Stickman Readers' Submissions February 3rd, 2010

Young Guns and Old Players

Well here goes, my first submission, could be my last, who knows? I started writing a submission about half a year ago but due to work family etc I never got round to finishing it. It's in the drafts though so I might well send it one day.

Anyway, I've noticed a bit of a trend in a lot of submissions for people, normally some " wise " old hand of Asia to say how if you are young and in Thailand then the bar scene can really fuck you up. I think Mr. Stick has
said this himself quite a few times. There was a guy who wrote in recently who said something like " you shouldn't come to Thailand if you are less than thirty because you are not mature enough as an individual to be able to handle it
". Suggesting that the impact that this would have on your personality would somehow make you incapable of being able to form normal relationships with women, settle down have families etc. You What ! What a load of patronising old bollocks.
I'm thirty-three now and I came to Thailand when I was twenty-one so I have lived in Thailand for twelve years. I think that makes me fairly qualified to say what happens to us youngsters let loose without mummy to hold our hand. So I thought
I would share a little bit of my story. I don't know if it is typical or not but this is how it was for me.

He Clinic Bangkok

When I first came to Thailand I (like most people probably) didn't know anything about Thailand or it's people. Thai women or Asian women I wasn't particularly interested in. The only things I knew were that it was a place
where a lot of old guys went for sex and that a lot of drugs came from there. Possibly Thai food came in at a distant third and I suppose I knew in a vague kind of way that it was " one of those hot countries ".

It's quite funny really, but one of our group had been before and he told us a few things;" don't believe anything Thai people say to you, they're all liars etc, don't trust any Thai women, all Thai people want is
your money and that's it. " Of course I had a honeymoon period with Thailand as most people do. You know, where it's all so amazing, Thai people are so nice etc. I still think about what that guy said before we came because in many
ways after twelve years I've come full circle. All the preconceived ideas I had before I came. Then a long Thai honeymoon and then coming round to the conclusion that maybe that guy was right after all. Okay, okay they're not all bad.
I'd better say that before the "why are you here then?" brigade, jump on me and tell me to go back to whatever place I came from. And before people start calling me a young idiot for having a honeymoon in the first place, people
of all ages fall into a Thai trap and its got nothing to do with age and being young at the time. This had nothing to do with being messed up from the bars either. If age makes you wiser how come there are SO MANY stories of all these older guys
losing everything, retirement funds, life savings etc. It's strange but you don't tend to here that so much about younger people. Maybe we're not so stupid and naive after all, or we haven't got the money to lose in the first
place, ha ha ha.

Everyone has a dream and we all want to believe in something, to feel like we have a chance for a fresh start, a new beginning and to a point (as long as sanity doesn't go out the window) there is nothing wrong with that. Sometimes though
dreams can get shattered quite brutally, especially in Thailand. Thailand is quite a brutal country in a lot of ways. Someone once said that Thailand is like an onion. There is always another layer. Just when you know where you are with one bit
you go a bit deeper and peel off another layer and learn some more. What are you left with at the end of it? A lot of empty layers and something that leaves a funny taste in your mouth.

CBD bangkok

So why did I come then if it wasn't for the women? I know this probably isn't the best site to pose this question if you take the average reader into account but there must be more people like me out there who didn't come for
the women. Millions of people come here every year. They don't all come here for the women ! If you only read Stickman you would forget that fact. I'm going to be honest here and I can't be the only one but I came here for the drugs
and the warm weather. I certainly didn't write that on my TM card on arrival! Everyone has secrets and mine is that I used to be a bit of a junkie. When I was growing up we used to smoke a lot of grass and then by the time I was sixteen I
was taking a lot of LSD. Ecstasy also although not so much because it was quite expensive back then. Later on we would take a lot of cocaine as well. At that time in the UK there were a lot of illegal raves going on and I was involved in that.
We had a big sound system, about 50K which is pretty fucking loud. Great times and friends I will never forget but all a distant memory for me now. Some people told me about Thailand and the idea of getting high on a beach during the winter months
definitely appealed. I ended up spending the next four years in Koh Phangan which as most people know is the place to go for a party. I didn't settle in Had Rin which is where they have the Full Moon Parties but somewhere further up the coast
about 15km away. Anyone who knows the island has probably guessed where I ended up. Anyway, it's all changed now, the resorts have moved in and the old huts have gone.

At that time there was only one very bad dirt road to get to the beach so you would always know if the police were coming, although they did come by boat one time, with big fucking AKs if I remember right. Good grass was everywhere, magic
mushrooms, yaba, all sorts. I've heard you can still do this in Cambodia but you could buy liquid ketamine in the pharmacy in Thong Sala over the counter. It was quite funny seeing people trying to walk down the beach in the middle of the
afternoon after a fat line of ketamine. Good times and crazy times. A Dutch guy smuggled over 2000 E onetime which made life interesting for a while. He got nicked in the end and was facing a long stretch in jail until he made his escape out through

I expect that some people are thinking that what we were up to was quite bad, not good for the country, damaging for Thai people etc blah blah blah. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't but I do know one thing. The Thais were bang into it as
well and they certainly weren't shy about making money out of the whole place in regards to selling illegal substances. When the Dutch guy came over with all those tablets he came specifically to sell wholesale to the local Thai dealers.
" moral values " tend to go out the window when there is the chance of some easy money to be made, and as we all know there is nothing a Thai loves more than making a lot of money for doing not a lot.

There was a period of a few months one year when the mushrooms were around big time due to the weather and other factors. Het kee kwai or buffalo shit mushrooms, the reason they are called this is because they grow in buffalo shit about two
or three days after it rains. I remember this one year that the woman who owned the restaurant where we worked kept on coming back from the market in Thong Sala with a kilo or two every other day or so. She would say to us " ______ and _______,
I have some mushroom, you can try? ". Like a lot of Thai women, she didn't drink or smoke and the was no way she was going to take some buffalo shit mushrooms. The problem with mushrooms is that their strength varies so much, depending
on how soon after it rained you picked them, how well they have been kept (always in the fridge if possible) and the buffalo shit itself. Because of this each batch was different in strength and even within one batch they would vary so much. one
mushroom might be equal in strength to three or four if it was freshly picked and the others weren't. Within this framework it was our job to try and work out some sort of dosage that wasn't going to completely fuck with peoples'
heads but at the same time was going to give them a good trip. In my opinion, about three per person is about right for a good time.

wonderland clinic

Word of warning to any readers, the effects can last for up to twelve hours although six is probably more normal. In this time it is definitely not a good idea to drive any vehicles ! Try to put yourself in familiar and comfortable surroundings
with people you know well and trust. It can also be a good idea to have a straight person in the group to help put some normal perspective on things if they start to get too fucked up. One final thing, it is always a good idea to see the mushrooms
being prepared, there is a plant called datura (devil's trumpet) that grows all over Thailand. In fact because of it's pretty flowers it is quite common in Thai gardens. The family next door might even have it and not even know what
the plant does. Sometimes in Koh Phangan if there weren't enough mushrooms around the local Thais who knew what they were looking for would put some datura in. This stuff can seriously fuck you up. For DAYS at a time. Not something you want
to mess around with and definitely not a very good idea if you have to get the bus to Bangkok the next day !

Sorry if I bored you with all that stuff but I just went off on one a bit there, flashbacks to the island life, ha ha ha. Paradise ain't perfect. So what does all this have to do with Thai women and the bars etc. Well after a while I
guess I started to grow bored with all this and the bars started to come into my life a lot more. I stopped smoking grass and started drinking more and obviously this is where the bars came in. When I first went to Koh Phangan in 1998 there were
a few beer bars just before the start of the Had Rin hills. Compare that to with the last time I visited there which was 2005 and there is a long stretch all the way from Thong Sala through Bankai and Bantai. It's much longer than a mile
but locally it was known as "The Golden Mile". These bars just kept on popping up all the time. I think the local Thais saw the money that people were making in Samui and thought that they would have some of that too. It's a shame
really because Koh Phangan never really used to be like that and then it went down the well trodden road that nearly every other island in Thailand has gone down. Just filling a gap in the market right? Providing a much needed service for weary
travellers. Well I can't really complain about it all because that would be too hypocritical of me seeing how I used to partake myself. We used to say though, if you wanted to do all that then go to Samui. That's what it's there

Getting back to my original point though. Did all this mess me up? Did I find it difficult to interact with women in a normal way as a result of this? No, of course not. Yes I was young, in my twenties. I'll say it again, I was in my
twenties. HELLO. That's exactly what people do in their twenties. they go out and fuck loads of women and have a good time as much as they can. At least they do where I come from anyway. I think this is probably true for most people before
they settle down and have a family. Damaged for life. Hardly. You take the bars for what they are. You go in, they talk bullshit and lie to you, you get drunk, you see something you like and you take it. You pay the money. Nothing more. Some people
go so deeply into all this stuff, worrying about whether the bird likes you and all this kind of stuff. Who gives a fuck. You're not going to marry the girl are you ! are you? I suppose sometimes you would meet a bird who you would think
was nice and you want to spend a bit of time with her but I seriously cannot understand these guys going on like a broken record about " the girlfriend experience". In my opinion (I'm ready for the wave of vitriol to come back to
me) there is only one way to get a genuine girlfriend experience, and that is to get a REAL GIRLFRIEND. Not some prostitute who you have taken out of a bar, who, just because she shows you a bit of affection compared to all the other hardened
pros you've been with, you now consider a prospective girlfriend for the week.

I think that older guys tend to fall for all this crap too much, maybe because of a lack of options back in their own country, they know that due to age, appearance, financial status etc they aren't going to have too many options back
home (harsh words but probably true I'm afraid). They want to believe the illusion, even if deep down they know that it is exactly that, an illusion. They then end up bitter and twisted by the way that things pan out over here once reality
sets in and then go on about how all these women can mess you up. Bollocks. As a young guy in Thailand I can say that we are not moving in the same selection pools a lot of the time. Due to youth, physical appearance etc we do have other options
than sitting at a bar playing connect four.

Back in 2002 I ended up working as a DJ in a bar in Bangkok for a few months. I had a good knowledge of what to play from back in the UK. It was a crazy few months. I admit that in this instance it did mess me up a bit but having said that
I think it would most people regardless of age. All these women. " OH, you're from England. ", " You're a DJ, wow !". Fucking unbelievable, so many women, all wanting a piece of some perceived high life. I was working
nearly every night. Money was okay and they gave me food and some beers so that was cool but the women. Five or six different women every week. I had so many phone numbers I found it hard to keep track of it all. I know there are people who would
say that they do two or three women a day when they are here on holiday but they are paying for that service and anyone can do that if they have the inclination and money. I'd normally finish around two and then go and party with whoever.
I think the earliest I went to bed in that whole time would be at about seven in the morning. And the drugs? Not really so much of my life at this time, just high on sex but in the toilet upstairs there was a nail at the top. Hanging down on the
other side of the wall on a piece of string was a pipe for smoking yaba so there was always something there. After a while though, all the late nights and alcohol did start to catch up and for my own health I thought enough was enough and went
back down south. I waited to the end of the month to get my last pay check and that was it. Back to Koh Phangan.

Anyone who has spent any amount of time in Thailand knows that there are a multitude of visas and ways to stay here. Around that time I was single so from Koh Phangan there were a few options. A lot of people went down to Penang in Malaysia
from Hat Yai. There is a place called Danok just before the border on the Thai side specifically set up for Malaysians on a dirty weekend. Same again if you go to Sungai Kolok. All these Muslims preaching there holier than thou bullshit seem to
forget this when they come to Thailand for the weekend because all they do is drink and fuck as many whores as they can. Not for everyone but places like that can brighten up a visa run, they can even give you a reason to look forward to a visa
run. Get a few of you going together and you can make it a bit of a trip. Like I said, it is all set up for Malaysians so from the girls point of view they are quite happy to see you as you are something different, perceived to be wealthier etc.
Sungai Kolok might be a bit dangerous now though because of the Muslim insurgency in the deep south. I wouldn't know.

After a while though I started going to Ranong and that was it. Only three hours by minivan from Surat Thani, going to Malaysia seemed like such a hassle after that. Ranong on the surface seems to be a pretty quiet kind of place where not
much happens but it does kind of grow on you and I ended up living there for a couple of years a bit later. Situated about 600km south of Bangkok and about 300km north of Phuket it is close to the Kra of Isthmus: the thinnest point of Thailand
where it measures something like 30 km from the Burmese border to the Gulf of Thailand. Famous for fishing and the rain. It is the rainiest province in Thailand which if you are a whitey like me it is not a bad thing. There is a river estuary
the other side of which lies the southernmost point of Burma; Korsaung or Victoria Point (the old British name for it). And this is where you could renew your visa.

It went something like this. Down to the Saphan Pla (fish bridge) where all the fishing boats and long tails were. Find the immigration on the main road. Get your exit stamp and then walk down the road to where the long tails were. It was
always a bit strange this bit because you have been stamped out but you are still walking around in a busy street in Thailand. Two options now. Either charter a long tail for about 300/400 return or hang around until a boat is full of enough Burmese
to make the journey worthwhile and go for 50 baht one way. The boat would leave and then stop at this house on stilts in the water. All the Burmese would hand over their passes here and then off you go again (take an umbrella if possible because
the sun is a killer). It's about half an hour to the other side. You can see a casino island where the Thais go gambling. Run by an Australian company on a thirty year lease from the Burmese government it makes some serious money. The only
reason pretty much that there is an airport in Ranong is because of that casino. Phuket air used to operate a once a day service three times a week to Bangkok for about 2700 baht.

I even did my visa their once. Around 2004 there was some fighting up in the north of Thailand and some shells landed on Thai soil. The border was shut for a while but amazingly when I went to immigration to see what was happening they told
me I could still go to the casino and make my visa there. A bit of a catch though because the Thais charged you an exit fee of 1000 baht if you had less than fifteen days remaining on your visa.

Back to the boat across though, when you got to the other side there was another little hut on the water where you paid your five dollars (it's ten now). They gave you a receipt and then when you got to Burma proper you showed the receipt
and got your entry stamp. Not really much to do there apart from buy some stuff in the market and have a few beers. Myanmar Beer on draught, fucking lovely, I don't know why it is but all the countries around Thailand seem to make far better
beer. The blue Mandalay was pretty good too. There was a bar on the waterfront called Mark bar. Ice cold beer for about 15 baht a glass. You really needed it after the boat in the hot sun. There were always a lot of children hanging around going
on about going shopping and it took me a while to work out just how cheap things were. A bottle of rum or gin for 40 baht. Not great quality but drinkable all the same. A carton of cigarettes, golden triangle (what a name for a cigarette brand)
for 60 baht and yes, you guessed it, fake Viagra. Kamagra I think it was called. A pack of four cost about 80 baht. It turns out for a small tip, 20 or 50 baht, the kids will do all your shopping for you and you don't even have to leave the
bar. Make sure you know the prices of things though because they will try it on. Give where it is due and you won't have to end up dripping in sweat walking round town.

Shopping done back to the boats, stopping at the same huts for stamps and papers getting checked. It's all changed now because of these Rohingya people, but at this time there were absolutely no customs checks for foreigners at all.
All the Thais cared about was checking the goods of the Burmese. Ranong has a reputation for the smuggling of illicit goods but the set up for foreigners was very lax. As I said before the immigration office wasn't where you got off the boat
and it was a simple matter to leave your bags somewhere and then go and get your entry stamp and collect your stuff later. I used to bring over a bit of Kamagra. Stupid? Yes. Lucky? Yes. Would I do it all again? NO. In the whole time that I was
running stuff through Ranong I knew of one case affecting a foreigner where customs got him for having two cartons of cigarettes (you are only allowed one). He had to pay a 20,000 baht fine.

Having stocked up with the kamagra it was back to Koh Khangan. I knew a women in a pharmacy who sold it for 400 baht. I sold to her for 200 baht. Easy money. Selling to the bars for them to sell to the customers. Every thirty days it was
off to Ranong and no one was the wiser. The last time I went down there for old time's sake was a couple of years ago and I think it would be a bit different now. The immigration checkpoint has moved to right where you get the long tail boats
from and the army have got checkpoints going on looking over the boats.

Due to bad things happening (which I won't go into now) in Koh Phangan, I started to base myself more and more over in Ranong. If you don't mind the rain it is a lovely area. Khao Sok national park is nearby, nice beaches nearby
and the hot springs. A couple of tourist islands close by as well; Koh Chang (not the big one) and Koh Payam, very untouched at this time with only a few hundred people living on each one and no cars on the islands at all. I had some good times
there and it is an interesting mix of people living there. Thais, Thai Chinese traders and then all the Burmese as well. The population of Ranong is probably about 40 percent Burmese and in some parts of town you might as well be in Burma. Oh,
and Tesco opened there a few years ago as well near the airport.

Any foreigner who is of the persuasion who spends a bit of time in Ranong probably ended up in one of the Karaoke bars at some time, and when they shut it would be down to the "Saphan pla" where the serious business would begin.
The fish bridge. Where to begin. Ranong's major industry is fishing and at any one time there would hundreds of boats in the port. Obviously this made for a red light district. Any readers used to Nana plaza don't get too excited because
we are talking very basic here. Little wooden bars built out on to the mud flats with some very basic amenities. These were places for Thais or Burmese.

It has been said many times that after a while you get bored of the bar scene. It loses its shine and I was no different. After a while it all becomes empty and shallow and meaningless to you. Because that is exactly what it is. You just
didn't realise it before. It is meaningless and it is exactly what it is. There is no deep thing going on and the sooner guys realise that the better. I've talked to Thai men about this and they find it amazing that foreigners will go
shopping with the women and have nice meals with them and all that kind of stuff. It's only about one thing in the end and that is sex. Why do all this other stuff with a women who is there to provide one thing only. You are just kidding
yourself if you think that the women really wants to be with you.

I think that Mr. Stick said recently that most men aren't going to the bars for sex and I have to agree with that. If I look at myself I feel I have no need to go and prove something to myself sexually and I am more than happy to just
have a laugh and a joke with the girls for a bit a of companionship. A few beers and a laugh, sounds okay to me.

Another thing is that I'm a bit of a sticky shit when it comes to money and I begrudge paying for something that I know I can have for free, especially now that I'm married. That's another reason why you will notice that I
don't mention any foreigner orientated places. I don't want to pay 150 baht for a small beer when I can go somewhere else and pay under a hundred for a large one. I also find that in places where foreigners don't go, because of
the novelty factor or whatever but the girls are friendlier, better looking (I went to Pattaya for the first time last year with my family and I couldn't believe how ugly a lot of the women were), more fun and the service is a lot better.

Anyway, nothing lasts for ever, and after the tsunami I found myself back in Bangkok which was where I met my wife to be. She was a receptionist at the time and had been working in Koh Pi PI when the big waves hit. She was very lucky to escape
with her life and still has nightmares about it to this day. So how did I find it interacting with so-called normal people again after so much debauchery. Could I cope. Of course I could. I wasn't twisted in the head or anything like that.
I realised that this was a normal woman and therefore normal rules applied and I treated it exactly as if I was seeing someone back in the UK (give or take a few cultural things). There was a submission recently from Caveman that mentioned recently
all the ways you had to try and control your women to stop things going wrong. In my opinion if you are having to do all this kind of stuff than you obviously made the wrong choice in the women you married. I had seven years of being single in
Thailand before I met my wife. DO NOT just marry the first bird who smiles at you when you know fuck all about them, their family, their way of life, expectations, future intentions etc. This stuff really is important and if you don't get
you foundations right then your house will fall down. Take your time to find the right women for you. I'll say it again, take your time. Try and look in the right places. You shouldn't have to control your wife. A good marriage is all
about compromise. You are not going to agree on everything so you have to try and find some common ground. No one likes to be told what to do all the time and if I used Caveman's control tactics then there would be no chance of the marriage

Anyway, this is just my opinion and what has worked for me. Everyone has different situations. I'm happily married with two lovely children. Does my wife know everything that I used to get up to? She knows more or less in a vague kind
of way that I haven't always been the angel that I am now but she has never really pressed me for details and I have never really offered any. Right now we are both happy. Am I a good boy? I've got two young kids. I don't have time
to be bad, and out of respect for me wife I will not be unfaithful. You definitely won't find me in Cowboy or Nana. I hate those places. Very rarely you might find me in a Thai Karaoke. Once or twice a year, just for a look at the girls on
show and to maybe do a bit of translation for some single mates of mine. There's no harm in a bit of window shopping just so long as you don't go wasting your money buying something you don't need. MY FAMILY COMES FIRST.

Phew, that's that. It's been quite strange writing this. It's the first time I've written any of this stuff down. There are so many other things I could have mentioned. Funny (to me) little stories. Depending on the amount
of hate mail I get I might write another submission on the joys of married life and raising children in Thailand. Not what everyone wants to hear I'm sure but there you go. Hey, I only wrote this so I could go to the party!!

Stickman's thoughts:


nana plaza