My Best Buddy Is A Thailand Addict And It’s My Fault
I’ve been a Stickman reader since my first trip to Thailand 5 or 6 years ago. I think it’s about time I contributed something. Thailand didn’t use to be at the forefront of my focus in Asia. At first it was just Bangkok on a 1-night layover on the way back from Vietnam but then I started making Thailand my primo destination.
The Vietnamese are just too serious. By that, I mean all the girls I met were looking for a long-term, committed, serious relationship. If I didn’t email or call her on Viber or WhatsApp 40 times a day she threw a hissy fit. I’m too long in the tooth for that crap so I kinda found myself drifting in the Thai scene a bit more regularly, not bothering with my connection to HCMC and just spending my 3 weeks in Bangkok instead. Probably a bit more expensive financially but a helluva lot less so when it comes to commitment, promises of marriage etc.
Anyway, there’s only so much of Sukhumvit to see so last year, 2017, I decided to expand my horizons and take my break in Pattaya for a change. Of course it was everything I expected it to be and more. Much more. But that’s another story entirely.
I arrived home in Dublin, Ireland, in mid-November, 2017,and less than a week later was off again to sunny London, U.K. for a rock concert in the wonderful 02 Arena with the world’s greatest wingman and my best mate of 42 years (since we were 11 years old in 1976). Enter my best mate, John – rocker, wingman, borderline alcoholic, recent divorcee and general innocent Irish good guy. We all have a buddy who has a heart of gold but “wouldn’t score in a brothel with a fistful of tenners”. Bless him. He’s the best buddy I’ve ever had, absolute best mate in the whole world but sadly he gets knocked back by the ladies 99 times outa 10.
Sitting in my hotel at about 3 PM on the day of the concert (Deep Purple, we are both fans for 40+ years) I spent a couple of hours regaling him with my tales of Soi 6, LK Metro, Walking Street, Beach Road Soi Made in Thailand etc. The guy was drooling as I showed him photo after photo of the beautiful girls, all of whom had their arm around me or were kissing me on the cheek or sat on my lap. He just couldn’t believe that these absolute goddesses were available to even chat to, never mind buy lady drinks for and take things to the next level. We decided right then and there in the Crowne Plaza, Ealing, West London at 4 PM on 23 November, 2017, after a skinful of Stella Artois that within a year we would go to Pattaya for at least 2 weeks. The only problem was John had just been banned from driving for a year (due to guess what? Yup, you guessed right. Probably saved his or somebody else’s life). This meant he had just lost his job and he didn’t have an income. Add to that the misery of having just gotten divorced and being almost wiped out financially I kinda thought it was nothing more than a Stella Artois filled pipe dream. Maaannnn, was I wrong! John pulled out all the stops in an effort to fund his part of the trip. The guy was a serious vinyl collector and around June of this year he phoned me to tell me he had sold a fair chunk of his collection and had more than enough cash squirrelled away to pay for his part of the holiday. He even had enough spending money set aside to more or less cover a couple of weeks in Pattaya. Just goes to show you that there’s money in old records. One particular LP was worth £700! All that was left to iron out was our travel dates. Given the fact that John has recently found himself unemployed he said he was free to travel anytime and I’m self-employed so I could essentially do the same so we decided upon early October. A couple of phone calls later and a swift transfer of funds in to my bank account and we were all booked up and ready to go. It was only a matter of playing the waiting game, counting the days until our departure.
As I explained earlier, I’ve known John since we were kids. There were a couple of things that worried me about travelling to Thailand with him. He’s only about 5 foot 5 inches tall and he’s a serious drinker. When he’s been “on the sauce” he seems to think that he’s Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris all rolled into one. I’ve seen him pick fights with guys who have literally been towering over him. He’s got a serious temper on him too and as our departure date loomed ever closer I started to have real misgivings about traveling to Thailand with a guy who’s pretty volatile. I happened to be in London for a couple of days in September so I made it my business to hook up with him early in the morning (when he’s stone cold sober) on both days and sit him down and hammer into him as many “Do’s & Dont’s as I could think of. It may sound cruel of me but I told him in no uncertain terms that if he got into trouble over there that he was on his own (I didn’t mean it of course, I just wanted to scare the crap outa him). I think I succeeded in scaring him a bit because he promised faithfully NOT to over-drink and he also swore that he would stick to me like duct tape for the entirety of our trip. That reassured me somewhat. I also had a shed-load of contacts on ThaiFriendly and Line. All of these beauties were more than willing to meet us upon our arrival and ALL of them had friends who were more than happy to hook up with us. A couple of them even offered to pick us up at the airport! I think I had upwards of a thousand photos of our new friends saved on my phone and John was like the proverbial kid in a toy shop pouring over them.
We were less than 3 weeks away from our departure date and the excitement was starting to build. I was counting the days but I think John was counting the milliseconds! Every day he’d send me a couple of WhatsApp messages telling me how excited he was. One particular day, about a week before we were due to travel, he called me and said something along the lines of, “You sold me this idea after your trip last year. I know it’s gonna be good but it can’t be THAT good. You’re exaggerating, aren’t you?” All I could think of in reply was, “You are young, Grasshopper, but you will learn!”
Tuesday October 2 finally arrived. John flew in to Dublin the night before. Almost a year since we first discussed the idea of a Thailand trip and here we were, 7 AM check in at the Etihad desk, through security and into the airport bar. I’m not really into drinking at that hour of the day but what the hell. We’re going to Thailand! “Two pints of your finest Guinness please, bartender”. HERE WE GOOOOOOOO!
Tune in again shortly for part 2.
The author of this article cannot be contacted.