Stickman Readers' Submissions March 17th, 2009

My First Time in LOS Part 4

At this point readers, take a step back and a deep breath. Yes I am wondering too, has another farang been mugged? Lulled into a sense of well being by a crafty devious hooker who has spent the last few days delivering an Oscar winning performance.

I for one am not sure. So far money has not been mentioned, but I am aware that:

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1. She will have lost income taking the day off and

2. The shop will want compensation for her absence.

I am also aware that money is often not mentioned at all in these sort of circumstances, but somewhere along the line there will be a bill waiting.

The next day after lunch I ask Tawon if I can go to the massage shop and talk to her boss. I explain that I want to pay for her to spend the next three days with me before I fly back to UK. I don’t know if I’m supposed to haggle at this point, but I don’t even bother. I will happily haggle over a T-shirt or a watch but this is a human being we are talking about. I am not pleased that I have to do this, but I am adapting my thinking to the problem at hand, and the local culture, however much my conscience resists. I hand over 1,200 baht. Tawon is excited and she claps her hands together and hugs me.

This surprises me, because she has followed custom until now. Apart from holding hands on the beach at night, she has forgone any shows of affection in public.

I feel like I’m playing a game of poker with a couple of cards missing. Some things I understand and some I accept, but despite my best efforts there are still things I just don’t get.

We spend three days together doing what people on holiday do. We swim together in the sea every morning, and then find a favourite café. She can get her spicy chicken soup, and I can have fresh fruit and yogurt, or bacon and eggs with proper coffee. I take her sailing and she surprises me at how quickly she adapts to it and she giggles when we capsize.

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We are spending time together and the affection I feel for this woman is palpable. She responds in a natural way to my increasingly determined efforts to spend more time in my hotel room. I get the impression my feelings are reciprocated. Maybe that’s the way I’m supposed to feel if I am being mugged. I keep checking for signs. Her attention wavering, the interruptions on the mobile phone, wanting me to take her to see her friends and buy them a drink.

None of the above happens. One evening she asks me if it’s ok to go and get a change of clothes, and would I meet her at her shop before we go for a meal. When I arrive she wants to take photographs of us together, and introduce me to her pals. We stay less than five minutes and then leave. She leads me to the back of another shop of the same name, to meet the owner and the owner’s daughter. I feel as if I am being paraded for inspection, but Tawon is glowing with obvious pride and delight, so I try and look like I’m enjoying myself.

The thoughts that I’m being conned crop up occasionally, but by 3 AM, I am sunk. I could not break the spell even if I wanted to and I am convinced this is real. Yes readers, I have to tell you right now. “My girl is different.”

I have examined the corpse for signs of life and he has obviously had his brain removed and replaced with a rose tinted vision aid.

The next night we have dinner with Ian, Nikki and their daughter Sam on my last night, and Ian seems troubled. He is hardened to this after six years as an expat. He asks if I am ok and tells me not to give her any money. He wants to know if she has tried to get me to buy her a mobile phone. “No” she has been the perfect girlfriend experience. Maybe too perfect? The doubts start to surface again, but as hard as I try, I cannot find a weakness in my argument that my girl really is different.

We say goodnight to Ian, Nikki and Sam. Sam who is 38 years old and whom I have known for over 30 years, tells me about her dad's reservations. But she has seen first hand the way we behave together and is altogether more supportive. “If this feels right, then go for it. What have you got to lose?”

Am I confused? Am I missing something? No, I am falling. Since the moment I met her I have been falling. I am torn between all the farang / Thai girl stories I have read in books and on websites, warning me against just these circumstances. Anyway here I am, at the airport, on my way home. I had told Tawon I did not want her to come to the airport. I am not very good at farewells. Ian picked me up and drove me to the airport. Check in seemed to take forever. I got through and had a farewell chat with Ian. They really had been great hosts, and looked after me in the way that friends do. Nothing too much trouble, always on hand if I needed advice.

As I was saying goodbye and thank you to Ian, Tawon comes rushing up. Ian shook my hand and said his goodbyes.

Tawon took my hand and led me to a place out of sight of the passing herd. We kissed and held each other…unusual for a Thai in public…

Stickman's thoughts:

Part 5 will be *very* interesting.

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