Andy Canfield
Information Management Systems
andycanfield@yandex.com

Hardship Posting


There's a great book on what it's like for a man to live in Southeast Asia. It's called "Hardship Posting". It was compiled and edited by Stuart Lloyd, but the tales in the book were written by many men who lived here. Unfortunately, the web site of the URL printed in the book is gone. Stuart says in the book that I should send him stories of my adventures. Nope, but I'll send him a link to this page.

In this book the introduction to each chapter was written by a guy named "Coronel Ken". I don't think I would like Coronel Ken. He seems to have less respect for the local people than I do. I have never thought of any lady as an LBFM (Little Brown Fucking Machine). I keep a list of the ladies I have made love to. I spent twenty minutes with one lady, and twenty years with another. Each and every one of those ladies is important to me and I respect each one.

None of this is copyrighted. I don't believe in copyright. Copyright is useful for a given era of technology. That era began with the printing press, and ended with the Internet.

Warning: I hate euphemisms. I once had a girlfriend who would refuse to sleep with me. She would come over every afternoon and fuck, then put her clothes back on and go somewhere else to sleep. If you can't stand the real words, you won't like these pages.

Dirty Old Man

I live in Thailand. I am a polygamist. At one stage I used to say that my wife was the same age as I was. One wife wa 25, the other was 32, and 25 + 32 is 57, my age at the time. I am now 67 years old. I had a Japanese-American girlfriend when I was 20, and she used to say that I was the youngest dirty old man she ever met. So I haven't changed all that much.

When my mother turned 40, my Dad would joke that he was going to turn her in for two 20's. Well, Dad, I did. On the other hand, my Dad used to say "All women are the same upside down." Sorry, Dad, that's not true. But then again, I've done more research than you.

Sunnyvale

My first story takes place not in Asia at all. I was living in Sunnyvale, California. I occasionally visited a gogo bar on El Camino Real. I had been 'very married' for almost twenty years. I was so ignorant, I did not even figure out that I could probably take one of the ladies out with me. I would go into the gogo bar, watch for an hour or so, then leave a tip with one of the ladies and go home.

Then I noticed that there was a weird place next door. From the single men going in, and the single men coming out, and the smiles on their faces, I figured it was a whore house. But of course, in California every brothel must have a front, a facade, some legitimate operation that they pretend to be which hides their real services. What puzzled me about this business was that I could not figure out what the facade was.

One night as I was getting to my car, a beautiful oriental lady came over. She said that she was psychic, and that she find my name from her psychic powers. Well, I had to wait for that, yes? She said "I ... feel ... your ... name ... is ...'Andy'! Yes?" Sure enough, my name is Andy. How she figured out my name I could not imagine. So we talked a bit. I found out that she worked in that mysterious business. I learned that it was a 'massage parlor'. So I decided that some time soon I would go in there.

I did go in there. She became my girlfriend for a while. I found out where her "psychic" powers came from. The CFO of the company I worked at was a customer of hers. He had told her about me, and about my incredible kit car. She saw the car and remembered what he had told her.

Her name was 'Christine Phan'. She was a Vietnamese refugee. She was beautiful, and sweet, and a compulsive liar. Almost any person will tell the truth, unless they need to lie. She would lie, unless for some reason she needed to tell the truth. Her default mode of speech was to lie.

I remember once, on a Monday morning, a mutual friend asked me what I had done on the weekend, and I told him "I don't know." The amazing thing was that he understood. I had been with Christine, and I did not know what her story was, and I did not want to contradict whatever lie she was telling people. If I knew her lie I could tell as much of the truth as agreed with her story, and keep my mouth shut about anything that would contradict her lie, but since I had not heard her story yet I did not dare say anything.

Fifty Years Old

There's a book called "Dave Barry Turns 50". In it he moans about how old he's getting, and tries to escape from his old age. Well, Mr. Dave Barry, I live in Thailand, and I fathered THREE children since I turned 50.

When my 50th birthday was coming up, I figured I would have to remember that birthday until I turned 100, So I wanted it to be very very special. It turned out just prime.

A few days before my 50th birthday I had to fly to Bangkok for work. On the morning of my 50th birthday, I woke up in my hotel room and made love to Tong, my Thai mistress ("mia noi"). Then I showered, dressed, check out of the hotel, and flew back to Banphai. There I had dinner with Jen and our children; Jen being my (non-legal) wife. That night, after the kids were asleep, I made love to Jen. That was my 50th birthday celebration; making love to two wonderful girlfriends in the same day.

I must confess; Tong knew about Jen, but Jen did not know about Tong, and Jen eventually got suspicious and left me, taking the kids with her. Ah well. But a good memory for the following 49 years and 364 days, yes? When she left me, Jen was pregnant.

A Four-Night Week

Sunday I was planning to take the bus from my hometown (Banphai) to Bangkok. But my ex-wife Aw (We were still sleeping together but she had gotten a divorce already) talked me into staying over one more night. So I did, and she made love with me. In retrospect this was the last time Aw and I every made love.

Monday When Aw started working in the go-go bars of Bangkok Noi knocked on my door as if to say "Is tere an available farang here?". But I would not sleep with her because Noi was still living with her ex-husband. Monday mornng Aw, Noi, and I took the bus to Bangkok. Noi was going to work in the bar with Aw, and sleep upstairs like most of the ladies did. But the bar was closed that night for some Thai holiday. Aw was going to sleep with a co-worker. But where would Noi sleep? "Humbly, I leaped into the breach." Aw suggested that Noi sleep at my apartment in Bangkok for one night. So I slept with Noi Monday night, and we made love Tuesday morning. This was the first time Noi and every made love.

Tuesday Well, on Tuesday the bars were open, and Noi went to work. I went to my favorite gogo bar, Five Star on Soi Cowboy. I took out Pat that night. I slept with Pat Tuesday night.

Wednesday By Wednesday afternoon my official work was done. So I caught the bus back to Banphai where my girlfriend Chaliao was waiting for me. Wednesday night I slept with Chaliao, although we did not make love intil Saturday. Come on, there are limits to my stamina.

So there you have it. I slept with Aw on Sunday night. I slept with Noi on Monday night. I slept with Pat on Tuesday night. I slept with Chaliao on Wednesday night. And they all knew about each other. "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas any more."

A Language Story

At the time I was living with Aw. She spoke English quite well. But one day she asked me "How do you spell ol' lady?" I said "Wait a second. Do you mean OLD LADY or do you mean ALL LADIES." She replied "No! I went to the market ol' lady."

Stolen Passport

One time I was living in Vientiane, Laos, and my bag was stolen. Everything was in it - passport, bank book, papers, everything. But in retrospect it was worth it for just one sentence.

I went to the U.S. Embassy and explained about my passport getting stolen. The new passport would take a couple of weeks. It should arrive by February 14. OK, I got the paperwork done and got the receipt from the embassy saying my new passport would be there on the 14th.

Then I went to the Lao immigration police and told them my story. There were three of them sitting around this room. I showed them the receipt from the embassy. This one nasty immigration cop said "I suppose you want to stay here until the fourteenth?" as if I had to grovel for his permission. I turned to him and gave him my sweetest smile and said "I can't go anywhere, I don't have a passport."

Any of us who have dealt with the immigration police of ANY country will appreciate that sentence. After decades of being terrorized by immigration police, I effectively told him "screw you". It was sweet. It was worth all the trouble.

Speaking of trouble, When I finally got my new passport, I returned to Thailand and went to my bank branch to get a new passbook. My legal name is 'Andrew Jay Canfield'. They took AN HOUR to find my account in their computers. They searched under 'A' for 'Andrew'. They searched under 'C' for 'Canfield'. They even searched under 'J' for "Jay'. Finally, after an hour, they found it - under 'M' for 'Mr.'. I don't know why Thai banks do that;

The Tabian Bahn

Also stolen was my 'tabian bahn'. This is a Thai government document that says where you live. It is a booklet with the address on the first page and each subsequent page lists one of the people who live at that address. For Thai people the cover is blue; for a foreigner the cover is yellow. I have carefully NOT maintained any legal residence in the United States, so this is my only legal residence anywhere on Earth. It is not easy for a foreigner to get a tabian bahn. I got mine a few years earlier when I owned a company and had a work permit. Several years after the theft, I figured it would be good to have a legal residence somewhere. So I went to the district and talked nice to them and sure enough, my name was still on their computers. So today I have my tabian bahn.

Oh, one more word of warning. The tabian bahn is controlled by the person who owns the property. So, unlike the USA, you usually cannot get a tabian bahn showing the address of a house you rent. Almost every person from rural Thailand has a tabian bahn giving their address as their parents' home in the village, even though that person actually lives in some big city somewhere else. That's why the population of Bangkok is sometimes listed as five million, and sometimes as ten million. The five million counts people who have a tabian bahn address in Bangkok; the other five million people sleep in Bangkok but have a tibian bahn address in some village somewhere. When a Thai person votes, they have to vote at their tabian bahn address. Thai elections are always on a Sunday. God help you if you have to leave Bangkok that weekend. Along with the other five million people going to vote, the traffic is incredible.

The address shown on this web site is the place I rent where I actually sleep. It is in the town of Banphai, in the province of Khonkaen. Thanks to the permission of the owner, It is the address on my tabian bahn,

Pat #1

I was a regular at the Five Star Bar on Soi Cowboy. One of the dancers was a lady named Pat. (I call her Pat number one because a few years later there was a Pat number two). I would take Pat out sometimes and make love to her and I liked her. Then she was absent for a few weeks. Then she showed up and I learned this story.

She had been living in an apartment with her Thai boyfriend. They were busted by the police for posession of (small) amounts of yaa baa, amphetamines. She got one month in prison, he got six months. She also got probation.

I took her out of the bar, and she took me out to the prison and I met her boyfriend. That is probably not something you would experience in Kansas.

For her probation, once or twice a month she had to spend the day at a police facility with all the other ladies on probation. There were lectures, of course. Also, they took a sample of her hair and tested it for drugs. So she knew that she absolutely, for sure, could not take any more yaa-baa.

But because she and her boyfriend had been taking amphetamines for a long time, she knew all the drug dealers in Bangkok. She absolutely could not take the stuff while the police were testing her hair. But she could sell it. She started selling amphetamines. She knew all the dealers, she knew many of the customers, she started making good money, selling it but not taking it. Good profits. She made so much money that she quit her regular job at the gogo bar and I never saw her again. Thanks to the Thai police, she could make more money selling drugs than dancing.

Last I heard, Pat #1 had settled down; she and her boyfriend have had two or three children together.

How I Met Chaliao

I would go to Bangkok on a business trip every month. The last night of the trip I would show up in the Apache Gogo Bar on Soi Cowboy. I was friendly, but AFAIK not yet intimate, with the owner of the bar, a nice lady named "Tong".

Well, one night I was in Apache and noticed a cute chubby shy girl hiding in the rear corner. So I sat near the back and kept my eye on her.

She was the cleaning lady. Whenever a customer would spill his beer she would come out with a mop and clean up after him. I got her to come over and talk to me. We talked for quite a while. By gogo bar standards, I was getting serious. Her name was 'Chaliao', pronounce "CHA-LEO".

Suddenly Tong taps me on the shoulder. She points to a lady standing behind my back and says "You're going to sleep with her tonight." Well, that lady looked OK. So I turned to Chaliao and shrugged my shoulders with my hands palm up, as if to say "What can I do?" Chaliao waved her hands at me as if to say "No problem." So I slept with that other lady that night, and went home the next morning.

The next month I was in Apache again and talked to Chaliao again and there was no interference. I was quite pleased with Tong's interference the month before. Apparently Chaliao had only just come to Bangkok a few days before; she was a novice. Nobody at the bar figured that anyone would want to take out the cleaning lady, for God's sake. So they had not yet trained her on the deal: what you can expect, what you must do, what will happen, that sort of thing. So the first night I saw her she was friendly but completely ignorant of the bar lady protocols and so Tong had saved her from me. A month later Tong had taught Chaliao all she needed to know and it was OK to take Chaliao out for the night.

When I showed up at Apache a month or two later, Chaliao was nowhere in sight. But I did find her a year later. Today, fifteen years after we met, we are living together with our six year old son. Chaliao is fat, ugly, and stupid, but a kind heart and she loves me very much and I am committed to take care of her.

The Bar Code

  • You gotta buy her a drink.
  • You gotta buy her best friend a drink.
  • If you want to make love to her, you offer to pay her bar fine ("pay bar"). She is not obligated to go with you, it's her choice.
  • If she does accept your offer of a bar fine, she is committed to fuck you. She can insist on a condom, but she must fuck. I have heard of one instance where a customer paid a lady's bar find, and she refused to screw him, and the next day he went back to the bar and they refunded the bar fine to him. You can be sure that didn't look good on her resume.
  • You should work out ahead of time whether it is for "short time" (just long enough to screw, an hour or two) or for "long time" (overnight). Sometimes 'overnight' means sleep and wake up together, which is nice, sometimes it merely means she walks out at dawn, which is not so nice.
  • When she leaves, you give her money. In Bangkok a long time ago it was five hundred baht; ten years ago it was a thousand baht. Today they seem to have pushed it up to two thousand baht. Don't think of it as paying for sex, think of it as alimony. She's leaving you, and she's got to feed herself and her mother and her children and her father and her father's sick buffalo until she can find another man.

Why do you pay the bar fine? I've heard a lot of stupid statements from tourists about this. The usual one is "The bar will lose her services for a while and so you must compensate them." That's dumb. The real skinny is that there are three parties to paying the bar fine, and each party has their own reasons for wanting you to pay the bar fine:

  • You want to pay the bar fine because by accepting your bar fine she is committed to fucking you. She can insist on a condom, but she has to let you screw her.
  • She wants you to pay the bar fine because, by paying her bar fine, you prove that you have money and are willing to spend it on her. Nobody likes a "cheap charlie".
  • The bar wants you to pay the bar fine because, of course, they get the money.

By getting you to pay the bar fine, the lady is assured that she will have a job when she comes back to the bar. If there is no bar fine paid, then when she comes back she has no job. In one extreme case the bar discouraged me from paying the lady's bar fine because she was a pain in the ass to them and they want the chance to fire her.

One of the best kept secrets in Bangkok is that the lady gets part of the bar fine money. It is such a well kept secret that most of the ladies don't even realize it. For example, at Five Star the bar fine used to be four hundred baht. At the end of the month, if the lady had been taken out two times, she got a three hundred baht bonus. Four times, a six hundred baht bonus. Six times, a nine hundred baht bonus. I know, I've paid it many times. At Midnight Bar, the lady was officially paid fifteen thousand baht per month salary. But if she only got taken out a few times, they would cut that salary by a few thousand baht. I know; the lady was my ex-wife. But the algorithm is so complex that the lady does not think of it as getting part of the money. If you ask her whether she gets part of that money she will honestly say "no".

At Five Star, there is, of course, a one night bar fine. But there is also an un-advertised "permanent bar fine." A few years ago the nightly bar fine was four hundred baht, and the permanent bar fine was ten thousand baht. If you pay the nightly bar fine, the lady has to come back the next day, either to work or to pay another day's bar fine. Pay the permanent bar fine, and you can keep the lady out as long as you wish - weeks, months, even years. When she comes back, she still has a job. I know, because I've paid the permanent bar fine at Five Star four times: once for Aw, once for Pat #1, and twice for Chaliao. (Chaliao was living with me up in Roiet and she got jealous, so I threw her out, but eight months later I went to the bar and asked her to come back.)

Police

In my experience, the local police in Thailand are very nice people.

I have lived in Thailand for two decades, and only once have I ever paid a 'bribe' to a policeman. Once, on December 31, I was driving the motorcycle up in Udon province, way out of my usual territory. My girlfriend was on the back seat. This policeman stopped us because I had made some (minor) illegal manouver.

He told me that the fine was five hundred baht. I knew it was 31 December, and figured he was going to put the money in his pocket. But I thought I would have some fun with him anyway. So I sweetly said "Do I give it to you or do I go to the police station?" He said "You can just pay me." I smiled and handed him the five hundred baht and drove away.

First rule: If a policeman asks you for money, give it to him. Second rule: Don't ask for a receipt.

I get along very well with them. I met one foreigner living in Banphai who no longer had enough money to go on visa runs. So the local police had been holding his passport for a several years.

On the other hand, in order to work for the Immigration Police you have to pass a test for asshole.

The Law Firm

For a year or two I worked at a the oldest law firm in Thailand. I won't say their name. Companies are supposed to have one set of books. Some companies are accused of having two sets of books. This firm had an infinite set of books. EVERY NUMBER ON EVERY REPORT WAS COMPUTED DIFFERENTLY DEPENDING ON WHO WOULD READ IT. A guy would be a partner for one report, an employee for a different report, and an outside consultant for a third. My advice to you programmers is never get involved with an accounting department in a law firm that has had a hundred years to create exceptions to their exceptions to their exceptions. And, being lawyers, they believed all this shit.

In the west there is a tradition of hating lawyers. Question: What to you call ten thousand dead lawyers at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean? Answer: A good start. Question: What is black and tan and looks good on a lawyer? Answer: A doberman.

Well, I find I hate accountants. I finally figured out that it's basically the same reason. Both lawyers and accountants have a set of rules that they demand everyone else obey. If you don't obey the law, if you don't fill out your expense report properly, up yours.

The best thing about working for God is that you don't have to keep receipts.

Arakka

One year I got a crazy idea and founded my own company. Yes, it was a legal Thai company. I called it "Arakka". In order to hire myself, and I had to hire four Thai people also. Minimum wage, of course. The office was my rented house. The cleaning lady was Chaliao, who also lived with me and slept with me. The secretary was another Thai lady who would come in each day and play games on the Internet. The two other Thai employees never had to show up at the office, every month I gave each of them a check which made the situation legal.

It was a disaster. The reason was that I am a good programmer but really don't know or care anything about business. The FIRST thing I should have done was hire somebody to be CEO. But I tried to be head of the company myself and I really don't know anything about that stuff.

For example, about nine months into our first fiscal year, the word came down that we had to pay an accountant certified by the Thai government to go over the books and make sure that our books had been kept in accordance with Thai legal regulations on books. My reaction was "Books? We're supposed to have books?"

I tell people that if Thai society likes what you are doing it doesn't matter if it is illegal. If they don't like what you are doing they will stop you, and the law is one of the tools they can use to stop you. A good example is the day I went to the labor department office to get my work permit. Here I was, never had a work permit before. I worked at a Thai company at the time, and some of the people there wanted to come along with me. So I let them. Here I was, sitting in front of the lady at the labor department, and Tui pipes up and says "Oh, he's a good programmer. He's written all our programs for many years." Argh! Tui didn't realize that she was testifying to a crime on my part. The Labor Department lady just smiled and continued processing my application.

Big Alex

I knew a farang from Sweden I call "Big Alex". He was, well, sex oriented. Very.

One time he told me about someone he had taken out from a bar, and when they got to his hotel it turned out to be a man in drag. Big Alex told me "What the Hell, I fucked her anyway."

One night Big Alex rented a room at the guest house (cheap hotel) that I was staying at. I found out why. He had taken a lady out of a bar and wanted to screw her, and he needed a room. Why did he need a room? Because he had another lady staying in his other hotel room. That was Big Alex.

However, Big Alex did something that was one of the most decent things I've ever heard of. He had a wife, a legal Thai wife. He also had a Thai mistress. He also screwed around a lot. In fact, he screwed around so much that he got himself an HIV infection. And, of course, he gave it to his wife. And he gave it to his mistress.

Big Alex was from Sweden, where the government will supply the very expensive drugs needed to treat an HIV infection. They won't cure it, but they will suppress it. So he took his wife back to Sweden and he and his wife lived with his mother in Stockholm until she could get permanent residence and the free drugs. Then he divorced his wife, and flew back to Thailand, and married his mistress, and took his (new) wife back to Sweden where he and his (old) wife and his (new) wife lives with his mother until both wives wife could get the drugs. Imagine having to explain that situation to your mother. But last I heard, the old wife was still alive, living in Sweden, but the mistress / wife didn't have enough brains to take her medicine regularly and she died.

Big Alex also did one of the most stupid things I've ever heard of. On one of his visits to Cambodia, he fell in love with a Cambodian girl. She was fourteen years old. So he married her, with her parents permission.

When the Khymer Rouge controlled Cambodia, they burned all the paperwork, so nobody there has the original birth certificate. So they arranged to get this girl a new birth certificate saying that she was eighteen years old. Then Big Alex proceeded to get her a visa to the USA and moved to the US with her. They lived in Oklahoma together for a few years, at one point visiting Las Vegas together.

Do you see the flaw in the plan? It all worked well, until the had a fight. Then the Cambodian girl told the police her real age, and Big Alex was whooshed away to prison for "taking a minor across state lines for immoral purposes." Today, years later, he's still stuck in Oklahoma.

The lesson from this story? Take 'em if you dare, marry 'em if you're dumb, but never, ever, take one to Oklahoma. Americans call it "falling in love"; I call it "falling in stupid."

Three districts

Bangkok has three red-light districts for western foreigner men:

  1. Patpong, which is for dumb tourists who want to see something they'll never get to see back home.
  2. Nana Plaze, which is for foreign men who live in Bangkok and want to get laid.
  3. Soi Cowboy, which is for lonely western men who want to meet lonely Thai ladies, and vice-versa.
Every hooker has, hidden in her heart, the dream of meeting a knight in shining armour riding a white stallion who will whisk her off and make her dreams come true. The longer she's been selling her pussy in Bangkok, the more faded that dream becomes, but every prositute in Bangkok hides that dream deep in her heart. At Soi Cowboy it is fairly close to the surface, and you can find a girlfriend if you want one. On Patpong it is a deep memory of a long time ago and rarely comes to life.

By the way, one of the more amazing things I've seen on Patpong was an ugly lady sitting in the corner of a bar. she was wearing what looked like a bicycle chain around her neck. Except that the "bicycle chain" was made out of gold. It must have cost a fortune. The Patpong hookers would get money from their customers, then give it to this lady who was a lesbian and could make the ordinary hookers feel good. Then the lesbian with the chain would collect money from the Patpong hookers. She sure had the money, and she did not keep it in a bank!

Licking

I was married to Aw for several years; we even had a son together. Finally she wanted a divorce, and I gave it to her. Then she moved back to Bangkok to work in the bars on Soi Cowbooy.

One night I was in a bar on Soi Cowboy and there was a "lesbian show"; two women having sex with each other. Hey, one of those women was my ex-wife! Aw was getting her pussy licked by the other lady. After the show I bought her a drink. I asked if I should get that other lady to give me lessons on how to lick pussy. She told me "You don't need any lessons." I thought that was a nice compliment.

My ex-wife is Aw. I still love her. Every once in a while I find myself still trying to seduce her. But she's got a new boyfriend now.

Two What?

There was a story in the Bangkok Post one time. It was about two men who came from England to have sex change operations so they could fly back to London and live together as lesbians. There isn't even any word for that in English! That's what I like about Thailand; you can create your own lifestyle.

Wandering Jen

I lived with my lady Jen for several years. She used to drive me crazy one way. She would wander around the house, then pick something up, then wander around the house, then put it down, then wander around the house, then pick something else up, then wander around the house, then put the other thing down. I never knew where anything was; I had to always ask her where is this or that. Somehow she could remember where she put something, but a week later it might be somewhere else. One morning I woke up. I wanted to go to work, but I could not, because I could not find my underwear and Jen had gone to the market. I had to wait until she got back before I could get dressed.

But I must have liked her; we had two kids together. Last I heard she was living down in Phuket with a new farang that she married; I did his web site for him. I never get jealous of my ex's new boyfriend; I just hope she's happy.

Nok

After I had been in Thailand for a year, I hooked up with a lady named 'Nok'. (face it; half the ladies in Thailand are named 'Nok', the other half are named 'Noi'). Nok and I moved in to a guest house in what must be, by definition, the best neighborhood in Thailand. Where was it? Across the street from the Royal Palace. The Thai King himself must have slept a few doors from us, but we never met him. A few months later I went back to the place but it was no longer functioning as a guest house.

Oh, by the way, the first rule of survival in Thailand is: do not say ANYTHING about the King. It is illegal to insultthe King. Even if you don't think it's an insult some Thai person might think it is less than adoration, and turn you into the police. I once was on Patpong when a girl came up to me and asked for ten baht. So I took a twenty baht bill out of my pocket and tore it in half and offered her one of the halves. She ran off and brought back the police who took me down to their police car at one end of the street. They explained that Thai currency has a picture of the King on it, so defacing the currency can be considered an insult to the King. We sat there, and talked a bit, for maybe a half hour. Finally they found out that I was, at that time, a professor at Chulalongkorn University, the most presigeous university in Thailand. Then they let me go.

I have been careful ever since never to deface Thai currency. If you must get rid of a picture of the King, give it to a Thai person to dispose of properly and respectfully. And, to be on the safe side, never say anything about the King. Even if I say "He's a good man", I am afraid that somebody will respond "Ahah! You said he was merely a man!" That's disrespectful!" So don't say anything about the King.

Thai language lesson

Of course, the first Thai word you should learn is "HONG NAM". it means "toilet" or "bathroom". It is very handy when you get off the bus and the crowd of touts are swarming around you shouting "where you go?"; you can now tell them you are going to the toilet. That shuts them up, whether or not you go to the toilet.

A useful phrase in spoken Thai is "KOPE JAI LAI". It means "Thank you very much".

When the touts come up to you and offer you a bar or a taxi or anything else, you can say "MAI OW CRAHP" spoken with a rising tone on the last syllable. Literally it is the perfectly proper way, in Thai, to decline an offer. But by implication it also means "Don't bother me, I'm not a dumb tourist."

But my favorite word in Thai is "กอด". The first character is a "G". The second character is a vowel, pronounced like "AWE" but can be written as "O". The third character is a "D" but should be pronounced like a "T". It can be transliterated as "God". It means "to hug".

"She wants to sleep with you"

I was in Bangkok, living with my darling baby girl Alee. That week we were sleeping in a guest house. Alee's mother was in Bangkok, too; we saw her sometimes.

One night Alee was asleep and I heard a knock on my door. I opened the door. There stood a lady that I had met, briefly, that afternoon. But she was not looking at me, she was looking to her left, down the corridor. So I stuck my head out the door and looked down the corridor also. About ten meters away Alee's mother was standing there. She said "She wants to sleep with you." I looked back at the lady in front of me, said "OK", and opened the door wider. The lady came in and spent the night. Never saw her again.

Sign Language

Probably the quickest proposition I ever received was in the Pink Panther gogo bar on Patpong 2. I walked in the front door and was walking past the dancing poles towards the table in the corner. A lady who was dancing pointed to me, pointed to herself, made a circle of the index finger and thumb of one hand, and shoved the index finger of the other hand in and out, in and out, of the circle. Obviously she was pantomiming sex between her and me. The funny thing was that I had not eveb reached my table yet, I had not bought her a drink yet, She had not said anything to me yet and I had not said anything to her. Just two ships passing in the night, the captain of one ship giving hand signals to the captain of the other ship. (Disclaimer: I don't remember whether we wound up in bed or not; I must check my Ladies list.)

"Mommy, I want that man for my Daddy"

Coming back from a trip to Laos one spring, I was sitting in the Nongkhai train station waiting for train time. I saw a cute female standing a few meters away. Then she turned and I could see that she had no boobs. I could see her face well, she was a child, Well, I don't do children. She was standing with an older lady, obviously her mother. I smiled at them, and they smiled at me. We started talking. When the train pulled out we sat together. We talked for three hours.

At one point we played a little game where I would point and say the English word and then one of them would point at something and say the English word for that. It went a few rounds and then I pointed to the girl and said "Daughter". The girl pointed at the lady and said "Mother". The lady pointed at me and said "Father". Well, I was startled, but I recovered and said "OK" and we went another round on the game. On the next round I got designated as "Father" again but this time I was not surprised by it.

At another point they revealed that the girl's birthday was a few weeks away, at the end of the month. I was invited. As they got off the train in Khonkaen, they walked past me, and the mother sniffed my cheek, which is the Thai equivalent of a kiss.

I learned a few months later that, while we were all at the Nongkhai train station, and nobody had said anything to anyone yet, the girl turned to her mother, pointed to me, and said "Mommy, I want that man for my Daddy." I guess, with that departing kiss, Mommy said "OK".

I showed up at their house a few weeks later on a Friday. I slept over on the floor of the living room and they slept with me. I slept over Saturday night also. Sunday was the girl's birthday and I slept over Sunday night also. Finally, on Sunday might, mommy and I made love for the first time. Now I know some women need preliminaries, but THREE DAYS must be some kind of record.

Traffic

Knowing the way Thais drive their motorcycles, I warn you to look both ways before crossing the sidewalk.

One day I certainly came out ahead in a showdown with a taxi. I was crossing Silom road at the Rama 4 intersection going North. When you get most of the way across there is a turn lane next to the curb. I was in good clothes carrying my briefcase from the office. There was a taxi, with no passenger, coming towards me perhaps 30 meters away. He saw me as I came to his lane and speeded up to intimidate me. So I stayed on the sideline, he would have passed me. But I held out my briefcase at arm's length. If I held that position and he continued on his path he would have smashed his taxi and my briefcase would have gone straight into his windshield right in front of his driver's seat, right into his face. So He slammed on his brakes. As soon as I saw him slow down I took back the briefcase and smiled at him as he drove past me - slowly.

The Freezer Train

Once my Thai colleage and I had to take an overnight train from Banphai to Bangkok. He got the time and the tickets and we caught the train together.

It was FREEZING! It felt like the inside of an ice truck. Every person in that train car has something wrapped around their head, a towel or jacket or something.

I could not stand it. So after an hour or so I got off at a stop and waited for the next train. Cost me a small bit of money but well worth the warmth.

But I did a wrong thing. I did not wake up my friend when I left. He woke up a couple of hours later to find I was gone. When I got to the office he was very worried. I apologized.

My Big Big Honey


There's a book called "Hello My Big Big Honey". I've never read it, but I've met the lady on the cover. I was walking down the street one day from my guest house to the hotel on the corner where they have a coffee shop. I saw this lady. She seemed to be some kind of archetype of a Bangkok hooker. So I struck up a conversation. She took me into the coffee shop and showed me the book cover tacked to the bulletin board there. Sure enough, that was the lady I was talking to. I think I bought her lunch, I'm not sure. Afterwards I went back to my cheap guest house room and she went with me. We took our clothes off and climed in bed. But no sex developed. We talked. She wanted money to buy a pair of shoes, so I went with her and bought her a pair of shoes.

A month or two later I was a nightly regular at one of the upstairs bars on Patpong. There were 3-4 ladies who sat with me every night. I did not have sex with any of them, but I bought them drinks. It was good for them because the boss thought they were working, and if anyone came in who was attractive the lady would get up and leave me and go hustle him. A pleasant deal all around.

Well, one night, in walked the Big Big Honey lady. All the gals that usual sat with me went over to talk with her. Then they did not come back. I sat alone. Finally, one of them came to me and revealed that the Honey lady had told them that she had gone to bed with me, naked. I said yes, but that I did not screw her, we just talked. That word spread, and all my usual seatmates came back. The Honey lady just hung around all night, not talking to the customers.

The next night the Honey lady did not appear. She never showed up again. My theory is that she showed up at that bar and applied for a job, and was accepted provided that the next day she went down to the hospital and got an HIV test. My theory is that she flunked the HIV test and that's why she never came back to that bar. And my theory is that the ladies who usually sat with me knew that the Honey Lady would flunk the HIV test and that's why they avoided me.

So think about it. Look at that lady who is on the cover of that book. AFAIK she's dead now.

Sonkran

As I write this it is now Sonkran. That is a three day holiday in Thailand, April 13, 14, and 15. It is an annual water festival and, among younger people, the annual three day water fight. Figure on being wet for three days. Take the papers out of your wallet. Warning: The ink they used to stamp your passport when you come into the county is water soluble; get doused at Sonkran and all your carefully kept visa stamps become a blue puddle.

The water throwing actually starts about noon on April 12. Three days later, mid-day April 15, it has pretty much dribbled out. If you really want to go somewhere and stay dry, like going to 7/11 for food, go there at dawn. The water throwers don't start that early. Or go after sunset; for some reason they don't throw water much after sunset. But plan on being wet for three days.

I once had to bring home my sick baby girl on a train duing Sonkran. On the train it was OK. But to get to my house I had to walk up the railroad tracks. If I had walked on the street we would have gotten soaked.

Fortunately it's the hot part of the year, so being wet does not mean being cold.

You will be wet for three days. Leave all your electronic gear at home - telephone, camera, iPad, Android tablet, watch, whatever. If it's got a battery, leave it at home. I have see a Thai lady taking a picture using her phone inside a plastic bag; I don't know how well that works.

Don't throw water indoors. That seems obvious, but parents must teach their children. If somebody is driving a motorcycle, don't hit him in the face with a bucket of water - you could cause an accident. That counts for automobiles also; you can throw water on the people in the back of a pickup truck but don't throw water on the people INSIDE the vehicle.

The polite way to bless someone during Sonkran is to walk up to them and show them to hold their hands out. Then pour some water over their hands, keeping it off of the rest of their bodies. That is a polite thing you can do with old people, even policemen.

You will see many people riding in pickup trucks with barrels of water in the back. They throw the water at others as the truck drives around town. It's OK, but I prefer to walk. In the truck it's not so personal. Walking, I can meet a group of five people and walk up to the shy lady in the middle and pour warm water down her back and she is happy.

Some people throw icewater. At first it was fun; there were a few cold barrels of water in my entire town. But now it seems as if half the water is ice cold, and it is NOT fun. It is painful. (so says grumpy old man.)

But more than anything else, Sonkran is insane, and that's what it makes it wonderful. Can you imagine, in any other country, having a nationwide water fight?