LOS Or Land Of Opportunity?
I was coming out of the supermarket in Rawai, Phuket when a Farang guy gave me a big hello and introduced himself. He was Bill from Canada and was building a bar and invited me to the soft opening next week.
He pointed across the street. There was a modest round brick bar almost finished with a thatched roof, one fridge and two restrooms.
I asked him if he was going to have girls there.
He hadn’t decided yet he said. I was just curious as right across the way was a large girlie bar with pool tables, live music at the weekends, a free buffet and plenty of girls. Just down the street, about fifty feet away was a family type expat bar that had a very solid cliental. I wondered to myself what niche he thought he was going to fit into. As it turned out it really didn’t matter.
‘How long have you been here?’ He asked.
I said about eight years.
‘You have a Thai wife?’
‘But you have a Thai girlfriend?’
He shook his head and looked at me as if I was a feeble minded stupid schmuck. Been here eight years and no girl.
Then his face brightened. ‘I’m only here two weeks and I have a beautiful girlfriend. Not only that but I am making her dreams come true.’
He needed no prodding from me as he continued, proud and happy as could be. ‘All her life she wanted her own bar and now I’m building one for her.’
Well, I thought, isn’t that what all the bar girls want. I edged towards my car but I could not get away just yet.
‘I’m too smart to get involved in that work permit stuff so I put the bar in her name and I’ll direct it from behind the scenes. I can’t afford to retire yet so this income will be a big help in letting me stay here.’
As soon as he said he would direct from behind the scenes I knew he was doomed. A bar girl with her own bar is going to listen to him? Now, I was trying not to look at him as if he were the feeble minded one.
I stopped in the following week but Bill was not there. ‘Bill go eat,’ said the attractive girl behind the bar. I stopped a few more times but never saw Bill.
Then I saw a for sale sign on the bar. I stopped and asked where Bill was.
‘I finish him’ was the girl's reply. Well so much for Bill but an opportunity for me I thought.
Now I must digress a bit and go back in time to another story. About seven years ago I met one of the most beautiful girls on the island. Yes, I know everyone says that. We had a wonderful three months together. One day she told me she loved me very much and that we should go together for one year, then get married and after another year we would have children. We could buy a house now and move in together. (I pay for it and it goes in her name of course.) I declined her offer and the next day she dropped me as flat as yesterday's pancake. Today she owns four houses. It looks to me like buying a house for her is similar to the spider woman’s kiss of death.
However, we are still friends and when she is in between boyfriends she gives me a call and we go out. Not long ago I took her to Pattaya for five days. While we were there, she asked me if I wanted to move in with her but there were just two small items to take care of.
Her monthly expenses were 35,000 baht and I would have to leave my two dogs behind. Leave my two faithful friends? They always stay home and wait for me, never go out and never ask for anything and I am quite sure of their love for me. No way would I do that. If I had deeper pockets I would just give her the 35,000 every month, I really would.
We were talking about her future and what she would do. Right now, she confided, she was freelancing out of the VIP in Patong and was asking for and often receiving five thousand baht per night which is high for Phuket. But if you were working back in the States and were here on vacation, you wouldn’t think twice about it. A girl like this, back in New York City, would cost you five thousand all right but it would be in dollars, believe me.
What she was doing was not what you would call steady work. She was thinking of opening a bar to earn a living.
Back to the present. I called and told her we would look at this bar for sale.
I had no intention of buying her a bar. My friends would laugh me out of town. I would be too embarrassed to leave my house. I would have to go hide out with Bill in Canada. I did figure that this would be good for a few days of love stuff as we negotiated the deal. I thought that if Thai girls can pull our strings, turn about is fair play.
On the way to the bar “Soupy” explained that she would bring down a dozen girls from Udon Thani. It would cost two thousand a girl. A thousand for the madam and a thousand for the bus fare. We would need to rent a small house for the girls to stay in and we would have to feed them and pay them a salary.(Read Frank would pay for everything).
We arrived at the bar and I was surprised to see that the attractive bar girl owner spoke perfect English.
‘OK, how much do you want for the bar?’
‘What? Are you crazy?’ I said. Actually I was a bit relieved as the price was so outrageous, we could not be expected to pay that amount, so I would be off the hook so to speak but still look like a good guy.
‘My boyfriend pay four-thousand.’ Said the bar owner.
And I believed her. The place could not have cost more than sixty or eighty- thousand. So she probably got about two-hundred thousand from the contractor and he had made a handsome profit himself.
‘Listen.’ I said. If you wanted a bar so much why don’t you just stay here and run it yourself?’
‘What?’ she said indignantly. ‘I can’t stay here. I have a husband and son in America. I just come for one month to visit my mother.’
I just stood there in awe. Within a month she got a guy, opened a bar and was now trying to sell it. May be pocket close to a half million baht in her bank account here. You really have to give them credit. Give these girls an education, turn them loose in America and they would be running the country.
As for what happened to Soupy, I was never really worried about her. She met a dentist from Germany at the VIP. A very nice looking man about thirty five years old, first time in Thailand. She stayed with him for five days and never asked for a dime. Took him to her house, introduced him to her mother and her six year old daughter. Soupy was a good girl whose boyfriend had left her suddenly and with bills to pay. ‘I love you and want to be completely honest with you’ she told the dentist. ‘I want to wait for you but I may have to work in a bar and go with man. I don’t want to. I have never done this but I need to survive. When you come back in three months you may find me in a bar and I don’t want you to be angry with me.’
‘How much do you need?’
The guy took the cash right out of his pocket and handed it to her and promised to send her more. When he got home, his friend who had been to Thailand before gave him holy hell and called him a moron.
I happened to be driving Soupy to a wine tasting when the dentist called from Germany. He felt that she lied to him and he would not be sending any money.
Soupy had a fit. Said she was going to send him back his thirty-five thousand the next day. He could keep his money and she would never see him again. And then she started to cry muffled sobs into the telephone.
The end of the story is that he not only sent the money but also brought her to Germany for three months. She hated it there. Cold and boring. But after all the guy was still sending the thirty-five thousand a month. She came to my house later to ask for advice. He wanted to get married but she was tired of him already. And she had to spend three months a year in Germany and he would come here for three months.
‘Soupy.’ I said. ‘You’re not getting any younger and you will still have six months a year all to yourself.’
They got married and he bought her a large home in one of the Land and House developments. A happy ending for everyone except Bill from Canada.
But is it a happy ending for the German?!