A Panoply of Points
How do you handle your home purchase in Thailand? I realize you cannot own the land. A Thai partnership is required. And it would be imprudent (in the vast majority of real estate transactions) to have the wife on board.
Fifteen minutes outside of Sriracha, on the gulf, there is a gated community–with a Thai security apparatus. I noticed an unfinished home (5000 square feet) right next to the sea. The eastern gulf near Sriracha is less than inspiring, but this gated community has enormous potential. Of course, I would bring in a builder from the U.S. to make an assessment, and complete the project.
I enjoyed an Americano while waiting for my nutjob / Thai girl. I noticed Big C is a target rich environment. Irrespective of the time of day. Exercise: Go to Big C and drink an Americano every hour. Plan to spend the entire day and evening.
Beach Road Hookers
I walked Beach Road several times, enjoying a Chang / green Coconut, or som tum. Of course, my Thai nutjob was at Central Festival buying shoes.
I have to admit, I noticed a few girls that (in a previously life) would have triggered my libidinal proclivities. And as a German would say, "Fur and leather are verboten." Not to mention the tattooed boyfriends lurking in the background. But you have to ask yourself: What's wrong with a deftly administered THB 400 hand release while you nurse a Chang?
In south Texas we have a dozen wineries in the beautiful hill country. I have visited most of them. But I really enjoyed our day trip and dinner at Silverlake. Probably an excess of Chinese tourists. Our sommelier graciously sequestered us on a terrace, and we enjoyed dinner and a red.
Condoms and Cabbages Pattaya
I actually walked this property. Had dinner in the evening with a sea view. A beautiful night. My girlfriend decides to visit the ladies room. At our table, she apparently left her purse and iPhone. It was not within my purview. So I decided to saunter the lantern lit walkways for 5 minutes, while she aired it out. When I returned to our table, she was malignantly present. And she savaged me for abandoning her purse. Of course, I did not know she left her purse. Every woman in the U.S. takes a purse to the restroom–to re-apply 3 pounds of pancake makeup. I assumed that she was doing the same thing. In the U.S., I would have dropped her like a bad habit at that precise moment. But–I had to maintain equipoise in a land of fruitcakes.
I hate latex. But did you know that HPV is contractible–even with a condom? My default is a deftly administered hand release, followed by a glass of vino, and then a deftly administered blow job. Then I ask a question: "Can you find your way out?"
Many Pattaya farangs have had more genital warts than Carter's has pills. Always go with the hand release / BJ.
I love elephants. And I would see at least two each week in Sriracha. The mahouts mistreat and abuse them. I came to know and love a 6 year old named Oom…while on a sub soi enjoying a Chang and a few ounces of herb infused whiskey. I hope Oom is doing well.
Take a drive to Sriracha, and have an Americano at Berry coffee. She might still be there. And she is a stunner.
One of my favorite places to grab a Café' Americano in Sriracha, Thailand. Great music. Great desserts.
We hit Berry 3-4 times each week. Coffee shops are ubiquitous, and they know how to execute. Starbucks' is not even in the same league.
Some people say there is NO difference between COMPLETE and FINISHED.
No English dictionary has been able to adequately explain the difference between these two words.
When you marry the right woman, you are COMPLETE. When you marry the wrong woman, you are FINISHED. And when the right one catches you with the wrong one, you are COMPLETELY FINISHED!!
Observation: I know a guy in Malibu, California. He lives near the beach in a 1.5 million dollar home. He likes simplicity in his life, so he travels infrequently. He said that one of his favorite places in the world is the beach in Phuket. And he loves young green Thai coconuts (as do I). Of course, he doesn't know a fraction of what I know about Thailand. And I do not know a fraction of what you know. I have not traveled to Phuket. But I knew enough to avoid Phuket.
I was en route to Hua Hin and Cha Am one afternoon with my (so-called) girlfriend. And in less than 45 minutes…we decided to blow it off. We turned around and went home. Any impressions of Hua Hin?
I probably should have made the effort to visit Krabi. But that is still on the docket.
I am not one disposed to a Lucifer type venue. On the half-dozen occasions that my Thai girlfriend / nutjob, suggested that we visit Lucifer, I was on board and willing. Each time, the same freelancer engaged me in social intercourse. No pun intended. My girlfriend tolerated our tête-à-tête. And it was a tête-à-tête that went on interminably. The freelancer lived on Soi Buakhao. I had previously reconnoitered that very soi in our X3. Like I said before: Soi Buakhao resembled a farang jail break.
Despite my girlfriend's entreaties, I never entered the various Walking Street a gogos. I held firm, and declined the offer for carnal titillation. Maybe it was just my facile attempt to gain merit with my conniving, duplicitous, threatening, recalcitrant, emotionless, affectionless, non-loving, mercurial, Thai girlfriend. But you see, I was in a foreign land, without due process or habeas corpus, a lawless land, so issuing a pink slip was simply politically incorrect. And could have negatively impacted my ability to exit Thailand safely.
In a perfect world, and if I had been roguing on my Thai adventure, I probably would have met the freelancer at the Pattaya Marriot. Poolside. I would have considered a deftly administered hand release, a condomless session of oral pleasure, and I might have let her beat me up! You know, a gratuitous knee to the groin, followed by a slap fest.
So, I return to the U.S., and proceeded to navigate to an expat forum / web site. A picture of a Thai lovely… walking in white hot pants, in front of Central Festival, in the middle of the day–was posted on this very site. And it was…unequivocally, my delightful freelancer from Lucifer. What are the odds?
She was sui generis. Probably in her thirties. Very good English. And she possessed joie de vivre.
My girlfriend also possessed joie de vivre. The problem: It would frequently slip into hibernation. And I never knew when it would be fully restored. Did I mention that the physical intimacy was mechanical and passionless?
I gave her 6 months of my scintillating wit and inexhaustible sense of humor. She was construably sui generis…and akin to no other reptile in creation.
She had her stratagems and subterfuges, but so did I.
"Indirect tactics, efficiently applied, are inexhaustible as Heaven and Earth, unending as the flow of rivers and streams; like the sun and moon, they end but to begin anew; like the four seasons, they pass away to return once more." The Art of War by Sun Tzu.
Viscerally, I have always understood the necessity of Phet's "false time constraint." Phet said, This is when you are beginning to chat up a women…you declare “I can only stay a few minutes as I have to meet a friend"–which counters her thought…. “how can I get rid of this tosser” and immediately relaxes her.
I remember when I was at a fabulous hotel in Chicago (The Hamilton in Itasca). I was with a hottie from Peoria. I met her in Kansas City. We were having drinks by the dance floor in the bar. I am conversing with a few guys sitting next to us, and we spot a stunner next to the dance floor. We decided that one of us would ask her to dance. I was chosen–with the permission of my date. The first thing I said to her…"I am leaving in 5 minutes for O'Hare to catch a flight to Atlanta. Let's dance." And she was immediately on me like a bad suit.
We had placed a wager on our exercise. And I won. When I returned to the table, the guys asked me "what did you say to her?" I never told them. My hottie rushed to the dance floor to cut in on this stunner. The salient: The "false time constraint" works most of the time.
Last night, I received a newsflash ‘Spinner Alert’ from one of my spotters in Pattaya that a fresh faced stunner had just arrived and was hiding amongst the drapes at the back of the go-go bar – somewhat shocked at the proceedings and too timid to come out. She made easy prey. One drink, one bar fine, then off to a fine hotel complete with Jacuzzi for some lessons. ‘Nice’!
A Thai Woman I Could Trust
Oh that’s funny – Question: ‘A Thai women one could trust?'
He he he – now that’s some funny sh#t.
No I haven’t ever found one, and don’t expect to.
What I do expect is that any Thai man or women will rip me off totally (included trusted staff) if I put enough temptation in front of them.
I am soon heading upstairs to sleep my wife and family. – my wallet and mobile phone goes in a ½ ton high security Chubb safe every time.
My house has security cameras everywhere inside and out. All openings are on magnetic trips to a battery backed alarm system in the bedroom.
BTW, The word ‘trust’ is actually a 4-letter-word in Thailand. Thais pronounce it ‘sure’
Buy a $2,000 safe and let it be known to the missus that you only ever keep wallet, mobile phone, and a few days spending money and passport in it.
Keep a scan of your passport and every page up in the cloud (online passport backup in case the original is stolen or lost).
Obfuscate/hide backup credit cards and cash funds somewhere – maybe rent a safe deposit box, but don’t trust that either.
Keep minimum funds in Thailand, don’t trust anyone.
Keep ‘low profile’ and off powerful peoples radar.
Be polite and speak quietly to everyone.
Life expectancy then looks good, and hassle drops to manageable levels.
Long Term Farang Survivors
Oh Crikey, well spotted – One should keep off long term Farang survivors radars even more.
Consider that Pattaya is the international play ground for retired criminals from everywhere. The clever ones who did the crime, escaped with the cash and were never arrested.
Koh Samui and Bangkok have their share of fully tattooed hi-flying business owners with fast cars, obviously naff money laundering businesses and no visible means of support.
Hua Hin / Krabi
Hua Hin is the first seaside town from Bangkok heading off down the elephants trunk on the map of Thailand.
It isn’t much, but in comparison with the chaos, pollution and grid lock of Bangers, ‘it may not be paradise, but it isn’t hell either’.
On the other hand, travelling to Hua Hin from somewhere beautiful in Southern Thailand, one should expect to be somewhat disappointed.
Krabi and the Islands down in Southern Thailand – mostly back packer or main-stream tourism fodder, but with the occasional nice hotel sprinkled in to chill out at that are worth hunting down.
Just don’t expect the same swish international service at even high end Southern Thai hotels – since as you head towards regions with Islamic influence, one should expect the service to falter accordingly…
I am in my girlfriend's house–one hour outside of BKK. She purportedly, has an electrical issue in her home. Two Thai characters are scheduled to arrive at 4:00 P.M. They arrive a little late…like 7:00 P.M. And it is pitch dark outside.
I have dinner plans with my Thai orchid. And these guys are f–king up my evening. They tarry. One of them is standing in the front yard smoking a cigarette. They go upstairs with my girlfriend. They remain upstairs interminably.
I am having a beer Chang in the living room. My girlfriend comes downstairs. I said "what in the bleep is going on. They have been here for two hours and they are f–king up my dinner plans." And this is what she said to me: "shut up." No details. No apology for the delay.
In her bedroom (above the 60 inch flat screen T.V.), on the wood cabinet, there were two hatchets. She showed me the hatchets on day 3 in country. A handgun in her dresser drawer. Maybe she was anticipating a home invasion!
So, I am luxuriating in the living room, but I am wondering what in the bleep is going on. She is unapologetic. Somewhat recalcitrant. Rude–is the best way to describe the situation.
If these two Thai goons advance me, I am going to have my hands full. Paranoia? Or just configuring contingencies?
It all passed without incident. I must admit…I was circumspect and nervous.
Foreigners are not expected to know the complex wai rules, and their attempts to wai everything that moves including small children and service staff are a source of constant amusement to the Thai.
Unmentioned is the type of Wai offered – to add to the confusion, one should be aware that there are many different wai.
Sometimes best just to wave a hand at a group of people and say hello – or hold out a hand to shake hands, this puts the Thai on the back foot since they don’t know how to shake a hand properly he he he.
The class system in Thailand is very much alive and well. "I bark orders at my Thai staff – they expect it, since I am the boss." Small children are not wai’d at (he he he ) though children should instinctively wai any adult on meeting them, and their parents will almost certainly immediately correct them if they don’t. This starts before the child can talk. As for servants Wai-ing – well, they’re servants and thus a kind of invisible underclass. Perhaps an eyebrow raise and half a smile should suffice, but a wai to a servant – oh no! that’s some funny sh1t.
As for older/younger rules , the poor should wai the rich and powerful, if they know what’s good for them – the young Thai should wai the old Thai. There is always a quick status/age chat between Thai strangers to find out who is older than who, and who has greater status. Its normally the first thing spoken about (what you name, what you do, where you work, how much money you earn, how old you… a status/class check).
I am on the promenade in Nong Khai, Thailand with June. A perfect view of the Mekong. A stunning sunset is within my grasp. And I intend to capture it with June's iPhone. But I must be patient for an hour. I want the sunset to reach maximum efflorescence.
Dining al fresco. An epiphany of delights in a foreign land. Exotica.
We traveled for more than an hour, covering 100 kilometers in Laos…on a beautiful sunny day. At times, we moved at the speed of a barnacle inching its way down a rock. It was a Sisyphean task just to get stamped out of Laos. Feeling as much out of my element as a pigeon in a nest of falcons.
My implicit quest for anomaly always predominates. I guess I believe in the conjunction of the stars. The right place at the right time. It was a glorious afternoon in S.E. Asia.
We crossed the Friendship Bridge into Nong Khai. The wind in my face.
I shall endeavor to be absolutely precise in what I am about to relate.
When European writers exclaim about the beauty of South Pacific maidens, they invariably mean those of Polynesia. Maybe they have not traveled to S.E. Asia.
In 2002 I met the most beautiful girl on earth. She worked in administration at President Park in Bangkok. She was an indefatigable girl, enamored with practicality and industriousness. Wearing a white mid-thigh skirt with fuchsia top. Jet black hair. We dined together at Baan Khanitha, a very fashionable restaurant on Soi 23. Very popular with expats.
She spent 3 days with me at the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit. Poolside. Indonesian hard wood lounge chairs. Thai staff (male) in elephant pants. Cocktails. A beautiful pool on the third level of the Sheraton Grande. A tropical profusion. Profusely colorful gardens. Like Kuta Beach in Bali. But this was the third floor of a five star Bangkok hotel. Give the Thais credit. No one else could pull this off!
In the elevator (on our way to the pool), a wiry man with an agitated countenance, attempted to block our egress. He dressed abominably. His demeanor telegraphed his opprobrium. Miss May was only 22 years old. I was 42. But it was a match made in heaven. And she was heavenly.
A British man on the same elevator…a man of quiet demeanor and estimable probity, provided a smile and scintillating conversation. His termagant wife looked at me with scorn. I did not take umbrage at her unseemly behavior. And then I said to Miss May, "you look ravenous." I whispered passioned endearments.
The virago made the false assumption that Miss May was a licentious vixen of vice. I guess I could have argued that the infirmities of her age impose certain deficiencies. I wanted to tell her to quit flagellating herself. Her fire was obviously in embers. I had them temerity to suggest that her life should not be governed by meaningless convention. I was not offended by her impertinence.
Miss May was beautiful. Inside and out. The prettiest woman I have ever seen. We would drink, and dine, and luxuriate. Languidly comfortable pool side for hours. Possibly days! Without Miss May's affection, I would have wallowed in the deepest abyss. She was the antithesis of the ubiquitous filles de joie available for amatory pleasures of the night. She was pure…like the driven snow. She was sui generis. Imbued with subtle coquettishness. Her smile sliced through the banal ephemera of what I knew in the west.
Vladimir Nabokov (penned the greatest novel of rapture in modern fiction). I read Lolita three times. It is narrated by Humbert Humbert, a literary scholar born in 1910 to a Swiss father and an English mother in Paris, who is obsessed with young girls, whom he refers to as "nymphets". Humbert suggests that this obsession results from the death of a childhood sweetheart.
The British woman in the elevator assumed that I was Humbert Humbert. One of my favorite lines from the novel (after an appalling lack of judgement), Humbert Humbert "decorously walked, and then indecorously scuttled to his car.” Humbert Humbert was exposed for a construably hideous impropriety.
I walked very decorously from the elevator to the pool at the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit.
Southeast Asia…at this moment in time– was the Rubicon of my life. Verdi called it La Fornza Del Destino. (The Force Of Destiny). Had all that not taken place, then and their, in the realm of a tangible, earthly reality, and in that order, and at that precise moment, I cannot venture what other cause my life would have taken. Call it preordination, if you wish…call it the hand of Providence. The gods were dancing with me. Like a temple bell that resonates long after it has been struck.
In August of 2011, I am in Thailand for the third time.. I am with my girlfriend June, and we are on our way to Vientiane, Laos to get my tourist visa. We decided to take the train. I wanted to see the countryside.
I suggested that we take a tuk tuk through the snarled traffic of Bangkok en route to Hua Lampong train station. A few hours to spare before embarkation.
It was my first trip to Laos. I had a beer Lao. June enjoyed a bit of shopping while we waited for our departure. I was always amazed that young foreigners from the UK, or Australia, or the Netherlands would approach me very deferentially, and inquire about all and sundry. Questions about visa requirements. Koh Samet etc. They were usually in their twenties. Maybe I just looked sophisticated with my Louis Vuitton satchel. They were always exceedingly deferential and appreciative. Could I have been construed as an international bon vivant?
We exited the station and waited for our train to pull into position. We chose a sleeper car. First Class. Approximately 12 hours to Nong Khai, Thailand. As we waited, I looked to my left, and observed a large rat attempting to navigate a rail. He appeared athletic. Determined to get to his destination.
Nong Khai sits on the majestic Mekong. Our objective was Vientiane, Laos. I could obtain a tourist visa in Vientiane at the Thai embassy.
After a few hours aboard, darkness enveloped the Thai countryside. June climbed into the upper berth to go to sleep. I decided to explore a bit. I walked between the coaches. It was somewhat treacherous. Open air. You must watch your step. The ground passing by beneath your feet. A misstep and you would turn an ankle. Or worse. Occasionally, I would pass a Thai man smoking a cigarette between cars. Precarious. Clacking of the tracks. The humid wind in my face.
I settled into an economy coach. A handful of Thais from the countryside villages trying to find a comfortable position that would allow them to sleep for a while. The seats in economy as hard as concrete. Maybe plastic or a fiberglass composite. The ubiquitous and usually ersatz Thai smile was conspicuously absent. The large windows were wide open. I sat down for a few hours and ruminated about my journey. The occasional uniformed authority sauntering past. Very little eye contact from the Thai people.
As the mid-morning hours approached, I made my way (sometimes– treacherously between cars) back to our sleeper car. I climbed to the upper berth and snuggled next to June. Inhibitions are lost in the tumult of love. Ineffably glorious. The way I envisaged the journey. And good risk always leads to good reward. The journey was a long plaintive melody. It was all so utterly delightful, that further explication is superfluous.
It was mesmerizing in an unusual way. The car would languorously sway from side to side. The subtle clacking sound from the tracks occurred with near metronomic regularity. An occasional clunk. I felt as though I was being rocked asleep. The sounds from the train were strangely soporific . I became somnolent. Crisp white sheets. Everyone sleeping.
In the morning, we watched the countryside pass by in the early morning light…through a picture window. It was a great moment.. Moments I will never forget.
When we arrived at the Thai embassy in Vientiane, I was standing in the queue, talking indefatigably with a Frenchman. He lived in Luang Prabang for over a year, and he has lived in various cities throughout S.E. Asia. I was becoming circumspect vis-a-vis travel to LP. We talked about how travel could be potentially dangerous for myriad reasons. Primarily, health and safety. I knew the road to LP was tortuous and sometimes in poor condition, with some areas washed out with the current rainy season. Some travelers have been required to walk a kilometer (with luggage) to transfer to another van or bus. Many of the chauffeurs drive recklessly. So we decided we would not roll the dice. We would stay in Vientiane.
Vientiane is a fun city. The name of the city is derived from Theravada Buddhism. Vientiane is known as "the city of sandalwood." This tree being highly valued in classical India for its fragrance.
After submitting the paperwork for my tourist visa at the Thai embassy in Vientiane, we had our driver take us to a lovely guest house on Lang Xang Avenue. The Victory monument is strategically built at the end of the grand Lang Xang Avenue in the heart of Vientiane. Patuxai–literally meaning Victory Gate or Gate of Triumph, is dedicated to those who fought in the struggle for independence from France. The terminus for our morning constitutional was the Victory Monument. Then back to the guest house, before taking a tuk-tuk (three wheeled motorized rickshaw) to Khop Chai Deu for lunch. It is the best restaurant in Vientiane. I did the research on this fashionable place long before we went to Lao.
Thais and Lao people refer to the country as "Lao" rather than Laos. Lao people are referred to as being "Lao" . For example: "she is Lao." Not Laotian.
June visited Vientiane before with her sister, and they did not dine at Khop Chai Deu. I have a nose for atmosphere and aesthetic continuity. Ambiance. As important as the food… to me! She was quite surprised when I started barking out instructions to our tuk-tuk driver. And she loved the restaurant (set in an old French colonial villa that has been renovated and carefully preserved to maintain its charm and beauty). I love the tag line for the restaurant: "place where the world meets." Plenty of foreigners in Vientiane. Some on Visa runs. Some on their way to Vang Vieng and the Song river. Maybe a few doing the nine hour drive to LP. Some foreign residents. The Mekong is just a short walk from this great restaurant and bar.
Our first day in Vientiane we dined on the second level at Khop Chai Deu. On a beautiful tree lined street with French bakeries and coffee shops. My Café' Americano done perfectly. The espresso gives it the extra flavor boost. The tasty layer of crema (foam) on top.
We probably covered 60 kilometers in a tuk-tuk while in Vientiane. A great way to see the city with the wind in your face. Motorbikes are ubiquitous, like most cities in S.E. Asia. Each time a motorbike (male or female driving) would close on our tuk-tuk, approaching within a few feet, I would look at them directly without smiling, and they would mirror image my expressionless face. But as soon as I winked or smiled, they would provide a beautiful and fun smile.
I did not have the iPhone at my disposal, but I had an epic photograph for the taking. In Vientiane– a guy closed on our tuk tuk…he was semi-ancient. So wrinkled, his face could have held a three day rainfall. The motorbike (as he closed on our tuk tuk) looked circa 1966. Military uniform. Pressed. Starched. A North Vietnamese olive green uniform! I thought it was Giap. You know, the general that commanded the NVA and orchestrated Tet! Maybe the guy on the motorbike fought at Ap Bac. Maybe a remnant from the tunnels of Cu Chi in the delta. Anyway you slice it, this was an epic photograph that I missed. It still pains me! I still see that chiseled face, and the greens… in my sleep. I toss and turn. He saw me. I saw him. He looked ridiculous. I was ostensibly impaired (Jameson Irish whiskey).
I am not one constitutionally disposed to lamentation, but I anticipated the multiplicity of encumbrances upon arrival in Bangkok. The touts. Baggage. Transfers.
We decided on a tuk tuk and raced through the snarled traffic. A beautiful morning in Bangkok. Sunny and breezy. Cerulean sky.
We stopped at the offices of June's sister and picked up her car. But not before enjoying a gustatory symphony at a street side vendor. And then we drove 60 minutes back to June’s beautiful home.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The only gift is a portion of thyself." I gave that to June, and she gave that to me. One day, before we die, we will do it all again. After all, life is a collection of experiences.
Some very nice prose and some succinct thoughts. Nice!