The Brokenman is Repaired Part 15.4
Part 4 Return to Bangkok
I arrived back at Suvarnabhumi airport late afternoon having enjoyed a pleasant few days in Udon Thani. I had made peace with my ex wife, had seen the mighty Mekong River at Nong Khai and I felt relaxed and refreshed. As I left baggage reclaim and made my way to the taxi rank I feared another hour plus journey to Suhkumvit as I had experienced two weeks before. However my taxi driver was an astute fellow, on seeing the traffic snarl up took a detour alongside the old tobacco monopoly which saved around 20 minutes, for which he received a decent tip. He deposited me outside the Nana hotel and I quickly booked in.
Many derogatory remarks are made about the Mothership but for all this I find the staff to be friendly and almost paternal to their regular guests. I settled in my room took a leisurely shower then made my way to the Golden bar. The bar was surprisingly crowded with only one vacant seat alongside a clearly inebriated noisy Neanderthal who was being given a wide berth by the other customers. I could tell he was a Brit as only half his tattoos were spelled correctly. I forego a beer and make my way by motorbike taxi to Soi Cowboy. I put myself outside a rather tasty Thai omelette in Sam’s bar and feel ready to face the world.
My first port of call is Baccara. I am never disappointed by this bar and the delicious girls they have on display. There are two distinct teams in evidence; the one team consists of very young looking cute girls dressed in pink baby doll nighties that I describe as the “Under 21 “squad. Then there is the other troop I can only describe as the first team. These beauties are dressed in black bikinis and are clearly premiership level with a handful of 8 plus rated girls amongst their number.
One of these first team angels descends from the stage and joins me. I suspect it must have been a quiet night as I have never had one of these goddesses give any attention to a mere mortal as I so I bought her a drink with indecent haste and got her settled next to me. She was a talkative little minx so I asked her about the two teams suggesting the girls in pink pandered to the Asian clientele whilst the girls in black catered to the farang spec. She gave me a look that suggested I should be licking the windows on a special bus and laughed. She explained that the line-ups were actually sorted by height. All the short girls were put together in the pink team and the taller girls in black so that it didn’t look odd when they were dancing. I admit I am a bit dim sometimes. I considered paying her bar fine but when she declared she did not do long time I declined, as short time no longer has any attraction for me.
As I was walking past the Dollhouse I spotted the inebriated Neanderthal from earlier now making a nuisance of himself with a coyote dancer on the duckboard area. I stopped for a moment inquisitive as to why one of the Thai bouncers hadn’t intervened and sorted him. I feel myself being hugged and see it is Gem the little dek serve from the previous week. She seemed pleased to see me and informed me she had seen me walking from the Baccara. She further informed me on seeing me she had already paid the bar fine and was ready to go. Although I thought it a little presumptuous I was not unduly concerned. I had enjoyed her company the previous week and it would save me trawling around the bars in search of a companion getting slowly inebriated in the process.
We collected her car, drove back to the Nana Hotel and parked in the car park. We took a stroll around the corner to the bar opposite the Rajah hotel that used to be called the Sky bar. Gem seemed to be happy with me and was inquisitive about my trip to Pattaya and Udon Thani. Within the hour she had a phone call requesting she return to her bar as there was a problem with a key. It sounded odd but I was in Thailand so suspended a natural incredulity and watched her depart. She returned in less than 45 minutes and was once again her effervescent self. What I did notice was she seemed to get drunk very quickly after only two drinks so I got her back to my hotel room and dumped her on the bed where she slept soundly.
As I sat in the toilet I received a phone call from one of my students in the UK asking technical advice on test bars for a leaded gunmetal alloy. The conversation seemed incongruous if not slightly surreal considering my location in the fleshpots of Bangkok.
On Thursday morning Gem woke and apologised for being so drunk. I was sure there was a long story behind the incident but I felt it prudent not to ask. We took breakfast at Hanrahans and Gem reverted to being the chatty little minx of the previous week. She had me enthralled with elaborate stories about police corruption, being raped as a girl and spending time in jail.
I told her she was my very own Scheherazade. On seeing the bemused look on her face I explained Scheherazade was the narrator of the 1001 Arabian nights. I related the ancient story to her.
Every day the king of Arabia would marry a new virgin and after doing so would dispatch the previous day's wife to be beheaded. He had killed 1,000 such women by the time he was introduced to Scheherazade, who was the daughter of the Persian vizier. She was an educated lady who was elegant and witty and determined to put an end to the King’s depraved practice.
Scheherazade volunteered to spend one night with the king. Once in his chambers she told the king a long story throughout the night. The king lay awake and listened with awe. The night passed by and Scheherazade stopped in the middle of the story. The king asked her to finish, but Scheherazade said there was no time as dawn was breaking. So the king spared her life for one day to finish the story the next night. The next night, Scheherazade finished the story and then began an even more exciting tale which she again stopped halfway through at dawn. Again, the king spared her life for one more day to finish the second story.
And so the King kept Scheherazade alive as he eagerly anticipated the finishing of the previous night's story. At the end of 1,001 nights, and 1,001 stories, Scheherazade told the king that she had no more tales to tell him. Fortuitously during these 1,001 nights, the king had fallen in love with Scheherazade, spared her life, and made her his queen.
Gem was mesmerised by this story and delighted to be considered a story teller “same same Persia lady”. I realised I may have opened a Pandora’s Box I would not be able to close.
We returned to the hotel and after checking my emails to confirm some appointments, engaged in a session of afternoon delight in my room. Gem was in an affectionate mood and I soon had her shaking like a shitting dog and crying out for iced water. In the post coital languor I informed her I had planned to meet a fellow stickmanite that evening but she could stay in bed as long as she liked. She thought for a moment then declared she would return to work that evening.
I left her in bed and caught a motorbike taxi to the Rembrandt hotel in Soi 18. The Rembrandt is a very impressive edifice with marbled floors and vaulting stairways. I took the lift to the Senor Pico restaurant to meet Tommaso a fellow stickmanite. We had corresponded many times and our exchanges were always entertaining and enlightening. Although we had never actually met I recognised him as a cultured and educated fellow. His instruction gave the time and place and to look for an Italian looking gentleman. I entered the rather pleasant ambiance of the Senor Pico looking around the room for a gentleman resembling Benito Mussolini or Luciano Pavarotti. What I did espy was a well-groomed slim young fellow sat at the bar with more than a passing resemblance to the young Dean Martin.
Introductions effected it quickly became apparent in real life Tommaso was as engaging a fellow as he was in our correspondence. The Mexican band playing on stage was entertaining and highly competent and the one girl singer was quite delectable. I was most impressed by the reception my pal got from her when they came off stage at the interval that suggested they had some history, of which I was too polite to enquire upon.
We left the Rembrandt and made our way to the Leaning Tree restaurant, an excellent venue I would certainly recommend for both the service and the value for money. I was hungry so put myself outside a splendid steak but would certainly commend the Thai food my friend devoured.
Suitably refreshed we take a taxi to Hemmingway’s bar another venue I had not seen before. I was very impressed with this establishment. The main building was quite exquisite built in the 1920s and constructed of rare yellow teak. The courtyard gave the impression you were in a garden in the Mediterranean and the general ambiance was exceedingly pleasant.
Whilst we were chatting three delectable girls descended the steps from a party in the upstairs bar. Tommaso intercepted them, engaged them in conversation and determined that they were schoolteachers at a prestigious international school. One was Taiwanese the one Filipino and one a Thai, each was delicious and if I had met them in UK there would have been proposals of marriage (and subsequent rejection). It was a testament to my pal’s skill he turned the Taiwanese girl’s dislike at being called Chinese to his advantage worthy of the best PUA practitioners and he soon had all three girls in rapt attention and hanging on his every word. I could not fail to be impressed with his style. They declared they were teaching the next day so we finally let them catch their taxis and caught a taxi ourselves down to lower Suhkumvit.
We were destined for the Check Inn 99 which was another venue I had never visited despite my pals Phil and Mark often suggesting it over the previous ten years. We are met at the entrance by a delicious receptionist who made a big fuss of my pal. I was quite taken by a slightly older waitress standing nearby who flashed me a cheeky smile. We made ourselves comfortable and I soaked in the atmosphere of this bar reputed to be of a pre Vietnam War vintage and amongst the oldest bars in the city. I was introduced to the famous Mama Noi who seemed to take a shine to me although it may have been the English cigarettes I proffered that were the principle attraction. She took me to see the collection of photos that hung in the entrance and we had a few interesting conversations over my cigarettes.
I was also introduced to the manager, a likeable cove who explained the history of the venue and the state of disrepair it was in when he took it over. He showed me his secret entrance which led to an outside corridor revealing a number of thriving bars in area little more than 20 foot wide. This demonstrated just how resourceful the Thais can be. He also described his vision for the future of the bar and his policy of no bar fines which I considered refreshing and far-sighted.
The Philippine band was marvellous and three girl singers (who looked like sisters) had me mesmerised. Tommaso kept asking me to get up and sing. I declined not because I was shy (I will do a three minute spot if a fridge door is opened) but these girls were so good any effort I made would be decidedly inadequate in comparison. I promised my pal on a future visit I would sing if we found an appropriate venue.
I had a most enjoyable evening with Tommaso’s wonderful company in a great venue I would certainly return to. We say our farewells and I make the short journey to the Nana. I take a last drink in Underground in the plaza and reflect on my pleasure at cementing another friendship.
On Friday morning at 9.00 am I am woken by a knock on my door. It was Gem. She claimed surprise that I hadn’t got a girl with me and I was surprised she was interested enough to be jealous. I didn’t fancy breakfast yet so we went down to the Golden bar for a cup of tea to wake me up. As we got settled Gem is approached by one of the girls working there. An animated conversation endued with lots of laughter. Gem explained they had worked together as dancers at the Long Gun over 10 years ago and had not seen each other since. In deference to my presence they reverted to English and told me they had to do a simulated lesbian act on stage. However one particular girl took it very serious and simulation often became real much to the discomfiture of the other girls.
We took a late breakfast at the Bus Stop; Gem was in a talkative mood and entertained me with tales of her childhood in Mahasarakham. The family quickly established she was hopeless at planting rice so taught her to cook. She told me a poignant tale of the day her mother died when she was only 8. Her mother was pregnant and fell off a stool whilst reaching for a high shelf in the kitchen. As neither of the only two vehicles in the village was available she didn’t get to the hospital in time. At the funeral her Uncle gave her 3 baht and she ran away to buy some noodle soup. The soup was hot and she dropped it immediately. It was only then that she remembered she should have been at her mother’s funeral.
After a leisurely and affectionate afternoon session in my room we take Dinner at the Hindenburg restaurant. As I put myself outside an excellent steak Gem continued in her Scheherazade persona telling stories about her Water buffalo. By her account he was the most beautiful buffalo in the province and he knew it. As a child she had built up a special relationship with him and he even let her sleep on his back. This continued for years till one day in a rainstorm she went to him dressed in a plastic sheet. The buffalo did not recognise her and chased her around the field. She also gave a touching description of years later when her uncle sold him for slaughter. As they loaded him on to the truck the buffalo turned to Gem with a tear in his eye, she was convinced that he knew his fate.
After dinner Gem returned to the room to indulge in the Thai national pastime of catching up on her sleep. I took a stroll to Nana plaza and had a look in Billboard on the top floor. I was quite taken with one dancer on stage wearing spectacles. I am unsure what it is about Asian girls wearing spectacles or sunglasses but I go all wobbly when I see one. It was a pleasant surprise that she descends the stage to join me. She is an attractive girl so I buy her a drink and settle to watch the show on stage. It was similar to that performed at the old Angelwitch but without much enthusiasm. I notice at the other end of the bar there is a large bathtub full of soapy foam. A chubby dek serve girl has entered the tub fully clothed and is soaping her self in the sudsy bubbles to the amusement of the customers. I later buy said chubby waitress a drink for the amusement she had given but quickly realised I had made a blunder. From that point she would not leave me alone and continually pestered me for drinks. Gem would have explained that my innocent act had “opened the door” to being harassed. I saw my bill was already 2k and I had hardly taken the skin off my beer. In the absence of a reset button I decided to pay up and leave.
I had a look in Mercury bar which was disappointingly empty. Two attractive girls who claimed to be sisters join me. I bought them a drink and started a conversation. They complained that farang customers only wanted new girls fresh from the farm. I told them my idea to paint mosquito bites on their legs to make it look like they had just arrived straight from the fields. They laughed but it did not deflect them from their mission to extract the maximum drinks in the minimum time. I had a mild epiphany and realised I was bored of go- go bars and the opportunity to relax in them had gone. I departed the plaza and sat against the rail of the Golden bar observing the parade of the ladyboys and the antics of the pissheads.
Gem came up behind me, gave me a kiss on the cheek, flashed me a huge smile and announced her desire to eat. I gave her a wad of notes and arranged to meet in the room in ten minutes.
On Saturday morning we awoke too late for a Nana breakfast so took our repast in the Hindenburg. The topic of the day was Pee (ghosts). I declared I was a believer having experienced a few manifestations over the years so we had an entertaining few hours comparing stories. After a gentle session of afternoon sex I sensed a slight change in Gem as she lay with me. Recognising I was a harmless old codger she had been relaxed in my company from our first evening but it was if some obstacle to her trust had finally been removed. Leaning for her purse she withdrew a photo and handed it to me explaining it was her daughter. The photo revealed a very pretty and smiling 10 year old who was clearly Luk Krueng (half Thai half western). I stated her daughter was a pretty girl who looked very happy. Gem declared she had been married for a few years to an English guy from Leeds. I sensed her reluctance to expand on the discussion so I dropped the subject. I felt that if she wanted to tell me more she would do so in her own time.
I informed her I was meeting another fellow from the stickman site that evening. After a little thought she told me she had decided to go back to work for the evening. I think these girls miss the friendship and camaraderie of their bars.
I later met Jay in the Golden bar. We had arranged to meet a few days earlier but had missed each other. This time Jay was dressed in a shirt so distinctive a blind man on a galloping horse couldn’t miss it. We had exchanged correspondence for some time but had never met. Jay hails from the west coast of America and had always impressed me as a well balanced fellow. I was hungry so we made our way to the Hindenburg were we watched the Thai v Malaysia Suzuki cup game whilst I put myself outside an excellent steak.
We later take a look at the Nana Plaza and find ourselves in Billboard. We are quickly joined by two girls. After a few minutes I concluded this activity did not hold any great interest. I turned to Jay and asked “Are you interested in this?” he replied “no I was only going along with it for you”. “Let’s go and watch some football then” I declared to which Jay gave a smile of agreement. We paid the bin and took a taxi to Soi Cowboy.
We got settled in Sam’s bar just as the Man Utd v Aston Villa game kicked off. Jay is one of the few Americans I know who loves and fully understands the beautiful game so I welcomed his knowledgeable observations during the match. Jay is a widower with two Luk Krueng sons, now in their 20’s of whom he is rightfully proud. He clearly has his act together and I enjoyed his company. He is an intelligent and thoughtful chap and I wished we lived in the same town so I could benefit from his friendship.
After the game Jay made his farewell and I found Gem was standing at my shoulder with a big grin. The jungle drums were at work so she had quickly established my whereabouts. We collect her car from usual spot and make the drive back to Nana. I am amused at this girls continued interest in me. I had paid her whenever she asked me but it worked out less than 2000 baht a day so it couldn’t just be the money. I had no complaints, she was fun to be with and being a little older clearly understood the concept of the Thai girlfriend experience.
She parked in hotel car park and we took a last drink in Big Dogs before retiring for my last night in Bangkok. She told me there were two farang couples in her bar that evening. Because of her good English they monopolised her attention. Gem stated they were very generous to her with tips and drinks but they caused her some amusement. The two western ladies talked incessantly about the enslaving of young Thai woman in the bar industry whilst their husbands realising they were stuck with their wives in Bangkok wore a permanent expression that said “please kill me”. I never failed to be amused and surprised by Gem’s sense of fun and her sharp perception.
Next morning she helped me pack, checked out and she gave me a big hug before going to her car and driving off. I took a taxi to the airport where there was a horde of screaming teenagers to see a Korean boy band depart. It caused some delay but was quite amusing as they stood in the passport control queue with me.
The Thai flight was half full which gave me room to stretch out and time for reflection.
There was no doubt that prices had increased in Thailand but it still represents value for money, for the time being at least. I still believe there are more attractive women in Thailand than anywhere else in the world
The reports of fat girls were exaggerated and there were still plenty of lovely girls, some of them beautiful, in most of the bars I visited. Of more concern was the deterioration in service and the mercenary attitudes I sometimes encountered. I noticed one bar in Pattaya serving San Miguel in bottles which had clearly been filled from a draught keg.
Thai women younger than 30 although delightful still act like they are little girls. I find their behaviour little better than children. I find Thai ladies in their 30s and 40s still remain attractive but are infinitely more interesting.
Once again I met some wonderful fellows from the stickman community. Over the years I have rarely met a stickmanite I didn’t warm to. Why is this? Is it the shared interests? Or is it a natural inquisitiveness amongst our fraternity?
Certainly the guys I met on this trip were all confident, well balanced, interesting blokes who you would be proud and happy to consider as friends.
The flight home passed without incident, I watched three movies and one meal they served (a pork stew) was absolutely delicious, certainly the best I have eaten on a plane. However the duck dish they later served for breakfast just before arriving left a little to be desired and had me running to the toilets on arrival at Heathrow.
I was a little disorientated (and dehydrated) when I finally collected my bag and approached customs which was probably why the customs officers pulled me over for a search. This is the first time I have been collared at customs in over 10 years so I must have looked a dodgy geezer. They did not find anything untoward and let me through but it is not an experience I intend to repeat.
I arrived back home in the early hours of the morning to find my flat in a disgraceful state. My son and his girlfriend hadn’t lifted a finger to keep it clean and it would take weeks to clear the empty cans of special brew and pizza boxes that had accumulated. Visions of the labours of Hercules and the Augian stables came to mind.
But never mind it was the day before Christmas Eve and I had escaped the dreaded run up to Christmas that always depresses me. I had Christmas Eve then Christmas day itself and that was it. That evening I saw my pal Devin at his company party and caught up on the news. He informed me he had bought a property as a little love nest with his young mistress which I thought would be an interesting source of stories in the future.
On Christmas day I cooked a traditional chicken dinner at my mother’s house. My son and his girlfriend joined my mother and me for a conventional Christmas day of indolence and excess.
On Boxing Day I collected my eldest son to watch Man City completely outclass the baggies. We later collected my youngest son and his girlfriend and took a taxi to the Casino to meet my brother and his tribe for the annual get together and karaoke extravaganza.
On the Sunday I went to for a beer in the “Pisshead and Ponytail” and was welcomed like the prodigal son which was a pleasant surprise. New Years Eve was celebrated in the “Welded Wallet” and the Christmas holiday was done and dusted with no harm done. With the advent of a new year I could but wonder what it had in store for me.
It has now been a few months since I returned from Thailand and I do acknowledge I have been a little tardy in submitting this report. I must confess for a month or so I lost interest in writing. I am happy to report my muse has now returned. I am also delighted to hear that the blessed stick is to keep the site going even if it is from his antipodean exile.
So if you occasionally enjoy my sagas of female rejection and my interminable ramblings about my misadventures in the English rustbelt ….watch this space.