A Passion Born
All three of us charged around Don Muang airport like headless chickens. After an interminably quick baggage collection we sprinted out into the main terminal and begged the gorgeous vision in front of us, 'Where can we get a smoke?'. The look
of horror on her face….ooops. All that research and I forget what a 'smoke' is. We cleared up the misunderstanding quickly and laughed our way out into the sweaty heat for a quick puff (of our cigarettes). We hopped into a taxi and
probably got ripped off going to our hotel but, between 3 of us, it was still washers.
I'll never forget that journey. Crazy driver in, crazy traffic amongst a sea of different coloured faces from our own. When we stopped (frequently) the looks we got from the people in cars, busses, backs of trucks. We were different and it was the first time I'd been in that situation. Don't get me wrong, it was fun. A smile and a wink at some VERY tasty ladies was generally met with a smile in return. Even the men smiled back when we nodded our heads acknowledging them. Then I saw her. A tiny little lady in a shop. She was standing on top of a chair cleaning the windows. I nudged my pals and said 'look at how small she is'. The chair was almost as tall as her. As usual, I get caught staring, but instead of being greeted with the standard finger waved in my direction, a huge smile came my way followed by a wonderful window cleaning dance that made all three of us burst into just as huge grins. Welcome to Thailand. I'd like to thank that tiny bundle of fun for setting up our holiday so perfectly. | don't know your name but we owe you big time.
We laughed the rest of the way to the hotel and marvelled at the mad motorbike riders with goodness knows how many people or what else they strapped to the back of their rides. Back home they would have got 100 yards before the blue light behind them was flashing to put them in jail for something that only merits a second glance from astonished tourists in Thailand.
Billy, to his eternal shame, felt tired when we got to the hotel and said he needed a sleep. Rod and I decided to have a shower and jump in a tuk tuk and have a scout around. We had barely stepped out 100 yards when we first got accosted by Pon. '100 baht, I take you anywhere Bangkok'. 'No thanks, we just want to look around ourselves', we lied. 50 yards along the road it was down to 10 baht for 1 hour sightseeing. We knew what he was up to (thanks stickman) and yes, we went along with it and ended up in 'finest tailor shops in city'. Later, he told us he got vouchers for fuel for taking us so his tank was full and any fares he got later were pure profit. he asked us did we want women? We laughed and said 'yep, all the time, who doesn't?' A few minutes later we were in what we thought at the time was heaven on earth. There must have been 100 stunners in the place. I mean stunners. We looked at each other for one second and knew then we had no problem paying for sex. Up until then it was something I never thought I would do. Never had to and it never really came into my way of thinking. I've never had a problem with people who did, I mean what is life without women? then we came back down to earth… 5k they wanted from stupid foreigner (I refuse to use the word farang, more on that later). We thought about it. We really, really thought about it and now I'm home I think that 5k would have been a reasonable admission charge just for the wonderful spectacle in front of us at that time. yes, there are serious moral issues but how quickly our consciences were willing to accept the law of the little head in pushing them aside. Weak, weak men!!!!
We liked Pon. He was fun. He was getting a kickback from that fishbowl. We knew that but his English was good and he taught us our first Thai phrases so we told him to come get us later after we had eaten and met up with sleepy Bill. One kow pat gai with chillies aplenty later we were ready to rock Bangkok. Straight to a bar pon…no messing about. No jewellers, no tailors… just a bar. With women. Billy looked at us…we just said 'Mai pen rai.' Pon laughed at us. Straight in we went and you know the rest. Pon got his kickback, we met three GORGEOUS ladies and a fine time was had by all. Apparently my girl Sao (sp?) had a fine time 3 times in one go. Who knows..but why tell me? One thing that did strike me though was just how enjoyable it all was. Not at all sterile like I thought it would be. We ALL had fun in fact at times there were tears running down our cheeks with laughter. I've heard stories about Amsterdam and how the girls there use lubricants but these girls didn't need any such enablers. I have a theory that they are so small because they lose so much fluid in their sex lives! Anyways, the point being, although no-one fell in love I was surprised at how easily I fell into the viewpoint that no-one was being hurt either. Simplistic beer fuelled argument I know, and I'm not naive enough to think that these girls given other options would possibly not choose the same 'career,' but then again, I'm not entirely sure that they wouldn't either. They took risks going with us that night. We took risks too and I'm also sure that many of their nights wouldn't turn out so amicably. Easy to forget that at the time though and that is where social conscience, however transient and weak at times comes back to bite you in the pleasurables.
One late afternoon later we said our goodbyes and looked for our hung-over Pon. Yep, our driver had decided he could drink up with 3 Scottish blokes and then drive us home…hmmmm? We told him we were going to tour a bit of Thailand and he said come. We went to the Thai tourist place T.A.T. where we got booked for Pattaya, Phuket, phi-phi, Koh Samui, Koh Phangnan and finally back to Bangkok. All flights, transfers, 3 tours (temples, floating market & bridge over the river kwai) and accommodations came to about £650 each. We were told later that we probably could have done it cheaper ourselves but why waste all that time when it took less than an hour for someone else to do it? One note of warning though…Peter, our travel agent told us initially that the price was around £600 ish all inclusive so we said fine. then after booking everything he added on tax of 17.5%. I was really annoyed at this tax being added but I didn't want to cause a scene so I walked outside for a cigarette. He saw my fizzing face (deliberate) and came out after me and asked what was wrong. I told him that I'd asked him 3 times if £600 was the TOTAL price and he said yes. Then he added a tax. We almost got into an argument but I knew from this site that would lead to a no win situation for us. I explained that we did things differently in Scotland and it was our fault that we misunderstood the concept of everything included! He accepted that and said ok he'd see his boss and charge £50 for tax. Car salesman or what? Maybe we got done but hey I reckon we saved about £225 altogether and it was well within our budget so, all went well. Everything was planned for us and to be honest we thought we got exceptional value for money. back home we reckon we'd have paid £2k for what we did get. The hotels were great and the transfers were all timed perfectly with someone always waiting for us to take us to where we were going. No complaints at all.
We left Bangkok pretty happy but the next week or so just put the icing on the cake. Pattaya is one mad, mad place. Ego trip city is what it should really be called. Nothing, not even sites all over the web prepared me for this place. Take any medium sized western city centre, swap most of the shops for beer bars filled with women (and some questionable genders) who all seem to rush out at you trying to drag you into their bar telling you how hansum you are and what they'll do to you. It's like a gorgeous woman walking by a building site getting the catcalls, and more. They feel you up in the middle of the street and as you look up you see you still have another 50 bars in view to walk by. If you don't feel good about yourself and you have no smile on your coupon by the time you walk up that soi you are probably dead. Ok, we all know it's mostly b/s but what a buzz. especially when you walk back down the same street and the girls think you're coming back for them in particular…my favourite was one who stopped me by kicking her leg onto my shoulder. no mean feat…I'm just a touch under 6 feet tall and she couldn't have been much over 5 feet. Oh, did I mention how unfeasibly bendy these girls are? Back home you're doing cartwheels if you find a girl who can do the splits…pffff that is child's play to these lil gymnasts. That kama sutra stuff is easy with stretch Armstrong's human female contemporaries in Thailand. Good guys go to heaven, bad guys go to Pattaya right enough. I'm now officially wicked, sorry mum!!! I'd heard Las Vegas, sin city, was wild. I went there in February and found that apart from the architectural feats there was little of any real 'wildness' to be found. False advertising is how best to describe it. I went to Pattaya 7 months later and found it is understated just how wicked this place is. If Jesus went there I think he'd have struggled to keep that halo intact!!! We met Joy, Jiab, tiam, Nut, Ploy, some strange lady called hostess and a flock of brilliant folks there. We had fun with some ladyboys….not sexual, just a laugh. For information purposes only I'd like to tell the homophobic…these guy/girls are human beings too. They laugh joke, cry and have the same emotions as most of us and when you chat to them they can be as much fun, or as creepy, as anyone else but hey, gender doesn't decide that psychology and social environment shape that. I've read here about how they are so intimidating and pestering and whatever. Our experiences were all pretty positive. Go with the flow, let people live the way they want to and if you don't agree with what they do…walk on by and don't noise them up just because their lifestyle doesn't fit your own ideals. We compared penis sizes with some of them who still had ''em and asked how much they would give us for boom boom. We drank and had fun with them but never really went too far apart from the dry hump competition when we tried as many positions as we could in 60 seconds. FULLY CLOTHED!!! it was as funny as anything that we did the whole holiday the important thing that some people need to remember is we had fun WITH them not at their expense. That's how trouble starts. Same same as back home…act like a twat and you're most likely gonna get twatted. Law of the jungle that is…
Pattaya was fun but it was time to leave. One tiny regret was we never even attempted to find out about any kind of cultural attractions. The girls were just too tempting. No excuses. The hormones were raging and Mr. Freud would have had a field day with our back to basics instincts!
Phuket was a different matter altogether. Bigger and better beaches…we sunned ourselves from the moment we arrived. We were surprised to find it in such good shape post tsunami. There was a smallish vibe of sadness around the place but the Thais seem to be a really resilient lot. The girl I met in Bangkok, Sao, had a huge scar on her thigh. She had been here when it struck and when we talked about it a little she just seemed to have let most of the trauma go. The one thing I can confirm though is that the Thais are really scared of ghosts. She moved to Bangkok not because of the events themselves but because she thought that there would be too many ghosts in the town! Some parts of the town were really quiet. I can't compare it with before as it was my first time there but it certainly wasn't deserted. When we found Patong there were certainly a lot more people than we expected to see…that really is kinda disturbing. Ok, we did the same in Pattaya….morning, noon and night shagging but there is so much more to do than that. We wandered around the back of Phuket found a couple of great bars with really chilled music and weren't pestered by girls. We chatted with the staff and found out what there was to do. We ended up going to the go karts with the staff of one bar…the owner, Jot took us in his jeep along with his wife, Gai and a few of the girls…Tak, Reung, Tiam and an Indian girl whose name I never could pronounce. from that day onwards we did pretty much everything with them and no, we didn't pay for everything. They took us to places where we had feasts fit for kings and it cost buttons. I love the way Thais share food. Just order a dish each and pass it around. Brilliant. If you're going to Phuket go see these folks they're good fun. They took us to remote places just to see views and look around outside the town. What a blast. Get to know the locals is my advice folks, they're just as interested in you as you are in them sometimes. The Jai dee bar next to the tiger entertainment disco in Patong is where we found these guys pop in and say hello and see how you get on. Don't try and hit on the cashier, it's the owner's wife!!
Our favourite place in Thailand however was Phi Phi. That place is just so gorgeous, laid back and unbelievably romantic. It's where I'd take someone on honeymoon. It was the one place we never saw any prostitution. I dare say it goes on but we never saw any. Lazy days on fantastic beaches, mad nights in hippies bar. The fire shows every night are great and Alec behind the bar will give you lessons on how to do some tricks in the afternoons if you want. Be warned though…you'll see some really shitty sights if you wander to the back of the island. Remember this place took a real hammering from the tsunami. It's a miracle that they have started things up again but they have. When we were everywhere else we bargained hard for the stuff we bought but here we kinda let that slide. These people need money to rebuild so if it costs a few pence or pounds more why deprive them of it, you'll save it elsewhere. For somewhere we did so little we fell so hard in love with this place. Get a boat out into the secluded beaches for buttons. It's worth it. Motorboats are best and as usual the fearless Thaïs driving them will attack pretty much any path they take. I swear they have ice in their blood when they drive anything at all…
Koh Samui is a hole. Chaweng is a little England just like the Costa del Sol. Now, don't get me wrong, I've met plenty of really excellent English people. There are however a growing minority of what I term English Twats. You know them…the drunk, aggressive tits who do nothing but eat, drink, shag, litter and defecate wherever they go. I don't claim to have been everywhere in Thailand. What I will say is that some dodgy sewer smells apart, the place is kept impossibly clean. No cigarette stubs anywhere, minimal litter, which considering the lack of bins in view is a minor miracle itself. Chaweng is different and it is in my opinion that is down to one thing only. English Twats. They get their grub in cartons wolf it down throw away the rubbish in the street and then barf their food up all in the space of 10 minutes. A few pints more and they're ready to annoy whoever gets in their path. A quick piss in the streets and then talk to the locals as if they were cotton pickers from the slave trade days. You know, 2 feet away shout 'get me a beer / pizza / taxi' as if shouting louder helps these poor souls understand these idiots better. Not one word of Thai will ever pass their lips. Guaranteed. Why should it…they're from En-ger-land. They even speak in syllables…Bai hai pon, Sola. if en-ger-land is so great stay there. If you're booked up for Samui get a bike and go to the other end of the place as far away from Chaweng as possible. Nothing to do with the locals…they are as usual fantastic.
Oh, another little aside here. I heard one twat complain about how the Thais are only after our money. 1. Well, if that is all you bring to the party why the hell are you so surprised? 2. That is what the tourism trade is about in this world. Go to Scotland and see some dour faced, aggressive, foul mooded assistant treat you contemptibly and expect a large tip for their 'help'. Watch a Thai do the same job with a grin and in such a polite manner for half the cost and it makes everything seem so much better in every transaction. Compare service times all you want…I prefer the Thai way of ripping us off…!!! 3.How the hell do these louts have jobs that allow them to travel so far and wide? I have to save hard to go on holiday to be met with these arrogant arseholes. No wonder I prefer phi phi. In Chaweng the best bar we visited was the Sportsman. Only because it has a virtual golf game there that is a good laugh with a few Singhas. The Penang curry I had there was delicious as was Gan, the waitress. Her dad was the chef and I didn't want to find out how big his chopper was! Another thing I loved about the Thaïs too was their blatant nosiness. Presents left on tables were greeted with 'for me?' or bags opened to see what was inside. 'Oh would look good on me….' you bling me plessen tomollo?' All in good humour in a half joking kind of way. Take offence if you must but I thought it was hilarious. We also found out about the other side of bar life. The girls in one outside bar slept ON the bar with nothing but a towel at night. That broke our hearts. We never slept with any of them but we did take them home with us so they could sleep in a bed and have a shower in the mornings. We bought them breakfast and learned a fair bit that is already documented in this site about how they came to be prostitutes. Sad, sad, sad. We made some good friends though and the e-mails have been coming in since we got home. None have asked for money and I doubt they ever will. Just his and thank yous and when you come backs…we don't have the heart to say Samui isn't on our radar in this lifetime.
Koh Phangnan was a good laugh too. Went to the black moon party. Scene was pretty spectacular, cut amidst the mountains. Not so great if you drink too much cuz there are some pretty steep falls if you step the wrong way. I got bore to death by some Swiss lass telling me the history of Psy-trance and how it all started in Israel and blah balh blah…. truth is I'm too old for it now and I'll sound like my old boy when I say it all sounded the same to me. man that hurt to say. I left and am glad I did. next day I got up hired a bike and went around the whole island. Wats, waterfalls and some pretty damn dangerous slopes for an inexperienced rider like me. Great fun it was with some amazing scenery. Went snorkelling only because we were flying again next day and diving was ruled out cuz of altitude differentials. Never went diving once which was surprising as we had intended doing plenty. We quickly found out though that the best laid plans in Thailand soon dissipate into let's see what today brings!
Back to Bangkok and almost home…that bit stung. We were booked for the floating market trip the next morning but instead we got in a taxi, headed back to Pattaya for a night of depravity with our favourite bargirls. Two of them have now left the scene and one calls me daily. I know she isn't in Pattaya cuz I hear hear the dogs and chickens on her parents' farm. She never asked for any money but I know she needs it and I will send her some. She wasn't a great hooker…I'm a pretty good judge of character. She's too nice for that life and I really want her to stay away from it. I can't afford to support her and I've told her that I'm not in love with her and probably won't see her again. If I can I will but not as anything more than a friend but in the meantime….if she really wants to try to stay away that little guilty bastard in the back of my head says this is the price you pay for doing what you did.
I've never felt so low coming back from a holiday as I did coming back from Thailand. I've fallen in love with the place, the people and just about everything else. It has taken me 3 weeks to work up to writing this email and the holiday blues are starting to lift but only because next week I'm booking a couple of weeks in March. I'm back off to phi phi and right now I'm thinking about how I can make a living there or somewhere close. Some people think they were born rich at birth and swapped in a mix up. I was born Thai…
If only I had time.