The Chronicles of Foster Foskin’s Adventures in Thailand #9
“Fair dinkum? You want me to walk under the bloody elephant three times? What for?”
The shiela nodded her head and gave me one of them beautiful Thai smiles. “For good luck Khun Foster. You be very lucky when elephant him give blessings.” That didn’t sound too bad, but I should of known there’d be a catch to it.
But what’s a bloke to do, eh? I wasn’t going to take any chances though. I turned to the young nipper accompanying the elephant and pointed to a big bunch of bananas. “How much fer them, mate?”
He grinned and held up two fingers in a V sign to me. Strewth! What a cheeky bugger, I thought, he’s givin’ me the bloody finger! But me shiela said, “He want 20 Baht for banana.”
“Oh, well, er, yeah, orlright,” I says to her, “that’s a lot cheaper than yer fee ter grab me own banana isn’t it love?”
She gave me another wide smile, and nodded happily. I grabbed hold of the bananas and stepped in front of the elephant. I held one out but the elephant swung his trunk up and swiped the whole bloody bunch and flips them into his mouth! I was left holding what looked like a very meager peace offering. But he soon took care of that and snatched it from outta me ‘and too.
I looks him in the eye and whispers, “You stand still now, ya hear ya bastard? I don’t want you walkin’ off just as I get under that bloody great belly of yours and getting’ crushed.”
It looked sideways down at me with one big brown eye and I swear the bugger had a sly grin on his mug. But I wasn’t goin’ to back down. After all, me sheila had already done it without trouble. So I took a deep breath, walked around the side of this great beast, ducked me head and went under. Then I walked behind him, grabbed the end of his tail on the way as me sheila had told me to, “for luck”. So far, so good. I ducks under the belly once more, cringing a bit when the beast swayed while I was down there. But its legs didn’t move and I emerged unscathed on the other side.
As I straightened up I heard a rumbling in his belly. Sounded like he was really digestin’ them bananas, I thinks to meself. I ambled around the back again, reached up to grab his tail and kept on reaching. The cheeky bugger was lifting it higher as I tried to grab hold of it.
“Oh ho!” thinks I. “He’s feelin’ a bit playful is he?” So I reached higher and made a grab for it. I wasn’t going to miss out on this fabled good luck. But the bloody tail kept risin’ and I was on me tiptoes still reachin’ up with me face awful close to ‘is exhaust pipe when all of a sudden the bloody beast lets go a turd the size of a Vee Dub all over me!
Jeez, talk about being up shit creek! No amount of paddles was going ta get me out of this. Then to add insult to injury the elephant turns around, lifts his trunk and lets out a bellow me aunt Mabel in Melbourne must of heard. The bugger was laughin’ at me!
Well, that was enough fer me thanks. I grabbed me sheila’s hand and stomped off ter find the nearest ablutions block ter get cleaned up.
This all started the night before at the Randy Goat club somewhere in Chiang Mai. Bluey and me was settled comfortably at the bar suckin’ on a couple of cold Chang beers when this sheila slides onto me lap before I knew what was happenin’. Instead of shakin’ hands like any civilized bird would she reaches down and gives ol’ Percy a shake instead. Well, ya gotta admit, that’s a pretty good way ter break the ice, so I bought her a beer and we leaned back ter watch the Thai boxin’ going on in the middle of a bunch of bars.
Them Thai boxers all look a bit too small ter do any real damage, but I tell yer what, when they get started they can really pack a wallop. I thought at first they was just doin’ a show like the WWF wrasslin’, but these blokes was fair dinkum!
They start out more like ballet dancers, prancin’ around the ring to this godawful wailing Thai music. They got a red ring stuck on their heads with a tail stickin’ out the back. As they dance, they get down on their knees and Wai to each side of the ring, you know, puttin’ their ‘ands together like we do when we pray. This malarky goes on for about five minutes before they decide to get down ter business.
When the bell goes they prance out to the center of the ring and face off. Seems like they ‘ave some trouble findin’ elastic here in Thailand, because they was both hitchin’ their shorts up all the time. No wonder the Thai sheilas lap this boxin’ up. They are probably all waitin’ fer the shorts to drop.
The first blow was a lightnin’ fast right foot to the rib cage. Ouch! That must have hurt a bit, but the other bloke just hunkered down, danced away a bit, and then came back with a series of jabs and a roundhouse kick that almost knocked his opponent down. They kept at it, trading blows and kicks, and then one of ‘em landed a roundhouse foot fair smack on the other joker’s nose.
The nosee went berserk and suddenly we were on our feet cheerin’ as they started slogging into each other like there was no tomorrow. Just then the bell went and they went back to their corners ter wait fer the next round.
Me sheila asked, “You like Thai culture?”
“That’s why me mate Bluey and me are here love. We want to experience a bit of Thai culture, you know? All we’ve seen so far is a lot of bars and a few beaut shielas like you. Can yer recommend anything?”
Me shiela, Nok, grinned and said, ‘You want, I show you real Thai culture tomorrow.”
“What if I take yer home and yer give me a bit of a preview of this ‘ere Thai culture ternight, eh?”
She got real enthusiastic when I said this. I could tell she was a real history buff. Of course, it could have been the purple note I was getting’ out of me wallet at the same time I said that. Anyway, the result was I learned a lot of good Thai stuff from ‘er back at the hotel.
So that’s what led up to me getting’ shat on by an elephant just after breakfast. I tell yer what, nothin’ like that ever happened when I took out any Aussie shielas. Of course, I never got much of anything from an Aussie shiela anyway, so I reckoned I was way ahead already. They call this place the Land of Smiles. I reckon they ought ter call it the Land of Surprises!
The next mornin’ after the boxin’ show I woke up to find the athletic Nok was still catchin’ up on her beauty sleep. Not that she needed it. Even in the morning light she looked pretty good. Better than them girls in bloody Pattaya. I recalled goin’ ter sleep with a beauty queen at night down there one night and wakin’ up the next mornin’ next to a fire-breathing dragon. Damned if I know how they transform themselves like that. It was a bit of a relief to get away from them, head back to Bangkok and jump on a plane to this beautiful northern city a couple of days ago.
Anyway, ter cut a long story short, after the elephant blessed me we went back to me hotel and I got cleaned up. Then we all piled into a tour van for a trip up into the mountains to see the long necked shielas. Nok had told me about them last night, so we were eager to see them. It all sounded a bit grim…who ever heard of sheilas with necks like bloody giraffes?
We drove up and up into the hills until the road came to a dead stop. Then we all piled out of the van and our guide led us up a jungle track for about 30 minutes. Just as well Bluey had remembered to stuff a six pack into his back pack before we set out. We were hemmed in by thick jungle all the way, so a tinnie or two along the way was required to keep us hydrated.
It was a bit of a surprise when we stepped into a small village of thatched bamboo huts. We were immediately surrounded by a bunch of grinning kids, all with their hands stuck out asking fer money. Nok had told us to bring a lot of coins with us, so I pulled out a bunch and started throwin’ them up in the air while the kids dived all over the place to pick ‘em up. After that we had a loyal following wherever we went.
We walked in to the center of the village and there they were. About six shielas was sittin’ on a veranda outside a large hut with brass rings around their necks. Their heads were perched about six inches higher than normal at the top of the rings. Yer could of knocked me over with a feather, but good old Bluey of the more practical bent turns to me and says, “Jeez mate, talk about purpose-built shielas. Can yer imagine how they’d go over in the head job bars in Pattaya, mate? Talk about deep throat!”
Our guide led us to a lean-to and we all sat down to watch the shielas get up and do a bit of a dance. I snapped off a bunch of photos fer the folks back home, and then we tucked into a meal of rice and something. I didn’t dare ask, but our guide cheerfully told us that it was ‘jungle food’. By then we was all so hungry that if they’d served up bloody witchety grubs in rice husk cakes I reckon we’d have tucked in.
The long-necked shielas lined up as we headed for the jungle to leave again, and as we walked past they gave us a Thai wai as we dropped 20 Baht each into their hands ter thank them for their hospitality. I tossed the last of me small change into the air fer the kids and we all trooped off into the greenery again.
It was a lot easier going back down hill. In fact, we soon found ourselves stridin’ down in a fast lope. We’d gone about halfway when our guide stopped and came running back all wide-eyed and white lookin’. “What’s up love? Did yer lose a contact?”
“No,” she said, “I see large python while me running , but me no can stop.”
Bluey and me just looked at each other tryin’ ter figure out how she’d managed ter look up our shorts while runnin’ down a bloody steep hill in front of us. I was beginnin’ ter have me suspicions about these Thai sheilas. Maybe they really do have eyes everywhere. But it turned out she’d seen a real bloody snake, because when we climbed back up, sure enough there was this bloody great snake about three feet around sunnin’ itself stretched across the path. I’d just jumped over it thinkin’ it was another tree root in the blur of speed.
One of the Thais that’d come on the tour with us dived into the bush and reappeared holding the snake’s head. Strewth! That was a big bugger. But what was even more chillin’ was the big bulge in the middle.
“What do yer reckon that is?” I asked.
“Wild piglet.” The Thai said with an evil grin. “She probably still alive inside. See? She still moving.” I stepped closer and sure enough yer could see some movement there. But I reckon it was just the snake eatin’ it up.
The Thai bloke put the head down and left the snake to finish its meal, but not before we posed for some pictures with it. No one back ‘ome would believe us if we didn’t get some shots of us grinnin’ next to it like Stevie Irwin. Anyway, it wouldn’t be goin’ anywhere fer a few hours I reckoned, it was just too full ter move.
I tell yer what cobbers, this tourin’ Thailand is turnin’ out to be more fun and adventure than we’d ever hoped for. We hurried on down hill and piled into the van to head back to the city and our hotel again. Bluey and me had had enough of the wilds fer a while. It was time ter get back ter the real pleasures in life.
Next, Foster meets a bunch of Thai comedians and puts on a bit of an unexpected performance himself during the magic show….
© Copyright 2006 by the author.
This has got to be a fun series to write.