My apologies to readers for a delay in keeping going with this saga of 2006. It seems my weekly has turned monthly. I hope (for both your sakes), I can focus to get it back to the right time-frame again next week. …..
As I've tried to recount in the last three "Antarai" submissions (all RS12), July marked the third month of my second trip back in the LOS. By then I was, for all intents and purposes unemployed, still significantly injured around the head, shoulder and abdomen from injuries sustained in accidents in May 2006 and September 2005, unable to cough nor jog for broken ribs and unreliable cranial arteries, (which markedly increased the incidence of asthma, particularly being up the road from the wonderful atmosphere of Bangkok), concerned about ways to pay three more months of lease on my Nonthaburi apartment with no job and anorexic funds, and true to lifelong form, I couldn't understand women for more than a few weeks at a time.
Meeting Sue was a mixed bag in my thoughts, for beautiful friends are nice to know in the beginning, but the conclusions tend to lead me to heartache and lamentation over more beer. I can do beer adequately myself, without a woman's help.
TOOK-TOOK FARANG MEE POOYING? (Don't All Foreigners Have a Chicky-Babe?)
Anytime I'd had to get into Bangkok from Nonthaburi, I tended to take a taxi down the expressway rather than risk the more populous, crazier traffic on the little scooter. I was usually lucky to chance upon friendlier types of taxi drivers, and spend most of each journey engrossed in conversation, of sorts. Anuban Angkrit or Kindergarten Thai? Either were somebody's learning experience.
One common incoming conversation starter usually went something like, "You have lady Thai?" It often got the best response to laugh, rolling my eyes, looking at the roof of the cab, and replying "Ah, mai mee (no have)". Then exhaling audibly, look him in the eye and lament, "Pooying antalai", with a knowing smile. To get colloquial, I find it better to swap "r"s for "l"s in taxis. "I go to my loom" is fliendliah than "…to my room".
More often than not when pulled up by police on the way down to Rayong, even if heading up Thanon 304 toward Kabinburi, the same question was asked. After the usual helmet and sunglass removal and the licence/rego examination, the most proficient English speaker would often ask, "You go Pattaya?" "Mai, mai. Phom bpai Nikhom Pattana." (No, no, I go Nikhom). Sometimes near Chachoengsao or anywhere outside of Rayong Province, I'd have to explain where Nikhom Pattana was. It's not even IN Chonburi. It seemed to get a few brownie points to try to answer in pasa Thai, even if the cop asked in English. Why, if I was heading north-east, and Pattaya was south, were they making these same assumptions? Was I missing something?
Taxi drivers seemed to make similar assumptions, based on my appearance perhaps. I must have resembled a monger they'd once known. Mr Congrit, who owned the shop downstairs in the new monthly-rate apartment, had more than once mentioned an explanation as to why on weekends, I would regularly clean out his stocks of Beer Chang cans, to take up to my room and listen to Metropolis 107 radio with. His English was excellent. "You just need somebody to take care of you." He'd say. My flippant reply, "Beer is better than women." Added to his quotable repertoire, but him being a married man, I don't think he believed my admission wholeheartedly. I was also starting to see his point of view.
POOYING TEE NUENG MAI SABAI (Number One Gal is Not Well)
By late Monday afternoon, July 3rd, I'd been up to the Internet cafe to look for work, got back to the shop at my apartment to buy beer, headed up to my room, and decided to call Sue. She'd mentioned the previous Saturday that she was a fashion designer, so I'd kept it to SMS messages for minimal distraction during working hours. At 19:00, I was hungry and wanted to head out for some dinner. Assuming she'd probably be home from work by then, I called her. It was relaxing to speak to somebody in grown-up English for a change, and we talked for 20 minutes. She invited me to her sister's birthday on Thursday night. I assumed things to be looking up in the familial regard, and went out to get fed.
Tuesday night, American Independence Day, I repeated the same thing, expecting a similar result. I rang her. She told me that she was sick with hay fever. Getting off the phone, I wondered if this would interfere with us attending her sister's birthday. Maybe an ex-boyfriend had turned up out of the blue. She didn't sound too sniffly. I'd not known her a week and was not yet at the trusting stage. Feeling twice bitten, the little monger inside drowsily woke up. Foolishly, I gathered that the end was nigh with Sue, and decided to take Congrit's advice. I hailed a taxi and asked to get down the expressway to Sukhumvit Soi Seven. (saving a u-turn and keeping my final destination to myself).
KHUN SEAN BPAI SOI POOYING MAAK. (Sean Goes to Nana)
I'd read about the Nana night-life on Stickman's site, and in 2005, had done time in Bumrungrad Hospital, wondering what was going on outside my tenth-floor window. I'd never been to Nana, nor Soi Cowboy, and curiosity killed good sense. I was just looking, of course (to start with).
First refuelling station was a bar across the road between the Rajah and Nana hotels. I forget the name, but there're two pool tables near the door, and a live band. It's hard to mistake. As soon as I'd found a seat, a real cutie was at my table, and she drank Heineken. Great, I bought a couple of rounds. Her English was satisfactory, and the night seemed to be off to a good start.
It was only after I'd finished two Singhas and decided to go exploring, said goodbye and walked out onto the footpath that she came running after me to explain that I'd not paid my check-bin. That seemed strange to me, having paid for all four beers as they arrived, and we'd both had two each. I'd paid twice. "Mai pen lai", I said smilingly, "See you tomorrow." Now that last part was a lie. I left her to head back to the bar for reinforcements and wandered down to Sukhumvit and around the corner, rather jolly quickly.
Before long, I'd arrived at Soi Cowboy and found a nice, low-pressure bar, first on the left as you walk in from Soi Asoke. The band seemed more Phillipino than Thai, but like most Thai bands I'd seen, were better rehearsed than the typical Aussie pub-band, performing live. Another Chang bit the dust, and it was time to crawl to a new pub before the natives got too restless. There sure were a lot of attractive women around these parts, I noticed. Hmmm.
Further along Soi Cowboy, on the south side, a sign pointing to a place by the name of "Tony's Bar" reminded me of something I'd read about in the "Where is This Picture" competition on Stickman, although I can't remember if it was one and the same. Perhaps a different bar of the same name. <Same bar – Stick>
Nature was calling, and I asked the young lady at the door, "Hong nam tee nai" which I suppose means something like, "Where is the men's room?" She pointed inside and replied, "One hundred baht." That was a little more than the going rate for a piss, I reckoned. "Mai pen r-r-rai." I replied in upper-class Thai. I believe that one should r-r-oll the "r" in the Scottish manner, if using it at all, but I maybe mistaken. I walked further east to the next corner and took a left up to a darkened apartment car park with a few trees and bushes for cover. Zero hundred baht to spend a penny, and back to the Cowboy.
Passing the 100 baht toilet on the left, I came across a place that looked okay, and complied with the request of a young bloke working the door to head inside. Standing at the bar, I ordered a Singha, but before I could sit down and take the first sip, a comely young lass, without a word, well, sexually-assaulted me, one might say. I looked around to see if anybody'd been watching before putting little Sean back in his place and zipping up my jeans. "Mai pen lai. Phom ao bia" (I want beer). She didn't seem too disappointed, although if she was Goldilocks, I couldn't say which of the bears' porridge she thought me. That beer didn't take long to drink. I was outta there.
Back towards Asoke, another bar on the left took my attention and I walked in uninvited. Wow! What a surprise. Beautiful young ladies, dancing around on the stage, hardly clad, and the beer was not highway robbery. I liked it. I sat at a table and tried to split my attention between the Sheilas dancing, and the decor around the bar. Then a girl with the most beautiful face (beer or not) was suddenly sitting at my table, and business discussions began.
I forget her name now. She didn't want a drink, from memory, only to come to my apartment. I respected her business acumen, and she got me thinking the same thought I'd thought all night, but to a greater degree than before I'd laid eyes on her. She was a honey, beyond my greatest expectations. I'd never have seen a more delightful creature if TV was never invented. This was not TV, though. She really DID walk this earth…
The booze was really helping my judgment by now, and within fifteen minutes, we were on our way to Soi Asoke to find a taxi. She mentioned something to the first taxi driver we came across about Nonthaburi, and I heard him say "jet roi",(700).
The Most Stupid Award for Tuesday nights goes to my initial comment of "Khun kwai bah mai" (What the fxxx are you? Some crazy mother-fxxxing buffalo?). I could have just bartered for a reasonably priced fare. He was speechless.
"Mai pen lai", I explained, "We go taxi meter." We crossed the road quickly, out of range before he could fetch his revolver from under the seat, and I tried to explain to my young beauty that we could just walk down to Sukhumvit and hail a cab. Something was wrong though, and while Sukhumvit was leftward, she took off rightward. I didn't follow. I can't tell you why. Maybe it was something I said. I can't remember hearing any shots fired, and doubt he had the money nor need for a silencer.
POOYING SUAY CHOWB KHUN SEAN (A Cute Chick Takes a Liking to the Author)
Still, I decided it was best to shut up a little. At least I wasn't clobbered by a group of irate taxi drivers for that drunken remark. I headed back to Sukhumvit and found a place on Soi Eight that looked peaceful for a stopover to get my behaviour back into line and have another beer. I heard the owner talking to someone behind the bar, and as he walked past my table, I asked him if by his accent, he was Australian. Almost correct. He was from New Zealand. I think I remember his name, but he'd know who he is. I'm sure he's not the only one reading who would.
Two beers later, the first bar I saw walking out the door was aptly named First Bar. I walked straight across the road and bought another beer. This time, nothing was going to get in my way. I was drunk and didn't know exactly what I was intent on doing, but this was precisely the place to do it, whatever it was. After Miss Manila, Sue, and Miss 700 baht taxi all leading me astray, it was time to celebrate Independence Day with an independent nymph, or just admit defeat, and call the waiter to bring me more beer and chips!
I'm not even distantly related to any American ancestor, but my time was due for any kind of sex with a human female, whatever the cost or nationality. I'm not a Yankee, but my doodle was becoming rather a dandy at the time. Desperate would qualify as a suitable description of my thought patterns and behaviour, and nor was I in the best of shape to fulfil even my vaguest expectations. I'd estimate that I was up to about beer sixteen by then, but forget the exact tally. I felt like the Incredible Hulk, but outside appearances may have differed somewhat…
Soon, I got talking to a cute lass from some province up in Isaan, although I forget its name, and hers. It was north of Buriram is all I remember. She deserves better than that. It was after midnight, and there wasn't much time to get the barfine discussion over with. A couple more beers and it was closing time. I paid the check-bin and barfine and the two of us walked down to the main road and hailed a meter taxi back to my apartment for 200 baht, inclusive of tip.
I can't remember much about the rest of the evening and would probably not tell if I could, but it was a great relief to get back in the saddle after so long off the horse. By 13:00 on Wednesday, we were back at the First Bar, and I was instructed to wait at the bar and drink beer while my new friend went home to get something done. I was never informed what his name was, so I can't say I don't remember it. By 16:00 she was back, and looking a little woozy on her feet, not too good at playing eight-ball. The mamasan stepped in for a game and won the second one.
By 18:00 I was starting to feel sleepy and paid another barfine. My new "girlfriend" took me to an hotel across Sukhumvit, with a warm water shower and cable TV, and "took care of me" for the night. I think Halle Berry was starring in "CatWoman" on the tube that night, which may have inspired my friend, for I was content just resting on my back and letting things happen. She fixed up my problems most memorably, and I remain most grateful.
On Thursday morning, I realised that if I wanted to save 200 baht for the taxi home, there was only 900 left for my friend. She didn't mind. "Tomorrow okay." We parted after discussing whether Chanthaburi or Kanchanaburi would be a better place to spend my remaining funds on her. I was fond of the Chanthaburi option, and she only wanted 10,000 for a week down there. I caught a cab home, showered, dressed, went through my money stash for more baht, and hopped in another taxi back to the First Bar. It's a fun kind of stupidity, but stupidity, nonetheless. I could certainly dream of better things to do, but still, I was unable to stop whilst I could keep going.
I found my friend and paid her another hundred to make up the morning's shortfall, and she suggested that I might head off somewhere else for the next ten hours and meet her at 01:00 am on the corner, to save a barfine. I guess she may have had other appointments to honour. I did as I was told and wandered off for another hundred teeny-weeny beers, saving 300 baht of barfine in the process, met her after closing time, and took her home to Nonthaburi again, for night number three.
In the morning, she looked over my apartment's wardrobe and the neatly-arranged belongings, and told me I was like "Thai man". Ah-oh. That's a worry, although I don't know quite what she meant. Still, I thank her for her cultural diplomacy. I took her to lunch and then put her in a taxi back to Bangkok. It was time to un-binge.
Thinking back now, I can't explain how a 38 year old adult could conclude that any of that week's behaviour was logical. Ridiculous Sean! Devoid of logic. Little Sean was happy, but big Sean was 10,000 baht less affluent than before. Ahhh, Mai pen lai.
BACK TO SQUARE TWO, SUE.
Sue was over her hay-fever when I called that Friday afternoon. I picked her up that night and rode her down to the Country Saloon on the back of the Honda. She and her sister wondered what had happened when I failed to show up at the birthday the previous evening, although nobody thought to call me (thank goodness) and tell me the address, or ask why I hadn't just known where to go in advance, Bangkok being such a small town and all.
At midnight, we got back to her place, and she took me upstairs to meet her Mother. Her Mum was over 70, woken up from her sleep, and epitomized the traditional displaced Bangkok population of Thailand, in my opinion. I was invited to sleep on the couch.
Before dawn, the darned asthma set in, and hearing my wheezing, Sue woke up and placed a mat on the lounge room floor. She wasn't quite Dr Kom, but almost as good, and she had a method of combining Thai and Swedish massage in a most soothing manner. She got rid of the asthma for me. In more than one way, I guess she saved my life that night.
It was exactly at this point, July 7th, that I begin to lose track of dates, so the remainder of July, August and September may be better to relay topically from here. There are a couple of interesting things to add, but I admit it's taking a long read to get to the good stuff. Thanks for reading and I'll tell you about South Thailand next week. I'll try to improve my style to make it more interesting.
That place in Soi Cowboy named Tony's Bar came across much better the next time I was there, so please accept that I may have met the wrong door girl that 100 baht night. She was just taking the piss. I'll try to make amends in the October report. The girl was funny, the bar was friendly.
The title says it all. Pooying are most definitely anatarai! Pooying = women and antarai = dangerous.