Ramblings of a Life Left Behind: Episode 1
I’m here. I arrive at Suvarnabhumi for the third time this year, and it’s only May. Good god, living ~3 hours flight from Bangkok is going to be the ruin of me. So close to heaven, yet not close enough for it to get old. I could come here every weekend. I could buy a condo here and live in it two days a week. You know, one of those well built condos or houses you can see in the Lad Phrao road Soi 40-50 area on the back streets, where industrious and foreign-educated Thais have their modest but well-built houses, where all the wood paneling lines up properly, with metal gates enclosing a car port, and high walls with broken class and sometimes nails gracing the top. I could set up a studio and pursue hobby and leisure activities on the weekends. I could get myself a mia noi, and see her two days a week. I could send money to her family every two weeks up country. I could buy a Toyota Hilux (older version with the 5Z engine), and slap a huge Carabao sticker on the back window, and a Royal Thai Police sticker on the driver’s side rear window. I could…
For now it’s all just a pipe dream.
The line at immigration is moving slower than I would have liked. It is a zoo, but a somewhat organized zoo. A British woman of about 48 years is standing next to me. She has the most a-symmetrical and over sized breast implants that I have ever seen. I ponder how she manages to stay vertical while I wait in line. Good vibes are in the air. I have just one piece of carry on luggage, the contents of which are as follows: -A few t-shirts, a pair of sandals, a pair of shorts, a pair of jeans, a Canon EOS 40D with small collapsible tri-pod and various lenses, an i-pod touch MP3 player (very important), prescription pills (dually important), and a Samsung SCH-M480 global phone.
Everything else gets bought and disposed of while in Pattaya. Packing heavy is for amateurs. I know the address of the Lek Hotel on soi 13 by heart, so filling out the immigration paperwork is a simple task. Straight through the arrival gate and out into the crowd. I’m met at the airport by a young Thai fellow with huge hair. Giant hair. He looks perhaps like a rapper. He has an Oscar Gamble 1975 New York Yankees style afro. He has wild eyes. He is holding a name plate with my name on it. I arranged for the usual car transport to Pattaya from Suvarnabhumi. We walk to the waiting car in the car park. From air-conditioned lobby to air-conditioned Toyota Solara takes about 30 seconds. I’m already covered in sweat.
I sweat like you cannot even comprehend in this weather. I sweat like stuffed pig rolling in a grease bath at high noon. I sweat like a person three times my weight. I sweat like a fat girl foraging around for the last Twinkie stuck under the seat of a 1988 Cadillac Deville baking in the hot Texas sun. Sweat. Lots of it. Is it even possible to sweat this much? I went through phases over the various years of Thailand travel. Casual attire at first, but then I started to feel under-dressed in shorts and sandals all the time, and I felt embarrassed going to nice bars or restaurants dressed like a backpacker. After all, I am a sex tourist, and not a backpacker. So I upgraded to jeans or khakis and light cotton short-sleeved button down shirts or polo shirts, as I was tired of looking like a backpacker or homeless person. It soon became apparent that I could not wear light colored shirts, as theybecame completely saturated with dark sweat spots within about 4-5 minutes of being outside of an air-conditioned building. By saturated, I mean giant sweat stains running from under the arms, almost all the way down to the belt. I mean giant patches of sweat on my back, which initially look like angel wings, but then merge into a huge lake of perspiration on my upper back between the shoulder blades.
I feel immensely out of shape. I feel unhealthy. I feel like taking a shower 10 times a day. I’m 185cm tall and 73 kilos. I do not have a great deal of body fat, but I sweat like a man three times my size. Believe me, I’ve looked for solutions. I read that botox can stop excessive sweat in certain target areas of the body, but the results only last a few months, and I’m damn sure not getting shot full of botox every time I come to the LOS. I only manage this problem by wearing dark shirts, made of light weight material, wearing loafers without socks, and some light weight pants or shorts. I’ve also cultivated an ability to duck and dodge from air-conditioned shelter to shelter much as a humming bird moves from flower to flower. Dodgy looking bar with over-weight soi 6 rejects hanging around outside? What’s that you say? You have air-con? I’m already inside, first drink ordered, enjoying the air-conditioning. Say no more. Air-con is the magic word. Not “Hansum man” or “Where you go?” or “What you name?” or “3 holes, 500 baht”.
BKK to Pattaya, at Light Speed
Today’s wild haired driver is blasting down the expressway directly toward Pattaya at a speed that I can only estimate is twice that of all cars in the left hand lanes. We are dominating the fast lane. We are flashing our lights so other cars move out of the way. We are passing farmers, and tour busses, and civilians, and black Mercedes Benz’s with tinted windows. We are gliding down the highway at what feels likelight speed. We stop at 7 Eleven, where I buy oranges and bottled water. Lots of oranges and bottled water. Cases of it. The maids at the Lek Hotel have taken to calling me “Orange Man” because every time they clean my room, there are nothing but orange peels and empty waterbottles stacked high in the waste bin. Don’t ask me why, I just have a thing for oranges.
We are blasting down the expressway again, we pass through patches of rain. I can only assume that we are traveling slightly under the speed of sound. About 20 minutes out from Soi 13 the driver stops for gas. Not normal gas, but natural gas. You know, the kind they have to put into the car by opening the hood and attaching a special air-compressor looking tube to a port on the motor, and then it takes forever to fill up? There is a large queue of cars waiting. The stop for gas takes about 30 minutes. While waiting, I put on my headphones, fire up my i-pod and scroll through my specially compiled “Pattaya Play List”™. Making a proper soundtrack for a vacation is always a challenge, and with Pattaya, I don’t usually bother to spend much time on it. In the past I just jammed a bunch of songs into a folder at random.
On Excessive Love of the Exotic
Recently I’ve been bored in the office, so I’ve been making my own tracks and beats. That’s right, I’ve been specially assembling music that reminds me of Pattaya, while I’m back at home. While my country of residence does in fact have large numbers of prostitutes, none of them can dance or entertain very well, they all charge way more than they are worth, and most of the attractive ones wouldn’t be caught dead doing business with a foreigner. Well, some will, more on that in Part II. So for my Pattaya compilation, I’ve assembled mostly go-go music, and coyote dancing music, mixed in with some house and high energy electronic. Some songs were collected from various street vendors along Walking Street, while others were modified from other genres or compiled totally from scratch. Right now I’m using Fruity Loops Studio software for Windows, along with a midi keyboard, synthesizer and an external midi controller. I’ve gathered thousands of samples for various beats. My basic go-go track consists of 4×4 kick drum samples, two different clap samples, high hats, three or four whistle samples, a collection of vocal samples, mostly borrowed from Thai movies, and if I’m really feeling like I need some Pattaya, I’ll throw in some audio samples of crowded bars and mix those into the tracks. I have various scratch samples, numerous plug-ins and software to convert to and from other formats.
The basic go-go or coyote song is quite simple. I always start with the kick drum portion of the song, and finish with the small samples, like scratched vocals, audio clips of whistles blowing, and repetitive tracks of Thai girl vocals repeating various one syllable words over and over. Those are the finishing touches to the tracks that all start with the kick drum. The average go-go bar audio track starts at about 70 beats per minute, but can go all the way up to around 140bpm or so. I prefer the 70-80bpm range, and what you hear in most go-go bars usually falls into this range. The tracks are much slower while I am composing them, and are sped up after I am satisfied with all of the beats, samples and tracks. The basic software comes with a 64 track mixer which is more than sufficient to make mind numbing, 80bpm go-go bar music. After each track is completed, I convert them to 128kbps 44hz MP3 and load them into my i-pod. I have now completed nine tracks.
Hey Farang, you know that legal deposition that you have to submit to the district attorney by 9am tomorrow? It’s just half way done? It’s going to be another all-nighter in the office. In the past, you didn’t have options. Imagine blasting your favorite go-go bar sound track, popping some methylphenidate pills, and slamming two double shots of coffee. Now you’re rocking. Now you’re zeroed in on the task at hand and it’s going to get completed a lot faster than you previously thought possible. The next few hours will fly by. Go-go music could save the world.
On the World as a Go-Go Paradise
Imagine this, go-go dancing takes over the world. It’s a re-occurring day time fantasy that I have. Gogo music becomes the new world theme song. In America, there would be “Go-Go” Day, where observers could watch night time go-go parades, blaring go-go music, lithe dancers and flashing lights. I’ve read in National Geographic that Brazil already has something similar to this. I am currently investigating. Imagine how many calories American girls could lose if they went on the go-go/yaabaa diet? You know how some countries have mandatory military service for all men aged 18-20? Imagine mandatory go-go service for all women 18-20, where they have to go to go-go camp, and learn every pole grabbing, thigh swirling, and gyrating technique imaginable. Aftercompleting mandatory go-go service, women could be recalled for active go-go duty during times of extreme weight gain.
Every once in a while cities would have surprise go-go drills, where blaring 80bpm go-go music would randomly start playing from speakers dispersed all over the city, and every female within the ages of 18-35 would have to drop whatever they were doing and immediately start go-go dancing as if their life depended on it. Can you even imagine how many calories the average Thai go-go dancer burns in a night? I’m not talking about the lazy high heel shufflers or fresh off the farm girls trying to balance themselves in their first pair of 6 inch plastic heels. I’m talking about the party-girls, high on amphetamines, athletic sultry stunners who went to erotic dancing class, and studied go-go dancing for years, and read books about it, and watched documentary TV shows about it, and danced in hundreds of music videos before starting their stint as go-go girls in Pattaya. Imagine how many calories THEY burn.
Screw yoga and pilates. Screw Tae-bo and screw eating healthy. Go-go dancing is what the west needs.
This is the soundtrack I am listening to as we make our way on to Beachroad, and then around the loop and back onto 2nd road to make a left turn down soi 13 and to the Lek. I’m fired up on go-go music, and prescription medication. I pay the driver, start sweating, and walk into the hotel dragging cases of water and sacks of oranges. The maids recognize me. They laugh. I wave and smile. Sleep will not be a major part of my life for the next 6 days. I enter the room and turn on the air-con. I lift the mini-fridge out of its cramped compartment, and duct tape a portion of my money in a plastic bag to the underside of the refrigerator before replacing it back to its original spot. I grab a tour brochure from the small desk drawer and fold it into a small rectangle. I then jam it into the plastic key card slot that controls when the air-conditioning and power turn off. I proceed outside and down Soi 13. The same vintage Mini Cooper in astoundingly goodcondition seems to always be sitting near the AA hotel. It feels good to be home.
On Being Organized
The sky darkens, and I proceed to a waterside beer bar a few paces before the gaudy entrance to walking street. I sit at a small bar, tended by a small girl, with short orange hair and a flat chest. I order drinks. I pull out my i-pod and make plans. People probably look at me, thinking “what is that idiot farang doing messing with his MP3 player on Saturday night, at a beer bar a stone’s throw from walking street?” Research baby. I’m researching. Not only does it play music, but it also runs applications, and stores photos, and albums, and movies. Every time I meet a lovely lady, or visit a go-go or a beer bar I make mental notes, which I later write down. Every time a lady graces my sheets, I take her picture. Not naughty pictures, just a nice portrait style picture. I later open the picture in Photoshop CS4, re-size it and touch it up. I then open a separate image file which looks like a rectangular template. I paste it along the bottom of the bar girl’s photo, and then I either add ratings or comments to the photo. It looks kind of like a bar girl baseball card. If I have their mobile phone number, I add that to the notes at the bottom.
Much like a baseball card, my bar-girl portraits also contain vital statistics and check boxes. Comments include things like “Swallows”, “Has cute friends”, “Good dancer”, “Bareback ok”, “Short time only”, “Carries a stun gun in purse”, “Does anal”, “Does drugs”, “Woke up in the hospital drugged two days after bar-fining her, no memory of what happened”, or sometimes I get lazy and just put numeral ratings on the bottoms of the pictures, and basic info such as where I picked her up. This can also help organize the ‘adventures’ that I go on and often cannot remember the full details of during my next trip. For example, in one particular bar, one of the service girls always throws herself on me and doesn’t leave me alone the entire time that I’m inside. I only keep going back there because the girls on stage are ridiculously stunning. I also make note of which bars have annoying mama-sans who are always asking for lady drinks or otherwise pestering me while I am already spending plenty of money.
Furthermore, this process allows me to organize my favorite coconut girls (boardwalk freelancers). Don’t you hate it when you’re standing on the Starbucks second floor balcony, sipping your ice vanilla latte, grande size, and then you see a coconut girl walking directly across the street, and you recognize her, and you remember that you had a good time together, but you don’t remember her name, and you don’t have her phone number? It never happens to me. All of my coconut girls are stored in little digital pictures, with detailed information. Likewise, I have a folder for the girls I’ve had ‘bad’ experiences with i.e.; she robbed me, she had a penis, she had a stun gun, had a Thai boyfriend hiding behind the door of the short time hotel, she was lazy, she was annoying, she asked me to buy her something, she had a kathoey friend hiding under the bed who picked my pocket and stuffed little pieces of paper back into the pockets so I wouldn’t notice until they escaped together on a motorbike, etc. You know, THOSE types of things. The types of things that happen to everyone. I review this file on the plane, and commit their faces, places of work and names to memory to avoid further unpleasant experiences.
This is how I start every trip to Pattaya. Organization. It never goes out of style. I have a poor memory, so I write things down and take pictures.
Very, very Danaesque!