Readers' Submissions

Thai Thoughts and Anecdotes Part 351

  • Written by Dana
  • October 27th, 2012
  • 7 min read



R. I. P.

Kurt is gone. Mekhong Kurt of Bangkok is gone. The Washington Square scribe died recently. Not a surprise to those who followed his spoor, knew his habits, and made Kurt sightings. His lifestyle was simple and revolved around cigarettes and beer. Friends and family and Squaronians might offer a different opinion but it was hard to ignore. Nicotine and alcohol: worldwide popular addictions that give many much happiness. Some might say he was gone ten years before he actually died due to his body and mind being ravaged by twin drug addictions. The downward slope was sad, public, and unfortunately did not reflect well on farangs for observant Thais.

His website that chronicled the comings and the goings of Washington Square residents, and other Washington Square news and minutia was entertaining and made a nice contribution to Thai-farang genre history. Kurt was a long time Asian hand and qualified to make comment on Washington Square events and people (Squaronians). He was interested, factually correct, and sympathetic. Information you got from his website was not available elsewhere and much of it was personal. He took an interest in other peoples' lives. Based on something I had read in his website I once tried to engage him in a discussion regarding physics and astronomy and cosmology while visiting him at the Texas Lone Staar saloon. He replied that the Star Trek TV series in America had fostered an interest in the space program, space related subjects, and other things astronomical. Soon after, I got up and left. A more vacuous and absurd remark would be hard to imagine. I guess I am kind of hard on people.

However, I do remember another story he told on his website with perhaps more staying power. He hadn't been feeling well for a long time. He went to a doctor. After examinations and tests the doctor's diagnosis was that he was starving to death. Cigarettes and beer are not enough. You have to eat something. In my own country, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was an example to learn from. A double drug addict, cigarettes and alcohol, with a predictable end. Eventually, the body's immunity system just says: we aren't doing this anymore. In England, Churchill was a double addict who basically got away with it. The difference? He ate food. Still, his lifetime addiction to nicotine and alcohol was so prodigious that his body should have been donated to science. We might have learned something.

Anyway, Kurt: if I meet you in heaven, dinner is on me. Steak tips, rice, mixed vegetables, and melon for dessert. No beer. No coffee. A nice glass of fresh squeezed orange juice. Beer and cigarettes are not enough. Even in heaven you've go to eat. R. I. P.

and now:

PITY THE POOR GIRL

Recently I made a trip to Ko Larn off Pattaya. I like boats and I like maritime environments and I like beach trips and I like the geography of the island. It is all good. I used to use Anna the tour director in the lobby of the A. A. Hotel to book trips for me at about 600 baht. Parasailing opportunities were included, more boat trips were part of the package, and you got lunch served on the beach. But then I discovered that for only 20 baht I could take the public ferry. Boy oh boy, what a big difference in price. Money that could be spent foolishly in some other trivial tourist way. Anyway, recently I made a day trip to Ko Larn.

I am a nut about punctuality. I always get to everything early. So I am on the ferry early waiting for it to leave. What to do? Well, I do the same thing everyone else does in situations like this. I sit and look at all the other people. There is a couple. A foreign male and a Thai female. He is attentive and obviously smitten and she is charming and very attractive. He has a camera. You can guess the rest. He is taking picture after picture after picture of her. Pictures of her leaning on the rail of the boat, pictures of her looking for something in her bag, pictures of her with and without sunglasses, pictures of her looking and breathing and sitting. Picture after picture after picture. I pity the poor girl. I want to scream at him to just stop. Give it a rest. Give her a break. Grab the reins. But of course only she can control him. She needs to put her hand on his arm, and look him in the eye, and say:

"That's enough pictures for now."

But she does not do that. It takes 45 minutes to get to the island and he takes pictures of her for 45 minutes. Of course this public display of love and attention makes me feel slightly superior. I would never behave that foolishly. I would never abuse the poor girl by taking so many pictures, and I am not so needy that I cannot go anywhere without a stupid camera. It's a beach and boating day. Just relax. I admit I have, sometimes regarding some things a borderline rant personality. This abuse of nice ladies, or worse, this boring of nice ladies with all this compulsive picture taking kind of drives me crazy. This young attractive Thai lady has probably had to endure this nonsense since she was sixteen years old. She must be bored and irritated. And her boyfriend isn't winning any points. How many pictures of this girl is he going to take? A thousand pictures? A million pictures? A million million pictures? I keep my mouth shut.

While negotiating with the mother and the son across the street from the boat landing that I use to give me motorbike trips, a female Thai tourist in their store hears the conversation. She interrupts. She would like to know how to get to the beaches, etc. Could I help her? We end up being taken to the beach together by the mother and the son. She rides on the back with the big son. I ride on the back with the big mother. We swim together. We buy ice creams. We have lunch. We lay side by side on the lounge chairs and talk. We walk on the beach. She shops for clothes. We laugh. I am so dizzy from being with her that if you took your finger and pushed against my chest I would just fall over.

I wished and I wished and I wished that my hands held a camera. I would have taken a million million pictures of her.

and finally:

A Caveman Sighting

Last week I was in Shitburi picking up a load of petrified elephant poop for my petrified elephant poop necklace business that I run on Khao San Road and I happened to see Caveman taking a picture of a road. He was using a tripod and a fat young Thai lady to help him. Nothing new. But he was wearing a T-shirt that said Vegans Do It With Celery Burgers. I don't even know what that means.

Mark my words, this guy is going to end up as a towel boy in a Hat Yai massage place. Sad. I'm not judging but you would think that U. S. ex-military could do better than handing out towels to Muslims that have pictures of Osama Bin Laden on them. Just sayin'. Not judging. Anyway, stay tuned for another rockin' picture of a road. Nobody takes pictures of rural Thai roads like Caveman. Nobody. Don't even think about it.

A little birdy has told me that a compilation of these photographs is going to be produced in a coffee table sized book titled: Rural Thai Roads: A Farang Love Affair. Pictures will be accompanied by all the gearhead camera and setting specs as well as personal journal entries regarding the picture taking experiences. His Thai fat lady assistants will also be featured and asked their reactions and opinions regarding various Thai road picture taking assignments. Search the current Bookazine picture books and you will not see this book. The book stores have big expensive picture books of Thai architecture, and Thai crafts, and Thai ladies, and Thai commercial sex night life, and Thai general interest subjects but nobody else has had this Thai road vision.

Just thinking about this almost freezes my brain. There could be pictures of roads that go up in the distance, dirt roads, surfaced roads, narrow roads, wide roads, roads that lose elevation in the distance, roads with a soi dog lying in the road, maybe a picture of a road with a chicken by the side of the road, after rainstorm roads, dry season roads, and dead ends. The Dana brain boggles. God has a plan for all of us if we just listen. It looks as if Caveman's destiny is to take pictures of remote Thai roads. How I envy him. A life with meaning and a focus with value. I can't wait for this great big wonderful picture book to come out.