Magical Thailand / Land Of Smiles
By Jim McCoy
Land Of Smiles (LOS) – It surprises me, that despite being called the Land Of Smiles how many Farangs I see in the bars with solemn faces. For me, life doesn't get much better, you're on holiday surrounded by absolutely beautiful girls wearing next to nothing, a beer in one hand, a great atmosphere and great music. My nickname at school used to be Smiler and smiling has served me well and always gets a good response.
Here are a few examples from the Land Of Smiles :
(1) I went to the Queen's Castle in Patpong and as soon as I entered the bar I acknowledged and smiled at any of the girls who would look at or smile at me, as I do in every bar I go to. As soon as I sat down the girl who was performing naked on stage came straight up to me and continued her performance on my lap. She was jumping around and gyrating and intermittently blowing a whistle with her punani. I was in heaven and she proceeded to almost strip me naked as well. Although totally consumed with what was going on in front of me I took a quick look and still saw the same solemn faces but this time looking at what was happening to me. The only reaction I got was from a female Farang, who I guess was there with her boyfriend out of curiosity, and she asked if it was good for me. I said to her that I would let her know in five minutes. Five more minutes and I would have been finished but she jumped back on stage and continued there. After the show she joined me again and I bought her a drink.
(2) While staying in Pattaya my friend and myself ate several times at the same restaurant at the end of the road prior to visiting the bars in the evening. Again I would always smile at and greet the manager and the waitresses each time I went there. On the fourth occasion I noticed one of the waitresses looking at me and smiling and of course I smiled back. At the end of the meal we declined the dessert menu but were given a complimentary plate of local fruits (I suspect, at the request of the waitress who had smiled at me, since she served it). She came over and started talking to me, the usual questions of what's your name, where are you from etc. My friend said it was quite clear that she liked me but it was our last night in Thailand and I couldn't really pursue it.
(3) Around the hotel I would also smile at all the chamber maids whereas most of the guests would totally ignore them. One time I helped the bell boy up the ramp with his trolley when he was struggling, I helped one of the chamber maids pick up some towels that she had dropped and bought some paracetamol for the receptionist who had a headache. On returning to my room I saw a pot plant next to my bed with a note. I thought, hello, they want me to buy this but after reading the note it turned out to be from the chief chamber maid. The next day there was a bunch of six roses again from the chief chamber maid, it was clear she liked me. She was in her fifties and not really my type and I hadn't even spoken to her, just a few smiles in her direction. The next day another Englishman, also at the same hotel, asked her out to my relief. I wished him a good evening with her and he told me that they were just going out as friends and that she was very fond of me. I chose my moment and went to speak to her explaining that I was seeing someone else and although she was lovely I couldn't take her out. She was fine about it. I told this story to my brother, who joined us a few days later, and while I collected my laundry one day he arranged my job lot of British Standard condoms (I'm not boasting but the local ones are a bit tight) in a heart shape on my bed. On my return I immediately thought it was the chief chamber maid again but I could hear roars of laughter outside and again I had fallen prey to one of his pranks.
Now I'm no oil painting, my mother says I'm good looking and I believe her but I am approaching 40, going bald and grey and never seem to attract many Farang women. I know that a lot of you are probably thinking that although two of them were not bar girls they were still after the same thing. I would readily admit this but I'm sure they would prefer it from someone who smiles and has a good heart. In addition it is so nice and refreshing to have girls approach you out of genuine interest rather than trying to get their lady drink quota or as a result of the mamasan frowning at them.
Magical Thailand – Being a bit of an amateur magician and a little fed up with the usual conversation of "What's your name?", "Where you come from?" and "How long you stay in Thailand?" when visiting the bars in Bangkok I thought I would try a bit of the old magic on the bar girls. I would always get a good response from my work colleagues back in England and was always asked to show more magic tricks.
When packing my suitcase, along with the shorts and T-shirts, I also packed the more visual magic tricks from my collection for my two week holiday in the Land Of Smiles (LOS) because others require careful participation or an explanation and I knew these would not work with the language barrier.
(1) One of my favourite tricks was to make the bill disappear. Most people have seen the 'Disappearing Hanky Trick' where the magician pushes the handkerchief into his hand, opens it up and it has gone. I did this with the drinks bill which is placed in a wooden tumbler in front of you in the bars. Several times, to my delight, I had go go dancers and the waitresses jump on me as I pretended to leave immediately after the bill had disappeared. Of course I made it reappear and paid it with a good tip but I had made them all laugh and often attracted a small crowd for the next trick.
(2) Almost all the bars have tubes of red flashing lights around the stage or above the bars. I brought with me a 'Magic Finger' which is a thumb tip or finger tip containing a red LED which illuminates when pressed against another finger. I would walk into a bar and apparently pick up one of the bar or stage lights, hold it and then put it back. I would look back and smile as the mamasan and girls would examine the lights and try to remove one of the lights like I had just done. I would also, apparently, pull the light out from my shorts pocket and put it back there again. To my delight, the girls would immediately grab my shorts trying to find the light
(3) If it looked like they wanted more I would get the card tricks out and amaze them with 'P3 – Different Front & Back' where the cards change colour right in front of their eyes and P4 – Psychic Pack' where a freely chosen card is the only face up card in the pack. All of these are available from an excellent web site I have found called www.thebestonlinemagic.com . Often I would have all the girls from the bar watching the magic and it certainly made a nice change from connect 4, jenga or that other game with the dice.
The moral of these two stories, if you haven't got it already, is to smile, to help people and to enjoy yourself, not just while you are on holiday but every day of your life and to everyone you meet. You won't always get a smile or an offer of help reciprocated but when you do its all worthwhile. Don't just restrict it to your 'equals' but the beggar on the street, the chamber maid, the bar girls, fellow tourists and the hotel manager.
A few days into my holiday I would have girls, who I hadn't seen before but who had seen me from a neighbouring bar, stick their thumb in the air mimicking the red light or tapping their teeth, because I often wore Billy Bob type teeth, accompanied by a warm smile. The magic tricks are not necessary but make a difference, a smile however will get you a long way as I hoped I have shown by my experiences.
YES! Smiling goes a loooong way in Thailand.