My First Thailand Experience
Back in 1999 when my Navy career was winding down and I was recovering from a broken leg, I decided I needed a vacation. I was thinking about traveling to the Philippines or Hong Kong since I knew my way around from my cruises on various US Navy ships I was stationed on. Since my divorce, I had been chatting with a young lady (late 20 ‘s) who worked in Bangkok. She was college educated and lived in a one room apartment with her sister.
I thought Thailand would be an interesting place to go, but past experience told me that traveling overseas with a local greatly improved the experience. I asked Nid if she could show me around Bangkok for a few days; she said she could as long as her sister accompanied us. I thought it was silly that she was worried about her mom finding out she was walking around Bangkok alone with a farang, but as I was not trying to get her into bed, it did not matter to me.
Nid and her sister met me at the airport and brought me to my hotel. As my flight arrived after 11pm, I was ready to go to bed as soon as I got to the hotel. The next afternoon, Nid and her sister met me for a late lunch then we traveled around the city to look at the sights. It was very nice to be able to relax and not worry about getting lost. Nid’s English had improved a bit during the year we had chatted, but her spoken English was BAD. She understood me well as long as I did not speak too fast or use slang. However she resorted to passing notes to me to make sure I understood what she was saying, it was a bit funny, like being back in grade school. As Nid was on vacation the whole time I was in Bangkok, I went out by myself during the day at times. I ate food from the street vendors, fended off the torts and girls trying to coax me into shops and bars. The movie theater was a welcome relief from the afternoon heat, standing for the Thai national anthem before the movie was sort of like being on a Navy base again. I walked to Patpong one afternoon to see what it was all about. It was dead. I walked into a few bars and saw that they were not really expecting anyone and service was slow. As I walked out to find a cab, an older lady accosted me and asked if I wanted a girl. After I declined, she offered a young girl. I decided to lead her on a bit and she offered me a fourteen year old girl. Having flashing images of my own daughter, I told her no and waked away.
The last night in Bangkok I went with Nid, her sister and a friend to Patpong. What a difference, it was packed with vendors in the middle of the street and people literally up against each other trying to get around. After thirty minutes of pushing through the crowds, we ate at a restaurant then went home. After Nid and her sister went home, I decided to check out Patpong myself. I went into a few places that advertised live sex shows, but they only had a single girl in a bikini moving about lamely on the elevated runway. A couple of girls outside pulled me into another place after convincing me they had no cover charge. Again there was the solo dancer on stage, but this time the mama-san immediately descended upon me and asked me what I wanted to drink. The drink came with two very attractive bargirls and I was told to choose one. I declined, but she was very insistent that I start buying girl drinks. An old woman getting in my face was not what I wanted, so I left.
After three days in Bangkok it was time to go to Phuket, I invited Nid and her sister to fly with me, but they refused even after I offered to pay for round trip plane tickets and a separate hotel room. I suggested that Nid just not tell her mom about the trip, but she said her sister would tattle on her. Nuts! Nid took me to the airport to see me off. I wrapped 1000 baht in a piece of paper and handed it to her. She said goodbye and I gave her a small peck on the forehead. I would not have done that if I understood how embarrassing it was for her. Oops.
The Thera Patong Beach Resort is a rather pleasant place to stay. My first impression of Phuket at night was that is a cheaper and sleazier version of Oahu. I was right at home as I had lived in Hawaii for about ten years. Oil massage in the room was available for 300 baht. I got several massages. Each girl would massage me and as she worked her way down to my severely scarred leg, they asked if it hurt, it did not, but they tended to avoid it. One lady spent about ten minutes just massaging my injured ankle and foot, it actually stopped hurting for a full two hours. She also provided full service without asking for a tip. I got a massage from her a few more times before I left the island.
While walking down the street near the resort, I saw a sign advertising scuba and various boat tours. I signed up for diving and a trip to James Bond Island. I went out on a boat with two instructors, master diver, four other tourists and a couple of local girls. The instructor that I and two other tourists dove with was a slender attractive French girl making a living as a scuba instructor. Right after we jumped in I found myself having trouble with depth control. I also exceed the planned the instructor briefed. I had fun, but I was lectured rather harshly by the young French lady after we got back on board the boat. She told me if I did not shape up and act right, I would not be diving a second time. I managed to straighten up and fly right on the second dive.
The boat trip to James Bond Island (I forget the Thai name) was less fulfilling. The island got its nickname after scenes from “Man with the Golden Gun” was shot there. After getting a seat on the boat, my picture was snapped; this was for the purposes of paying 200 baht for a souvenir photo plate after. We stopped at a Muslim fishing village and walked around, it would have been more pleasant if the kids were not constantly hawking crap while we were there. While the trip to the island was very scenic, the actual island was not. There were several vendors who had set up shop on the island and totally ruined most photo shots. I had to take pictures from the middle and pointing out to sea as to not include the vendor’s tables.
After Phuket I returned to Bangkok and boarded a flight to home. I found an e-mail from Nid waiting for me. We chatted more often after that and agreed to get to know each other better.
Mmmm, this submission is missing something… Pictures? Spice? Interesting experience? Something!