The Best of Both Worlds?
To begin, I have no idea of where this is going because it is definitely a work in progress… this may all end in a nightmarish episode like so many I have read including divorce, losing my job, throwing it all away, or it may end as I hope… short intermittent holidays to the land of milk and honey that I can keep discreet, controlled and balanced.
I am lucky to have already received good advice and a link to the Stickman during my adventures…maybe I will heed the warnings, keep my head on straight and enjoy the best of both worlds… or maybe I will find that you can never enjoy the best of both worlds and you have to pick one… only time will tell…
First of all some demographics, I live in the US, 46 years old, married for 18 years to the same woman, have 3 girls that I adore ages 14, 8 and 4. Wife and I have had our share of ups and downs as in any marriage, but somehow we have always managed to work through them. What is sad is that I don’t know anyone my age who has been married as long as I have.. We met shortly after I got out of the Peace Corps – she is Malaysian Chinese. Have never cheated on her in those 18 years… that’s until I went to Thailand…
I work for a US company and have been on a project in India for the last three months…
While in India, some colleagues from the US wanted to go to Thailand and asked me to tag along. At that time, I was very naïve about Thailand, I knew something went on, but I thought it was tucked away in some red light district… where you had to search for trouble.. I even told my wife I was going…at the time I never thought that much of it…
I took my first trip on August 3rd… we got a place on Soi 22.. walked around and really didn’t notice anything out of place, visited the Rain Shack which was an outside bar across the street. Even at that point, I still looked at the bar girls as waitresses and had no clue that this other reality existed. We then met 4 chaps from Ireland who had been there for a week, as they discussed their experience everything began to fall into place. That night we went to Titanium on Soi 24 and danced with some girls, had a lot of fun and went home alone…
Next night we did a bit of research and discovered Soi Cowboy. I walked up and down the street, was not really interested in gogo bars, we were looking for something a bit more quiet and unobtrusive so we stumbled into one of the smaller establishments… 4 or 5 girls sat next to me and went through the classic, what your name, where you from, yada, yada… I really wasn’t interested and then out of nowhere sat down Chia and my life has not been the same since….it seems like she swooped down from heaven (or hell)… she was the finest thing I had ever seen… and needless to say Chia and I spent the next 2 nights together… on August 6th, I departed back to India to carry on the good work…
When I got back to India, my thoughts kept turning back to Thailand and a very good friend of mine who I had lost contact with several years back… it seemed I remember that he was in living Thailand and this would be a perfect opportunity to try to track him down. After some scouring through the internet and reading English teaching forums, I managed to find him and we made contact on August 9th. Yes, there is a God, he was living in Bangkok, had been there 5 years and definitely knew the lay of the land.
He said, “you need to come over and see me”. I told him I had already made travel plans and would be there on Saturday August 12th. I also told him that there was something he needed to do for me… go down to Soi Cowboy, find Chia and take care of bar fines for Saturday, Sunday and Monday…I was supposed to head back on Tuesday.
A bit about my friend, who we will call Paul. Paul was in the Peace Corps with me in Africa where we met many adventures… he has been living in Thailand, teaching for 5 years… so the guy has experience and he is someone from whom I should take advice…he speaks excellent Thai, is not married, has no long term girlfriends and doesn’t want any. He is what your Thai girls call a classic butterfly who as of yet has not gotten caught in the net…
As good friends should… Paul did as I asked and tracked down Chia…who at the time was very surprised to find a 6 foot 4 inch American dressed with a tie on, speaking Thai, asking all the girls in the bar, “which one of you is Chia?” All the bar girls immediately pointed to her and she thought the secret police had come to track her down… we will come back to Chia since she is our protagonist in the story…
Now as I arrived on my second trip to Thailand, my friend Paul started giving me all the necessary warnings, be careful, don’t get attached, you are an emotional child, these girls are much more sophisticated, don’t be a fool…. he also
led me to the Stickman… <The guy sounds like a genius – Stick>
Well at that point, I did not head the warnings and Chia and continued where we left off… I got us a little place down on Soi 6 and the fun continued…from Saturday to Monday… as Monday afternoon rolled around I decided that Tuesday was not a good
day to go back to India since it was Independence Day and the terrorist warnings about blowing up planes was all over the news. It was a perfect excuse to extend my visit. And extend I did, I did not leave until the following Tuesday… all the
while spending evenings with my friend Paul and Chia. We had the time of our lives, went eating in the evenings, dancing, playing pool, listening to the band at Country Road, staying up late and having more fun than I have had in a long long time.
All the while, Chia is as cool as they come, never asked for anything, (though I paid her well). We got into a couple little spats, but made up quickly… we were basically inseparable. I had a tour guide, a translator, a friend to hang with,
a fellow pool player, a lover all rolled into one package at a price that couldn’t be beat. Had more fun with her in 10 days than I have had with my wife in 18 years.
So on August 22nd, after 10 days in Thailand, I went back to India to finish up the work… well at this point obsessed was not the right word..it was deeper than that… I was leaving for the US on Sept 2nd, and knew I had one more weekend… I started
learning some Thai and quickly made travel plans to return….at this point Chia and I were in contact via cell phone, text messaging and Paul and I had really rekindled a friendship that had started 18 years ago… I was a very happy…
As I arrived in Bangkok, we continued where we left off and continued partying into the wee hours…
At this point let me put in a plug in for Country Road on Soi 19… I arrived in Bangkok from India at 11:40 PM on Friday, I got to the hotel on Soi 19 and checked in at 1:00 AM on Saturday morning….Chia came right over and met me at Country Road and
by 1:15 we had a drink in our hands and were on a roll… The bar has 2 bands that play each night and IMHO both are very good…classic rock and roll, everything from Elvis to Johnny Cash to Pink Floyd and a very lively, fun crowd. On some nights
at around 1 AM, the band breaks into Thai music and all the girls go wild. The bar girls there are not only beautiful but most of them can sing… 4 different bar girls got on stage and were wailing away..we were dancing and having a great time…
I told Chia if she wanted to work in this bar, she better also take singing lessons.. On top of that, when the downstairs closes at 2 AM, you walk straight upstairs where they have a full bar, pools table and full menu until I don’t know
what time… I rolled out of there after 4 AM on a couple of nights…
Anyway the fun and frolicking lasted until Tuesday, August 29th when I sadly said goodbye to Chia, I went back to India, tied all the loose knots and have now been back in the US.
Fast forward to the present, September 22nd. Chia, Paul and I have been in contact almost on a daily basis… my mood has turned from depression when I first got back, to the realization that I am extremely lucky to have a wonderful family, and great
job, and good health, to have been lucky to have even visited Thailand let alone for almost 20 days… and also I have an opportunity to visit Thailand every 2 – 3 months due to the work in India.
My wife only knows about the first trip and I don’t plan on telling her any more she does not know that I plan to visit Thailand on each of my future trips to India..obviously I am being a snake but somehow I am justifying it in my own mind by
the fact that I seem happier and if I am having an “affair” it is not with anyone right under nose…
Back to Chia… I sent her a little money right after I got back just to do something nice, the text back and forth had all been pretty innocent… and then Wednesday I got the following text message, “Chia not working today. I have something worg (wrong) at bar I go see my baby I can’t work again I fine (find) new job I so said boss not pay nothing for me..”
My reply..”Did you go to the bank and get money I sent…?
Her reply..”yes I go get today I go to pay for room but now I have small money can I borrow your money 3500b, I have new job but no have room for me September”
At this point, I thought time to engage my old sage Paul and get his opinion on the situation..here is that email trail…
From: Soi Sip Kaow
Date: Tue, 19 Sep 2006 07:34:45 -0700 (PDT)
Can you do me ANOTHER favor, call Chia and get the real story on what is going on..I talked to her on the phone, apparently her daughter was sick and she went back to ISAAN over the weekend and when she got back to the bar, they fired her and now she
is working at one next door. I have already sent her some cash, I just want to make sure this story is on the up and up. Don't worry it wasn't much, and I have read Stickman from beginning to end, so I realize the pitfalls..but I have
a secret weapon that some other farangs don't….its called you 🙂
And his reply
>Paul < email@example.com > wrote:
Your secret weapon is useless boy as long as she knows I am your friend. Of course she will tell me the exact same thing she told you. Does it make any difference what the real story is anyway? Would have to send in a friend to talk to her who she doesn't know then if you got the same story it is the truth. I could possibly cajole a friend into doing it but to what ends? I suggest you send her a little cash if you want to make sure she will be here waiting for you and realize there will be an endless request for cash and stories, some maybe true, to accompany it because that is the way it is. I will stop in at some point to check on her. Paul.
And so I sent here some more cash… she was very grateful and I am glad I could help out. Obviously there is a part of me that wants to save this girl, but I am not even going there. It is what it is, she is who she is and does what she has to do to survive… I like her and she acts like she likes me…enough for me I hope…
I have now booked my next trip for early November, will be in Bangkok for 4 nights… we will see where this road takes me.
Let me add one last note… for you guys that are beaten down on Thailand, (as my buddy Paul was / is at times)… take a hard look and visualize your life in the US… if you think it would be better than get on the next plane, but if not, then get up every morning and kiss the Thai ground (even if is strewn with cigarette butts and beer) and count your blessings… because IMHO Thailand is the top of the heap… people are polite and service-oriented, things work for the most part, the food is excellent, it's clean, testosterone levels are low and you know the rest of the perks…if at any moment you think Thailand is a pain in the butt, come and spend a few weeks with me in India…
If the Stickman will allow me, I will update occasionally….
Yes, please do update occasionally.
It is good that upon returning to the US you realised that you have a lot going for your life back there. I am sure there was a time when you were super excited by and madly in love with your wife….and now, well perhaps now it is not quite the same. While it looks like Chia is just a bit of fun, I hope it stays like that. She may be fun for a while but a lack of excitement enters all relationships eventually. I am starting to sound like a lecturer here, not my intention, so will shut up.