Stickman Readers' Submissions January 21st, 2008

July 1997

Well to start off this submission, it is about how I have seen Thailand change! That is A LOT! I first came to Thailand July 1997. It was unreal. Just getting of the plane at Don Muang and watching the humidity cloud enter the plane when they opened the aircraft door. You can’t forget the smell! Then going through immigration and down the stairs to retrieve our luggage. Then out to the arrival meeting area after you pass the line getting asked ”Taxi?” This was my first time.

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I stopped and said” How much?”

“Where you stay?

I said “Nana Hotel it’s on Sukhumvit road Soi 4”

“Yes, I know, 400 baht, and I pay the expressway! Ok?”

I answered yes, ok! Wait here, my car is in the car park! I asked myself “What in the hell is a car park?” He wanted to take the luggage and I said “NO way you’re taking our luggage, with out us!”

OK, come!

So we arrived at an old Toyota car, the whole dash filled with Buddha amulets and they were hanging from the mirror and jasmine flowers. (They actually smelled good!)

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We started down to the highway driving like a bat out of hell! We got to the first toll both. He paid, and off to the races we went. I saw a sign in English for Sukhumvit. Then he got on the exit. Then we started towards Sukhumvit and we could see Nana Hotel sign in the distance as the driver pointed it out to us. The area we were driving through felt like I was being driven through downtown Baghdad.

We finally made it across Sukhumvit and it was slow going with people walking and we were surprised how lively it was at 01:00. Then finally we got to the Nana Hotel. Then the bell boys if (you wanted to call them that) opened are door. Then directed us to the front desk to check-in. They wanted to see our passports. (They think we are illegally in their country?) After flying 18 hours you tend to get agitated easily, well I do. Anyways, with the scenery walking through the lobby made me calm down. So we finally checked-in and the bell boy took us up our rooms. Then he asked “Massage?” I was said no thank you; I have to meet friends across the street. In 30 minutes, “Ok, no problem sir” Then I called my buddy and said meet ya downstairs in 30 minutes. So I rushed to get some clothes and shower items and rushed to shave and shower quickly.

Then there was a knock at the door. I thought it was my buddy, so I answered the door with a towel just wrap around me. It wasn’t my friend. It was some girl and she said” Hello sir, my name Goon. You want company tonight? I said NO!!! Ok, Kao jai na ka. In other words no problem.

I couldn’t believe it. I was like shit, I’m running late. We were meeting some friends that were coming in from Seoul, South Korea. So my friend and I made it across soi 4 into the maze of tuktuks so we went to the 2nd floor bar we were supposed to meet them in. We walk up to the bar and the “welcome girls” (as I know of them now) opened up the curtain and WOW, it was like we were some superstars. To be honest, I was actually in culture shock.

So this very attractive bargirl really got my attention. Yes she asked for a lady drink and I said sure! She asked” Where you come from? Where you stay? You have lady? Then the final question finally came! After the Q and A session. You want me to stay with you? I asked, huh? You pay bar? I was like pay bar? Yes, you have to pay a bar fine for me go with you. I asked how much? 400 baht she said.

Then my friends came walking into the bar. One of my buddies said "I told you not fall for the first girl you meet." I was like, she sweet, (Remember, I’m at this time, I was a newbie) so we sat in the bar and drank with my friends and then we went back to our hotel. Just put it this way, I was addicted!

Now to the main point of my submission:

I have now been to Thailand 32 times since July 1997. I feel Nana Plaza has changed. I have to agree with Stick. The girls are actually rude if you deny them a “drink”. Then I witnessed not long ago, a girl slapping the shit of this poor farang. The manager didn’t do anything!

Same bar, there was this regular expat was intoxicated showing his hatred of America. I was at that time sitting with a group of Americans and one of the guys was getting very heated. So I mentioned the problem to the manager. The manager said oh he is no problem, just ignore him. He is like that when he drinks. Then he came walking back to go to the bathroom, and he slapped one of the guys on the back of his head. Then the place went into a 6 on 1 Ultimate fighting match! The manager didn’t do anything! The DJ tried stepping in, and the drunken idiot grabs him around his neck and pushed him against the sink. Then the group of Americans put it this way, took care of him! Then get this; we broke 5 glasses and we get a bill in our cup for 500 baht! That bar is no longer on the 2nd floor of Nana! I guess it was sold. No loss!

The hotel my wife and I stayed at 1 month ago. In the restaurant, get this; they can’t speak English! They advertise as an “International Hotel”. I couldn’t believe it!

Then my wife before lived in Phuket. She didn’t seem to get my mail from Farangland. So we went to the post office. They had a look on their face like they didn’t know what we were talking about. Then her neighbor that works for the post office said “They want money.” (Corruption). They see mail from USA and they check to see if there is money in it. The only way I have seen to get around that issue was to send it registered. Yes, it cost me more. But then my wife always seemed to get my mail.

Then we went to Laos for a day through Nongkhai. Well Laos welcomed us basically with open arms for the $35.00 visa fee. But in all, the Lao people were really friendly. Kind of the way they were when I first came to Thailand.

Then coming back through the Lao / Thai border was an unpleasant experience! The Thai immigration official treated me with absolutely with no respect! He talked not good to me in Thai. My wife said he treated her like she was a bargirl. I was pissed! I told her to show him her teacher's ID card! She is always jai yen yen! (Cool hearted) She has a master’s degree. Frankly, I felt very unwelcome in Thailand!

Ever since the 2006 coup d’etat that took place on Tuesday, 19 September 2006 Thailand has changed! I would say for the worse! I feel people are not nearly as friendly as they were before. I mean for visa rules for us farangs. When you arrive at Suvarnabhumi airport, the immigration people are not as friendly and not as welcoming as the immigration people were at Don Muang. Then also the unstable bar closing times. I’m not saying USA doesn’t have problems with its government as well!

In conclusion: I miss the old Thailand! You may agree or disagree with this submission. Feel free to send me your feed back.

Stickman's thoughts:

I agree with you that things aren't what they were, but they I think it has been a slow deterioration since about 2001.

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