Pattaya Memoires 7
9. Que sera sera
I am 40. I was never married nor do I have any children. It all just never happened. I don't know whether to be happy about this or not. I guess I should be happy. No woman no woman no cry. No woman no costs.
My burden in life is called "atopic eczema" or "atopic dermatitis". I was born with it. It is a non-contagious generic skin condition which, up to now, unfortunately for me cannot be cured. You can compare it with psoriasis. Eczema is caused by the lack of a certain protein called filaggrin that sits in the outer layers of the skin which keeps water in and foreign organisms out of the body. In people with filaggrin mutations, foreign substances can easily enter the skin and be seen by the immune system. This explains the development of inflamed skin (eczema). This information is relatively new, hopefully it will allow science to develop remedies. But even if it does, it will take years for medicines to hit the market an be available to patients. Consequently I have a red, dry and very sensitive skin which gets itchy in cold whether like we have most of the year in Farangland. My face is red / pink, wrinkled and sometimes swollen and often I have small wounds caused by scratching. Doctors recommended me cortisone when I was young. This does not help but only hides the effects of the disease. However, in the end it makes the skin thinner and more vulnerable. Even slightly scratching some parts of the skin can damage it. I had too much of this cortisone rubbish and unfortunately I cannot turn back the clock. Ladies might like my face in certain parks in Northern America, they surely don't in Western Europe. According to Western doctors, babies can now be cured from atopic eczema when it is detected early, but for me it is far too late. I will have to live with it for the rest of my days I'm afraid.
Thank God for Thailand. In amazing Thailand I have the impression people don't seem to mind that much although I might be wrong about that, as some contributors to this site state that looks are very important in LOS. I believe this, but as I am only interacting with ladies of the night, I don't care that much. Also, in Pattaya, the colour of your skin is far less important than the colour of your money. But then again, although the colour of my skin remains a little red, the eczema seems to, at least to some point, "dry up" in sunny climates, the wounds disappear and the skin is no longer itchy, at least, if I don't sweat too heavily. This is normal, because after all sweat is a waste product from the body. If this waste gets into contact with my already very sensitive and dry skin, the skin reacts negatively by getting red and very itchy. Scratching that part of the skin opens it up and things can get bloody and messy. Anyway, I should avoid sweating. Thank Buddha for the sun, the air-con and the fans (and this time with "fans" – and I do not mean Isaan's finest). This allows me to control the sweating and so my skin gets better over time in Thailand, much better than it ever gets in Farangland. Still, I have got to watch out and be very careful, especially in the hot season, when I am not in an air conditioned space I need a fan on me at all times. Owners of the bars I frequently visit know this and they don't mind making me feel comfortable as I am a good customer spending my money in their businesses.
I love Thai food, but the spicy herbs are bad for my skin so doctors tell me to avoid it. So unfortunately I have to take care about that and not eat particularly spicy food (nor fatty food).
A couple of years ago in Bangkok, I took a girl out of the Dollhouse gogo bar in Soi Cowboy. At that particular time I was suffering from red itchy eczema spots around my waste, caused by sweating too heavily when making a walking trip in the north of the country. This of course is a temporary problem which would disappear in a couple of days. The girl fell asleep when we got to my room, so I thought I'd give it a go in the morning. When the girl saw the eczema, she completely freaked out and did not want to have sex because she thought I "was sick" and she thought she would also "become sick" because I touched her. Shit happens. However, she wanted me to pay for "services" she never delivered. I did not want to pay of course and then she made a fuss yelling and screaming and waking up everybody in the hotel. I got her to calm down and wrote a note, in English. It stated the name of my problem and what the matter with me was and that these spots were nothing but innocent eczema caused by heat and sweating. I handed the note to the girl and gave her 500 baht to see a doctor. I also wrote down my telephone number so the doctor could call me if there was a problem. I never heard anything from anyone. In fact I guess the bitch never went to any doctor and held the 500 baht for herself. I regret paying this money but at least I got rid of her without having the hotel management all over me.
My eczema is a lot worse in Western Europe than it is in Thailand. I would very much like to live in Thailand. My skin condition and the good Thai climate is of course reason number one. The low cost of living, beautiful girls and general atmosphere are also important reasons. As I have been to Thailand on many occasions, I have somewhat had it with the Thai bar scene. I mean, it is "same same" everywhere and I got used to it. Sex is not the main reason why I like Thailand. I have been with numerous bargirls and sex was mostly very mediocre. Maybe my standards are too high. I dated, on and off, a Belgian girl for a couple of years who was crazy about sex and loved watching porn movies and then trying out the things with me she saw in those movies. She wasn't that pretty but had a nice figure, well-formed tits and absolutely no sexual boundaries and she was very experimental, she enjoyed dressing up and doing all kinds of kinky role-playing games. I considered myself a very lucky guy back then. But she never was a one-man girl. Eventually she ran off, but she never said my bad skin was the reason, she said that she was to blame but she never provided any details. Now, except from the experiences I had in the famous Eden Club in Bangkok, the Hell Club in Pattaya and a few exceptional encounters in Soi 6, Pattaya, nothing sexual in Thailand even came close to what I experienced with my former Belgian "lover". This could be because I did not know the Thai girls long enough, or maybe I did not meet the right ones, or as Dana would say, I did not yet "hit the sexual lottery". Anyway, I am still a player of the game… But I am not looking for "the one" as I do not plan to take a Thai girl with me to Farangland. This would only cost me money and would be inconvenient as I travel a lot for work. However living in LOS would change my attitude towards Thai females I suppose. Living in Thailand would open up other opportunities lady-wise. A long-term relationship would be possible.
Farang friends of mine in Thailand ask me why it takes me so long to come over and live in the Kingdom if I am feeling so much better there. Well, there are several reasons for this. The first is that I am not a rich man. I still have to work for my daily bread or rice. Working in Thailand is not at all easy as you know. I could become an English teacher if I got a TEFL degree, but as I am not a native English speaker, I would be at the bottom of the list of candidates, or I would get less pay. Second, having read all on this site about how farang teachers are treated in Thailand and about their pay, I seriously doubt if this would be something for me. I like the idea of teaching young people, after all my father has been a professional teacher for his entire life, but I'm afraid I would have difficulties coping with the Thai education system and I would surely be very disappointed if my efforts were not appreciated by the Thai school owners or teachers or parents of the students.
Another way to survive in LOS is to become a bar owner. Although this might seem very appealing, it is not what I want. First, the bars are a lot of fun if you are a tourist on a short stay. If you own a bar you will be there most of the time, if not all the time, so you will get used to it and the fun will disappear quickly. Also, I do not fancy listening day in, day out, to some drunk farangs telling me about their personal problems or sexual adventures – which happens more than you would expect. Then, there is the fact that bar owners very often (if not always) drink along with their customers and thus slowly turn into alcoholics. I like beer and I like getting pissed now and then, but it is not something I would like to do every day for the rest of my life. In fact I personally know a couple of bar owners who are completely fed up with Pattaya and would like to return to their home countries (if only they could). Of course, one could also buy a guesthouse or a spa or an internet café, but I have no experience in running such businesses. Also, with the number of tourists dropping and the heavy competition all around, I consider this quite risky.
Apart from teaching and owning a business, I don't see too many other opportunities in the Kingdom to make a living. But then again, I am not an expert on that matter. On the other hand I make quite some money as a freelance IT specialist in Farangland. Why should I give this up and choose a very uncertain future in the land of smiles? My current salary allows me to get my ass to Thailand 2 to 3 times per year, 3 weeks per stay, plus I can put aside some cash to save for my pension. Once (if ever!) I have enough money to support myself (I believe that would be in the region of 60,000 baht per month to allow me to live comfortably) then I would be very happy to book a one-way ticket to BKK. If the market stays good and I can keep on doing what I am doing now and if market rates don't drop too much, then I think I can achieve this goal in about 10 years' time. This would mean I could apply for a retirement visa as I will be 50 then. 10 years might seem a very long time, but spiced with regular visits to the Kingdom, the years pass by much faster than one would ever hold possible. If this is good or not, I don't know and I don't think about it that much. You see, Bahtbus Barry is a man with a plan … but he's also realistic and knows a lot can happen in 10 years' time. Ah well, que sera sera … whatever will be, will be …
That you feel better in Thailand is something not that many people mention, but I am in the same boat. Back home I suffer from allergies at certain times of the year but in Thailand I have no problem whatsoever.
60K baht a month is quite doable for the time being although prices in Thailand, like elsewhere, are moving fast!