It was my first year in Thailand and I was enjoying my new life while at the same time making all of the usual mistakes that people new to the city tend to make.
And then I met someone who had quite an effect on me. In many ways I thought she had stepped straight out of heaven. She was as delicate as a flower and was the picture of pure femininity with that elegant grace that you only seem to find with refined Thai women. The brand new Mercedes was the only obvious sign of her parents' fortune but apart from that, she played her wealth down which endeared me to her even more. She was a student and I was her teacher at a language school.
She'd wait for me to finish my final class on Saturday and off we'd go. Coffee, dinner and then we'd often end up somewhere you could hardly call romantic like a second hand bookshop. But it didn't matter, we always had a great time.
But unlike many of the genuinely wealthy Thai girls, a group who I find it at times hard to click with, she was different. Down to earth, her feet were definitely planted firmly on the ground. She wasn't perfect. But she was close.
It goes without saying that I liked her a lot and more than that, perhaps more importantly, I admired her. There was so much about her that I just hadn't seen in any Thai women at that time. But the timing was all wrong. I was new to Thailand and I was enjoying myself. I didn't want to be tied down by a girlfriend and preferred the feeling of serendipity, exploring the city, discovering the culture, meeting new people and making new friends.
There was an attraction there but nothing ever developed. Nothing ever happened. No hand holding, no intimacy, no noting. But we both knew something was there.
If it had been a different point in time, things may have been different.
Had I made a move, I think she would have responded. Had I invited her into my apartment, I imagine she would have come. Had I wanted to have my wicked way with her, hell, I think she would have been up for it. Yes, wicked way is the right choice of words, because I wouldn't have been looking long term, so to do the dirty and then end it shortly afterwards would not have been a good move.
She was proof that even for someone new to the country, it is very easy to meet nice Thai women in Thailand and one does not need to spend all of their time in the naughty bars to meet someone.
But one also needs to be aware of the dangers of breaking a nice girl's heart.
In my story, I could have got myself into all sorts of trouble if I had pursued things and then backed out. She was from a rich family and I am sure her no doubt rich and influential father would have been most displeased to find out his little princess had been sullied by some foreign barbarian. At best, he would have pulled her out of the language school and at worst, well, I might have been found in a klong.
I liked her a lot and just didn't want to enter into something which would have been, for want of a better word, improper. If I hadn't liked her so much, I might have been a bad boy. Not pursuing it was one of the best decisions I made in my first year in Thailand.
The whole way of looking at relationships, love and sex in Thailand is so different to the West, and things can come undone very easily. Break a girl's heart and you never know just what might happen next. And if she is from a wealthy, influential or powerful family, look out!
While there is something of a sexual revolution taking place in Thailand, one has to be careful what they do and who they do it with. If you want to be a naughty boy and are not looking long term, you may well be better off in the naughty bars, or with girls who are clearly naughty girls.
Where is this pic?
Last week's pic.
This week's pic.
It was the Patumwan (MBK) intersection.
Mmmmm, many fast food vendors there…
Last week’s pic was taken at the Patumwan / MBK intersection, looking east. If I had turned right 90 degrees, you would have seen MBK.Each week the first reader to correctly state where the pic is wins a 500 baht credit at Tony's Bar in Soi Cowboy. Please note that the credit MUST be claimed within two weeks. So, to claim that prize, you must be in Bangkok at some time in the next two weeks.
FROM STICKMAN'S BAG OF EMAIL:
Several weeks ago, Stick mentioned that the Thai working girls were known to use simple access codes for their email. Two examples were given 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and nine 9's. I tried both, neither worked but undaunted I continued on keeping simplicity in mind. I started with six 1's, then six 2's and on up the scale. I arrived at a winner when I keyed in six 6's! So to those of you trying to pry into a little someone's life and her goings on you might give these codes a try. There is of course the ethical question when you're invading someone's privacy…but does that really apply to our feminine friends?
Stick to Thailand!
Likewise I enjoyed my driving in Thailand, until unwisely I strayed across the border at Surin into Cambodia…about half an hour down a dirt road past Chong Jom market, a nice young man with a gun and a red-headband stopped me and we mutually decided it would be better for me to walk back to Thailand and leave him my jeep!
We moan and we groan, but where else can you do this?
I had an absolutely unforgettable experience in Thailand. The people were kind and interesting, not uptight and fast paced like here in the Bay Area; the women were beautiful and demure, not loud, headstrong, pigs like the ones I encounter over here; and the culture was fascinating in every sense. I can still picture myself riding drunk on the back of a motorcycle taxi to Soi Cowboy, getting Indian food for dinner and then walking to Nana Plaza, playing quiz nights at The Londoner, watching football matches at Gulliver's off of Sukhumvit, and picking up pretty girls at Gulliver's on Khao San. It was just a non-stop blitzkrieg of fun.
Anyone for a cheap farang?
Remember back in the old days when you could type a word into your browser, and useful information would actually come out. Back before Nextag, Amazon, Priceline, Overstock and a handful of other companies paid so they could be on top of every search, no matter how irrelevant. This morning I typed "farang" into the box and hit enter. The following link came up on top of the search page: "Buy farang cheap on ebay.com. Huge selection". I had to check it out of course. Unfortunately they must be out of stock at the moment. If you are in the market for a cheap farang though, I suggest you check back regularly. They got them on ebay!
Dealing with the problems.
Thai women and Thai society are fundamentally different from their Western counterparts. There is good and bad in everybody and everything. How you cope with it is dependent on your own attitude. Farangs will never change the way things are in Thailand, that is a given. If aspects of Thai culture, behavior and lifestyle are so disturbing to a visitor in a country that person should bring himself and his load of misery somewhere else. You know what though…you can run but you can never hide. To make things work in a long term relationship, mutual respect and compromise are the order of the day.
The silly bastard.
In one of your stories was a guy who wanted to spend 2,500,000 upfront to buy a house for him and his Thai wife. The silly bastard. Instead of putting 2,500,000 baht up front I would take out a mortgage. A 25 year loan at 6.5% on 2.5M is 17,000 baht a month or 204,000 a year. If he wants to change models after 5.5 years he has only invested 1,122,000 baht. And 17,000 a month ($425) sounds cheap for a nice house. It seems that message of never buying a house outright (in her name) has not got through yet. Much better to take out a mortgage and she will think twice about throwing you out.
I had always wondered about this sort of thing.
This afternoon a very disturbing and shocking thing happened to me at a store. As I was leaving the store with my girlfriend and my grocery bags we were intercepted by a security officer. He told my girlfriend that a security guard had seen me steal a pack of ¨Celflo¨ (wet paper tissues) and then the security guy who allegedly saw me take the Celflo pack appeared. My girlfriend then started explaining to them that I always carry Celflo with me and that we bought a box of 12 Celflo at Watson's in the same shopping center. My girlfriend even invited the security guys to come back home with us, so that we could show them the box of 12 Celflo packs that we have in our bathroom. They declined to come home with us to verify and said it was a misunderstanding and let us go. So we started to leave but then I told my girlfriend we are going back in right now to talk to the manager. The lady manager came and told us it was a misunderstanding and the two security guys tried to argue but the manager told them not to talk. I have to tell you that an attitude like that is very bad for business. I was made to lose face in public. Security staff should be trained properly. I really wonder if I will ever set foot in the store again.
Certain gogo bars in Nana Plaza which have received closure orders in the past are experiencing difficulties in the administration process of receiving the new gogo bar license. This new license, in addition to several others, is now required by all gogo bars. The new license permits gogo dancing and permission for bargirls to sit with and entertain customers. New legislation states that an initial payment of 100,000 baht is required by each gogo bar. The Thai authorities have raised the cost of gogo bar licenses considerably and some bars are now also under close investigation for taxation. All things considered, running a gogo bar has become much more expensive and much more stressful than previously…but don't worry about any potential price increases due to the increased prices. Talking to one bar owner, he was shocked that I would even suggest that the bars might put their prices up, fully aware that such a move would turn customers away. I think we can safely say that drinks in the naughty bars will not be going up for a while. The bar managers and owners seem to realise that they have hit a ceiling and going higher would not result in increased profits.
Soi Cowboy has been closed at least twice in the last week at 1:00 AM. Nana Plaza was forced to close on Wednesday at 1:30 AM. Actually, it was just not Nana Plaza that the boys in brown closed, but most of the bars in Sukhumvit soi 4. Is the mooted 1:00 AM closing time coming back? Contrast this with Pattaya. Most bars close at 2:00 AM but there are still places where plenty of people are still drinking at 4:00 AM.
If you didn't know, most of the bar areas in Bangkok are closed this weekend for two Buddhist holidays. While for many this might be seen as a disappointment, spare a thought for the bar staff. The poor folk who work in the naughty bars generally only get two days off a month. Actually, they may take more days off than that, but they will be penalised (with an amount MUCH greater than what they would have earned had they gone into work). Even one farang bar manager said to me that he has been very much looking forward to this weekend as it will be the first time he has had a day off in two months!
Rumours have it that Cowboy 2 Bar might be forced to close for 30 days. I don't know why, but this bar seems to have more rumours about it than any other.
Rumours are still flying around Nana Plaza that Pretty Lady will face a closure of 30 days, but the political process (read: red tape) takes time. It seems that this time Pretty Lady cannot worm their way out of a 30 day closure but can say when they want the closure, because they are a Thai owned bar. It figures.
For all the guys who like to have a drink and play in the afternoon, you might wanna check out Hootys on Walking street. Starting Monday August 2nd, it will be open from 3:00 in the afternoon. I’m sure it’ll be popular. It is, shall we say, one of the raunchier bars!
Take a stroll from World Trade Centre towards Pratunam and even before you get to the bridge that crossed the Saen Saeb canal is a vendor selling neckties. Now I do not know what the deal is here, but she has many of the big name European brands, such as Pal Zileri, Ermenegildo Zegna etc. Now, these items being sold on the street, you know they're going to be cheap, but I didn't realise they would be quite this cheap…20 baht! Yes, 20 baht a necktie! I can only guess that they are factory seconds or they're off the back of a lorry. The quality is just too good for them to be copies, and besides, copies would sell for much more. I bought enough to last me for years. If you have to wear a tie to work, get your ass over there because I reckon you'll never find a deal this good again.
The British film crew spotted in Soi Cowboy last week could well be from the British comedy series Auf Wiedersehen Pet which is apparently being filmed in Thailand now.
Having a nosey around Panthip Plaza recently, I was amazed to see a new option offered on the price lists of many of the hardware vendors. At first I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me, but then I realised that it really was true. Many of the vendors are offering licensed versions Windows, from 98, to Millennium, to XP. I guess this has come about as a result of all of the heat that has been put on them by the BSA. Some Panthip Plaza dealers are now offering Windows versions as a paid option on their price lists for new computers. I wonder how many people choose this option?
Pattaya is reportedly very quiet at the moment although there is nothing unusual in that as it is the quiet time of the year. Then again, a month or two back when I was last down there, it was really quiet and apparently, it is even quieter now. It must be dead!
This bird flu scare has seen a few establishments cross chicken and duck off the menu again, although panic stations haven't been reached like last time. You can still get chicken at most places without a problem.
I just realised that if you have a laptop and a direct phone line, you can still use your computer and get online even when there is a power cut. Most useful because at this time of year when the rains are with us and power cuts are not uncommon.
For American readers, The Thai-Falang Board (TFB) is having its inaugural social gathering, from October 8 – 11, 2004 (Columbus Day weekend), in Las Vegas. The TFB is a forum dedicated to issues relating to Thai-falang relationships, and for the last 3 years has grown into an active online community. The gathering will be held at the Orleans Hotel and Casino and they have a lot of activities planned, including Vegas sightseeing and shopping, nightly dinners and shows, Hoover Dam tour, Lake Mead boat cruise, Thai temple visit, Thai karaoke night, golf, bowling, even powered hang-gliding. It will be a casual affair and everyone is invited including families with children. For more information, email TFB_email@yahoo.com.
Why is it that Indian restaurants are so expensive here in Bangkok? I mean, the ingredients used tend to be produced in Thailand and the chefs are usually Thai. When I'm in the mood for Indian, I often find myself going for Thai instead because Indian can be so damned expensive. For just a couple of dishes and some saffron rice, you're often looking at no change from a purple. Fortunately, I have discovered a reasonable Indian food vendor in the new Big C opposite the World Trade Centre. Up in the food court, there is a decent Indian food vendor with Indian food at Thai food court prices! Two curries, saffron rice and narn bread, all for 140 baht! It is not super high quality but it is more than acceptable – and well worth the price.
If you’re thinking of signing up for True’s high speed internet connection, then it may pay to stick to one of the slower connection plans, especially if you do not use the internet at 3:00 in the morning. All the reports coming through suggest that True desperately needs to upgrade their international bandwidth, as everyone seems to get really slow transfer speeds during the day, but decent speeds at the Ungodly hour of 3:00 AM. So if you’re a night owl, you might get the advertised speeds, otherwise, it may pay to stick to a slower (but still decent) speed plan.
And speaking of 'net connections, I have, after much recommendation from friends, given Ji-Net a go. Friends told me that the speed and reliability is the same as CS Loxinfo, the price cheaper. Not a chance! I'm not sure what these guys were drinking but for dial up connections, I have had problem after problem. I have found CS Loxinfo to be rock solid and have never experienced a drop off in speed, irrespective of the time of day. Ji-Net isn't bad, but they are just not as fast – or at least that has been my experience.
Quote of the week from a reader "The Thailand ELITE card – Easy Life In Thailand for Ex-cons".
Neither naughty Nigel nor any of his friends contacted me, so no interview with him for now….a shame really.
Many people have suggested that a search function be added to the site. For the time being there are no plans to add such a function, partly because you can use Google to search this site! When you do a search in Google, simply add site:www.stickmanbangkok.com as part of the search so Google will restrict the search to this site only. For example, to search for dowry, you would type exactly the following in the Google search bar dowry site:www.stickmanbangkok.com and bang, there are already over 50 pages found!
A Bangkok based reader has a tweaked Honda VFR750 1991/92 model USA Spec for sale. He says it has got this, that and everything else done to it but it is all double Dutch to me. But if you're a bike fan, you might be interested. Owned for 3 years, previous owner also farang. Complete with registration book, all papers and insurance sticker. This bike is legally registered and can be transferred into your name no problem. He is throwing in a whole load of goodies too. 145,000 baht ONO. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01-2854774.
Mrs. Stick's Corner
Each week, Mrs. Stick answers your questions about Thai / farang relationships and general issues that baffle the average Westerner in Thailand. Mrs. Stick likes to think of herself as an open-minded Thai lady so go ahead, ask anything because you won't shock her. Please send questions for her, via me, at the usual email address. Two questions will be chosen each week and answered in the following week's column. The responses are hers and NOT mine although I may attempt to correct her English from time to time. Please note that I may not necessarily agree with what she says. Unfortunately, she doesn't have time to reply to your inquiries via email. Questions for her should be limited to 100 words. Mr. Stick may answer the odd question in place of Mrs. Stick of he thinks he can do a better job.
Question 1: My wife and I are having a serious disagreement concerning the ceremony that will be performed when she returns home from hospital with our new baby. My wife has told me that for the first 9 days she is home her relatives will have a charcoal fire in our kitchen over which will be kettles of boiling water with leaves and herbs inside. Alongside the fire a wood plank is placed and this will be my wife's bed, the baby will be next to her. I have seen this done with our neighbours and it just seems like an excuse to have beer for breakfast, Laos whisky for dinner and play cards until 4.00 AM. There is no way I want to subject my precious wife and baby to breathe in toxic fumes for 9 days. I have been told I am being too hard for saying no to this. We are unable to find a compromise. What is your opinion?
Mrs. Stick says: The idea behind this ceremony is that it makes the mother and the newborn baby much stronger. Often it is held in a hut which is very, very hot. I'm not sure about the whisky drinking part though! I guess from your question that your wife very much wants to go through with this and that you are strongly against it. I would suggest a compromise of some sort, though how you manage that, I don't know, because the 9 would appear to be significant to the number of days it is done for.
In the last couple of days you might have noticed the odd glitch with the site. The server seems to have been in a little temperamental at times and may nit have served up pages quite how it should have. I have my eyes on it and will do my level best to eliminate any problems. As always, if something doesn't seem to right with the site, please do let me know.
Your Bangkok commentator,