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What’s A Barfine?

  • Written by Fordy
  • September 13th, 2006
  • 13 min read


About 36 years ago or once upon a time, I ventured out of Australia, Melbourne to be exact. The trip was 3 days in Perth, 1 week Thailand and 2 weeks England. The prime reason for visiting Perth was to visit my friend who owned 2 bars in Patpong, one being the Mississippi Queen and the Tahitian Queen in Pattaya which in those days had motel units behind the bar as part of the complex.

On arriving in Perth (3 hour flight) a lady friend I knew from Melbourne and who was kind enough to let me stay at her place and act as my guide while I was in WA met me, off to her place, a few Swan beers and down to Fremantle to visit my friend the bar owner. He filled me in a little (very) bit what to expect in Thailand, also it had been pre-arranged for his Thai wife to meet me at the airport and for me to stay at his place whilst in Bangkok (I already knew her from OZ).

On the last day my lady friend took me to a nude beach, the temperature had not been under 42C since I arrived and my white Melbourne bum had not seen the sun for many a year. I had to lay on my stomach for most of our time there, after scratching a hole in the sand, because there was a game of all girl beach volley ball in progress and they were all stunners. You can not imagine the pain that night, not in the bum but on the bum. The flight left for Bangkok midnight and I could not sit.

Midnight, off we go the plane is only 1/4 full, not so bad. Now back in those days the airline I flew with the cabin crew were all male and a bit suss. I explained my problem to them and was told to walk around until someone came for me. After all passengers seemed to be asleep except poor me, they invited me into the kitchen area where they dispensed the drinks and food. All the cabin crew were there, party time 6 hours to go. After 2 hours the pain lessened, 4 hours no pain, a couple of the stewards even offered to rub cream on my bum. I declined.

I arrived in Bangkok. Collect luggage, through immigration. no probs, this is easy, where is my friend's wife Da, no sign of her, what to do, wait I can do this I have an address. After wandering like little boy lost a kindly Thai man approached me, spoke good English and offered to transport me to the address I had shown him for $10 Aus. The address was a lane behind the big school near Patpong and off we go at approx 180 km/h, I kid you not.

The road then was 2 lane with no buildings, squatters all along it and at 3 AM no traffic, so the illegitimate son of Sterling Moss did not scare me very much. After driving around the lanes (they are one way, traffic in until 5 AM, traffic out, until noon) my new friend had to knock on a few doors to find the place. We arrive and it's a compound on a corner surrounded by a high stone wall. The place is in darkness but we discover a security gate and set off alarms. A guy turns up with a pack of wolves and my new friend explains to him who I am. Da and her brothers have gone to the airport to meet me (the brothers believe it or not are Ding, Dang and Dong) so no probs the guy keeping most of the wolves at bay escorts me to the front house. My friend sits me down at a table and leaves 5 minutes later. Mum turns up with ice cold Singha (she has been to OZ). Da and brothers turn up about 30 minutes later, by this time its about 5 AMafter discussing what happened, I took all the blame. It's bedtime as Da had to open the bars in the morning (opening hours were 12 to 12).

9 30AM and after 4 hours sleep Da asks me what I want to eat – tea toast jam will do, she has a funny look on her face, the tea arrives in minutes, butter jam the works, time passes no toast. I go out to the kitchen here's Da holding a slice of bread over a burner of a gas stove, I settled for bead and jam. we chat 11 o'clock time to get ready to open the bars I am excited.

We have to walk as traffic is out only, so no tuktuks I am told about a 30 min walk, we get out of the lanes and come to a main road, there are about 10,000 people waiting for the lights, some prick keeps nudging me in the back, I turn around to give him a pay, I near shit myself, it's biggest elephant ever pushing me in the back with his nose, after you mate.

We arrive at The Mississippi Queen at about 11:45, Da wakes up the guard who is locked in overnight the cashier arrives a couple of the day staff, I am handed a Singha were open for business, a few more girls drift in, a couple of customers for a quick fix, girls start playing Thai dice (now illegal) they teach me I win about 60 baht over the day but one of the girls loses 1,000 baht I can see why it is now illegal. In wanders the cabin crew supporting an older gent who is introduced as the Captain, (I had arranged to buy them a drink in return for their hospitality) Sam the manager, Goong the Muma San, Sam a Kiwi who looked like Colonel Sanders and managed bars in Patpong for many years, Goong a pretty lesbian, last gig Rififi until recent renovations. Turn up, I am introduced by Da and it's party time again.

The cabin crew wake up the Captain and carry him out, I think this man drove me from OZ, Da makes sure I have the address to get home money etc, she reminds me of mum and departs, Its dark o clock Patpong is closed to traffic Sam and I are belting the beer down the night staff are here my eyes are popping, the joss sticks are burning, the music starts I am tingling all over, same as now when I type this 36 years later and relive the experience. All of a sudden it's 11:30, you have to be out at midnight or the three ugly sisters dressed in brown will get you, Sam asks me if I want to kick on, is the pope a Ccatholic? Where I ask.

The Grace 36 years ago. What an elegant establishment I think to myself (redeemer 12 to 12 MQ poss 30 Singhas) I can sort of remember going down some steps and down more and finished down in heaven, there were girls to the left of me girls to the right of me and so on, there were hundreds of girls and they were all beautiful and a band, I think, Sam said trying to bring me out of my trance you better have a beer, good idea Sam, wait a minute, darling I say to beautiful on my right would you care for a drink she looks at me stupid, Sam sais something in Thai and she has scotch and coke.

My next recollections are in a hotel naked with a bath running and a naked lady washing me in the bath, then I wake up in bed its about 4 AM, lady gone, wallet still there with 220 baht I think there was 1,000 baht approx there to start, Rolex watch, a real one still there what a nice girl she knew I was greener than grass and left me the taxi fare. Reception arranged for a cab who knew where I was going and he got me where wanted before the traffic turned, he wanted a 100 baht got the whole 220 baht. Guess the wolves were out hunting elephants they were unsighted.

Da wakes me 10 AM, I am still pissed, tea toast she has a toaster, what a good person, SSS get dressed got to open bar Oh goody, crossing the road no elephants pink or otherwise. Open MQ wake up guard, Da have a Singha, it's either have one or die, MMM not bad another one please, one more, and have a lay down on the bench, wake up a skate board with legs is approaching. Not to worry I think I have the DTs I will close my eyes and it will be gone, open eyes, still there, I am eyeballing the biggest cocky in the world, Wide awake! I need a drink.

Sam and Goong arrive, Da sais she will be back at 8 and tells Sam and I not too much Singha as we are going out for dinner, Grouse as I have not eaten except tea and toast for 2 days or is it 3, but her good advise went in one ear and out the other, the not to much Singha that is. 7 PM I think I might have to ease up a little so I decide to go for a walk up Patpong (never been 3 steps from the MQ alone) amazing, girls, girls more girls, no stalls to spoil the view only an elephant or 2 passing by, seems everyone wants to take me to a show. Upstairs I go am surrounded by uglys all with drinks in hand stuffing chits in a cup which I presumed to be mine, I stood take off running charged the door, knocked the door people over and kept running back to the MQ and never went out alone again that trip at night.

Back at MQ Sam introduces me to Meow he tells me she has only worked there three weeks and he really fancied her but could not afford her at present. Thirty six years down the track I have never seen better as good but not better. Da turns up and I ask her can I take Meow for dinner, no she sais but you can take her out later, no barfine, what's a barfine I think, I did not want to appear any greener than I was so did not ask.

The Shangri La was the restaurant a short walk from MQ, I will not to go into the food but for those of you who are still awake and been there will know. I still dream about the suckling pig and think its the best restaurant I have ever dined in anywhere I have travelled.

I could not get back to the MQ quickly enough and Meow, the place is jumping, she comes over and sits on my lap, standing room only, I think how long has this been going on, orders a beer more Brownie points, I am in love! more beers, a friend of hers tells me she has to dance and the dance is for me. Well I am choofed and it all happens for me, in love or lust for sure (later she became the best dancer on the street).

The owner in Fremantle had told me the girls were more than happy with 500 baht (did not mention barfine) so that's squared away so what to do, she has little English so I get Goong who sais no problem Meow fix, 11:45 PM the witching hour approaches, the ugly sisters in brown are coming. We head off up Patpong to the Suriwong 500 baht per night, still and I no longer am a Thai virgin and then some. Morning she shoots through about 6, I later find out she has kids and a husband, I catch up with some ZZZZZs.

Patpong 10am hungry, find a place to eat, chat with some Thai girls who spoke English one was drinking beer, well a man is not a camel, 1 PM already, Da is at the MQ worried about me, what a great lady, she knows I am a beach person and suggests I go down to Pattaya for a couple of days to dry out, she also tells me Thailand is no good for Farangs as one of the 3 Ds if not all will get them. The 3 Ds are Drugs, Dames, Drink. She also says I can take Meow as a guide no bar fine (what's a bar fine) I think sounds good, but did not think it through, Meow had little English, and I did not know had never been to Pattaya, Da arranged we stay at the Tahitian Queen, so the next morning off we go in one of the old buses 2 lane slow way about 4 hours, but they had an ice box of Singha and a toilet on the bus, good way to get off the piss.

We arrive Pattaya, me my normal state, Meow her normal state as I was to find out dumb, much later we arrived at the TQ and the manager made us welcome with many Singhas free, she lived in one of the units, I asked what to do at night she said gogo at TQ, the cunning bitch did not want us to go anyplace but TQ, and we did not know shit, I could see the lights of walking street in the distance, but there were only a few lights between the TQ and there and I was not game enough to venture out alone, Meow now known as Dumb Dumb could not be woken.

I SSS and try to get Dumb Dumb moving all to no avail, so I venture the 50 paces to the TQ also I pass the managers unit, there seams to be a party, food drink etc, I am invited for free, later, much later I resume my Journey to TQ help! I missed the rear entrance and are on Beach Road. Being a clever Aussie I work out there must be a front entrance, I have arrived the best thing since sliced bread, the only customer, me and about 6 girls, I made two executive decisions, one it's party time, two dry out tomorrow. Had a great time, the suggestions the girls made, Green grass, me thought they were joking. Never mind I was in love with Dumb Dumb.

Returned to the unit at dark o'clock, Dumb Dumb is laying on the bed crying, from what I could work out she thought I had been short time, (did not know what a short time was) she looked after me for what seemed most of the rest of the night.

Last day had breakfast at a hole in the wall next door, don't remember what I ate the whole time at Pattaya, spent the rest of the day at the beach, jet skis etc, no Farangs in sight, had something to eat, Dumb Dumb went to bed I had a couple at the TQ, gazed at the lights in the distance still wondering what they were and to bed.

Last day, boring back to Bangkok, about 4PM Dumb Dumb got me to the MQ OK, and went to get ready for work, I had a few quiet drinks with Sam, Da turned up, a bite to eat, back to MQ, I had to leave for the airport about 8, I was drinking with some Aussies, Dumb Dumb reported for work sat on my knee kissing and crying the Aussies eyes almost were out of their heads, I said you would not back door a fellow Aussien would you, he replied not until your taxi picks you up.

That's when I started to change from green, but still several trips away from becoming white again. If anybody wants to hear more of these ramblings, let me know.

Stickman's thoughts:

I only got to half way.