Readers' Submissions

Changes In Bangkok Part 6

  • Written by Jurgen
  • October 27th, 2004
  • 5 min read


I stopped in Argentina until November 1984. Then as the locals started to utterly dislike military people I arranged to go to Australia. The powers to be arranged for me to join a large multinational company in a rather important position. They also got my wife and boy out of Baires via Mexico and L.A. They arrived in Melbourne on Xmas day 1984. This was to pay for a rather long association, they also arranged for a small government pension, quite small as I only had 14 years with them, before my usefulness was over.

In 1988 I become staff training officer of the company and had to go every month for at least one week to Bangkok and also to other S.E. Asian countries, trying to train the local engineers in the maintenance of our products. By this time my marriage was on the rocks. I continued to fly but now I only had the smallest license available, a private Pilots License alas with IFR rating. I basically only do 3 hours every year now to keep it valid.

As I arrived back in Bangkok after 7 years of absence I really could not recognize the place anymore. New buildings everywhere, the highway from the airport to the city was almost completely built up and the traffic was worse then ever before.

I arrived in the late afternoon on a Friday, our local Thai manager collected me, and at first we went to his house and had a small party. During the party he showed me Thai music video films. One of the singers really appealed to me and I jokingly said “I would not kick her out of my bed”, he started laughing and said we will see. At 11pm he drove me to my hotel. He booked a suite at the Royal River Hotel for me. I said that I don’t need a suite but he mentioned it must be so for representation; after all you represent our company.

At 1230 am I heard a knock at my door, there was a lady waiting, I looked closer and found that she was the singer I admired in the music video. She stopped with me until Monday morning. She was a very nice intelligent lady and I did not enquire how she came to my place. Her English was very good she said that she studied for a master’s degree in psychology in the U.K. I believed her as we really could talk about anything at all, politics, science etc. She only was in Bangkok for another few days before she had to go to Germany to make another video flick. I will not give her name here, she was very well known in Thailand. Actually she had to go to Sydney 6 months later and we could meet again for a few days.

The rest of my first trip to Thailand worked out very well; it was mainly an introduction to our government customers. The only thing I hated were the long taxi rides between the hotel and the city. I had to get up at six to be at 8.30 at our office. At night it was even worse, it could take up to 3 hours to get back. I swore to myself that I would not play this game the next time I had to come down. Usually between 2 and 3 pm I took a break and went to the coffee shop in the Grace hotel. To have a talk with the waitress who I had known for a long time and I also enjoyed looking at the ladies.

Finally the first trip was at the end and before I returned to OZ the local manager gave me all the invoices to sign. The hotel bill was completely out of this world, I will not say here how much it was but you could book a return flight to OZ and still have change left over for only one night at the suite. One item of 20.000 baht puzzled me very much; it was marked for services rendered. I questioned this and our manager told me you remember the first night? Ok, I was a bit disappointed with the lady but then I did not have to pay the bill.

As I meet the lady in Sydney I told her about it and she was completely upset and angry. She never got one baht and did not ask for anything. She had told the manager a long time before that she would like to talk with foreigners to keep her English up to date, nothing else. That she stayed with me for a few days had other reasons, she just liked to talk. And as I travelled most of my life she was interested to find out about other places. Whatever happened between us was nobody else’s business. To tell the truth I fully believed her, she did make more then enough money with her music videos, and would not bother with small change. I think that our local rep. put the money in his pocket.

The next month I had to go again to Bangkok and so on for the next 7 years. It usually was one week every month. However, if they had some problems I had to go down to fix it up. Once I was really upset; they called me 5 times in a month, the last time that month was; as I arrived at Perth airport they called me to the Thai Airways office for a call from Bangkok. To make it short I had to go back straight away, I did not even have time to change my clothes. I will have to say more about the problems later on.

It continued with the booking of the suite at the Royal River Hotel but I took a small room at the Miami in Soi 13. I paid for it myself, this way I didn’t have to spend every day up to 5 hours in a taxi. It worked out very well. If I had to deal with officials I meet them at the suite and then went to the dining room to give them a good time. The rest of the time I did not show up at all.

I contacted the family of the lady which I took for a trip around the world and found out that she was happily married with a CNN executive now living in Washington. She also had three children. But I meet her younger sister and we were hitting it of very well and spend a lot of time together. But this will be another story.

Will be continued

Stickman's thoughts:

You've lived a colourful life.