Readers' Submissions

Koko Please Help

  • Written by Anonymous
  • July 24th, 2007
  • 8 min read


Black Pagoda Patpong Bangkok


Now listen to this: I was waiting on the skytrain for a girl I met on the chat. We exchanged many photos there. I waited for her on the BTS skywalk, the entrance to Central. Of course she did not find it. So I waited and she called me like 10 times asking where I was and 5 times asking about what T-shirt color I was wearing. I did not tell her, I just told her, you will see me when you get here. I thought, it should be remotely possible to recognise me. There are not too many guys with natural blonde hair in Bangkok. But wait. Eventually, after 20 minutes of being inside the BTS station (sic!), she found Central. What a miracle.

Then there was an Arab guy, a really dark Arab with thick black hair, and me, waiting outside the entrance. Guess what: She asks the Arab if he is S & W. That is a good example of how distorted their vision is on us. The Arab said no, he was waiting for someone else, then she turns around to me and asks me if I am S & W. I also said no, I am waiting for someone else too and walked away. <OutstandingStick>

Well, this was yesterday. Today, I wanted to print some photos for my new passport. I have actually got photo paper at home so no big deal I though. I print it, it's all green. Wow, the only person who has printed stuff since I bought the new ink was my girlfriend. Great. Now I know why she likes to hang around my place. It's a magical wonderland. Her own laptop, her own TV, UBC and movies on demand. Nice air-con, swimming pool, sauna. She can use the home phone to call her friends. I don't mind all that stuff. But could she not tell me when she finished the ink?

Anyway, it's too late to send a messenger to Panthip so I cross the street to Central Chidlom. I thought I would just bring the file to a print shop that specialises in digital printing on the fifth floor, next to Powerbuy.

On the way I see a Chinese guy screaming at a security guard in front of the UK embassy. I pass them and he shouts something like "Indra Regent where?" Of course the security guard would not know where the UK embassy was if someone asked him.

So I ask the Chinese guy very nicely, "Can I help you?" He repeats his question, now shouting in my face. I tell him to walk back to where he came from in the direction of the Intercontinental.

He says "No, no, no not true. Indra Regent is that way" and points towards Sukhumvit. "Thai people told me".

Well I give it another try and tell him to walk back. It's irrelevant to go with a taxi, since the traffic at this time is like a parking lot. Again he repeats "People told me it's the other way. Why would Thai people send me to the wrong direction, they live here!"

I said "What do you expect? This is Thailand." I am sure 2 hours later he probably found it by himself or he's in Pattaya by now.

I find it quite amazing. Nobody seems to believe me when I say anything. If I give a tourist advice about something, be it a girl he just met or that he should not trust this and that person, they just do the opposite of what I tell them. Maybe I should care about my own business? But it's hard to see someone getting ripped off or sent in the wrong direction. But that's what people obviously like. If they did not like to be fooled, they would not come to Thailand. Maybe it's like an army officer or a manager who enjoys to be beaten. It is a form of masochism.

I have a friend, an Austrian, who lives somewhere in Pinklao or Pink Laos as I sometimes call it for fun. He had the audacity to help some Thai girls find the right bus because of what he understood they wanted to go to some place in his neighborhood. The guy has lived there for 2 years and he knows all about the local busses there. He prefers busses over taxis and motorbikes since he does not need to interact with the drivers. The girls would not listen to him. They were waiting for some imaginary bus number to show up, just because some friend of theirs told them so. When the right bus approached, I think it was bus no. 30, my friend told them to hop on, but no, they RAN away from the bus stop.

So I arrive at Central. Take the escalators up to the 5th floor. Walk into the shop. As usual, no customers, staff just chatting and laughing. Since it's only a 'farang' coming, they don't even bother to say hello. They continue their talk. I try to make a joke in Thai and ask them if I disturbed their conference. No reaction. Just blank stares. Alright, I take out my phone and a USB cable and tell them to connect it with their system. "Can not" they shout all at once, even a guy in the back who seems to be the manager. I ask why not, since this is a place only to print out digital photos and there are about 6 computers in a row. They start to talk about wireless (don't ask me why) and today they especially can not do it. Sometimes I really wonder how this economy works in Thailand. In Europe they would be bankrupt in a week. I have never seen one customer in that shop in the many years I have been going to Central and it was the first time I entered and they can't do what they advertise? Why don't they close the place and not tease me or waste my time there? Anyway, then I wanted to buy ink for my printer at Powerbuy, but of course it's out of stock. I am not stating how many shop assistants I had to consult until someone understood that I wanted printer ink. Ok, it was 4 people.

I walk to HomePro. There is some really unfriendly photo/copy shop in the basement. I usually avoid it at all costs, but today I ask them the same thing I asked at Central. Print out photos from my Handy memory card.

"Can not" they say, even before I tell them what I want. They say they can only read from camera memory cards. Ok, I am pissed off and just connect my phone to their PC without even asking them. They freeze in shock. One minute later, they have the photos on their PC. Now they are pissed off, but what are they gonna do? Kill me for it? So I tell them how many I want. It's really complicated. 2 different photos, each one 12 times. It takes them ten minutes to calculate the price. Fine. I have taken my Prozac today, I am calm. Then they have difficulties with their Adobe Photoshop. Normal, I think. Anyway, finally they handed me the photos. Well one photo series was not sharp (the original shot is), the another portrait photo had my chin cut off. Maybe for Thai passports you don't need a chin?

At about 2 AM I enter the 7 Eleven next to my apartment. They know my regular girlfriend and ask me where she is. Normally I would say that she has gub ban, but today I feel up to the big challenge. I say she is in Pinklao. I get the stare. They repeat it and it sounds like Klimbim. I thought I said Pinklao, but maybe my entire life I have suffered hallucinations and I just discovered that I had them at the 7 Eleven in Bangkok. I try again: Pinklao. Nothing. I say it over 20 times. I am not kidding you folks, I'm not making this up. I was just in the mood to test their IQs. Nothing. Ok, so I started like this: Khao San. Banglampoo. Pinklao. Nothing. No reaction, just a blank stare. They probably thought I was drunk or insane.

So I try another approach. Pata Pinklao. Zero reaction. I am out of options. Well, wait: Central Chidlom, Central Pinklao. Now the light goes on and they all scream Pinklao, Pinklao, just the way I said it the first time. It took me 15 minutes and more patience than the Dalai Lama ever had to explain to some shop assistants in the 7 Eleven where my girlfriend's home was. I am not sure, but is there not some gorilla named Koko who knows more than 1000 sign language signs and also understands spoken English? After 4 years here, I am not sure on what stage of evolution these people living around me are. (Maybe they are the future of mankind if you believe the movie Idiocracy). But I am sure that Koko would have understood me earlier. The gorilla would have even made a sign language joke about the 'intelligence' of the locals.

Stickman's thoughts:

Sometimes life can be so frustrating in Thailand. But at other times it can be joyful. Once one finds places and businesses where there is as close to zero stress as you can get, I find myself tending to gravitate towards those places. When you try out new places you often find yourself let down.