Why I Keep Coming Back
Floating floors, kitchens, painting and any other home improvements, they are my game. My game, not my job. I never could score on my own merits and when younger my position and money saw me through, but now it's home improvement and white goods that see me over the line. I was staring at the top of a head a few weeks back after laying some carpet when she sat back and said “You’re not the only one who helps you know”. I knew it, and I also knew at that point I was heading back to Thailand.
Much has been written recently about the problems and even the demise of the pay for play scene in Thailand, but compared to the ennui of the Australian suburbs and the sloppy trysts on nylon carpet in housing estates after busting my gut for 4 or 5 hours it still stacks up.
I like the Biergarten. I like the old girls on Sukhumvit Rd who “top up” after work and over the years I have never painted a single wall. I have bought a couple of fridges, I must admit, but even this was not total largess as I need cold beer like the dessert needs the rain. The Thai women are soft and if this is an act then so be it. It must take a lot of effort on their part to pull it off so kudos to them either way. I’m not looking for a life partner, I’m looking for….here, I’ll say it, affection. A lie? No more an adventure, and the women are ready to play the role.
Bangkok is a sensational city and sure it may wear down expats who have to suffer its perverse contradictions but to the regular visitor like me it is vibrant and engaging. Cynics can point out the shallow nature of this “lying game” but I sense a whiff of morality and a rigid certainty in the put down. A casual walk through a cemetery at my age brings not a sigh but a grin.
Buying shoes for her in Robinson's, eating out every night, 5-star hotels all for the price of a pub meal and a noisy main road motel in Australia, and you get to swagger like it's 1985.
The description of Thailand as a brothel with temples was never true, and I have been coming since the 70’s. Even in the wild past there was an understanding between the participants and perhaps the lowest point was the 90’s AIDS scare. The gogo bar scene for me was once fun but I can no longer keep up and I think I look silly standing in one, although there is one I still frequent in Soi Diamond in Pattaya that has the best natural stacked girls in Thailand…my weakness.
Readers and Stick himself have often questioned the reality of the freedom that so many mongers claim they feel in Thailand. True, it does not exist in reality, but Thailand is not about reality (at least to the casual visitor) so being able to live large for a few weeks is cathartic after the military rigidity of the west. When I meet long-term expats at bars in Thailand and they have had enough and long for a return to the West I understand their exhaustion as I don’t believe I could do Thailand full time. But the worrying thread through most of these conversations is that the expats have lost contact with what the West is. There is a high price to pay to live in the West, the pluses are great, no doubt, but it is as though the expats are consciously ignoring the things that drove them overseas in the first place <Remember many expats did not leave their because they were unhappy at home, but because they sought adventure and excitement. Those unhappy with their homeland and who lambast it most are often retirees – Stick>. I believe these adventurers should look to new horizons, places of frantic activity and not backtrack into the closed maze of the West.
Globalisation is real and Thailand has changed dramatically, but maintains an aura of the exotic helped no doubt by the weather which at night has you feeling you are in a heated dome. It will probably continue to change as nothing is static and I’m sure Khao San Road is as big a buzz to an 18-year old in 2014 as it was to an 18-year old in 1980. It’s all relative, as any barfly will tell you.
I will keep coming to Thailand until I no longer see it as value. I believe it is still the best and safest party place for those of us who have been around. If it is the place for other generations I’m not so sure, and as in Australia there is no free lunch….but the sums still stack up.