Farang In The Countryside Part 3
Short (and longer) impressions from a small Thai village. Writing a few sentences every now and then for over two years (2003 and 2004).
Last month I decided to stay in Thailand forever. I made that decision after a brief visit to Holland. There’s less and less that I have in common with my Dutch countrymen. Flying to Bangkok and entering the Don Meuang airport felt like coming home.
At this moment I work every day. Seven days a week. Ten hours a day at least. Selling some kind of pancakes and (soft) drinks in the center of this village. My wife takes care of the pancakes (‘Japanese crape’) and I, yes… I shake the shakes (‘chaa kai mook’).
I finally succeeded in eating Thai food. One hundred percent. The spicier the better. I even eat chicken toes. And spit out the nails.
A week ago I went to see Peter from Little Pattaya. He and his wife have not been on speaking terms for quite a few days. He caught her in the act. She was stealing money from his wallet while he was showering. Well, she thought he was showering.
This morning we went to Suphanburi. Buy stuff for our small company. I couldn’t help myself, went to Tesco Lotus and bought myself a huge chicken hamburger at the KFC store. Zinger.
My wife’s cousin is more or less at the point of selling her beer bar at Patpong 2. Hardly any farang. I think the Patpong days are definitely over.
Today is our first day off. After working thirty days in a row, the both of us looked like zombies and we thought it would be wise to take a day off and have lots of sex.
At this moment you can buy papaya (delicious fruit) for only one baht a kilo at the local market. Ngo will cost you about four baht a kilo. Fruit harvests are fine this year.
Last week a very beautiful woman came to see me. O (her name) is not only beautiful but also very intelligent. There’s no Thai guy interested in her, because her parents are death poor. She wants a farang husband.
Last week I weighed 79 kilos. A few minutes ago I was 84 kilos. I hardly drink beer anymore, but eating five rice meals a days is probably too much.
My best friend in this village is Pee Taauw. He makes his money collecting junk. Plastic junk and empty bottles. Taauw is sixty years old and looks like his last shower took place a century ago. He is married with a beautiful but very backward girl. She’s probably thirty something and has no teeth. Every day she comes to our shop and every day she invites me to fuck her. I probably would give it a thought if she had decent teeth.
The last day's rain fucked up our business. Normally we make about a thousand baht profit a day. Last days only 700 baht.
Today one hundred and forty people bought our unhealthy and very sweet stuff. We made good business. The longer I stay in Thailand the more ‘fatties’ I see. And yes, in this village, I’m the one to blame. Do I feel guilty? No.
Also today. I had a long MSN session with my sister. Thank God there’s the internet. She wants to finish the relationship with her boyfriend. I support her on this.
Sometimes I really don’t understand Thai people. This morning I helped a 21 year old Thai female student with her work from school. I spent two hours helping her. For free. After the job was done, the lady went home without saying ‘thank you’ or something similar. I definitely won’t help this girl again. This kind of behaviour really pisses me off.
A nearby living farang telephoned me yesterday. He wants to rent me and my car to make a visa run to Mae Sot. He asked me how much it would cost him. I mentioned the ridiculous figure of 4,000 baht. He agreed without any hesitation.
Standing at the Burmese – Thai friendship bridge, connecting Mae Sot and Myawadee, I saw two Burmese teenage guys fighting. Kicking the shit out of each other. Fighting about a 5 baht deal. The bridge is probably eight hundred meters long. They have to carry 30 kilo stuff from Thailand to Burma across this bridge. Five baht a run.
The Burmese guy who stamps passports asked me if I was interested in a 3 hour fuck with a Burmese girl. It would cost me two hundred baht. One hundred for him and one hundred for the Burmese lady. The lady was beautiful, but my wife was waiting for me at the Thai side of the bridge.
Today really hurt. Woke up far too early (four !!! o’clock in the morning) to give those bloody sugar canes some bloody fertilisers. I am not a morning person. Walking across the field on my bare feet.
Buying a car, two years ago, was probably the best investment I did while living in Thailand. Having a car gives you the opportunity to make money. Yesterday I brought twelve people to Bangkok. Nawa Nakorn to be precisely. Young people from this village who found a job in this industrial suburb. Piled up with refrigerators, mattresses and big suitcases we went. They paid me two hundred and fifty baht a person. For them a bargain and for me good money. I decided to stay in Bangkok for the night and visit Patpong and the Sukhumvit area.
Have I changed or has the naughty Bangkok nightlife changed. I was really bored at Patpong and Sukhumvit. Didn’t meet anyone interesting or sexy. Bargirls were without any exception very boring company and most farang were pissed. Went to bed early and regretted not going home the same day.
Forgot to mention that Pee Taauw has two wives. One of his own age and the one who wants to get me laid.
Had a big discussion with my wife about the upbringing of her son. This six year old chap really thinks he‘s the master of the universe. He comes away with everything. We also have a niece of my wife in our house as a member of the family. This niece can’t do the slightest thing wrong. If she does, my wife will hit her hard with words. Her son comes away with bloody everything, he can do whatever he wants. No wonder 70% of Thai university students are female. Question of discipline, upbringing. My wife didn’t get the point. Thai sons and daughters are not brought up the same. I see it before me every day. And there’s nothing I can do, how much I try.
In Holland, money never was a real issue for me. Up here, money is always an issue. Keeps me out of sleep sometimes.
My wife is 34 years old. Yesterday she told me about her life when she was about ten years old. In those days, money was something strange, something new. Her parents caught fish, grew rice and had pigs and cows. This was all you needed to have a good life. She took her shower in the river every day. If you wanted to have a shirt, you traded that with some rice. When she went to school, her mother gave her 25 satang every day so that she could buy herself some food. Life was fine. Now life is “gohok” (a lie). Barely worth living. All about money. According to her.
I realise that my passive knowledge of the Thai language (reading and listening) is probably at a 95% level. I also realise that my active Thai (speaking and writing) is probably at a 65% percent level.
Last night I brought a very ill grandma from this village to hospital. While waiting in the hospital I met a young mother with her very sick daughter. This very pale and seven month old baby had AIDS. The baby gave me a few smiles while I had her on my knees. The grandma and the smiling baby died this same night.
The mother of the dead baby has AIDS. Now the mother is pregnant again. I felt angry towards her husband because of this, but speaking with him for about two minutes, I realised he probably has the IQ of my shoe size (41). Mentally disabled persons.
Today was awfully hot. It’s the rainy season. At night it rains and during day time it’s so hot and humid. Had to shower four times today and still felt dirty.
Today my wife’s cousin, the one from Patpong, came to me for a loan. She wanted a hundred thousand baht. I asked her what I would profit from this loan. ‘Nothing, because you are family’, was her reply. Of course I didn’t gave her the money. She went to a loan shark.
I love my Thai wife, but sometimes I don’t understand her. Four weeks ago she decided to give me a golden ring. So there we went to some gold shop (Chinese of course). According to her it would be wise for her to go alone into the shop (“if
they see farang they charge more”), so I stayed in the car. I told her that it would be nice if the ring would fit me. Me not going with her into the shop would minimize changes of a fitting ring. She told me not to worry because she knows
my size. To make a long story short: today she went into the gold shop (I waited in the car again) in order to collect my ring and … no, the ring didn’t fit. Not even on my smallest finger. So there we drove home with a ring that had
her name but didn’t have the size of any of my fingers. When we crossed a bridge I stopped the car and threw the ring into the river. She wasn’t amused. Twenty percent of her harvest money.
Went to the local market and after buying some groceries, I found out I had a flat tire. That is, my motorcycle had a flat tyre. It cost me 20 baht to get it fixed.
Last night I dreamed about eating Dutch food. Bal gehakt met satésaus.
“Kin arai, kin arai, kin arai pai kin MK.”
Learned a new Thai word today after reading today’s Bangkok Post. Batsop. To be exact: ngo batsop. Who needs a Thai teacher when you have a PM like Thaksin Shinawatra.
Went to Pattaya for the first time in my life. Visiting a former brother in law, who was there on a holiday. I stayed in Pattaya for three days and two nights. Felt totally lost and out of place. The most pitiful place I ever visited in my life. Thais weren’t acting like Thais and farang weren’t acting like farang. Missed my wife. Bought myself two novels from Lee Child and read them in my hotel room. “Killing Room” and “The Visitor”.
I sat in the bus. Back row, a bit elevated. Leaving the Pattaya bus station. Going to the Ekamai bus station on Sukhumvit Road. In front of me an Arabic guy. Probably around thirty. Lots of gold around his neck and wrists. He could have been from Egypt, Iran or Saudi Arabia and he was sitting next to this typical female uniformed Thai student. So there we drove. The guy was behaving himself like a jerk towards the girl. His hands all over her and her hands pushing his hands away. I tried to interfere with words, but he didn't ’t listen.
So me and the girl changed seats (Jack Reacher would have done the same, wouldn’t he Lee). I suggested it, and she gladly went along. Now I was sitting next to the Arabic guy. He gave me a smile that went somewhere between ‘sorry’ and ‘you know how it is with Thai women’.
I feel so much at home in this Thai village.
Again I learned a new word. This time while playing soccer with the village youth. Hia. Ai Hia. That’s what the young boys where shouting (in fun) to each other when someone made a mistake. Coming home I asked my wife the meaning of the word hia. She laughed and wouldn’t explain. So I asked if it is something similar as batsop. A little bit worse, she told me. I am definitely refining my Thai, but probably not into the direction my wife wants me to…
Eleven percent of Thai citizens are from Chinese origin. The difference between a Thai and a Chinese: when or if a Thai has money he buys gold. When or if a Chinese has money he will invest in a gold shop.
Two nights ago the electricity failed at our village. So the fan went lazy. Eleven p.m. Couldn’t sleep. Too hot. Went to the nearest town to get out of the heat and have some food. Met two policemen I know. They invited me to have a beer and lao in their police box, at some major intersection.
Sitting and drinking lao in their cosy police box, they got a call. Major accident two kilometers up the road. In the police box were six policemen. They only had one car available, so I offered to bring two cops to the accident with my own car.
Saw two dead people in the car. An older woman and a young woman. Lots of blood. The younger woman drove this Nissan pick-up and fell asleep while driving.
Two dead people? No, three. They couldn’t find this two months old baby who went through the front window like a rocket and ended up in the channel. Next morning they found the baby, a few kilometers further in the channel. Dead of course.
Amazing Thailand (open).
Went to the scene and noticed that no one did anything. Two dead people still laying in the car. For about half an hour lots of people were just staring at two heavily mutilated bodies trapped in a damaged car.
Although I have not studied medicine, I clearly could see that they were dead. Two onlookers (not policemen) got the victims out. I asked them to. I covered the bodies with blankets. The policemen gave me ‘thumbs up’ while saying ‘good, good’. Practicing their English was more important for them then helping out.
The policemen didn’t give a shit. On the contrary. After the dead people were laid down on the asphalt, one policemen ripped the dead ladies from their gold. He simply ripped them in the open and sold the gold the next day at a local jewelry shop.
Why do I know he sold the gold the next day? Because I have lived here too long, because I know too many people up here and because I speak and understand better Thai than is probably good for me.
Amazing Thailand (close).
If the electricity wouldn’t have failed two nights ago, I would not have witnessed this. Sometimes life is a fucking (Thai) bitch.
Almost won the ‘where’s this pic’ competition on Stick’s site this week. Just a few minutes too late.
Mid April 2004. Chainat. A small province just 180 kilometers north of Bangkok. Central plains. It’s so bloody, fucking hot. Simply breathing makes you tired. Just peeing makes you sweat. The fan gives me hot air. Whenever I take a shower, the water is 45 degrees Celsius. I need to drink at least four litres of water every day. I feel like melting cheese on a pizza, just placed in an oven. What the fuck am I doing here.
I have a new job, I make good money (300 baht an hour, 2000 something a day) but I hate it. Why do I hate it? I hate it because I have a Thai boss. Why don’t I quit? Because I am making sixty grand a month.
Read Dana 42 (… no, probably not his age) yesterday while smoking a huge cigar. The cigar came from Kampen. This old Dutch town is probably the only place in the world (with Cuba) were they really can make decent, handmade cigars. You smoke the difference.
My thoughts are with Diego Maradona who is having severe health problems at this moment. After Johan Cruyff, Diego is probably the best soccer player this world has ever known. Stay with us Diego.
Stick comes from New Zealand. The word Zealand (Zeeland) is Dutch. It’s the name of a Dutch province named Zeeland (Sea land). Probably some poor farmers from the Dutch province of Zeeland once (a few hundreds years ago) went on a boat and eventually stranded in what is now known as New Zealand. They probably took two or three sheep with them also.
About three years ago, I met a guy from New Zealand in Bangkok. Probably 2001. Biergarten. This big bearded guy was a doctor. Working in horrible places like Afghanistan. A volunteer. A cynicus. And a real nice gentleman.
“Yeah, if you want to have a boring family life. Having a barbecue is good though in New Zealand.”
“Just sprinkle lots of vodka over her and your private parts, no problem. Condoms are utterly bullshit”.
I teach privately every now and then. This part of work is growing rapidly. For several months I have extremely beautiful girls knocking on my door almost every week. By extremely beautiful girls I mean really ladies who easily can compete with miss universe. I am not talking about average Isaan and Thai ladies from Pattaya. But yes… they are hookers.
They want to learn English, they want to learn about ‘farang’. Probable some elite Bangkok escort service company where my name is going around. Five hundred baht an hour I ask. Of course one-on-one. After a three-hour-session they give me the money without a blink.
I know her dad and I know her mom but I never had the chance to meet her. Now I teach her to speak English. Her dad is a policeman downtown and her mother is a housewife. I know them a few years and we get on very well. Her daughter is so breathtaking beautiful that I instantly realised she’s not in my league.
Her customers come from Singapore, China, Malaysia and Japan. Businessmen. And you know what? She’s not only beautiful, she’s intelligent. Lots of humour. She is Thai, but she is not. Teaching her is the wet dream of every teacher. Totally unpredictable and so easy.
In her part of the world short time sex doesn’t exist. She has five permanent lovers, a 3 million baht apartment and about fifty million baht on her bank account. I have to say that she is one of the finest people I ever have met in my life. I love her because she’s special and honest.
We have a code: whenever she calls me and says “Tomorrow I’ll go shopping in Bangkok”, I know she just had a call from a customer.
She is not Thai, she is not farang, she’s more. She stands above it all.
I prefer my wife though. Waan is poor (and black) as hell, but the only person on earth I really trust and love.
Back to the harsh reality of life. In three weeks we will harvest our rice. Prices: 4,700 a ton (1000 kilos). Last night I was chasing rats because they were eating our rice. Killed probably twenty of those suckers. Just kick ‘m on the back of the head with a stick and they are dead instantly. Thai rats die quite easily.
Last night I dreamt I was bitten by a big, black snake. No big deal. I told my wife about this dream the next morning and she became very upset.
This morning while driving in the car with my wife.
“Pom pben kruu piset.”
“Pom son nang suu hai karee Thai ye ye.
Pom pben ajarn son karee (seephai)”
“Pee, mai kiit mark, son heh, ngen dee,
“Mai pben rai loh?
“Mai pben rai, son heh!”
Too much to write, too much experiences. One has to know when to stop. I look forward writing Farang in the Countryside 4. I hope you all enjoyed reading this.
This site is probably the best Thai related site in the world. An honour writing for it. Big, big, very big compliments for Mr. Stickman. This would be probably the only site I would ever consider spending money on.
A wonderful collection of stories and thoughts.