Readers' Submissions

Delightful Thailand – Land Of Sober





The CAT building is shining in the dusk. The luxurious riverside hotels to the south chart the Bangkok evening sky. Fat cargo ships are milling up and down Chao Phya river, the last few express boats speeding around them. Looking to the other side, I see the lighted roofscapes of pagodas and an ocean of skyscrapers and smaller dwellings.

"One Beer Chang please."

I am moody, tonight I even opt for a dose of booze. The waitress swerves off in a wake of long black hair.

The food might be mediocre, but views and atmosphere are *****. When in Bangkok, I try not to miss sunset in my favorite rooftop restaurant on the riverside. On very rare occasions, like tonight, I even drink a Beer Chang, not the usual soda lemon or fruit shake. My Isaan musings have caught on me again. A house in Thailand? With river view? Nong Khai or Nakhon Phanom province? Around Khong Chiam it's pretty, too.

Down on the floods, a tiny barge crawls cross-river, taking Thais to the Thonburi side for three or five baht per pax. Lovely. A horizontal christmas tree is shifting upriver, it's a dinner cruise exuding blaring bigband music. But will my naive tourist fascination bear up against the realities of day-to-day struggles in an emerging nation? Could I keep up my pleasant business in Old Europe from over here? Should I really step beyond the easy tourist track, make Thailand my temporary home?

Red, yellow, green are the lights of the city that reflect on the river. Somewhere two cats have a noisy argument. Could I find work in Thailand proper? Back in Old Europe I am doing fine as a German language teacher / writer / editor, and I teach and tame Adobe Photoshop; English for beginners I have done, too.

But would anybody care for those skills? From Stickman's site I know that teachers galore are flocking to Thailand. Bad, I have no contacts here. No business contacts and – no soulmate. My god, a bright local lady, sharing the dream of a laid back, yet sophisticated life; our breezy riverside house with a view / DSL / airport in taxi distance; the occasional job with cheerful, keen students… The beer is finished quickly, against all my habits, sheer excitement makes me swallow. Should I do it? Move? Just let me dream, ok.

"One more beer for you, sir?"

Huh? What? Beer? No house? Oh, the serious long-haired waitress is looking at me. She needs my order to bring more booze. Very slowly i resurface from my musings.
"One more Beer Chang, sir?"

"No, one beer is already enough", I murmur to myself. Then louder: "I'd like a lemon soda please na khrap."

She gives me a puzzled look and swerves off. They have this interesting waitress here. No smiles, you know. Very serious. She seems to say "No! I am NOT one of those girls." When the temperature drops below chilly 30 degrees Celsius, she is known to wear a woollen Norwegian ski pullover, fancy that together with her waist long black hair, amazing. But no smile. For nobody.

The waitress rushes back to my table and with – a smile! How have i deserved this from Mrs. Stern? Does she know I am in love with her country? She delivers my lemon soda and proudly places a small plate with cut fruit in front of me. "Fruit free for you, sir", she goes, with a very affirmative smile! In a jet stream of black hair she is off again.

Heck, free fruit from Mrs. Stern! Does she like houses on the river bank as much as I do? Would she move in? You know what I think? She liked my sentence "One beer is enough." Maybe a surprise for a waitress, and especially good news for a good-looking waitress. Maybe, a good way to charm Asian ladies anyway?

She has an Isaan face. She surely knows properties on Mae Nam Khong, and she can handle the locals and the local lingo – i need a translator anyway.

Across the tables and across the bar, with a phalanx of rambling drunken farangs between us, Mrs. Stern-No-More flashes me another conspirative smile. We are complices now. Complices in the Land of Sober. I will kindly ask her to guide me through building sites in Isaan. We might find the most beautiful special place. Me might be a couple. We might have two delightful east-west kids.

Every year, we might celebrate this wonderful turn in our lives; with mineral water.

Stickman says:

Very nice, once again. Anyone got a job for a German teacher or Photoshop instructor for this guy?