Thai Thoughts And Anecdotes Part 392
Sa wa dii khraps (or cups for the linguistically lazy Thais): Dana here with three little stories. Enjoy. And remember . . . ok, I forgot.
"You're at Kimpo USAFB, Korea, 1952. That piercing whine you hear is a flight of F-86 Sabre jets running up for take-off. In a few minutes, you're going to be airborne with Major Pattaya Dana, clashing with MiG-15's. At the speed of sound, 33,000 feet above the earth, where winner and loser are determined by whoever manages to get . . . the edge." — (stolen from Blazing Combat, c2009, p. 145)
Ok, reality check — I'm in a bathroom in a room at the A. A. Hotel in Pattaya, Thailand using tweezers to pull hairs out of my sixty year old
(Jesus, I am starting to look like my father) face. After that I'll shave, and shower, and brush my teeth 'till they bleed.
I gave Fa two hundred baht yesterday to buy a pair of those white jeans I love to see her in. Hope she has them on. So, I'm not about to be airborne over the skies of Korea. Just dreaming I guess. But wait a minute–aren't I livin' a dream? How many men would like to be hittin' the boardwalk this morning to engage the enemy? Ok, the girls are not exactly the enemy but it is for sure engagement.
"You're at South Pattaya, Thailand, 2009. That deep throaty roar you hear is a fighter group of mongers running up for boardwalk engagement. In a few minutes, they're going to be crossing Beach Road, jumping the curb, crashing through the bushes with Dana, clashing with hookers. Not above the earth but under the palm trees, where winner and loser are determined by whoever manages to get . . . the edge."
Fighting MiG-15's over Korea, dressing to go meet Fa: I guess life is just dreams. But they are good dreams–man dreams. Dreams of engagement, glory, and happiness. I'm a lucky sixty year old man. I'm still dreaming and still dropping out of the clouds with both guns blazing. In a couple of minutes I'll have my arms around Fa. Well, ok; I won't have my arms around her on the boardwalk because she does not permit public affection, and she does not want the police to take her to the Monkey House; but you get the idea. Life. It's all dreams.
CRIME SCENE TAPE
Sometimes when I mention that I have just returned from Thailand, or that I am about to go to Thailand; I get this:
"Oh, I just love to travel."
Do you? I sometimes want to see their passports (if they even have one) but I never ask. And traveling from New York to Bermuda, or Detroit to Montreal, or Spain to Portugal is not traveling. 'Traveling' is when your chances of loss of health, loss of dignity, or loss of life are existent-to-high: in some cases, guaranteed. This is traveling:
"On top of smallpox and yellow fever, I got shots against typhoid, plague, cholera, polio, and tetanus: pills for dysentery, diarrhoea, and malaria;" — from Travels with Myself and Another by Martha Gellhorn.
I once had an attack of food poisoning on a plane departing Bangkok. My rectum opened up like a valve on a three inch pipe and then my entire system evacuated. Since I had spent the previous twenty-four hours (my last day in Bangkok) eating a lot, there was a LOT to evacuate. No, I didn't make it to the bathroom in time. The stewardess got my carry on bag and escorted me to the bathroom. I had already destroyed the seat I was sitting in, and he placed blankets in the aisle for me to walk on. It was pouring out of my pants legs and over my belt. I left my shoes, socks, pants, underpants, undershirt, shirt and belt on the bathroom floor.
Everything was impregnated and destroyed with brown liquid fecal matter. By the time I had gotten out of those clothes and then into new clothes there was brown stuff on the ceiling, walls, floor, sink, mirror, and toilet. The bathroom was destroyed and not available to about three hundred people in coach class for the five and a half hour flight to Narita.
The crew did not attempt to clean the bathroom. They just sealed it up with yellow crime scene tape that zig zagged from side to side.
Now, that is traveling.
TENSION IN THE FORCE
Attn: Thailandstoryites and Dana fans:
Lately there has been some tension in the Force on this wonderful website regarding the proper way for non-Thai males of the visiting and the ex-pat kind to behave while in the Kingdom.
If I could share with all of you a part of my personal life: I have developed an idea that works wonderfully starting with the bus driver of the tarmack van, then the Immigration officials, currency conversion staff, the lady at the taxi line desk, the taxi driver, the check-in clerks at the hotel, the porter, and then all of the other Thais I meet while in the Kingdom. Since this is the holiday season and since it is more blessed to give than to receive; I freely and happily gift this idea to you.
What I do is this. On arrival at Bhumi, coming down the stairs from the plane to the tarmac; I reach into my carry-on bag and pull out a large sign that I hang around my neck. In the Thai language it says:
I AM NOT IN YOUR COUNTRY TO HAVE SEX WITH YOUR DAUGHTER
Try this. I recommend it. Nothing is more important than being a good guest in a foreign country, nothing is more important than being culturally sensitive, and I believe this sign would be influential if you ever wound up in a Thai court over some 'situation'.
I know this kind of idea seems like the kind of brilliant idea I could just throw off like the sun throws off bursts of heat and light and radiation; but a lot of thought has gone into this sign. The main material is mulberry bark and the white vinyl frame that surrounds the words is cut from new Go-Go boots. The words are superimposed over a picture of rose colored glasses, there are various smiley face and elephant decals—glitter, lots of glitter. Sure, technically the words are enough, but presentation always helps. I think the Thais appreciate this. Walk around with one of these signs around your neck and I guarantee you will get attention. It's all about the love.