First Time In LOS
First of all I would like to say HAIL TO STICK!!! This site has given me a lot over the last year or so and I guess it's time I shared my little bit.
A little over a year ago I was coming up on my vacation from my incredibly mundane job sitting behind a desk and I figured I would end up spending my vacation doing what I always do, which is not working. Not doing anything else, just not going to work. That was my yearly vacation up until December 28, 2002.
About a year before this my older brother started a small distributor / export business (without a work visa, of course!) in Thailand. On one of his short visits back to where I live he told us about what it's like in Thailand. I was instantly intrigued. Let me explain here. I live in Monterey, California in the USA. Many people come here year round to vacation as most people think it's beautiful. It is right on the ocean (too cold to swim in). We have tide-pools everywhere with cliffs overhanging the ocean for miles. It stays green here year round and the weather is mild year round and changes very little. I guess you'd have to see the place to really appreciate it. The beauty of the place I don't mind, it's everything else. There is a country music song by Lee Greenwood called "I'm Proud to be an American" and I used to think a lot about the song and take pride in what it said. As I get older (I'm only 32) I really begin to understand what America is about. I'm not proud to be an American, I'm glad to be an American. Let me also explain this. I'm not proud to be an American because I believe we have lost sight of a lot of things. What America means now is all about power. I despise this. America is one big corporate machine down to every single government office. They charge you dearly to live here and you have zero freedom. America is called the land of the free. My ass it is! In my area it would cost you equivalent to 25 million baht for an average size 2 bedroom house with a TINY yard and on this property that you own you have to ask the permission of the city to cut down a tree on your own property!!! When you do ask for permission they will turn you down 9 out of 10 times. You can't even park a car in your own driveway if it is not registered without getting a ticket. Anyway, I'm ranting. Let's just say don't expect to come here and experience freedom. The reason I say I'm glad to be an American is that it affords me a lot of opportunities that others don't have. The opportunity to make and save some money, to visit other parts of the world and they will welcome me in their country just because I am American, and most of all because I am able to come from an average family and work in an average job. People here wouldn't survive if they had to wade out into the rice fields and work their asses off in the blistering heat for 12 hours a day!!
Anyway, I decided to hell with it. I'm going on a real vacation for once. So I talked to my brother and scheduled a time when he could be around to show me around. He has a duplex that he keeps in Pattaya but most of the time he is in Isaan in an area called Loei. I found Stickman's site (thank God!!!!) and started reading. I read a lot of it and learned quite a bit. I bought the tickets and just had to wait. I say tickets because I was bringing my 10 year old son which I have sole custody of, and before you start fragging me with feedback, he stayed in Isaan almost the entire time except for some zoos and driving the mini race cars (he had a ball!!) and did not get exposed to the nightlife.
The day finally came and we headed to the San Francisco airport and boarded the plane. It was a miserable 22 hour flight, but as soon as we stepped out of the airport I knew it was worth it. It was much hotter than I was used to but everything around me was an exhilarating new experience which I absorbed like a sponge. I could go on forever trying to describe it but I know the best way to describe it is just to tell you to remember your first time, I'm sure it was the same. We loaded our bags into my brother's truck and off we went. We got on the highway and it was pandemonium. I had never experienced anything like it. We have so much "freedom" here that we are only allowed to proceed in an orderly fashion without getting a ticket that will cost us 1/2 a day in court and $100-$200. Along the way to Pattaya we got pulled over by a motorcycle cop (1 of 4 times it happened while I was there!). He instantly started arguing with the cop. Now I didn't know exactly what to think of this whole thing because if I did this in America I would have found myself in a jail cell – no bullshit! But this cop just kept arguing back and kept his cool the entire time. My brother didn't understand why he was stopped and just figured it was the normal extortion and the cop wanted his payoff. He just kept telling him to go get the "big boss" that would speak better English. The cop finally made him understand what law he broke (he did actually break this law) and my brother apologised to him and said he understood which gave the cop face and he just waved us on with no fine. I asked him what the fine would have been and he said 100 to 200 baht! I love this place!!!
We finally made it to Pattaya and got settled in. We headed to Big C to get a DVD player because the next day after seeing some sights in Pattaya we were heading to Isaan for 2 or 3 days. Night came and then the next morning – doesn't this place ever cool down I thought. I felt like I was going to melt and it was 7:30 in the morning. We headed off to the Pattaya Crocodile Farm. The crocs were cool but then we went over to where they take your pictures holding the animals. My brother said they won't really let you play with or pet them, just hold them and hold the baby bottle for them. Fuck that!! I asked and gave the guy a tip so I could hold him for awhile and pet him, he said mai bpen rai. You might not believe this, but it was possibly the highlight of my trip. Like Dana with his elephants, I am the same way with tigers. I actually got to hold and pet a baby tiger for 2 or 3 minutes! It was incredible. I REALLY LOVE THIS PLACE!!!! After getting a bunch of pictures and video I finally had to put the adorable little guy down and say goodbye (I still miss him).
So we were on our way to Isaan. It took us about 6 hours and the whole way my brother and his friend Boy told us what to expect. All right, let's get this out of the way. My brother is gay. You'd never know it to look at him or talk to him but he is. Boy is his boyfriend. The place we were going in Loei is where my brother has his shop set up at Boy's family's house. We got there and it was in a relatively small village and EVERYBODY in the village was there to see the farang baby (my 10 year old son). They had never seen a white child so he was the talk of the town the whole time he was there. I was second on the list because I am about 6'1" and at the time weighed about 265 lbs so I was gigantic compared to all of them including my big brother who is only 5'7". They were all coming up to us and saying god only knows what and I just kept smiling and saying mai kow chai. It didn't stop them from saying whatever they were saying and waiting for an answer. I just kept smiling and so did they. I guess it was an appropriate response. We ate chicken and rice for dinner. They ate the chicken, rice and some other things that were a little scary to me. I still don't know what exactly they were. They kept motioning for me to try it and I kept on shaking my head no. They kept laughing and smiling and seemed to get a kick out of me being afraid to eat this concoction. These people were great. They had very little but were happy. Everyone in America has everything and nobody is happy. Life is a wonderful teacher if you go through it with your eyes open.
Over the next few days there was very little to do here and I just wished I spoke Thai because they all had plenty to say. I'm sure most of it was about us but I'm sure it would have been great to sit down and really talk to them. The next day we jumped in the truck with 4 of the local kids and went to a a place which I don't remember the name of but where there is a giant Buddha up on this mountain. You have to climb about 600 steps to get to it and once you are up there the Buddha is sitting at the entrance to a cave. This was also the first cave I had ever seen. The whole thing was cool except for the exhausting 600 steps! It really let me know how bad a shape I was in. We walked all the way through the cave and then back and took a bunch of pictures. We headed back to the truck and decided to go to this dinosaur park that was close by. To call it a dinosaur park was a bit of a stretch. There were a few fossil dig sites protected by glass walls where you couldn't really see anything. I guess there were fossils in there. They could have been leftovers from last night's chicken for all we could tell. It was still fun with all the kids and this was my first introduction to the farang dual pricing. I was already aware of it thanks to Stick!! We headed back and repeated the same things as the night before except that tonight there were even more locals. I guess word had spread to another village about the "Farang Baby" and they had to come see for themselves. There was also this little 5' tall Thai who was drunk as a skunk waiting there and who just had to come over to me and shake my hand and say "hello". It was probably the only English word he spoke. He must have shaken my hand for at least 2 minutes and speaking Thai the whole time. Everyone was telling him I couldn't understand a word he was saying but this guy just loved to talk. He could have been trying to ask me to marry his daughter or him for all I knew. We both just smiled the whole time.
In the morning we went to where there was a waterfall. It was a nice time but not the first time I had seen a waterfall. Oh well, I guess Thailand can't be my first for everything. Later on that day I packed my things so my brother could take me back to Pattaya as my son was going to stay on in Isaan to the joy of every Thai woman and child there.
Back in Pattaya it was about 8:30 and still hot. I was dressed much more casual than I should have been wearing sandals, shorts and a sleeveless shirt and tattoos and asked my brother to take me out into town. I first checked in at the Welcome Plaza Hotel for 700 baht a night for 3 nights (I ended up staying there the whole rest of the short 2 week trip but at a much higher price). Then we walked over to the bars and after reading Stickman decided to check out the gogo bars. After just walking down the street and seeing all of the beautiful women everywhere I turned I couldn't make up my mind on which one to try. To look at me I'm sure I looked like the proverbial kid in a candy store with my tongue dragging the ground and wagging all over the place. My brother just looked at me and said "Oh, this will be easy (he didn't want to stay any longer than he had to since these were girls and he wasn't interested). I've been here so long that it takes me forever to find someone I like but you look like you just died and gone to heaven". Boy was he right. I could go on forever about the problems with western women but it's all been said many times on this site. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that in general, it's all true. There are exceptions, obviously, but not many in my experience.
I spot the Kitten Club. I just liked the name so we went in. They ushered us over to a small table and the air conditioner was blasting so it felt great. A pretty little lady came over and asked us if we wanted something to drink (of course I want something to drink, it's a zillion degrees outside!). "Yeah, can I have a Coke please?" I've never liked alcohol and drugs are definitely not my thing. As she went to get the drinks I start to watch the girls shuffle their feet to the music. They were all very cute in their little kitten eye masks. The waitress then came back with the drinks and asked if I saw any girl that I liked and me still being new and kind of on the shy side I said I didn't know. She said "maybe you like me?" and I didn't really say anything and figured she was joking. I now know she was probably serious and she was exactly my type but I just let her go. The song changed and the girls rotated to different platforms and I could now see one girl that I couldn't see before. She was actually dancing, and I mean really dancing! I just kept on staring at her. I knew she was the one. I motioned for the waitress and asked for her and she said "she have to finish". I guessed she meant she had to finish the song. The song finished and she sat next to me. She was tiny, soft and warm. She had a pretty smile and spoke very little English. Her name was Gay. We talked a bit and she said she was 19 and had just come down from Bangkok. She wanted me to know that she was working on her Papa's farm until about a month before and just had to show me the calluses on her palms as proof. The age and the farm could have both been your typical bargirl story but it didn't matter to me. She was pretty, liked to laugh and was pleasant, that was what was important to me. I asked her if she wanted to go with me and she said "okay, have to change, come back." So she went and changed and came back dressed in the usual bargirl manner with the tight jeans and bargirl shoes. So I handed her the 500 baht to pay the barfine, she went and paid it and we left. This girl liked to play box with my brother I guess because he is small like a Thai person and they boxed and joked and we ended up splitting up a bit before we got to my hotel. I'm not going to go into details as it has been done numerous times on this site, but it was a good night.
Now, in the States I had never paid for a girl like that before and it did feel a bit strange. In the States if you actually get a "regular" girl to go out with you it ends up costing you a bundle and you usually end up with blue balls, so I didn't feel too bad. I treat people the way I am treated and this girl treated me well so I treated her the same. As I wanted company and someone to show me around I told her I wanted her to stay with me the next day and she agreed. We went and got something to eat at a nearby restaurant by Pattaya Beach. I ordered the most American style thing they had which included a salad. She watched me eat the salad with a look oh her face like I was eating a pile of garbage. She thought it was funny. I watched her pour all of these different spices on hers and while she ate it she started to sweat slightly. I asked her if it was hot and even though it made her sweat she says "no". It's funny now, but one of the many things she poured on her food she was also trying to get me to put on my rice. I watched her sweat and kept telling her NO. I asked her what it was called and she said, "seeiu". Little did I know until I got back to the States and my computer that seeiu is soy sauce. It would have been nice to have on my PLAIN rice!!
The next night as I liked her and kept her again I wanted to go see a movie but she didn't know the mord movie and nobody else I asked seemed to know either. I tried all of the other words I could think of like theater, cinema, big tv, etc… Nothing. I said Hollywood and finally a reaction. She nodded and we flagged down a taxi and we were off to the movie. Or so I thought. We got out of the taxi, paid and started walking up some steps. It sounded like a party. As we walked around the corner I saw the sign that said Hollywood but believe it or not it still didn't dawn on me. As we got closer I realised that we were going into a club. I figured, fuck it and went in. We had to pay a cover charge although I don't remember how much and we were in. A lady started to show us to a table. It was loud and pretty dark and we started to go up some metal steps. Now normally I am never clumsy but ever since I stepped off the plane it seemed like I stumbled slightly, not bad but slightly over everything from a 1/4 inch crack in the sidewalk to a twig. You name it, I stumbled over it. This time was different however. I was wearing those stupid sandals and the front of my left sandal caught the edge of one the steps and I tripped. Not slightly, but really tripped. I fell straight forward and ploughed over her just like a bowling pin. I asked her if she was okay as we both got up and kept on going to the table. Each step I took felt a little strange but I just wanted to get in and sit down. The lady who seated us asked us if we wanted drinks. I again ordered a coke and she had a Heineken. When the lady left I looked at my foot and immediately reached over to the empty table next to us and grabbed the two cocktail napkins off the table. The bottom part of my big toe was ripped completely open about the size of an American quarter and was gushing blood. Now I know why each step I took felt strange. I wrapped it up the best I could as she saw me and flagged down a waiter for a bandage or something. He came back and had this little tiny bandage that would had a hard time covering a paper cut. It was funny. I took it, said thanks and said everything was okay as I put it in my pocket. We sat there and decided we didn't like the place, paid and left. After the club and the limping I wasn't in the mood for any bedroom olympics and we just went to sleep. She was always draped over me or snuggled right next to me. It was nice. The next morning when we woke up my toe hurt like hell. She said wait here and went to the pharmacy with her own money as I still hadn't paid her anything and money was never mentioned. I didn't even know why she left or what she was doing until she came back with some iodine and rubbing alcohol and bandages. She treated me and bandaged it like a professional. The soreness went away almost immediately and the infection which caused it to swell and hurt were gone and it healed great.
Now this may sound hokey, but she never looked more beautiful than when she was doing this. I know Thais consider the foot the lowest part of the body but this didn't seem to matter. Maybe it was because there was an injury involved, I don't know. I just know it was nice to be taken care of like that.
The next couple of days went about the same. I took het to Sri Racha Tiger Zoo so she could also hold a baby tiger. She loved it. We rode a jet-ski, the first time for either of us. I let her drive some of the time. Gay is a crazy driver and should never be allowed behind the controls of anything!!! Later that night she told me she had to go see her family in Bangkok. I didn't want her to leave but said okay. She said she would only be gone one day and I asked her to come back when she got back. She said she couldn't. I was a little saddened by this as I really liked her. I kept asking her why not but she didn't seem to understand what I was asking. The next day she got up, showered and said she had to go to her room and get some clothes before she went to see her family. She came back and started ushering me to get ready. It turns out she that we were both confused. She didn't want to leave and not come back, she wanted me to go with her when she went to see her family. We arranged for a private taxi as she wanted to buy some food for her family. She bought a ton of it. The taxi driver spoke Chinese, Thai and English extremely well. I finally asked him how to say movie. He tells Gay that I want to go see nang. I think she felt stupid for not understanding. So we first go see her mama. It took forever for the taxi driver to find it but we made it. We went in while the driver waited.
This is the way American television always portrays Thailand. I felt bad. I mean really bad for these people. The were living in little tiny boxes all connected to each other with only three walls, a rug, a curtain for a door and all of their bedding just stacked away to the side. I felt bad for them except they all seemed happy. None of them spoke any English but they tried talking to me anyway. Just like in Isaan I just smiled. Someone went next door and got me a soda -with a straw of course. They talked for a bit and I just stood there like I had my thumb up my ass. They kept eyeballing me up and down and even though I couldn't understand what they were saying I knew they were talking about how big I was. I was overweight but I carried my weight fairly well so I was just big everywhere. They got a kick out of me.
We all said our goodbyes -at least I hope that's what they were saying to me, and now were off to papa's. She wanted the taxi driver to explain that where her papa lived that there was no electricity or toilets. Ok, no problem -camping it is! When we showed up we unloaded the stuff from the taxi and paid him. We had to carry the stuff about a 200 feet to his house. This house was actually a house by itself but there were no walls. It was actually just a metal roof held up by wooden sticks. Gay had told me that papa was richer than mama which obviously just meant because of the land. There were various things scattered here and there and there was wooden flooring over part of the floor. The wooden flooring was built over a small irrigation canal with some pretty funky looking water below it. We brought in the food and everybody was smiling as usual including me as I didn't know what else to do. I got the usual eyeballing and just smiled back as usual. They noticed how hot I was and papa sent one of his children to the store to get some cold bottled water. I have no idea how far the nearest store was but I didn't see any when we drove in so I imagine it was a good distance on foot. The daughter handed me the water and I said thank you. Thank you was an understatement as I felt like I was going to die from thirst. They kept talking and I reached into my bag and pulled out my camcorder. I started to film them and I turned the monitor around so they could see as I filmed. They were thrilled. I don't think they had ever seen themselves on video before. As I was filming I was sitting down because the metal roof was only about 4 1/2 feet high and I had to bend way down in order to stand. Sitting on the ground was much nicer. So here I am filming these kids when all of a sudden the wooden floor where I am sitting over the water suddenly make a creaking sound and drops about an inch. They all got a tremendous laugh out of the huge Farang breaking the floor from his weight. It was a bit embarassing but it was definitely funny. I would have laughed at me too.
Gay then went and woke up her daughter and son who were 1 and 3. This is where I'd like to discuss my little insight on the bargirl. I have read many times on here about some guy who rejected a girl because she had some kind of scar or stretch marks and was not good enough. The way I look at it is this: if the girl has stretch marks then that means she has had a child. You show me ONE katoey in this whole world that has stretch marks from having a child and maybe I'll change my mind and say they aren't good enough. Until then, bring on the stretch marks because I at least KNOW that I am screwing someone that is and always was a girl!!!! I've seen pictures of some flawless, perfect bodied women that were once men. So you can keep your perfect body with a questionable gender.
Her children were very cute and I felt sad for them. I felt sad for Gay because she only got one day a month off from work to be able to see her children. It started to get late and cool off a little (thank god!) and the mosquitos started to come out. This normally really wouldn't have bothered me that much except that I was sitting right on top of some stagnant looking irrigation water. This is probably me just worrying for no reason but I started to think about malaria. So there I was trying my hardest to not look annoyed or worried but at the same time keep the mosquitos off. One of them must have noticed because one of the children disappeared again and came back from the store with one of those burning insect repellents. I love these people. They really know how to make you feel like a welcome guest. It helped a little. Gay said there was no bed and we would have to sleep on the floor. I told her it was no problem. She told me if I had to I could go "ching chong" here, or here, here, etc.., as she pointed all over the place indicating the bathroom situation. I again said okay. A little more time went by with everyone talking and smiling. Papa showed me he had a television that he could hook up to a battery and we watched tv for a little while. Papa's new wife cooked something. I was afraid that I was soon going to find out what. A little more time went by and papa, who had left about 20 minutes ago, came back and sounded a little less happy. I was afraid it was because of me or something I had done. I asked Gay what was wrong and she said that it was because of her.
You see, Gay is Muslim. It turns out that the little area in which her papa lives is all Muslim and it got around to one of the neighbors that she was working as a bargirl in Pattaya and was now at papa's house in the village. I guess this didn't go over so well with the neighbors and there was a bit of a stink raised over the whole thing. So she decided that we should leave. Aw hell!!! Now I don't get to try that scary looking "thing" that papa's new wife was cooking. Not only that but I don't get to sleep on the ground and get eaten by malaria carrying insects!!! I was robbed!
So another neighbor who obviously wasn't as offended agreed to give us a ride back to the hotel for 1000 baht! He drove slower than the second coming of Christ! We finally wade it back to the hotel and checked back in at 1000 baht a night because of Chinese New Year I was told, and went to bed.
We spent the next couple of days together in Pattaya. She was sweet and affectionate as always. She had received word that her ex (current, who really knows) husband went and picked up the kids and was going to keep them there in Pattaya. She said she couldn't stop him from doing it but that she didn't trust him alone with the kids because he severely broke his leg and was basically left crippled and drank constantly. I said I understood and I gave her some money. She looked sad and she said if I come back to go see her at the Kitten Club and then she left. She could very easily have been feeding me a line, and probably was -it really doesn't matter. She was sweet and I really did like her, but after all, she is a bargirl. Lies go with the occupation.
I won't lie and say that I wasn't sad. I didn't get my heart broken either. I approached this situation fully aware (again, thanks Stick!) and I am perfectly okay. I did like this girl and I know what she did for a living, but I still see her as a good person. She has a rough life like most of us could never imagine. I could NEVER judge her. I am glad for the time I got to spend with her and what she taught me about life. I wish her the best of everything in life as I do all of these bargirls.
The next day I went and got a regular 2 hour massage -nothing else. It cost about $10 (I love this country!) I did see one other girl before I left. I met back up with my brother to do a few more sightseeing things which were all great and wound up back one of the bars. I don't remember which one but as soon as we walked in we were latched onto. Of the two girls that latched onto us, mine was taller and the one that latched onto my gay brother was shorter. If he wasn't gay, I guess it would have fit. They eventually went back to the bar and I called the shorter one over to me and tried to talk to her. I told her she was wasting her time with my brother but other than her coming over and latching on right next to you it seemed she had no social skills. The other girl came over and latched back onto me and I finally said fuck it. At least she tried and seemed to have a personality. I barfined her and we went left. My brother decided he didn't want to waste the night so he wanted to check out the boy bars. I figured, fuck it. They will see me with a girl on my arm and leave me alone so we went. I was right. They never bothered us and I actually found it quite amusing to see all the different types of flamers trying to be sexy or ladylike or whatever they were doing. My brother finally found someone he liked and we left. We went bowling. I played a couple of shitty games and we figured we would part company. Me and Khon headed off to my hotel.
None of the scary bargirl #1 finds out about bargirl #2 type of thing happened. In fact, not much of anything happened. She spoke English pretty well but it seemed like all she wanted to do was talk. I tried to get her motivated, got bored and figured to hell with it and went to sleep. I was kind of annoyed over the whole thing and in the morning she asked if I was upset. I told her no basically because I didn't feel like discussing it and gave her some money. She said she would come back later if I wanted. I told her I didn't care what she did. Then she left. I started to pack my things as this was my last day in Thailand. I called my brother and asked him to come pick me up so we could go get my son. As we drove back out to Isaan my brother told me that last night wasn't the best for him either. He didn't go into details (thank god!!) and said he just went home.
We arrive in Loei and spend the night. The next day we have to leave early for the airport. Before we leave there is another big gathering and every old lady within many miles was there to have their picture taken with the gigantic Farang and the Farang Baby. The old ladies continuously hugged, kissed and pinched my son's cheeks. I got a big kick out of seeing the whole thing. The ladies loved it, my son didn't! He did have a good time there though. They treated him like he was royalty until we left. As we were leaving, Boy's father comes out and tied a bracelet around my son's wrist. It had a little Buddha charm on it. My brother thought that was something special because I guess it is usually just a bracelet without the charm. I thought it was special either way. I love these people.
We drove off and headed to the airport. At the airport we ate McDonalds and waited for the plane.
Earlier that day my left wrist had started to hurt. Now it hurt quite badly. On the plane I got stuck with an aisle seat and about every 20 minutes the stewardess (I know flight attendant is more politically correct, so sue me!) came by and bumped me with her cart. It wasn't so bad though because where the first flight was 22 hours long this one was a mere 16 hours! So, each one of the 50 or so times I was bumped it shot shooting pain through my wrist.
The plane finally landed in stupid, ugly old Farangland. I was back, damn it I was back. Back to work, back to my mundane life. I went to the doctor because my wrist got worse and they found nothing wrong with it. A week and a half later I went to another doctor and they said it was fractured. Now I am asking every one of you Stickman readers now that I have told you damned near everything I did while I was in Thailand to tell me how the hell I broke my wrist without knowing it. The bone I broke in my wrist is called the scafoid (not sure of the spelling). I was told that it is very hard to break that particular writsbone. They said it usually only gets broken from something sports related like American football. And no, the bedroom olympics were not that rough in case you were thinking it, you perverts! Any ideas, let me know!!!!
I have now lost about 80 pounds and go to the gym regularly and am not overweight so I'll be ready to tackle that Buddha cave at the top of the mountain when I go back this December 6 through the 28th. I'll be staying at the Apex Hotel (an older Stickman recommendation -500B a night!! Thanks again Stick.) Maybe I'll run into one of you readers and fans of this site. Just wanted to end this way too long story by saying:
Dana, keep on writing. Don't listen to these guys. You do seem to care for these people in your own way and you should be a writer. It would be a crime not to share your wonderful storytelling ability. You definitely have a way with words.
Flummoxed, I'm sorry that happened to you. Don't give up and join the other trash out there. There are still some decent girls out there. I'll find mine someday and so will you. Just put your guards back up and keep them up. Take your time. You're only 32, like me. We have plenty of time left.
And finally Stickman…. All I can say is thank you. Your site has given me a lot of enjoyment since I stepped foot back in Farangland. You sound like a great levelheaded guy. You've given a lot of great advice and information that has been invaluable. I wish I could repay the favor to you. If I ever get to meet you'll take you out for a beer. If any of you other guys sees him, buy him one and send me the bill but make sure to tell him it's from the BULLDOG!
With reasonable expectations, one can have a great time in Thailand.