A Crazy Life – Part 6 (Life in Bangkok)
In my part 5 submission, I explained how Anne came to live with me in the UK for a few months, whilst I tried unsuccessfully to sort out problems with the ‘sex-chat’ satellite channel – Mobile Crazy TV.
As you’ll have read, all didn’t go well with the TV channel, and I was forced to close down the station after about 6 months. This left the TV channel (a limited company) owing about 5 million USD to the satellite ground station company; these were the uplink fees for the next 5 years! Of course, since Mobile Crazy TV was now ‘bust’, there was no way that the money would be paid, not even a fraction of it.
But my SMS text messaging company was still operating OK and generating a healthy revenue. I decided to return to Bangkok with Anne, and continue to run that business from Thailand. In any case, Anne’s 6-month visitor visa to the UK was due to expire soon.
There was a small problem. I needed to retrieve some important company papers for the text messaging company that I had left in my office at the ground station site. Since there was an unpaid bill of 5 million USD, the owners of that site barred me from my office.
But I still had my entry security card….
I’ll explain about the satellite ground station. It was located in the middle of a wood in deepest rural Buckinghamshire. I think it used to be used as a satellite ground station by the British military. But now it was mainly used to uplink commercial TV channels to the Astra satellite.
I had an office at that site, as did other satellite channels. I recall that one of those satellite channels was ‘Red Hot Dutch’, an adult porn channel. On every visit that I made to the ground station, I’d walk past their office and see their ‘Quality Engineer’ checking the channel programmes for any technical glitches. Yep – this guy was being paid a high salary to watch porn all day!
But I digress. I really wanted to retrieve my company documents from my office. During the daytime, the ground station site was manned, with many staff. But after hours, it was deserted, not even security guards. This was because the perimeter was quite high security, with a very high steel fence and remote cameras etc.
The entrance for vehicles consisted of an outer high gate, and an inner high gate. One drove up to the outer gate, swiped the security pass and the gate would (hopefully) open. You drive in and the gate closes behind you. Then you swipe again and the inner gate opens and lets you drive into the site.
So, in the middle of the night, Anne and I drove to the ground station site. I had no idea if my security card had been cancelled by the company. I swiped my card and held my breath.
The outer security gate opened!
We drove in and the gate slid closed behind us. I swiped again and the inner gate opened. We were in!
I parked my car near to the building where my office was and told Anne to wait in the car while I retrieved my documents. I climbed the steps to my office and the shock hit me as I saw a very large padlock and clasp, securing my office door well and truly shut.
I pondered for a minute and decided that since I had come this far, I wasn’t ready to admit defeat. I went back to the car and retrieved a large screwdriver and other hefty tools that I’d thoughtfully brought with me. “Won’t be a moment” I said to Anne, who had a confused look on her face.
I quickly returned to my office door and proceeded to remove the many screws that attached the clasp to the door. Having gained entry, I rapidly found the important documents, exited the office and screwed the clasp back onto the door.
As I returned back to the car, I wondered whether we would be able to leave the ground station site. After all, the security cameras had no doubt captured our presence. Happily, it seems that the security office hadn’t been warned that I was ‘persona non grata’ and my security card opened the inner gate and then the outer gate. We were out!
Now, with everything that I needed, we made our way the next day to London Heathrow, and were soon on a flight back to Bangkok. A new part of my life with Anne was about to begin in Thailand.
We settled down together in my condo in Sala Daeng. I found that I could manage my UK text-chat business ‘remotely’ without any problems. Each month, I would receive a nice revenue share payment from the UK mobile networks of perhaps 1 million Thai baht or more directly into my Bangkok Bank account.
There were a few things that I wanted to sort out. I needed to make an effort to learn Thai, I needed to get fit and Anne needed some sort of business to keep her busy.
The first two were easy to sort out. I arranged language lessons with a Thai teacher who lived on Silom Road. Every morning at 10 AM I would walk over to her office and study Thai for 2 hours. This included learning to read and write Thai. This hard work proved very useful in the coming years, as I can now speak, read and write reasonably fluent Thai, having subsequently studied for an MA in Thai Studies at Chulalongkorn University, in Bangkok.
The need to get fit was also resolved. At that time, California Fitness had a large gym just around the corner, also on Silom Road and almost opposite my office, which was in the Kasemkij Building. So before my Thai lessons, I’d also spend an hour or so at the gym, (which was also an excuse to leer at the pretty Thai women on the treadmills!)
Now to sort out a business for Anne. She had no interest in running a bar (thank goodness). ‘A cafe will suit me fine darling’, she pouted.
And so it was that ‘Infocafe’ opened on the side street just next to The Emporium shopping centre in Phrom Pong. This little cafe served a selection of cakes, decent coffee and baked potatoes to a diverse clientele of Western and Asian customers, especially Japanese tourists who visited the shopping centre. I even imported from the UK (at great expense), a special oven to cook potatoes.
Anne actually spoke good Japanese, as a result of her previous work at the computer hard disk drive company in Wang Noi. So she was very happy running the cafe. Each morning, she’d leave our condo in Sala Daeng to manage the cafe with her brother.
Yes, this really was her brother, not some secret Thai husband. He had been working with several other Thai friends in Israel on a kibbutz for a couple of years. When it came time to finish the contract, he and his friends were ‘stiffed’ by the Israeli owner of the kibbutz farm. They were all thrown into jail on ‘visa irregularities’ and their saved salaries confiscated. After a month in jail, they were sent back to Thailand, penniless.
After Anne had gone to work, and I had completed my morning leering at women in tight latex in California Fitness and learning a little Thai, I would settle down with my computer and work on my UK SMS text-chat business.
In those days, most of the advertising for these type of services was done through print media – by placing advertisements in the less salubrious sort of daily newspaper, (so for Brits who are familiar with UK newspapers, think Daily Sport). I suppose The National Inquirer would be the US equivalent.
The second print media that I used were ‘top-shelf’ adult magazines. As internet porn web sites were gaining in popularity, so the print media adult sector was suffering. So advertising rates in these types of magazines were quite low, and I was able to attract sufficient users of my SMS services by placing full-page adverts in both the top-shelf magazines and The Daily Sport.
Now The Daily Sport was a newspaper, and not classified as a top-shelf publication. So there were limits as to how ‘far’ I could go with the images that I used in these adverts. ‘Tits out’ was fine, but nothing else.
I would therefore spend my working day split between designing a full-page advert of some busty gal with her boobs draped over a sports car, along with the tagline of ‘Lads, if you like what you see, then text me now blah blah blah’.
But for the top-shelf publications, there were almost no limits as to the advert content. For some strange reason, (I don’t want to know why!), the most popular adult magazines were those that either featured grossly fat women being ‘serviced’ by very well-endowed black guys, or magazines that featured (I kid you not), female pensioners of very advanced years enjoying a munch on the same black guy’s banana.
Quite frankly, some of the images in “Busty 70’s” and “80 and still wet” would turn your stomach!
When I lived in the UK, the adult publisher would send me a copy of each of these magazines every month, to prove that they were displaying the advert that I’d paid for. But when I moved to live in Bangkok, I made it very clear to the publisher that under no circumstances were they to send copies of these magazines to me, because they breached Thailand’s obscene publications laws by about 200 miles, and I would maybe end up in a Thai prison if it were found that I was receiving such publications.
But infuriatingly (and very alarmingly), each month I would receive a bundle of magazines from the postman at my condo. And every month I would rapidly stuff these still-pristine, not-yet-sticky magazines in the rubbish bag. (Anne was aware of these magazines, but yet again her interest in $$$ dissuaded her from passing criticism).
I recall one occasion that I received the latest copies of “80 and still wet” and similar titles, and rushed outside my condo to throw them into the rubbish bag. Just as I was stuffing this porn ‘filth’ into the black bag, my Thai cleaning lady passed by and spotted the magazines.
“They’re not mine” I shouted unconvincingly, as my cheeks reddened. “They keep being sent to me – I never ordered them, honest!”
The cleaning lady looked at the top magazine, with a photo of a granny (nay!!! a great grandma), who was enjoying a meal of “dick noir avec sauce blanche”. She looked back at me.
“No problem, Khun Simon. I have many customers for your magazines every month. I make many baht. It is very difficult to find these magazines in Thailand. You are a very good man to bring them for us.”
And so life continued in Sala Daeng with pretty-but-frigid Anne. But looming on the near horizon was an event that would totally change my life, an event that would see me reduced to a mental wreck, an event that would destroy my marriage, my family and my business.
I never saw it coming…..
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