Thai Thoughts And Anecdotes Part 105
"The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new."–novel MURPHY by Samuel Beckett.
One of literature's best opening lines and a very funny book of wit and weirdness and hard to forget moments. If you have ever spent a quiet day tied to your teak rocking chair with scarves to free your mind–you know what I am talking about. But enough of adult pleasures. Sometimes it is the small oddities of life that carry the most weight. I'd love to survey post-death participants and find out what they really remembered on their death beds. I doubt if it was Shakespearean sonnets or children's faces or the wife's perfume. My money is on the absurd and the stupid and the memorably inconsequential. Things like–"Never got to that last beer in the fridge".
I'm betting that parts of the following story will occur to me as I fight the last death rattle.
YELLOW GREASE AND BACON FAT
"Part of the secret to success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside."–Mark Twain (1835-1910)
Are you like me? Do you spend the first few days back in the Kingdom caroming from one gastronomic blunder to another gastronomic blunder in spite of the fact that you have been repeating these mistakes for years?
I check into the Viengtai Hotel on Soi Rambutri in the Banglampoo section of western Bangkok when I first arrive because it brings back pleasant memories of my first trip to Thailand. Throw the bags on the bed and then out the front door. Dodge left, cross the street, and then right down the alley that connects to KSR. The hippie girls don't charm like they used to and the backpackers are boring to a 55 year old but my-oh-my they still have those street vendor spring rolls. I get a plate and a sharp stick and a lame piece of lettuce and two sad slices of tomato and two spring rolls. That first night as I stand on the street and chow down on the spring rolls I know I am back in a place that makes me happy in spite of itself. A dangerous place full of unreliable people and barely suppressed criminality that charms with mystery and litter and lies. And I spend the next two days happily chowing down on the spring rolls that are sold on Khao San road. At the end of the second day I start shitting yellow grease. Oh Jesus–it's Tong Ruang time.
It takes my ‘too many time zones' and 'too many beers' mind about half a day to figure it out. "Oh yeah–too many spring rolls! I forgot. I always get diarrhea when I eat too many Khao San Road spring rolls."
So then I decamp across town (need to get out of spring roll country) to the Nana hotel on Soi 4 off Sukumvit and start the wonderful morning ritual of the coupon breakfast. Guests at the Mothership get breakfast coupons so buffet style breakfast is free if you can get out of bed in time and stumble down to the dining room. I love this part of the Mothership experience. Stagger out of bed, get dressed fashionably as if you are Mr. Continental, pull open the door, jerk in the complimentary Bangkok Post, exit, and head for the elevators. Since in my regular life I inhabit a fifth floor walk up garret in an abandoned building; the buffet cornucopia of food delights and makes me feel as if I am at Xanadu. And there in the air-conditioned early morning splendor of the vacation experience I get to consider and to do something that I never do back in the States. Eat bacon. Eat lots of bacon. Bacon is full of fat. My system is not used to fat because back in the States my diet is blander than a bargirl's summer reading list. I eat more bacon. "Hey, I'll just add two more strips–ah hell, make it five more strips." After a couple of days of this I go to Pattaya. And there on the first night in Sin City I pray to die. Sitting on the toilet in the AA Hotel on Soi 13 in South Pattaya, Thailand I look heavenward and beg a merciful and loving god to just kill me. I have Nana Hotel Bacon Constipation (NHBC). Rasputin eventually lost his job because he couldn't cure the queen of Russia of this. Don't laugh. Hitler had this and we know what that lead to. Churchill, a lifetime double drug addict (nicotine and alcohol) was just trying to mask the pain from NHBC (Nana Hotel Bacon Constipation). I cry from the pain. And it goes on for hours and hours and hours. I wonder if my infracted heart will be able to absorb the pain and the muscular tension. I fear death and at the same time I fear I won't die. And it goes on and on and on. Pain and fear. And prideless baby crying. I am on vacation. I actually saved money for this and looked forward to this. Shitting yellow grease one day like my rectum is a sewer outfall pipe and plugged up so tight the next day that you couldn't drive in a greased toothpick with a ballpeen hammer.
Then magically it all goes away. I stagger the next morning to the window and I can see the early morning parasailors over Pattaya bay. I stumble down the marble steps and cross the highway and there is Fa. Fa from six months ago. She sees me and smiles. All pain forgotten. Thailand.
Are you like me?
Well, ok–maybe you are not like me. But that is not really what I want to talk about anyway. What I really want to talk about is a woman I met named . . . ok, I don't know her name. . . forgot it I guess. We'll just call her G.L. The story is called:
Oops, wait a minute–I almost forgot to tell the potentially best part about of the Yellow Grease and Bacon Fat story. On my final day the last time I was visiting the Kingdom I was staggering up Soi Pattayaland 2 on the way to my favorite Internet place when I bumped into the bird guy. On the right hand side of the soi is a time ravaged farang (TRF) of indeterminate age and background that loves birds; so the outside of his shop has cages of birds. Lots of birds and lots of cages hanging over the sidewalk. I used to have finches and parakeets and cockatiels and I love birds so for years I have always stopped to talk to the birds on the way to the Internet place. I had seen this living farang cautionary tale (LFCT) many times in the past but never gotten to know him. This time we fell into conversation. Somehow we sequied from bird food to human food and then I ended up telling my story about how I couldn't eat my two favorite foods in Thailand; spring rolls and bacon, because one gave me diarrhea and the other made me constipated.
Birdman–"Why not combine them?"
Birdman–"Why not eat both foods at once–they'll average out. You won't get diarrhea because the constipating qualities of the bacon will stop that and you won't get constipation from the bacon because the diarrhea giving qualities of the spring rolls will stop that. Simple chemistry."
Birdman–"Think about it mate–it's simple. Chop up the bacon into bacon bits and stuff it in the spring rolls and you get to eat your two favorite foods at once in paradise. Bang your favorite teeruk at the White Inn ($10.00 per night) and then the two of you can sit up naked and eat like Roman provincial governors. She'll have fried scorpions and worms and crickets and roaches and you'll have Spracon (Spring + Bacon) Rolls. The two of you will be leaning against the pillowed headboard at 3:00 a.m. in the morning while the city sleeps completing step two of the only two things people really want to do. Bonk and eat. You'll be getting bacon bits stuck between your teeth and she'll be spitting scorpion legs and cricket wings out onto your limp dick because it amuses her. You'll never be happier. And I think Spracon Rolls is a hell of a clever name. May start selling them here next to my birds."
Me–"I think you're a genius. Thanks."
Birdman–"By the way: there is a sure fire 100% never fail instantaneous cure for diarrhea if you are interested."
Me–"OK, what is it?"
Birdman–"Bird seed mate. If I get the runs I just open one of the cage doors and scoop up some seed off the bottom and chow down. Stops you up immediately. Guaranteed."
Me–"What did you say?"
Birdman–"Just take the heel of your hand and scrape up what's on the bottom of the cage."
Me–"Aren't the birds shitting on the bottom of the cage?"
Birdman–"Yes, but that's the beauty part."
Me–"OK, I can't believe I hear myself saying this; but why is that the beauty part?"
Birdman–"Well, as a nutritional support; all the birds have calcium sticks in their cages that they eat so their droppings are full of calcium. The calcium in their shit acts as a binder in your shit. Believe me, birdshit and birdseed will have you stopped up like a cork in a wine bottle.
In fact as a way to pay back the community for the many happy years I have had here in Pattaya I always leave one cage unlocked in case someone has the runs. So if you see a bargirl scooping up some seed off the bottom of the cage you know she has got a really bad case of the . . . ."
Me–"Er–Gotta go. Thanks."
So that is what I intend to try next time I am in LOS. I'm going to stuff spring rolls with bacon and see what happens. Other people on their exotic vacations to Siam sign up for advanced Thai condiment cooking classes at the Oriental hotel, or participate in a Mahoot-For-A-Day program in Chiang Mai, or take Thai female classical dance classes, or stumble through an advanced seminar in Thai dipthongs; I'll be stuffing Khao San Road spring rolls with bacon bits. I'll do this within hopping distance of a bathroom the first time just in case; but I have high hopes for this new part of my life. So if some year you and your laughing honey with the brown skin and the dazzling white Isaan teeth are ambling down Khao San Road and you see a slightly aged slightly disorientated farang stuffing bacon bits into a spring roll and smiling like a monkey that has just discovered his wing-wang; that's me.
Postscript: Oh, and G.L.–the woman whose name I couldn't remember earlier? Her story is coming up in a submission called GUTTER LICKER. Stay tuned Stickmanites. I've had a few beers and am considering going all the way to Thai Thoughts and Anecdotes Part 1000. I figure this will be easy. I already have 100 submissions in the bank so all I have to do is marry a Thai woman for three years and chronicle each day of heaven and hell in the three year marriage. 900 days and 900 submissions. Easy. I'm a man with a plan. And a beer.