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Was It Euclid Or Pythagoras And Have You Had The Same Problems Printing?

  • Written by Markin
  • September 18th, 2007
  • 30 min read

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I left London on 12th July (my birthday – ah). I returned to London on the 23rd August. This was thus far my longest trip to LOS (the Land of Spending). I have been going to Thailand for near on nine years now.

One of the many things on my ‘to do’ list was to write a submission to follow up my last http://www.stickmanbangkok.com/Reader2007/reader3693.htm . But diversionary tactics rule. When I do get round to writing it, it’ll be shown that all that I’m doing is rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic – I should be writing ‘it’ and confronting the issues ‘it’ involves. Anyway with that cryptic remark, what follows is essentially an essay on ‘What I did on my holidays’.

I have known Nanthana for two years. http://www.stickmanbangkok.com/Reader2006/reader2834.htm (I now see, and feel, that I was lucky to meet her in Bangkok two years ago because as a rule she plies her trade in Hong Kong and Singapore). Hong and Singapore are bigger earners – needed if nothing else because the money is being used to pay for private (Christian) education for her son and daughter. Her daughter started university in Bangkok this year. All of this is true (don’t worry yourself – I did enough of that for all of us!). I’ve met the family.

She was (of course) there to meet me at the airport. For two years we have emailed, txt’ed and talked every day.

I first saw her room in Ekkami (Bangkok) in July 2006 – then nothing more than a bed, a wardrobe and a dressing table; two pictures of Nanthana taped to the wall above the bed. (It reflected its purpose – a short-term stopping over place en-route from Isaan to Hong Kong). That year we bought: a small table, two chairs and one of those water-bowl lily things – all to be arranged so that we could sit together by candle-light on the balcony of an evening (Ah). We visited Koh Samet and purchased “things” with sea shells on them – a mirror, hanging shell affairs and a thing to put toilet rolls into (you know what I mean). The room had become “family”.

In April this year I returned to Thailand, bringing with me from London all I needed (bar the paint) to decorate said room. I painted. I thought the room looked good!

But this July the sea-shell mirror was still on the floor leaning against the wall, where it had been left in April – serving its god given purpose as a mirror only for the occasional passing cockroach.

“Darling I thought we agreed that you would get the apartment caretaker to come with a grr, grr (drill) to make hole to put the mirror up. Why is it still there?”

“He say he no have grr grr.”

And so began the battle of the sarwang.

I have it only on Nanthana’s word that sarwang (or something like it) is the Thai or Lao for electric drill. That it was ‘the’ word took some time to establish and so it is sometimes still referred to as the grr, grr.

“Ok darling, we get man to come with sarwang.”

“OK, I hear someone say fat man have sarwang.”

A day and a half passed – no individual chubby or otherwise appeared.

“Darling you ask fat man come?”

Nanthana, “I not see.”

Me, “You sure?”

Nanthana, “He say he not have sarwang.”

“Hmm”

Building work, as everywhere in Bangkok, is taking place in Ekkami – it seemed that every morning I was woken by the industrial cicada sound of a working sarwang.

“Darling, can you ask man who work near with sarwang to come make holes? Take 15 minutes and I pay 200 baht.”

“Cannot. 200 baht too much.”

“OK. 100 baht !”

“Cannot too little.”

Look I was not going to go though 99 permutations to establish the going rate for a man with a working sarwang.

(Maybe it could be done in less than 99 goes. 6 maybe! There is a quiz question to puzzle over!)

I spoke, “OK, darling we go Big C and buy sarwang.”

“Cannot. They no have.”

We went to Big C. Indeed they do not sell sarwang.

Ah but, on the short walk back to the apartment I spied a hardware merchant.

Sarwang?” I asked.

Blank look.

“Grr, Grr,Grr?” (the third “grr” was added for theatrical effect).

Yes!! 650 baht!

An hour later four things that needed to be, including the mirror, were fixed to the walls.

Nanthana, “Beautiful! My husband.”

It must be understood that I am a carnivore. Cattle of all kinds, pigs, duck, chicken, dog, cat, snake and snails found their way onto my plate long ago. I like Thai food (a bit) and Lao food not really at all, however I join in and try manfully to rid the motherland of its locust and scorpion populations. But I admit it, sometimes I want, need and crave farang food.

Nanthana’s room does not (of course) have a kitchen and there’s no way of cooking. And so it was that I bought a disposable charcoal grill with me to Thailand in July. I had a plan. Sausages would be cooked. They were cooked (thank god for Tesco Lotus Local). But a disposable charcoal grill is what it says it is.

Now as we all know small charcoal burners are to be seen everywhere in Thailand.

And so the battle of the towl began. In most essential features it took on the same form as the battle of the sarwang. First a name for small charcoal burner had to established (towl) and then all possible pathways to obtaining one were discussed and dismissed as the febrile delusions of a naive foreigner.

I forced the issue.

“We go to garden centre.” (This was not a crazy idea as they sell earthenware goods after all).

Nanthana, “They no have.”

We went; indeed “They no have.”

I asked Nanthana to ask where one could be purchased. The translated reply surprised me, “Ask a taxi-driver.”

A strange way to do business but Ok, we did. “Ekkami”, was his reply.

So back to Ekkami. Again the issue was forced – into the first likely looking shop.

Towl?”

“Certainly sir. No problem, what size and style? Visa, American Express, traveler’s cheque or cash sir?”

We settled on the super- deluxe model with aluminum carrying basket and paid by cash – 69 baht.

I played with the towl on many evenings on the balcony.

Nanthana, “Beautiful. Husband happy.”

I feel that you may be picking up the drift!

You can’t stay in Bangkok forever (or indeed more than a week in my opinion). We decided on a trip to Koh Samet.

And so it was that one night we were in an internet café in Ekkami. I wanted a map of Koh Samet and addresses, phone numbers and prices of bungalows on the island. I know this information to exist on the internet. I quickly found it.

Now, many people have accused me of being a technophobe and/or Luddite (I take this as a compliment) but I can see no point in using quill and paper to copy out information when computers have a facility to PRINT.

I hit the print command – minutes passed. Nothing.

I asked Nanthana (the light of my life, the centre of my universe, the focus of all my hopes and fears) to enquire of the internet lady whether printing was possible. The lady came over.

“Print?” I asked.

What had happened? Had I asked whether it was Euclid or Pythagoras who had proposed the transmigration of souls? (I’m a half arsed pseudo intellectual and I really could not remember which of the Greek blokes first proposed this concept).

The internet lady looked blankly at me. “Print?” I asked again. She looked both startled and troubled. Perhaps it was neither Euclid nor Pythagoras but Plato; perhaps it was Ronald MacDonald.

“Nanthana (the light of my life, the centre of my universe, the focus of all my hopes and fears), please ask the lady if I can print this map?”

Nanthana looked troubled, but words were exchanged in Thai or more likely Lao.

The internet lady went away. “What happened? I asked.

Nanthana spoke those most feared of words, “Must wait.”

“Wait for what dearest (light of my life etc etc)?”

No reply.

Time relentlessly passed as it does. Somewhere in a universe outside the internet café new stars were being born while old stars imploded.

The waiting was over.

The lady came to me with a blank sheet of paper – save for a website address at the top. No map.

“I want to print the map you can see on the screen.”

Thai/Lao was spoken.

“You must copy.”

OK. I got it; I had to copy the map into another package (Why? Who cares!)

I found all other packages to be in Thai but my memory of ‘Word’ surprised me. Easy! Job done! Map securely in ‘Word’.

“Print?” I asked the lady. A troubled and blank look. First thoughts are not always the best – it must have been Ronald MacDonald. The hamster in the wheel was running backwards and forwards. I logged off.

We went to pay. Several sheets of blank paper began to spew from the printer. Thai/Lao words were exchanged. Nanthana (light of my etc.), “You must pay for paper.”

On the verge, I paid. We left.

We sat and I avoided the temptation to order a beer (I know myself almost well).

Now this is not the first time I have encountered printing problems in internet cafes (all over Thailand), “Nanthana (light etc) next time can we ask whether printing is possible before we start?”

“No.”

“Why?”

“You must understand Thai people.”

This is true. I deem it to be my fault not to understand and my duty to try to understand.

I want to understand, I crave to understand. But how? And what is it that I am understanding?

Plans were changed – they can be, it’s not a crime. First we were to go to Pattaya.

In Pattaya I met the first Norwegian that I have ever (knowingly) met – a very nice guy. Can I now say that I understand Norwegian people? Clearly, no. But…but then a little bit yes.

If you met me and I was the only Brit you had ever met then I would be scared if you felt that you understand British people. But I AM BRITISH. There is part of me that no matter what soil I stand on that is forever British. We are all partly “our” culture.

Not just because of the language issue I have interacted with very few Thai’s. In nine years I have spoken at a little length to only one Thai man – a Bangkok taxi driver. He had lived in Fulham (London) for over ten years. I asked him why he had left, “Too many foreigners.”

My interactions have been with Thai and Lao women, they have not all been of either poor urban or poor rural backgrounds. I dimly see the part that class (or feudal position) plays in Thai society. But but but there is so much that I do not understand.

On the trip to Pattaya, which lasted five days, a lifetime of events (of course) took place.

We booked into the Honey Inn (nice place – we had stayed there the year before). But building work was taking place outside – the street was a sea of mud. Nanthana was NOT happy (I was not overjoyed) The hotel was by Nanthana renamed “Rice Farm Hotel” and she wasn’t staying there. I immediately agreed that we would stay no more than one night. But, Nanthana would not stop.

“OK dearest we change hotel tonight.”

Nanthana,“No cannot we pay already.”

“OK, I say already we change tomorrow.”

But the pressure was on and was relentless – the hotel was NOT liked.

I snapped.

We walked the Pattaya streets in silence. We nearly booked into the A.A. Hotel (as a homage) but I thought better of it. We finally settled on the same hotel as the aforementioned Norwegian and his girlfriend (a friend of Nanthana). I go to reception.

“Tomorrow I want a room with large double bed and a balcony over looking the swimming pool. You have?”

“Yes sir.” (Smile)

“You sure sure?”

(Smile) “Yes sir.”

The morrow came. We checked in. You know already!!!

A room with two single beds and a balcony over looking the car park. Back to reception.

(Smile) “Sorry sir we full.”

I asked Nanthana to call for a surgeon – I wanted my brain removed – too much thinking. <It’s a long wait for that surgeon. The queue is longStick>

Now, I take it the hotel incident to be part of Thai culture. I am not sure about Nanthana’s grinding insistence on the hotel change (even in the face of my agreement). Was that her or a cultural method used by Thai/Lao women to make sure that their duplicitous, lying, cheating men folk actually do what they say they are going to do? I don’t know.

At what of the battles of the towl and the sarwang? I don’t know!

There are some things that I take as universals – one is the fact that it is the fate of any and every tourist (of any nation) to be ripped-off by outlanders from here to Baffin Island. Travel may possibly broaden the mind but certainly empties the wallet. Thus I do not feel it to be Thai culture that caused the locust seller on Beach Road to steal 30 Baht from me.

Locusts cost 20 Baht a chuck. We all now that. I gave 50 Baht and waited for my change. He smirked. I have never before actually seen someone smirk. OK you see it in films but in real life? He smirked!! He slowly put the 50 Baht note into his breast pocket. I waited. He smirked. I waited. Then the penny (or baht) dropped.

I am British (and from London), a volley of abuse turned the air blue. Londoners, if nothing else, know how to abuse and swear. But he was armed with a gas-powered towl and a pan of sizzling fat. I retreated and of course took it out on Nanthana!

“A nation of lying, cheating thieves. I hope there is an incident involving the oil, the towl and his dick … but then you buggers would probably eat it.” I think I quote myself accurately. Mercifully Nanthana did not get the full drift. It was uncalled for – it was not Thai culture but him. Maybe a problem is that “we” all too often confuse individual dishonesty – that of the locust seller- with another form of “dishonesty” as shown by the hotel receptionist (which isn’t individual dishonesty at all!)

We left Pattaya for an afternoon on a beach along the coast. I am not going to tell you where – it was beautiful.

We sat on the beach. A ladyboy, “My name is Powder,” came and served us giant prawns. He, without asking, pealed said prawns and put them with his fingers into my mouth. There was no apparent thought on his part that this was inappropriate behavior. I accepted this social interaction. There was nothing to suggest that his behavior was “sexual” or that he felt any divide between himself and
an (hopefully) openly heterosexual couple. This is (I think) cultural – and all the better for it. But as always I don’t know!

Powder took us to see a man who said he could sell us a house for 1.8 mill baht. Did Nanthana, Powder or ‘the man’ think that I would simply buy on the day? Culture or individuals? I don’t know!

I don’t know, I don’t understand!

From Pattaya back to the towl, the sarwang, the plants of family Ekkami and then off to Koh Samet – without a map. Nanthana returned from a massage at the back of the beach. I asked her the name of the beach we were on (I didn’t have a map!). “Tubtim beach, next to Pussy beach. No, joke Pudsa beach, ” she said. I was writing what you are now reading. Nanthana asked, “Are you still writing about sarwang and towl? Farang crazy mak mak.” (Yes, I was and probably am!) The day and night of our arrival there had been HEAVY rain. Birds were not flying! A couple of beautiful black and yellow birds (hornbills maybe www.kinnaratours.com/images/hornbill.jpg), wetly took shelter on a branch near our bungalow (garden shed with toilet).

“Look Nanthana – beautiful birds.”

Nanthana, “Yes before we have many in village.”

Nanthana, (somewhat wistfully), “Not have any more.”

Nanthana (more brightly), “We eat them all.”

At night the toads came out to croak and mate. Of course Nanthana knew the difference between the male and female call. When the pond (their Nana Plaza – plenty of croaking and mating) was found I had to physically restrain her from going in and catching a few. Old habits die hard. You can take the girl out of the village but (thankfully) you can’t take the village…

I was in paradise. But then so was every Farang man part of a temporary Thai/Farang friendship pact who walked between our table and the sea. Nanthana catagorised them. “He meet her Bangkok. They boyfriend / girlfriend. None same as you and me.”

I was in paradise. But but….. Two days before we were in the German Bar in Bangkok (no grid references needed). I have always thought of the German bar as “The bar at the end of the universe" (Hitch Hikers’ Guide to the Galaxy). It could be more so if Nanthana’s suggestion was taken up (and maybe I think it should be). As you know, there are wooden statutes of a cowboy and an Indian at the entrance.

Nanthana, “Why they have those? They not from Germany.”

After a little while, Nanthana, “Why they not have statue of Adolf Hitler?”

After some thought, Nanthana, “OK, no. He ugly.”

Anyway, a Farang of indeterminate nationality was as drunk as I have ever seen a Farang drunk in Thailand (except perhaps when passing a mirror in some Bangkok or Pattaya hotel room – no he was more drunk, he was drunk in public!) Not fat or ugly but big and strong, not a body-builder more likely a manual worker in his not of choice country. (This probably means he was at least a Vice President of IBM). He was trying, the same as the rest of us, to live. He was no problem – not violent or loud, just swaying in his seat, occasionally making an effort to stand and then thinking better of it.

Perhaps some did not realise his altered state of (un)consciousness. A lady sat next to him. He bought her a Singha (110 baht?)

She was a stunner (if you like tattooed women in ultra short shorts, halter tops and ankle length cowboy boots. It did it for me!)

In the next half-hour he: pulled at the front of her shorts and looked down, similarly at the back, touched her boobs, pussy and arse and engaged in what can only be described as simulated sex act with him sitting and her facing the bar. This show was attracting attention and was a matter of embarrassment to the lady concerned. Intermittently he dispatched her to the bar to fetch him cold towels. She wiped his face and chest. Sufficiently revived he returned to his next quest.

Eventually he managed to stand and remember the art of putting one foot in front of the other. He paid his drink bill and left on his own. The lady was left to finish her bottle of Singha.

At the table to our left a black American had introduced himself to a lady, asked her name, made small talk and invited her to have something to eat.

These little events strangely exercised me.

Who was good? Who smart? Who bad? Who dumb?

I asked Nanthana her opinion of the drunken man. It was her opinion that he was not bad, maybe he would later remember the lady and return to find her. I really did not expect THAT answer.

But, who was good? Who smart? Who bad? Who dumb?

This site is littered with stories of (good?) men who have spent and sent small fortunes on Thai ladies and received badness back. Maybe they (I) are dumb. Does that make us bad? Probably not! Does it make us good? Not necessarily! Just perhaps dumb!

Was the drunken man dumb? Well he got a lot for his 110 baht, that is for sure. Does it make him smart? Maybe. Does it make him bad? Not necessarily (but in my eyes, YES).

Why did I mention that, “At the table of our left a Black-American…..” Why did I add “Black”? Because I have some clue of the racism/simple colour prejudice of Thai women (and men). He behaved impeccably, with manners and courtesy. She behaved well. But what was in her head? Listen to many Thai women! Dark/black equals dirty, low class and if Black American, Black British, Black, a big dick! If she was the bearer of these thoughts was she good or bad? Certainly she could be viewed as smart. Her pussy, arse and boobs were not glimpsed for 110 baht.

Perhaps I don’t understand this P4P game. I never said I did!

The next day Nanthana received a call from her friend Tamarind . We met her, again at the German Bar. Tamarind was “working” there but in a right old state. She was in love with an English guy. He is married and sends her no money. On his last visit he gave her 10,000 baht at the end of his ten day stay.

She loves him Thai style – passionately, all-consumingly to the point of distraction. She was worried that he was being unfaithful to her (with his wife). She texted him and texted him. He at first replied. He had had a bad day at the office – nearly got the sack. He had problems.

Tamarind persisted and persisted. He turned off his phone. She cried and cried and cried.

A German guy is sending her 50,000 baht a month. She tells him she loves him – well if she didn’t the money would stop flowing won’t it. But she loves the English guy despite the fact that he only gave her 10,000 baht for 10 days (i.e. more than a Thai teacher would earn in the same number of days).

Tears were dried. Tamarind borrowed 500 baht from Nanthana (i.e. me) and left saying she might find a customer for the night outside Tony Romane’s.

Nanthana vouched safe that she had never seen Tamarind in such a state. “She loves much much now.”

My Buddha I do not understand Thailand.

Nanthana receives many txts (sometimes she mis-sends a message to me – I know if the message is not meant for me because they are in German), a session in an internet café is as I say, “Big job at the office today?” She receives telephone calls. We are (almost) open with one another. An Englishman is coming to Thailand. He is in his 70’s. It is arranged that Nanthana will find him a lady and he will give Nanthana 20,000 baht. I say to her, “I pity the customer.” Nanthana asks me why I do not pity her. I am forced into saying that we all work and that I do not like my job. I add that my job does not involve women who really like me and find me so attractive that they give me large sums of money, pay for me to stay in good hotels, take me on holiday to beautiful beaches and islands and (occasionally) have sex with me. (Nanthana has already told me the various ploys she uses to have as little sex with a customer as possible – except if SHE feels horny). I lean back, “I pity the customer.”

My Buddha on a bicycle I do not understand Thailand or P4P. I never said I did.

We went to Pattaya for a second time. It was not discussed why – we implicitly knew why but I forced Nanthana to say why. “You know pussy mai pang (cheap) in Pattaya.”

OK, now you see! We are not conventional.

We returned to Pattaya. Nanthana arranged for a friend of hers to come to the Hotel, The High Five – as an aside it was interesting that when Nanthana phoned they quoted her 750 baht a night, when I phoned five minutes later they quoted 650 Baht; she explained that this often happened, it being believed that Thai’s would not pay. So quote a higher price? Where is the logic?

Anyway a desultory afternoon was spent. On a previous occasion it was deemed that I had been over enthusiastic with a lady called Lek. This had caused Nanthana some displeasure. So on this occasion I was scared to enjoy myself. No fun.

The next day Nanthana selected a girl from the Shark go-go bar. Good looking but in truth I was not interested. We walked back along Beach Road to the hotel. The lady (Wi) told Nanthana of
her problems – poor, sick child, her and her Thai husband recently arrived in Pattaya and having to have slept on the beach (consequently sick child), her husband now working in a gay go-go bar in Pattaya. But worst, the lady showed us
her deformed left hand. Two fingers missing and one sort of stuck to the back of her hand (result of an oil lamp incident when she was a child). She said that she was very grateful to us for bar fining her because many would not do so because
of “the hand”. In truth neither Nanthana nor I had noticed “the hand” and in equal truth neither of us cared. But this tale of woe had produced the same reaction in both Nanthana and me. Nanthana, “I not horny
any more.”

And so the lady came to our room, chatted to Nanthana for an hour – with Nanthana trying to convince her that she would do better in her job if she learnt English. So it was that she left with 1000 baht and Nanthana’s Thai/English dictionary and the promise that we would bar fine her again the following night.

My Buddha on a bicycle, with a bent front wheel, I do not understand Thailand or P4P. I never said I did.

Maybe because I am British a promise means something. I reminded Nanthana of our promise the following evening. This was badly received – evidence that I fancied the lady. A silent fight took place. We didn’t keep our promise (this bothered me for several days- no doubt it would be taken by Wi as confirmation that “the hand” was the problem).

We returned to Bangkok our wallet lighter but the sum of our happiness not increased.

Now another of the things that I take as universals is take some women irrespective of nationality seemingly become possessed by demons during their periods. So it is with Nanthana – I knew this was the case but had forgotten (foolish foolish me).

We went to a gogo bar in Soi Cowboy. As always Nanthana struck up a conversation with a lady there. I could see that something was going on. Nanthana and I returned to Ekkami and a late beer. At 2:15 she received a telephone call. I understand enough Thai to know that our address was being given. I intuitively knew that the caller was the lady from the go-go bar (which would have just closed leaving her without an income for the night). When the call was over I put this to Nanthana. Although she would not admit it, my statement that “THIS IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN,” was understood.

I walked back to the family home leaving Nanthana to de-arrange the arrangement.

Now what happened next is surprising – but then perhaps not so! Nanthana returned – the arrangement had been unarranged.

I was already in bed. But an argument HAD to happen. What the substance of it was I’m not clear about. It’s hard to argue when you don’t have a clue why you’re arguing – so I didn’t really feel able to contribute. I think that this made it worse! (As did the period-demons who were prodding at her with pointy sticks). Anyway a punctuation mark (perhaps not a full stop but semi-colon) to the argument was introduced by Nanthana – she made a run towards the balcony, declaring on the way that “You no love me. I want die” I knew that this was all, as psychiatrists say, “A load of bullshit.” (I think that is the technical term). But accidents can happen. I managed to rugby tackle her before she reached the door (I think she had slowed down on purpose – hey you have to give an unfit 57 year old a chance).

Look this is cultural. And I KNEW it was. It’s been done to me before by Thai women.

Maybe she was a little surprised when I went to a draw, took out a knife and handed it to her handle first. What surprised me was what I said, “I can’t take stuff like that ANYMORE. I’ve been done over by experts. I’ve had enough of IT. So put up or shut up.” I really didn’t know I was going to say that! It came as a surprise to me!

What was the “it”? I spent the night reflecting on that issue. It had nothing to do with Nanthana – her actions were Thai – and I knew it. Really, I think that it was the cry of a 57 old Farang – too many relationships where the woman has somehow always seemed pissed off with me but never told me why! (Come on chaps, have you experienced this?) Perhaps they have a right to be! I don’t know (You are catching on there is plenty I don’t know!) Anyway, I didn’t like this turn of events with Nanthana (the light of my life, the centre of my universe, the focus of all my hopes and fears).

That night I nearly closed my heart to Nanthana. I think you can do this – simply say to oneself I’m not going to really, fully, properly love you anymore; from now on it’ll be partial, provisional and not proper. Anyway mercifully I didn’t.

This little cameo performance took place four days before I was to leave. OK, it did cloud things but but …. I knew that it could not cause an end. How could it really!

And so it is that I am now back in London. I think most not of anything that I have written about here but rather of: a walk in Ekkami when we found a Klong (in truth I knew it was there, but I know Nanthana likes surprise), of spending a day pickling cucumbers (using a recipe which was partly in English and German which had been sent by her friend in Switzerland), of fishing on the rocks in Koh Samet (Nanthana had never fished before and didn’t want to – but then she got it that fishing means throwing a line into the water and then drinking beer, so we had to do it most every evening). I think of one Thai person after another saying that, “You two have the same face.” A then of being in the Suzy Wong Gogo in Soi Cowboy and an Australian turning to us and saying “Strewth, blue” (he didn’t but what is the point of national stereotypes if you don’t use them?) But he did say, “You two must have been married a long time ‘cause people say after a while couples get to look alike and you two look the same.” He really, really did!

But mostly I think of being in bed with her and knowing that we would always turn to hold the other all through the night (ah) and knowing that I was happy and that Nanthana was happy.

And so it is that I am now back in London. I txt and email and talk to Nanthana (the light of my life, the centre of my etc.) every day. Now she is in Hong Kong. I am fortunate in that it appears that the jealous gene seems mercifully absent from my DNA. If you have not already guessed it – I love Nanthana (I think you guessed). And she loves me (no honest she does!).

What will become of us? I don’t know! Partly it’s about money. After 32 miserable years working as a teacher in Britain I’ll have the massive pension of £12,000 a year (720,000 baht) and maybe £20,000 (1.2 mill baht) to spend on a house. Come on guys – get the support network going! Is this barely enough for two people such as Nanthana and me to live on (now you know us so well).

But more I know I find Thailand hard going – but no advise is needed here – Nanthana has already given it,

“You must understand Thai people.”

The only question is how many lifetimes does that take?

Twins? What do you think?

Stickman's thoughts:

The amount of money you have will be plenty if you live the quiet life and don't go silly with booze…and if you live in the countryside, all the more comfortable it will be. I wish you all the best.

at: markin1@hotmail.co.uk.