Extracts From The Diary of Dr J A Earnshawe (Part 3)
A Reputable Hotel, Sukhumvit Rd, Soi 4. Sunday 20th March
The little travelling alarm clock, that I had purchased from Mr Ahmed’s haberdashery store, is normally most reliable, but for the life of me I just could not make out why it told me the time was 8 o’clock, and yet outside it was still as dark as pitch.
As I lay, trying to motivate myself to rise, I looked around my Bangkok hotel room. The only reminders of my unfortunate visitor were a damp towel, a clump of black hair, and the empty space that once displayed the contents of my mini-bar. By the time the duty manager, a security guard and a first-aider had arrived, my little bird had flown. It appeared that she had also taken the remaining notes from my wallet – but this was not a great concern, as there were probably little more than a dozen of the funny little notes left. Most of the funds for my vacation remained intact as travellers cheques (wisely, Mrs Thompson at the Post Office recommended this to me). I am only thankful my visitor was not seriously hurt, and dearly hope that the ‘little gifts’ she helped herself to, will help compensate for the nasty experience she had in my bed. Seen in retrospect, I am not now so annoyed by Cummings’ little joke as I was. I will simply laugh along with him. I can take a joke as well as the next man.
By now, I was feeling terribly hungry, but did not want to face breakfast at the hotel. Although the hotel is of a reputable kind, I wanted to avoid any awkwardness at being seen by certain people; the Australian gentleman (if that is not a contradiction in terms), to name one. I considered the possibility that I could go out and obtain some good English fare somewhere, before the appointment that Cummings had arranged for me with his School Principal at noon. I am unable to eat spicy foreign food due to my medical condition, and anyway, I am not really a spicy person.
With some relief, I managed to get out of the hotel and away from its grounds without encountering any of the acquaintances I made yesterday. Confusingly, it was still very dark as I walked down to the main road, passing the roasting cockroaches, which, despite my hunger, seemed no more appetizing than before. What happened next seemed to indicate to me that drivers in foreign countries are distinctly lacking in either driving ability or basic courtesy. I clearly had my foot upon the crossing, yet not a single vehicle made an effort to slow down, let alone stop. However, as a little gap appeared, I confidently strode out into the road. Suddenly, a motor bike headed quickly towards me, but instead of the driver reducing his speed, I am sure he increased it, before screeching to a halt just inches in front of me. This gave me a dreadful fright, so, in the most authoritive voice I could muster, I sternly rebuked him; ‘Young man, if you had taken your time to read your Highway Code you would have known that pedestrians have the right of way at all times, but particularly so on a zebra crossing‘.
It was astonishing, that after my chastisement, he did not seem in the least remorseful, but instead, came out with a ramble of vindictive, as if it was I who was in the wrong.
‘F*** you, you stupid farang a**hole’ – is only a short selection of the abuse I recall.
It was particularly disgraceful, since a lady, a small child and a couple of hens and a piglet, were also being carried on the motor bike (none of whom were wearing crash helmets – if I may make one further point). To avoid further unpleasant confrontation, I ignored him and walked on, but if this is what I will have to put up with from a parent, perhaps I will not find Thai children to be as respectful as I had been led to believe after all.
After crossing the road, I turned right along a footpath considerably narrowed by the numerous vendors hawking their wares. My progress was further delayed by their aggressive touting, and at one point I nearly fell over a beggar, who was literally crawling on the ground! I wandered up a side street in search of something palatable when I suddenly heard a familiar voice call out: ‘Well look if it isn’t the Don Juan of Bangkok himself out on an evening stroll.’
I turned to see the Australian from my hotel, seated at a table with a couple of friends, one extremely large and fierce looking, and one very small – but equally fearsome. At first, I considered pretending I hadn’t heard, and walk on, but then decided it would be rather uncivil of me to do so, particularly after he called out again: ‘What are you up to mate, want to join us for a beer?’
“Good morning,’ I said, ‘I’m afraid it’s rather too early for me, I was really looking for somewhere I could get a spot of breakfast.’
‘Strewth’, he said, ‘its nearly nine at night mate, shouldn’t you be looking for supper? Come and join us we’re just having ours now.’
On this remark, his friends burst into raucous laughter. I couldn’t see anything funny myself, and there didn’t appear to be any food on the table, only beer glasses – and most of those were empty. I again politely declined his kind offer and asked him if he knew of a place I could obtain more substantial victuals. ‘Why yes, there is a little place in the next Soi, it’s run by a Frenchman – he’ll provide you with a nice little dish,’ he said, sporting his peculiar grin, then turning to his pals and continuing; ‘won’t he boys?’
After a second bout of raucous laughter, I said, ‘Thank you most kindly gentlemen, I do partake in a little French cuisine now and again, but I thought I just might grab a sandwich from a shop.’
‘From a 7 Eleven!’ His large friend interjected with some surprise. ‘You don’t wanna go in one of them places mate – they’re brothels. I would stick to the regular European run restaurants if I was you.’
‘Thank you again,’ I said, ‘I will take your advice.’ It just goes to show the pitfalls that exist to the unwary novice in a place like Bangkok, it really was a stroke of luck meeting these gentlemen.
His small friend advised me on the directions; ‘Just turn right up the next Soi, it’s Soi 7-1 mate, go a little way up, and on the right, and when you see a bunch of girls sitting at some outdoor tables you’re there.‘
I felt most ashamed that I had been totally wrong about the nature of my new Australian friend, and perhaps all Australians in general. Like most of us who have never come across people from that part of the world directly, I have relied on media stereotypes such as Jim Davidson to tar our view of a whole nation. ‘I thank you most sincerely again gentlemen,’ I said, ‘I will now go directly to it.’
As I was walking off, his large pal called out some further information on the restaurant they had directed me to, ‘By the way mate, the rule of the house is that you have to select two dishes.’
I turned back and said; ‘That would suit me perfectly, the way I’m feeling now I could easily manage half a dozen.’
There was an exasperated cry of ‘strewth’, from all three in unison, followed by another burst of laughter, if anything, even more raucous than before. After the merriment had died down I overheard the large gentleman say to his company; ‘You weren’t exaggerating about this guy mate – and I always thought POMs were a bit tame in the sack.‘
As I walked to the restaurant I realised that it must indeed be evening, not morning, and rather than have slept a very long time, I had only been asleep a few hours. So it was still Sunday – not Monday morning as I had thought on waking!
Within a few minutes I found the little establishment they had recommended. The ladies sitting outside, who incidentally, turned to smile at me – and then, coincidently, left their seats at the same time as I entered and followed me into the restaurant.
Inside it was rather dark. I took a seat at the restaurant bar where a few other gentlemen were seated. The dining room did nor appear to be visible from the bar. I requested a glass of house red from the bartender, and asked if I could peruse the menu. To my profane embarrassment, instead of the menu, she mistakenly handed me some kind of sexual catalogue. I left it where she had put it on the bar and went on drinking for a few more minutes. The lady bartender seemed to become rather impatient with me and said in a rather agitated voice; ‘When you choose? Why you not pick?’ A lady came from behind me, where, incidentally, quite a few others had gathered, saw my discomfort, and kindly asked if she could help me. ‘Yes please, if you wouldn’t mind, I am not sure if I have been given the correct menu. I am rather desperate to eat, I rather like French but I am flexible – I understand I must select at least two?’
‘Yes, it no problem you come with me, I wear nurse uniform, will take care you.’
‘I say, that is rather interesting.‘ I said, You are a nurse?’
‘Up to you’, she rather strangely replied.
I’m only asking,’ I told her, ’because one of the things that brought me to your charming country is the prospect that I might be able to obtain a small operation’ (at this point my voice fell to a discrete whisper) ‘on a private area of my body, which I have been keen to have treated for a long time’
As a mature nurse, she wasn’t in the least embarrassed by my revelation, in fact, I was rather taken aback by her frankness, ‘Where you like me operate; your dick, your balls, your ass?’
‘The latter area‘, I said reddening somewhat, and indicating the region of my haemorrhoid problem.
‘OK, for this you must choose ladies to help me from left of yellow line please‘. She pointed behind to where around twenty rather mature and plain ladies had gathered, looking not unlike the nurses we have in England.
She continued: ‘How many nurses you like, or maybe some in school girl uniform, OK?’
My experience with students on work experience is that young people must learn, but certainly not upon my haemorrhoids. ‘I would rather have fully qualified nurses in attendance if you don’t mind.’
‘OK – how many you want?’
‘I don’t know, what number do you recommend?’ I think the important thing is the surgeon who is to perform the operation, not his assistants, and I was happy to leave this matter in her hands.
‘Up to you – take many, very cheap and good, make you happy, one man he take twenty.’
‘Oh, I think three of four will be adequate.’ I said.
‘OK. You like strap-on? She then asked, I thought rather curiously.
I don’t think that will be necessary, after all, I’ll be asleep won’t I? It was now her turn to register surprise. ‘You sleep, when we take care your ass?’
‘I think so, aren’t these kinds of operation usually performed under a general anaesthetic? I explained.
‘OK, up to you – you sleep.’
‘When will the my operation be performed, I only have 9 days left in Thailand and I’ve heard it can be done at short notice?’ I told her.
‘We go now.’ she said with a smile.
‘Now! But I haven’t eaten yet‘. I was a little shocked that my operation was to be performed so quickly and I hadn‘t had time to mentally prepare myself.
‘No problem you eat after we take care of ass, OK?’
‘But where is it? – I mean, is it far? – do we need to take a taxi?’
‘We go out back, walk just up road, go now.’
‘If I can I just finish my drink…’ She interrupted me she seemed anxious to take me to the hospital before I changed my mind.
‘I take drink for you – finish in room.’ Before I could object she took my wine from the bar, gripped my hand tightly and led me out into the street, on the way, summoning three of her colleagues to join us.
As I began to leave with my little entourage, I noticed the proprietor of the restaurant standing near the door. To explain my leaving before I had eaten, I whispered to him; ‘I’ll order a couple of dishes when I get back. It is extremely important to me that I get my rear end sorted out first.’
He smiled, shrugged his shoulders, before remarking; ‘Ah, chacun a son gout, miseur’
The contrast between our own health service, and the Thai private hospital seemed to me to be rather distinct – it just shows what can be done in a free market where customer power is allowed to ensure an excellent standard of treatment.
We soon reached the hospital, a small, unassuming building in the same back lane lane as the restaurant. The nurses had changed into their uniforms and came up with me in the lift to the wards. Although their mode of dress was conventional, I thought that the skirt length was a little on the immodest side, and that the blouses seemed rather more revealing than those worn in my local hospital. I am ashamed to admit, that while we obliged to stand rather close together in the small lift, my amorous propensities became a little agitated, a fact that was not lost on the nurses who pointed and cheekily giggled.
In my private room, I was instructed to shower. Presumably, because I look more aged and incapable than I really am, I was offered assistance in the shower, but I firmly insisted I could manage alone. Before I entered the shower I was advised to keep my head down because of the low wall-mounted TV set in front of the shower cubicle. I ducked beneath it and began my ablutions. I expected a full examination before I was sent down to theatre, so I took my time, washing thoroughly. However, during my shower, my mind wandered to the nurses waiting for me in my room, and yet again, I experienced some difficulty in keeping full control of my passions. I didn’t want another repeat of my embarrassment in the lift, so I turned the water to cold – which did the trick – and helped me retain my dignity when I emerged.
With my modesty covered by a towel, I came out of the shower. Suddenly everything went black. I later discovered that I had banged my head rather sharply on the low TV set, having completely forgotten the warning I had been given. The nursing staff had apparently assumed I had fallen asleep, and had began my examination without disturbing me.
What I am about to describe next is one of those mysterious ‘out-of- body’ experiences, which, when have I read about it happening to others, I have generally dismissed it as balderdash. From now on, I will certainly not be so sceptical about such matters.
What I firmly believe is this; I actually woke up during my own haemorrhoid operation! At first I thought I must not been given the correct dose of general anaesthetic. But then I realised I was actually looking down at myself while being operated upon. I could clearly see myself below as I somehow floated above, as though I was looking up at a giant mirror on the ceiling. What I saw alarmed me. My rear end was propped up in a way that the pertinent parts of my anatomy were unceremoniously exposed, with my feet pointing high into mid-air. I was surrounded by the operating staff – so I couldn’t quite see what was going on, but I certainly could feel it! The pain was absolutely excruciating.
I then began to hallucinate. The technicalities of the operation somehow became entangled with my previous erotic thoughts, which spilled out into my wild fantasies – the nurses began to engage in all manner of imaginable and unimaginable erotic acts, upon me and one another, the details of which are far too embarrassing to recount, even in a private diary. The whole thing may have been an illusion, or perhaps just a vivid dream. I cannot tell for sure, but at the time it seemed all so real to me.
Due to the intense pain from my lower end, or the continuing dizziness from the bump on my head, I must have drifted back into unconsciousness, for the next time I came round the whole thing was over, and the nursing staff were sitting around my bed waiting for me to wake. They were all smiling so sweetly, but I could not return their pleasantness – I was still in pain (and not a little ashamed of my erotic indulgences), but at the same time, I was greatly relieved it was over. One of the nurses remarked: ‘You sleep, but think you have nice dream.’ If only they had known!
‘When may I go?’ I asked weakly.
‘You go now.‘ The senior nursing sister replied.
The wonders of modern medical techniques never cease to amaze me.
However, when I got up to leave I was in considerable pain, and had to be almost carried by the nurses back to the restaurant. Not only that, I was absolutely famished, but imagine my surprise when I was told I had already eaten.
‘Yes, you eat Nan, you eat Nong and you eat Nip, and all we eat you.’
‘That’s absolutely astonishing‘, I said, ‘I don’t remember it at all, anyway, I don’t normally eat foreign food. I must have had too much wine. Was I tight?’
‘Yes, but after we use strap-on and KY you OK’, the senior sister explained.
When we got back to the restaurant the French proprietor greeted me at the door: ‘Was everything to your taste miseur?’
‘To be honest with you,’ I replied, ‘I’m in an awful lot of pain. I know I was a bit tight, but the nurses told me I had eaten at least three dishes, yet I don’t feel satisfied at all, and if it’s no trouble I would like to order a couple more.’
He seemed to show genuine concern about my plight. ‘But miseur, I am sorry there is no time, we close in 30 minutes.’
‘My dear Sir, that is not a problem. I’ll just pay my medical bill then I’ll be off.‘ He then took the nurses to one side for a quiet word. When he had done, the Senior Nursing Sister came over to speak to me.
‘It OK – my boss say for you there no charge’, she explained, ‘Sorry you no satisfy. We come back hotel, take care you, OK?’
‘Really!’ I exclaimed, both surprised and delighted by their kindness, ‘this is outstanding after-care. ‘I’ll be recommending your hospital to all my friends – and I really appreciate help getting back to my hotel, I’m still rather sore.’
I must have looked rather a sorry site, hobbling back along the road supported by my nursing entourage. Unsurprisingly, the three Australians were still at the their table as before, although the number of empty glasses had increased exponentially with time.
I don’t know if it was the alcohol or just sheer surprise at seeming me in such a state, but none of them spoke, they just stared wide-eyed seeming to wait for an explanation.
‘You would never believe it, I actually had several dishes, as well as a full operation on a private area,’ I told them while discretely pointing towards my back passage, ‘Yet, I somehow I still feel absolutely ravenous, but can’t seem to find anywhere else open – so these ladies are kindly accompanying me back to my hotel.’
At last one of them spoke. ’Bu..t.t.t…’ he stuttered, ‘did you sample a full range of their merchandise?’
‘Apparently so,’ I explained, ‘but it seems that none of them were able to fill me.’
I left them, as their eyebrows progressed slowly, but surely, to the top of their heads. I was just as equally puzzled by my normally modest appetite, but had no explanation for it. The Australians had given me their recommendation in good faith – it wasn’t their fault I didn’t achieve satisfaction.
On the way back I had hoped to pick up a little snack, but the only place I saw open was a 7 Eleven. I certainly would never be seen entering an establishment such as this!
As we neared the hotel, there was a faint, recognizable odour in the air. The nurses caught it too, and ran ahead to crowd excitedly around a street vendor‘s stall who was busy at his stove. As I moved in closer my mouth began to water. Then, I saw what was cooking; a beautiful, rich, golden-brown, succulently sizzling, and all appetizingly lined up on the grill in orderly columns. Strangely, any qualms I had previously felt were now gone, all I wanted to do was gorge myself.
I leaned over the circle of nurses and called out to the vendor.
‘I’ll take a dozen of your best cockroaches please, well done, if you don’t mind.’
J A Earnshawe BSc PhD