Phuket Love Affair, Part Two
In part one I introduced Nit Noi and myself, but it may be helpful to get an idea of my circumstance to clarify the upcoming events in our budding romance. Over the last five years I had struggled with some emotional issues stemming from a divorce. I
had married my sweetheart at a very young age. We had dated for about 7 years before marrying and were married for about 5 years before the problems cropped up. I was a poor husband admittedly but still loved my wife and tried to keep things together.
In the end I had to leave because her hatred for me had become so pronounced. I don’t blame her except we had a young baby at the time. Shortly after the breakup she called announcing another man was moving into our home with my child.
It was a blow to say the least, and I went into an emotional tailspin lasting for years. During this time my career took off as I dedicated myself to work. The stress of a very demanding management position, heavy drinking and poor eating resulted
in a 40 lb weight gain and I had to do something. I quit the job having saved enough for an early retirement and took off for the LOS. During my six months backpacking I lost the weight and gained a perspective on life.
It was on a subsequent trip that I met Nit Noi and hope for romance and a fairy tale ending were rekindled. Now that I’m not working I’m on a very fixed budget, so I was not able or willing to pay Nit Noi as you would a bar girl, and she was adamant that she did not want to be treated like a bar girl and could pay her own way. With this in mind she agreed to travel with me down South to see how our relationship progressed and to have a bit of a vacation from the permanent vacation. My friend P from Australia was accompanying us as the proverbial third wheel, which was fine with us as he is a good guy and may find his own companion on the trip. The hoped for plan was for P and myself to both have girlfriends so they could socialize while we did manly traveling things together. He was developing a terrible cold so not sure he was going to have the best of times, and I was intent on romance of course. We traveled south on the ferry system to Koh Lanta that is still fairly undeveloped and very very affordable. A tout talked us into staying at a Muslim owned guesthouse towards the South of the island with a great view, clean rooms, and a pool. Nothing special to report on the trip down other than the cuddling and chatting between Nit Noi and myself while P was left to his own devises. I was half way guilty of leaving him out and half way resentful of his presence but he understood thank goodness. During this time P and I could not help notice that Nit Noi and some exceptionally expensive toys—the very finest Cannon digital camera and a mobile phone that was obviously one of the highest ticket items one could buy. Her clothes were also of the highest quality, and she wore very expensive lingerie. I was especially intrigued with her fancy thong underwear, which I did not expect a proper Thai girl to wear. P commented that he was worried Nit Noi was a bit spoiled and my very tight travel budget may be a problem. What was interesting is that Nit Noi did not receive or make any calls except to her sister. She was obviously very close to her family and spoke constantly with her nieces who desperately wanted her to return to their household. During the day Nit Noi treated herself to oil massages poolside (at her expense) while P and I explored the coastline on foot. In the evening the bar area played exquisite music while we sipped drinks and enjoyed each other’s company. I did notice that the Thai guys running the bar were suspicious, and I saw them paying way too much attention to young backpacker girls on their own. I’m certain drugs were offered, and I feared for the girl’s safety. So, when I had a chance I warned them to be very careful as they could be drugged, raped, and robbed quite easily.
While Nit Noi and I got to know each other better our comfort level just kept getting better and better. The physical stuff was great but I mainly enjoyed just the close physical presence of her rather than hardcore bar girl stunts. The lack of tightness was still a big issue, and Nit Noi was very concerned that I finished, making sure to check the condom. Of course I refer to my earlier submission and my doubts of her virginity in the first place. Again, this is no issue other than the deception. Also, Nit Noi was very confident in what she needed from me in order for her to enjoy the physical act. This was great, but where did she learn all this? I will tell you in advance, the mystery was never solved. I would casually ask her how she was such a confident lover, and her response was, “you teach me”. Good for the ego, but give me a break.
So, the island vacation is coming to an end, and we part company from P and decide to travel further and check out Malaysia. Our plan was to head over to Langkawi and then go further south. Nit Noi was a delightful traveler, flexible and adventurous. When we finally made it to Langkawi, the prices were a shock for my budget. We stayed in an absolute dump of a bungalow because the half- way decent places were either full or hundreds of dollars a night. Not only that, but we hit a rainy patch lasting days and days. The bungalow we stayed in was so awful that a cockroach fell on us while we were sitting on the bed, and the only bathing facility was a hose coming out of the wall into a bucket. My thought at the time is that I should have made a big splurge on a nicer place, but during my backpacking days, this joint was sometimes typical for me, and I figured it would be a bit of a test to see if P was right and Nit Noi was “spoiled”. Well she was not spoiled and a good sport about the whole thing. We did manage to have a very nice dinner at a nearby hotel. Surprisingly, they served excellent Mexican food—the first of and it was a big surprise as I am very picky about Mexican food having grown up in Colorado and New Mexico. Nit Noi loved it, and we decided that since Malaysia was outside my budget, we could return to Phuket. I would pay her very affordable room price for the month of December, and we would shack up together for a bit. To be fair about Malaysia, I have since traveled throughout the country and found the food, culture, and scenery delightful, and I could recommend many areas of the country that were both affordable and quite enjoyable (especially in Borneo).
At customs we had a wonderful time in the duty free shop. We had a very nice shopkeeper that allowed Nit Noi to try dozens of perfumes, and we selected a fragrance that fit her perfectly. It was a huge treat for me to give Nit Noi a big bottle as a thank you and apology for the poor accommodations and all of the time spent on ferries with very little to show for our aborted travel adventure. At this point, I’m dismissing the hints of her being spoiled and the probable bedroom deception. She is a lovely girl and I’m already planning the marriage details in my head. We even talked a bit about how it would work out, but I’m already seeing the many difficulties ahead. First of all, Nit Noi would expect to be provided for in a decent manner similar to her sister and her husband. This would easily be accomplished with a job back in the States, but I already know the near impossibility of the visa requirements for a Thai national to visit. I mentioned this to Nit Noi and she said, “no worry, you can take care me easy $3000/month U.S. in Thailand.” I wonder where she came up with this figure? This was my first introduction of the phrase, “take care”, and would have serious implications.
Now we are on our way back to Phuket after aborting our travel plans through Malaysia. Nit Noi and I have successfully made it through a trip, which is a major hurdle in any relationship. If you can travel together without an argument, you are definitely on the right track. I’m getting very excited about setting up housekeeping with Nit Noi and believe she feels the same way. I will be staying her room (paid by me of course) for the entire month of December.
We arrive back in Patong, and our minibus driver takes us directly to her room. Now this is in the heart of the tourist area, with most hotels doubling and tripling their rates in December. Nit Noi’s rent is 4000 baht per month for a quite acceptable room. There is A/C but she prefers the fan only, and this is fine by me. The room is tiny with just enough room for bed, dresser, and TV. She has it tastefully decorated and with her own linen. Her Ipod is set up with speakers and our love nest is complete. To get to her room from the street, you enter a non-descript, locked door with no signage and go up several flights to reach her room which is secured by her own padlock and locking door handle. I know that her hooker friend is just upstairs. You may recall that she was the one that accompanied Nit Noi to the banana disco and stiffed my friend P for a free drink before chasing Japanese tourists. Obviously this is where the bar girls live between customers and we are right in the middle of the action. I do feel quite secure however, and only one incident happened of concern. One night we heard a ruckus and a big argument, but of course we declined to investigate for our own security. The next morning there was an enormous pool of blood in the hallway. My guess is a hooker badly cut a customer during an argument. As the landlord lived right downstairs, we notified her to clean up the mess. It was a bit of an eye opener. Thailand can be quite dangerous if you are not careful. I have learned never to be out on the street between 2am and 5am. The Katoeys are hanging out in every darkened alley and will literally run at you. This happened several times to me, and I was very concerned about being robbed or worse. Luckily, I keep a close eye out, and when they start running in my direction I head in the opposite direction lickety split.
Nit Noi and I settled in to a pattern of playful leisure with daily afternoon lovemaking and wonderful side trips to remote beaches. I have never ridden a motorbike, but luckily Nit Noi was a good driver, and we rented bikes many times. I was perfectly happy to ride “bitch” as she knew the ways of the road and Thai customs. On one trip we went to Nai Harn beach that is absolutely lovely. This is by far the best tourist beach I have seen in Thailand with perfect golden sand and great swimming. You still have the beach chairs and touts galore, but no speedboats to ruin it as you have in Patong or Karon beaches. There are some great restaurants that serve local food, and Nit Noi introduced me to the joy of chilled young coconut. I had always disdained this wonderful treat as I was used to the dried up nasty version in the States. Now it is my favorite treat at the beach. Of course Nit Noi is typically Thai and does not like the heat under the umbrellas, preferring to snooze under the trees above the beach itself. She can sleep more hours per day than anyone I have encountered. This is fine by me allowing some private time to explore. Now on this particular journey to Nai Harn, the waves were quite big. Playing in waves that are large enough to knock you down is one of my favorite things to do, and this day the waves were perfect—great fun for bodysurfing but not too dangerous with rip tides and such. Of course I foolishly convinced Nit Noi to join me and attempted to show her how to easily duck under the waves. Of course she panics and tries to run back to shore, and we are both knocked flat. She comes up with water streaming out of her nose and mouth looking like a half drowned rat. I gallantly help her to shore gently reminding her of the fact that running from a wave is not the best choice and a direct contradiction from my earlier advice. Of course that was the end of our wave adventures.
Over the month of December we had many more adventures and settled into a routine that was comfortable but tiring towards the end. Luckily there are always events in Patong in December to break up the routine. We spent one entire day seeing an International volleyball tournament featuring professional women volleyball players throughout the world. We had a great time cheering for the Thai and U.S. players while booing the vastly superior Japanese team. Of course the Japanese team won the tournament to our chagrin, but a great time nonetheless. For an Xmas treat, we go to the local fish market and pick out wonderful seafood delicacies and have them cooked to taste at our favorite local Thai restaurant. This is really an idyllic time for me, and many days are spent playing cards, listening to music, or watching the telly. We are both terrible pool players but love to play so in the afternoon we head to a favored restaurant with pool table that is deserted during the day. I drink 30 baht beers, and we have the pool table to ourselves the whole afternoon. Nit Noi contents herself with fruit drinks, and thus the days roll by.
We walked through the town every day holding hands, and the locals came to expect us as a couple. The massage girls stop harassing me, and I’m happy to be with the woman of my dreams. A couple of times we were bothered by Tuk Tuk drivers and the tailors are a constant nuisance. One time a tuk tuk driver said something to Nit Noi, and as we were walking away she started to cry. She said he had insulted her by insinuating she was a whore and called me the Thai word for “Uncle” I think this has something to do with their distaste for older farang walking with younger Thai girls. I wanted to go back and confront the Thai man but Nit Noi wisely counseled me on staying quiet. I had also started to learn some Thai, but Nit Noi was insistent that I only speak Thai with her. I had heard this was a tactic used by Thai women to isolate their farang boyfriends so I asked her about this. She said that Thai people saw Farangs that spoke Thai as too smart and it was not the way to be. I was content to have Nit Noi handle the communications with the locals since it made things so much easier, but I was a bit uneasy and my radar was up.
One day, Nit Noi takes me into a gold shop. I personally feel Thai gold is gawdy and ugly on dark skin. Nit Noi takes me into the shop and says she has been thinking of trading her necklace in for something nicer. I said ok and went in with her. She is looking at the very thick, very expensive chains and tries several on. A conversation ensues with the salesman, and I quietly wait for whatever transaction to transpire. All of a sudden all of the sales people in the shop are quiet and staring at me. Now I may be naïve, but I can tell the score. They are waiting for me to fork out some real dough for a necklace I have no intention on buying. I quickly ask Nit Noi if we can leave and make a hasty exit. I can tell she is upset, so we go to the leather shop, and I have a beautiful jacket fitted for her. Hopefully this will make her feel better. A few days later she is shopping for clothing and picks out pair of 2000 baht jeans with holes all through them, as this was the style I’m assuming. I know I should treat her but could not bring myself to spend money on worthless clothing. Later she complains that she saw another farang boyfriend buying the same jeans for his girlfriend and asks me when I’m going to “take care”. I asked her to explain what she meant, although I knew perfectly well what the meaning was. She meant “take care” as in buy her whatever she needed. Without a doubt I can hear your judgment—this guy is a cheap Charlie. This wonderful girl is giving everything she has, and he can’t even buy her a pair of jeans. Well, everyone has his or her faults and my frugality is somewhat legendary. Of course my frugality was the main reason I could retire under 50 so a modest lifestyle is not necessarily all bad.
Back to the conversation regarding Nit Noi’s interest in being taken care of. I tried to explain that in my culture, the man and woman “take care” of each other and share the goals and mutual responsibilities together with open communication. I explained that I did not feel she was being open with me, and she had too many secrets from me. This was the beginning for our first argument. You see, I was a big secret, and she was desperately afraid that her family on Phuket would discover she was staying with a Farang. I understood that the timing had to be right and as a “good” girl we had to be very careful if I was going to be presented properly to her sister and her English husband. I finally admitted that I was suspicious about her previous relationships and asked her to be honest with me. She knew right where I was going and said she had already explained the molestation by her uncle. This of course did not explain all the fancy electronics and clothing. Finally we agreed to disagree and decided to continue as best we could with the existing relationship.
As the month was winding down we got ready to end the lease of her room, and I got ready to leave Thailand and head back to the U.S. During this time Nit Noi explained that her sister’s boss had asked her to travel to Idaho where he had a home and work as a housemaid for several months. I accompanied Nit Noi to Bangkok where this man arranged all of the visas necessary for her visit to the U.S. Nit Noi had to be interviewed by the U.S. embassy and jump through a tremendous amount of hoops in order to get a tourist visa. Of course, this unknown man was footing the bill, and she was going to be working in the U.S. under a false Visa. I asked Nit Noi about this incredibly odd situation. She explained that this guy had big money and wanted someone to trust in his home in the U.S. If you recall in part one, this benefactor employs the entire family and supposedly wants Nit Noi for housework in the U.S. so goes to all the expense and trouble of flying her to his home. He even has a driver pick her up in Los Angeles for the drive back to Idaho. I really pushed Nit Noi on the details, and I saw her U.S. visa so knew it to be true. She explained that he was “big money” and had casinos in Vegas and Macau. This pricked up my ears and I asked her if he was a mobster. She meekly said yes, but I do not know what to believe. She also told me he was a homosexual.
When I get back to the States Nit Noi calls me a few days later from Thailand. She says good news; she is leaving for the U.S. tomorrow and asks me to come get at the airport in Los Angeles (this is 2000 miles from my home). Now she is literally calling the same day she is flying into California and I have family obligations that are in the way. My brother is flying to my home in Oregon that same day, and I cannot possibly make all these arrangements at the same time with no notice. Nit Noi is very upset at this point and is forced to call her benefactor in the States to arrange travel with him from Los Angeles to Idaho. I truly understood her disappointment but could not understand her naivete. I then realize my feelings for Nit Noi are not as strong as I imagined and explain that because of my family, it is impossible to meet, but I can see her in Idaho soon. She promises to be in touch and calls several times from the Idaho home of her supposed employer. It is always late at night when she is in her private room after completing the duties of the day (whatever those may be). She refuses to give me her number or address and says it is impossible to see her. Over time the calls end. She eventually goes back to Thailand and my emails are unanswered. My guess is the benefactor arranged a marriage for Nit Noi, but I have no way of ever learning the whole truth. This was indeed a strange and bittersweet chapter in my life.
That is kind of bizarre. Sounds like she had a boyfriend in the US all along. The tales of him flying her out for employment just don't really add up. Plausible? Well, yes. Likely? Hell no!