Billy Bunter’s Asian Hijinks And Other Misadventures – Part 2
It is with somewhat timid reservation that I begin the chronicling of the second part of Bunter's hi jinks in Asia.
Gathering from some of the alluded aspersions cast upon the first instalment methinks that some people have never heard the saying 'truth is stranger than fiction'.
I have no need or desire to embellish any of the experiences that occurred during my travels. Probably because of the inherent mistrust and dishonesty that prevails in society we have become jaded and incredulous to the fact that somebody would offer such a gratuitous kindness – to the tune of $3,000. Why would I desire to lie about that? Kind honest human beings still exist today – people who will return a lost wallet, if only for the sake of their own conscience. If you have lost all hope of that then you have become a walking corpse!
After my 'welcome' to Bangkok at the hands of the gun-toting taxi driver, I was beginning to wonder if it would behove one not to linger too long.
My prognosis was further reinforced when I saw the flotsam inhabiting the streets of Patpong. They may have thought the last vestiges of decency had been further denigrated by my presence – so for all concerned it was time to move on.
The hair-raising tuktuk rides and high hotel prices colluded with my previous notions and helped to spur my energies into organising the appropriate visa and bus ticket to the border.
I had no idea at the time but my journey was about to be changed forever by a serendipitous experience on the minibus to Cambodia.
When the driver picked me up from my hotel he must have been having a very bad day. He seemed harrowed and jaded and his nerves frazzled beyond compare. He was very rude to me and we had a minor altercation regarding my ticket. I remember thinking that it was unusual to be treated thus in the LOS.
I dived inside the mini-bus in double quick time to get out of the way of this guy's noxious tongue. Inside I was greeted by smiles from two American dudes. It turned out that they were Vietnam vets and were on their way back to where it all began – in the hope of finding some closure.
They told me that we were on the way to another hotel to get their third buddy. He would be joining them for the trip back to Vietnam and he too was a vet.
In due course we rolled up to the hotel and out swaggered the most flamboyant looking human being I ever had the pleasure to lay eyes upon. His name was King H…. (I should at least try to keep him anonymous) and he was an African American. He was dressed in bright iridescent orange pants and shirt and bright orange shoes. He had on a sailor's cap with 'King H….' written across the front in bright flashing red LED lights.
More on the flashing lights a bit later but suffice to say travelling with this dude was akin to a lard-girl attending an anorexic's retreat – it would be impossible to go unnoticed.
I was to find out later that everything the King wore was in very bright colours and always matching. They were either bright red, purple, orange or yellow and always accompanied with the flashing hat – what a dude.
Anyhow back to the mini-bus. I forget exactly now what triggered the altercation but one of the American guys had a run in at the next stop with the frazzled driver. He was soon shouted down by the collective clout of our three Vietnam vets. As I had already incurred the wrath of the driver there was an immediate talking point between the four of us – brothers in arms so to speak.
As we were all heading to Cambodia I was invited to travel with the three of them – wow – now I knew things were really going to liven up.
I have since visited Cambodia many times and already have the tickets booked for the next sojourn in December this year. However nothing can prepare the uninitiated for the fist tastes, sights and the olfactory onslaught that is Cambodia.
It was like stepping back in time two millennia, with people pushing huge wooden ox-like carts laden to overflowing. The refuse on the streets, the filthy begging children, the amputees – all framed against the backdrop of the multi-million dollar gambling casino – the contrast could not have been more overwhelming.
After the seeming endless wait and checking of paperwork we finally boarded the minibus in Cambodia and headed off to our guesthouse in the next town.
After the mandatory showers, courtesies and settling in we were ready for some refreshments and dinner.
Being a non-imbiber I was a great source of incredulity to one member of the vet threesome. He continually tried to ply me with everything from grog, gidgee weed and the copious pieces of marijuana pizzas that they consumed. He seemed incapable of understanding that one could still enjoy oneself in a sober state.
My logic has always been that life is so full of opportunities and amazing experiences that I wish to be fully sober to enjoy them all. Furthermore, now that I am middle-aged, when I look around at the state that some of my mates are in – almost dead because of their intemperance – I am yet to be convinced that the above 'delicacies' are worthy of partaking.
After the meal the group enquired as to where any action involving the fairer sex may be obtained. We were all bundled back into the rattly old mini-van and headed off into the dead of night. We seemed to rattle on forever, but finally arrived at an old shack in the country. We were escorted inside and had the choice of a plethora of dolly-babes who – one by one – slowly emerged from the darkened corridor.
One had to be there to fully appreciate the situation and words defy description to portray the collective look on the girl's faces when they finally spied the King.
Try to imagine the situation. Here we were in some busted-arse town in Cambodia in the middle of nowhere. A place where the brightest thing the locals had probably seen was the wrapping on their toothbrush packet. Then suddenly from the dimness of the night in swaggers the King. Resplendent in his bright iridescent yellow apparel (as I said – shirt, trousers and shoes – all matching), complete with the flashing red LED's on his hat – 'King H….'. Oh what a sight to behold!$%&!!
The poor girls thought they had seen an apparition – and a few of them took off in fear back into the darkened corridor from whence they came.
This was priceless to witness, and after much cajoling the Mamma was able to get them back out to stand for selection. The wide eyed stares and giggles from the girls were only matched by the marijuana-pizza fuelled, bug-eyes of the King.
One of our threesome was a killer for punishment so he selected two of the giggling Belles to accompany him for the evening. However he was so buzzed out of his brain on pizza I don't think he would have noticed how many babes he had in his bed.
Being a typical male with red blood coursing through my veins I made what I thought was a good selection, and after much negotiating and price haggling we trundled off, back into the night.
We had some music and social chats back at the guesthouse and the girl who I had chosen to accompany me was stuffing into food like there was no tomorrow. She had said she was hungry and asked if she could eat – I said yes but had no idea she was topping up for the next month.
One has to factor this in when paying for an escort. I was fairly new to this scene at that time (which I will discuss in further detail shortly), however from experience – with these girls – one has to lay all the cards on the table. What your expectations are (do you want her doing naked triple somersaults from the Chandeliers), what time you want her to stay until, has she eaten, turn your blasted mobile off, don't watch stupid Thai cartoons for the next three hours (I have had it all) etc? Don't assume anything or you will be taken for a ride.
When we finally retired together and the evening activities were pursued I realised she had graduated with honours from the wet-mullet school of sex for foreigners. Talk about the star-fish treatment.
As with all business transactions that turn pear-shaped – I bailed out early. I booted her out, wildly waiving my arms and gesticulating chanting the words "me want money back" (nothing like a bit of theatrics to get the message across).
I then went downstairs and told the owner / taxi driver I wanted to take her back and have my money returned. This was going to be an expensive exercise because I had to pay the whole return taxi trip myself but this was a matter of principle (or so I thought).
My American mate told me to shut my mouth and go back to sleep. He reminded me that we were in Cambodia and I could wake up in a ditch somewhere – if I were lucky. However being gung-ho and feeling that I had been ripped off I continued on my quest.
We trundled back off into the darkness, driving in silence. When we finally arrived it was late and we had to drag the poor old mama out of bed. She wasn't very pleased to see me and after a bit of mumbling through my interpreter I realised I would not be getting my money back.
I started to make a bit of a scene about it and out of the darkness appeared two miserable, disheveled looking dudes. They looked far from friendly and just stood close – staring at me. I remembered what my friend had said about the ditch so I thought it expedient to shut my mouth.
The mama offered to give me another girl – so a hasty choice was made and I was happy to retreat back into the night.
When I finally collapsed into the cot at some unearthly hour – I did not feel in the mood for any nuptials. I fell asleep only to be woken an hour or so later. My lady was hungry and said she wanted to go and find something to eat (at 3 AM?). I mumbled yes and fell back into the land of slumber. She appeared at about the time I was rising, and she said that there was no time for 'boom boom'.
To add insult to injury I was hit with the bill from the first girl, and had to pay for her excesses from the previous evening. It had turned out an expensive but very valuable lesson.
I am somewhat ashamed now when I look back and see what a typical dickhead Western tourist I was. When I travel now I am much less contentious and infinitely more patient. I learnt the hard way (which you will read more about in my continuing saga), that if you act like a typical loud, aggressive, rambunctious tourist – it goes down with the locals like a lead balloon. It has the uncanny knack of coming back and biting you on the bum.
On our journey the next day – en route to Siem Reap – one of the threesome had a chance encounter with a stranger. He told us with much trepidation and nervousness that en route he had the misfortune of sitting next to a representative from an NGO who had (accompanied by a team for a week) been in our little town.
They had been there with the aim of testing all of the working girls in that area for HIV. He told my now pale and pensive looking mate that over 85% of them had tested HIV positive.
By the look on my mate's face – the old saying 'ignorance is bliss' – was true to form. Perhaps he hadn't 'double-bagged' because he looked a very worried man. I did not pry into his personal details but anybody who has unprotected sex in Asia – particularly Cambodia – has absolute rocks in their head.
To be cont'd
85% HIV positive? If true, that is more than perturbing, as well as extremely sad.