It's departure time again. For the 7th time in less than 2 years I sit at the airport gate and watch out through the glass front examining the Airbus that will bring me to the perceived land of dreams that Thailand has become over all the previous
trips. I should be feeling light-hearted and excited now. I should be drooling about the fair skinned beauties that await me, ready to satisfy and to be satisfied.
I am not.
With the increasing number of visits the anxiety and expectations of great and novel things to come has mostly made room for figuring how to avoid being ripped off, how to deal with the lies, scams and relationship issues, in general how to make the best of the two weeks ahead of me while avoiding disaster. After 3 months of enduring a freaking cold and dark winter at home for sure I am looking forward to escape this dull existence but it is merely for other than climatic reasons and the same reasons every holiday is preferable over a working routine: To sleep long into the morning, have a few days without responsibilities and leave the worries behind. As I enter the Thai Airways aircraft I feel a small adrenalin rush but I can see the routine behind the smiles of the hostesses that it is work for them as it is routine for me meanwhile to enter that plane to get me a few thousand miles away from home to routinely have fun. I browse the entertainment program and settle for the Hollywood movie "Transformers". The plot is trivial but my god there are some hot chicks starring in that movie that keep me hooked. Did ever a Thai girl intrigue me so much? Isn't it just their easy availability, their petite but oh so uniform bodies and their initially mysterious oriental appearance that makes them "attractive"? <Bingo – Stick>
Upon landing at she-wanna-boom I start to slowly switch into my Thai mai pen rai self-protection mode which is essential in order not to get frustrated which would only result in trouble. The taxi driver who is going to transport me to Pattaya agrees on a price only to increase it once we are on the highway ("gas expensive, children hungry"). I am not into arguing over 10 bucks and the porn movie he transmitted to my cell phone was nice too, so mai pen rai. We have a short talk about Thaksin's return and he argues that his corruption was only nit noy and that in general he is a great guy. I know he didn't really care where I come from so upon his asking before entering the taxi I mentioned as usual a country with significantly less purchase power than my true place of origin. He wouldn't recognize the big red passport in my hand anyway even if I held it under his nose. Meanwhile I know it’s not advantageous to be honest in this country. Everybody who asks something about your background only intends to get knowledge about how to get a portion of your farang purse's content. Be it those survey hawks, street vendors or of course the girls.
I arrive early morning in Sin City, stop by the guest house and get into my room. Unfortunately (but as expected) the air-con is not working and as it is hot season this is not acceptable. I tell the girl down at the bar who is probably the owner (the wife of an English guy who is actually quite nice) and she reacts to me as if it was my fault. It’s not in their mind that one could also check it before a guest arrives. When on the second day the problem reoccurred I asked her if they possibly have another room available but all I just get is some angry response and not one word of excuse for the inconveniences! I know that I am not at the Hilton, but this is typical kill the messenger behaviour that is so universal to Thailand. Being a returning customer does not make a difference either. As long as the sur"face" appears clean everything is dee mak but dread you not to burst their bubble…
Sure, the room is only used for sleeping and make "love" and there are plenty of alternatives if need be, hence I was not really bothered by this incident but it adds to my increasingly long list of negatives about my Thai experiences. The initial plan for this holiday was to meet up with a lady I spent two very nice weeks with on a previous visit. However, about a week before my trip she excused herself with a "my son sick" message. I was a bit angry as I dumped my "good girl" Nok for her before and when on the phone she confessed that for 3 years she has had an English guy sending her money. This was really a moment of revelation. At least it explains the nice gifts she made me when we stayed together about a year ago. She must have seen me as her gik. Well, by now I was so used to being openly and repeatedly lied to (with a smile) that I just found it funny how everything suddenly made sense. I don’t blame the girls as they barely try to survive but I had to reluctantly accept that my initial assessment of certain events and judgement of people was amazingly bad. Thailand was my first Asian destination and that showed…
Another example: The amount of BS the girls who you can encounter online are up to is really staggering. A favourite game of mine for a while was to provoke them with their own lies, hints about money-needs and their own contradictions until they lose their temper. It is not until then that you see what they really think about farang guys. Sentences like "go out of my country" or "feces man" (responses to just openly questioning what they were up to) are only the top of the iceberg. It gets you quite a nice picture of what for many of them is really only an occupation to extract money from people they so unjustifiably see as inferior without the least bit of respect or interest for the individual other than their pretence to care for their farangs' sexual needs and thereby carefully sculpting the illusion of representing the modest and submissive Asian dream wife. And of course this observation is easily transferable to girls and other Thais you meet in real, where more often than not I could sense deep down a hidden but latent hostility towards us visitors and where I could see less and less of the smiles and hospitality that this country was once famous for. If they realize that you know exactly what is going on and do not intend to play along with the blatant rip-off you will very quickly get an idea of what they really think of you. There are exceptions to that rule but they are few and far between and I am tired of looking for them.
Back to the first day of returning to Pattaya: Despite having experienced quite a few disappointing moments with my previously mentioned Nok she still has the most modest and quiet personality of any girl I know there so I decided to head back to her in an attempt to find out first hand what really happened since we last met and maybe find a genuine blossom of truth in this wasteland of lies and scams (see my previous submissions). After all, I have known her for more than half a year now and I have spent too much time in Pattaya lately to really appreciate the carnal offerings with the same enthusiasm as before and Nok was at the time my only handle onto some more interesting conversations than the tiresome "hello sexy man, I go with you".
After a few beers at some bars and gogos where for the first time I truly enjoyed being back in Thailand again, aimlessly flirting and fooling around with the girls and appreciating the warm tropical climate, Nok writes me a message with details of where to find her. As it was over 3 months since our last meeting I was really anxious to see her again and talk about all the events that happened. To have a (non-bar) girl awaiting me there gave me a more homelike and warmer welcome in this town of desperados. So, I go to the nearby place where she was waiting and start looking for her. I see a sexy girl waving at me but in fear of offending Nok I ignore her…until I realize that it was actually her who was trying to get my attention! My first impression was that she really looked like a good girl gone bad. With voluminous curly hair and coloured wisps, hot pants, high heels and make-up she really did not look like the waitress I was used to. However, when we talked together she clearly appeared unchanged in her sweet and innocent way that I like so much and to see her again after all these months proved to be quite emotional. I was still surprised though that I did not find a tattoo of a scorpion on her shoulder when we got more intimate in the room later on…
We had some honestly cheerful, funny and relaxing moments together but the point is that there is simply too large a gap between us in almost all of the vital aspects of a relationship to pursue this. Despite her lax handling of the truth – which I meanwhile guess is endemic to Thais – I still happen to like her presence as she has a (for Pattaya residents) very unusually passive and gentle approach to things, despite some disagreements she never threw a tantrum or abuse at me, doesn't smoke (tobacco) and was trying her best to let me enjoy my holiday while still showing me that she liked to spend time with me and within her boundaries showed notable effort to please me. Despite my sympathies for her I came to the conclusion that I pity her more than I really desire her which is of course a very bad basis for a relationship – and "just being friends" does not really work either.
And then again, what could she really deliver to the equation? Having romantic feelings and exchanging sweet words is all nice and well at the start of a relationship until the male realizes that what he actually wants is just a reliable and interactive way to get rid of his sperm and the female concludes that it would be great to get paid for hanging around, watch soap operas and maybe look after a baby in exchange for "take care of man". In the end you will not only pay for everything twice but lose your independence and will also be held responsible for anything that goes wrong. The dream of living happily ever after and to get to keep a share of this tropical paradise for your own in the form of a spouse is better left exactly that – for when it is realized the magic may fade really quickly and turn into an absolute nightmare. Or as Oscar Wilde would have said: "One should always be in love; that's why one should never marry.”
At one night when Nok was at a party with her sister and a few friends they got a bit drunk and she probably felt neglected by me as we had a small argument before and I just did not want to stay with them. The point where I was really fed up was when her younger sister (who I felt was always suspicious about me) answered the phone as I wanted to ask where they were and in an obviously mao state yelled at me that I am stupid man and to leave her sister alone. Especially after she said she knew of all the emails I sent to Nok which suggests that she wrote some answers herself which I felt was again very insensitive by her and makes it clear that at best you are just a tolerated 3rd party (after king, family, friends and water buffaloes). Needless to say I just hung up and let them sort their games out alone. It is ever reoccurring demeaning behaviour such as this that I am tired of and my patience is pretty thin if somebody intervenes in what is really none of their business in such an unproductive way. And unfortunately Nok did not have the character not to let her sister decide over her.
I would really like to have some sort of relationship or friendship with a girl living there, to learn more about what drives them, what values or goals they pursue and learn about their opinions but the point is that even if you leave sex out of the equation and bring along only good intentions I will only be permanently lied to anyway (the fate of being the farang) and actually there probably won't be nearly as much to find out about their inner selves as the deeply spiritual Buddhist-animist surroundings suggests. When interacting with a lady of this country you always enter a grey-zone between lies and truths between acting and honesty – a clash of cultures that cannot shift in your favour because at the end of the day the rules are such that you will have far more to lose than her. I, half naïve, half optimist, just projected way too much into these barely educated, underprivileged girls which bring along a rucksack of issues that is completely lost on me.
Maybe signifying: Once we met, Nok immediately got hold of my mobile phone and attached a small cord with some plastic icons on it. She explained that these are old Chinese symbols that would bring me "big money". Obviously this is more important than long-life or good luck as she did not mention that these Chinese signs mean this as well, as I later found out. I still keep it on the phone though – my investments cannot get much worse anyway… <Or maybe she was installing some spy software on your phone and everything you now do is monitored by her – Stick>
As absurd as it may sound, once the initial fascination has faded (which actually lasted quite a while for me) Pattaya can induce a feeling of loneliness and despair I was not aware of before. At some points I felt like the silver ball in a flipper machine, permanently being bumped around – the only place of rest being after having fallen down the drain. But despite knowing better, like a moth to the light once surrounded by all these pretty and available ladies it is only natural trying again and again to find something new, refreshing, special. A soul mate with which you can interact in more than just a sexual way, exchanging ideas, thoughts and plans for the future. Yet again and again one gets burned, disappointed and the scars become thicker and thicker and the thoughts more cynical. There is no knowledge that is not power but often ignorance can be a blessing…
Mind you: The description of a night out in Pattaya with a nice gogo bar experience, not even to mention the almost regular 3-somes, is still enough to make most guys drool who sit at home and can only read about such things. And yes, I did have some great moments, even during this somehow jinxed visit. Sitting in Windmill bar, having 3 of the showgirls beneath me, one to the left, one to the right, one on my lap and all of them completely naked guiding my hands literally everywhere while 2 of them and me are triple tongue kissing at the same time, me playing with their nice breasts while studying the financial news that are displayed on the canvas behind the bar through a forest of petite naked bodies involved in carnal activities on the centre stage… sure these moments of open and uninhibited naughtiness are pretty much unparalleled and the stuff that dreams are made of. Yet I was merely feeling a twitch in my groin while the girls basically performed their stage show on my lap kissing each other's intimacies in front of me and enthusiastically slapping each other's butt. Am I that jaded already?
My intentions whenever I spend time in Thailand are usually not comparable to entering a brothel and therefore these incredibly naughty performances almost seem disturbing. Herein lays the mistake many make. These girls "seem" too nice, sweet and innocent to be used as objects the same as a hooker at home would – and hence most guys new to the experience will start to confuse sex with love and treat even whores like girlfriends. Yet, as soon as one puts one of them on a pedestal one is doomed.
I am deluding myself if I only think for one second that these ladies are not aware of and readily experienced in sorts of sexual practices not even known to me. The frontiers between your own desires, dreams and limitations blur when suddenly literally everything becomes available. But you have to be determined simply to enjoy, not questioning anything and be a bit loose with money. Then and only then can you still have a few great nights in Pattaya. Free of illusions or better, knowing about the illusions you indulge in and be in control of them.
That said, Pattaya was much less the fun-town it is famous for last month than on any of the previous 5 visits. 2 AM closures were enforced, I saw several gogos closing down during my stay, for the first time I witnessed a police raid in a gogo (it's quite a show: the music went out, the girls screamed and dressed up), there was for that same reason generally much more cover-up and – maybe due to the early closures – the discos were lacking both girls and atmosphere. All in all I would conclude that Pattaya's quantity of naughtiness may already be past its tipping point.
Anyway, I am not the toughened monger it takes to get the most out of a place like Pattaya (I hardly ever made it to Soi 6 for example). Initially at least I was really interested in the stories the bargirls told me because everything was fresh, new and exciting. But by now it’s all too repetitive and I only wait to catch them in some lie. I learned that my jai dee approach will not be appreciated but be taken advantage of. Yet I cannot easily get rid of old traits and hence still instinctively treat most of these girls as I would treat a girlfriend despite knowing that the effort will eventually be a wasted one – although they can play along quite well. If that were not the case and I would simply go there for sex as mischievous friends suggest then I would have much more fun and much less trouble with the ladies there! However, I finally got put off of my plans to pursue someone worthwhile to seriously spend time with, my last remainders of belief for finding some girl that’s "different” having vanished during this last trip. It was a good time to play the outlaw for a while and basically turning all the values I grew up with upside down but as all good things this eventually had to come to an end.
As Stick remarked after my initial submission: "The fun of that first trip is so hard to recapture.” I am now at a point where more questions than answers arise whenever I spend time in this country. The ahs and ohs have definitely faded and basically I feel out of place for most of the time. Being surrounded by inefficient Thai people who are for the most part a shallow and reckless bunch, albeit smiling, and completely oblivious to political, social and cultural events around them yet often feeling as if they deserve special treatment and that it is the guests who should say thank you for being allowed to throw money at them is not the way to spend my time and money fruitfully on this planet. I don't understand them and they won't understand me. And the tattooed lorry driver type tourists mostly are folks I would not like to be attributed as friends. And I am for now not interested in hooking up with a blonde Scandinavian backpackeress either, therefore I doubt I will be able to find fulfillment in the LOS at this point in time which is a shame as this fairy tale started out very promising.
It is my guess that many contributors of submissions are not completely honest with themselves and their memories (I am guilty as well) when raving about the feeling of revelation that their Thai holiday has brought to them, which is only natural after being exposed to some of the most exotic experiences possible which biases proper judgement. Blinded by a disappointing and uneventful life in Farangland empty of sensation, annoyed to death by the day job and sick of the cold weather it is all to easy to put all your expectations into the few weeks in paradise where your mind gets buzzed by the ease of getting laid by beautiful women and where fantasies come true quicker than banks are making write-downs. And sure enough Thailand provided for some of the wildest and most unforgettable moments and feelings in my life as earlier submissions of mine opulently testify. However I was especially prone to the sentiment of needing a break that Thailand splendidly provided, when things went the wrong way at home and I needed a change badly. Amazingly, now I do not miss it so much.
Do I really need to head back to a country and help to support a society where I will only be perceived as a walking wallet, where corruption is everywhere, where very limited minds are in control of the economy and politics, where there is racism well and alive, where there is little to no respect or help for weaker or handicapped individuals (except as rip-off sources), where mostly the rule of the strongest apply (traffic), where most women's knowledge of literature is restricted to mangas, where I get a "keeneow" hissed at me if a tip does not meet the spoiled staff's expectations despite miserable service, where all it needs to make your (adult) girlfriend happy is a TV showing the latest adventures of Yogi Bear, where often I need to pay twice the amount of money than even the most scummy Thai for the same thing (why?!), where everybody permanently tries to cheat everybody, where mediocrity is the best you can hope for (sometimes I ask myself if all the spelling mistakes on menus, ads and promotions are on purpose to appear charming, "solf drift" or "daft beer" comes to mind), where there is censorship in place and where generally a listless atmosphere of ignorance is in the air… The answer is: No I don't.
I would not have expressed blunt criticism like this before because I did not want to be unfair with premature judgement towards people in a country I hardly know and which at first seemed so sympathetic. And of course my mind was initially blinded by the same reason for which most males are not really masters of their senses in the LOS. But now, after having spent quite a while there and interacted quite a bit with a selection of representatives of various social origin my evaluation is not getting any better. In fact it only gets worse and fast at that.
Self delusion is only satisfying for so long and when I started to understand what really keeps the whole farang-meets-Thai-lady sector alive (and that's why most of us make it to Thailand one way or the other), not only the tourist oriented bar scene, but also the on-line scene and stories from guys who get involved with mid-to hi-so girls, namely, the incredible shallowness, readiness to lie and deceive, two-timing attitudes and lack of integrity, in my opinion this just puts a picture of shame over most of the Thai female population (however they are probably still lengths more honourable than their male counterparts). This of course does not imply the sexual and seductive aspects of their personalities – these are excellently developed, no doubt. However I cannot overlook the abyss of flaws and incompatibilities about their characters just in order to create an impossible sexual dream-world for myself.
I do not like to make differences between "good-girls” or bargirls. They may differ in the number of guys they slept with and for some this might be an argument but the toll booth on the horizon is certainly present in relationships with both types of girls. As it has been pointed out in many submissions and by my own perceptions, the girls not involved in the scene can be easily as dangerous and deceptive as their "working” sisters. What's more, the border between what's prostitution and what's not is often blurred in Thailand's guiltless society as Stick's Pattaya aunty story or the anecdote about the newsreader who was paid for sex illustrate. Most Thais need to be opportunistic and practical in order to survive, not to forget the pressure from the family under which the girls often suffer. That's why I think I less and less I could get a handle towards creating an efficient and equal relationship with a girlfriend raised among such values which completely differ from my own expectations towards a mate – and farangs anyway only get the "leftovers”…
One can (and many guys do so) ridiculously easily have immense "fun" with the ladies of this country when being young (probably not essential), well mannered, well presented, and maybe with some sweet talk about having serious intentions with them but in reality this quickly becomes tiring. Yet, and this is a shame, it probably is the only reasonable way for us Caucasian farangs to get most out of the present situation as dealing with those ladies' problems, backgrounds, modest education and unrealistic expectations is just too frustrating that it would be worth it to get seriously involved (I exempt relationships of farangs resident in Thailand). The risks and uncertainties are too high and the benefits do not make up for it. However, to deceive girls and bed them with false expectations is not my idea of fun in the long run and hence I shall decide to pull back and simply write down the Thailand experience as what I think is compulsory for any western heterosexual male in order to get things in perspective at home but that it is really not the answer to all the questions one has towards the female race or the meaning of life and all that (what was it again, 47 ?).
I guess the times of 5 yearly visits to the LOS are over for a while. The magic is gone. In part, I anticipated reaching this saturation point as it allows me to appreciate the non-Thailand based 90% of the year much more and look at alternative destinations in the future because I am now convinced, after having witnessed it first hand, that paradise is not exactly what the brochure advertised and that the inheritance of our hard working ancestors who developed most of our western democracies into the highly productive and regulated yet educated, relatively honest and free societies where opportunities and wealth are more fairly distributed should not be carelessly thrown into the bin without a second look… especially not in exchange for the irresponsible, thieving and soulless alternative that Thailand is in progress to become.
You hit the bullseye. I wish I had written this myself.
The detractors will use the jaded word as they always do – but pretty much everything you have written is FACTUAL! Sure, there are many great things about Thailand but there are some awfully questionable aspects too.