At Play In The Fields Of Buddha
It’s been quite some time since I posted my last submissions, detailing my first visit to Thailand and all the stupid and crazy things that happened to me. I’ve had a few trips under my belt since then and would like to think that I have
learned a few things along the way, although I still consider myself to be something of a newbie, especially compared to some of the grizzled veterans who regularly contribute to this site. It’s nice to see so many different stories and
viewpoints from so many; indeed, after I returned from spending the better part of two months in Thailand earlier this year, it took me months to catch up on the reading when I got home. After all, when you are there you have far more interesting
things to do than sit in an internet shop and read Stickman all day; if I ever start packing my own laptop around it will be easier, especially with so many places providing wireless service now.
My trips have been relatively uneventful – no heart wrenching affairs with bargirls or sponsorship of same, no injuries or major sicknesses… I’ve met some very interesting people along the way, and now have friends whom I look up when I am there. I tend to stay at smaller hotels here and there, and get treated like family when I am around. I’ve been using the same female driver to get to and from Pattaya for the last two years – a small group of us use her service and it is just great, she is very pleasant, reliable, has a great sense of humour and a newer, well-kept car. I could probably get a cab for cheaper, but it just wouldn’t be the same thing… we are always teasing her about taking her out for dinner somewhere, but it is just in good fun…she does the BKK-Pattaya-Hua Hin run constantly, and gets paid little for the hours she spends behind the wheel almost every day. We tip her well, and wish she could afford her own car so she could make some decent money for a change.
I have a couple of friends who live in Pattaya in the winter months, and return here to northern Canada in the early summer and work until the weather starts to get cold – usually jobs involving construction and/or machinery. Sometimes I am lucky enough to catch them over there, and party for a while. I also have friends who live full-time in my same general region, but take their annual vacations during time frames overlapping with mine, and we usually hook up in Bangkok or Pattaya. It’s a loose arrangement – we’ll go and party together one night, then go and do our own thing for the next two or so… I love to meet new people from different countries, and that is certainly no problem in Thailand if you are outgoing at all. I also belong to a couple of message boards, and have met some interesting guys from those too.
Since I don’t have any traumatic tales of bargirl woe to recount, and lack the wacky imagination of our star contributor Dana, or the sheer wealth of in country experiences of those such as Union Hill, Thai Ties, Marc Holt , and so many others, I will just present this submission as a series of observations and vignettes from my various trips.
It is my first night back in BKK. I have landed, taken the escalator up to the departure area, and grabbed a taxi to my hotel on Sukhumvit, strategically located just around the corner from Soi 4. The cabbie is hitting 160K at times on the way in, mai pen rai, traffic is light and I just want to get out of travel mode. I get to the hotel around 11:30 – time for a quick shower, change of clothes, and out the door…damn the jet lag, it disappears as soon as I smell that heady mixture of smog, street cooking, sewers, and whatever else adds to the general miasma of urban Bangkok. Around the corner I go to Nana, and hit a couple of bars before closing time. Then I hang around the Nana parking lot for a while and watch the show…so entertaining, but soon the action starts to ebb as the girls find their partners for the evening – or the next hour or two depending on the deal. I am still restless, and just soaking in the ambience of the hour and location totally…I decide to take a walk down Sukhumvit and check out the sidewalk cafes. A couple of blocks towards Asoke, I start catching up to a girl with a marvellous figure, and long shiny hair, walking along yakking on her mobile. Hmm, thinks I – if she looks as good in front as she does from the rear, I just may score here…I pull even with her, cast a glance in her direction, and she returns it…bingo, Buddha has answered my wishes for tonight.
“How are you tonight?”
“I am fine…”
“Would you like to have something to eat with me?”
…and the hook is set. Pim and I have a pleasant meal on the sidewalk, she making the soup in the hotpot for us, and me enjoying my endless people watching as well as her presence. It’s a great show out there in the wee hours of the morning, and an hour or so later we retire to my hotel for some fun.
(An aside here – as much as I enjoy these late night hotpot meals, I cringe when I think of the damage that could be caused by a drunk stumbling into one of those flimsy little plastic tables, or a couple of rowdies getting into it and sending a few of them flying – can you imagine having one of these hotpots falling into your lap? Yikes…)
The next morning we go and meet one of Pim’s friends for lunch, and I have an instant crush – she is a gorgeous little thing, somewhat shorter than Pim with her slender, willowy figure, but with a fantastic smile and a nice set of tits as well. She doesn’t dress as suggestively as Pim, with her typical bargirl attire of bare midriff and skin tight clothes, and doesn’t appear to be quite as experienced in this life either. We go for lunch in the food court opposite the Soi 7 Beergarden, and I am amused during this lunch by the farang at the next table giving me a big grin and thumbs up for my choice of company! Thanks for the compliment…he probably thought I was going to have a threesome and in retrospect maybe I should have suggested it…
I spent a nice couple of days with Pim – she was good company, never caused any problems for me and knew when to leave. I looked for her the next year I went over, but another friend told me she had moved to Australia, and her lovely little friend had gone back to her home town.
B is one of my friends from Canada – we met in the Hog’s Breath in Nana one afternoon in 2003. The owner, Bob McIndoe, is also Canadian and his bar is a bit of a hangout and rendezvous spot for fellow Canucks. It’s just a little shopworn hole in the wall, but it does have character… Anyway, he and another fellow Canuck were leaving the next day, and I had just arrived, so we had a beer or two and went our separate ways. We kept in touch, and met up two years later. He and his friend – the same one – had come in from Pattaya to BKK to meet some other friends flying in from the states. They were all going to stay at the Grace – B’s favourite BKK hotel where he has been staying for 20 years – and they talked me into booking a room there too. I had never stayed there before, but had been in the “coffee shop” before they started that early closing business – quite a place at 0300 or so!! I knew it was renowned as being a Middle Eastern hangout, but B insisted that they saved a wing just for Caucasians, that being the 8th floor directly above the check-in counter and accessible by a flight of stairs from the 7th floor only elevator. Maybe he was right, the rooms weren’t bad and were a reasonable cost. I didn’t see anyone else up there but us, so I cannot vouch for his claims, but I have heard this same story from others. I didn’t go back again, I don’t care for big hotels that much, and the check-out counter in this one is pandemonium itself. Also I get annoyed with the taxi touts outside – they even pester you on the way into the hotel – why the hell would I need a taxi if I am walking into the place?
B loves the Grace – he prefers women with a little extra flesh, and there is no shortage of them hanging around the Grace at all hours, catering to the majority of their clientele there who also like the chubby ones… We are sitting in the restaurant off the huge lobby one morning and he pulls a sheet of paper out of his pocket. It is filled with girls’ names and mobile numbers. I remark on this, and he tells me that this is just his short list – he has another sheet in his room – an 8.5 x 11 sheet totally filled with names and numbers! B, you are a jao choo makh makh (big-time butterfly), I say… Better be careful…
Ironically, he doesn’t even have a mobile!! He’s never had one, yet he still has this huge collection of girls’ numbers. And even more remarkable, he’s never had one go really jealous or psycho on him – even in Pattaya, he still looks up a couple of the same girls every trip, and they seem to get along just fine. What’s his secret? Probably that he’s just a nice guy, and treats them well. Maybe he’s just lucky, but he’s been pulling trips here a lot longer than I have.
I’ve experienced three Songkhrans in Thailand now – two in Chiang Mai and one in Bangkok. It was a novelty at first but I think now I have had my fill of the occasion.
My first introduction to this festival was a trip I took with my then girlfriend from her home city of Chiang Mai to Mae Sai – we could see the little kids out on the side of the highway throwing water at passing cars and motorbikes, but there was nothing much going on in the city yet. We spent a couple of hours across the border, did some shopping and had something to eat. Then we started heading back for the border crossing, and everything was going fine until the girlfriend got talked into a “trike” tour of the town and up to the temple… We went around the first corner and SPLOOSH! …buckets of water thrown over us. Neither of us was expecting it, and we certainly weren’t dressed for it. We endured several more bucketsful on the way back and forth from the temple, and both looked like drowned rats by the time we got back to the border crossing…I was pretty annoyed because I had my wallet and other documents in my pockets…thankfully I had had to leave my passport at the border so it was untouched. When we got to the car, the lady who managed the lot was kind enough to let us change into dry clothes in her bathroom, and off we went.
The next day it was on in full force in Chiang Mai – it was smoking hot, and I went out with an expat friend there. My girlfriend wasn’t into it, so we made our rounds of the moat area and got pleasantly pissed as well as soaking wet. Everyone seemed to be pretty well behaved, and I got a real kick out of seeing all those little Japanese pickups with fifteen Thais and a huge barrel of water weighing them down…one sight I really enjoyed was that of a long wheelbase Land Rover with a Zodiac inflatable tied on top, filled with farangs suitably armed with water weapons, a real class act…wish I could have gotten a photo of that.
The next year I left Pattaya the day it started, so I really can’t comment on the scene there although I have certainly read and heard about the craziness that goes on. I then spent a couple of days in Bangkok before leaving the country, and saw enough silliness there to not want to experience it again. The water I don’t mind, if I am dressed for it… but I do not like having some sort of powder rubbed in my hair, and then running into my eyes! I started in Nana, then went down to Soi Cowboy, and it was a complete zoo – packed with people, drunk bargirls everywhere, water flying… Suddenly I saw a fight start among Thais, then farangs jumping in, and there were bodies flying everywhere. I saw a Thai get clobbered hard with a beer bottle, and then kicked in the head as well on his way down. There were more scuffles, then it ended and I saw someone start to give the unconscious Thai mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, and this carried on for some time before a police vehicle arrived, and the fellow was thrown into a car and packed off. I read on a message board that he died later, but I have no way to confirm this. Someone on the same scene whom I met later told me it had started over a case of beer or something equally stupid and trivial, and it shows you how fast a fun filled crowd can turn into an ugly mob.
This year it was back to Chiang Mai again…I did the rounds of the moat with the same expat friend as before, and this time his wife came along too. It wasn’t quite as hot as my first time there, but if anything it was even more packed with thousands of Thais, many inching their vehicles around the moat in the crowded traffic. Some of the smarter ones were just taking turns pushing their little trucks around with one to steer! I had a fair bit to drink that day, buying beer on the street as we went along, but I didn’t feel too well the next day and neither did my friends…our theory for this is that there is just too much car exhaust in the air from all those vehicles idling along, and if you are right there in the thick of it you can’t help but breathe it in. On the whole it seemed pretty well behaved, but one farang woman pissed me off by shooting water right into my face at point blank range. I asked her, “Why are you deliberately aiming at my eyes?” She gave me a stunned look, and then said “Mai pen rai, motherfxxcker!!” Yeah, up yours too, you stupid bitch…your eyes are a portal into your body, and many infections that people get are through this avenue…the last thing I want is dirty klong water thrown into them, and when wearing contacts you don’t want anything to get into your eyes. Besides, I just consider it rude to aim anything at a person’s face or head. Unfortunately, this type of event seems to bring out the worse in some people, usually the farangs.
The next day I spent hanging around a couple of small bars in a side street, and we had fun throwing water on the passers by and having an ongoing fight with the next bar down the street. The kids really got into it too and it was an enjoyable day.
I guess Songkhran would be okay if it were just a day or two, but I find it tiresome after a while…it just gets to be too much. I can understand why many expats just leave the country or lay low for a few days when this is going on… a good time for a quick holiday to a neighbouring country with different customs. <I REALLY don't like Songkran for many of the reasons you state here – Stick>
I met T in a Soi Pattayaland go-go bar in 2003; I liked to go in there to cool down in the late afternoons, and got to know the serving staff and management pretty well. T was a lovely young girl of 21, who I would buy lady drinks for and cuddle up to. She was a cute little thing, small and perfectly proportioned other than smallish breasts, and with a flawless complexion and full, sensuous lips. I eventually barfined her and took her home one night, and it was a good night. I never had a return engagement, not that I didn’t want to…I usually do my barfining from beer bars as they fit my budget better, and too many of the go-go girls have attitudes and expect too much.
Fast forward to three years later – I am in the same bar doing my daily routine, having a drink or two with my old friend the serving girl, and she says to me “I have a surprise for you…” – she goes to the back of the bar, and comes back with another girl, and guess who it is? T gives me a big smile and runs over to hug me…we have another drink or two and I decide I just have to barfine her tonight. She changes clothes and we go down to Walking Street for a nice seafood meal, catch some entertainment later and then go back to the room for the night. It is interesting to see the changes that the last three years have made to her – she’s filled in a little here and there, a little more curvy, face a little more round, but still the same flawless complexion thankfully unmarred by those wretched tattoos that so many of the girls are inflicting on themselves these days; her only concession to vanity is a bellybutton piercing, which doesn’t bother me. She speaks better English now, and tells me she has just spent a month on the family farm near Buriram, and you can tell she speaks the truth by the rows of callouses on her hands…it is hard to imagine this lovely little creature slogging away in a rice paddy, but she’s done it. I ask her where she has been for the last three years, and she says she worked at Big C for a year or so, and did other things. She has come back to the bar to work because she wants to buy a new motorbike.
She fascinates me; I think to myself, the girl has turned into a woman…she’s matured so much since I first met her. The changes are all for the better – she is clearly in her prime and I hope that life deals her a fair hand. She writes me the odd e-mail every couple of months or so – just hello, how are you, when are you visiting again? No love affair, no sponsorship, just friends. I will look for her on my next trip, she is a special one to me.
I’ve stayed on Soi 6 during my last couple of visits to Pattaya; there are two nice little English-pub type hotels there with the same owner, and they are great places to stay, in my opinion. Newer, squeaky clean, reasonably priced. No swimming pools, but not a problem to me as I do not swim anyway. Also an interesting group of expats hanging around in the afternoons; mostly British, and all friendly and easy to talk to, although a little difficult for me to comprehend at times with their different accents.
I really don’t get into the Soi 6 short time scene that much, but I love to walk down the street and check out the shopfront wares, so to speak…you see a lot of the same girls every day, but there are always different ones too. I like to hear the calls of “Welcooooooommmme…” “Hello handsum man…” and the occasional plaintive “Why you forget meeeeeee…”… Occasionally I’ll let one of the little darlings talk me into buying her a drink, and rarely, even a trip upstairs.
Of course you have to fend off the attentions of the ladyboys on your trips up and down the street too. When I do not have the inclination to do the social walk, I take Soi 6/1 instead, behind the hotel – more correctly an alley than a real street, although in the last year or so several beer bars have popped up here too. One day I was taking my laundry down this soi to have it done, and ran into a gaggle of katoeys hanging around behind their bar. One put the make on me right away, and I was bantering with him when another butted in and said point blank “I have big cock”. I replied “ Bully for you – you also have a big mouth!”…Oh dear, that didn’t go over well…he got well and truly pissed off, started cursing at me and throwing everything at me that came to hand…I managed to extricate myself in one piece, but then had to return the same way with my clean laundry a few minutes later! He was still pissed off…I guess in future I’d better watch my mouth a little more…must have been a bad loss of face for him.
There have been several articles here about the ups and downs of internet relationships; I have met a few chatfriends along the way, but I only had one actual relationship from it and learned with that one that if you are just a casual tourist, it really isn’t the way to go. It is just too difficult trying to have a long distance relationship, and I am really not looking for a wife anyway. Still, I do like to meet new girls on the net – you never know what will happen, and it keeps me interested in Thailand during the long boring months I spend between visits. I have met a couple in person and taken them for dinner, but the only one I actually slept with was the girl from Chiang Mai, and we were a unit for about a year. I much prefer the no-strings-attached ease of picking up the bargirls whenever I want – after all, whose holiday is it, anyway?
One I met on the last trip is a Filipina working as a nanny in Bangkok. She looked cute in her photos, and spoke good English. I invited her out for dinner, and took her to the “Cabbages & Condoms” restaurant on Soi 12 – an idiotic name and theme for a restaurant, but a nice setting and easy to find and get to.
She showed up in a sleeveless top and a tight pair of blue jeans, with a figure that many a bargirl would envy… very petite and perfectly proportioned, with a cute face and nice smile, and good manners too. It was a real pleasure having a conversation with a girl who spoke good English instead of pidgin "Tinglish”. Our conversation eventually came around to sex and relationships…I knew she was religious, like most Filipinas, and I couldn’t resist it – I asked her “are you a virgin?” Her reply was “Of course I am, I have never been married!”, spoken with total conviction. 29 years old, and you would have to wed her to bed her. It turns out that she is a Pentecostal, and her whole life revolves around her church. She gave me a present at the end of our first meeting, and when I opened it back in the room it turned out to be a religious self-help / improvement book…God and Jesus about 50 times on each page…just what I needed to make my visit to Pattaya more meaningful. Hardcover yet, and when I re-packed my bags later I decided to jettison it to lighten things up a little… I left it in the book exchange in the hotel. I admitted this to her later, and she told me that she cried about it…another soul not yet ready for salvation.
But she is a good friend, and I chat with her regularly. We have the odd religious conversation; I tell her my views on religion, and she counters with her fundamentalist interpretations of same. I told her that in my opinion, the whole idea of heaven and hell is downright silly, and I much prefer some of the Buddhist beliefs. I like the idea of reincarnation, although if I ever come back it will probably be as a baby boy in Somalia, or some such thing. In the meantime, I prefer to remain “at play in the fields of Buddha”…
I really enjoyed your thoughts. Couldn't agree more with you about Songkran too.