Readers' Submissions

Incountry #17

If you read my last submission than you are aware I live in Pattaya in a nice house in a not so nice neighborhood. I also live with four women. Princess is mine and the other three are her friends. One is not in the business and the other two are. "Little
Bit" is 23, 4 foot 8 inches tall in heels and weighs no more than a average size Soi dog. Song is about the same age, a little on the heavy side but beautiful, speaks no English and has never been involved in the pay for play industry. Sam
is 36 but tells everyone she is 29 and has been in the entertainment industry since she was 18.

Song tried being a cashier in a bar (not go with customer) but something happened with the owner and she quit.

Little Bit with the total sexual experience of only two men in her life has been barfined every night, "long time" during the past ten days. Sam has fallen in love and been swept off her feet by a wealthy Western man and will live
happily ever after.

I like them all. I respect them all. In one way or the other I love them all. I don't however trust them. Not because they are Thai, not because they are hookers but because they are women. I have had 3 legal wives, more kept women than
I can remember, four daughters and over the years have employed more that 10,000 women in both hourly and management positions. I have owned and or managed bars, strip clubs, restaurants, hotels and hospitals in three different countries. Please
understand I am not saying all women are not worthy of trust, just the women in my life. Someone has to get them and you should all be thankful that I have had a whole bunch, saving all of you the problems.

When I left my first wife her father came to me and offered me $100,000 cash and $10,000 every year for the rest of my life to stay with her (this took place in 1970). When I asked him why he replied, "If you leave she will come back
home to live and I think it will kill me." I left, she did and he died in 12 months. She was beautiful, sang opera professionally, had a Master degree, spoke six languages and was every man's dream in bed. Her family was so rich and
famous there is a park in Chicago named after her aunt's cat. When I look back on my life I count the year after I left her as the happiest in my life. Not because I had money or women or riches or fame but because I did not have to listen
to that shrew every day. Sometimes the absence of pain is pleasure.

I feel some readers might like to know what my life is like living with the ladies. So I thought I would detail a couple of days.

I get up around 11:00, since we only have one bathroom and I can relax and go about my morning toilet activities undisturbed or rushed before the girls get up. Today was like most others. I got up and had a banana, some sweet bread and blueberry
yogurt with green tea. I don't smoke in the main part of the house and was in the shoe room which is what my extra living room has become when "Little Bit", came walking in. She normally looks a little sleepy when she arrives after
"long time" but today she had a spring in her step and was singing. I ask her how her night went and she normally gives me sketchy details like, "Oh Kelly I meet Swiss man. He so big I never see before so big."

Today I asked her what was making her so happy. She said, "Kelly I meet Yippoon man, he very small, showing me her little finger and want boom boom four minutes and pay me mak mak."

I asked, "Yippoon boom sing doot?" She laughed and said "so small I don't know, maybe yes maybe no." By this time Princess was awake and listening to us talk and smacked me on the shoulder hard enough to almost knock
me out of the chair as she instructed me not to ask questions like that.

Sam arrived shortly thereafter. She had hooked up with a rich guy and asked me if I would mind talking to him about Visa's. It is not that I am a Visa expert but I have tried to keep well informed about the recent changes because of
how they might effect the local business community. I don't have all of the answers but I think the visa runners population has been drastically underestimated by the government and most other people, along with retirement visas now being
required to have 800,000 in the bank three months before and after the extension (a lot of retirees were borrowing this money short term from visa services) and the virtual elimination of some investment visas. If the new government lets the new
rules stand there will be a lot of for sale signs going up by next summer.

I realize that bar owners, Farang and Thai alike, are not a bright lot. I realize that if sales are down the first action they take is to raise beer prices. If sales go down further the second act is to raise prices again. I also realize
that a 20 year old bar girl with a perfect figure who speaks English is worth the same amount of money as a 44 year old bargirl with three kids who speaks Lao and has stretch marks up to her neck. There is some attempt to make a sliding scale
price structure for feature dancers but the rest of the industry seems oblivious to the fact.

If a Go Go is in a hidden location only known by insiders and is miles off of the beaten track how can an intelligent owner think the bar fine should be the same as a hot spot on Walking street? In some Thai nightlife venues there are superstars
by that name or something close to it that cost 30 to 50% more than the regular girls. However this is rarely done at Farang clubs.

I think every morning the bar owner arrives at work and asks his staff if they have any new ideas to chase away business.

With an average customer age of 67 years old what kind of music would play in your bar? Hip hop or Rap of course. If you wanted people to drink more would you serve cheap or free salty food like every other successful bar in the world? No,
this is Thailand. Better to let the guys eat tainted shellfish on the street and be in the hospital for a couple of days.

When I first arrived in Pattaya I went to the two local Farang hospitals and asked for the application for the kickback commission form to make Farang sick. They both treated me as if I was nuts but I am sure they kick back something to the
thousands of vendors and restaurants that are guaranteed to send you to the hospital after eating there. What other reason is there to serve so much rancid, contaminated food.

Rats are a problem in Western restaurants. Rat droppings dry up and blow in the air and contaminate food with all sorts of bad diseases. In the West restaurant owners trap rats with glue board, standard traps or poison them. Poisoning is
only a last resort because they might die in the walls and the smell of a month old dead rat is almost as bad as that fat chick I used to know in Pittsburgh a long time ago. Once I even bought a 25 caliber scoped Beeman air rifle to pick off one
particularly cagey old rat as he crawled out of his hole after the restaurant closed.

I think every restaurant manager has rat stories but is afraid to tell them in the West. Since I am no longer in the West I would like to relate a couple. In the middle 1970's I was new manager of an expensive steak and lobster house
in Chicago. There were a lot of ex Vietnam vets in the job market then and I had hired two as assistant managers. One night a large rat ambled through the dining room during dinner hours. I was in shock. The wait staff told they had named him
Ben and he made at least weekly appearances. This was totally unacceptable to me and I had a meeting with my two assistant managers after work. What would you expect three 27 year old ex army men to do? We went home and got out automatic rifles,
taped a flashlight on the barrels and along with a case of beer set out to ambush Ben. With all of the drama and seriousness of a VC ambush we positioned ourselves to avoid a crossfire mistake and to put Ben in a murderous field of fire.

We turned out the lights so our eyes could adjust to the darkness and waited. If Ben had appeared right away I think we would have been OK. But it took Ben three six packs of beer to appear. We got Ben. We also killed a bread warmer, two
ovens, an ice cream machine, three light fixtures and a couple of leather upholstered booths.

My next rat story takes me to Denver. Denver is a nice town for restaurants because of the altitude, dryness and cold temperatures there are almost no bugs of any kind. There are rats however. In one restaurant I had a very bad problem and
had gone through three pest companies trying to find one who would be the Pied Piper. The last pest company I hired was owned by an older European gentleman who spoke with a heavy accent. He brought out ten small metal boxes decorated like cuckoo
clocks. Inside of the little boxes was a wind-up spring mechanism that would catapult the rat after entering into a holding compartment in the rear of the box. He told me not to bait the traps. I asked this guy, who looked very much like Pinocchio's
father, why the rats would enter the boxes without bait. He said, "because it look like their house." Have you ever tried to hold an inescapable laugh. My eyeballs felt like they were about to burst. I staggered back to my office before
I burst out in hysterical laughter for at least 20 minutes, leaving my staff thinking the boss had completely lost it. Within a week all of the rats were gone.

One more story about a smaller restaurant in Florida which has as much if not more bugs, rodents and all manner of disease-carrying things in restaurants. Every restaurant has sheet pans. Sheet pans are roughly 2 feet by 3 feet with a one
inch lip around the pan. They are used for baking things in quantity like potatoes or bacon or anything else. Also in most restaurants there is a pick up station in the kitchen for the wait staff to pick up food to take to the customers. I was
in the kitchen along with three cooks and four young waitresses when a rat ran out from under the pick up line. I threw a sheet pan over the rat who was trapped. Then I jumped up and down on the sheet pan until the little fella stopped screaming.
I thought this was an appropriate response as did the cooks but the young waitresses hit outer space. One was crying. One was throwing up and the other throwing things at me.

Since I am attempting to purchase a restaurant in Thailand I have seen the kitchens of 50 or so restaurants in Bangkok, Pattaya and Chiang Mai. If you like to eat in Thailand refuse to look at the kitchen area in a restaurant. Especially
refuse to look at the dish washing area. One of the things I looked for is rat droppings. I also looked for basic sanitation products like bleach. One needs three sinks to wash dishes by hand. One to wash, one to rinse and one to sanitize. Guess

However on a positive note I never saw any rat droppings. Rats are not a problem in Thai restaurants. You know why? BBQ Rat is selling for 130 baht a kilo. It would be like finding a live chicken in a Western restaurant. Guess what the employee
meal is today?

For some local notes. Lucifer's on Walking Street has a new scam going. The lady singer in the front bar has a deal with a female interpreter quasi police employee in the Pattaya police force and if you pat her ass she calls the cops.
The last guy who did it, a Swede, spent time in jail and 200,000 baht to get out of the country without further prosecution. Will this effect the gross sales of Lucifer's? Nope.

The only thing dumber than a Farang or Thai bar or Go Go owner is the average Farang customer.

This may seem a little weird to people not living in Pattaya. But today I asked 20 Farangs in a bar in Pattaya what day it was and no one was able to give me the correct answer although one did know what year it was and I bought him a beer.

I don't mean to suggest all punters in Pattaya are mental midgets. But it is rare that I learn something really new or innovative about the game. Last week there was one notable exception. I met a gentleman who timed his visits to Thailand
based on the dates tuition was due at three major Bangkok Universities. Slightly before those dates he arrived at the Beer Garden in Bangkok early in the evening. He said he had a preference for Law and Medical students claiming they spoke better
English. My hat is off to you Harry. That was a new one on me.

The obvious question is, if all of the bar owners are idiots, why haven't I bought a bar and made a fortune? The answer is, just lucky I guess. America, Australia and Japan have issued travel advisories warning citizens not to travel
to Thailand in addition to restrictive new visa rules that will chase investors, visa runners and others from the shores of Thailand. Major hotel chains are reporting 15% off in the past week. Remember that Thailand kicked out US troops in 1975
that were spending $10,000,000 in the local economy each year. A part of the Thai culture is shooting oneself in the foot every once in a while for kicks.

So who do the new visa regulations and coup fears benefit? Guys who are living legally in Thailand on long term visas.

If tourism plummets in one year the baht will have fallen 20% relative to Western currencies and the bar fines and beer prices will go up to cover the customer shortfall. Will hotel and housing prices go down? Nope. Thais would rather have
an empty property than one earning less than they think it is worth. This is not a uniquely Thai concept. Most corporate executives would rather hire consultants to explain their failure rather than go out on the street and get some business.

Except at Chiang Mai Kelly's bar, A Go Go and Berserko Lounge. Bar fines will be non existent. Long time will be non existent. Short time will be 300 baht. Dine here or take out. If you dine here short time will be free as long as you
don't mind the stage and the lights.

If you are ripped and have a large weapon I might even pay you to perform.
If you bring your own midget or lady boy I surely will pay you, given the lady boy does not look like a longshoreman from New York, is functional and has never
met Dana. I have met a couple of lady boys who know Dana and they just walk around in a dreamy state muttering strange Buddhist chants and waiting his return.

Foreign beer is overpriced and overrated and if you want one it will not be at my place.

I live with three Thai hookers and one good girl. I am Thai. If you don't like the rot gut swill beer with embalming fluid that is produced in Thailand go somewhere else. My beer will be cheap and made in Thailand, served warm with ice
to water it down and destroy any artificial carbonation it may have had. I am a Thai patriot. As a special added attraction I will offer Dana a large fee to market my bar.

Dana will sit in an antique dentist chair high above the stage in a tin hat and throw free chickens to the audience and Dana signature moisture soluble condoms. We will also sell signed bottles of Dana's Viagra BBQ sauce and Kamagra-flavored
Boston baked beans to go with the free chickens. Because he knows how to market stuff, the chicken is free but the BBQ sauce and baked beans are 1000 baht a pop.

Thai girls like the taste of dick. Thai girls don't like the taste of condoms. I asked them. I know. If they came out with a condom that tasted of rotting shell fish and peppers that would be fine. But there are no condoms that smell
of rotting shellfish and cayenne peppers. I have thought of making a rotting shellfish and pepper condom but have not found any investors so far.

Every day I go to the local Som Tom seller and he crushes me up some old crabs, flies, garlic and onion with a little lime juice and I use that instead of deodorant. I rub it under my arms and chest and crotch and walk through Soi Diana Inn
and within ten minutes have at least twenty bar girls following in my wake.

In the back room at Chiang Mai Kelly's bar, A Go Go and Berserko Lounge I will have a small well equipped emergency room. Having a heart attack? You don't have to go to the hospital. I will get you up and going again in a few minutes.
I will test our bar girls every week for STD's. They will of course still be able to work but I will know who is infected and who is not. For a slight fee on your way out the door Dana will tell you what particular disease your lady had and
we will gladly treat you in our own clinic at a substantial discount.

In case you wonder what brought about the above tirade, it was my experience last week, the same one that caused Princess not to talk to me for a day.

It started simply enough, we walked into the King Kong bar on Soi Six. The lady asked me what I wanted and I told her a Tiger and BJ. She said no Tiger. I told her in very straight forward, if simple Thai, "Go 7/11 buy Tiger and come
back here." She said flustered, "You not on holiday!" I said, "Hell no, I am not on holiday, I speak Thai, I live in Thailand. How many Farang bring a female Muay Thai boxer as a drinking buddy into the King Kong when they
want a BJ?" Princess then stands up and does her little Muay Thai warm up dance in case she has to punch out anyone and the lady gets me a Heineken (TIT). She comes back and tells me it is 500 for lady and 200 for loom. Watching an Aussie
with a 14 incher next to me getting half and half from two beauties, I tell her I no want room. Here is fine. She says I still have to pay for room. I tell her I am already in room and I can't see any logic in paying for a another room. Besides,
I am getting into watching the Aussie, the guy has a lot of stamina. One of the girls with the Aussie keeps looking at that giant thing and moaning I want boom boom that monster.

I tell the waitress I want to speak with big boss who is sitting at bar. He comes over, and asks me what the problem is. I tell him politely that I don't want to pay for a room, I want it right here. Further, I tell him I will give him
1000 baht for two girls but I don't want to pay for a room. I figure I owe the Aussie a show. After all, he has been entertaining me for half an hour. He says, "no can do." Where did this guy receive his business education?

To return to my original story line, the girls took a shower, ate and returned to their bedroom to sleep most of the day outside of a small shopping trip to the gigantic market which appears outside my front door every Tuesday and Friday.
Most things there are 1/3 of the price anywhere else in Pattaya and they have everything from baby clothes to stun guns. The market is located off of Soi Bua Kaow.

A special thanks to the Farang gentleman who has been casually meeting Little Bit at the market and paying for our beer and groceries every day. I wouldn't want the Farang to think that LB is in the habit of lying. She is a good girl
(her customers tell her she is very good). She is studying English in a manner of speaking (when she has an English speaking customer she listens to him. She is also studying Swiss German, Turkish and Swahili). When she says she does not work
in a bar that is a little stretch but almost all of her work is done after she leaves the bar. She does live with Pa and Ma. Pa is a term for old guy (me) and Ma is Thai for dog and I do have a dog. So you are on the right track partner, an outdoor
market is a great place to meet Thai good girls.

At promptly 5PM the girls don their attire and put two leaves of the sacred titty plant in their bras and if it is period time they insert a foam egg to block the blood flow (I think this practice accounts for most of the Virgin stories I
hear from Soi Six) and off they trot to the bar. In case you know any girls who want to make sure they have a customer every night send me $9.95 and I will airmail them sacred titty plant leaves.

Looking in the mirror I realize I need a hair cut and set out to find a suitable hair cutting shop. The last time I went to a barber shop I was 20 years old. At 21 I was getting my hair cut in Long Binh Vietnam, hair cut, massage and BJ all
at the same time for $5.00.

Upon returning to the States I discovered that beauty shops did a far superior job of hair cutting with the added attraction of meeting pretty women at the same time. In fact I have had some wonderful experiences in Beauty shops. Beauty shop
women are similar to cosmetics girls in large department stores. If you are a well heeled traveling businessman new in town, a stop at the cosmetics counter or an upscale hair salon will always have wonderful results in not being alone for the
evening. It was dear sweet 22 year old beauty shop Amanda who had a voice like Betty Boop that invited me to my first swingers party in Tampa.

It was a beauty shop girl who took me to my first nudist resort, she owned the hair cutting shop at Paradise Lakes. Some people like nudist resorts, some don't. I have always felt comfortable in a hot tub with 20 nude women but lately
nudist clubs and swinger resorts in the West have become populated with pros and the level of spontaneity has gone down sharply.

Recently I met three women in Pattaya that I knew in other professions who now work in bars. A caddie, a Tiger Beer girl and a clothing salesgirl from MBK. The Tiger girl was embarrassed and would not tell me how she made the transition and
avoided me like the plague when I called her by her real name as she ate a banana on stage but the other two gave me the whole story. The stories were not tragic but practical. Common sense business moves by business women who liked sex and discovered
they could get paid well for something they liked doing anyway.

I tried two beauty shops on South Pattaya road but they did not cut hair (try and figure that out). Princess walked up to a particularly handsome traffic cop and asked him where he got his hair cut. I think she is in a military mood. She
sometimes misses her Karaoke bar that was populated with Thai Airborne troops.

He points across the street where a masculine looking lady boy is cutting a cops hair. It is a typical old fashioned barber shop with brushes for shaving cream and straight razors and clippers. No scissors in sight. I sit down in the chair
and he asks how I want my hair cut and I point to the cop outside and tell him I am a soldier. He looks at my stomach and doubts that but is smiling because he knows how to do a military haircut. Whitewalls if anyone has any questions. Zip zip
goes the electric clippers and out comes the shaving cream and straight razor just like my grandfather's. Five minutes and Princess is beaming, "you handsome soldier, I like very much." At this point I realize I will have to jump
off the bed tonight yelling Geronimo and slap my chest loudly with my fist and shout, "Airborne." I know this sounds a little strange but foreplay is different strokes for different folks.

Since I am hungry by this time I suggest we meet Mike and his Thai lady at Bob's BBQ. I have never been there before and it is advertised as a Texas BBQ. I lived in South Texas for many years and wondered if Bob had really recreated
a Texas BBQ in Thailand. Texas BBQ is founded on one piece of meat. The only thing that makes Texas BBQ different than any other BBQ is slow smoked brisket of beef. It may be smoked with mesquite, or pecan or numerous other woods but it is always
slow smoked brisket of beef.

Shopping in a South Texas grocery store there are always at least 50 whole fresh (not corned) briskets of beef in the meat showcase. Rarely do you see brisket of beef in a Thai super market. Bob didn't have any either. I had the small
portion of BBQ chicken which was a surprise. It was not cooked too much nor too little and included a cob of corn, French fries and salad. It was enough for two people and Princess ate half.

As we finish eating, Thai ladies phones begin to ring. The Elvis Presley of Thailand is singing across the street with no cover charge. That is in English. I heard it in Thai. So let me translate for you. An over aged pot bellied Thai guy
from Issan who was in his prime 20 years ago is singing at a Thai venue with warm overpriced beer and expensive Thai Whiskey to middle aged Thai women in hopes of his road crew being able to bonk a few of the old Thai ladies for some real cash.
And one way or the other I am going to get conned into paying the bar tab for a bunch of people who I have never or rarely seen before. Oh, and since I was told there was no cover, I am sure there will be a cover charge. I am also sure this is
going to be as much fun as seeing Rod Stewart in a Speedo but I agree to go.

Damn I nailed it, almost. We get there about 10 PM and there is a series of Thai singers bawling out Issan tunes dressed in stiff Thai silk tuxedos. In case you wondered, all of the male Thai singers are for sale, mostly to women but hey,

Another ten minutes and the damsels from Issan start arriving. Even "Little Bit", who has decided to pay her own bar fine shows up.

Why has Princess brought me here? Because I dance. I can dance to Jin Ta La. And I am pretty good at it. It is not what I do but what I don't do. I don't do the twist. It is rather strange to watch old Farang guys do the twist to
Thai music. There was a post here recently that tried and suggest there was a magic formula for success for Thai relationships. Dancing is a big plus. I think it is even more important than acting goofy. I really don't know why Thai women
like goofy acting men but they really do. James Bond is the man of choice in England but in Thailand Austin Powers gets the nod.

I watch Thai TV. The moves are simple if you have any rhythm at all.
A couple of other Thai couples that I only remotely know arrived. No cover? No, they were stopped on the way in and asked to pay 100 baht per person. Who paid? Guess.

Why was I not charged that when we walked in?
Princess says, "this is Chiang Mai Kelly" and I don't get charged a cover. Frankly, I don't know if it is my local notoriety, or the way she pronounced my entry in the
same way one would announce the Prince of Bhutan. Whatever it was I saved 200Baht.
It was nice that all of the waiters ducked so they their heads would not be higher than mine when they passed my table.

Little Bit apparently has the same effect on Thai men as Farang men because the co star of the show appears at our table. Her girlfriend is enamored of the guy but he only has eyes for LB. She tells the co star to get lost and he asks why.
That's when it starts. This diminutive almost midget Thai lady begins her tirade against Thai men.

I no like Thai man. And it went from there. I have never made a pass at LB, she is not my type, she was not speaking for my benefit. The Sang Som and frustration were coming out. The co star was getting uncomfortable but she continued in
Thai only half of which I understood.

Finally, he (the co star) not really understanding or being deliberately dense asks her one more time. She stands shakily up, raises her small arm and makes a fist and proclaims at the top of her voice as she grasps her elbow, " I like

Of course LB is not in the majority. Most Thai women do like Thai men. Why do Thai women pay for sex? I certainly don't have all of the answers but when you are in a Thai nightclub and see 20 Thai men lined up on stage they are all for
sale. If you watch the interaction many things can be learned about how it works. Most Thai men are afraid to dance. There is even a club in Bangkok that you can rent a dancing partner for your date for 10 Baht a dance. The men in tuxedos (every
girl likes a sharp dressed man) all dance and most have good physiques and are handsome. The stigma of prostitution that is prevalent in the West and obvious in some submissions by the negative way bargirls are described and the obvious pride
and almost desperation with which some men proclaim "I have never paid for it", does not exist or rarely exists in Thailand.

I know two Thai ladies that give it away to a Farang and pay for it with Thai men. You have to think about that for a while to get the significance of that.

A Thai "good girl" is a Western construct made up by Western people to give them some way to stay sane and interpret Thai women. Thai women pay for sex and Thai men pay for sex and the only exception is Thai men and Thai women who
don't have the money to pay for sex.

During the show I was watching the chorus line. If you are familiar with Thai night clubs you know each singer has a back up of dancers. This guy had 12 males and 12 females.

The choreography is complicated but almost robotic in execution. There was however one exception in this show. The lady on the extreme right was in her own world. Every time there was a bump and grind in the routine she got carried away with
the bump part. The guy was a celebrity and there were TV cameras there recording his tortured singing. The obviously unbalanced dancer realized she was on TV and was making the most of the opportunity. This upset the rhythm of the other dancers,
especially the lead dancer who was in the middle of the chorus line. They faced a real time communal decision of whether to follow the lead dancer or miss bump on the far left of the stage. Rarely does excellence in performance win over seniority
or tradition but this time for a brief instant the crazy girl was running the show and everyone started bumping. Being a keen observer of female interaction I was enthralled at watching the transfer of authority real time. So much so that on my
way to the toilet I bought a quart of Thai whiskey and had a table positioned backstage in the dressing room area which was just outside the rest rooms.

The dancing ladies looked tall on stage because it was five feet above ground level and they all had long legs in proportion to the rest of their bodies.

After installing myself at the table and offering the crazy dancer shots I found she was much shorter than I had imagined seeing her on stage. She was also far more beautiful close up. All of the dancers were beautiful close up and I passed
around my cell phone so they could enter their numbers as they downed shots like they had been marooned on a desert island for weeks.

I figured I had ten minutes before Princess set out to find me. I was wrong and she was there in five minutes.

It is always good to have an ace in the hole. It is always good to know your turf. Another submission suggested that the words, "I want tourist police" have magic life-saving properties. You should be aware if you call the emergency
Tourist Police number in Pattaya that the person who answers the phone does not speak English.

As a special service to Stickman readers who visit Pattaya I would like to suggest the following aces to keep in Pattaya. Find a local attorney and keep him on retainer in case you need help with the police in the middle of the night. Carry
the business card of a prominent policeman in your wallet. Have at least two local bank accounts, one that does not have an ATM card. Carry the emergency card from Bangkok Pattaya hospital in your wallet. And if you are going to play with 12 dancers
backstage think of something to say when you hear words to the effect of, "KELLY, KELLY, OH MY GOD, WHAT ARE DOING?"

Stickman's thoughts:

Chiang Mai Kelly is always a good read, and this was no exception!