My Thailand Story Part 2
I arrived back in Bangkok on Thursday, the 2nd September 1999. I still didn’t notice very many people smiling but, again, I didn’t dwell on it.
My stepfather, Pete, had arranged for Tawatchai to pick me up from the airport and I went to the apartment on Sukhumvit 39. That evening, I, of course, returned to Pussy Galore and, I thought, the waiting arms of Beer.
I entered Pussy Galore, and was greeted like an old friend. Most of the girls remembered me from two weeks previously and I immediately felt right at home. Unfortunately (fortunately?), Beer wasn’t there. I was told that Thursday was her regular day off and that she would be with her family, who apparently lived somewhere in Bangkok. To make the best of it, I bought several ladies and myself some drinks and proceeded to get really quite drunk.
One of the ladies, I’m sorry, again I can’t remember her name, was being quite familiar and, being reassured by the other ladies that, it wouldn’t go any further, I (not all that reluctantly), permitted her to extract “junior” from his hiding place within my pants. Well, the evening passed and eventually I left, not before paying the 6,000 baht bill of course. An amount similar to the bar bill the first time I attended at Pussy Galore. (I never realized just how much it was until many months later, in another bar, the mamasan pointed out that 6,000 baht was the equivalent of 60 drinks! An impossible feat even for me and several girls to accomplish in a few hours.) We live and learn.
The next day, I obtained a copy of the Bangkok Post, and busied myself with obtaining gainful employment. My work history mainly consisted of Retail Management, with some completely irrelevant qualifications obtained during my six years in the RAF. Looking through the range of available positions didn’t result in too many leads and certainly nothing in which I could apply my experience. One particular thing that leapt from the pages was the quantity of advertisements for Native Speaking English Teachers. Well, I thought, “I qualify for 50% of the requirements, I’ll call and see.” Pete (my stepfather) had said he was looking into the possibility of a job in the oil industry for me, but things were getting heavy (as far as farang working in that industry were concerned) and, as it turned out, the job, which he was trying to wangle for me, had to be given to a Thai national.
I, randomly, chose an advertisement from the paper and called. I was mildly surprised to find myself speaking to a friendly Yorkshireman, who suggested I go to see him at his Institute, arranging an “interview” for the following day.
I left, by taxi, in plenty of time for the interview, wearing my 300 quid suit and looking for all the world (in my opinion anyway), the business.
The “interview” went extremely well and the D.O.S., of the Institute was so impressed that I, with absolutely no experience of teaching English whatsoever (sound familiar again?), was immediately offered a part-time position, with the princely salary of 200 baht per hour. Being green, I wasn’t aware of just how much (sorry, little) that was. Still, with no experience at all I wasn’t in a position to complain either.
I was informed that my first class would be a Level 1, two-hour adult class of about 10 or so students, which would start on Monday morning. The D.O.S., assured me that it was nothing to worry about, I’d be fine and “That’s a nice suit.” So, armed with his confidence in me, I convinced myself that it wouldn’t be a problem.
I informed Pete of my success in job-hunting and he seemed quite pleased. The weekend passed and I spent every evening blowing my money, although not getting ripped off any more, at Pussy Galore. There were a few repercussions vis-à-vis the “Junior” episode but nothing serious. I was truly happy.
Monday came around and I reported at the Institute in plenty of time for the lesson and again, the D.O.S., was very reassuring. The time for the lesson was drawing near and, at the appropriate time, I entered the classroom.
The hints and tips section of the D.O.S.’s patter left my head completely and I found myself standing in front of 10 students, who were all looking at me somewhat expectantly.
Being a resourceful type, I started by confidently asking the students “What do I do now?” to which I was given the reply (by the older lady in the class, Dang, I do remember some names), “Why don’t you start with the alphabet?” “Oh. Okay, I’ll do that.” I replied, proceeding with all haste to scribble the alphabet on the whiteboard. The lesson progressed in pretty much the same vein so I won’t go into every excruciating detail about what happened, as I’m sure you can imagine.
I would just like to say that, I completed the course, not without considerable help from Dang, who despite that fact that to everyone else she seemed to be unfriendly and unapproachable, warmed to me and I will be ever grateful for that.
Things between Beer and myself seemed to be going pretty well. She wanted me to wear her gold necklace and I had bought her a gold anklet too. I had also given her some money about ten thousand baht to help with the family and I didn’t even think too much of it when she asked for 50,000 baht, to pay off a German ex-boyfriend, who had lent her the money and whom she had decided to leave to be with me. (I know, I know.)
I decided to move to an apartment near to the Institute. I don’t really feel it’s necessary to give the name of the Institute as, despite its failings, it has provided the means for me to stay in Thailand. I would just add that things have improved considerably during my (5 year) tenure with them.
I moved into my apartment, Chawamit Mansion, Lad Phrao 48 and Beer left the bar to stay with me. Everything seemed to be going well, but I wasn’t making any money at all really. We were going out and visiting Beer’s friends at the bar quite often so the money I had brought with me was dwindling down to nothing.
The real low point came as quickly as three months down the line when my money had almost evaporated and my income was approximately 10% of my outgoings. I had been giving money regularly to Beer and for her family, who by this time I had met. Her family consisted of her mother and nephew (?), who were living in Bangkok, thinking Beer was working at a 7-11 or something just as innocent.
The three months with Beer had been great and so I was devastated when she announced that, as my money had run out, she would be returning to work at the bar. She promised faithfully that she would work on the door, not dance. Although it was the last
thing I wanted, I had no choice but to let her go back. Now, I’m sure many of you will understand the three months of hell that followed, all of it self-inflicted of course. At one point I was spending what little I was earning, drinking
beer at the bar opposite Pussy Galore., hoping (or hoping not) that I would catch her with a farang, as she certainly didn’t appear to be working on the door. My fears were realised when, one evening, I was waiting at the bar opposite,
when Beer appeared, following a positively obese type, whilst the door staff were whooping, cheering and generally doing what they do when one of the girls “scores”.
Spiralling down the slippery slope into oblivion, I grabbed her and spirited her away from the “John”, who, upon realizing that his bar fine had disappeared, followed. I stopped and asked, not too politely, if he had barfined her, to which he replied that he had not, leaving swiftly in the opposite direction. I pulled Beer into a taxi and proceeded to lose it all the way back to the apartment. Once there things deteriorated pretty rapidly, culminating in Beer deliberately smashing her head into the wall.
Obviously, things had become pretty dire by this time. I had no money left, little income and, after Beer had left, ostensibly for the final time, I hadn’t felt so alone in a long time. I had to go to work (still teaching at the Institute, not much more successfully, but with more classes) but, on a Saturday morning, standing outside the building in which the Institute was located, at 8:30 in the morning, I just broke down. I jumped on a bus back to my apartment, locked the door and unplugged the phone. I remained in my apartment until Monday, when I called the D.O.S., who, far from being angry or disappointed with me, was genuinely concerned about me. I went to the Institute and discussed everything with him, which helped immensely.
It was then, back at my apartment that evening that I, suddenly and quite unexpectedly, sorted my sh*t out. I discovered some hidden strength inside me that appeared just when I most needed it.
What happened next was amazing. I threw myself into my work, reporting at the Institute several hours before any lessons, preparing activities and lesson plans, which, although not all successful, improved my teaching prowess no end. My lessons became fun things to be a part of. I stopped losing students and became a very popular teacher. I was given more classes and, soon after that, I was offered a full-time position, which although it wouldn’t make me rich, it would give me an income on which I could survive.
Another side effect of my new strength and popularity was my (however misplaced) attractiveness to the opposite sex and the next six months were, unequivocally, some the best I’ve ever had. That’s what I’ll tell you about in the next installment.
Just to round up Part 2, I did see Beer again on a few occasions. Not long after she had left, she returned to me, feigning love again. However, being considerably wiser though not altogether wise as you’ll find out later), I didn’t fall
for it. Whilst she was out of the room, I (feeling an absolute, mistrusting heel), looked in her handbag. Lo and behold!!! Not one, not two not even three, but SIX postcards to Japs / Swedes / Germans / Brits and Aussies! All written in the same
atrocious English and all spouting the same crap! Tok Jai mot leuy! Well, maybe not, I suppose it was half expected. Another thing that I came across while rummaging, was the name and phone number of the German guy (nope, forgot
it), whom I was supposed to have paid off with the 50,000 baht!
The discoveries didn’t have any particular adverse effects on me and, when Beer left, a little later (no way was she staying), I neglected to mention that I had taken the German guy’s number from her purse.
Later, I called the guy, who answered politely. I claimed to have dialled a wrong number, apologized and hung up. Then, in a rush of madness, I called him back, apologized once more (bloody word keeps changes my Ss to Zs) and asked him about Beer. We had a real heart to heart chat about her. He knew nothing about any money and he certainly hadn’t received any from Beer. He actually owned a bar in Pattaya, was happily married and hadn’t seen Beer for quite a while. He sympathized with my position and suggested that if I was ever in Pattaya, I should visit his bar. Nice guy.
Well, what should happen a little later? Beer arrived back at my apartment, purporting to want to see me again. I knew exactly what she’d come back for but she wasn’t about to admit it. After watching her squirm around the apartment for several minutes, while she was looking for the scrap of paper, I mentioned to her that I’d already spoken with the German chap. That revelation was a bombshell to her, but, being a hardened type, she just demanded the paper back. I returned it (I’d noted the number), and she left without further ado.
I saw her once more, several weeks later, when she came to my apartment with a bargirl friend of hers. Her friend was, apparently, only 16 years of age but WOW, what a serious bod. Big (in all the right places), pert, tight, but unfortunately out of her skull. The pair of them proceeded to share a small pink tablet before falling asleep on the bed and, no, I did not take advantage of the situation, although I was sorely tempted. I have never seen her since (except a few pictures on the net).
I’ll regale you with tales from the ensuing six months in the next, thrilling instalment.
So now the readers know about the true lives of a typical English teacher!