Twelve University Graduates and Me
My girlfriend recently graduated from University and she and eleven of her mates decided to rent a house in Cha-Am for the weekend. For some reason I was invited to come along and decided this would be a good way to soak up some local culture.
The house was a townhouse or row house, connected to many others, on a small soi perpendicular to the main beach road. We arrived around 9 PM on a Friday night to find the party in full swing. Twelve soon to be graduates from a private university in Bangkok, mostly middle class Thais from the capital who had never in their life seen the inside of a gogo bar were seated around a coffee table. There was an empty bottle of 100 Pipers whiskey and several large empty bottles of Leo beer. My offering of a litre of Johnnie Black was gratefully accepted and we proceeded to play a card game.
The dealer picked a card off the top of the deck and looked at it privately. The person on his left started with a number, one, two, or three. The next person picked up the count, followed by the next, and so on until someone said the number corresponding to the card the dealer had picked. That lucky person, to the shrieks and howls of everyone else, had to down a capful of whiskey, usually followed by some beer or water. That person then became the dealer.
Now, there is not a lot of strategy involved here. The only choice is whether to say one, two, or three numbers, but the more numbers you say the more your chances of picking the dealer’s number and having to drink. So the only sane option is to say one number.
So you can expect that this game would get quite boring quite quickly. Not on your life. The mixed group of boys and girls played this game non-stop for the next 6 hours, going through my bottle of Johnnie, 2 bottles of 100 Pipers, and 2 more bottles of something called whisky but I am sure which never had been within 10,000 kilometres of Scotland. Five bottles of whisky and at least 3 cases of large Leo beer.
But no food.
At 3 am my girl announced she had to pee and went into our bedroom. At 3:3 AMm I realized two things: 1) I had to pee also, 2) my girl had not returned. I went into our bedroom to find her face down on the bed, fully clothed, snoring away gently. I soon joined her.
The music started the next morning around 7 AM. My girl got up shortly afterwards and went into the main room to start cleaning up from the previous night. Around 10 AM found us on the beach.
Now the objective of the Thai person on the beach is to allow absolutely no sun to get anywhere near them. We sit in chairs under densely packed beach umbrellas, and have every centimetre of our bodies covered in clothing.
When the calls to ride the banana boat came, six students promptly jumped up and went into the ocean. Fully clothed, not a bathing suit or towel in sight.
Did I mention the food? Hawkers walk around delivering food. There is no breakfast or lunch concept. The food comes in an endless stream from the time you sit down until the time you get up (in our case around 6 PM). That’s it. Eating, avoiding the sun, going into the ocean with all your clothes on, and drip drying.
Back to the house (by the way, we paid 200 baht per person per night for the house), for a quick nap so we could be refreshed for…MORE DRINKING!
It was during the second night, somewhere around 1 AM, that one of the students worked up the courage to speak to me, the only falang in the town.
Him: “Where you from?”
Him: “You know Mark Core?”
I am now thinking, why would you imagine I would possibly know your friend as there are 300 million people in America?
Me: “No, I don’t. Sorry.”
Him: “He’s a pirate.”
OK, that narrows it down.
Me: “Sorry, I still don’t know him.”
Him: “I like birds.”
OK, we are both a bit drunk but something about this conversation needs a rewind. So I play it back and come up with a new dialogue.
Him: “Where you from?”
Him: “You know macaw?”
Me: “No I don’t. Sorry”
Him: “He’s a parrot.”
Me: “Sorry I still don’t know him.”
Him: “I like birds”
So we had a very nice conversation about macaws until it was his turn to chug a glass of whiskey.
Somewhere around 2 AM the girls started throwing up, which they did in a very dainty and graceful way. Thai girls have a nice way of doing disgusting things. At some point, I decided enough was enough, and despite the blaring of Thai hip hop went to bed.
The next morning found us going to the market bright and early in order to buy 6 kilos of dried squid and assorted other dried seafoods. A foreigner cannot possibly imagine the sheer variety of types of dried squid available for purchase, unless one is forced to sample every one in order to personally be able to discuss its merits prior to purchase.
The drive back to Bangkok was uneventful, me grateful for the peace and quiet and my girl next to me, happily sleeping it off with a bag of squid in her lap.
It sounds like Thai-style fun. The flip side of course is that if Thais were in the West their observations about Westerners' strange habits would make fun reading. "They only eat 3 times a day and always at the same time!"