The Hotel’s Face
First, about our backgrounds: I'm a 23-year-old Law student from the capital of Norway. My girlfriend is a 24-year-old English student from Bangkok. Da and I met each other first time on the internet, through a friend of hers. That happened in September 2002, and we met each other in real in May 2003. Long time to wait, but it was worth it. After spending some time together in real, we decided to get married in the future.
When I arrived at 6 am, my girlfriend was waiting for me in the arrivals hall at Don Meuang, although she lives 1.5 hours away from the airport. And after having slept off the jet-lag (with Da by my side), I went to see her family. And then, it was me and her on the way to Northern Thailand. During 10 days, we saw Khon Kaen, Phitsanulok, Sukhothai and Chiang Mai. Her parents accepted that we went there together, because they thought we were going with 5 of my friends too (BS). However, they understood a few things when they realised that we came back together alone.
In Bangkok, I stayed in a hotel on Sukhumvit Soi 11. It's close to Cheap Charlie's, and NO – it was NOT Business Inn or Ambassador 😉 After a while, I got a terrible cold, because the A/C on the train from Chiang Mai worked too well. Therefore, Da decided to stay with me to take care of me, despite eventual objections from her parents (she actually stayed with me after I got well too). She had checked in at the hotel with me and everything – all the paper work between us and the hotel was fine. I had planned to keep that room for the last 20 days of my stay, as Da's school holidays were over.
But an alarm bell should have been ringing (concerning choice of hotel) when all the other guests were (farang) *backpackers*. One can say that we *both* stood out there. When we are entering the hotel one evening, the female desk clerk suddenly says "Hey – you can't…you can't…ermmm…!" and shows me a paper that I had signed – "Rule #3: No outside guests allowed". I said as calmly as I could: "This is my fiancé, and she's a guest of this hotel". When the desk clerk's brother confirmed that everything was ok, it was raining apologies. And the girl got very angry at her bro for not having told her that there were Thai guests in the house. But strange enough, she apologised to me only, and not to my girlfriend. In the room, Da said to me "I just have to ask you this – do I look like a bar-girl?" I could have killed that desk clerk in cold blood. Checkout next day!
It was the daily manager who stood behind the desk when I was checking out – the mother of the ignorant girl. She seemed nervous and shameful, so I did not bother to complain to her about the night's incident. Actually, it was quite amusing to think about the fact that I made the hotel lose 10,000 baht (during the SARS times) for having offended my girlfriend. No-one offends my girlfriend!
It belongs to the story that at the end of my stay in Thailand, I saw a girl in a restaurant. When I saw her, I thought there was something familiar about her (no, you whoremongers, it's not what you think!). Da was wondering if I looked at the girl because she was good looking or something, and I was twisting my brains to figure out where I had seen her before. And then I remembered that she worked in the hotel where I previously had stayed. It was the one who had made my girlfriend feel so bad. And I knew that she recognised me, because she was choking when she saw me (people who work in hotels obviously have a good memory)
We checked in at Golden Palace Hotel on Soi 1, and because we were going to stay for 15 days, we got the VIP room for the same rate as a regular room. There were both farangs and Thais there in all age groups, and we encountered no problems with the staff. However, there were a few envious glances from Thai female guests at Da's age, whose husbands were twice their own age.
The strange thing is that we never encountered any such problems when we were in the North, although people in the countryside usually are more conservative than people in the cities. But it has come to my ear later that farang-oriented hotels in BKK do not welcome Thais (and the other way round). Anyway, we will rent an apartment in BKK next time!
The way some hotels handle this sort of situation leaves a lot to be desired. Good on you for checking out and into a new place.