Stickman Readers' Submissions December 19th, 2003

Why Thailand?

I have just finished writing part 2 to the Londoner Travels alone. I went on to the site and just had browse as I do and read a couple of stories as I do… 2 stories out of the 4 or 5 stuck with me. So I thought I'd share a story from my 1st trip…..

Now if you've read my holiday report from Bangkok you'll know that I am not afraid of a drink.

He Clinic Bangkok

Well I was in Phuket and for the 1st couple of nights I actually didn’t drink as we were budgeting… the 2nd night I choose to have a few drinks and the third night I had 2 Long Island Ice Teas. Now what they put in them I don’t know. They messed us both up. I lost my buddy for the 1st time without prior arrangement since our arrival in LOS. Now I staggered around for an hour or so finally finding my hotel. When I got to the hotel the key had already been taken so I just presumed that my friend was there. I went upstairs and knocked on the room door. I could hair grunting so it was obvious he had been lucky that evening.

He either couldn't hear me or was just to busy enjoying himself. I left the hotel and staggered around again still wondering how somehow who can normally take a drink was out of his little box on 2 drinks. I smelt a rat.

Well I made my way to the 1st Bar that I attended that evening and asked if I could sit down. The bar owner said she was closed but said I could sit while she cashed up as all her staff were still there about, 9 girls 3 guys. They remembered me from earlier on and asked where my friend was? I said he had been lucky and was at the hotel sowing his royal oats.

CBD bangkok

As my head and everything else around me span I could see the lovely bar owner peering at me strangely. She asked if I was hungry as I looked a bit ill and she thought food would make me feel better. I said that I doubt very much I could eat anything that would stay down. No sooner had I said that I vomited up everything that I had eaten in the last year, there was sick everywhere. But still I smelt a rat. I’m no alcoholic but I know my limits and water all day and then 2 Long Island Ice Teas would not have left me in such a state.

Anyhow she asked her son to carry me to her house on the back of his bike and wouldn't take no for an answer. Her son drove while I sat in the middle and her daughter behind me to prevent me from falling off. We were followed by an entourage of bikes as we went to her house. On arrival I was a little wary but my spirit took to these people so what was I wary of. When we got there all I could see was what we in the West call “shutters” the big metal things that go over the front of a shop when its closed. They were opened up and in we went to a small room probably no bigger than most of our front rooms. In this room I saw bed mattresses pinned against the wall and a small stove in the corner. Before this 1st trip to Thailand I had been to a few places where poverty was rife but I had never been invited into someone's home. I felt so bad. Why? Because I realised that in comparison to these people I had so much more? Or did I? No matter how much I had they were still happier than I was. I was the one travelling in search of something fresh and new, some way of getting away. Now I had been privileged enough to get the opportunity in life to explore, more than they had and I had chosen to come here and this was their welcome. One fit for a king.

Back to the story.

Soon after we arrived they all began to talk in their mother tongue as the daughter who spoke good English told me what she said. It turns out that they eat only one meal a day if that and it was a treat that they would eat twice. I said why are they eating twice they said because I have blessed their house as being their guest so they would celebrate with food. Now I was taken aback by this. Me, blessing someone with my presence??? Shortly after the owner of the bar arrived with food for the 15 or so of us. She had used the whole day’s profits to allow me to eat as she thought it would make me feel better. We sat in a small room all cross-legged and the food was share. If I had there were 5 pieces of chicken. I was given one and the other 4 shared with the rest of the group. Let's work on those percentages for the Veg, Rice and noodles and the lady who brought the food didn’t eat. When I looked at the food I felt ill as I'd been avoiding the food as I'd heard about food poisoning etc. from food stalls. Forgive me it was my 1st trip. Now all I eat is street food if I’m really hungry. Well I took a deep breath as everyone watched me take my 1st bite of what I then would have called slop. I chewed, swallowed and took another mouthful. ;o)..The best food I had tasted for all of my holiday it was lovely. As I hadn't eaten properly since my arrival all the trapped wind decided to escape now. On my 5th spoon a huge belch erupted from my mouth. I was so embarrassed but they all laughed and said it must be good food. I might as well have licked the plate. I felt 100 times better. I thanked everyone especially the bar owner for their hospitality. I went to the shop and bought a load of drinks. Water for me and just sat and talked. That changed my whole outlook on the place.

wonderland clinic

After a chat and a few more bottles of water the woman told me that I could have her bedroom over the road and a girl would take care of me. One of her members of staff took me to the room, took off my clothes, bathed me & gave me a massage. No Hanky Panky after that massage I was in La La Land I fell strait to sleep. I woke up with her sitting on the edge of the bed grinning at me……I said why are you laughing her response was its 2 in the afternoon and U snore all night. How u sleep till now…….lol. There was never a mention of money.

People ask me why I come to Thailand, Why I enjoy it. Some say they come because of sex tourism, some come because it’s cheap and others come because they want to exploit others. I come because it’s my drug. My happiness jab. I took a set of pictures on my last trip to LOS and anybody that knows me asked me what happened in the pictures! Why because I smile just before I laugh or just as I’m finishing. I don’t have a fake smile or one to welcome people that’s just how I am. I’m happy on the inside ;o). But these pictures, none of them posing, just me with a grin from ear to ear on my face. Thailand does have its bad sides and I have experienced them a few times but for each bad deed I have received I have received a thousand good. So I ask you would you invite somebody into your home if they looked a bit sick? Would you use all the money you earnt in a week to feed me as I looked a little ill? Would you? Now whenever I return to Thailand I go to that same bar and buy breakfast, lunch and dinner for the people that helped that evening. They know who they are…..

Now before I go I'd like to ask you a question. Why is it that us in the West moan that we have a 2 bedroom house and not a 4 bedroom? A BMW & not a Porsche? Gucci shoes and not Prada? Our job only pays us 30K P/A instead of 40K P/A and walk around with screwed up faces all the time but these people who earn less, have less and live in conditions worse than anything seen in our lucrative western societies spend their time smiling and enjoying the little they have. Money can’t buy you happiness but it helps. They have nothing but still they seem happier than people I see on a daily basis here in London. Merely an observation. I trust this has been a pleasant read.

Stickman says:

Nice story and the last paragraph is real food for thought.

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