Towels Make Great Kites
One word can describe Thailand.
That word would be “unbelievable smoking cinder ash hot”. OK, maybe that’s 5 words but I think you get the picture.
The corona of the Sun would have been cooler than Pattaya in the middle of the day so most entertainment involved very little clothing, chilly A/C and buckets of cold water…normally all at the same time!
No kidding. March can be a real scorcher down there so I really had to plan my days around indoor activities or on the water. As a result, I was able to jet ski a few times, I rented a Hobbie-Cat once and even went so far as to visit the water theme park located a few miles from the tourist strip.
That was pretty cool but a 44 year old man sliding down these plastic tubes certainly raised a few eyebrows from the local kids. Did I care?
I was chillen any way I could find.
We did play some golf though and it became a test of endurance to see who could finish 18 holes. Somehow we managed to do that 4 times so by the end of the trip I guess I acclimated as much as humanly possible.
One week I’m skiing in the Japanese Alps and the next I’m roasting my ass off in the world’s largest sauna.
Ya gotta love diversity…
There were 11 of us that went down there this time but we could never seem to get everybody in one place at the same time. Actually, we did get one group photo at our favorite watering hole, Buppha’s, which was right around the corner from the Eastiny Hotel. That’s where everybody stayed. I think that was the only time I saw everybody in one place…except for the lawn bowling…
Lawn bowling? Yeah, I’ll get to that in a minute.
There are just so many places to go that everyone would just wander off in their own direction and we would run into each other occasionally here and there. No worries though because I got a lot of things accomplished that I wasn’t able to do the first time I visited.
I went to the dentist and optometrist. I shopped like a teenaged chick with a new platinum card. I bought some really cool art and I had at least one foot or body massage each and every day!
A buck goes a long way in Thailand…let me tell ya!!!
I was once again was pretty lucky not to get sick during the trip except for my last day there and that is a story all by itself.
Read on, you’ll see…
One lovely afternoon, when the temperature dipped into the low 90’s, (I’m not kidding…it actually got up to 102 one day!) we all were sitting around Buppha’s and somebody (I’ll call him Don) came up with the bright idea of tossing a few balls around the courts while we tossed back a few frosties…this is better known as Lawn Bowling.
It is similar to Bocce except the courts are made out of grass; they are twice as long as a bocce court and the balls are offset on one side with weighs. It’s an English game and the only people in the group who had any idea how to play were Don and I. Everyone else was clueless…and I do mean clueless!
Now imagine a group of men who has been sitting around an outside bar for a few hours trying to stay cool with their favorite beverage and all of a sudden being cast into situation where they had to learn a new game.
They were wandering off getting drinks, asking stupid questions like what the object of the game is, wondering where to throw the ball, and how, in addition to trying to make sense of the complicated scoring system.
Let’s see…the ones who are closest to the little ball (the pallino) gets the points. It not rocket science here folks but you would think we were trying to explain Einstein’s theory of relativity to a classroom of drunks.
After about an hour of finally getting the children rounded up and somewhat interested in the game, we proceeded to play…
Everyone was winging the ball down the court like they trying to get a strike, balls were completely missing the courts only to roll up at a fellow lawn bowler’s feet…3 courts away…and we were certainly not making any new friends with this raucous crowd. I heard “damn yanks” muttered more than once but we didn’t give a rat’s ass because most in our crowd were now well on their way to “three sheets city”…if you catch my drift.
The offset weighs made the balls curve so you couldn’t throw them straight and for whatever reason nobody wanted too…they were throwing them up in the air only to have them come down and take chunks out of the court. If there was an unorthodox way to throw the ball; our group found a way to perfect it. The manager came over more than once to warn us that we weren’t “playing properly” but that seemed to have little effect with this crowd.
To make a long story short, we never finished a single game and we were there for over 3 hours. We finally threw in the towel and called it a day only to hear a loud round of applause as we exited the facility.
What a day…
Speaking of bizarre days, I have to tell you about my last day in Pattaya.
Sometimes an innocuous event turns out to be a nightmare that eventually translates into quite a humorous story. Although at the time, it seemed about as much fun as missing the last chopper out of Saigon; standing on the roof of the embassy wearing nothing but a pair of red, white and blue boxers.
I woke up feeling like I had just been run over by a bulldozer. Not because I had been partying the night before till the wee hours of the morning, rather I thought I had caught the flu somehow in my adventures. I later found out, after returning to Japan, that I had strep throat!
I had all the symptoms…sore throat, stuffy head, headache, congestion, fever and no energy whatsoever.
I couldn’t eat a damn thing so I went back to bed and blew off the myriad of phone calls from my friends wanting to squeeze in the last day of fun. Believe me, even if I wanted to go out, I would have been as lively as Rumpelstiltskin on Quaaludes!
I tried to get as much sleep as possible because I knew the journey back to Japan was going to be a 14 or 15 hour trek and there is nothing worse than travelling when you are feeling like death warmed over. However, this became an exercise in futility because I was tossing and turning on the granite slab that had been billed as my bed. I mean this damn thing could have doubled for a launching pad at Cape Canaveral! It was that hard.
Anyway, I stayed in bed all day and night till I received my “wake up” call at 11:00 PM. I was supposed to check out around 1:15 in the morning and my buddy had arranged for a cab to pick us up in front of the hotel at 1:30. I went about packing my things, stumbling around the room banging into everything that had a sharp corner and generally not being too picky as to how things where fitting in the suitcase. My depth perception was so far off I completed missed my suit case when trying to pack my shoes. I started packing them into the shopping bags I had just taken them out of!
What’s up with that?
I guess the fever was really kicking in and I was starting to feel a little delirious so I would sit down for 5 minute breaks and then continue my endless task of packing my one suitcase.
I finally got everything packed and all that was left to do was jump in the rain locker, get dressed, zip up the travel bags and head downstairs to check out.
This is where it all started…
I had 45 minutes till I had to leave so I figured I could use some fresh air to clear my foggy head. I knew there was balcony attached somewhere to the room but I had yet to visit this little gem. Now I know why! This “balcony” could have doubled for an airline bathroom because it was nearly as big and the sites where similar to what you’d see standing in one of these 36,000 foot shoeboxes. I stepped thru the door, wearing only a towel, to take in the sites from my second floor perch.
Nothing but a 10 story concrete building 15 feet directly across from me, a rickety fiberglass awning covering half the ally way 8 feet underneath me, garbage cans and dumpsters lining the street with no lights, no scenery and nothing at all to look at. To top it off, the AC compressor was blowing super hot air on me so this “refreshing” scene was staring to feel as if I was standing on the edge of an active volcano.
Enough of this crap!!!
I turned around, grabbed the door knob and was greeted with the infamous “click, click”.
I couldn’t believe it, the door had automatically locked behind me and I was now stuck on this 2 by 3 foot wide “balcony”!
Oh, and let’s not forget…I had 40 minutes till I was supposed to be checking out!
I started kicking and beating on the door desperately trying to wrench the door handle free; but to no avail. This door could have doubled as a castle gate because it was made out of solid oak and there was no way I was going to be able to break it down. I mean after all, this nuclear blast door was designed to keep the crooks out of the room; along with your occasional dumbass who locks himself out!
I thought about lowering myself onto the fiberglass awning and then jumping down to the asphalt below but the awning looked like it couldn’t even support a hard rain much less a 200 lb guy. I could just see myself crashing thru the awning and getting impaled on some unseen metal fence below…not a very good option to say the least.
My room windows were about 6 feet to my right but there was no way I could get to them because there was no ledge and they were most likely locked in the first place.
Umm, help…ahhh please somebody help…nah, that ain’t gonna cut it! Hell, nobody would have heard me anyway and they don’t speak a lot of English to begin with so that option quickly faded from my mind.
To my left was a ten foot section of concrete wall between me and a breezeway. The breezeway had a concrete wall with little rectangular holes in it about 2/3 of the way up from the floor. The wall between me and the breezeway did have a little 4 inch lip at the bottom and there were some small electrical conduits to hold onto but I wasn’t really feeling all that well and one small slip and it was back to the crash thru the awning option. Plus I didn’t bring my Spiderman suit with me so this was a last resort option.
OK, final option…climb up to the third floor balcony, knock on the door and pray somebody was in the room. I looked up and saw only dark windows and I’m not really sure anybody would be too happy about some guy banging on his balcony door at 12:45 in the morning wearing nothing but a towel.
Scratch that idea!
Desperate times call for desperate measures so I had no choice but to try and make it to the breezeway. I firmly wrapped the towel around my waist, rolled it over a few times to make sure it wouldn’t slip off and climbed up onto the balconies’ edge. Once I was on the outside, I slowly started to make my way across the 10 foot span of solid concrete wall.
Thank goodness I’m not scared of heights because this traverse was pretty damn hairy even though I was only 20 feet off the ground! I was praying the electrical conduit didn’t pull out from the wall but luckily everything went pretty smoothly until I finally made it to the breezeway wall. You would be quite surprised how focused one gets when faced with this type of adversity. I completely forgot about being sick and just concentrated on the task at hand.
Once I reached the breezeway all I had to do was climb up this 8 foot wall with holes in it and I was home free…so to speak.
As I started my climb I felt the towel starting to loosen. Give me a damn break! I couldn’t loosen my grip on the wall for obvious reasons and every time I would lift my leg, the towel slowly started to loose its grip on me! Come on man, just another 4 feet and I could grasp the top of the wall and then grab the towel that was now dangerously close to becoming a kite.
No such luck…
Just as I was reaching for the top of the wall, the towel unravelled and there she went.
So there I was…clinging to the outside of my hotel building 30 feet off the ground as naked as a jaybird!!!
Does it get any better than this? Apparently it does…
I mean really, what could I do at that point?
I finished scaling the wall and climbed down the inside to finally get my feet on solid ground. Now I still was locked out of my room but at least I wasn’t on my balcony anymore, however, I now had a new situation to deal with…
I was sweating bullets from the fever and my Mount Eastiny climbing adventure, my hair looked like an abandoned sparrow’s nest and I was bare ass naked standing in the middle of my hotel!!!
I searched the entire second floor for some sort of towel, napkin, newspaper, doormat…anything so that I wasn’t streaking down the hallways. As luck would have it I found my maid’s laundry basket and there was one bathroom hand towel and a napkin from somebody’s room service.
I quickly ripped three strips off the edges of the hand towel and tied them together to create a makeshift belt. I then draped the remaining portion of the towel over the family jewels and tucked in the napkin on my back side.
The only thing I was missing at this point was a bandana, some feathers and a spear…give me those items and I would have had no problem fitting right into a tribal ceremony dance around some campfire in New Guinea.
What a sight I must have been!
The only task left was to go downstairs and get somebody to let me into my room. As I lurked down the hallway dashing from spindly tree to spindly bush, I made my way to the stairwell and emerged into the corner of the lobby. Thank goodness it was 1:00 in the morning because the lobby was empty of tourists but there were a few hotel employees milling around.
Not wanting to go to jail for indecent exposure, I gave a few pssssts to the doorman as I tried to hide behind one of the potted plants at the stairwell exit. I got the young mans attention and waived him over. He cautiously approached this very strange looking Farang and asked me exactly what the hell I thought I was doing.
I explained I was locked out of my room, not even bothering to explain my Tonto outfit and told him I would give him 500 baht ($12.50) if he could wrangle a set of keys and open my room within the next 5 minutes.
Money talks in Thailand and this guy sprinted off like he had just found the Inca’s treasure. 20 baht is considered a good tip in Thailand and this guy normally has to work 2 or 3 days to make the kind of tip money I was offering so he completely forgot what I was wearing and was more than willing to help me out.
As I made my way upstairs to wait in front of my room for the bellhop to show up, a couple emerged from their room and walked by me just looking me up and down. The man calmly said in a strong British accent, “Having a rough night mate”?
I replied “you don’t know the half of it” to which he just smiled and kept on walking.
After the bellhop open my door, I gave him his tip, took the world’s quickest shower and made it downstairs for check out just as the cab was pulling up.
1. Never go out on the balcony for some fresh air without a bazooka to get you back in.
2. Hand towels are not considered proper attire when frolicking around the lobby.
3. Potted plants provide no cover whatsoever when one is trying to blend into the background!!!
I told you activities required very little clothing but I think I was stretching the envelope a bit in this particular case.
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