The Island Part 2 The Rain Season
I returned to London refreshed and determined to spend long, carefree periods of time away from the megalopolis and from cold Farangland altogether, I set out to eliminate Autumn and Winter from my life. It took me 8 months to get things organized.
At the beginning of October I got myself a ticket to Bangkok and another to Melbourne, Australia, a country that only a lack of funds first and its remoteness had prevented me from visiting. How nice to finally have enough money and the TIME to fulfill this wish.
At the end of the month I was back in Samui, feeling free. Freedom, though, is a relative concept – one can never be really free. We all depend on each other and many other things, like the weather for instance. I had all the time in the world and it was raining, monsoon time full on!
Over the years the amount of rain fall during the monsoon varies a lot, recently I have experienced more than a few dry, sunny ones. 1998 was a bastard!
The 2 main roads in Lamai: Beach Road (later renamed "Broken Dreams Boulevard" by a member of the Italian contingent) and the other one known among us as "the other one", but later renamed "Hookers Road", got flooded quite a few times and black outs were on a regular bases. Millions of frogs were having a party, not to mention the billions of mosquitoes, some of them big and mean enough to bite through a pair of jeans!
I rented a bungalow in Lamai, located right at the entrance of a notorious German resort, a 20-second walk to Beach Road and 30 to the beach. It was a white painted, wooden mini house with a small porch, far from all the other guests rooms. Inside I had everything I needed: mosquito nets, hot water, a small fridge, a TV set, air con and a telephone.
Apart from a New Zealander, the rest of the guests were German or German-speaking (German, Swiss and Austrian) holidaymakers, who seemed engaged in a never-ending drinking contest, most of them would seldom leave the place, taking advantage of the excellent restaurant, 2 bars, a massage parlor, jet ski (the only jet ski business run by a farang I've ever seen in Lamai) and a number of hookers right there and then.
The hookers were housed in some sort of a dormitory right next to my bungalow and they spent the day resting from the night before and preparing for the next, eating a variety of Thai food, reading cartoons and glossy magazines, hand-washing their clothes and of course gossiping.
I did quite a bit of reading, watched a little cable TV, listened to my music and smoked some solitary joints. I had little contact with my neighboring ladies. I knew better than messing with girls who lived in the same resort and they mainly ignored me, but when we talked they were nice and polite, with no bad vibes at all.
The first friend I made was an English guy who had fallen in love with one of the girls who worked at the day bar of that resort. I'll call him Peter.
Peter was in his early 30s, tall, lean, bespectacled, good-mannered with a dry sense of humor. His darling was only 19 and a lot taller, cleverer and a shade or two whiter than the others. They sure made a nice couple and as far as I know, they still do.
Peter and I had many chilling out sessions there at "my" resort, chatting away while having a beer and cigarettes on the beach, watching the Germans getting smashed.
One thing that bothered Peter was that the Germans never said hi, in fact they totally ignored us. I found that situation funny, and Peter was right – they were not polite, but never aggressive and after all, they had come all the way there to misbehave.
The Kiwi guy who lived there introduced me to a fine German lady who told me that some of those men back home were the exact opposite. "If you saw them in Germany you wouldn't recognize them, Diego". I believed her, I could feel those guys' pain.
Both Peter and I had a lot of respect for the owner who managed to run the resort with Teutonic precision, in spite of the tremendous amount of alcohol he was downing and the party on until you drop disposition of his guests.
I inevitably bumped into the lady I had sex with 8 months earlier. She was one of those part-time but dedicated hookers that pretend they are not. She was running a laundry shop and I could just pop in at closing time and take her to my bungalow. I did that often for the first 2 weeks. I told her not to come looking for me and she never did. I once asked her, "Why did you not tell me it's raining all the time this time of the year?"
"If I tell you, you no come and I want you come".
When I did not spend the night with the girl, I went out with travelers of different nationalities, mainly healthy young people who enjoyed a few drinks and music. We used to go to the Bauhouse Club A.K.A. Bau-Bau, as the Thai ladies used to call it. Entrance was free and the club itself really beautiful though the music was crap.
The story I was told about that club is that some Germans had it built, only to be told by their Thai partners to leave the island or else. Just a story, but one of the many of this kind circulating at the time, which cemented my idea that Thailand at that time, given the exchange rate, was a great place to spend money and have fun.
I remember this girl as skinny as a rail with huge silicone tits, quite a hit among farangs; she once approached me outside "Bau-Bau" and looking at me strait in the eyes said, "I go with you, 1000 baht".
I was a little drunk and before I knew it, I heard myself saying, "You give me?"
She never talked to me again.
During my long walks on the beach I often passed by the Coconut Resort. I liked those pretty little huts and thought of renting one on my return from Australia, so I asked a guy who lived there about the price. We started talking and from that day on we saw each other almost every day. I'll call him James.
James was an American from New York, in his late 40s, intelligent, but affected by the kind of paranoia which is typical of very heavy grass smokers. He liked to stay home a lot, on the beach, watching the ever-changing spectacle of the ocean from his hammock, feeding the birds. I cannot remember one single time I visited him, that he was not either rolling or smoking a joint, or doing both at the same time.
James' neighbor was a very tall, strong as an ox Australian who had chosen to spend 6 months a year in one of those little front beach huts. I'll call him Paul.
I had been seeing Paul for a while at the Bau Bau, but it was at the Coconut that we really got to know each other. He was 38, like me.
Being so very tall and muscular, Paul would have been very successful with southern European women, but not with Thai hookers. He was just too big for them, and they called him King Kong. He also spoke good Thai, which many local harlots perceived as a threat.
It kept on raining and I was sliding into the nightlife, which meant drinking more than I should and going with hookers.
It was on a very drunken night through Paul's unorthodox introduction that I met Om down at the Rock Pub, a Thai disco with live music, opposite the Bau- Bau, an ideal place to go to with Thai girls and get plastered on Sang Som (infernal Thai spirit).
There we were at the Rock Pub, and a very drunk Paul told me the names of the 2 girls he was holding under his arms and asked me to choose one.
I had just spent a couple of days with a long-legged and not at all bad, but deadly boring young girl, so I selected the uglier, older one of the 2: she was very short, skinny and in her late 30s, but I sensed she had talent and right I was.
The Rock pub was closing, it was raining and the ladyboys were screaming, I found myself outside and realized I had lost my nice Italian jacket and "my" mini Thai girl. Next thing I remember I was stumbling about trying to remember where my bike was when I saw Om standing next to me. She had materialized out of nowhere like the Indians in cowboy movies. She was wearing my jacket and it looked good on her!
Om asked me to ride my bike. She told me, "If you no like I stop and you ride, but you like, sure".
She could ride both small and big bikes better than any woman I have ever met.
She told me the most fantastic lies about herself, like she was from a good family and her mother was sending her money from home. I pretended I believed this one and never gave her any money, just bought her food and drinks when we were together. In bed she was an artist, she could swim and dive (not at all common among Thai girls) and her English was incredibly good, considering she was illiterate, as I later found out.
On a rare sunny day she took me to Silver Beach, a quiet place back then. I think there was only a bar and a small resort, half a dozen farangs and some Thais scattered around…just wonderful! I suppose it still is now, but, like the rest of the island, I much prefer to remember it as it was then.
After a while I got tired of Om. Leaving her was not that difficult. She came down to my bungalow a couple of times, but I told her to go away and that was the end of it. A few years later she returned to the island and, feeling guilty for not having given her any money, I went with her once and gave her 1000 baht.
Dau was younger and much better looking then Om, not nearly as gifted in bed and not as much fun though a more relaxed type; when she was not drunk, that is!
Had she not been so fond of alcohol she would have made a pleasant companion. We spent the a public holiday evening together, no electric, the black out went on for the entire night, bars and off licenses were closed, the trembling lights of a million candles gave the place a surreal, romantic atmosphere. We walked hand in hand down a muddy "Broken Dreams Boulevard" all the way to my bungalow….
In my opinion, a very important thing about travelling is the things one discovers about oneself. I did a lot of thinking about not getting on with white women anymore. I used to put the blame on them: acting like queens, having an inflated ego etc. I reckon now there is some truth in that, but in my case the reason was simple: for some reason I was no longer attracted to white women – I had caught jungle fever first and jasmine fever now. I also realized that when I liked white women, I did not go with the ones that would not be considered attractive by the others. I did not want them (the others) to take the piss. By the time I got to Thailand, I no longer gave a damn, so I bedded and spent time with the kind of women I unconsciously wanted to go with before, but never could: short, fat, older ones. I vividly remember one with a limp; as well as pretty young ones. I can safely say that my fondest memories are with the more mature – not pretty – sometimes even ugly ones.
Why would have Giacomo Casanova gone with ALL kind of women, when he had the opportunity to go only with the young and best-looking of Europe?
The new year came and the weather finally changed to beautiful blue sky, unusually cool during the day, almost cold and starry at night. That's what the weather was like in Samui at the beginning of the last year of the century. I had been through the 1998 rain season, had had a lot of fun and made a few friends, but all that rain and dump had not done my health any good. I had a cold, sore throat and a back pain. I was in the worst condition then when I arrived 3 months earlier. Never mind, an other great adventure was about to begin, the time had come for me to fly to Australia.