I labored up the steep steps to the Mandarin in Nana Plaza. It must be the highest gogo bar in Bangkok. As soon as I entered I saw Mui dancing on stage. One look at me her face lit up & her eyes sparkled. I hadn’t been able to walk up there after my accident for several months. But she remembered me which I never doubted she would. Mamasan came over & sat with me and Mui did so as soon as her dancing shift ended. They both had lady drinks and I told them what had happened, the reason I didn’t show up for so long. I then truthfully told Mui that I had a long traveling day behind me and only came to say hello. Tomorrow I’d come again, more reposed and then I would barfine her. That of course was not to her taste. Not after such a long time! I was kissed & cuddled for as long as it took to turn tomorrow into today! Aa an old Thailand hand, I knew of course that Mui was simply and very aptly doing her job. The job description being; smile, do what is necessary to make them consume drinks and if you want (important) try to make them barfine you. There is nothing wrong with doing one’s job and doing it well. More on that later!
Walking up Soi 4 to the Dawin I realized that I had not taken my little blue power pill having no intention of barfining when leaving the hotel earlier. But Mui was hungry and I placed her in the hotel restaurant to order a snack leaving me time to go up to my room. Returning to the restaurant Mui had predictably not a snack in front of her but a few delicious looking dishes that would have fed a small family. There was nothing too spicy so I happily participated in the feast! Mui, a lovely 24 year old from the Buriram region, is of the variety of girls that don’t bother to learn English apart of course from a few catchphrases they usually learn within days and need to know to entice farang. I on the other hand, after almost a quarter of century in the land, can easily converse in the local lingo, even interspersed with a few Khmer words which was particularly endearing to her. I have to admit though to never have mastered reading or writing Thai. That wasn’t important & Mui was more than happy to have an actual conversation with a Farang. She was evidently having a good time and before we retired to the room she announced that it would be a long-stay package this time. The long hair, the smiling, happy face and much of her demeanor made me think of Joy, the Thai girl that Steven Leather described in the book Private Dancer. I had reread the novel recently for I think for the 3rd time.
In one of his e-mails my brother, who in recent years has turned into a recluse within his own walls, once wrote in a derogatory way that men going to Thailand were lechers. Actually he used the German word “Lustmolch” which is a better description, but lecher will do. Dictionary description is; “promiscuous, lewd, degenerate, lustful, preoccupied with sex”. Obviously the much maligned stories of sex tourists are a live & well in the Feminazi and do-gooder infested media of the west. I agree that some men travel to Thailand or the Philippines for that very purpose (sex). So, am I a lecher, a sex tourist? Are all men using the service of working girls degenerates? Does every man going to Southern California go surfing? Does everyone visiting Nepal climb Mount Everest? How stupid a misconception! I disagree with the often cited sex tourist label. Thai girls know, bargirls and so called “hi-so” or “good girls” that sexual release for a man is a necessity and also a formidable tool to ease tension. Western women know that too. They just play harder to get. In doing so they often kill the desire!
So let me put it this way: What exactly is the harm, or who exactly is being harmed, when a willing (or even eager girl as in this case) is exchanging sexual services for money. To me it’s not important whether the girl’s money goes to help the poor family back in Isaan or she buys the latest model I-pod with her earnings. For the girl it’s equally unimportant whether her “customer” is a handsome youngster or a fading old geezer.
Later we talked. With Songkran coming up in a few weeks many of the girls go home to their family & Mui is one of them. The inevitable question “pai douai” (you join me) popped up. Definitely no I said. I had done the “Farang goes to meet bargirl's parents” twice in the past & that’s more than enough. Dozens of stories have been told on the subject & I only relate mine because it has a bit of an unexpected twist to it.
It was back in late 1999 when we went to visit the parents of my then girlfriend, later to be my wife in a short-lived union and eventually mother of my son. The village was in the NamPhong region about 50 km outside of Khon Kaen. Having visited parents before I wisely chose to get a room in the Charoen Thani Princess Hotel in town (Khon Kaen). The first day was pretty ordinary. Shopping for fish, meat, vegetables, rice for the family! A large bottle of Regency for papa! We arrived early afternoon. The following days were occupied by various visits. I mostly remember the Ubolratana dam. Electricity generation is the main purpose but the land irrigated in the 1960s has also created natural walkways along the shoreline of the dam that make for wonderful and picturesque tours for hikers. King Cobra village to the other side of Nam Phong made for another exciting excursion. Then, on the fourth day, before we where to return to Phuket all family members were invited to have dinner out at a nice restaurant near the Ubonrat Golf Course on the shores of the artificial lake. On arrival the place seemed somewhat familiar to me. Everyone went swimming and non stop eating & drinking followed it seemed for hours. Just before we left an unknown lady came close & asked me, “Are you not Mr. Kloth, the boyfriend of Nom?” Yes, I am or rather I was. It turns out I had been in the restaurant a year earlier with another girlfriend & they remembered me! Moderately embarrassed I was but surprisingly nobody else. Quite the contrary, everyone smiled politely & my girlfriend for the month to come had a good laugh about it! Not sure tough whether it endeared me to her?
I stayed on in Bangkok for a few more days. On my arrival Aom had taken care of my son & he is now in the boarding school camp. That leaves me plenty of free time. I enjoyed my stay in the Dawin on Soi 4. Only a few hundred meters from the Nana BTS station to be easily reached on foot. My first time there but I will certainly return. One of the things I like, there’s no breakfast buffet. Something I try to avoid in hotels. I have a early morning coffee in the room (facilities provided) & perhaps a small snack from 7 Eleven. Instead I opt for a brunch around midday or early afternoon & my favorite place when in BKK is the Central Chidlom’s food loft. Large choice of Thai and international cuisine!
A comfortable commute with the hotel limousine took me to Pattaya where I was to meet with an old friend. Paul & I have known each other for a lifetime & regularly meet over a few beers or glasses of wine. This time we did a bit of soul searching. The two of us had grown up together in a small village in Switzerland in the late 1940’s early 50’s. Near the border with Germany and situated directly on the lake we agreed having had a privileged youth. No TV, no mobile phones, computers, tablets or internet. Instead we had fun in the nearby woods, on the lake, swimming in summer, ice-skating in winter. Food was simple but almost always plentiful & that alone is a privilege. How can today’s young understand when they believe surviving without Q-tips, mouthwash or ant repellent is a hardship? We considered people over 35 as old, over 50; very old. The word retirement did not figure in our vocabulary. When we did think of people beyond there working life span it was in terms of an old, bent man in slippers sitting in an easy chair by the fire perhaps reading a book or saying prayers.
And no, for Paul & me it did not turn out to be that way. Another misconception to be forgiven to the two children & then adolescents we were! Things have changed a lot in two generations. That we should meet again on regular bases more than half a century later and half a world away from the village we had grown up in is after all quit extraordinary in itself. We exchanged & memorized ICE (in case of emergency) numbers on our cell phones & with that the “serious” part of the evening was over.
Walking up Nakluea Road we listened to the usual “hello sexy man” or to be honest the now much more frequent “hello papa” when passing bars! It was past midnight, we were having a last beer in front of my hotel listening to a guitarist & a girl singer playing oldies for us. A couple of old guys enjoying the company of youthful girls who thankfully have no prejudice.