Young Boy’s Playground
When my Dad told me that I was going to live with him in Thailand for a year, I didn't know what to say. The only thing I could say was that I didn't want to go. I mean, Thai food is tasty but I was comfortable in Australia. I'm 18 years old, fresh out of high school. I had my friends, I had my own place, I had my easily accessible drugs. It seemed perfect. I couldn't really comprehend my father’s stories about Thailand. He explained the recent crackdown the government was undertaking to rid the country of illicit substances. Clean in 3 months? The police shooting dealers? They show this on television? It seemed almost comical. When I thought of Thailand I pictured guys in Muay Thai shorts walking down a street eating meat on a stick. While I wasn't far off, I was in for a big surprise when I landed.
My dad’s words on packing. "Do not bring anything you would wear in winter." Well, I like hooded sweatshirts and baggy jeans, so I packed them anyway. It can't be THAT hot. What a shock I got when I stepped out of BKK airport! From a nice A/C building, I stepped into an oven! And it was midnight! My body couldn't believe it. I had endured 40*+ temperatures in Oz, but I had never encountered humidity like this. Let me get back on the plane please! Well after the initial shock, I greeted my dad and his lovely TG and we made our way to the taxi. Where were we going again? Pattaya, that's right. This Bangkok place is kinda smelly anyway, I heard Pattaya has a nice beach.
2 AM, we reach my Dad's little house in North Pattaya. Walk in, seems alright. Not quite the Marriot, but it's certainly up a notch from the shantytown that's been erected behind his property. I'm shown my room. Mattress on the floor, no A/C. Luckily I have a fan. I set it to 3, then I doze off. But just my luck, the power fails. Not a complete blackout, however. It seems that half the power is still getting through. The lights are dim, and my fan is now rotating at about 1km/h! Well needless to say, I am now going crazy. There's no way I can sleep in this heat. The power fully returns for about 15mins then goes back to it's snail-pace. I toss and turn for 2 hours until it has resumed. Fan's on, geckos are making a minimal amount of noise, I nod off to sleep. I have a wonderful dream I am at home in Australia with my lovely farang girlfriend. I wake up with a smile on my face. I take a look around. My face goes from smiling to utter confusion. I drudge downstairs in a haze. My Dad is sitting on his couch. "I had this really weird dream that I went to Thailand". He laughs. 7 foot elephant walks past my front window. I rub my eyes. I went on a big binge before I got on the plane.
So my dad offers to take me on a tour of the city. Let's wait till late afternoon, so the temperature can lower itself from a collapsingly-hot down to a tolerable swelteringly-hot. I crack open a grape Gatorade (in a glass bottle?) and we hop on his flash new road bike and cruise down to the Beach Road. Well I had never seen chaos like Thai traffic before. Total disregard for any road rules and personal safety. Daredevil Thai boys running red lights at 100km/h. Oblivious Thai ladies punching messages into their mobile phones looking up every 10 seconds. All not wearing helmets! Are these people sane? Well, this is Thailand and I guess I should just accept it and absorb the 'culture'. I think I will avoid driving for as long as possible, though.
So we start to cruise down a few of the Sois. Open air bars everywhere. With lots of girls and not many guys. Looking good so far. I tell my Dad that these girls must really like his bike because they're all staring at it. Ahem, they're not staring at the bike. Then what are they staring at? Me? Ha, the idea was laughable. I didn't realise the truth of his words until we actually got off the bike to have a drink. I had no quicker managed to wipe the sweat off my face when I feel myself getting pulled in 3 different directions. I hear screams of "Welcome please! Sit down please!" and I don't know what to do. I ask my dad where we will be sitting. "Up to you" he says. This is one phrase I will become very accustomed to hearing. I look around. 50 young Thai ladies are all flashing me smiles and beckoning me to come sit at their bar. I could get used to this.
One month later. I am finally accustomed to the heat. I can walk around and function as a normal human again. I've seen a go-go bar. I've seen the lovely & tasteful "shows" that the girls perform upstairs. Pure skill. While these places were interesting, not really my bag. There's no nightclubs I would call 'decent' (Marine comes close) so I spend most of my time in the bars talking with the lovely ladies and learning as much Thai as possible. While looking into the eyes of some of the most delicious women I've ever seen, my body starts to remind myself that I have a libido and it's very much alive and kicking. Well, back home in Oz, I cringed at the thought of using a prostitute. The thought had very rarely crossed my mind, and was generally looked down upon by my peers. Oh, how a different country can alter your perception! I came to realise that it would be almost impossible for me to obtain a girlfriend here, what with my very limited command of the Thai language, and my very basic understanding of the culture. I had read enough from books that I understood not to lose my temper and to smile a lot. I'm a calm dude, shouldn't be a problem. OK, I'm in the bar. I'm very calm and I smile at everyone. They accept me warmly. Then one night I see a very cute little thing in a bar on Beach Road. I walk off for a second and when I return my dad tells me she says she likes me. The Bar Beer system had recently been explained to me (with my jaw on the floor as I took it all in) and I decided then and there, this girl was coming home with me. I asked her. Do you like me? You want to come with me? She hesitated (I should've taken note of this) and then flashed me a heart-melting smile. "sure sure!" Well wasn't I a happy boy. Got into the taxi with a 20 year old that would've never shown me the light of day back home. This is Thailand ^_^
So, we're back at my place, and after a little while we start to get into it. "You shy man, yes?" Well, I never really done this before, but I'll be ok. But I wasn't ok, there was something wrong here. With all the previous girls I've been with, it's never been like this. Sure it became tedious with my ex, but never like this. Something was missing. Couldn't quite put my finger on it. So she's lying limp while I'm doing my business and I look down into her eyes. I expected to see the usual look of lust & pleasure. But no, a disturbing image popped into my head. Did you ever see the movie Full Metal Jacket? The very last scene, where the soldiers take out the female Vietnamese sniper in the building, and their looking down at her face deciding what to do. She's half-dead, with this look of helplessness and despair. Remember? Well I saw the same look in this lovely young woman's eyes, and I froze. I just stopped and got off. "What wrong? Me do ok?" Yes, you are fine. It's just me, don't worry. This was my first experience at getting into the mind of a bargirl, and it wasn't what I expected. But now that I'd seen it, it made a lot of sense. I ended up talking to this girl all night, finding out as much as I could about her. She has 3 boyfriends overseas, but somehow I wasn't surprised by any of this. The way she explained everything, it seemed so innocent. Not like she was trying to cheat anyone. This is a business. This was her work. This was her life. This is Thailand.
Well, I am now very good friends with this girl, and I've learnt to be very careful of who I take home. I now have an in-depth chat with anyone I think about barfining. They may be the hottest thing to have ever graced this fine land, but if I don't see that spark in their eyes, then they ain't coming with me. Ha, easier said than done. Most of these ladies will act like your dream girl, but as soon as you refuse to sit down, or empty your wallet, they'll flip you a disgusted look and latch onto the next farang that comes along. Hey, I ain't complaining. As long as everyone's smiling, then mai pen rai.
I have now met someone very special and I feel very lucky. The only way I can describe her is stunning. If I took her back to Oz, my friends would not believe their eyes. If I was older and richer, then I probably would take her back to Oz. But the sad fact is, I have no money. This hasn't stopped me from having fun, it's only stopped my exposure to everything fake. But she doesn't care about money (what? why? how?). It might have something to do with her 'boyfriend' abroad providing a monthly paycheck, but still. When she offers to take me out, buy me dinner, buy me overpriced drinks in discos, then go back to her place for amazing, passionate, FREE love, then who am I to complain? Sure I feel guilty as hell, giving her position and my position, but I can't refuse. I've found the perfect spark of truth in a city that is based on lies. Will it last? I'm sure it won't. I'm doing my best not to get attached. It's an ongoing battle. If it hadn't been for the articles on Stickman's website (which I had just recently discovered), my feelings and actions towards her would be very different, and I don't believe I would be receiving what I am now. All I can do is enjoy it, and hold on while the fantasy lasts. I've been here 3 months, I've got a lot longer to go. I miss home. But I'm certain when I go back home, I will miss LOS. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. My life has changed. My mind has definitely changed. I hope for the better. I hope it all turns out ok. This is Thailand.
Someone had better have a word with old Pops. Pattaya this week what will be next week? Pnom Penh? I’ll be very interested to read another piece from you in the future, to see how you are faring.