Thai Thoughts And Anecdotes Part 147
Jacked on beers–
Sweating like a pig.
Pim holding the chair.
Me handling the rig.
No safes for me–
I'm nobody's fool.
Hold the chair steady Pim–
I'll handle the tool.
Then a horrible slip–
Almost shredding my balls.
Pim's hysterical laughter–
Bouncing off the walls.
There's no explaining Thailand fun.
You can't exceed it–
With a list
And a gun.
So pay attention to this essay
And safer will your valuables
And your cash be.
Recently there has been some talk on the Stickmanbangkok.com site about security issues for the farang hotel guest in Thailand. Various opinions and anecdotes regarding hotel lobby safes and room safes have been opined. I do not use either of these safe alternatives for security purposes having developed in-the-room hiding place ideas that work for me. I went into some detail on this subject in a prior submission. However I do not want to repeat.
My purpose here is to cover some hiding place ideas that I forgot to mention before in a new submission entitled:
OK, THERE'S ACTUALLY NO TITLE–JUST TEN ADDITIONAL IDEAS
FOR HIDING MONEY AND VALUABLES
To change your life and eliminate the insecurity of storing your cash and documents and valuables in hotel lobby safes and in room safes (what a joke) you will need a DSTK.
What's a DSTK you ask? Cripes doesn't anyone know anything? Ok, deep breaths. There, I'm stable now. Anyway, a DSTK is a Dana Security Tool Kit–
DSTK: Union weight long handled carpenter's claw hammer, electric drill or hand brace, 2" paddle bit or brace bit, two or three glass preserve jars with rubber gaskets, one large and one small plastic bag, serrated knife, long handled big slotted screw driver, wood glue, five inflatable dolls (Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, etc), note to maid written in Thai script, and big pile of used condoms.
Ok, now that you have your DSTK information and your computer printer ready here are ten additional ideas for security in the Kingdom.
1. Most hotel rooms have one of those little desks with little drawers. The desk is mostly just for show although I do sit at them to write my postcards and to make notes in my journal. The little drawers are cute but useless. You open them once and look inside and then that is it. What I do is place my documents and cash and credit cards and traveler's checks and plane tickets and other valuables in one of the little desk drawers and then glue it shut. Any cheap white glue for wood is fine. It is important to glue both drawers shut even if you are only using one. That way whomever tries to open a drawer will think they are just for show and not real drawers. Clever huh? On my last day when I am checking out I simply take a hammer and smash the drawer open. No worries mate.
2. If the toilet has a toilet tank I get two or three of those glass preserve jars with the rubber gaskets. I stuff the jars with money and travelers checks and passport and jewelry, hinge down the lids, and then drop them in the toilet tank. Sometimes it is a little crowded in there so you get odd sounds from inside the tank as the various moving toilet tank mechanisms hit the glass jars. But no one ever looks. It's Thailand. You just naturally expect everything to be a little strange. Actually, after a while, you will expect everything to be fxxxed up but I do not want to use vulgar language in an academic tutorial.
How do I think of these ideas? Genius.
3. Tearing up the carpet is always a sure fire security winner. The wall to wall carpet is always held down on tack strips that run around the perimeter of the room. Using your big screwdriver and carpenter's claw hammer (review above Security Tool Kit) pull up the carpet. Put all of your valuables in a pile and then throw the carpet back down. Of course there is always a big lump that can be seen under the carpet but I just throw some clothes over the lump and then put a chair over that. Believe me when I tell you that in the hotels that I stay at none of the maids are going to move the chair or pick up the clothes. And for double sure none of the teeruks are going to notice. Have you ever seen their rooms? Hell, have you ever seen Thailand? Go to the Nana Plaza during the daylight hours and look around at the place. Now tell me someone is going to notice a little lump under your carpet. Ain't going to happen. If your computer printer is broken and you are taking notes the beauty of this hiding place is easy access. Out of sight but not out of your mind and of course easily gotten to. A little like a pre-op tranny's penis. Oops, maybe I've said too much.
4. Another idea bordering on genius is to go down to the hardware store and get an electric drill and drill bit. A paddle bit or brace bit of about 1" width is usually best. Back to the hotel room and drill out the chair and table legs. This is a gut buster requiring a couple of hours and most of the drinks in the mini-bar but when you are done you have places to stash your valuables where no one will look. I know–genius.
A little caution here. One night after a few too many drinks (I'm not a drinker) the drill bit slipped and nearly shredded my testicles. Pim was laughing so hard she was screaming. No, Mr. FOP (Fresh Off the Plane), they are not just spending time with us for the money. We crack them up. This idea that the girls for hire are just spending time with us for the money has been and is repeated with such wearisome repetitude that guys actually spout it now in print as if it were some kind of philosophy. Believe me when I tell you that sometimes it is more complicated than that. We crack them up. They have never laughed so hard in their home village as they have in Pattaya or Bangkok or Patong when telling each other stories about farang. We crack them up. And of course for certain select specimens like myself there is always the sexual selection arena. Women in the Kingdom spend time with me because I am so interesting and handsome. But that is a whole 'nother subject not germane to this serious paper. Anyway, the drill bit slipped off the end of the chair leg and the downward descending paddle bit nearly flapdoodled the family jewels at extremely high speed and with extreme prejudice. Pim screamed with laughter. Thailand.
5. Drop ceilings are almost too easy but even here there is strategy. Take one panel out and leave it out. Leave a chair near the ceiling hole. The motivated maid or teeruk will only look there. Your stuff is way across the room behind another drop ceiling tile. This is why white people have all of the money. Big brains.
This is an example of the magicians trick of misdirection or diversion. For this reason I often find it useful to leave the room with five inflatable dolls scattered about. Maybe one on the bed, and one upside down with her head in the toilet bowl, and one sitting in a chair, and two entwined lesbo style on the floor. Etc. Distracted maids forget to turn the desk upside down to see if you have drilled out the legs. No charge for this information.
6. Cutting the centers out of mattresses and pillows and the foam cushions of chairs is a 100% security winner but try and find a knife first, preferably serrated. I recommend dining at a good Irish steak house earlier in the evening and borrowing one of the steak knives. I have spent way too much time with a bunch of keys trying to cut and slash. Hey, it is supposed to be a vacation. You wouldn't believe how hard it can be to cut holes in mattresses and pillows and chair cushions with just a key. When your thumb starts to cramp and your triceps are burning and sweat is dropping from your nose you have entered the Tourist Stamina Zone. It's Western values time now and screw sanook. You started to cut a hole in this foam chair cushion and goddamned it you are going to finish it even if it kills you.
A little aside note here. I tell ya; when I walk past the Mothership lobby and see all those guys using the hotel lobby safes I almost feel sorry for them. Ignorance and innocence can be a lethal mix when traveling overseas. These travel rubes are so primitive they don't even know about taking the guts out of the rooms air-conditioning unit on the outside window ledge and using it to store valuables (oh yeah, forgot to mention that one). I mean which would you prefer: to be cool or to be safe? Exactly. Bye the way, a special note on this; if you have not brought any climbing rope with you I suggest that you tie together the sheets and make a rope. One end around your waist and the other end tied to the bed leg. Some of these outside window ledges are pretty narrow. I'm just sayin'.
Anyway these farangs lined up at the hotel lobby counter playing with their safe deposit boxes look like giant Pavlovian pigeons waiting for a light to come on and a food pellet to drop down. Pitiful. Next I'll probably be finding that these loin-clothed farang of the travel jungle use credit cards to pay for things when every experienced traveler like me knows that it is much safer to walk around with a giant wad of cash in your pocket. Nobody with an exotic smile is going to cheat me on my credit card. But I digress . . .
7. If you are in one of those high brow urban hotels (I've seen pictures) or family style rural places or hippy dippy 'we are more hip than you' crash pads with potted plants in the room this is just too easy. Put all of your valuables in a plastic bag, jerk out the plant, drop in the bag, and replant. One note of caution if you are in one of those incredibly charming country places where the girls smile, and the birds tweet, and the air caresses your skin: before you reach down to grab the stem of the plant and pull it out of the pot look first. See that skinny green thing wrapped around the plant stem? It's a SNAKE.
"SNAY IN HOW. SNAY IN HOW. SNAY IN HOW". Translation: Snake in house. Pim ain't laughing now. God I love Thailand.
8. This idea just screams MacArthur genius grant. I take all of my valuables such as US $100 bills, and travelers checks, and jewelry, and important documents, and credit cards and put them in a plastic bag and then dump in a big load of used condoms. I then hang this bag of used condoms and valuables over a clothes hanger and then hang the clothes hanger on the clothes rod in the closet. All in plain sight. How can this work for security purposes? Wait, I'm not through explaining this yet. I then pin a note on the bag that says in Thai script:
"Used condoms–please don't throw away–I'm not done being moral and safe yet." Hey, I didn't get rich by ignoring thrift. They are just like underpants. Turn them inside out and use them again.
So far no problems. I'm just assuming that the maids respect my respect for their culture and leave the bag alone. I call it my Korski bag.
Bye the way: this reminds me of a poem–
HEAD TO TOE
It's Korski time
And I want you to know–
It ain't the sixties–
And he ain't on Blow.
He's just smarter than us
And smarter than me.
Check him for footnotes and references and name dropping–
You'll see . . .
So I've stopped all thinking.
I just listen to him.
Goodbye adventure and personal needs–
Now when I deplane–
I want you to know:
I'm covered with a condom
Head to toe.
Good in the rain.
Hot in the sun.
If not much fun.
But fun's not the point–
Or anything that means me.
It's all about Korski's world–
Of that I see.
So now when I deplane–
I want you to know:
I'm condom covered–
Head to toe.
Ok, on to security idea number nine:
9. This idea is so simple I am sure others do it even though I have not read it on any one of these Thai–farang sites. Some stuff is so universal that no one bothers to write it down. A little like pulling on your foreskin and then smelling your fingers every night. Universal. Anyway, everyone knows that foreign hotel guests hide money and valuables in the toes of their shoes. It is the first place that the maids look. In fact this maid behavior is so universal I wonder if it is a part of the Hotel Human Services training for new maids. So the morning after my arrival at the Mothership (aka Nana Hotel) I go across the street to the Mini-Mart and buy about twenty of the little yogurt cups with the plastic spoons. Then every day before I go out I simply spoon yogurt into the toes of my shoes. Lots of it. Pack it in. The maids stick their fingers down there looking for 1,000 baht notes and . . . well, you get the picture. Passing them in the halls I get looks of disdain and fear on their faces.
"Farang baba bobo–Mai dee maak–Yet ped–Tood Muek."
Works for me. My room becomes the room that they just get in and out of. Strip and make the bed–lay out the towels–rearrange the sink stuff–steal some desk top change–and scram.
Hey, and I know what you all are thinkin'. "Hey, hip hop happenin' totally knarly groovy rockin' dudeman Dana; where do you get these ideas?" Well, I'm not like you. Sorry, some of life's lessons come hard. At the start when God was making the diamonds and the flowers and the rainbows and the fishes and the Go-Go boots I was in on every idea (you can thank me for the platypus). You were waiting at the water's edge for one of your relatives to come crawling out. Life ain't fair and we're not equal. So just go with it. Pay attention to these great hotel lobby safe and in-your-room safe alternative ideas. You'll be glad you did.
10. So as you can see there are ways to hide stuff in the room without playing the suckers game of hotel lobby safes and room safes. Hotel lobby safes and room safes. Don't make me laugh. I'm way too smart and way too advanced for that nonsense.
So lastly, if you are in new construction like the Dynasty Hotel units in the alley in the back on Soi 4 in BKK take a large screwdriver and a claw hammer and pull off the wall paneling. You can't do this with painted concrete units or drywall but if the walls are simply cheap scored plywood put up with finishing nails this is easy. A little eyeballing helps first. You want to find a butt joint in the middle of a wall and you may have to pop the floor molding first. Put your valuables between the studs. Push the wall panel back on. I generally have a couple of spray cans of roach killer handy in case there is a tsunami of roaches. Sound like a lot of work? It isn't. We're men–we can do this stuff. Hey, if there is no woman in your room what were you planning on doing anyway? Don't tell me.
Ok, you get the idea. Forget hotel safes and room safes. Strictly for newbies and guys who like to tell stories about five star hotels in Singapore and Hong Kong. I'm talkin' real life for real guys in the Kingdom. Believe when I tell you these 'safes' are the first place thieves full of sanook and smiles look. Oh, and one more thing–do not forget the retail store principle of giving a little to save a lot. All retail stores here in the States like convenience stores have cheap stuff on the counter (penny whistles, gum, cheap crap, toys, key rings, etc.) near the cash register. While you are stealing something worth a penny you are not stealing something worth a dollar. Same-same in Thailand. I always leave the maids favorite candies and snack foods and an ashtray full of small change on the desk. While they are stealing candy and coins they are not looking for my travelers checks. Again–genius and there is no charge.
So to review–if you check into a hotel room in Thailand and the rug is pulled up, and the legs of the chairs and tables have been drilled out, and the window ledge air-con unit has been gutted, and the toilet tank lid is askew, and the sheets have been tied together to make a rope, and the mattress and pillows and chair cushions have holes in them, and wall paneling has been pulled off, and there are discarded yogurt cups under the bed and behind the TV, and there are a couple of drop ceiling squares missing, and the big decorative floor plant is tipped over, and one of the cute little desk drawers has been smashed to bits; I was there just ahead of you. Check the closet for the Korski bag of used condoms. And have a safe and moral vacation.
SCD (Security Chief Dana)
Funnily enough, I am reading this while sitting in a hotel room – and it made me smile, to say the least.