Thai Thoughts And Anecdotes Part 58
Thai Thoughts And Anecdotes 58
IT'S ALMOST TIME
The Years Thunder By. The Dreams of Youth Grow Dim Where They Lie Caked in Dust on the Shelves of Patience. Before We Know It, The Tomb is Sealed. –Sterling Hayden-
Well; yip, yip, yippee: IT IS ALMOST TIME. I have my tickets in hand, I am 99% packed, my private parts have been shaved, and I am heading back to Thailand. Please notify all of the important people so that they can meet me at the Nana Hotel. I hate rushing around the country shaking hands. And I plan this time to not forget that I am an ambassador for my country. Since my country is power hungry, obnoxious, insensitive, and ignorant this will be easy. Normally, I am a sucker for a challenge. But give me a break. I am on vacation. So nothing new to learn, no changes to be made in my personality or my deportment; I'll just be an American. Easy. I am also reminded by others smarter than me (apparently that includes everyone) that "Those who don't remember the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them in the future." Well of course it would be in the future–where else? But I digress. I think what people mean by that saying is that if I cast back over some of my experiences and errors in past visits to Thailand, that I can prevent myself from making those same mistakes again. Unfortunately, I have STM (that means Short Term Memory–I think). That is why I couldn't get through medical school. Actually I never applied to medical school (I think) but this line has worked on bar pickups for twenty five years. So I guess I am doomed to more shallow relationships with more gorgeous naked women. I hate when that happens. A sympathetic neighbor of mine who is aware of my STM (that means Short Term Memory–I think) problem–he keeps reminding me about things I have borrowed from him–suggested that in place of memory I could use intelligence. Just review the past, examine the data, and come to reasonable conclusions about what new paradigm thinking would benefit me. Anyway, this looks like a good substitute for short term memory. Just think and then act. The only problem is that I am not smart. I had to drop out of Engineering School because I could not operate a mechanical pencil. So there it is. I am getting ready to go to Thailand again. I'll be behaving like an American, I have no memory of past mistakes, and I am not smart. No extra mental baggage to slow me down. Just Thailand and I getting to know one another–sharing our hopes and dreams–and learning about each others cultures. I'm going to Thailand guys–I'll send you all a mental postcard.
"HOLD MY BABY?"
I see a kite festival in a park in BKK and wander onto the grounds. I see a bench. I sit down. There is a Thai mother with a baby on the bench. We exchange smiles and hellos. I smile and make baby talk at the child. I say something about the kites in the sky being suay maak. She agrees and says I speak excellent Thai. I say "Nit noy Thai." More smiling and head bobbing. An excellent day in Thailand and a fun time with a real Thai. What could go wrong? Presently she turns and points to herself and points across the field and says "Hong naam". She has to go to the bathroom. She holds the baby towards me. She wants to know if I will hold her baby for her while she goes to the bathroom. Of course I will. I am flattered and proud to be asked. She walks away. In her absence I have the best time making baby talk. People walking by look on approvingly. I try to look nonchalant as if Thais are always trusting me with their children. It's great to be involved with the real Thailand and with real Thais and I am thrilled to be included in a teensy weensy way in the fabric of the culture. After about twenty minutes mom comes back. I return her child. The mom holds out her hand and says "100 baht". "What for?" I say. She wants me to give her 100 baht for helping her go to the bathroom by looking after her child. As I rise from the bench and take the first step my knee nearly fails me so disoriented and disappointed am I by the experience. Thailand. Sometimes I feel sorry for Thailand. You wouldn't wish this on any country. Later I wondered if she pulled this routine on five farangs a day. Sometimes people like to email me and tell me that I am not sensitive to the culture and that there is lots I don't know about the Kingdom. Maybe I am one of the lucky ones.
END OF THE ROAD
I am so happy I don't even have to think about how happy I am. All I have to do is be. Be with her. I pick her up every night around 10:30 and she walks me down Sukumvit Road to her favorite Isaan soup maker and we sit on little plastic chairs at a little sidewalk table and have soup. Or she does. The ingredients of the soup are best not examined too closely (I can't even bring myself to look in the big pot on the street when the soup lady is stirring it with a big stick) and there is too much spice for me. I now have a scarred esophagus from this battery acid nonsense from a similar dalliance six months ago. I have learned my lesson. Then home to the Nana. Her walking ahead of me on the narrow sidewalk. Me following her ass and legs and high heels like a starved puppy on the tire tread trail of a meat wagon. In the room I draw a bath. Sometimes we sit in the tub together and I sponge her back. Then to bed. Sometimes Boom-Boom and sometimes not. It doesn't matter. It's over for me. The end of the road. This is all I want. Her face. Her hair. Her skin. Her dark skin and her dark hair and her brown eyes and her wide feet and her woman's curves. I don't want anymore. I don't want to see anymore. I don't want to think anymore. I don't want to hear anymore about anymore. I just want this. This happy End-of-the-Road for me.
One night her phone rang. She talked. I lay in the bed in a state of suspended animation. Rigid. Unbreathing. She got up and got dressed and left. Took her purse with her. I lay there in the bed staring at the ceiling and at the walls wondering if she would return. But in the deep inside part of me I already knew! I had been in this play before. I had been one of the actors in these Nana Hotel room plays before. I knew the play by heart and by sob and it always ended the same way. When the morning light penetrated the curtains I was still lying on my back staring at the ceiling. Tears crusted in my eyes.
It wasn't the End-of-the-Road for her!
DANA REPORT: SANGHLA BURI
After the boat trip and the village tour and the bamboo rafting; we all got back to the guesthouse around 2:30 in the afternoon. For those that were interested, a trip to Three Pagoda Pass could be squeezed in before dinner. I'm at the age now where I don't feel the need to do every planned activity. After one or two touring things I like to lay down in the afternoon and go into a coma–or what middle-aged people call a nap. But I went anyway. It's a vacation. I can sleep when I am dead. Maybe I'd see something.
At the Burma-Thai border we were surprised to see dust clouds to 20,000 feet as over nine thousand war elephants and eighty thousand Burmese infantry were pouring through the Pass. Thailand was being invaded again! Birds screamed, locals fled, earth trembled, and the Japanese took pictures.
I took one of the colorfully costumed Burmese generals aside and explained the situation in Bangkok: the heat and the noise and the fumes and the traffic and the farangs and the crime and the ladyboys and the pollution, etc. He wasn't dissuaded. He was a man on a mission. Then I told him that the low-spark, ignorant farmer's daughters at the King's Castle bars in Patpong wanted 1500 baht for short time. His eyes nearly burst from his head. He had his engineers build a bamboo tower fifty feet high–raised three hundred of his military flutists and drummers up to the top–and sounded a general retreat.
Thailand was saved. I am still waiting to be thanked.
That story about the baby and the 100 baht is whacked.