What’s A Barfine Part 2
The second trip about ten months later, 1970 something and I had a travelling companion, the girl's named him Atuka and it still sticks, no pun intended. Why you may ask? There was a movie showing at that time called The Atuka Man, this white guy just appeared in the jungle fully grown, but knew nothing, e.g. he saw a fire, said pretty, tried to pick it up and said hot, the girls named him within an hour. So my girlfriend, Dumb Dumb will revert back to her real name, Meow.
We arrived in Bangkok at about 4 PM, straight to the Narai at $45 per night, a good deal, a few beers, down to the Mississippi Queen and no Meow, I am heartbroken. She has not worked there for 3 months. The doorman Chi, who walks like Fraser's father knows where she is and offers to get her the next day. My friend Atuka who is 6 ft 3" and 24 also has never been anywhere is lucky. He attracts a lady with a body like Elle, a heart of gold and a head like a Norton Manx.
Midnight is near. Gow, Atoka's new friend says see you outside. It's pouring rain and so back to the hotel, the end of the night I am tired. Atuka is happy. Meow is coming tomorrow, all is great.
The next afternoon Chi turns up with Meow who does not look as good as 10 months ago, but still a better looking girl than I have been friends with lately. Meow does not smile a lot. We decide Pattaya in 2 or 3 days, Gow knows her way around everywhere.
She will not take any money off Atuka and makes us hide when catching, tuktuks, taxis and also shopping etc. You would think it was her money. This girl had a few years on my friend and took us to some very interesting places and good restaurants
all very cheap.
Pattaya here we come, nice bus, beer toilet, arrive about 2 PM. Gow takes us to The Sang Keow, which was about opposite to where Tony's is now, right on the water with the office and coffee shop the other side of Walking Street. Back then Walking Street dead-ended about 30 yards further down. (I now know what those lights were I mentioned in my first submission.) The hotel had about 20 rooms, two storey and an outdoor area, which at high tide had about 5 feet of water lapping at the retaining wall, also a big fridge, which they filled with beer, 400 baht a night room, 20 baht a beer. Bliss.
Next day I find out why Meow did not smile – not many teeth in the front. Gow tells me she has a husband who punched them out and that is why she has no job. I am also told she had a quote of 6,000 baht for new chompers. The next day Gow takes us sightseeing, Buddha on the hill, the island, Jomtien etc. I am spending no money and still don't know what a bar fine is. I'm feeling very sorry for Meow, so kind-hearted me gives her 7,000 baht and tells her to go back to Bangkok and get some chompers. She tells me she will return in two days. I tell her if she is not back in two, don't bother.
That night I try some of the local talent, 100 baht barfine 200 baht tip, starfish, you get what you pay for. Next day we decide to spend the day at Jomtien which was then a stretch of beach as far as the eye could see, with a few palm sun shelters and
fewer people, no vendors, deck chairs and beer came from across the road. Three days pass, no Meow. Gow offers to go back to Bangkok and get her friend Lyn, a very attractive Thai-Chinese girl I had been joking with at the MQ. Before departing
she explains I must pay 200 baht barfine and 500 baht a day to Lyn (now I know what a barfine is). She leaves at 5 AM, back 4 PM.
Gow must have known something. She asks the girls in the office if Meow turns up to tell her we have gone to Chiang Mai. Gow hides us up at Wongamart the next couple of days. Sure enough three days late Meow turns up. Atuka and I liked Wongamart, as it was pristine huge shade trees. We went there most days after breakfast, with the girls of course. We could walk around the point at low tide, they had not land filled it to build the resort as yet, only one concession on the beach. We were their best customers (most days the only customers) about 12 Singha each, soft drinks for the girls and 4 deck chairs, plus food. It never came to over 300 baht each – great times.
I would like to relate a little story featuring Gow.
Walking back along the beach we stopped for a beer break and were sitting on the beach wall. Two Indians approached and offered to tell fortunes, Atuka is hooked, how much he asks? 20 baht. He gets about two minutes, if you want to know more I need 50 baht, says the Indian. Ok was the reply. I can see Gow starting to cook, he gets about 5 minutes this time. If you want to know more another 100 baht. Gow explodes in Thai.
Indian: Sorry I don't speak Thai. (In English thinking Gow does not speak English.)
Gow: Bullshit, you live here, don't tell me you don't speak Thai. I see you long time in Pattaya.
Gow: Fully wound up and very loud, Why you want to fxxx this man, he is a good man, if you want to fxxx someone fxxx me I am a women. In our area you could have heard a pin drop on the sand. The Indians depart with tails between legs and it was the first and last time I heard Gow swear.
Being an early bird, at about 6 AM I used to go to the pier at the start of Walking Street and watch the fishing boats unload their fish, lobsters, prawns etc. which the restaurants purchased directly. Back to the hotel to see if Lyn was awake for the morning exercise program, breakfast and off for the day. We passed the two sister seafood restaurants on the way out of Walking Street, one on the right and one opposite. In the evening they featured the most wonderful displays of live seafood, the like of which you will never see again. The decision of where to dine at night, the one on the left or the one on the right was our major decision of the day. The one on the ocean side is still there and I think is still regarded as the best in Pattaya.
One overcast day Gow suggested we hire a baht bus and go to Chonburi to see the big Buddha on top of the mountain. 400 baht for the day. The Buddha I am told is the third biggest in Thailand, standing at his feet and looking up is an awesome sight. There are about 1,000 steps leading up to the top of the mountain where his head is. Up we went and raised a bit of a sweat. When we got there we discovered a dozen or so monks living there. They made a big fuss over us. Gow tells me a few had never seen a farang before and we were the first to visit them in years.
Down below the Buddha there was a Chinese temple. Inside, set on a stage, were these porcelain figures of gods, some of which were at least 60 feet high. It was the second most (to me) awe inspiring sight I had ever seen, number one being the Golden Buddha. I returned with friends about 8 years ago and were told they were long gone, too valuable to be kept there in one place and so they were dispersed throughout Thailand.
On returning to Bangkok we book into a cost efficient hotel in Silom Road, just up from the Narai for the last two nights. As the money is getting a bit low I settle up with Lyn and tell her that the contract is finished. She says not to worry and that she will stay with me for no money until I go. Also she has to get clean clothes from her room and will be back in an hour.
Two hours pass…. Back comes Lyn in a taxi dressed to kill, gives me a big kiss and pisses off. I ask Gow what happened to "the I stay with you till you go?" Gow tells me Lyn has been told Meow is sitting across the road from the Mississippi Queen knitting. For the past 10 days so, Lyn decided visiting the family was a better option than going to the MQ with me.
About 6:30 PM we walk down to the MQ and sure enough Meow is there. She spots us, runs across the road firing questions at Gow 100 to the minute. The answers must have been ok, as she grabs, hugs, kisses me and gives me the
biggest smile you could ever wish for (a 7,000 baht smile). We enter the MQ, order several drinks and the music starts, Rod Stewart. Meow borrows a costume from one of the girls and boy can she move, with her big new smile she is re-hired on the spot.
A happy ending. We caught the plane home the next day.
How were the bars different back then? How was the way the girls treated you differently? Was getting around easier or more difficult? There is so much more that could be told.