The Way We Were
I was young once…
Like all of you, young and eager to see the world. So I took off with a close friend, similar in age and traveled around England, Europe, USA and Canada, among other places, but not including Asia. At the ripe old age of 24 in one of these places I came across a girl who took my fancy and decided to get married. Big mistake! So we settled down had the mandatory 2+children and mortgage, the career and house with pool and 2 cars. Pretty ordinary really, lots of you could have done that.
One lazy Sunday while having a barbeque with friends, one of them and I started talking about Asia and stories we heard about its exotic locations and decided right there on the spot to join a group tour of Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong. So off we went, just the 2 of us without our wives to explore the mysterious East.
And that was the beginning of my mid life crisis.
Which lasted something like 20 years. I realized all too late that I should have gone to Asia while still young and fancy free, not when I was already saddled with the trimmings of “success”.
However, better late than never, so I began a journey of discovery that I would not have missed for all the tea in China.
I never forget our first night in Bangkok, when Lou and I ended up in a small gogo bar in Patpong. We sat down and ordered a beer each and within a couple of minutes I spotted this girl dancing who just about knocked me off my stool. I said to Lou, “I’m in love at first sight, I must have her, price is no object”. But, alas, there was more to it than money.
I asked her to come to sit with me and bought her a drink, started a conversation with her in broken English and I broached the subject of spending the night with me. She said, no can do. I asked her what was the going rate, I’d gladly pay it. She told me the going rate and recommended another girl for me. I told her I was only interested in her and would pay double. She said no; I said why, don’t you like me? She said she likes me but she can’t go out, as she has a French boyfriend.
I said, “Where is he”?
She replied “in France”.
So I said ”He’ll never find out, I’ll give you triple!” But she would not budge, she just smiled and brought another girl to the table who was available.
Reluctantly, I switched my attention to the new girl, who was pretty nice too and asked her if she was willing to depart with me for the night and for how much, to which she replied with a big smile ”Up to you”.
So I thought, wait a minute, let's try another tack here, and I said, ”How about free?”
To which she replied, ”Up to you, but you have to pay the bar something called a “barfine”.
So we decided to leave the bar and since Lou and I were in a twin share room at the hotel, I could not take her there, so I asked her advice where to go for our romantic interlude.
“Come to my apartment, you’re welcome to spend the night there if you can put up with the heat, as I only have a fan”.
And so we did and I ended up sleeping with her during the whole duration of our stay in Bangkok, heat or no heat. And she looked after me like I’ve never ever experienced in my life.
One of the odd habits she had was to stroke the hair on my arms, it sort of sent her into raptures, which was a turn on for me too.
When the day arrived that it was time to say goodbye, she went into a depressive state, crying and shaking and so overcome with grief, it just broke my heart. We spent about 5 days together in absolute bliss and she was inconsolable with the prospect that she may never see me again.
When it was time to leave I asked her about the “compensation” I should give her and she said ”Never mind, up to you, I did not stay with you for the money”.
I never saw her again in my life, although I went back to Thailand numerous times since, but the time I spent with her changed the direction of my life for ever.
Oh, I forgot, in case you wondered, the events described here took place in November 1977. Those were the days my friends, I’d hoped they never end, but unfortunately nothing ever stays the same….
And those days have pretty much long gone. It may still be possible, but it would be the exception now…