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Searching For Miss Goodbar Part 3



Searching For Miss Goodbar Part 3 (Bridge Over Trobuled Waters)


Malta Hotel Guide
• Plaza Hotel Sliema
• Plevna Hotel
• Roma Hotel Sliema
• Victoria Hotel Sliema

Last week as you recall, our intrepid traveler was bewitched by amorous alien warrior-ess on planet Thailand, threatening his very view of western women forever….not to mention his wallet and his sanity….

Pia:

"Simon said to me his hotel booking is for 3 weeks, – now 2 weeks to go, I don't think he'll change….But I not sure. I'll call him later and see what [his reaction] is, I can tell if he's cooling off from me…. That's what I'll do…. I want to stay with Simon and want to go away somewhere with him, I want to know him more…. My old boyfriend before though say he will come to Bangkok maybe this week, – if he comes I don't know what to do, I know him a long time already…."

Still in Bangkok, and after the dust had settled, with Pia still very much on my artificial horizon, I felt I needed to 'get out of Bangkok for a while' and thought of my usual 'sanctuary' up on the mystic River Kwai. I went alone last time, but regretted it thinking that some female company would have been much better, and Pia seemed to be the 'right girl' to ask. Heck, I knew what her answer would be anyway when I asked, – and equally what her reaction would be if I didn't!!

The movie classic "The Bridge on the River Kwai" had always held a fascination for me, in fact I was always interested in the war in the Pacific and S.E. Asia, and the WWII Japanese "occupation" [Capitulation] of Thailand itself. The 1957 movie, a semi-true story based on a book by by French novelist Pierre Boulle, followed the harrowing exploits of WWII British Commonwealth prisoners of war forced to build the Thai-Burma railway supply line for the occupying Japanese. The movie's sterling cast was headed up by no less than Alec Guinness, as the stereotypical stiff upper lipped British Colonel Nicholson, obligatory Hollywood Yankee element; William [Uncle Bill] Holden, and then stalwart veteran British actor Jack Hawkins, to add yet more stiffness to the already stiff upper lip of its theme…. Contrary to popular belief, the movie was filmed entirely on a river and locations in Malaysia, not in Thailand at all. Had it been filmed in Thailand, the Thai's would have no doubt capitalised on it big time for tourism, as they do with Phi-Phi island's associated cashing-in fame as being the location for Jame's Bonds' 1974 outing "The man with the Golden Gun" (Roger Moore Christopher Lee) Golden Gun prop supplied willingly by "Collibri Lighters"… I'm told unofficially that this somewhat campy 1974 JB vehicle spawned the unlikely TV series, "Fantasy Island" shortly thereafter…(Ricardo Montalban) Anyway, almost every time I go to Thailand on some tour, someone mentions the Phi-Phi island link to that 1974 James Bond movie….or even the somewhat unlikely long-tailed boat chase scene.

The Bridge across the River Kwai, & bridging the divide….

The huge articulate wooden Bridge as depicted in the 1957 movie, bares no resemblance whatsoever to the less romantic looking steel girdered version which stands at Kanchanburi today. This 'actual' bridge as it stands today, was completely rebuilt in 1947 after the [similar] original [steel bridge] was destroyed by a U.S. Air Force bombing attack in 1945 using B-24 Liberator aircraft. The remains of this bridge can still be seen today, a mere 'stump' today, projecting out near the 1947 rebuilt bridge as it stands today. Some of the rusting [defused] unexploded bombs [UXB's] from that attack, are on display at the Bridge's two ends as sort of unlikely 'gate guardians' Some U.S. UX-bombs were later successfully excavated from the river's bottom in years following the war.

The original Thai-Burma 'Death Railway' as built by the P.O.W.'s follows a slightly different route today, as a result of more recent construction and modern engineering methodology, and is some 300 Kms' shorter than the original rail line built forcibly by P.O.W.'s in WWII. It is said, that for every railway 'sleeper' laid, a P.O.W. lost his life….

Only broken fragments of the original death railway remain today, mouldering and rusting in the jungles around Kanchanburi The original Thai-Burma death railway was pulled up and largely destroyed by British forces in 1947, fearing it could be used by Karen Separatists' following the war. There is however, a small rebuilt preserved section in the aptly named "Hellfire Pass" – kept there for posterity and as a memorial. Inside the pass, inconspicuous brass plaque's commemorate those many perished P.O.W.'s and "Weary Dunlop" too, an RAA surgeon who despite his characteristically worn 'weary' appearance, toiled tirelessly to save lives of his ailing comrades, often performing amputations with little or no medicines or anesthetic…. Sir Edward "Weary" Dunlop survived the hellish prisoner camps and the war too and died in 1993 as undoubtedly one of Australia's most celebrated hero's of WWII…. "Hellfire Pass" earned its dubious name from the eerie fiery glow seen emanating as P.O.W.'s slaved away at night cutting the rail pass through solid rock, their lanky gaunt, skeletal silhouettes flickering against the orange glowing rock faces from the fires they burned, giving it the well-earned name, – as it was surely a vision of hell on this earth…. A thick steel rod from a broken wartime Jack-Hammer remains permanently embedded in the rock-face wall to this day, as a poignant reminder…

The actual plight of the P.O.W.'s is well documented, and some 30,000 British Commonwealth P.O.W.s are 'known' to have died building the infamous railway between 1943-1945. Victims of starvation, vicious criminal beatings with bamboo canes or hammers by their Japanese and Korean tormentors. Ensuing jungle sores, Beri-Beri, Dysentery, Malaria and sickness amid the jungles and valleys' surrounding Kanchanburi's province, finished off hundreds and thousands of P.O.W.'s. Many went 'missing' – never to be found again. Kanchanburi itself was the host town for a Japanese Garrison, and old sepia style photographs of jaunty looking Japanese Officer's can still be seen in the various books and publications inside some of the shops, posing against the then wartime backdrop of the ramshackle small town. Kanchanburi hosts as many Japanese tourist's today as any other nationalities, – although their view on the bridge and its miserable history would be different….(?) Speaking to Japanese youngsters today, seemingly their grasp of Japanese History seems to go little further than the advent of Sony, Panasonic, or Godzilla… {Pron; 'Godirrah'}

The Kwai Noi River estuary is a beautiful area, and serene peacefulness belies the recent turbulent history and suffering of the place nowadays, and is now the location of many a scenic river-side hotel and resort.

In search of Miss Goodbar….

'Toying' with the idea of going, I was also toying with the idea of taking along a certain young lady [Pia] …. Of course taking 'her' would be an 'admission' – and admission 'I liked her', – a 'next step' not to be misinterpreted or misjudged by either party. I was pretty sure Pia would come, after all, what else do these girls do!? It will be a few days out of the bar/s, a welcome change for her too no doubt, and new-ish experience for me taking someone along. So what the heck?

For the trip, I chose the serene and surrealistically beautiful "jungle rafts" 'Float el' aka floating hotel for our stay, built sometime in 1976, sporting some 83 twin rooms. The 3 -day package trip, two nights in jungle rafts, would include: Jungle Elephant rides, Mon Dancing 'Theatrette', swimming, trekking and rafting, a cave and waterfall visit 'Rafts' is quite far up northward of the Kwai Noi river estuary, and a few hours journey up-river from Kanchanburi town itself, the original and present site of the infamous Bridge over the river Kwai. Where only it's 'stump' remains, – that, alongside the 1947 Thai-Japanese ["Hands of Friendship"] rebuilt version.

"jungle rafts" comprises essentially of a series of interconnected 'floating rafts' for twin guest accommodations, adjoined by fully movable gangplanks and ropes. Each sizable 'raft' accommodation floats on several adjoined steel pontoons, which together, form a floating 'raft train' and are all roped together. The 'floating train' of rafts are then hauled in toward the river bank occasionally by two Elephants whimsically named "Pepsi" and "Cola" whenever the river level rises, and jungle rafts starts to 'drift' slightly outward. Each raft houses a bedroom and cubicle type bathroom & shower, an exterior berthing area, or 'veranda' deck, and a walkway with tables chairs and a hammock. The rear or bank-side of the accommodation rafts have small balconies again with hammocks. Large hanging baskets of flowers finish the rustic and beautiful appearance.

Access to and from the river bank is via an albeit slightly dodgy bamboo walkway or ala 'gangplank' from jungle rafts to the river bank and beyond.

The 'Mahout' handlers with their Elephant charge's are often bathing next to this bamboo walkway, and sometimes playfully splash unsuspecting tourist's crossing the bridge on their way to the authentic "Mon" people's village or 'hamlet' just inside the jungle that lines the river bank. The Mon village is tastefully set out in ancient authentic style, and has small souvenir shops and a charming little rustic school house, in use, with classes of young Mon children eagerly listening to their teacher inside. "Mon people" are a relatively poor, simple people and minority ethnic race from lower Myanmar, much persecuted and harassed by the current Myanmar hard-line Political regime in Myanmar for their status and beliefs. As a reciprocal reward for running, maintaining and managing jungle rafts, the Thai Government allows them refuge and effectively political asylum too.

Fast running water currents beneath the Float-el eradicates Mosquito larvae which is a real plus, but there's no electricity, it's oil lanterns only at night, and no hot water. It's as close to nature as you can get while being comfortable, and is very romantic, especially in the evenings.

Sleeping at night as you do, often exhausted by the day's exertions and tours, you're lulled off to sleep in your room with only the oil lamp for light. Falling asleep, hearing only the soothing sound of the river Kwai running beneath you, and the gentle reassuring and earthy sounds of creaking ropes and timbers, – it's just like being aboard an ancient sea going Galleon! If you are lucky enough to have a Moon lit night, you will possibly never see anything as beautiful or mysterious….

Dawn too is stunningly beautiful, with gentle mists of humidity wafting across the river like clouds of steam from early morning, and jungle rafts is served and supplied only by the traditional elongated wooden long-tail boats, there is no road-access as such. Long-tails can be heard drawing in at dawn with fresh market produces, kitchen and food supplies, rocking the rafts gently with their wake and swells. Then roaring off upstream, steered by their long articulated propeller shafts used like steering tillers [rudders] by a guy standing at the stern, powered by 'souped-up' aquatic versions of big Toyota or Nissan V-Block engines.

Bridging the divide….

All I had to do now was approach 'Pia' about going away for these few days, so 'confident' was I she'd accept, I had already booked and bought the 2 X tickets to go to Kanchanburi at some 4,200 Thb for the two. I went along to Silom Roads' Dusit Thani hotel, into their basement and restaurant area, where their [resident 9am-6pm] Tour Representative was selling reservations for this somewhat 'unique' kind of tour. I specifically wanted to stay at "jungle rafts" 'Floatel' and nowhere else, like the various brick-built resort hotel's as was being offered by other tour operators and agents.

Just into my 2nd week now, I wondered what the immediate future held for Pia and I. Oh no, – no naive misguided delusions of love and future happiness here [with me] I'm afraid, just factual thoughts and keeping within the practical bounds of dating a BG after all. I was already about to possibly over-step the bounds of 'normal dating' asking Pia, but "what the hell" I thought, it's only 3 days if things don't work out so great. So, it was about my 5th visit to "Camelot" bar in PP, and the night I would ask Pia if she'd like to go to Kanchanburi and the River Kwai with me. I'd have to explain carefully to her, as the Thai's know the River Kwai by a different name in fact, which escapes me right now, but simply naming "Kanchanburi" as the destination would do the trick.

Rats….

Walking through PP this time, my 8th night or so by now, I see the usual slice of Bangkok's metamorphic night life, it's raining lightly and the ground is whetted, but not too much. Just about in my full stride to Camelot and Pia, I'm suddenly halted by a pretty young girl stepping out in front of me…. "Please sir, can you to helping me?" she says feebly, – me, 'towering' above her small frame. As if nervously presenting a small gift from a flower to a Tiger, she holds out in both cupped hands, a small damp crumpled piece of paper as she falters; "Mm, my boyfriend?, – I cannot call him on number this, can you please try call him for me please Mr??" She was slightly wet, and had obviously been out in the rain fall just before at the pay phones dotted along PP's chaotic sides near Suriwong Road end. Looking dejected and miserable, wiping the moisture from her face, she then pulls out a slightly wet green prepaid phone card and gave it to me, she was trembling too a bit from cold… or from crying, or trying not to…I wasn't sure…

Smiling warmly, "sure" I said slotting the pay-card in and focusing on the number on her paper, which I could see was a number in Switzerland, and dialed…

'Beep beep beep' was all I heard, again and again as I tried, over the next 15 minutes or so redialing, making sure myself I was correctly dialing, but it was always a 'busy' tone…. There was no mistake, whoever he was didn't want to be contacted by this young girl…. "I'm sorry" I said, "this number busy all the time" watching my watch as I was already late to meet Pia by about 45 minutes by now, no big deal really, but she might assume I am not coming if I hang around too much longer.

Handing back the girl's obviously 'precious' piece of paper and memento of a relationship gone by, my mood sank to one of melancholy seeing her defeated and crestfallen look… "I try all day" she said, "Same-same all day, I don't know what happen, why he do that?"

It was a question I could clearly answer, but not one what she would want to hear, she was obviously being 'dumped' from 'overseas', – the easiest and somewhat 'cowardly' option for many a farang. I passed back the piece of paper, and she began to cry just looking at the paper and around her, as if it would miraculously hold the answers to her burning questions and deepest desires. As I walked away, I wondered if she may trying to tell her boyfriend she was pregnant… – I don't know why I thought that….

I looked back again to see her standing near the phone still, now in the distance, until I lost sight of her among the crowds and confusion of people. She struck a small sad and pathetic figure as I last saw her, and I wondered if there really was a 'flip-side' to the mythical farang-TGF-farang 'triangle', – because young girls on this side of the world were getting hurt too….
At that moment, I see a large Rat sniffing and scurrying along the gutter, disappearing amid its underworld labyrinth in a flash as mysteriously as it had appeared… Hmm, yessss I thought, there's one in Switzerland too…

My stride slowed noticeably on the way to Camelot, – slowed down by stark images of that poor girl, thoughts and reservations, and the little incident made me think there was a good chance my friendship with Pia might end too in a similar rain-soaked street scene far away. Bracing myself, I resigned to think that I at least, would not take 'that way out' as it were, and prided myself on being as firm, fair and honest as I could be, given the backdrop of Bangkok. Perhaps the little incident reminded me 'how to handle' the situation, – always be a man about it, even when back in England…. I want to be able to still 'look at myself' in a mirror, any mirror, and to not wince at what I might see looking back at me. To remain morally or ethically 'accountable' for my actions or what I'd done, – to maintain my own moral codes and limitations as best I can.

The King rides into Camelot….

Entering "Camelot", Pia's friend 'Dan' was at her usual front pole dancing when she sees me coming in, and steps down almost immediately to greet me, and follows me with hands on my shoulders to my seat, always treated like royalty. I cannot see Pia anywhere immediately, and as a courtesy I order a Singha, and a Bacardi Breezer for Dan, who is already by now sitting next to me, – cutting short her dance shift it seems. "Pia coming soon, okay?" Dan offers, – I'm not worried though, it's normal for girls to flit around the bar, just as I then saw Pia waiving at me from the opposite side amid a group of tourist's. Pia's wielding a Bacardi Breezer and smiles warmly, – but it's plainly obvious she's entertaining some other friends/farang. Oddly, a small sharp pang of jealousy inexplicably shoots through me, barely noticeable to anyone else, except to Dan that is, – she saw my face, – she instinctively knew….she'd seen that look so many times before, – what BG hadn't??

Looking around, the bar's walls are aligned with the usual suspects, sex tourist's, ex-pats, rounded jolly faced individuals, and newbies, with stupefied grins and about 6 girls around them with Coke's. There's the usual array of Germans looking deadly serious as ever, and some seem to have inadvertently sat on lightening rods judging by the expressions on their small rounded bespectacled faces…. A real 'Gor Blimey Mate' Brit sits on my right, I can here his Cockney diatribes over the din, an he's got a big Haas [House] daahn [down] in Clapham aint' ee. I was bothered though by Pia's 'absence' across the other side of the bar, distracting me…

Dan was by now casually swinging her long shapely booted leg gently, the tassels gently swinging in unison and looked almost sympathetically at me from her side-on glance while drinking her Breezer. She takes a long hard swig, only releasing the bottle suddenly with an audible 'pop' and laughs at her embarrassment… I wondered though what she was thinking, as again, Pia gesticulated 'she'd be over in a minute or two'. I was suddenly reminded that I was by far 'not alone' in this bar environment, something I knew so well, but it still hits you with a 'bang', that your 'GF' might or has other probable multiple 'sponsors' or "friends". (That old Chestnut = Oh him my friend!!") "Thanks for that timely thought-bubble reminder", I thought, and I could also sense Dan's tacit efforts trying to 'comfort me' against what, I wasn't sure… it seemed like a really nice gesture though….

Suddenly I see Pia's now look over her shoulder, glancing at Dan talking to me as a farang tries to hold her attention, but Pia's looking uneasy and impatient now, – and pulls away from the big Farang now holding onto her wrist, shaking her head, wagging her index finger angrily at him… I glimpse her face is momentarily contorted to a grimace in the mirrored reflection on the bars walls as she walks away, turning to a smile as she rounds the bars corner, and turns to face me and Dan sitting opposite, but her peripheral focus is on Dan, sitting beside me. As Pia Thai-kisses me, Dan gets silently up and goes back to the changing rooms. "What Dan say??" Pia quizzes instantly, "No, nothing, just telling me about you busy tonight with friend" I say, no problem. (Mai Pee Pan Hah)

Pia:

"I was 'waiting' for Simon that night, we [had] not been together for 2 nights, and I wasn't sure-sure he would come to my bar, even though I called him in the afternoon. So many farang lie and never come back, just when you start liking them, it's so hard, so hard to know what to do. Another customer, he like me too much!! – always asking me for bar fine, and he come tonight too! Oh shit, maybe Simon will be angry with me if he comes tonight and sees my Farang friend – 'John' his name. If Simon doesn't come, maybe I let John Bar-Fine me? I don't know, – I want together with Simon, but if Simon doesn't come, what I can do?? IF Simon not come, and I go together with John, Simon will finish with me…sure, and I don't know what Pissimai ('Dan') will say to Simon, she says Simon is a good man, handsome too, I think she like him too much… I worry too she tell Simon about Sanchai too, my old boyfriend Thai man…"

The night wore on…

In between Dan flitting back and forth, and Pia and I talking, I 'hold off' on asking her about the River Kwai trip, waiting…waiting for what I'm not sure, but waiting to see how things 'transpire'. After all, "the night was young" as they say. Anyway, it's nearly time for Dan and Pia's dancing shift, Worth waiting for I thought. Somehow too, I thought things are possibly gonna get 'complicated' tonight. Pia and Dan were somehow "playing each other up" – they weren't talking in the same way for some unknown reason to me, and I was notably getting some very 'warm signals' from Dan, seemingly eager to act as my 'Saviour' – against what I don't know… I know that look in a female when she likes you, you can almost see her feather's ruffle outwards when she's near you, or you merely look at her….

'Pia' on the other hand was a girl eager to mark her territory too. With the sudden clap-clapping of the girls on stage, this signaled Dan and Pia to go dancing again, taking last swigs of their drinks and standing… Pia and Dan stood facing each other momentarily as they stood, – like unlikely bikini clad combatants, – they weren't smiling… Stiffening and 'straightening' their costumes, pulling at their bra's, they seemed to be preparing for something other than a dance, there was a untold story between them right now tonight, unspoken tension. This "dual", unspoken but no less serious, would be fought out on the dance floor…

Dualling Diva's….

Dan leads the way this time, Pia following her up onto the bar, cracking her knuckles in customary preparedness, bending and flexing her fingers almost backwards as 'Rum Thai' dancers do. ['Compulsory' education in most Thai Primary level schools] Pia & Dan's dance 'shift' [crew change!] took up their positions, as exiting girls came down the small steps at the stage's rear, their glances never meeting. Dan & Pia, with leggy strides cross the divide between bar and onto their 'office' space as it were, Dan accidentally 'elbowing' Pia as they did so, – no apology though, no backward glance…and no reaction from Pia… I could 'hear' their silence….

As Rolling Stones "My Love is Strong" (Voodoo Lounge) began cranking out signaling this dance 'shift', [great I thought, who IS that DJ?!] Dan and Pia solemnly take up their opposite dance positions, Pia suddenly 'snapping' into a arched backward body-bend, bringing up her right leg as if in a Tango, taking up her pole almost angrily and starts 'hell for leather'… Dan smiles momentarily, looking at Pia's moves, then gets to it in her own inimitable dance style starting off with an admiring look in the mirror [which made me smile, these girls have ego's too you know?] as she arches her back swinging around the pole, her straight heavy black hair swishes out brushing against another girl's face who ducks smilingly, and edges farther away to 'give way' to Dan's now more aggressive dancing. Pia's 'rotated' by now rubbing her back against the pole facing, smiling at me, sliding slowly down onto bended knees as if in some mock-mid orgasm, she doesn't seem to notice Dan opposite her, who's eyes are now on me from her mirrored viewpoint, smiling also. Ahhh, two lovely women vying for my attention it seems, but best friends in mortal combat? A man could be mistaken for thinking he'd gone to heaven, bypassed the unpleasantness of death somehow and arrived in a male-dominated paradise, but this isn't heaven, far from it….but maybe the nearest thing he'll ever find to it on this earth….

If Pia and Dan were out to impress, or 'arouse' interest in me, – it was working !! Maybe Pia's earlier "tactical error" sitting with another farang 'threw me' a bit. Dan [of course] was taking 'maximum' feminine advantage of the situation, against Pia, who was now 'fighting' for lost ground in the only way she knew how, – on the dance floor…. To somehow re-ignite the fire and lust within me as before, – Dan 'countering' now with something softer, more sensuousness in her moves and body language, smiling and disheveling her hair deliberately with a deft arm movement over her face while smiling through the heavy thick strands, – pure unadulterated sexuality on long legs…. As God is my witness, in that moment, I was sure her legs went all the way up to heaven.

My heart sighed a deep, deep sigh… As her long hair 'cascaded' down and over her ample breasts, she looked for all like a tall [Anime-like] 'Manga babe', – Dan was in danger of stealing my heart, worse still, she knew it, (!) – "a woman just knows"…. Dan, a tall and voluptuous female beauty by any Thai standards, sheer undiluted beauty, holding her pole between two well developed bum-cheeks, she knew I could see her clearly. It's hard to tell if Pia could see me glancing over at Dan's backside and frontal reflection, [it was becoming impossible not to!!] but knowing these girls, [all BG's] – she must have known…

Looking momentarily around me and at my Singha beer label for some brief 'respite' from the [virtual] arenal 'combat' being played out before me, and 'answers', [which never works!] I thought I'm a bad boy, a bad baaaad boy…Heaven will never welcome me, I'm going straight to hell with a smile on my face and a Singha in my hand! If this was my road to perdition, I'd just taken a massive detour as of late….

It somehow seems from the moment I walked in to Camelot, to now, the 'rules' and 'ground' had inexplicably changed, Dan was tactically 'turning the tables' on Pia with almost insolent ease it seemed, suddenly the 'polarity' of attraction had been nearly and effectively reversed, with Dan now ahead. Somehow, possibly fueled by signals unwittingly coming from me as I watched her.

I am sure, this is what is best referred to as a typical "Bangkok moment" when battles for affection and favor are won and lost in a bar. A place where good relationships can last days, a bad one but a few hours. Where a female's competitive spirit for male admiration and favor, the financial rewards that stem from that, and her 'Alpha' hunting instincts are honed and wrought to near cutting-edge perfection.

Executed with almost subtle ruthlessness and seemingly effortless skill, learned through financial hardship, trial and error, acute pleasure and pain. A place where nothing is more sacred than the goal of "getting the farang", sometimes at whatever the cost…. Looking at these girls up on stage, one gets and audible and tangible sense of euphoria among them sometimes whereby they become pack-animals in instincts, caught up in the thrill of the night's hunt. They're not [all] here only because they have to be, there are other more mysterious human and animal driving forces at work here, yes, often wrung out of their socio-economic necessity. BG's experience hardships yes, fierce unrelenting competition from other girls who will stop at nothing to get their man, punctuated with periods of extreme adrenalin pumping action and excitement. The girls can sometimes barely contain themselves, – immaturity, the Thai's irreverence for fun or 'Sanuk', incompatibility with alcohol or whatever, resulting in the seemingly ecstatic 'frolicking' you see around the bars and on the dance platform… Sheer pandemonium threatens to overtake the bar sometimes as the night wears on, hot red-blooded young girls fueled by Alcohol, farang encounters, paid for trips and holidays with same, Yar-bah or just overly excited. It's like a kind of narcotic for them, a sheer adrenaline pumping buzz of the bar, – for the after-affects of working the bars are best described as almost 'narcotic' – some girls 'live for it'… Bouts of extreme depression can often follow separation from the bars and their friends, and yes, even 'enemies' – for outside the inner sanctity of the bar and its Thai secret-sisterhood, there's simply 'nothing else to live for' for some. BG's often get involuntarily hooked on their profession as surely as the farang get hooked on them, and it's a popular misconception by farang that their BG/TGF needs 'rescuing' – they often don't…. To coin that well known cynical ex-pat phrase;

"You can take the girl away from the bar, – but you'll never take the 'bar' away from the girl"

Many girls will tell you they "hate their work" and "want to stop dancing", This may be true in part, but the solid sense of camaraderie and sistership they discover makes it nigh-impossible for this to become a 'reality'. Couple this with virtual 'solitary confinement' for a girl taken by a Farang to Europe or to wherever in 'Farangland' – and the results are negative. Often irreversible depression and extreme 'culture shock', often culminating in dramatic fits of temper and mood swings dependent on the girl's level of maturity and resilience…. Often she cannot adapt to colder climates, and shivers uncontrollably inside layer upon layer of clothing no matter how much money is bestowed upon her, it's little more than a 'gilded cage' to her….

Dan:

"Pia, she like Simon a lot – I know, but she not 'fare' to him, she have two boyfriends who send money, Mr."John" too who stay in Bangkok long time now give her money before, and she gave it to Sanchai…. Her farang boyfriend before [Sven] still send money too, he don't know Pia still working the bar…. I like Simon too, I cannot help it, – maybe it is because Pia likes him?? that makes him more attractive to me, but I know he is rich too, and Pia say [what] a 'good man' he is, I want a good man to take care of me… My boyfriend has gone to America now, I think he [will] not come back. Sanchai always asking me about Pia, every day my god! – never stop, "stop your mouth!" I tell him, but I think Pia still love Sanchai too, she do not know it yet. When farang treat Pia bad, [it will happen] Pia will go back together with Sanchai, you see?…. I would ask Pia if I can go together with Simon,…- but she too jealous and angry with me, unless I make Simon like me?…."

Ahhh, Bangkok, but changes, are always just around the next corner…

Bangkok is a 'world gone mad', – gone bad, where all the rules and norms of daily life are turned upside down, a suburban mess and labyrinth of shops, Tiny frenetic Soi's filled with bars, brothels, and gogo bars that comes alive at night with a 'vengeance'. You can be forgiven for thinking you've stepped accidentally into a post-apocalyptic movie set as an extra, and where you can go from 'zero-to-hero' in a heartbeat of walking into a bar. Bangkok is a human smelting pot of emotions, desire, greed, or plain old fashioned lust, where all the norms or engaging in a relationship are bent out of shape by a society and pseudo Buddhist culture gone out of control, where norms are changed and misshapen with almost insolent ease. A place where metaphorically speaking, Buddha meets the gogo dancer in a disquiet harmony of religion and Thai kitsch….

Pia and Dan's last dance seemed to last an eternity… I was glad really, because my mind was suddenly in turmoil, wrestling with emotions, choices, maybe lust, maybe some 'distrust'. My mind had suddenly become a kaleidescope of feelings and emotions, two women were literally fighting outright for my attentions and favor like none before….

Almost 'mercifully', Dan's and Pia's attentions were off of me for a few moments, the girls all dancing themselves to a usual post-midnight frenzy amid an old Eagles hit. (Don't tell me these girl's don't like good ole' fashion rock'n roll. (It's strange how 'Thai' meets rock head on as if a duck heading into water….)

Pia's shaking her shapely butt now as if it's a blur, wiping the sweat briefly from her brow, meanwhile, Dan's settled to her slower, more sensuous routine, clearly conserving her energy, looking briefly at me over he shoulder, a quick, reassuring glance, subtly "nailing her colours to the mast" – when Pia was not looking of course. Dan's white costume seemingly glowed under the bar's florescent lighting, which made her teeth and eye pupils glow when they caught the light right, her ample breasts heaved as she arched her back thrusting out her womanhood as the costume stretched… Other girls commented and joked on Dan's ample cleavage, the real McCoy too, no 'silicone valley' here….(!)

These girls are supremely fit and have supreme 'situational awareness' and peripheral vision that can flit or swivel in a microsecond, and are master "signal senders" – it's an art, in its truest feminine form. Or a 'weapon', – honed by centuries of interacting with males, brought out in its rawest uncompromising form in these nouveau "Alpha huntresses" in the bar environment. [Alpha Hunter = lone-hunter or huntress. Beta Hunter = Group hunter, normally associated with women in western civilisations, who prefer hunting in groups or small clans.)

Time was getting on by now in Camelot, it was 1am now and I'd stayed much longer than I'd planned, originally it was to be a quick pick-up of Pia and leave to go elsewhere, and reveal to her my plans to go to the River Kwai… Dan, had somehow, maybe by my own volition, put me in a near impossible situation, as had some of Pia's actions… Pia kept flitting back and forth over to her farang friend who sat opposite, but who didn't seem to even notice me by return…. As Dan was always at my side throughout the evening, it would be impossible for me not to tip her, or pay her Bar Fine in gesture… Eventually, I elected to pay both Dan's and Pia's Bar Fines, saying we'd go out to eat, – I know I was buying two Bar-Fines but really I was buying 'time' too, for me…. Time for some 'time out' I thought, and after changing Dan and Pia emerged, Pia in her usual tight jeans and top affair, Dan in a short skirt and tight top, with heels which maximised her curvature and legs… I'd told Dan previously I was a 'leg man' once who adored to see nice legs, it was sooo feminine to me… So, was her choice of clothing an accident tonight?? She knew from Pia I was coming tonight didn't she? After Dan's performance on the floor tonight and now this dress. She looked sensational to me, devastatingly feminine, – I couldn't keep my eyes off her until Pia grabbed my hand, as we were led out onto the Pong…

Our unlikely trio sidestepped the slow moving meandering tourist's on some late night shopping tour, in their colourful clothes and cameras, and an elderly women from the group stared long and quizzically at us, as we picked our way through the crowds…. Her Husband, a large overweight man looked on, with a puffy white face that reminded me of a party balloon with a leak. If they were thinking badly of me, I didn't care, I knew who's shoes I'd rather be in. They should get out more often too, this was the norm here…. It's always a shock for westerners to see older European guy's with younger attractive Asian girl's, – "they should get out more often" I thought as we walked… Pia had already suggested we go eat at Pat Pong's "Tip-Top" [central] restaurant opposite King's Corner gogo bar, already filling up by now with the usual and hungry suspects, Kai Tai's, Farang, stragglers and loafers…PP's night 'refugee's'… "Tip-Top" is 'the' restaurant in Pat Pong one, along the side and busy as heck in the night time, where all BG's & Massage Hostess's and their farang go for eating in between frenetically quick amorous encounters. Insanely busy, Tip-Top's food is cheap and tasty by most standards, but is more importantly a communal meeting and gathering point for the BG's emerging from their bars with customers and alike. It is also itself, an unlikely pick-up joint too for waifs' and strays, where lone tourist's can be still targeted at the night's end, – picked off by groups of bar-fined girls killing time in the restaurant, or patrolling & roaming Kai Tai's.

Outside and opposite Tip Top stood such a small 'predatory' group of lady boy's in tight leather pants and skirts, posturing and standing just outside King's Corner. Standing taller than the average BG's who picked their way carefully around them, almost 'avoiding' them. Kai Toy's, 'theatrically' moving their arms and bodies in overly exaggerated feminine moves and motions, almost as if in some invisible theatrical play, swaying their hips to maximum effect when walking up to 'strays' and farang tourist's not satisfied with their night's fishing, – or who simply can't get enough sex, – or had blown it and had none at all for various reasons.

Meanwhile inside Tip-Top restaurant, Pia and Dan find a small corner table, and 'claim it' with the usual depositing clatter of handbags, mobile phones and key chains. A waiter stands eagerly behind us with 3 Menu's and we order 3 Chaang beers with iced water to start with…. Tip-Top's food is very reasonable, Thai and western cuisine, with excellent quick, & efficient service, a great 'port-in-a storm' type resting place to eat and gather your thoughts amid the melee that is the Pong. Tired from my evening's visit to Camelot and shopping in the afternoon, I felt my day was at a near end, but could not have guessed what was yet about to come, demanding all my tact and diplomacy. Played out over that small corner table, – as perhaps so many BG/farang style 'negotiations' have been carried out in the past, and will be for many years to come….

Once or twice, Pia stood up and went out the back to answer a phone call, it would be quieter there out back, behind closed doors from the restaurants clamor and noise. Maybe Pia would have to speak English too and wanted privacy….?

I was thinking I was glad Dan was here keeping me company, as Pia suddenly seemed to have another agenda forced on her tonight. There's nothing more annoying and rude than going out to dinner with someone, [even only to Tip-Top] – and their damn mobile phones, whereby all sundry decide to phone her interrupting your meal… Looking briefly around me amid the clatter of plates and loud chatter, I see farang engrossed in their ladies, obvious first-timers too with that newbie-lopsided love-grin all over their stupefied faces… A loud American guy's busy telling some small diminutive girl in front of him about his money, cars and ranch as she nods oh-so politely. His loud words 'lost on her' no doubt… As he went on about his job etc, she suddenly took a call on her mobile cutting him short, but politely putting up her hand, – 'saved by a phone call' I thought! -smiling to myself….

Suddenly Dan puts her hand on my arm, squeezing it gently, "Okay ma??" she says, "Sabai dee Krup!" I reply taking a spoonful of my Indian style chicken Curry. Dan meanwhile, piles small fresh cut chillies into a Tom Yum soup dish, mixing it all in with other herbs and spices from the table… Looking at Dan's now super spiced-up soup I wondered if with all those spices, if you get a free colostomy with every meal!!?? :)

The Curried bombshell….

Blowing on her food, Dan offers; "I think You like Pia very much yes?" "Erm, yes, but she seems different tonight, – I don't understand why?" Dan continues; "She have some problem with famileee" Dan confides. Although I'm not sure if 'family' is the operative and correct word…. "What about you Dan? – you have boyfriend now or before?" I say changing the subject 'tactfully' I thought; "Ohhh nooo, nooo, long time finis already, why you know it, (!) – why you ask me that Khun Si-mon?" At that moment Pia comes back from the restrooms out back and sits down, toying with her food, and immediately begins talking to Dan in Lao. Within minutes a full conversation is flowing between them, – obviously spurred on by Pia's earlier phone call, that much I could sense…. With Dan glancing at me sideways time to time, I knew while my name wasn't mentioned, the conversation had everything to do with me…. I wished for a moment I could speak Lao, let alone Thai more fluently, but then thought it was perhaps better not to know! I nonchalantly chewed on my food pretending not to notice [too much] Pia and Dan's conversation. I was strangely relaxed, I knew their conversation wasn't in a negative context about me exactly, but something else, and I was unlikely to come out the loser with two such female characters.

Pia and Dan sit silently for a moment, then Pia, wiping her delicate mouth trying not to smudge her lipstick with a napkin, precipitating her move…. "Erm, Khun Simon, I have problem with familee in my countree, I must go to my countree near near Kalasin maybe early tomorrow – okay ka?" ….

The last two words hung in the air and said a lot, she was going anyway, but that I could/would not be included in her plans…. "okay no problems I said, [with a sinking feeling] but couldn't hide disappointment on my face.. Because, what was I going to do with my trip to the River Kwai now??

Dan squirmed and wriggled uneasily in her seat momentarily, then sitting back with a small sigh, as if she 'knew' what was coming next…. It's strange, but whatever was going on or inside the dynamics of Pia and Dan's conversation, Dan seemed to be very relaxed, even radiant, and do you guy's out there know what I'm talking about if I were to say she was in "full bloom"?? Dan listened attentively to Pia, rather like a student might listen to a patient school master, nodding occasionally, submissive in posture, yet happy at what she was hearing….

"Simon?" Pia went on, "You go together with Dan is okay tonight?"

Suddenly, the silence was almost deafening as the restaurant suddenly seemed to silence into a hush, Pia's lovely frame and face now suddenly zoomed in, polarised against the wall… For one brief moment, I could've sworn I heard dogs barking all the way over in Vietnam….

"What?" I gasped, keeping my voice down as best I could so as not to inadvertently 'offend' Dan who probably knew of the set-up being made, but in my inner heart, I knew too this was coming. Self denial and a slightly gung-ho attitude had prevailed so far. Pia continues; "It okay, no problem Si-mon, – Dan take care of you good I know, but I must go, I so sollee Telak, really I am" Whilst Pia sounded sincere, the 'reasons' given didn't, and Dan avoided my glances for a moment as I sank back in my chair, 'mugged yet again by reality' and a another "Bangkok moment"

Looking for a clues, I ask "Dan, what you say about this?" Dan sat silent, murmuring finally; "Up to you Khun Simon, up to you?"

I felt deflated, even 'dumped' for want of a better word, yet elated too in another sense as suddenly another option was widely open to me :- 'Dan' herself. I suddenly pictured mentally Dan and me on the River Kwai, seeing her as a good companion. Dan had struck a chord with me lately, and was a great dresser, slightly taller than Pia. Pia was possibly more beautiful in a traditional sense, but wasn't such a great dresser outside the bar as Dan was/is. This detail, albeit small, was quite important to me. Pia would always 'pass off' as a BG in some way shape or form, but Dan's dress sense was not that of a typical BG, with florally short and long dresses and heels, which I adored. Dan knew my tastes too and had surreptitiously tapped into them with skill, Dan was obviously 'listening' to my remarks, obviously and 'responding', whereas Pia seemingly didn't…. A number of times in the past, a girl's great dancing and personality can be sorely let-down by her outside dress-sense I feel. To me, It's almost equally as important as to how she looks when she leaves the bar, as the way she looks when in it. I've know a girl's personality too, to seemingly and mysteriously 'evaporate' into nothing on leaving the bar or club…. Many times this can be put down to shy-ness, girls and BG's alike, do still experience shy-ness, especially if they really 'like' someone.

"Well Simon, what you want to do??" Pia interrupted my 'thought train' with an almost audible 'pop' – instantly the clamor and noise of the restaurant suddenly comes back into focus. Drawing a deep sigh, I reply; "Okay, I will go with Dan then, – if that okay with Dan??" Dan looked nervously at Pia for some form of facial or verbal 'approval' and they made some exchanges again in Lao, Pia looking vexed, Dan looking 'submissive'

"Check Bill Doy Krup?!" I ask the waiter, who smiles and nods in busy acknowledgment, Dan and Pia begin collecting their things up for us to leave, and no sooner the Bill arrives at a reasonable 500 Thb or so, and I throw the money onto the small silver tray. Leaving and thinking "what a helluva night this has been, and what is yet to come?"

Pia leaves through Tip-Top's front entrance into PP, Dan pulls me by the hand saying, "We go this way ka?" leading me through the back restrooms door and down 'secret' a back ally way leading straight to Suriwong Road, avoiding the crowds and mayhem as PP starts breaking down the night market stalls…. Tip-Top has a back door entrance leading to this small roadway, which serves the car parks behind PP, and must have served as an 'escape' route many a time before, known by most of the BG's. Dan and I walked silently for a few minutes, looking at each other for some 'reaction' but it was in our faces already as Dan's grip tightened reassuringly, as we both eyed our compensation 'prize' at the end of what had been such a mentally 'demanding' evening….

Under the flickering light of the room's TV screen, we 'cemented' our friendship that night Dan and me… in between watching the new [then] Clint Eastwood movie, "Absolute Power" on the hotel's movie channel, with Gene Hackman as the purely corrupt and murderous Pres. of the U.S.A.

Dan makes her intentions be known without any physical doubt, in her by now trademark sensuousness coupled with a serene and dignified side of her femininity. BG or not, this girl was pressing the right diplomatic buttons at least, and mid way through the movie, I asked her to go away with me to the River Kwai…

Bridging the divide….

"Kanchanabullee??" she replied "Oh yes, okay but you must pay Bar Fine for me 3 days okay ka? she added. "Yes, of course, no problem" I said, adding; "You can go to Camelot bar tomorrow to pay okay, (?) we leave the morning after early, about 6am…" "Okay kaaa" she purred in the TV's dim light, nestling in closer. Snuggling up close with Dan that night couldn't have felt anything less like being with BG persey, possibly as a result of being with the 'right' kind of girl. I was anxious to see how Dan would hold herself against other Tourist's that we might encounter on the Kwai Noi as part of a tour group, – how I myself might feel, being knowingly with a BG on a tour with other farang… Time would tell, and at least I wouldn't have long to wait…. Pia was gone now, seemingly from my life, or at the very least for my remaining time in Bangkok, 'replaced' by some deft footwork by "Dan"…. 'Pia' had under for whatever reasoning, 'sacrificed' her friendship with me for Dan that night in Tip-Top restaurant, right in front of me. A noble gesture or just a 'professional' one? Dan too had possibly put her relationship with Pia under added duress, it might even be the end of their association? Somehow I didn't think so, upon my departure from the LOS, I felt Dan and Pia would be up there again raising heaven & hell in Camelot….

With Dan in my arms that night, I pondered that I was by now possibly becoming a 'serial BG date-er', – this was after all, one in a line of by now several earlier encounters on trips, of which none I regret I might add.

I had however, seemingly 'crossed' an invisible line or barrier, – between that of dating and having normal relationships with western women, to ones with Thai women, notably a series of BG's or women I'd met in clubs, similarly dispossessed… I suddenly realised one day, that I was simply no longer 'attracted to western women', – least of all to their seemingly myriad of commercialised materialistic ideals and expectations.

I had somehow crossed a divide, – but wasn't sure if there was any way back for me from what invisible divide I had indeed crossed….

Yeah, I was a good enough looking guy, professional, polite, even a little gentlemanly and well dressed, but several abortive relationships and heart rending bitter disappointments back home had ultimately 'damaged' my perception of western women. Possibly by now, irreparably so…. This too, not helped by increasing age, whereby you attain 'scrap heap' status in the singles and dating game world, – unless you're prepared to indulge in the inherent humiliations of advertising your heart in the local Newspaper…. Looking for "Paper Girls" s as one friend of mine once coined….I spurned too, any thought of enlisting some overseas dating/introduction agency, many of the fodder wasn't nice- looking enough for me, and it smacked of seediness and tack mostly. I kept recalling that TV movie "Filipino Dream Girls" and was equally worried about who my co-travelers would be as much as the reception we would get.

For me, I was still yet young enough to compete, well traveled and already thoroughly familiar with Thailand's foibles, and there was no substitute for me other than getting a ticket, jumping on a plane and finding out for myself, first hand, in the most natural way…

Yeah sure, I too was blown away initially with the unprecedented 'attention' I received in Thailand from females generally. [Unwanted attention too from some Gay males!!] Each time I went home though, I felt for all it was worth as though I'd been given a massive shot of tonic in the arm… – a huge boost in self confidence and self worth somehow.

Suddenly as if to underscore my thoughts, Dan stirs from her partial sleep and rolls over to embrace me, Thai-kissing my cheek at first, then moving slowly down to caress my neck and chest, working over to my nipple. She feels my rising response and groan, and increases her advances, until she's on top of me, making love to me… Masters of their craft or great lovers? This must be a number-one rhetorical question, which I cannot fully answer, but in my heart, I know a 'faker' or actress when I witness one, and Dan was not one of those…If she was, I'd award her the Oscar right now, maybe two!?

No, her passion was too real-istic, she was 'motivated' to caress & make love, for her own gratification as much as mine. Heck, it didn't always matter if I didn't want to make love, because she was always ready, reminding me of the old adage that females have almost inexhaustible sexual energy…

Going with a 'prostitute' was never supposed to be like this was it? I cannot think of a feeling right now, more distant or remote from that age-old concept…. I couldn't think of Dan somehow like that anyway, it seemed well, almost absurd….

Dan's obviously becoming aroused, as I thought I had seen her earlier in the bar, either by her own sexuality, her actions or mine, as she's on top of me bodily now, we're kissing passionately, and I'm 'lost' in her embrace, her hot breath on my face and warm bodily embrace. We roll in increasing passion, then she mounts me on top again, – suddenly I'm inside her. Her eyes enlarge to saucer size as she looks into my eyes, I gasp as she controls my sex in rhythmic upward and downward movements, she's taken me without protection, but I'm powerless to stop now, it's impossible in passion's intimate moments… Dan's expression states there's no stopping her now, moving upward and downward locked in embrace, she fixes me in the eyes, mouthing, moaning gently, – it causes me finally to climax like a rocket as Dan moans in approval, closes her eyes and increases her hold on me, never letting up, – there's no mercy from this girl….I cry out….

Afterwards, holding each other watching the flickering TV screen, Dan whispers; "You not scare of me are you?" "I have check last week, me all okay, sure" It's a little late for that now, as much my fault as hers I guess. "It's okay" I assure her; "don't worry – I am not worried about you" [I'd seen her sticky bum-plaster before, indicating a mandatory blood test for all STD's]

Thai women? – generally speaking, I was much more blase' about it these days, seen it all, done it all, and was no longer influenced by Thai girl's any 'sweetalking me' – none of that stuff ever really worked on me anyway, and the girls 'sensed it', – they knew how far they could go, and couldn't with me. The 'physical side' I took on a case-by-case basis, it's never the same with just anyone, not for me, there has to be some form of 'connection' affection, basic human needs, not just purely a 'physical act' as perhaps in being guilty of in my younger salad days.

Dan too, knew her 'limitations', but chose to ignore them, she used them with her femininity somehow to good advantage to 'dislodge' Pia's reigning Crown, and maneuver her way into my affections and ultimately my company. Sheer 'opportunity' too however had prevailed, which 'allowed' her to be with me, coupled with Pia's diplomatic bowing-out, whether noble or not. This type of gesture or 'twist' is indicative of how BG 'partnerships' work in the 'secret Thai sisterhood' of bars and clubs…. Dan I know wondered about Pia and if she would 'recover' from this 'sudden twist' but that was ultimately engineered by Pia in a last minute change-of-heart, – probably for the sake of another farang??

If Dan knew, she would never tell me under pain of death, – ahhh, yet another unspoken 'trait' of the secretive "bar girl sisterhood", to never, never 'dob' [Aus.] some friend in…. Thai women will often refer to other girl's as 'Sisters' – and there's possibly no truer meaning than here for that, other than in the biological sense….

Interlude….The day before Kwai….

The night before leaving for Kanchanaburi town, Dan and I went over to Tony Roma's restaurant on Sukhumvit Road, near the entrance to Soi 7. Tired of the usual Asian fare, I wanted some Ribs'n BBQ sauce, Chips and all the usual filling trimmings, washed down with a cold [Chilled] Heineken, and had a yearning for a Western meal…

Dan ordered herself a BBQ chicken, and a beer too, [good girl!] and got stuck in, seemingly unfased by the strictly Western menu. The waiter however brought her some fresh cut Chillies to 'spice' her food up so she was happy….

Tonight's agenda was as much to give Dan a briefing on tomorrow's impending journey to Kanchanaburi, which would take some 8 hours in all, culminating at jungle rafts floating hotel resort. I warned Dan that there was no electricity there, this, regarding her meticulous hair care, she couldn't use her straightening tongs, hairdryer or any other electrical appliance she may have! Phone chargers are useless too, I'm not even sure the network covers outside of Kanchanaburi such as at JR's. "Ohhh yess I unnerstand, mai pen rai kaaa!" she cooes….

It was a nice evening, the restaurant was an old The Eagle's album over the speaker system, as we ate, and chatted. With me hoping to get some light shed on Pia's 'antics' of the previous day. I'd 'probe' Dan gently at a given time and see what she says, but perhaps the truth now at least, wasn't that important anymore, and maybe neither was Pia anymore after tonight…(?)

For the first time, Dan and I exchanged more information about families, my Job back in England etc, stuff like that. Dan presented herself as a 'relatively low risk and or liability' issue, in that she had only 2 Sisters, both younger, and a Mother who evidently worked. Her real Father had left several years before, and her mother was now living with another man, her Stepfather, both in their late 40's…. Like Pia, her family were still living in the town of Som Det in North East Thailand, not far from the provincial town of Karasin, and is originally how Dan met Pia, being both same-village girls. A common trait among Thai girls or BG's to befriend another girl from their same village or district, and Pia sometimes referred to Dan as 'Sister' in general conversation, although not related by blood….

Upon chatting and agreement on the trip, which was hardly necessary really, we raised and clinked our Heineken's together in celebration, but perhaps I had more to celebrate in Dan's beauty…Had I found Miss Goodbar finally at last???? Leaving Tony Roma's, with customers dwindling, I hear Howard Jone's classic 1983 rendition "What is Love?" playing, – how apt I thought, indeed…. [Jones/ 'Human's Lib' album]

As we emerged into Sukhumvit, the nightly vampires and stalkers were gathering along the street fronts and shop fronts of Sukhumvit, average looking girls and Kai Tai's awaiting their prey of all sizes and descriptions. Eyeing us warily, they watch us walk by, looking up from their sitting positions on steps and doorways, sheltered from the falling drizzle, pictures and effigies of human misery…. "Big Dave" once declared in Jools Bar to me in his booming authoritarian voice once, "Bangkok is a Cesspit" – words ringing true now, as rivulets of water now ran all over the uneven broken sidewalks. Cockroaches too, scuttling hither and thither in the rain, forced out from their recluse too, bringing expressions of disgust to passers by… Puddles and pools of rain water reacted, bubbling blinking and burping as if alive, probably filled with all manner of amoebic lifeforms as we walked Bangkok's nightly sleeze and anarchic street chaos…

Dan, periodically squeezing my hand, and smiling her assurance in almost tacit approval of me, – she was happy, and so was I, I found as picked our way along that rainy night, contrastingly amid such chaos and human unhappiness, we at least, were happy…. My hotel room was but a 20 minute Taxi ride away, and Dan's arms and affections were signaling and 'beckoning' me to something I wasn't sure. A BG or not, (?) an angel with a dirty face? Or just a normal girl not afforded the better choices in life, Dan was all of those at that one exact moment, and her BG status was 'slipping' away from me, – into a foggy grey area we cannot otherwise determine when complex human emotions begin to take over…. Could 'Dan' be my Miss Goodbar?….

Next week's episode of Searching for Miss Goodbar, "Road to Perdition"

Stickman's thoughts:

If I had the time…

Reply to: Simon Templar: [email protected]