The Unexpected, Part 2
As promised, here is the follow up submission to The Unexpected, Part 1. If I managed to keep your attention long enough with my original submission you would
know that I stumbled across a Thai girl on the internet (Facebook) and by chance struck up what seemed to be the beginnings of a meaningful friendship. After 3 months of talking daily, exchanging photos and generally getting too know each other,
I decided to bring forward my intended trip to BKK and actually meet this girl in person. As mentioned in my initial post, I am 34, living in Australia, employed in a decent job and travelled many times to Thailand over the past 5 years, and have
slowly but surely been sorting my affairs in Australia to allow me an extended stay in BKK in possibly a year's time. "Fon" is 27, university educated, employed professionally in an international company and lives with her parents
and siblings in Bangkok. She has a tight knit group of friends, mostly female, who are of similar education.
Before I go any further, I would first like to thank Khun Ting Tong for his comments in his recent post Reply to "The Unexpected Part 1" or "My Net Girl – 5 Years Later”. I read this submission and his initial submission My Net Girl which provided me with a lot of confidence that finding the type of girl I was looking for was actually possible in Thailand. It also made me wake up and smell the roses so to speak, as it highlighted in a few school-boy errors I was making. There were a number of similarities between what Khun Ting Tong wrote and what is / has happened with Fon and me so far, thank you Khun Ting Tong.
Also, while I enjoy reading the whore mongering and bar hopping stories on Stickman as much as the next person, I must advise this tale does not involve either. If I still have your interest, please read on…
I arrived in BKK and checked into my hotel, a quick shower and a call to Fon and she was on her way to pick me up as we had arranged to spend the morning at a market and then get some lunch. Now, let me be clear, we had exchanged maybe 20 photos each, so I had what I thought was a pretty good idea of what she looked like and was excited to see her in the flesh, but, when this girl walked into the foyer of my hotel I nearly swallowed my tongue. Fon was drop dead gorgeous, from head to toe. She had that thoroughbred physique I love so much and a smile that could light up a small town (ok, I am a little biased, but if you read my last post you would know my preferences and this girl ticked all the boxes, for me). Pleasantries were exchanged and within minutes we were in her car and heading across town to pick up one of her girlfriends. I honestly felt like I had known this girl for more than just three months of phone calls and emails, but initially it was difficult to make conversation outside of polite chit chat, so I was keen to get a third person into the mix to help generate some conversation.
Sweet God, have mercy, this girl's driving skills puts every Australian girl to shame. She could put that car anywhere, and she did. The drive to her friend’s home included an illegal vehicular manoeuvre and we were quickly set upon by the local constabulary. I knew the score and what the financial end result would be just by having a farang in the car, and tried to make myself invisible, which was plainly impossible. Fon was informed of her misdemeanour and instructed to attend the police station and pay a fine of 400 baht. Instead she decided to make a 100 donation to the annual policeman’s ball and we were on our way once again. The local force is nothing if not “efficient”.
We eventually picked up her friend and spent a few hours wandering around (and ducking under) Don Wai markets, not a tourist market like JJ or Pratanum, but a further outlying market where I was the ONLY westerner, which I liked. It gave us a chance to
chat and mingle in a social and comfortable Thai environment, which was great. She showed me a lot of unique Thai food which was an excellent ice breaker and really got us talking and laughing. She loved that I nearly choked on a number of items
she forced me to eat (I strongly suggest this outing as a great first day out for anyone who finds themselves in my situation as it was the perfect way to get us talking and laughing). Once the initial ice was broken, the conversation flowed and
the afternoon was spent with the three of us laughing and chatting. I simply couldn't take the smile off my face. Both girls had a decent grasp of the English language, which was a major plus for me.
Over the following two weeks she had to work a few days (so I saw her nights), but she took some holidays the other days, which was great. We went all over BKK, and a couple of times met up with an Australian mate who had married a Thai and was now living in BKK. This was a fantastic social test for us and I think we both passed with flying colours. My mate and his wife loved Fon and her laugh could simply light up a room. It was intoxicating.
On one of the days she had to work I tried to occupy myself with an organised tour. Over the years I have done just about all the tours you can do in Bangkok, so I was looking for something different. I found a bicycle tour through the Bangkok countryside
that caught my interest. This rant is not about the tour. If you want to read my report on the tour, it can be found on Tripadvisor so email me and I can give you the link. The tour was obviously not a "major" tourist attraction and
one would assume not equipped with credit card facilities etc. WRONG. At the completion of the tour it was time to pay up. My friend and I produced 1,200 baht each, which was the asking price for the tour, now I will list what the rest of the
tour party did:
We were standing on a train platform in the middle of God knows where, waiting for the local train to pick us up and take us back to central Bangkok. We had just ridden 25km on the most poorly maintained bikes I have ever seen and the "Tour Company" is obviously not a large business. This tour is obviously the idea of a local guy who thought it would be a good thing to take some foreigners for a days ride through the country to see how real Thai people live in rural farming villages (and best of luck to him in his venture I say).
Tourist couple number 1 was from a leading western country and they produced a credit card for payment. Tourist couple number 4 were also from a leading western country, they produced a wad of traveller’s cheques and tourist couple number 5, again, from a highly developed western country, produced (wait for it) a wad of American dollars.
Sweet holy mother of God, all 6 of these people descended on this poor female tour guide and demanded to know why they couldn’t pay for this tour with everything BUT the only locally accepted currency. The couple with the US dollars were mortified when the tour guide didn’t know what the daily exchange rate was between Baht / US dollars. I actually overheard them say, and I quote "Yeah, we have had some real trouble trying to pay for things with US Dollars." Umm, could that be because YOU'RE NOT IN AMERICA????? The couple with the credit card actually stated "we thought there would be plenty of ATMs on this tour through the outlying farming communities" and the couple with travellers cheques just stood there, trying to shove a wad of travellers cheques into the hand of the tour guide while insisting she "jump on the net" and see what the exchange rate was.
To top it all off, when the tour guide did manage to get hold of an exchange rate (she rang someone), the couple began to argue the rate offered, then, when finally agreeing to a rate, they paid the tour guide and, this is the clincher, asked for their change in US Dollars, not Thai baht! At this point my friend and I erupted in laughter and had to walk away. Another day I decided to travel to my destination by ferry. I love a trip up the river. I have done this a number of times, I am a boat man, and grab any chance to get out on the water, even if it’s just a ferry. This day sticks in my mind though as it still blows me away that there are people out there still being scammed in Thailand by the "Grand Palace is closed" fiasco. Don’t get me wrong, the Thais can be a crafty bunch and they are always coming up with new ways to assist us farangs to part with our hard earned dollar, but I am talking about one of the oldest scams in the kingdom. While on the ferry I overheard a fellow countryman complaining to a couple he had struck up a conversation with that he was not happy he came all the way to BKK only to find the Grand Palace was closed, and how lucky he was to meet a very friendly Thai gentleman who was more than happy to go out of his way and assist with an alternative tour! What luck!
Back to the story. At the end of the second night I invited Fon up to my room to watch a DVD that I had purchased that day. This took a lot of convincing, but she eventually agreed and it was made very clear by her that sex was not on the menu, and I was fine with that, and that it’s not going to happen quickly, but it will happen when the right person comes into her life. She never stayed at my hotel over night, but most nights we would end up on the bed watching TV and her falling asleep next to me, until I woke her and told her she needed to go before it got to late (this, as I learnt, was a master stroke in getting her confidence). Her trust and confidence grew each day, and things were going very well indeed.
Initially, holding hands and physical affection was all me. She would never initiate it, and I expected this, and understood why, and respected that when in public. But by the end of the two weeks it was her grabbing my hand and her wanting the physical contact whenever we were together. She relaxed immensely by the end of the two weeks and became rather affectionate, but, sex was still not on the menu. Again, I am ok with this. Kissing was a big hurdle, but once she got a taste of the first one, she turned out to be the most passionate kisser I have experienced in a long time, but never in public, no exceptions. A life of wasted relationships with Australian women has given me one thing…patience! I have jumped into many western relationships way too quickly, and the go slow pace of this friendship was just what I needed.
Of all our outings I would suggest I paid for 75%, which is fine for me as I wouldn’t have it any other way. She drove me everywhere, every day, and never asked for fuel money, but I offered every time she went to fill the tank, once she accepted, the rest she refused. While on the subject of fuel, I would like to make an observation:
Bangkok: pull up to the pumps and notice that fuel is much cheaper here in Bangkok than in your own, modern supercity and a friendly attendant comes to the driver's side door and asks (with a smile) what would you like (in perfect English). You inform the good man that 1000 baht should do the trick and within seconds the hose is in your fuel tank doing what it does best. While your tank is being filled, your new best friend, the friendly pump attendant, wipes clean your windscreen and asks how you would like to pay for the fuel. You hand him your shiny credit card and within seconds he has swiped the card at an EFTPOS machine at the pump, given you the receipt to sign (on a nifty little piece of hard cardboard) and has the hose back in the pump, your fuel cap back on and the customers receipt is being handed through the open window and we are wished a good day, all the while not even leaving the comfort of the car.
Australia: Pull up to the pump, get out, open the fuel cap, grab the fuel hose, glance at the price per litre, curse every Arab nation you know that produces oil and ask the gods why the fuck is this so expensive, stand in the blazing sun filling your car while some dickhead in a busted ford behind you gives you the death stare because you dare to take the time to fill up your whole tank while he is waiting. Tank full, you head inside to what now looks like a supermarket to pay (almost in blood) for the tank of fuel only to be greeted by an angry, nervous and newly arrived “student” who barely speaks a word of fucking English, except for "buy two, only six dollars". You hand over your credit card only to have it emptied by close to $100 for a tank of fuel. You don’t get a "thank you", and there is no "please come again", nothing!
Back to the story. On a particular night Fon and I were going out to an expensive restaurant and I wanted to buy her a new dress to mark the occasion, but she refused and said that she didn’t need a new dress. When she arrived I can assure you she looked amazing, her legs seemed to be getting longer and while I have been lucky enough to date attractive women over the years, it still feels good when you walk in to a restaurant and people's heads turn.
Apart from food and drinks, I didn’t pay for anything else. SHE NEVER ASKED ME FOR A SINGLE BAHT. I refused to let her pay for dinners etc as that’s how I am, but any other time if I went to pay for something there was always at least the offer from her to pay and refused me to pay her back, or pay for the whole thing herself before I even had a chance to reach for my wallet.
In my early post, I had possibly used some incorrect wording which led Stick to comment that I had possibly discussed/thought about marriage before even meeting this girl….I can assure all readers the fact that I am 34 and never been married means I am in no way whatsoever discussing / thinking about marriage with this girl or in any hurry at all to marry anyone. Marriage scares the shit out of me!!! By the end of the two weeks, we had obviously discussed "where to from here" and had decided that we both wanted to see where this could lead and stated that we would be exclusive to each other (i.e. not date or shag anyone else) so as to give this the best opportunity of becoming something worthwhile. So, our official "tag" if you like, is boyfriend and girlfriend, but with that comes the issue of "long distance" and that could fill up its own submission, so I will leave that for later when I actually have some experience to speak of.
As with Khun Ting Tong, I have a good job with lots of holidays and will be back in BKK in December for 10 days and then March for a month. We are both excited about this and are still talking every day. I find that each day she becomes more affectionate and open towards me, which I think is a direct reaction to how I behaved with her in BKK. A few simple rules I followed which may not work for everyone, but they seemed right for me at the time, they were:
* Don’t rush anything.
* Don’t push her out of her boundaries.
* I didn’t let her get away with everything because "it’s a Thai thing". If she started to sook or pull any bullshit, I would pull her up on it just as I would an Australian girl, politely, but firmly. This was a positive move at all times; she listened, apologised and learnt from it (as I did when I messed up). I felt she had never been pulled up on anything in her life, and felt she actually respected me for it.
* I listened to her when she pulled me up on things, and didn’t do it again. I got the impression she could forgive once, but not twice. As with many Thai girls, she has been burnt badly by a Thai man.
* Don't lie to her.
* Don't go near the bar scene.
Both Stick and Kuhn Ting Tong have made comments about taking it slow, and not rushing into anything. I couldn’t agree more. I was heading down the path of rushing into things and have now realised my errors and know for certain the only path to success in this venture is slow and steady wins the race, oh and lots of visits to Thailand, which I can do luckily. Some things have moved kinda quickly, but I guess that’s as a result of me only having 2 weeks in BKK this time.
Is the language barrier a problem?
Yes, it is. On a scale of 1 – 5, with 5 being the best, I would suggest her English skills for a Thai is about 4 with my Thai speaking skills at about 1.5 so we do have our limitations. But, I hear her English getting better and better every day. We have both been a little frustrated a few times at trying to get our message across, but in the end we persevere and always seem to get through. I really need to improve my Thai. I think it's only fair, and am currently in the process of researching whether anyone teaches Thai in my home town. Alternately, I will have to resort to the good ol' book & DVD combo. Can anyone suggest one worthwhile?
Do I trust her?
Well I have to. The basis to any relationship is trust, and she hasn't done anything to alter that trust at all. So until she does (or I do) then we must trust each other. I think you can tell a lot about a person by meeting their friends, and all her friends are well to do girls with great jobs and relationships of their own. Fon is the only one of her friends who has a non Thai boyfriend / partner so it’s a hot topic of discussion at the moment between them, as she is being hit with all sorts of questions about Australian men, which I find hilarious. I am still a little cautious, but I think that’s healthy so early on. I am told if things continue to go well then my next visit "might" involve meeting her mother, which is a big thing for me, and yes, it scares the shit out of me also.
There was the odd tantrum I had to deal with. One day we were headed to the cinema and she walked past a poster of some male actor whose name escapes me for obvious reasons. She pointed him out to me and said she loved him, so I jokingly said maybe I would take Megan Fox to the movies instead… This went down like a lead balloon and she said if I wanted to be with someone else then she was leaving and stormed off (mental note to self: Aussie humour may not work on Thais). Not giving in to her tantrum, I continued on my way to the cinema, and sure as my arse points to the ground within 5 minutes she was back apologising for storming off, but telling me with some authority that she didn’t like me joking about being with other girls. We both agreed we were wrong and apologised to each other; I was ok with this outcome.
Another night we were at dinner and after we had devoured a very tasty entree. My main meal arrived and hers was no where to be seen. I turned out she had cancelled her meal as she decided the entree was enough. This pissed me off. Firstly, if I take a girl to a restaurant, I expect to eat dinner with her. Secondly, I was sure I would still be charged for her meal as I was sure they had cooked it. I let her know, firmly but politely that this bullshit was not on, and I wasn’t happy. She realised quickly that she had made an error and apologised, and when the bill turned up she shoved her credit card into the hands of the waiter and refused to let me pay. I never did find out if they charged us for her meal. Again, I was comfortable with this outcome. (Afterwards I felt a bit sorry for her; it’s just purely a lack of dating skills that caused this issue).
Don't think for a second that I was a perfect partner in all of this. There was an occasion or two when I messed up, that I fell back into the laziness of the western man, and I was quickly informed of my shortcoming. I enjoyed that this girl could give and receive constructive criticism, her intelligence and wit impressed me on a daily basis. Honestly, these were the only real issues I had to deal with; the rest was easy, very easy. We had a great time, I met her friends, and was given a thumbs up, and she met mine with similar results, and I don’t have anything at all to complain about (sorry to those people who were expecting this to all go up in flames)
I have truly met a beautiful, intelligent, successful, cheeky and honest Thai woman whose company I enjoy. What we have is the beginnings of a fantastic intimate friendship and where this goes from here only time will tell, but, I can assure Stick and Khun Ting Tong that I am in no hurry and will enjoy the next few months getting to know her more and am looking forward to my next visit in December and the rollercoaster ride ahead with my "Unexpected".