Stickman Readers' Submissions September 7th, 2003

Thai Thoughts And Anecdotes Part 9

1. I've been in BKK for a couple of days and I have some spare time so I decide to head over to Asia Books and to Bookazine. I have a list of Thai theme authors that I am interested in. They are: Jake Needham, Stephen Leather, Christopher G. Moore, Dean Barrett, and Nicholas Merriwether. Hey, this is going to be great. I'll load up on my favorite authors. I'll have stuff to read in the bathtub and on rainy days and on the plane home and at home. I have enough room in my carry on bag for about 6 books. I'm a lifetime carnivorous reader. And I have enough Thai experience to get the references in these books. Then I see the prices. The books are very expensive. And they are paperbacks. I search all the books as if it is all a big mistake and if I keep gumming the issue to death that magically the prices come down. I can't believe it. Sure I can afford it. But that is not the point. I can buy the same books on the internet from for less money than right here in the bookstore of the author's hometown. I don't get it. I'm a pretty smart guy and economically alert but I just can't figure this one out. So I don't buy any books. Now I am not having any fun and I still can't figure it out. Later, I check the prices in a nice bookstore in the Royal Mall in Pattaya and it is the same story. Then I check the prices in the nice book store on the corner of Central road and Beach road and it is the same story. Who buys these books? What local would pay these prices? Later on I break down and buy two of these books. They are great reads. But too expensive. I still don't understand the economics of this.

2. Last year when I took Noi to Chiang Mai the travel agent at J.P. Travel in BKK got us reservations at the Chiang Inn hotel. When we arrived it was way more than I had bargained for. Guys in uniforms were opening doors for us. There was a piano bar with a girl singer. But because of the exchange rate it was affordable and it has the best location in the city. But what it did not have was hot water. They have hot water at McMurdo Sound base in Antarctica for god's sake. They have hot water in yurt questhouses in outer Mongolia. They have hot water at Everest base camp at 18,000 feet. But they did not have any hot water at the Chiang Inn in Chiang Mai. So down to the desk I go. Maybe it is just me. We'll go have a chat. When I get to the front desk I find out that it is not just me–no one in the huge hotel has any hot water. In response to hot water questions there is a front desk girl who says, "Hot water fixing sir–no problem." It does not matter what question you ask about the situation; when will it be fixed–will I get a discount off the bill–will it be fixed within the hour-the day-the week, etc.; the answer was always the same. This beautiful, charming, feminine piece of candy would tilt her head, make eye contact with you, smile, and then say, "Hot water fixing sir–no problem." Noi and I were in Chiang Mai for four days. No hot water. No discount off the bill. No explanation. If this happened at the Oriental hotel in BKK they would deliver a two hundred year old bottle of French wine as a compensation gift, discount the bill, and volunteer free liposuction surgery for your girlfriend. But not at the Chiang Inn in Chiang Mai.

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Now we fast forward to this year. I arrive in BKK August the 20th and a couple of days later I make reservations to go to Chiang Mai. I want to check out the bar scene, and I want to look for some Burmese jade, and I want to go to Doi Suthep, and I want to ride elephants. I have the airport taxi driver take me to the Chiang Mai hotel. It's easy. On the taxi ride from the airport to the hotel I have this odd disquieting feeling. Then I remember the hot water issue from a year before. But hey, it's been a year. I'm glad to get there. It is really a nice hotel and the most centrally located for tourists. It is near the Night Market and surrounded by bars frequented by attractive women. I go in. There are about 5 people at the front desk. I start filling out the registration card. I recognise the female clerk from one year ago. The fellow to my right is talking in German and he seems to be agitated about something. And then, as God is my witness; I hear the female clerk say: "Hot water fixing sir–no problem".

3. I'm on a lifetime really strict diet. I have been for 18 years. And I don't mean the kind of strict diet that you lie about; like people lied about their tennis game or lied about how many miles they ran. I mean at any time I can challenge any dietician anywhere and anytime to the 'open the refrigerator door and look inside' test. I will always win. But twice a year when I go on vacation I misbehave. For instance at breakfast at the Nana Hotel I will take 5 little strips of bacon. I feel as if I have just robbed a bank. And in Pattaya I like to get up at seven o'clock and go get one creme filled donut at Dunkin Donuts. That's it. One donut. Carrying that one donut back to my room I feel as if I am transporting plutonium. So I'm up and out. I cross the street and I hit the boardwalk. It is another beautiful day and I'm feeling fine. There is going to be a creme filled donut in my life in about five minutes. What could possibly go wrong. Well, what I hadn't planned on is that at precisely seven o'clock between Soi 8 and Soi Pattayaland 2 the freelancers also hit the boardwalk. They are more punctual and dependable than the atomic clock in Washington D.C. But I'm not thinking about sex–I'm thinking about my donut. Then I see her. And she sees me. I try to ignore her. But I sneak a peak. She catches me. She makes eye contact and shakes her hair. She is way ahead of me. Good. I'll get the donut and turn around. Oops, she has turned around. She is heading for me. I feel like a slow moving ship that has spotted the telltale wake of a torpedo. I am done for. OK, I can handle this. When she gets up close there will be some reason to turn her down. After all, any freelancer that is cruising at seven o'clock in the morning has to be defective in some way. So I'll make small talk, tell her Mai Ow, and then get my donut. Then she is front of me. I'm grinning like a baboon. She looks good and her motor is running. There isn't going to be a barfine, or a condom, or ab nam, or the word "No". I test her. I put my finger in her rear and push. She nods her head. Fuck the donut.

4. It is Toy and our second night together. I ask her if she would like to have breakfast. OK she says. This will be great. I have a free breakfast coupon and I'll pay for her breakfast. It allows us to spend some grown-up civilized time together and it is a good and healthy way to start the day. Breakfast is mixed western and Thai food served buffett style. Toy is from Essan. If you are an experienced girl chaser in BKK you already know where this is going. If not, read on. I take a plate and starting putting things on it. She just stands there. I give her a plate. She puts it back on the table. OK, here we go again. Another freaky woman. But I am not going to let anything spoil breakfast for me. We go to the table and I eat. She just sits there. I refuse to eat fast just to accomidate her. Finally, I am done. I start to put the cutlery down and fold up my napkin. I wipe my mouth. I start to lean forward and look at her in that universal body language that means "Let's go." And then she says, "Soup". That's it. One word. Soup. She could have said it 5 or 10 or 15 minutes ago. It is time to leave. Breakfast is over. Now she says it. "Soup" There is no soup, a fact that any person can plainly see. I review this for her. She says "Soup". And she does not want any old soup either, she wants Essan soup. A waitress is called. There is a conversation. In Thai. Another waitress is called. Another conversation. In Thai. I can't figure out what is going on. So I call the floor manager and point to Toy. There is a conversation. In Thai. I still have no idea what is going on but at least three people are now on the case. The Earth stops spinning. Time comes to a stop. I lean back in my chair. The air is going out of my balloon. If I were involved in the same situation in France or Germany or Denmark or Saudia Arabia or Japan I wouldn't be fluent in those languages either but I would at least be able to ascertain whether soup is or whether soup is not being prepared. Here I have no idea whether soup is or is not being prepared. Forget about linquistic subtlties I can not even figure out whether something is positive or negative. There is no simple thing that the Thais can not obfuscate and make impenetrable. That I think is when the dream died. I think that experience is what finally drove the stake in the dream of ever living or working or even retiring to Thailand. There are thousands of major and minor languages and dialects in the world and at least 40 major languages. I defy you to find another situation as stupid as this. Finally, the soup came. It was a huge bowl of Essan soup. Then I had to sit there and twiddle my thumbs while little miss Essan ate her soup. Breakfast took an hour.

5. It is Wan and I together again in Pattaya. I have written about her before. I won't repeat myself. I really like this woman. If I lived in Pattaya full time–who knows; maybe we would be a couple. Every night I pick her up at the All Girls Beautiful Bar at 10:30. We don't do too much. It's not an orgy story. We just sleep together. I'm 53 and she is 37. We have both left youth behind. But it is ok. When we go 'boom-boom' we fall asleep in each other's arms like two shot dogs. The next morning on the way down in the elevator she always asks me if I will be coming for her tonight. I always say "Yes" and then she smiles. Only this morning when she asks me I don't say anything. I only have one more night in Pattaya and I have decided I want to do something else. Some adventure. With the lanquage barrier and the possibility of hurt feelings there is simply no way to say this. We go outside. She walks across the road to the vendor who prepares her milk and coffee in the plastic bag. She hangs the bag on the handle bars of her motorbike. I am dying. I don't know what to do. Finally, I lean in close and say, "Good Bye and Good Luck". Then I quickly turn and walk away towards the beach road. I am fleeing. I feel terrible. She deserves better than this. I am treating her like a prostitute–which is exactly what I did not want to do. I am an idiot. I have screwed this up. Now she will never speak to me again. . . !

"Wan, if you are out there and you are reading this–I am sorry!"

6. I am saying goodbye to Beer in BKK and on my way to Pattaya. I tell her I will be back in 4 days time and to meet me in the parking lot at 10:30pm. In Pattaya I pick up a nice freelancer and when we are done I tell her to meet me tomorrow morning at 7 and we'll do it again. She never shows. I am easy, certain money but these numbskulls can't plan anything 24 hours ahead. The next day I pick up a girl at eleven in the morning. When we are done I tell her to meet me on the boulevard at five o'clock and we'll do it again. She stiffs me. Never shows. So I have learned my lesson. You don't waste time making appointments with prostitutes. Back in BKK I know there is no hope in hell that Beer will remember an appointment that was made four days ago; so I go over to the bars and pick up Yoew. Yoew is like hitting the sexual lottery. Holly fucking christ what a sex machine. At around 10:45 we are pounding, gasping, licking, and biting. The phone rings in my room. And it rings, and it rings, and it rings, and it rings, and it rings. It is Beer in the lobby. She kept her appointment.

Stickman says:

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More wisdom from Dana…

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