Was Thailand Better Years Ago?
I’ve been meaning to write for years but have been too idle. Was Thailand better years ago than now? I’d say it's way better now!
I came first in 1982. It was a one-off visit. Having to pay for sex at a time when London was awash with free sex put me off. I never returned until 2000. As for the ladies, I saw and photographed fat ones, skinny ones, ugly ones and stunning ones. Nothing has changed. The old timers who insist that the ladies were more beautiful then are deluded.
Nana Plaza didn't exist (at least not in its current form) and sois 4 and 8 had open shop fronts with BBQ charcoal cooking pots, plus a few Indian tailor shops. The booming hotel was the Miami, now well past its best days. Soi Cowboy was well established by then and we paid many visits to what was, I think, Long Gun.
My friend arranged for 4 ladies to accompany us to Koh Samui for a week. That was all done over the hotel reception telephone. The ladies arrived within 30 minutes and they chose us; we didn't choose them. Two were pretty, one was chubby, and one looked a bit like a monkey (I have the photos). We went from soi 8 to Hualumpong in a black Datsun cab. Traffic was so bad it couldn't get through so halfway we abandoned the taxi and walked. The ladies appeared quite stupid at the station and insisted on waiting at the wrong platform. It was obvious that the southern train platform was on the left. Only we had sleepers and around midnight the girls disappeared to the other end of train to gamble the night away with Thai men.
We ended up on Lamai Beach which was just a collection of wooden huts and open bars. There were only 2 beach resorts then. The girls loved the hash cookies and enjoyed feeding them to us. A group of wise Germans said we shouldn't bother bringing ladies down from Bangkok, but should go in to Nathon and arrange some local girls by speaking to their fathers. I was impressed. I think we fared better when they later had stuff stolen by their girls.
My girl was a real star, pretty and an extrovert. She caught everyone’s eyes, especially when she posed on the beach for topless and pants down photos. Our German neighbors were most impressed and got their cameras out too, but the lady owner of the resort asked us if we could take the ladies back to Bangkok as they were a disgrace to Thailand. Photography was then limited to inside the hut. I still have these photos, digitised now. I would love to meet Tuk again but she must be over 50 now.
The journey back to Bangkok was uneventful, except at the very start. Our German friends were leaving at the same time. One of them was giving his lady a last kiss when she reached around his neck and snatched off his video / movie camera and ran down the quay into the town never to be seen again. I hope he had all his films safely in his suitcase.
Back at the Mermaid Hotel in soi 8 the next day, there was a row outside with a scruffy, young Thai man on a motorcycle shouting for Tuk to come out (and give him some money). She was frightened and said it was her brother. The hotel security guard closed the gate and told him to go away. She did go out and gave him something to shut him up. We paid the girls in installments and the final payment was on the last day. My friend had lent his teeruk the safety deposit box key and she managed to lose it in the hotel grounds. He had to forfeit the 500 baht deposit, which also happened to be her final payment. He had no money to pay her. She was screaming and crying and gave him a whopping slap to the head. She then took her high heel and tried to hit him on the head with it. He was a kiwi farmer and well able to block the blow and fend it off. She changed tactics and came on to me, rubbing herself against me and asking if I wanted to go to bed. No way, too expensive. She'd want the full 500 baht. The Mermaid was a lovely little oasis down soi 8, managed by a Danish guy. It was bulldozed years ago to make way for high-rise flats.
That final afternoon I sat in the hotel garden when a Londoner asked me if I’d take some letters to London and post them. No problem as long as I could check and seal them. Agreed, so he took me to a Thai massage parlour and paid. I selected a nice young lady and she gave me a soapy massage on a Lillo. Never had one before or since. She came from Khon Kaen and said I was first farang she'd ever had. It made a lovely end to an interesting 3 weeks.
Thailand has improved vastly but the ladies are much the same. When I returned in 2000 there was the BTS and you could actually breathe in the streets. However, in 1982 you never saw ladyboys or gays and tuktuk drivers took you to where you wanted to go. Ladies were offended if you produced a condom, and would protest "me clean lady, you not need". Happy days.
I’ve been a regular reader of your column and will miss it. Good luck in your next venture.