Jimmy Returns To Bangkok – Part 2
No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.
I stepped into the river again last night, a Thursday, with no hint of rain. The difference this night being alone, running solo without a wingman. I was a bit uncomfortable, so I partook in some self reflection. My first thought, was, indeed I have changed. Of course, I am 4 years older, but I am still attracted to the pretty ladies, so what’s different?
I am sitting at the rail at Country Road bar watching people and I start pigeon-holing people. I see a character looking like a relic from Woodstock, the usual Indian watch sellers, some of whom recognize me from years past and leave me alone, a nice-looking family with 2 teenagers in tow obviously from North America, the usual Thai boys that typically hang around the bars waiting for some task, a trio of black ladies from Tanzania sitting with me along the rail, bar girls foraging for food before their shift begins, another black lady who gets invited over to a farang’s table across the lane, the tourists who turn into Cowboy and snap pics on their cell phones as they walk Cowboy, all of whom have something in common, they are with people. Bangkok is best shared with someone.
I have always said most expats are either running away from something or running to something. I now believe it may be both. I am running away from Canada as I find it boring, a place where there is very little for an older gentleman to do, except perhaps hang around the local coffee shop complaining about the government, inflation, and high taxes. I am very happy to be back in the LOS which I consider to be my personal playground. However, my God, I ask, am I a punter? Perhaps, in time passed I was, but age and a wonderful Thai wife and family makes me more of a person in search of relationships that have meaning. It may be relationships with expats, mamasans I have known for years, a waitress that knows what I drink and remembers my name, or a bar girl from years past that greets me with a hug.
I start to realize that, indeed, I have changed. Having spent over a decade in Thailand does change you, and I suspect that is the case for all the older punters like me. We like the ambience, and we like the view, but we probably seldom bar fine and watching the noobs is often more fun than the ladies.
I laugh when I watch the vloggers who claim to be experts on Thailand as they record themselves walking down Sukhumvit after a month in the country. Just understanding the phrase ‘Up to you’ is a very complex thought process to a Thai lady. My wife desperately wanted to come to Thailand to see her mom before she died. I suggested she travel by herself, something she did not want to do. She really wanted to go as a family but did not want to say it. I kept asking what she wanted to do for over a week until I made the decision to go as a family and found out that made her very, very happy. There is a Thai phrase for that, but it slips my mind.
I, so far, do not see a big change in Thailand. It appears that it is business as usual. I dropped into Hillary 2 and the ambience was the same although I no longer recognized the bands playing. I shot some pool in Bar 4 (Nana) on the same table I played 4 years ago, although it was no longer named Bar 4. Soi 4 looks the same, with the same food vendors, but some bars are named differently although they look the same as years past.
I did not get into Nana Plaza yet but plan to do so this weekend. My wife arrives tonight, and we probably will go as a couple. She likes the bars as much as I do 😊. She also needs to get out with her friends. Above all else, Thai girls love to have fun, especially when some farang is paying for their drinks!
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