Readers' Submissions

Thailand, The First Time, Part 4



Part 4 Farewell to Thailand

As I had enjoyed my earlier experience at J One, I decided to give it another try for my grand finale. As before, I managed to shrug off the taxi tout and made my way inside to an equally impressive line-up of lovely ladies. However, the papasan, a greasy looking and overweight older Thai man, sensing a killing, quoted me some exorbitant prices. I looked at him shocked and explained that I had only paid half that price on my previous visit. He just shrugged his shoulders and stood his ground. By now I was running very short on baht and didn’t have the budget to meet his inflated price demand that he wouldn’t budge on. So I reluctantly turned about and trudged towards the door while trying to think where else could I try before my imminent departure for the airport later that night. The papasan saw his meal ticket disappearing and had a sudden change of heart. He called me back and told me with a glare that I could choose a lady from one particular section of the fish bowl for 2,000 baht to which I readily agreed. What followed was again a good experience with another lovely lady who told me she used to work in a shoe shop but found the money much better at J One. As I left the building the mealy mouthed papasan emerged from the shadows with his hand out for a tip. I smiled, wai-ed him, issued a Khop Khun Krap and strode off. So I learned a few lessons that day. Be prepared to walk away if the price is too high / exorbitant. And the Thai sex industry is all just a matter of economics for all participants.

I got back to my hotel on Khao San road, collected my luggage and went to the bus stop that the concierge pointed out to me to where I could get cheap transport to the airport for my late night flight back to Frankfurt. By now, I was almost broke, After about an hour waiting there was still no sign of the bus that was clearly running on Thai time and I was starting to get a little anxious. Then a tuk tuk pulled up and the driver asked me if I was waiting to go to the airport.

‘I take you. I take you’ he suggested very enthusiastically.

I’d already had the shopping experience foisted upon me by every tuk tuk ride that I had taken in Bangkok so I looked him in the eye and shouted ‘NO SHOPPING’ as I waggled my finger back and forth and pointed to my watch.

‘No shopping. No Shopping’ he agreed enthusiastically with a big toothless smile.

We agreed a nominal price for the journey and we took off for Don Mueang on a hair-raising journey through Bangkok with my friendly driver pointing out all sorts of sights en route before tearing along several miles of highway at high speed. I arrived at the airport in good time and with my hair standing on end like a punk mohawk cut and my cheeks red raw from the wind. I tipped the driver whatever few baht I had remaining and he went off on his merry way. For me, it was one hell of a ride and the only rubber issues were the smell of burning rubber as we tore along the airport highway in a tuk tuk. A fun and fitting finale to my holiday.

Once I boarded my flight and settled in, tired but very content, I found myself sitting beside a vivacious red haired American girl from New Orleans. We chatted a lot until dinner was served after which I fell sound asleep and didn’t wake until we were approaching Frankfurt. I do recall that we spoke about Thai food and that she offered the following opinion, in her classic Southern drawl:

‘My daddy always says that good food should be like good sex. It oughta leave you hot and sweaty.’

Amen to that.

My maiden voyage to the Land of Sex Smiles was a terrific experience that I thoroughly enjoyed despite a few setbacks here and there along the way.

As for the two key questions:

‘Would I go back to Thailand?’ The answer was a resounding Yes.

‘Will I go back to Thailand?’ Well, the answer to that was ‘Definitely maybe!’

There were so many more adventures and explorations awaiting me elsewhere and on my radar such as Africa, Russia, South and Central America to name a few. So I consigned my holiday snaps and memories to posterity and began researching my next holiday to another new and distant destination.

It would be several years before I would return to Thailand but a seed / hook had been planted and eventually Thailand would reel me in to the point where it became almost a compulsion / obsession to get back there each year. Some of my subsequent adventures I have written about previously. If you enjoyed this tale you can find some of my previous ramblings under this pseudonym or prior to that under Dublin Dude (and also Anonymous, who has written a lot of good stuff over the years !). And if the muse re-appears then I may have some further adventures to share in the future.

Footnote. Given the number of contraceptive issues that I experienced you might be wondering what impact all of this had on my sexual health. Well, on my return from Thailand I took myself off to an STI clinic to get tested. That was a first for me and a very chastening experience in itself. The results came back showing some minor infection and for which a short course of antibiotics was prescribed. Thankfully, I probably just dodged a bullet. The nurse delivering the results asked me if I had the contact details for the partner that may have infected me so that she too could be tested. I was tempted to ask her ‘Which one?’ but instead just simply shook my head and she seemed to understand. I was grateful to her for not being too judgemental and vowed to be much more careful in the future.

Finally, a few thoughts and musings on Thailand and my travels:

Travel when and while you can. As we get older, health and other considerations and responsibilities make travel much more difficult. Not to mention Covid and other unforeseen catastrophes and complications. I have known many people who had a dream to travel the world when they reached retirement age but then discovered that they were past all that when the time came and didn’t want to be away from their home routines for any longer than a few days or maybe a week in the sun.

The further you travel away from home the better the experience. Feel the fear and do it anyway. You won’t regret it. You will only regret the things that you didn’t do.

Don’t be worried about being alone out there. The vast, vast majority of people in the world are good, decent and kind-hearted and will help a traveller in trouble if any misfortune should befall you.

Familiarity breeds contempt / boundaries – so don’t keep going back to the same places. Keep pushing and exploring new boundaries. There’s a world of travel experiences out there just waiting for you. A trip to Thailand can easily be combined with a visit to Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, China, Hong Kong… the possibilities are almost endless.

Things that you never imagined possible or dreamed of can easily happen when you cast off the shackles and live in the moment as we inevitably do when we are alone and far from home.

You don’t need to behave like a two-week millionaire to have a good time. Be generous but prudent with your money and it can stretch your holiday to three weeks instead of two. Use windfalls or any unexpected bonuses / dividends to further fund your travels. You won’t get much / any interest on money in the bank these days or as one recent contributor said, there’s not much room for savings in a coffin!

Learn a few words of the language and treat the ladies / locals with respect. They are just doing a job – often an unsavoury one – and trying to get along. We all know that it’s their role to extract as much money as possible from a tourist customer in exchange for goods and services. If the price seems too high or the goods / services / provider don’t appeal, then simply ‘jog on’.

Those of us in the Western / First World are born with privileges. It may not always feel that way but compared to people born in poorer / third world countries we have unbelievable choices available to us in life. If you think you have problems or you think Covid has f*cked your world just remember that you won’t die from thirst, cold, hunger, boredom or poverty while we await the vaccine. If you offered the chance to swap places and problems with / to somebody in the third / developing world they would take your hand off at the shoulder in their eagerness to shake on it. So get over yourself, stop brooding over what you’ve missed in these pandemic times and whingeing about our first world problems. Count your blessings and be prepared to share your good fortune with others less fortunate.

I will conclude this submission as I started it with a reminder to all readers to act on Larry Cameron’s encouragement and consider writing a Stickman reader’s submission yourself. You don’t need to be an established writer or scribe. Initially it took me a while to get off the mark but there are so many potential topics available from your favourite bar, beer, bar girl, hotel, restaurant, beach, funny incident, etc that most of us have at least a few stories in us. At the least we all have opinions and they can make for interesting submissions. If anonymity is a concern then be assured that Mr Stickman will not compromise your privacy and as the author you have editorial control to disguise names, dates, locations, etc. The readers’ submissions are an integral and rewarding part of the Stickman site that many us derive great enjoyment and entertainment from. Long may it continue.

Safe and happy travels, whenever they resume, and compliments of the festive season to all Stickman readers.

The author of this article cannot be contacted.