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Thai Adventures and Musings Part 1: Face Meet Pavement

  • Written by Ba Tanha
  • November 23rd, 2007
  • 14 min read


Black Pagoda Patpong Bangkok


His face was inches from the pavement, and would impact it within milliseconds. Add on top of that a vehicular speed of approximately 20 – 30 kilometers an hour and the resulting impact would not be good. Gone forever would be the GQ cover photo shoot, another wasted opportunity thrown onto the ever rising heap. How did it come to this? What idiotic decisions led to his predicament this time?

Hours earlier he was just looking to imbibe a few beers and perhaps enjoy some of the finer things available in life. Who was he kidding, there was no perhaps about it. He was going to take an angel of the night back with him at the conclusion of his imbibing and show her cloud nine. Ok, maybe it's cloud six, but who's counting.

He'd only been to Nana Plaza a handful of times before, since he preferred the Patpong district over Nana. He knew he was in the minority on his opinion, but he liked being in the minority most of the time (he drew the line against pissing into the wind). He's had some fantastic experiences that germinated in Patpong, so he’ll be loyal to the district until the time comes where it lets him down. He also has some friends in Patpong and didn't really want to associate with them this night, so he decided to go a different route and have a Nana adventure instead.

He exited the skytrain at Nana station and started to walk the short distance to Nana Plaza. He thought about taking a short diversion to the Bamboo Beer and Pool Bar to play some billiards, but ultimately discarded the notion as too safe. He'd been there many times before and tonight he was looking for a new type of adventure, something out of his usual norm (if norm can be applied to anything he does).

He ignored the bothersome people vying for his attention to either buy something or use their services. He's found that totally ignoring their existence is the best approach and they'll usually focus their attention elsewhere pretty quick. The few times that doesn't work he stares them down the same way he stares down the wild dogs inhabiting the kingdom. A dog handler once told him that when a dog barks at you and nips at your heels, the best thing to do is stop and stare the mutt in its eyes. Their barks will subside within seconds and then the dog will back off and skulk away, sometimes with a whimper. One dog took a couple of minutes once, but they usually backed down immediately. Using this technique on the hawkers worked just as good, and they would divert their gaze and focus their attention onto the next sucker in the same amount of time as it took the dogs to scamper off. If only his piercing gaze could inversely draw in the ladies (such as pigs take to mud) while pushing the hawkers away, but alas his eyesight is not that good.

After he finished spending a short amount of time in two bars he moved onto to a go-go bar. He didn’t much like going to go-go bars alone as it made him feel more like the perv he is, and he preferred to at least try to think of himself in good terms as much as possible. He hurriedly drank his beer and exited the joint. Three establishments down and he was feeling that this was a wasted effort. He went to a second story bar he’d been to before a few years earlier and sat down near the ledge. He ordered whisky this time in an effort to mix the evening up since the beer wasn’t doing it for him so far. He eschewed the company offered at the time in favor of increasing his buzz alone. Three whiskies later he had changed his mind when a thirty-something Isaan lady of the night sat down next to him. She’d seen better days to be sure, but she still had that joie de vive (not viva de Jolie, Angelina…which is commonly mistaken for joie de vive) working for her. A few more whiskies later, and a couple of tequila shots (not water, he checked) and lady drinks thrown in for good measure, and he was ready to go. He paid her 400 baht bar fine and the cute couple hit the street.

Looking back he should’ve taken her back to the place he was staying via the means he arrived, the sky train, but instead he got into a green and yellow metered taxi to ferry his pick of the litter back to his playpen. He relayed his destination to the taxi driver and requested the meter be turned on. It was at this point the lady in question started to become irritating for some reason. She had also lost some of her appeal. Was it the change in lighting? Perhaps it was the lack of lighting in the taxi? Who knows? Maybe it was cold feet, ha, no way. It was her attitude. She knew she had a sure thing now since he’d paid her bar fine and they were on their way back to his place, so the smiles were gone and it was all business. Not the first time that’s happened, but for some reason it really bothered him this time.

The girl was being very abrasive to the taxi driver as well since the driver kept muttering to her in Thai, probably nothing good about him or the girl. The taxi driver finally got upset and turned off the meter and said it was going to be 300 baht to the destination, when it should only cost around 100 baht by meter. Now he was pissed off, at her and the taxi driver, and he just wanted to extricate himself from the entire situation. If only things could be that easy.

His thought processes weren’t exactly firing on all cylinders at the time. All he knew was that he was in a situation that he didn’t like being in and whenever you mix that and alcohol bad decisions are usually the result. He decided to make a break for it at the earliest opportunity, preferably when the taxi was not in motion. He was in the perfect position inside the taxi (the left side) since he was a gentlemen and had let the lady in first. The taxi was barreling down Rama IX on the far left lane, so he didn’t have to worry about traffic to the left of him, only behind him. Unfortunately there wasn’t much traffic on Rama IX at this time, a first for him, so he decided as soon as the taxi had slowed down enough he would make his break.

He wasn’t entirely unaware of how to escape from a moving vehicle since he’d had two friends tell him about their adventures in doing the same. One was in Deutschland and the other had his experience in New Jersey, both at low speeds. Only the friend in Deutschland had been drunk at the time and he said it had helped impact-wise since he was very loose when he rolled. His alcohol-addled mind thought it’d be no problem since he was still in good shape and was drunk enough to be loose when he hit.

The taxi braked due to traffic ahead and he decided now was as good a time as any. He thought it would be a fluid easy motion and a nice tuck and roll, but it turned out to be anything but that. He fumbled with the door to get it open, taking longer than he’d planned. The taxi had started to accelerate again by the time he got the door opened. At that time the bar girl yelled out something to the effect of what the fucking hell do you think you’re doing or something close to that. He wasn’t about to stop now.

He made the dive, not thinking to check to see if any vehicles were close behind or not. A well thought out plan it wasn’t. A well executed plan it wasn’t either, although executed could’ve been the result. The dive went more head first than he had intended and his face was inches from the pavement, and would impact it within milliseconds. Add on top of that a vehicular speed of approximately 20-30 kilometers an hour and the resulting impact would not be good. He managed to tuck his head in and let his shoulder take the brunt of the pavement. The speed of the vehicle helped in his roll, so as soon as he hit he rolled over twice and came to rest against the curb. Luckily there were no close cars behind him at the time. What a dumb ass move it was and how very lucky he was that he wasn’t hurt.

He heard the sound of the taxi coming to a stop ahead of him. He knew there was no way they would let him off the hook that easy and were sure to chase him down to the best of their ability. He suddenly remembered the story of his friend’s experience in Deutschland and he said the taxi and girl chased him for blocks before he lost them. This plan was looking less and less great as the seconds passed. He also recalled a scene from the movie “Dumb and Dumber” where the dumb duo left some suckers to unknowingly pay their tab at a restaurant and then bolted off down the highway. The less dumb one asked the other where he thought of that great plan and the other dumb one said he saw it in a movie, but that later on in the movie the suckers caught up to them and killed them. The less dumb one was like, WTF, let’s book on out of here before that happens. The thought that this could end up being a similar situation suddenly occurred to him, although he doubted he would be killed over this. Still, better to be safe than sorry, or dead.

What was so wrong to pay a measly two hundred extra baht to a taxi and have his way with the girl (even if it wouldn’t have been that great), pay her and then send her on her way? Jeez, what the hell had he been thinking? It was too late for second thoughts at this point though, it was time to beat feet. He had jumped out in the middle of a block so there were no close streets to run down. The side of Rama IX that he was on had three lanes heading east and the taxi was backing up toward him in the far left lane. The cars coming down the road were mostly in the far right two lanes. His best option for escape looked to be across Rama IX. Again, another idiotic decision! He saw a slight, make that very slight, break in traffic and made the bolt. Luck was with him again this night as the traffic he bolted in front of slowed down just enough to let him make it to the concrete barrier and vault over it and onto a small landing in the middle of Rama IX.

He didn’t dare chance a look back, but instead focused on the traffic on the opposing side of Rama IX. He didn’t want to wait long and fortune was with him as he saw his opportunity coming three vehicles away. He waited for the last vehicle to pass, a souped up SUV/Truck (a lot of those fuckers on the road lately) and he ran across the three lanes on Rama IX heading Westbound. He now felt it was a good time to look back. The taxi had stopped on the other side and the bar girl and driver were yelling out the window at him. They gestured and shouted obscenities at him in Thai and then the driver sped off Eastward down Rama IX.

He was sure the taxi was going to come about as soon as he could to track him down so he wasn’t in the clear just yet. What he knew about Rama IX was in his favor since he was pretty sure there weren’t too many opportunities to make a U-Turn on it. He wasn’t about to tempt fate and lollygag around though. His adrenalin was going pretty good at this point and his mind was cooking up all sorts of scenarios that he didn’t want to encounter so he decided to get out there as fast as he could. He ran Westward down the sidewalk on Rama IX, and a bad sidewalk it was. There were a ton of rundown buildings and closed up businesses around so he hadn’t chosen the best of places to get out and about.

Luckily he had chosen good clothes for the occasion that night. He was dressed in full length khaki pants and tennis shoes, no khaki shorts or flip flops this evening. He was able to run pretty well with the tennis shoes on and went down the first side street he encountered to lose himself from the lights. This side street was fairly dark and he didn’t feel like staying on it too long. He came across a tall grass yard next to a shack. The shack was a Thai family’s home, the kind you see in shantytowns all over Krung Thep and Muang Thai. He decided to duck between the barb-wired fence around the yard and make his way over to the next street. There was an inordinate amount of junk in the grass. He came across something that looked like bones and had to stop. He inspected the find and sure enough it was bones. He was alarmed at first until he realized it was the remains of some dog. He didn’t stay long to inspect his discovery, instead opting to make his way out of that deep grass. He knew in Northeastern Thailand that there were all sorts of creatures living in grass like this and some of them not so good, such as the giant centipedes that bite hurts like hell or the poisonous snakes that can kill. He doubted there were such creatures like that around here, but didn’t want to chance it.

It took awhile but he made it across the field in one piece and over to the next side street. This street was in disrepair, but that was due to the fact it was under construction. Construction is a sign of progress so that could be possibly good. He saw down the road on the right what looked to be a hotel. He took an examination of his appearance at this time and he was in remarkably good condition for just having rolled out of a taxi and trampled through a high grass field. He had some dust and dirt on his pants that he patted off, except for one slight mark that wouldn’t come off, not too bad. He checked his shirt and it was fine, even where he had landed on his shoulder. His shoulder hurt a little, but not that bad actually. He didn’t brace himself before he hit the pavement so his roll with the fall worked, lucky stiff.

He walked towards what appeared to be a hotel and as he got closer he noticed that it said 13 Coins. It looked as good as any place to duck into. The size of the hotel was quite large and impressive. The lobby with the restaurant and the seafood in nearby tanks looked quite nice (they had some really big shrimp). He had stumbled upon a nice place, things were looking up. He doubted that the taxi and girl would find him here. He checked the room rates and found he could get a room for the night for 700 baht, the cheap room of course, but plenty good for him. He saw a sign for Karaoke and found that they had Karaoke rooms, yesss. He loved Karaoke, even if there are no English songs, it didn’t matter to him.

He got a room which was separate from the main part of the hotel, and then called one of his acquaintances named Joy and told her to get over there post haste to do some Karaoke. That night he had a great time singing with Joy and then enjoying her pleasures later on. He had a lot more fun than the other option of staying in the taxi, although he wouldn’t recommend his course of action to anyone else. It might be awhile before he drinks that much whisky again, without a wingman at least.

On a side note, he also met the 13 Coins owner the next morning, a very interesting and nice man. He has 13 Coins restaurants and hotels all over Thailand and the one he was in is worth checking out, although a little pricy to eat at. Great food, just a little more than he usually pays, but this is coming from a guy who’s happy eating Thai street food.

Ba Tanha

Stickman's thoughts:

Busy day, so sorry, comments to follow tomorrow.