Out Of The Formicary (4) – For Every Happy Hello There Will Be Goodbye
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 this.
The 6th February was the day that Auy said that she would arrive. I knew with some certainty that she did not want to meet. I had put this to her both gently and then bluntly. She maintained that she did want to see me.
By noon there had been no SMS. I went to the pool for what for me now counts as a swim – really just pathetically floundering around.
Then a flurry of SMS from Auy and her brother Esso with me of course replying to both of them. Auy was on her way and would be at the Nana between five and six that evening, Esso said. I predicted eleven to twelve. Esso agreed.
Auy arrived at eleven fifteen. She came to the room – I would have met her at reception.
Things were awkward. I had booked only one room because I’m a cheap-skate with limited funds. However, the beds at the world’s premier hotel are so big that you have to communicate by semaphore or smoke signals if one person is on one side of the bed and the other occupant on the other. (I deeply apologise for the use of the word smoke).
There was nothing for Auy to fear – honest!!! (Although one never knows as this is Thailand).
We made some conversation but it was late. In bed we watched a movie, ‘The life of Pi’, and enjoyed it.
We held hands briefly and went our respective sides of the bed. Goodnight, Auy.
The next day I missed breakfast. I hate that.
There was shopping to be done.
Auy had for several months been complaining that she did not have a mobile phone of her own and was ‘forced’ to use one owned by her evil aunt; the one with the Swiss boy friend who runs a brothel in Zurich and has a ya-ba using son who burnt the family house down (remember?)
I had purchased two identical phones in Kilburn (London) – £5 each. They are great! They fit into the palm of your hand, numbers can be stored, SMS sent, received and saved and many other functions (but no camera). But best of all you can make calls to and receive calls from anywhere in the world!!!! Amazing!!! (The second best feature of these £5 phones is that you cannot but simply cannot connect to the Internet however hard you try).
I gave one to Auy.
For a second a look came over her face that would have been the same as that had I given her a birthday cake made of elephant dung. But she managed to say, “Thank you.”
Thai SIMs were needed for these wonderful pieces of technology.
I thought that this would be easy. But no. We visited several 7 Elevens near the Mothership – assistants suppressed their laughs when shown the phone and often simply said, “No” while others indicated that the ‘problem’ was that were not 3G. Auy was clearly embarrassed, shamed and ready to give up if not die. But I wanted a Thai phone – so off to Tesco at On Nut.
I like Sky Train.
At On Nut we were directed to a ‘One to Call’ stall where we were assured we could get the archaic technology needed. The company stall was unstaffed – someone told us that staff would be back soon as they had all just gone to get something to eat. Often I think that Thailand is simply not hard-wired for business practices (other than being Tuk-tuk drivers or hookers).
We went to look at the computer section in Tesco. “You buy me tablet” (No question mark). I thought for a moment that Auy had a headache. But of course this was not the case. The 10,000 baht one was OK but Auy preferred the 18,000 baht model. “Maybe we go MBK tomorrow.” I was actually thinking, “In your f*%king dreams.”
I was getting to know Auy.
Back to the stall now fully staffed – five young women, three more than the stall actually justified. With some giggling the not 3G SIMs were purchased and installed. The phones sparked into life. Great! OK, “We can put credit on phone?” “No have.” What??? This is a ‘One to Call’ company stall. Often I think that Thailand is simply not hard-wired for business practices (other than being Tuk-tuk drivers or hookers).
Back to Sky Train and get off at Asoke. Into the heart of the political demonstration – that is a load of people sitting around eating while others sold demonstration souvenirs and cheap clothes and stuff. Auy needed something for swimming. SHE chose a bikini. (150 baht) we both got sunglasses (100 baht). Thank you political unrest in Thailand.
We had lunch at THE German bar. Auy did not like it.
The afternoon was spent by the pool. Auy had put on her bikini although you not have known it given the TWO tops and jeans she had also put on.
I thought that Auy might like the pastiche of a British pub at the Landmark. We went in the evening.
# Travellers’ Tip Number Four. In the basement of the Landmark Hotel (don’t worry you don’t have to enter the terrible American flash that is the hotel) there is a British pub (yea right!), ‘The one selling point (if there is one) is the Pilipino band. They have been hacking it out for years. They are very good at the wide range of farang covers. Your ‘friend’ may like it and indeed be impressed that you have taken her there.
Auy didn’t like it.
I was getting to know Auy.
And so to bed. We did NOT hold hands however briefly.
The next day I had breakfast alone.
Pool? “No I not want. Need massage”
# Travellers’ Tip Number Five. A pleasant day can be spent for only a few baht by using the river ‘buses’ and Sky Train. You can connect to the river at Saphan Taksin BTS. There is a boat stop at Wat Po (where massage is taught).
I suggested Wat Po with the nice boat trip throw in. “No, I cannot swim.”
Auy went for a massage somewhere near the Mothership.
On her return there were further demands for a tablet. I began to feel that I wanted one (preferably cyanide flavoured).
In early afternoon Auy received a phone call and went to the bathroom to answer it.
“Must go Ubon. Funeral.”
I offered Auy three thousand baht for the journey and living expenses. “Four thousand better.”
Auy left but only after warning me about how Thai girls would often cheat and lie.