Who Do You Trust?
Remember that old black and white television quiz program ‘Who Do You Trust?’ You would have to be of a certain age.
I wonder if that old game show is in Thailand courtesy of ‘The Twilight Zone.’
I often go to a pizzeria not far from my house. Authentic Italian meals prepared in a wood burning oven. I met an attractive Thai girl there one evening. She spoke good English, was devoid of tattoos and seemed to have a bit of culture. She said she was studying to be an architect and had a few months off from school. I invited her to stay with me and we lived happily together for a month until a friend of mine, Eddie, suggested we take our girls dancing. We went to the Tiger disco in Patong. The girls had a great time. They had so much fun in fact that my girl moved to Patong the next day. A week later I ran into her working in a beer bar on Soi Eric. Eddie's girlfriend clued me in to the actuality that my girl had come down from Bangkok looking to work in the worlds’ oldest profession and had mistakenly ended up in Rawai instead of Patong. That’s how smart she was.
And me? I was even stupider.
I have a Chinese American friend here who claims to have owned two large wine stores in California and says that he also carried thirty brands of single-malt scotch. He often brought this up and told everybody of his plans to teach a course about wine. After fours years of this I had to ask him if this wine class was a figment of his imagination but that never stopped him from talking of his future wine classes.
We went to a few wine tastings together at The Green Man and I soon discovered that he could barely tell red wine from white.
One day he slipped and mentioned the fact that he had worked in a store where the owner carried thirty brands of single-malt scotch.
‘What?’ It was then that I realized that he was fibbing about everything he had told me.
There was a nice looking American man opened up a bagel store in the next town. The bagels were great and were also served with cream cheese and lox. It was a beautiful thing to have this for Sunday brunch in Phuket. I wondered how he could make any money selling just bagels and being open only daylight hours.
The answer was simple – he wasn’t. He borrowed money from investor after investor. No one ever saw a penny in return. After three investors and word of mouth that spoke about more than just bagels, he closed.
My friend Don has a huge restaurant here and when business turned slow after the tsunami he opened in Ko Samui also. He built a factory in Bangkok and made sausages, cheeses and bought whole dressed cows for steaks and hamburger. He started selling to hotels and chain restaurants. He clearly needed help and found it in the form of an American man, William, who had been living here off and on for the past ten years. William had just finished an eighteen month stint in Iraqi. He had made a ton of money and was looking for less dangerous work. He was an old hand here and a good man, an intelligent man. I was happy to meet him and Don sure needed the help. One day William introduced me to his new wife.
She was a nice looking woman and came from Laos. He had met her on a bus in Bangkok, fell head over heels and married her right away. William was fifty-five and she was about forty years old. It looked like a good match if a bit hurried.
She was in Thailand setting up a Laotian weaving business. Her parents owned a huge concern in Vientiane with a few dozen girls weaving on wood looms all day long. It was her idea to set up the same business in Bangkok. It would be a tourist attraction and they would sell all the Laotian silk that they could make.
William rented her a spacious apartment in Bangkok to help her get established while he worked in Phuket.
I came to have lunch in Dons’ the next week and there was William dead drunk hardly able to stand. It seems that the doorman at the apartment called him to say that his wife was selling something other than silk and she had customers all hours of the night.
William hurried to Bangkok to find out what was happening.
A few people knew the woman as she had lived in Bangkok her entire life and the closest she had been to Laos was drinking Beer Lao.
Now William was a guy that had been around for a dozen years but was completely taken in. He quit work and moved away.
Don lost a good man and William lost even more.
I know a dozen of these Phuket Tales, all the same.
They say it’s even worse in Pattaya.
I lived in New York City for eighteen years and thought that I had met my share of liars and schemers but heck- that was only practice for moving here.
The bullshit meter gets a good work out in these parts…