Perfect Teeth And A Running Nose
I arrive after a 12 hours flight in Bangkok and head for the hotel. Shit, shower, shave and I walk to the end of the soi (800 meters) to a small bar to have a drink. I take a seat in this tiny open bar, order my drink and inhale the atmosphere; here I
am, back in Thailand, some 9000 kilometers from home.
Letting the world go by I drink my Seng Som with Coke and talk the small talk you have with the girls in the bar. Even though I’m exhausted by the long-haul flight I feel good now, I’m where I wanted to be for such a long time; I feel relieved, relaxed and happy.
It slowly starts to rain and I slowly get drunk.
In the back of the bar there is a girl eating Som-Tam, I hear her puffing and taking deep breaths every 15 seconds or so. The Som-Tam must be of the spicy kind. I can’t see her face; all I see is long dark hair because her head is bent over her bowl.
I watch her. Her clothes are not like the average bar girl; she wears a very elegant dress and stiletto pumps. It’s like she does not belong here; just some Som-Tam and then off to go ballroom dancing. I start to fantasize about her; she’s eating Som-Tam so she comes from Isaan; would she be beauty or plain ugly? Would it be a girl with an attitude? With all these questions my mind is drifting away while I’m staring at this beauty of Isaan.
Suddenly she looks up as if she feels someone is watching her. Her movements are slow, almost calculated and sexy in a way. She scans the area and her radar is working perfectly; our eyes meet. She smiles and shows her perfect teeth but her nose is running. She wipes it with a tissue; again with these slow and sexy movements and does not take her eyes off me. It’s like we are the only two people in the bar now. Her expression is a combination of a smile and a question; she likes the attention but does not understand it.
I try to look the other way and break the spell but I can’t. We’re glued together.
You can see her former beauty but now she’s has aged she looks if she’s at the end of her bar-girl life-span.
I suddenly feel sorry for her; such a beauty but life got her on her knees. I smile to her and she smiles a beautiful smile back. Perfect teeth and a running nose…
For the next 10 minutes or so we are looking at each other while she finishes her Som-Tam and I drink my whiskey-coke. It’s like we are have a conversation without words, her far away eyes telling me a sad story and our worlds are melting together. Here, in this tiny Sukhumvit bar only the former beauty of Isaan exists.
Then I slowly get up and walk to her table and offer her a drink. She smiles again with these perfect teeth; her nose is no longer running. She wants a Chang and from close I notice that she’s slightly intoxicated. We talk while she’s drinking and feeding me fried insects; it’s so natural as if we know each other for many years now.
The rain is still pouring down while she tells me her life story.
It’s sad, as sad as her eyes. Her encounters with farangs are all disasters. And she’s so honest to tell me that she was responsible for quite a few of them as well. The story is fragmented and I only listen; she needs to get it off her chest…
She tried to better herself but after her last English husband divorced her she couldn’t cope with it anymore. Every night since she drinks herself to sleep and needs beer once she wakes up to keep her going.
I wake up as well; suddenly the spell is broken and I do not want to get involved any further.
She then asks me about my life and I tell her a bit about that. She then proclaims her undying love for me. I tell her I’m married; she says she’s going with me to my hotel, I tell her that that will not happen, but she’s having none of it.
The Soi is flooded now; there’s a good 20 centimeter of water and it is still raining. I decide to wait a bit to see if the water retracts. It doesn’t.
I’m fairly drunk now and so is my Isaan beauty. We don’t talk anymore because we both know that the magic has gone. I feel sad and her eyes are looking even sadder. I ask for the bill and pay leaving a generous tip for my Beauty of Isaan.
But then she grabs me by the hand and says ‘Pai Nai’ (where do you go?). To the hotel, I need a good night of sleep now. She says ‘Pai Duai’ (I go with you) and I’m trying to make it clear to her that that’s not going to happen. I start wading through knee-deep water. She’s following me; her nice dress gets soaked and she has taken off her hi-heeled shoes. I don’t want her to get wet; I don’t want her to follow me, I don’t want to disappoint her but she crawls through the water with determination. And, she’s faster than me.
Half way down the Soi she starts crying and I grab her hand to help her wade through the water. I’ll send her back with the hotel tuk-tuk once we are there I think. It doesn’t cross my mind that there is no traffic in the Soi at all so chances for a tuk-tuk are very slim.
We are now at the entrance of the hotel and I know I’m screwing things up big time. I’m greeted by the receptionists and he asks the former beauty of Isaan for her ID-card. I tell the receptionist that this girl is NOT going to my room but ask him to send the girl back with the hotel tuk-tuk. Because of the flooded Soi the tuk-tuk is not going anywhere; she’ll have to walk back. He’s puzzled why the farang takes a girl to the hotel and then wants to send her back. I’m also puzzled; how the hell did I manage to get myself into this situation. I try to give an even more generous tip to the girl but she doesn’t accept it and even worse; she refuses to leave the hotel. I then have no other choice than to take my key while the security guards force the girl out of the hotel.
She screams my name while the guards are removing her from the premises. I feel guilty as I never felt before. I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place and I whish I could help her out but I know I can’t. Again, she can add another bad encounter with an asshole farang to her list, but this time it’s me.
I walk to the elevator while shaking my head in disbelief. I’m not the prince on the white horse; I’m an old fart with still a lot to learn.
Once in my room I’m trying to sleep but have a restless night.
But I still remember her; her sad eyes are engraved in my memory even as her beautiful teeth and running nose.
No need to feel sorry for her. Who knows, she might have chopped your appendage off in the night. Girls like that are trouble.