Changes In Bangkok Part 7
After 14 monthly trips to Bangkok I arrived again at the airport on a Friday evening, went through immigration and looked for a meter taxi. A very well dressed Thai gentleman came to me and asked where I would like to go. As I always first checked into the Royal River Hotel first I told him so. He said he is going that way and he would give me a lift. I thought it would be some sort of a scam, but I accepted as there did not seem to be any taxies in sight.
During the trip we started talking what I am doing in Bangkok and why I come so many times to Thailand. I thought how can he know that I am here at least once each month? Anyway after I told him that I worked for a multinational company and trained Thai engineers he become very friendly and showed me his government ID card. He actually worked for the DEA and they wondered what I am doing in my regular visits to Thailand, and they wanted to check me out.
Just before we arrived at the hotel he asked me if I am free on Saturday and Sunday, well I had nothing to do until Monday morning and I said so. He told me if I like he could pick me up the next morning and we could go for a trip upcountry. I accepted of course, at 8am the desk phoned up that somebody came for me. I went down and he was there together with another guy and three young ladies. He told me they all worked for the DEA and wanted to go away for an extended weekend. We went about halfway down to Pataya and stopped at a nice house in a small village. The girls unpacked food from the car and prepared a barbeque. After lunch we drove outside the village put up some targets and did a bit of target practice, they all carried guns. They were surprised how good my shooting was; well I told them that I had enough training during my life.
As the sun started to go down we went back to their house and the girls were busy again preparing dinner, this time Thai cuisine but very good. After diner we played cards for very small money, but just the same it added up, I finished with about 1500 baht winnings. I forget to mention that both guys and the three girls spoke perfect English; they all studied in the US at some special academy. After finishing the cards game we started to swap stories “chewing the rug”.
I mentioned that many times in Perth I could see that the customs picked one man or woman out of the arrival crowd and usually found something. They started laughing and explained how the system works. Many times they do know from informers that somebody carries controlled substances. However they do not like the poor public relations, an arrest and sentencing in the Kingdom would make to the tourist industry. Therefore they just advice the authorities at the destination, they also mentioned that they get a finders fee from the other governments. Well this, to me at least explained a lot of things.
They also said that many of the higher class jewelry stores made money twice. If some foreigners bought a large amount of jewelry they try to get his name and hotel, they also have somebody follow them to their hotel to get more information. This is in case he or she did not pay by credit card. The reason is that most countries pay an informers fee of up to 50% of the retail value if they can confiscate smuggled goods. So the “poor” farang arrives at home and the custom officers pick him out of the crowd, all his pledges that the jewelry was in his possession as he left will of course not help him. He looses the jewelry and is up to a very stiff fine.
Well the time was to go to sleep and the girls paired of with us. They discussed the matter between themselves and made their own picks. I talked with my lady “and they were ladies” for a long time about her life and how she liked her work. It is better to get to know the girls before anything else happens.
The next morning I woke up and we had breakfast, this time an American type which we all enjoyed. The rest of the day was mainly the same as on Saturday. Shooting, gambling this time I did not win or loose anything. Talking and sleeping. On Monday morning they drove me back to the hotel and thanked me for a very nice weekend. Thanked me? I had to thank them. Their boss also gave me his card, in case I ever have problems, just contact him. Actually the card was very handy years later at a minor traffic infringement.
I grabbed a new overnight bag went down to Sukhumvit and checked into my other hotel to be close to work. In the evening I had a date with the younger sister of my ex girlfriend and we went to Villa Café to enjoy the comics and have dinner. We had been doing this for the last 6 month.
In the afternoons between 2 and 3 PM I still went for a coffee to the Grace Hotel, by now all the ladies knew me they also knew I was not a customer and they normally sat down and talked about their boy friends and families. One of the girls told me she studied medicine at a major university. Well I did not believe her but did not say anything. I say more about this later on. Many times the girls asked me for some small change, for a bus fare or food, it never exceeded 50 baht. Funnily enough most of the time they paid it back once they could see me again.
Will be continued