When I Was Young (What Happened To My Youth?)
Khao San Road Bangkok, 1992. A young Dane had arrived in paradise. Disneyland mixed with Ibiza, party and fun, a whole new world.
How come I ended up in Khao San Road, and what happened after that, and why did it have such an impact on my future life.
June 1992, finally I was finished with my study as a blacksmith, 4 years of study and hard work had come to a happy end. I had saved some money, now it was time to see the world, in that case Thailand.
I already paid for an "visit Thai family" program for one month, in Songkhla, south Thailand. And I was really looking forward to meet the Thai people.
Came to Songkhla by local airplane, the family were waiting for me, and I started to make my first mistakes, I had no idea about Thai customs, and the mother in family special didn't have the patient for an Farang, with such a bad manner.
After a few days my love for being in Thailand turned in to hate of all Thai, I was locked inside the house all day, the father was an rich business man, he used his spare time in the clubs, drinking whiskey. The children went to school, and the mother spent the time in the house painting her hair black, covering her age.
So in desperation, I started to jump the fence and visit the areas, where I could meet the locals, and had some fun, which the mother found out fast, and she went mad about my manner, and started to compare me to other Farang, that used to stay in their house.
Few days after I went for a party in the university where the oldest daughter, terminate her class, there I did an song in English, It was great fun, and every student loved it, but not the mother, she was pissed of.
The bottom end, was that to much for me and her, so with help from a friend of the family, I went AWOL, got on a local train to Bangkok.
Next day, early morning I’m off in Khao San Road dirty, tired, with my backpack, and a bit confused. Headed for the first guesthouse "Nat Guest house", sounds nice.
Friendly people, a small but clean room, hot shower and cold coke, life already looks better.
The other "Inmates", came to down to eat too, youngsters from all over the world, backpackers, poor travellers, with a big heart. It was like a dream for me. It was back to the old past, I only hear about, more "Peace love and harmony" no mobile, no email, no fancy stuff. Just real people, real local Thais, that talked, smile, made fun, were curious. I really felt it was like a new family.
The days went on, party, meeting new friends, buying weird things. And then boom, my English friends took me to Patpong, what a place for a young guy 21 years old hat had only seen a lousy strip show in Mexico.
Kings castle, Queens Castle, the Thai boxing on the ground floor, with snake shows (Today it's all closed, its shops now), Bob's Deli on the corner with wonderful hamburgers, and a nice view of the ladies, wow what more can you ask for.
Spending the nights, playing games with the ladies, watching shows, drinking beer, and just having a good time, it was Disneyland for me.
In the end I did 4 months in Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, and lots of nights in Patpong. It made me love Thailand and its people, I even invited 2 sisters I met in a bar, to eat with me the next day in McDonald, it was a special event. We had a lot of fun talking, about life, families like friends, they even came with some nice "offers", that I turn down, since I didn't want to destroy our friendship.
Now the years were passing by, I had been back Thailand in 1993, 1995, 1999, 2000. The last with my wife and daughter when we did the night market in Patpong and Khao San Road, it was a strange but sad experience, what happened to those 2 funny areas. Patpong had lost its madness on ground floor, not it was just shops, and robes, more and less fake, no snake shows, no fake Thai boxing shows, the little fun that was left had more and less moved upstairs.
Back to Khao San Road, still full of youngsters, wanna be Hippies "Save the world", but now with SMS, emails, no one talked to each other, no one had the interest in getting new friends, the old guest houses had been changed in McDonalds, Boots and other very western things. The friendly Thais had changed to faces that just ask "Wanna buy? How much?", it was sadness.
Today, late October 2007, I’m looking back at the memories of an wonderful time, that had passed away, like an dead family member, I’m sad it passed so fast, but it was wonderful, and I will always love my Khao San rd and Patpong.
Next year 2008, I will go back to Thailand in January, I will pass by on my way to Vietnam, for some volunteer work. I’m sure I will visit my 2 old places, I won't be the same, but I’m older too, and who knows, maybe I can still find my heart, mind and spirit in the Land of Smile.
"The friendly Thais had changed to faces that just ask "Wanna buy? How much?" That sentence says is all…