Readers' Submissions

Out Of The Formicary (2) – In The Mothership

  • Written by Markin
  • August 9th, 2014
  • 6 min read



This is essentially another ‘what I did on my holiday’ submission. My intention had been to submit once a week from Thailand. That did not happen. Each ‘episode’ was either fully written in the time period it is related to or written up from notes made in that period. To make full or any sense of the ‘episodes’ it is (I’m afraid) probably necessary to first read Nanathana Is Dead.

Ok docking had been affected.

As ‘The Great One’ has indicated the Nana Hotel is one of the world’s leading hotels, arguably the world’s premier hotel.

I was shown to my room. The bell-boy offered to get me a hooker or “Something stronger?” (I’m still wondering what he meant by that!) I declined his kind offer but appreciated his professionalism and the fact that he was upholding the standards of The Mothership so well. He left.

I had arranged with Auy (Nang’s twenty-five year old daughter) to meet her at the Nana on the 5th February. Then for us to travel together, pick up her brother Esso and then go somewhere on a coast for us all to have a holiday. I sensed that she did not want to do this but she assured me that she did. Why can’t Thai people just say what they think and feel? It would make planning and life in general so much easier.

Some bloke apparently said, “Tell god you have a plan and he (she or it) will…laugh.” I suggest that if you tell a Thai citizen that you have a plan he or she (or it?) will say… “What’s a plan?”

In Bombay (yep, still know it’s not called that now) I had received a SMS saying that Auy would not arrive until the 6th not the 5th. I now had two days before Auy arrived. Ok, what to do? I’m in the Mothership a few yards from bars and Nana Plaza. What would you do?

Me? I looked at the room for some time and remembered the room where I had first met Nang on 15th July 2005. The layout was different but of course unmistakably ‘Mothership’.

Then to the pool.

I had thought that swimming would be good for my right arm/shoulder which is practically useless because of the ‘S’ thing. I am a good swimmer – fast breaststroke, good style (a lifetime ago at eleven or twelve I was third in my London district).

Ok. I WAS a good swimmer. Being in the water did not improve things. I could barely splash about and look pathetic. But maybe things will improve.

So what do?

I went to the bar.

There were two people there and this is high season (?); tourists (even sex tourists) having put off by the political unrest. Look, there is no need. Old hands such as I know that there is no problem with Thai political unrest (although this may not be true in the future following the death of an individual of significance to Thailand). Even the 2010 ‘troubles’ meant nothing – just turn on the T.V. and watch “Your Shootings Tonight.” If you’re not near ‘it’ then there is no problem. I did muse that it was far more problematic that I was an ‘old hand’. When did that happen? I sure had never wanted it to happen. I made a mental note NOT to be an ‘old hand’.

But I was soon diverted by the conversation of the only other two customers in the bar. This is the world’s premier hotel. Where else would you hear two Americans (one a manual worker from Chicago the other a college lecturer apparently) amicably discussing the pro’s and con’s of Obama Care – in the full knowledge that both where in Bangkok for the same reason – that is to get that which is so readily unavailable in their own country (a few hours of life). Here I will suggest that you can, if you wish, live your life with Bruce Springsteen songs as your soundtrack. Have a listen to ‘Radio Nowhere’ (at the end of this sentence I will) then you may understand what draws you and so many others to Thailand.

I really did just listen to ‘Radio Nowhere’. Go to U Tube and try it. It’s fun. I’ll get another fix later.

OK, I would have liked to have stayed in the bar and eavesdropped more but I AM A SMOKER. Yes, I know it’s wrong and I should be flayed alive and my still living body dropped into a vat of acid, but there it is. The Mothership has a smoking room which overlooks the car park. I took my beer and went there.

It was evening and the sun was setting. The finest that Isaan can provide was forming up. I have no idea why but I began to see them as a sports team. What sport? I decided on rugby. This is a sport that I have never played and have little if any interest in (so perfect!) So, the first fifteen have been selected – the others pout and engage even more with their I-phones; calling friends and relatives complaining about the selection process and the probability of corruption. But such is life. As coach what will you do with those selected? What tactics? I felt that probably only limited team work could be expected. Forget the line-out and the scrum and concentrate on the maul and the rolling ruck. Yes, this is what Issan’s finest could excel at – individualism in tight situations. I began to speculate on specialist positions; of course the team would have to include those with specialised skills. But I diverted myself by wandering into thinking about what strip (I believe Americans call it uniform) the team should play in but got lost musing about the issue of panties and the occasional scrum – too, too many possibilities. Ok. I was getting tired and my leg hurt (have I mentioned that?).

I went to my room and ordered the least poisonous Thai dish available from the menu. The guy that bought to my room did NOT offer to get me a hooker. I considered ‘phoning down to reception to report him for dereliction of duty. But I thought better of it – we all have lapses in our working-lives.

I was not tempted to go to Nana Plaza or to ‘phone down to the bell-boy for a hooker or ‘something stronger’ (I still lose some sleep wondering what he meant by that).

By nine I was in bed alone watching T.V. – just like in London. But I was in Bangkok and the first part of the mission completed, so more possibilities tomorrow.