happen, I don’t have those feelings for P, but I do know one thing, she doesn’t have those feelings for her elderly English boyfriend. It seems he’s just another sucker who fell for the bar girl charm and is sending her money. None of it bothered me, I didn’t start crying when I realised P had a boyfriend; it didn’t effect me at all. The only thing that I didn’t like was that P had lied to me when she really had no reason to. I wasn’t paying her money like the old English man was, so why she lied I’ll never know. So I’ve now stopped talking to P, the respect I had for her went away the moment she lied to me without any reason too.

I don’t talk to K anymore. Soon after I got back our friendship fell apart and we stopped talking. When she learned how I’d felt when we met in Bangkok it was too much for her to handle, she told me she was a bad person and it would be better for the both of us if we didn’t talk anymore. I tried talking to her about it but it was no use. I feel sad sometimes because of how things turned out between us, but maybe it was for the best. I know I’ll never forget her and the good times we shared. Maybe we will meet up again one day and start talking, but I can’t see it happening.

N and I are still talking. We send each other emails and pictures all the time and we also talk on the phone. We are still great friends and both looking forward to the day we get to meet again and spend some more time together. Her puppy is still giving her trouble and continues to bite her on a daily basis.

L and I still play phone games all the time, she’s still calling me a muppet and tells me she’s missing me and is looking forward to the day I go back and we can meet up again. She asked for my advice on her Swedish boyfriend. He wants to marry her but she isn’t sure. I’ve told her that she should marry for love and not money. Surprisingly she has listened to my advice and turned down the marriage proposal, although the Swedish man still sends her money every month and she still enjoys spending it and sending it to her family.

I never did find out the name of the female DJ or the massage girl which I was a little sad about, but maybe they will be there when I go back in 2004, I can only hope and maybe then I will get the female DJ's phone number and maybe get myself a free face massage.

As for me? Well, it took me a while to get back into the swing of things again. I still miss Thailand on a daily basis and can’t wait to get back there and I know with each trip I take, something different will happen, something magical and amazing. There are new friends to be made and old friends to see. Thailand is with me for the long haul now, it’s got a permanent place in my heart, I want to learn the language although getting round to doing that is another matter but it’s something I want to do. What will happen next year when I return for the third time? Only time will tell, but I do know one thing, it will leave me with a few more stories to tell.

Thanks for reading.

Stickman says:

Oh, this is sooooo long…. If I ever find the time to read it, I'll leave a note, but no guarantees that that will be happening in a hurry.