Bangkok And Ko Samui Bits And Pieces Sept 2016 And April 2017
Sad to learn of Sticks’ departure, but nothing lasts forever and I thought his moving to NZ to be with his people (sheep) was a sign of things to come. I have zinged Stick from time to time (e.g. #mailingitin) but he never seemed to complain. Threats, real or imagined from dubious players could not have helped either. Leave that to the Andrew Drummonds of the world.
I was in BKK/Ko Samui last September and BKK last April (Songkran) with my Issan pals. Here is a miscellaneous stream of thought reportage:
Does anyone want to hear about my health issues from 2016 and how I emerged from a serious health scare? No? Well, skip a few paragraphs down then.
Being a newbie geezer (north of 63) and now qualified for early US Social Security I had been making the false assumption that I was immortal and sickness was what someone else contracted. True, I had a few kidney stone issues over the last 20+ years but they had become less catastrophic in needing treatment: first couple of times when I was younger I was admitted to hospital for treatment requiring surgery but recently I had felt a stone coming and had passed it within a day. Uncomfortable but not writhing in pain, doubled over as in the first ones. But one word of advice: do not get a kidney stone on Nantucket, the island off Mass. where the hoi polloi (and me) vacation. Call for an ambulance, two X-rays and a shot of something up the bum was north of $12,000. Then I passed it on my own sleeping in the ER. The insurance kicked in “most” then I had to fight the price of the two $2500 X-rays, since the Insurance company lady suppressed a laugh I swear when I asked her why it was not totally covered.
Suffice to say I always made sure I was healthy before vacationing on Nantucket since.
I was sick in hospital in August 2015 with two very large kidney stones blocking everything, could not pass anything. Emergency surgery, did not die although the surgeon said I would have if I waited any longer. When I thanked him profusely for saving my life in the follow up visit, he said, no problem, he does it every day…. D’oh.
So I felt I deserved a trip, guess where to celebrate? Went to down to Ko Samui, Lamai beach, but felt like sh*t and slept all day all week. I should have waited another month to fully recover and then travel. Posse looked at me strangely: Mr. Not Much Energy was now Mr. No Energy At All…
Anyhoo, fast forward to last year 2016. I was working a crappy job, stressed out commuting far too long just to earn a paycheck, which is a sad reality that at my age I am not prime IT geek material. Younger scallywags are eating my lunch and their resume looks better. But a paycheck is a paycheck and I kept working there for 20 months until I had had enough. So I quit my job in March 2017 and am now living a great life doing nothing looking for another job at home. A smarter guy would have planned better and lined up something before I said “Fxxk this, I’m going to Thailand!” Heard that before?
But no, I had to blow $6-7K on a BKK trip at Songkran of all times, depleting my emergency reserves. I told myself to save on things, budget trip, no extravagant two-sies, but it was hard to do. Since my famous posse was coming down from Issan 3 days later I had to get in a couple beforehand, didn’t I? Budget was duly busted.
I will never travel at Songkran again: it was fun the first day, then going out for dinner and dodging the idiots when you were dressed up lost its novelty big time. Posse got drenched and they were pissed, and they were Thai!
I made the first mistake going to BKK in 1992 at Songkran since I didn’t know what Thai New Year was then. In 1992 one day the Nana hotel area was booming, the next day the start of the holiday it was a ghost town. There were bottom of the barrel leftovers only, but I didn’t know any better then. But now, in 2017, Soi 4 and environs were booming; every farang idiot had a $30 Supersoaker hanging around the Stumble Inn.
Some folks said business was down due to the holiday but it certainly didn’t seem that way.
I actually learned some new tricks and locations since I usually only stay in BKK a few days then go down to Samui or even Pattaya. The BKK expat website is useful for restaurant and shopping recommendations and I thank them for some advice given. I lasted an hour at Chatukah (spelling?) market since it was so hot; my ATM card was rejected even after I arranged for foreign travel. (I found out when calling the bank I had exceeded my daily limit, d’oh!) Pratunam was better and my slaves, correction, Posse, loved it. I had promised a junior member if she came down from Issan I would take her shopping: first day I handed over her shopping money to her she coyly asked if she could buy something for Grandmother – another 2,000 baht. Smart kid, at least she didn’t claim she had a sick buffalo and I saw the present she bought. No problemo.
Hit the Biergarten with a son of an old school pal, he was finishing up his contract teaching English there. I had met him two years earlier when he first arrived and I was amazed at his skill set now. An old pro now, he sorted the chaff from the wheat in the selection and honing in for drilling practice now. I jokingly told him to feel up a particularly buxom lady chatting with us since I was curious if they were the genuine articles. Right away he grabbed a handful, didn’t bat an eye. Neither did she. Proud of him, must include that in my report to his dad in the UK. Biergarten was fun and low-key. He told me his extremely cute Thai GF counted his condoms and went ballistic when her number didn’t match her previous accounting. Lessons learned, he bought a secret stash – smart boy.
He even took me to the Subway around the corner on Soi 11for very good tacos and quesadillas. In my “excellent” Spanish I asked for Pollo loco filling – blank stare. Normally I shy away from Subway since they lack a vital ingredient (aka “taste”) IMO. But this was a Taco sub-enterprise within Subway. A good cheap snack filler-upper between bar-hopping. Learned a new trick, an English kid teaching me the better taco joints on Sukhumvit. A lesson in humility since I learned to eat fish tacos between sessions in the Zona Norte/RoJo, Tijuana.
I always frequent the Swann seafood joint down Soi 4 for decent prices and OK-good food. Anyone disagree? Plus I have never gotten sick from eating there in 4 years so I like it. The normally chubby happy waitress who was an expert on cadging drinks was not on her game this trip, she told she was not well. They rotate their waitresses so I stopped asking “Hey, do you remember so and so, worked here last year…” Helps to have a name too.
On Soi 5 past the food store there is an Arab seafood place that was respectable, but no beer, d’oh! Respectable Posse is used to a beer or so with dinner, I got looks and points deducted for not knowing. To say my Posse is respectable is true, they are not bargirls. I met the first one in Samui 4 years ago when she was pretending to be a bargirl (!) She sucked at it (no pun intended) and I was her only customer. When I leave they go back to 300 baht / day jobs in Issan. As I tell everyone who will listen, they are not the youngest or the most attractive girls in Thailand, but they are incredibly loyal and there is absolutely no BS. If they agree to something, they do it. Yes, I pay them a stipend but have never had any argument over money or shopping. Starfish Princesses are not for me (and vice-versa). I have had a lifetime of hi-so / hi-maint princesses back in the West.
I never realized the big free-lancer bar was across the street until I got home, Gullivers. Is that an Arab hangout? Soi 5 looked like Dubai.
Did I say we never had any arguments? Well, I did raise an eyebrow when I bought them a 1 liter bottle of Dewars White Label and they polished it off in 2 days. Then the second bottle in 3 days. I put it down to their absolute joy of seeing me again. At 8 AM in the morning I pointed out the 1” low water mark of the bottle, to express my surprise it went down so fast. Older posse member took this as an invitation to sink it, so she did. No ice, all before breakfast.
This was followed by the requisite visit to the Skydome at leBua. Touristy but never fails to impress your guests and I love it. Watch Hangover II movie before visiting. But I figured out why it’s so dark at the bar: the drink prices are so small on the bar menu I gave up and picked a bottle of Chardonnay, having misread the price. One bottle for three and a coke, $US235. Ain’t life grand?
Phet / Paul contributor here got me started when he sent a photo of the latest gimmick – a beer tower on his trip just a month earlier, so that Stumble Inn manager did very well off me all week. Two beer towers a night, posse, plus all my newfound best friend waitresses there (Ammie, Yo, Mook, Nueng (who hid from me after my proposition) and Mamasan who all became very thirsty when it came time for my drink order. I think there was a Dook, Nook, Zook and Pook also but couldn’t be sure, I suspect they changed their name tags when asking for a drink. With their hair pulled back, flower headband and floral shirt they all looked the same, especially after a beer tower.
OK, now we come to my lesson in humility:
I had never been to the Thermae but had read about it and how it now was booming. I was anxious to visit so I went on a Thursday night before SK. The first time you go is a mind-blower: the girls are packed wall to wall staring straight ahead, some even move their arms. I did the circle around 20 times and got lots of smiles and come-hithers. It wasn’t free candy, but the proverbial kid in a candy store comparison hit me hard. I settled on a Chiang Mai pleasant girl, who promised me “anything but anal”. That I could live with, since I have wet noodle syndrome and prefer other perverted acts. A very good choice, super girl, LINE IDs exchanged and she left in the morning. I was set for a rematch but then she said she was going to fricking Chiang Mai for SK ! and returning after I was to go home. So she promised me she would see me next year in the same exact spot in the Thermae (will be there!)
So this is where the lesson in humility comes in. I return to the Thermae (posse gone home, very sad but you have to keep calm and carry on) on the following Monday night. Same setup, get talking to a Scottish guy from Awae Th’ Noo. He is eying up the merchandise like me but it’s his first time. You realize I am now an expert, right? This is my second visit! So I dispense my wisdom and we circulate, me clock wise and he counter-clockwise. 20 times. I pick out a modest maiden and she pretends I’m invisible.
OK, I’ve heard of picky Japanese-preferring girls so move on. Same thing happens with the next girl, only she sticks up her hand in front of her face when I persist and says “Stop!” At least she can speak English! This happens a few times until I wonder what the difference was between Thursday and Monday. Turns out, nothing, there are a million girls passing through and you get the luck of the draw. There were a few girls that would go with me, but then some would not do the mouth thingy. Who doesn’t do oral in BKK? Dealbreaker. I can understand with condom, but not at all? Then I figured out these girls are not pros, they have jobs and can afford to be picky. Ok, fair enough. I found two ladies who would do a double but only for short time. I like long time, to pretend I am not renting them. Dealbreaker. But all in all, an eye-opener on the girls’ preferences, just move on to the next if it’s a no, although I really wanted a modest maiden who said “Japanese only” after ignoring me for a while. What’s not to like in a 260 pound big beer-bellied balding guy? I have personality! And money! Next year I will claim to be a Japanese sumo wrestler and will try my 5-word Japanese vocabulary on them.
As I was leaving I see my new best friend Jock / Angus, swilling another beer and looking really conflicted. Four girls surrounded him, moving ever closer, not bad quality; don’t know why he was hesitating. I guessed it was the Scots in him: he could go home and use his best right hand for free or pay a woman who would never look at him twice back home! Plus I think his wallet pocket was sewn up tight.
I love to wind up the Scots so I told him my joke (30 years old) about the Brit 50p coin and why it has 7 sides? So you can use a wrench to get it out of a Scotsman’s hand! BWAHAHAHAHA…. He had never heard that, he said. Never knew what he decided on since I left the Thermae to troll on Soi 4. I have found wonderful diamonds in the rough in the Nana parking lot before, but not this night. They are few and far between but they are there.
I even considered Walking on the Wild Side at the massage parlor the middle of Soi 4. But did I? Can’t remember…
Interesting how the Thermae can be so different on two different nights, eh? Seen it myself many times – and had more than a few readers tell me I was totally wrong after I wrote that a friend could not find a girl to go with him (yes, really, a friend!) and how when they were there the first girl jumped at the chance to go with them. I guess it’s a little like queuing at Immigration when you arrive at the airport – sometimes it’s a long wait in the queue and other times you walk straight up to the officer and don’t wait at all.
The author cannot be contacted.