Time To Get Out Of Town
If the first rule of survival in the Orient is never to f… with someone else's rice bowl, then the second rule of survival in the Orient might be to know when it is time to get out of town.
Phuket was not always an overcrowded playground for drunken Eurotrash on one month holiday with bellies full of overpriced lobster loaded on the latest designer drugs boogying to high decibel techno-pop with snooty tattooed exorbitantly overpriced mehthed up (ya ba in the colloquial dialect) bar girls. Bangla Road in Patong Beach was not always so crowded that you could barely walk down the sidewalk. It was not always populated by throngs of large mannish looking overly aggressive katoeys who would just as soon slip barbiturates or Rohypnol into your Mekong coke and thieve your last satang as look at you.
There was a time when there were no 5 star hotels. There were 17 magnificent tropical beaches each maintaining its own unique personality. The cognoscenti would speak about the island in a hushed sort of reverence. If you don't already know, then I ain't a gonna tell you.
Scenes tend to occur in waves of three. The first wave brings the few, the adventurous and the enlightened. The second wave brings more, it brings the avant garde. The third and final wave brings the masses. The masses tend to be asses and they murder the scene.
Now the scene can stagger on for a considerable length of time. What it becomes is a gross caricature of its former self. Just think of the 1976 version of Elvis Presley, drugged up, obese, out of touch with reality, and surrounded by leeches and parasites who pawned themselves off as his friends, forgetting the lyrics to his songs on stage strutting around like an overstuffed goose in that white rhinestone speckled jump suit, even that magnificent voice was starting to go.
Compare that with the 1956 version of "The King", svelte, hair slicked back pompadour style driving a pick up truck with an acoustic guitar slung over his shoulder fresh off of a military hitch…heir apparent to Frank Sinatra as "The Great American Crooner". He sang black music to a young white audience and when he shook, wiggled and moved with those deep pelvic thrusts from the waist down, preachers would rail against him, television stations would censor him and beautiful women would swoon in his presence or risk serious bodily injury to retrieve one of his sweaty snot rags.
It was the power of the almighty dollar and the passage of time that turned the 1956 version of the King into the 1976 version of the King.
It was the power of the almighty baht that turned pre-commercialized Phuket into the post tsunami contemporary version of itself.
Just remember that the near perfect vision / version of the tropical island with the pristine white sand beaches and blue green water of the Pacific Ocean is still around in 2006. Will I tell you where it is? Absolutely….. It is on a need to know basis. If you don't already know, I ain't a gonna tell you!
So in slightly commercialized Phuket, Moe (not his real name) and Ryan (not his real name) had become partners. They had signed a long term lease with a local Thai and constructed the best bar / restaurant in Patong.
They had a pizza parlor, a nice air-conditioned bar with a great sound system and some cute dancing girls. The Thai girls wore bikinis when they danced because the powers that be absolutely forbid topless or nude dancing.
Moe said "They don't want to turn this place into another Pattaya. If they ever do decide to permit topless dancing in Patong we will be the first ones to have it. We are on real good terms with the Thai landlord and can probably renew our long term lease indefinitely."
Moe, Ryan, myself and a couple of other American dudes retired to Moe's personal flat to indulge in a few tokes. Moe's flat was a pretty decent small apartment attached to his commercial establishment.
Ryan (the Hawaiian) was a great guy on a personal level but he had a nasty reputation for ripping people off in business ventures.
Moe was just a great guy period. He was honest to a fault. Rumour had it that he was some sort of heir to a pop soda fortune in the States.
He found himself in a "situation" down in Los Angeles where he was prompted to turn state evidence to avoid doing time in the big house. This prompted him to get out of town and transplant his business operations overseas.
"It's pretty good" said Moe.
"After overhead I clear around $500 per week. My biggest expense is the $500 a month I have to pay to the local constables.
I got dancing girls, fried chicken and pizza. I bought the baby elephant for around $4,000. That is less than the price of a car in the States.
The mahout takes care of the baby elephant. I pay for the bananas and give the mahout a little bit of money. I don't pay him too much money."
"Moe, that elephant gets plenty of money for the mahout" I replied.
"What, what are you talking about, how do you know that?"
"Moe, that elephant is trained to take baht from tourists with her trunk and hand it up to the mahout."
"How do you know that?"
"I saw her do it several times. She walks around Patong with that sign advertising your bar draped over her body and hands up money to the mahout."
"How much money does he get?", asked Moe.
"As much money as the tourists give him", I responded.
"I'll have to ask him about that", stated Moe.
Moe showed me his personal zoo located right outside his commercial establishment. He had tropical birds and monkeys and a couple of small brown bears.
"Watch this", said Moe.
Moe went into the restaurant and came out with a big slice of pizza. He waved that slice of pizza back and forth along the cage bars. Some of the sauce and cheese would come off on the bars and the larger (male) of the two brown bears put his nose up in the air. He started salivating heavily from his mouth and growling at the top of his lungs.
"Watch this" said Moe.
He chucked the slice of pizza into the cage and just as the male bear was about to pounce on the slice the smaller female bear comes running out of the corner or the cage roaring furiously. The larger male bear ran away into the corner of the cage cowering and the smaller female bear devoured the slice of pizza.
"How does she get away with that? The male bear is so much larger than the female bear."
"The female bear is older than the male bear. She was fully grown when the male bear was just a cub.
She has been kicking his ass since he was a baby. Now he is terrified of her and he knows his place" said Moe.
"Sort of like Thai bar girls and their farang boyfriends?" I inquired.
Moe smiled and responded "We used to keep them on a leash in the bar, but when they got bigger and started
growling at the customers we had to move them outside to the cage."
"Be careful riding motorbikes around Phuket, bro. There are lots of accidents. One cool thing is that there are no laws against drunken driving here" said Moe.
2 B Continued
authored by MikeyMike
This has potential…