The Bizarre, The Ridiculous And The Plain Weird
The more time you spend in Thailand the more likely you are to accept the bizarre, the ridiculous and the plain weird as being completely normal.
At first, it’s the little things. Like seeing four people on a motor scooter driving on the wrong side of the road. Them stopping to ask a policeman for directions…..and him supplying the information before waving them on their way. Perfectly normal. Doesn’t even warrant comment.
Then, sometimes things happen or you see things that make you think, ‘wait a minute, that’s not right’. You might give it a second thought but pretty soon, your first reaction to any unusual event in Thailand is to shrug and say to yourself ‘Ah well, this is Thailand’.
I would like to relate a few stories of incidents and events that I witnessed recently, in Bangkok. All these things happened within the space of a few days, which suggests to me that bizarre, ridiculous and plain weird are indeed, normal everyday occurrences in the LOS. I offer no hypothesis or analysis, just the facts as I saw them.
The Dollhouse Party and the Crying Businessman.
The other evening I was strolling along Soi Cowboy minding my own business. As I passed by The Dollhouse a couple of farang guys standing outside caught my attention. Both were forty to fifty years old and were respectably dressed in long sleeved shirts and both were wearing ties. Their appearance suggested they were either in town on a business trip or maybe they worked here. The thing that attracted my attention to these two ordinary looking guys was that one of them was crying! Howling like a baby. His face was contorted and tears were rolling down his cheeks. He was evidently very distressed. His mate was trying to console him with some quietly spoken words.
What desperately sad news had the poor chap received to bring out this reaction? I mused as I walked by. One can only guess but for me, being brought up with a stiff upper lip and all that, a grown man does not make a spectacle of himself in the street in this way no matter what news he’s just received.
Ah but, this is Thailand.
Staying with The Dollhouse for a moment, I still can’t decide whether this was a joke or not.
On another evening, I noticed a slight change to the usual Dollhouse format. Downstairs, the girls were doing their usual thing on stage while the upstairs had been reserved for a private party.
I wasn’t on the guest list but the odd thing was that the private party was a wedding party complete with bride, groom and multi-tier wedding cake <Ahhh, this is interesting. someone sent me an SMS inviting me to this party, but I have no idea who it was, so didn't go – Stick>. The downstairs TVs which usually carry football or snooker or Formula 1 had been rigged to show the wedding photos of the happy couple. The bride looking radiant in her white, flowing wedding gown and the farang groom looking like the cat who’d just got the cream.
I wondered if the bridesmaids were bar fineable. Indeed, I wondered if I had barfined the bride before. Somebody tell me this was a joke.
The Queue Tickets and The Homosexual.
A few days ago I had to go to the bank. I don’t look forward to visiting the bank because of the shear numbers of people and the queuing and the waiting.
On this occasion, the bank was very busy as it was the last Friday of the month. I took a queue ticket from the little machine and was dismayed to see that over one hundred customers were in front of me. I took a seat expecting a long wait.
After a few minutes a woman sitting next to me asked if I had a queue ticket. She was well meaning enough and probably assumed that because I am a farang, I was probably too stupid to know that I needed a queue ticket. I showed her my ticket and she nodded her approval.
Next thing, a Chinese looking guy came and sat directly opposite me. He kind of nodded a greeting to me as if he knew me from somewhere. I returned the greeting, as you do and wracked my brain trying to place his face. I concluded I had not seen him before.
As the Chinaman sat and waited, I noticed he was half reading a book and half looking around. I took no notice of him until he too, asked me if I had a queue ticket. I nodded and showed him my queue number, which was number 389. The bank was now serving number 295.
“I don’t like to wait long” he said.
“Neither do I,” I replied “But what can you do?”
He smiled and opened his book to reveal a stash of queue tickets. He selected one, number 311 and placed on top of the papers I was holding.
“You don’t need to wait too long now” he said.
I spluttered a ‘thank you’ and tried again to place this guy without success. I definitely did not know him.
With that he got up and went to the bank teller window. It was his turn. I used the ticket he gave me a few minutes later. As I left the bank, I noticed the Chinaman had concluded his business with the bank teller and had sat down again. He had resumed his half reading and half looking around.
You figure it out.
We Know Where You Live.
This was a slightly more worrying event.
The other evening I was leaving the Rajah Hotel car park. I often park there and the attendants greet me with recognition. They don’t know my name and I don’t know theirs but they see me often.
This particular evening as I pulled out of the car park, a guy standing on the pavement called to me and waved. It was what he called out that stopped me in my tracks. This guy, who seemed to be a taxi driver knew my home address which was what he shouted out when he saw me.
I hardly ever use taxis from Soi 4 as I almost always have my car. Furthermore, my home is about forty kilometers from Sukhumvit Soi 4. The really worrying part is that this guy therefore knows that if my car is parked in the Rajah Hotel car park, the chances are, I am not at home.
A bit of a worry, that.