The Village Tales – Oh Dahgling Oh Dahgling
The Village Life Tales – Oh Dahgling Oh Dahgling
To continue from Part 1. This trip I was to spend a week in the village. The house is having more work done to it, and I wanted to see what the status of the construction was. Not done was the verdict. But close. It looks like more painting is in order. Sigh! Plus I wanted to see Mamma and her little wrinkled, monkey faced, sister. They make me laugh with their weird little antics, and ritual betel nut preparations and consumption. Plus they love to drink beers with me, and pamper me silly! Also I needed a new supply of Buddha good luck prayer strings, and Mamma's work the best for me. She gives good prayer strings. Hey! They work for me!
The lady with the truck finally arrived in Surin. Only one Thai person that I know is ever on falang time, my Thai friend Anupong. Even he has a tendency to be at least a half hour late usually. The rest of Thailand is not only on another calendar, but have a whole different concept of time. Read no concept of time what-so-ever! The reason the Thai's have that "My pen ray" (which means “it doesn't matter, no problem“) attitude is to prevent even more murders than they already have. The truck was dropped off around 2 a.m.! The lady friend had her motorcycle in the back of the truck and, after leaving the keys with Sis, skedaddled out of there before I could get my hands around her cute little neck.
Now, I am on holiday, and not in a big rush, but Jesus, I would like to do the things I want to do, and need to do, before having to go back to the states.
New Rule #2: Start renting the truck from the hotel again. It's only 300 baht more a day, and is a much nicer frigid' truck anyways. Extended cab too!
My lady and I had stepped out for a while to eat at our favorite little gay restaurant. It’s a little joint the next street over from the hotel, which is owned by a gay white dude and his little Thai boyfriend. The place is immaculately clean, with great food, both Thai and falling, with great service, and very nicely done up for a small place. The staff is all gay guys, and the Thai boyfriend keeps these guys hopping around like frogs on a hot greased skillet. The staff is actually TOO attentive! "Hey there Mary," I tell my waiter, "You don't have to fill my beer glass after every goddamned sip I take!"
I've got like three guys waiting my table, all trying to "out-waiter" the others. I can't light a cigarette without three lighters popping off in front of my mug! Someone's going to get burnt, and it better not be me. I actually called the Thai owner over to my table before to bitch about the service being too good.
"Yes sir. How can I help you sir?"
"Err … I have too many waiters!" I tell him.
"Ex … Ex … Excuse me sir?" he stutters in surprise.
"Too many waiters!" I say again. "Send a couple of them away will ya?"
(I feel like the only woman on a desert island with two horny guys, being fought over, and watched every damn minute! It's a bit disconcerting.)
"Yes, too many waiters." I say to him. "I only require one. Send the others away, please."
"I don't understand." he says back, with a small frown marring his pretty little perfectly formed plucked brow.
I explain to my lady that all these waiters hovering about make me uncomfortable, as we are trying to have an intimate meal here, and there are just too damned many of them. She explains this to him in Thai and finally a look of understanding crosses his puss. He nods to me, and then starts shooing a couple of the waiters into the back.
"I understand sir. You wish for privacy?" he says, smiling in his lilting English.
"Yes. Thank you." I smile back.
"Thank Christ!" I think to myself. At least now we can eat in peace and have a private conversation without all these guys hovering around my shoulder like guardian angels.
After our meal we usually head for the beer garden in front of the hotel to listen to the live band music, and have a few glasses of something or another, and talk a bit before heading to bed. The singer in the band is usually singing a song I know, but what the heck he's singing always takes me a while to decipher. Ot ahh lak ajjjeeeeck ooomaaaahhnn. Ot ahh lak ajjjjjeeeeck oooommaahn.
In other words, I've got a black magic woman. Santana. I make fun of the lyrics for my lass and she always cracks up. It's why I love her too much. Although I love anyone who thinks my stupid jokes are funny, so maybe this isn't such a good gauge of my feelings for her. That smile and laugh of hers is a definite turn on for me though. I hate grumpy people, and miserable cynical depressing people. Although she is usually a happy lass, if you make her walk in the heat too much she can get a mite prickly. But then again one of her favorite “fun” things to do is work in the rice paddy with her family and friends in the broiling sun all day. She says they have fun, and laugh and joke all day long, while they're planting or harvesting the rice. Go figure! She is a happy soul though, and loves to laugh. Laughter is what I seek too. Sanuk sanuk maak maak! (Lots of fun this means.) Life's too damned short for bitching, whining, and pouting, and tears. We'll all have an eternity of that shit in hell. Live, laugh, and love now people, who knows what lies ahead 'eh? I personally enjoy the Thai “live for today” attitude.
We leave the beer garden and head for the hotel entrance. I spy the red shit box truck resting its weary, rusty bulk in a parking slot in front of the hotel. Haleehh … fucking … lujah!!!!!! Wheels!
We are now free to roam the countryside. Free at last, free at last! Thank the lord we are free at last!
Up at Sis's room I take command of the keys, and tell them we're off to the village in the morning. We go to bed and I show my lass something that really gets her laughing.
"What's so goddamned funny darling? C'mere you little sexy thang."
The next morning we take advantage of the wonderful free buffet, check out of the venerable Thong Tarin Hotel, and load up the baggage. I stop at the store and grab my new cooling system. I'm dying to try it out and see how well it'll cool off the bedroom at night. After dodging the cyclo bike taxis, and tuk-tuks, and motocykes, and every other obstacle these little freakin' maniacs try to throw in my path for me to squash and mangle, I head toward the deadliest area in the whole town … the dreaded outdoor city market!
I've actually almost fainted at some of the things I've seen and smelled in this veritable hell hole of commerce. Now-a-days I just give my lass some baht, and tell her what I require for sustenance, and off she and Sis and daughter go into this quagmire of humanity, insects, and produce. They call it shopping. I call it the seventh ring of Dante’s frigid' inferno! Just call me chicken, but it's got to be 200 fucking degrees under those tin and canvas roof coverings, and the smells will burn your olfactory system right out of your skull! I've done my time in there, earned my merit badges, and sitting on the hood of the pick-up, preferably in some shade, with a butt and an ice cold beer Chang is about all my senses can stand this early in the day after eating a full breakfast. I'm staying out of up-chuck city! I sit on the hood, and watch the locals rubber-neck as they spot the falang.
When I was at the rest stop for the bus ride up to Surin a guy carrying this little two year old girl on his shoulder, cute little tyke, walked past me as I was having a smoke. All of a sudden, as they passed by me, the little girl's eyes bugged out of her head when she saw me and she wailed to her old man, "Poppa, poppa, falang, falang!" Poppa turns and looks toward me, and says to her "Yes tilac (sweetheart), falang." He smiled, and chuckled, and kept walking. You would have thought the kid had just spotted Frankenstein’s monster the way she reacted. Some of the tourists who never leave Bangkok, Phuket, and Pattaya don't realize sometimes that there are many people in Thailand who have NEVER seen a falang. It's why I love going up country. It's a completely different experience. I love it!
In the village where I live there are around 350 families. Only one other falang (foreigner) ever stays there. He’s a German guy married to my lass' older cousin. He only comes to the village once a year for a couple of weeks. He never leaves the house and walks around the village. He won't let his wife let any other Thais, other than her immediate family, into the house. Hell, in my place people just walk right in, stand for a while and stare at the falang, then, without saying a word, turn around and walk out! It's me Cent, the hairy (not much though) white gorilla, imported from the U.S. of A.! Sometimes if it bothers me, and it's a lass, I'll walk over toward her with my arms out making kissing noises and laughing like a mad gibbon. That usually gets them moving out. If it's a Thai guy, I'll have my lass ask him if he could help me paint the house this afternoon. That usually gets the guys runnin'! Most of the time though I'll wai them, give 'em a Sawadee krup (hello), and try out my meager Thai on them, and offer a piece of candy (chocolate) from the freezer, or a glass of beer. I've been informed by my lady that I'm considered the good, friendly, happy falang. The German guy is considered the grumpy, bossy falang.
BUT, and here’s the catch, he, the German dude, does buy a shitload of Lao Kao. (Nasty rice whiskey this shit. I wouldn't give it to my worst enemy! Horrible cheap rot gut this crap is really, but cheaper than hell at like 60 baht a bottle, around $1.20 at today's 2000 exchange rate.) The he proceeds to get the whole village drunk every time he visits, which is once a year. So the drunks think he's a great guy. I offered to my lass to do this once before, and she said no. "Mi Dee" (no good) she says. When pressed about why not, she told me the men get real drunk, and sometimes get nasty and violent on this crap whiskey, and hit their wives and children, and have fights with each other. So fuck it. I don't want to walk down the street in the village and see a woman, or a little kid, with a black eye or fat lip, and know it was me who contributed the booze which caused this. I'd probably go beat the shit out of the guy who did it, and that would cause big problems in the village and probably for me.
So what I do, as suggested by my wife, is buy a bunch of rice, and chicken, and soda pop, and my family cooks it all up and brings it to the school at lunch time and gives the school kids a feast once in a while. I also bring a few bags of hard candies and pass them out to all the kids. I bought a few soccer balls for the kids to use during recess, and bought the girls high school soccer team uniforms. Very inexpensive this was. They're kicking all the other village girls’ teams’ asses too! They've won every game so far.
All of these ideas were my lady’s suggestions when I asked what I could do. She's a good woman, with a good heart, and a good head on her shoulders. I'm not patting myself on the back here. Really, I’m not. I'm just letting the next farang, maybe one of you people who are reading this, who someday goes up-country to visit a village, know what might help out, and what probably will not. The women and the kids suffer the most in these poor villages; yet they are the happiest, most fun loving, always joking and teasing people I've ever seen.
After leaving the town market we stop at a supermarket, where I grab some falling food. Don't get me wrong. I love Thai food, but a steady diet of it plays hell with my innards after a couple of weeks. No matter how much they try to make it not spicy, it still IS at least a little spicy. My stomach rebels after a while. I need some variety; some bread, some cheese, some spaghetti, some milk, peanut butter and jelly, and butter, and ham, and baloney, (the kind with hot peppers in it is actually my favorite), and even an occasional beef steak. Maybe this week I'll be able to take a solid dump.
Packing all this into the back of the truck, along with all their purchases, we take off for the village.
I notice after a while a major improvement in the truck. The side view mirror is decidedly less jumpy. Cool! I can actually see something in the mirror. I also spot how this mechanical miracle repair was accomplished. A beer bottle cap was bent in half and jammed under the previously loose mirror. Thai ingenuity at work here.
I play leap-frog with the other vehicles on the road and hit 80 kph on the miserable excuse of a highway. Ah! Now we're cookin' with gas baby!
I break out into a happy tune of my own making. I call it "Oh Dahgling!" Oh dahgling, oh dahgling, I love you sweet dahgling, I'm glad my sweet dahgling is mineeeeeeeeeeee.
"What you do, darling?" my lady asks me with a puzzled look on her kisser.
"I'm singing. Whaddaya think I'm doing?" I answer.
"You know what dahgling is?" she queries me.
"Sure I do. Means same same your sister Fon!" I laugh back to her.
She breaks out in a big grin, and laughing yells back to her sister, "Pi Fon. Listen! Sammi (husband) sing song for you!"
Sis Fon listens as I break out into song again, and starts laughing and yelling, and tries to swat me in the head through my open window.
"Hey, hey!" I yell back to her. "What are you, nuts? I'm freakin' driving here, and singing a love song for you! You're going to get us all killed! Sit back and enjoy the music. Dahgling!"
We're off to a good start. By the way for those who don't know, dahgling means monkey's ass. How appropriate! For a love song! Hahaha! Here we come Happy Village!
I smile to myself and start singing again. What the hell is wrong with this gear shift? It still grinds between 3rd and 4th gear. Damned shitbox. And the bitch only left me with less than a quarter tank of gas!
Great. Gahhhhd Dammit!
(To be continued)
(The Central Scrutinizer)
More magic from Cent.