The Secret Part 1
”Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery but today is a gift, that's why we call it present.”
The words are written across my little shrine. The shrine represents my Thailand and right in the middle is a picture of Stickman. In my world he might be a crossing between a Greek god and a female Baywatch model, well I like both so please don't destroy my illusion, and any people willing to help others like he has deserves a chapter in my book or shrine (ok that and maybe the chance for some nice comments now).
I found his page 6 months ago and have looked at a few stories here and there. It might be difficult to come up with something new and improved but ok it's a page about Thailand so I guess I'll stick with that. This will be an ongoing series so I hope people will like it, I might even have the chance to make a few friends dealing with the same challenges Thailand has to offer. To people who might think the headline has something to do with a Thai girl it is not. This is simple, my story about Thailand and how I have and am dealing with life here even though I'm not an expat yet.
The first submission is going to be about how it all started 4 years ago. I'm currently 33, living in Denmark and work as a banker and have been to Thailand 6 times between 4-8 weeks at a time. Before I ever knew a place called Thailand I liked to go on vacation to Greece, Spain and a few other places well known for their “youth” vacations with too much alcohol and too many hangovers, but life was without any big problems so why not wake up in a Spanish prison only covered in boxers together with 2 friends who can't remember anything either. It didn't matter as we were soon out again throwing down tequilas like there was no tomorrow. Life has changed since then. This was before I started working in a place where things like dress code and shiny shoes were mandatory assets for improvising our status as important persons in society. Not that I can complain. I like my job, but I have known for a long time something was missing in my life.
I have no failed marriages behind me, not even a long term relationship as I'm not the best looking banana in the fruit basket but I have been at peace with that for a long time. Also I'm quite picky when it comes to women, not exactly the best combination with my somewhat Brad Pitt's total counterpart look. I have only been in love twice in my 33 years, the first one was over before it even started and the second one was naturally with a Thai girl, but I have never really missed a steady relationship. For me the house with a sea view, the station wagon, the 2 kids and a quickie after Doctor Phil every Tuesday evening when the kids have fallen asleep has never really been an option.
Anyway, the family consisting of my mother, father and my 3 year younger brother, was planning a trip to Thailand in early 2004 and I was quite excited. Naturally I was among the “funny” people who always joked about me love you long time every time I saw a Vietnam movie, so I was ready to face the mystery of the east. We landed in Bangkok airport on an early Sunday morning.
The first thing that struck me was people always looked so small from high above, but it did not change when we landed, because people where actually very small here. Welcome to the Shire Mr. Gandalf (that would be the hobbit city from lord of the rings), and bang the humility and heat hits you like a sledgehammer. When we left Denmark it was with long pants, jackets and those fluffy things to warm your ears, and they were quite handy in the airplane when the 200 babies were trying to scream Britney Spears hit me one more time at 2 o'clock in the night. They didn't help enough to get some sleep though. The next thing we saw was a nice Thai lady hanging flowers around our necks, but what was that one of the small hobbits were trying to steal my luggage. Now I'm not a small guy and at that time I was not exactly slim either, so I was not going to let Mr. Frodo steal my bag. Of course it was the taxi driver trying to bring our luggage to the car, but I was 4 times his size and the bags were heavy. I can take care of them myself, how should I know it was rude not to let him carry them.
It was a short trip to the hotel. I don't remember the name but it was a nice hotel. We unpacked and took a few hours of sleep. We had a tight schedule in front of us with only 3 days in Bangkok before we had to leave for Chiang Mai. The first day we explored a little of Bangkok by foot. My parents had been in Thailand before but for my brother and I it was like having the first taste of a chocolate bar ever. The warm feeling just flushed through the body – this was heaven. The image changed a bit when we saw the first guy with no legs pushing his little bowl in front of him with his arms, but he was soon to be forgotten when we saw what we had only seen in the movies (ok maybe a little on the internet too), the Thai women. Sawinnggg, people seeing “Wayne's world” knows that phrase, I can get laid here. I'm quite sure my brother thought the same, but stay calm, we still have our parents with us even though I still sensed a certain look in my father's eyes. Oh well, first impressions count, and for me the first impression of Thailand was no different form everybody else. It was just wonderful.
The next couple of days we went sightseeing to the usual places, Grand palace, sleeping Buddha x palace, xx palace, xxx palace and finally xxxx palace. Ok no more palaces for me. My brother and I also went to a Muy Thai tournament as we were both big fans of marshal art movies. We arrived just in time and hurried in to the big arena. The place seemed empty but with a lot of noise. We sat down but were immediately approached by a Thai guy who pointed on a sign saying Farang this way. Farang I thought what's that I know falafel, can we eat farang I'm hungry anyway so we followed the sign leading to an area where a few other white people sat. Ohh foreigners ok we are farangs fair enough I learn pretty quickly about this county I thought (yes I know but we are from Scandinavian, we have the right to be naive from time to time).
Not much more happened in Bangkok. We saw what there is to see, (ok maybe not all there is to see, but we were still with the parents so we did not see the bar streets, even though I'm quite sure my father would have loved it too), and after the 3 days we left for Chiang Mai where we would stay for 5 days, with a 3 day trekking trip in the mountains. The hotel was located just outside town and a nice elderly lady greeted us when we arrived. Ahhh, the peace of mind this land brings just sitting at the porch smoking a cigarette in the nice heat of the night. What's that sound and then the sky opened up. Now I have seen rain enough to last me a lifetime but never before have I been completely soaked before I could exhale the last puff of my smoke, damn that was fun.
The next day we go into town, and spend most of the day there. In the evening we went a little around and from nowhere we suddenly heard it, the thundering voices from women in distress, “Helllooo Mister, where you go, handsome man." I was
stunned. Right in front of me an ocean of beauty opened up. My body filled itself with all kinds of natural drugs and a blanket of ecstasy clouded my mind. Papa is here, girls. No need to worry now, everything is going to be all right. Boys, hello
boys where are you. I know that voice, my senses begin to return, the pleasure trip began to vaporise the evil world is coming ever so closer, yes mother we are right behind you, all kinds of really bad words sprung up in my mouth but I swore
I would return to this dome of pleasure.
Next day was our own, my brother and I. My parents went to see some more temples / statues and we were on our own. It was noon and there was no need to talk. We both wanted the same, so the cover story was to go to the shooting range and then go cart or whatever, and we were set to go. It's party time. We did get to town by ourselves, and we also did find the x on the treasure map, but it was abandoned, not even an empty lipstick covered our field of dreams. Why, why did you do this to us evil god. We decided to go for another try, a taxi driver would know where to find the girls, so we jump into a tuk tuk. Bai nai, what??, bai nai where you go. Ok we come from a place where looking for girls like this might not be the most natural thing in the world so I'm a little bit nervous. Ehmm we want to ehmmm find girls. What ??, ehmm girls can you take us to some girls, “you want massage”, you bet we want massage, let's go. 10 minutes later we arrive at a big spa were it say's massage. “Ehmm excuse me not that kind of massage” Arai?, ok listen we want to have sex” I was embarrassed, and the driver understood nothing. Finally after 10 minutes of desperate explanations he says “You want fu** finale”, I start laughing, I can't help it, the driver looks at me like the biggest moron on earth. Sure sure I tell him just go.
We arrive again 10 minutes later to a hotel. I give up. This is a really hard job to find girls in Thailand (Scandinavians are also allowed to be a little stupid sometimes). The hotel has of course an underground complex, and when we arrive there we see a huge glass window where maybe 20 girls with numbers are located behind. All in all it looks like a huge plasma TV showing the beginning of a porn movie, so this is a fishbowl, great. An hour later we met again in the lobby with the classic 'I had sex' smile. Were both tired and head home to the hotel for a quick shower, but destiny has it we run into our parents before we can get to safety of the hotel room. “Where have you been” my mother asks, ehmm we have been to the shooting range all day. Parents are not stupid, we smell of 250 different flowers and sit there with a joker lookalike grin on our faces. Sure you have been on the shooting range all day my sons, you are free to go. The next 3 days we go hiking in the mountains which was great trip, great nature, great people and that's pretty much it. One thing did hit me though and that was the panic look on the little Thai guy on the small raft which was supposed to take my brother and me down a river. We were both rather large and he knew for sure the raft would break in half the minute we sat foot on it, so he split us up but it didn't help much the rafts could not keep us above water the whole time, and that did bother me, so I though I should start to lose some weight when I came back. After the 5 days we head for our final destination Hua Hin.
7 days in Hua Hin. Most of it we planned to spend on the beach, but naturally we had planned to see the waterfalls, go elephant riding and a few more need to see things which I can't remember at the time. Anyway, after 5 days in Hua Hin we got bored. There was not really so much to do there, and personally I have never been that much of a beach person, so after we had seen all the things there I actually felt like I was ready to go home. We did as a final thing go to the floating market on the way to Bangkok but for me it was a little disappointing, not much to see and it was the same yada plastic rip off they were all selling.
It had been a good trip but 17 days in Thailand was enough for me at the time, so when I sat in the airplane on the way home I was happy. It was a good trip with plenty of thing to tell my friends back home, not least about the women. Little would I know that this was the beginning of a new life, a life I would have never expected.
The saga continues the next time where I decide to go backpacking in Thailand, so I will hope you will join me.
You and I both share in common that while we enjoyed our first trip to Thailand, we did not fall in love with it and did not know what it would become a big part of our lives…