In Love With Thailand, Part 1
I have been reading Stickman for a few years now and the guilt became just too much and I felt it was my duty as a reader to become a writer here if only for this one time.
My story begins just over 3 years ago when I first came to Thighland…I mean Toyland…I mean Thailand! In the 80's I had worked in California at a disc drive company that had a facility in the land of smiles. The engineers would come back after a month or so stint over there, very tight lipped about what they had been up to after hours. A few stories emerged and I knew the place was a little on the wild side. I was married at the time and knew it would be off limits to me and pretty much put it on a shelf in the archives of my mind.
Let's skip ahead to 2000. I'm on wife #2 and in my mid 40's. I have a heart attack and then a divorce in the same month. I have no fight left in me. If I dare go after even half of the house, cars, trucks, hot tub or the dogs, there is a good chance that I will pop the big gasket and end up pushing daisies. The doctor tells me after a couple of heart procedures, that I have to give up the stress. I spend the next 2 years winding things down and of course running into my ex-wife with her new boy-toy. I moved off the mainland US to a place surrounded by water (being vague here to protect myself. My ex-Thai girl reads this stuff!) After a few months in my tropical retreat, I met 'Harry'. Harry used to live here but is only visiting now. He spends most of his time in Bangkok where he attends a gemology school. Again, here is another guy really tight-lipped. I can tell something is up and all he tells me is "Dude!…you have to go to Thailand"! And again I shelve it in the archives of my mind.
A few months later, I get an e-mail from Harry, "Dude!…Rolling Stones, back stage passes"! It will be early April when they play. Unknown to me is that is the hottest month of the year in Thailand. I have a few weeks to prepare and I get myself into a chat room of Thailand and try to pick up a little hint of the culture and a few words to speak. There, I met a couple of very nice Thai women named 'Pim' and 'Oi'. Oi was in her early 20's and wanted to meet me. I told her that I was far too old for her and brushed her aside and took a curious interest in Pim.
I told Pim that I was coming to see the Rolling Stones. She had no idea who they were but that she was going to the south of Thailand with a some friends and I was invited to come along. I was honored I told her but would not miss the Stones for anything. She told me that they had tickets to a Thai Superstar (Bird) and I could come along. Well, as history goes, the Stones canceled the day my plane landed and I found myself in a car with a Frenchman, myself and 3 Thai ladies. I have to tell you, I had a gas! We saw 'Bird' in, I believe, Hat Yai and ended up as far south as Yala.
Now at this naive point of the trip, I had started to show interest in Pim and when we visited her families village near Pattani, I made a few errors. The Frenchman had taken off with the other 2 girls and I stayed with Pim, her in her village and me, 3 km up the road at a resort, alone. I decided to go all out and take the family out to dinner at the resort. I bought the old boy (her father) and his brother a few bottles of Thai whiskey, mistake #1. I was a little puzzled when the father wanted to sit at a table the furthest from the other people at the outside restaurant.
Then the translations started through Pim. "My father want to know what you want with his daughter". I told him that my intentions were only honorable. At this time the old boy pulls out an old .38 from under a cloth napkin. This was to let me know that my intentions had better be honorable. At that point in my mind, I had enough. The next morning I would jump a bus from the resort and go to Bangkok where I had figured out on my arrival there why everyone from my past had been so tight lipped. I felt so guilty that Pim had shown me such a great time and I had to call her to say goodbye and thank you. She said "mai pen rai" and wished me luck. 6:00am and Pim is at my resort room door. We both go off to BKK. We spent one night in BKK…separate beds and then off to Saraburi where she lived. I stayed there one night (separate rooms) and left for BKK the next day…alone. I had 2 days left in Thailand by this time and I have to admit, gave into the temptation of the naughty nightlife my remaining time.
I have to say my time with Pim was nothing short of adventurous. She was obviously poor by western standards but was quite proud to show me the best side of her country. Although I had a mild interest in Pim, I realized that there were many nice women like her in Thailand and some without a gun-tooting father. I had fallen in Love with Thailand. As true love often goes, you can never hate after wards. I was already planning my next trip on the way back to my Island home.
Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become.
When the old guy pulls a gun out, that'd be enough to scare the best of us!