A Thailand Retiree In Training
As I write this, I have an airplane ticket to Bangkok for a 3 week visit. There will probably be more trips followed by a retirement in Thailand. That is what I used to joke about wanting to do a few years ago, but figured that I would never actually do it. Maybe this is a case of getting what you wish for regardless of whether you really want it. My son and daughter are young adults, and I will probably have a difficult time with a long term separation from them. However, I have an ex-wife that I hope to see as seldom as possible. I am not planning to skip the country to avoid support payments, because I want to have the option to come back someday.
I made my first Bangkok visit a little before they started to close the city at night. I was with a friend from work, who went to Bangkok for his year end vacation. The flight arrived in the dark of an early December morning, and the first taxi ride from the airport through the narrow streets was unforgettable. The sun had not come up yet, but the city was bustling. Clouds of steam rose up from the street vendor's cooking pots, and many people scurried around in all directions. I mentioned to my friend that people woke up early in Bangkok, and he replied that it was hard to tell if they were starting the day or ending it. That comment really got my attention. The figures of many of the walking women were just plain sexy. Slim, firm, with curves in the right places. The darkness hid the details of their looks, but the imagination filled in nicely. Anyway, we stayed at a little hotel in the Sukhumvit area and I spent three days taking tours and shopping. I wandered into a few beer bars, and a few gogo bars but did not drink any alcohol (I had not been working in the Middle East long enough to be driven to drink again). I did not go with any of the bargirls, but they were really friendly, and my fantasy life acquired a lot of new material. I bought a few lady drinks, and the girls hung around and said things to me in their sweet Thai voices. I could not understand most of what they said, but it sure sounded nice.
All too soon I had to board another airplane to finish my trip home from work. It was great to see the kids again, but things were not too good with the wife. Lots of complaining, and sex only one time, and she acted like she was doing a really big favor. It did not take long before I started to look forward to getting on the plane to go back to work. Actually, I looked forward to the stop in Bangkok.
On the return Bangkok stop, I spent more time with the girls, but did not have enough energy to go with them. When I got back to work, I found that I had pneumonia. I hate flying at Christmas / New Year time. The planes are packed full and usually have some sick people on board, so your chances of catching something are high. I did find one girl that told me such sweet things that I took her name and address and looked her up on my next few stops in Bangkok. I even sent her a postcard or two. She turned out to be just a bargirl who was interested in getting whatever money she could from me. She was very good at working the bar customers to get lady drinks, tips, gifts. She probably made more money than the most attractive gogo dancers at Nana. I think I got the better part of the deal, for it was nice to be able to think about her when I was stuck in the middle of the desert. That offset the barrage of negative stuff that came from my wife. Anyway, it was part of learning my way around Bangkok.
Over the next few years, I stopped at Bangkok airport about 10 times and stayed in Thailand as long as I could before leaving for the rest of the trip. I made it to Chiang Mai, Phuket, and Pattaya. I am an older man, and keep myself in good condition. When I wanted company, I would usually find an independent to be my friend for a while. The open eating area outside the Ambassador Hotel was one of the places to find them. We would shop, go to the movies, eat, talk, and sleep together. It was fun to go shopping with them. They would take me to all kinds of out-of-the-way places to save an insignificant amount. Kind of like a mini tour. Sometimes they would tell me about the men in their life. One told me of her handsome young American soldier who had asked her to marry him. Evidently he called her almost every day. Her main concern was whether he had the money to take care of her, so I wrote some numbers about what kind of income the guy needed to have a modest lifestyle in different parts of the US. I never saw her again on return trips. She seemed like a nice lady who would keep her end of the deal. Most of the people I met in Thailand were friendly and pleasant to be around. It seemed like some of the girls I met really liked me, while others were just going through the motions for the money. Maybe the former were better at acting. Whatever the case, I did not care. Just being with them made me feel good. The companionship and sex was better with the Thai girls than any of the females I met in the US. I always told them that there were no promises about any future and the past did not matter. The only thing that mattered was today, and the two of us. They seemed to like that. A few times, Thai girls offered to sleep with me for free, which was really an ego boost for someone my age. However, I always gave them money to avoid any kind of long term issues.
On the practical side of things, I was impressed by the number of people that remembered me from previous stops. People that worked at hotels, tailors, internet cafes, travel agencies, bars, etc. It was really unusual to interface with someone for less than an hour, then come back 6 months later and they remember your name. Little things like that helped make the Thailand stops special. Thai food was the best. After eating Thai fruit, most of the stuff available outside Thailand has very little flavor. I liked to eat at the outdoor places where I could look at the fresh ingredients before they cooked it. The Bangkok movie theaters are really nice, and inexpensive by US standards. I liked the traditional Thai massages, because they really helped to keep the old body moving. They are better than any US chiropractor treatment I ever had. My favorite is Hutthasat, located at No 15 Sukhumvit 22. (On the edge of Washington Square). Hotel rates and apartment rents seem very low. I also noticed the quality and amount of medical care you get for the money in Bangkok. I can afford medical care if I move to Thailand. I could afford retirement life in Thailand even if the US dollar dropped a lot. When my Middle East job ended I went home and had withdrawal symptoms because the Thailand stops ended. I read somewhere that lust is like an addictive drug and has a withdrawal period of 1 to 5 years. Sometimes I chatted with Thai girls on the internet, which probably made it worse. Keep in mind, that all I did was chat. I did not run around with other women. In the meantime, my wife had mental problems that I could not figure out how to deal with. I tried and failed. She eventually imagined a lot of really nasty things about me, and filed divorce papers. I am not perfect, but nowhere near as bad as she imagined. Maybe I have mental problems too. Anyway, it turned out that there was nothing I could do about it, except to try to minimize the cost and do my best to deal with the stress and get on with my life. Some of the details about the divorce would probably make a separate story that might even be entertaining, but that probably does not belong here, and it was not much fun going through it. Well, I can't think of a clever saying for the end, so this is my story about Thailand.
I am sure you will be joined by thousands of others who will soon retire to Thailand. The country is becoming more and more popular for retirees.