Beer, Boom Boom And Tales From The Baan
I have been reading lots but writing nothing so here goes. Being over the hill I have to choose between beer or "boom boom" – cannot do both at the same time.
It was on a "beer" night that I happened into a girly bar in Ao Nang. I had to be up at 5 the next morning so I was up for a few beers and a good sleep. However I wanted to check out the talent for future reference. All the girls had a crack at me but I explained the situation, bought them a beer and they seemed happy. However the boss figured it was not proper for a farang to sit alone so she went and fetched the cleaning lady who was also a little over the hill according to her.
I did not know at the time but she was a widow who had arrived that day with the express purpose of finding a farang and had spent her last cash making an offering to Buddha. She is a real devout Buddhist so when I showed up she thought I was the one, the answer to her prayer. I found all this out later but in retrospect it did seem from her attitude that I was expected.
I finished my diving course and took her up to Laos to do a visa run and to visit the family at Udon Thani. She had a big house and a vehicle she could not make payments on and was in danger of loosing. I figured it would be good to have a base in LOS and a vehicle instead of renting those dreadful underpowered motorbikes. That's how it started – she was 44 with two school age boys. She had farmed out with her sister in Bangkok and I am 18 years older. Not exactly what I would have gone after but the way things turn out she is hard to beat for "thriftiness" and common sense, good in the sack also.
She had 15 rai of land producing very little, only some poor looking sugar. It was rented out to a sugar grower, they never use fertilizer. They deplete the land in about two or three years and move on, nasty people. I got rid of them quick and we decided to plant rubber. We now have 100 rai ready to start producing in about another two or three years.
I stay in the village about 15km out of town, and see all the local action. The local bargirls come around for advice on how to catch a farang. The problem is the bargirls have a problem giving up life in the fast lane. My wife never had that problem as she never smoked, drank or played cards. Some of the younger cute ones do the time, share things as soon as Tommy has gone back to England or Fritz has gone back to Germany and they are off to Phuket to land another one.
There are no land lines in the village, only cell phones, so nobody knows where they are. I like the life in the village and can go into Udon for "real" food and to use the net.
My idea of a good trip to Bangkok is to take the night train down, arriving at 7am, and after doing whatever to get back on the same train at 8.45pm that same evening. However one time I had been to Rayong doing a few days teaching and arrived at Hualampong to an empty platform. That was before the MRT and the taxi I got from Silom was slower than the second coming. When I went to window one to get a refund the ticket man asked me if I really wanted to go that evening? I asked how? He said go with my friend and you can catch the train. I asked if he had a taxi. He said taxis are too slow, need a motorcycle. I followed this fellow with a limp and away we went.
I have tried all kinds of dope it my time but no rush can compare with that ride. I did it once and survived, we caught the train at Lak Si, I had the shakes for a while after and it took about half a pack of smokes to unwind.
Before I send this in I should qualify a couple of statements. The term "thrifty" does not mean that she does not like to spend money. Spending is something they are born to, just like a Scotsman is to saving. She spends wisely. She would not let me buy her a bunch of roses on Valentine's Day a couple of years ago. Instead she took me to a garden center and bought four rose bushes, took them home and planted them. We have had roses ever since.
The reference to "real food" means farang food or Thai food. Isaan food is not for me. If it moves or used to move its food. We have a swampy area on our land and the swamp feed lots of people keeping them in frogs, snails, eels and all kinds of insects. Bad but not as bad as plaa raa. They roll the fish in rock salt still flopping around and put them in a jar for a year to ferment uggh!
I consider myself lucky after reading Private Dancer. It could have been me. I've seen lots of farangs come to the village thinking with the wrong head. If she had not sunk the hook good I could have gone that way.
A bit of advice. If you are going to get married, make sure it's a registered marriage. It opens many doors. You can get a house registration book, a drivers licence and an "O" visa which means no more visa runs. The village piss up and bits of string marriage is fun but it does not mean much.
More stories about the bargirls returning to the village could be fun. I can only imagine some of the shenanigans that must go on. And what does the local boyfriend think when he sees his girl taking a foreigner to stay in the house. I mean to do such in Bangkok or Pattaya is one thing, but in the village?!