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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Nan -- With The Lot II



E@L was kidnapped today. Taken from the Chiang Mai airport, whisked off in a dark van by a person who spoke no English, and driven for hours into places unknown.

"Are we going to my hotel?" asked E@L. "Le Meridien in Chiang Mai. I have booked on the internet for tonight until next Friday."

The driver looked confused. "No go Chiang Mai. Tonight I go witchew Nan."

Nan. That was the name of the hospital E@L was to do the demo at tomorrow.

"But tonight I stay Chiang Mai hotel, right"

"No, no. I take you Nan." It is a very long 'a' in Nan: Naaaaaaahn.

We had been driving for two hours already, which is why E@L thought he had better check.

"Nan is, tree, tree… tree tousant kilometer. Take [he held up three fingers] four hours more to drive. You go Nan two day, Chiang Mai I drive you Friday."

Shit. For some reason, E@L had done this trip's accommodation booking himself, online. That means he had to pay in advance. Shit. He had no idea that Nan Hospital was not in Chiang Mai. That there was actually an entire province, 200km (not 3000) from Chiang Mai, called Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahn.

E@L had confirmed with the Thai team about the trip twice, to makes sure there'd been no schedule changes. Yes, you can book, schedule no change. But no-one mentioned that Naaaaaaaahn was a separate place, distinct from Chiang Mai and that a separate hotel booking had to be made.

Shit. Why had E@L decided this one time to book himself and not just turn up, expecting everything to have been done for him? Mainly because they normally put him up in a shit hotel (the Imperial Pei) when he goes to Chiang Mai (which is rarely).

So he's gone searching online for nice deals at better establishments - like maybe a Lanna Villa somewhere, or maybe there'd be a special at a top-line hotel, seeing as how the Thailand Tourist Industry is a basket case at the moment. And there was. The lady who organizes his Thai trips could not get a better corporate rate than the on-line rate for the classy new Le Meridien in the heart of town, so she said he could book it himself. She neglected to tell him that he'd only need it from Friday, not from Wednesday.

Shit. Amazing drive though, over three mountain ranges. Fantastic scenery. Village tribes in hovels, kids playing by the side of the road, water-buffalo being driven up paths, terraced crops on the hillsides, wild jungle in several national parks, waterfalls,… As mentioned, it is about 200km as the crow flies, but more like 350km by road. Long and Very Winding Road. And it was lock to lock for the entire freaking trip across those mountains. E@L tried to sleep but was getting tossed awake at every corner. Sleep would have helped him not see the danger at each glance where his driver cut across the double yellow lines or overtook slower vehicles on the approach to a blind corner or a crest. And going as fast as he could, of course. Eventually, as they were coming into yet another blind hair-pin bend at speed and the driver pulled out across double yellow lines to overtake about 40 yards before the corner, E@L had to cry out: "No, no, pull back! Please, stop trying to kill me, OK?"

"OK, solly," the driver said, and from there on in he went like a grandmother going to church on Sunday. It took nearly six hours.

p.s. The hotel in Nan is shit.

(...but it has free Internet.)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I swear to doG I am going to die on one of these business trips. I've told you before. Check the old blog. Forget the immense cardiovascular risk factors, strokes, heart-attacks and prostate cancer.

E@L has his date with destiny as a passenger in a Datsun.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

(Something to tide you over. From The Chronicles of Bruce)

Bruce finished his burger, licked his lips and scrunched up the burger-juice-filled paper to place it in the ash-tray.

Remember ash-trays? Remember cigarettes?

"True story," he said. Immediately I went into disbelief mode. It must have showed. "I kid you not." And he put on this butter-wouldn't-melt look which was quite hilarious on someone with his school-of-hard-knocks appearance. Big shoulders and arms to match his belly, a huge red head with no hair and a bristly goatee and moustache on his acne-pocked face. His thick fingers hardly seem long enough to wrap around the stubbie holder of Beer Chang, but he had already put two down while nibbling on his burger.

"OK" I said, "the hamburger story, let's hear it."

"Righto," he laughed and wet his whistle. "You know Soi Cowboy, right? You're not a total beginner here, right?"

I nodded. I knew it. I fingered the label on my coaster.

"Here's the set-up: This is a few years ago, before I was living here. We had this work do in Bangkok, training, marketing, whatever. We'd been at it in the conference room all day, so then we moved on and had few beers and some Thai nosh at Cabbages and Condoms , you know it? Soi 16, not bad grub if it's your first time in Thailand, not too pricky. Know what I mean?

"Prik is chili, isn’t it?" I half-guessed, the bulge of a Thai phrase-book in my pocket.

"Correct. Full points. And afterwards, we put the most of the ladies into a couple of tuk-tuks, while the boys and I, plus one or two of the more… adventurous, or maybe broad-minded is what I mean to say… anyway two of the ladies from the company joined us, and we crossed over the road to Asok and went to Cowboy to check out the show at Long Gun. We stayed there a while, watched the banana popping show and the lesbian show… The girls thought it was hilarious, but tame. It could be pretty gross for some I guess, but not as bad as it used to be at over the road there at Nana, pre-Thaksin. But these ladies they thought it was a tame! They wanted to see some real on-stage fucking. I swear to God, women, I'll never understand 'em. I had to take the girls to a gay-boy show next night, see some real action, but that's another story.

"Anyway, it was getting late and no bird in the bar had really taken my fancy. I suppose I was in one of those moods, you know how it is. You can get so over the whole girlie bar racket, right? Some of the other lads had hooked with a bar-girl each and had already headed off to some short-time hotel, or maybe they'd risked the 1000Bht surcharge for a guest at the hotel, I don't know.

"There were four of us left, the two company ladies, and one other guy - we called him L-G (or Algie, like from that Oscar Wilde, some play...) We called him that because it was his idea to come to Long-Gun tonight, as it's his favorite place - obviously it was, because he knew the girls' names and he had already picked up his favorite, a girl called Pim, he'd taken her out a few times before. Actually there were five of us, counting her. And then there was me, with no lady… We were walking along the Cowboy strip up to Soi23 past all the theme bars to find a taxi when L-G noticed a hamburger stand right at the end. There was a girl buying a burger there. She was in normal clothes, a bit suggestive, but not in the uniform of one of the bars on the strip.

"I said - They looked good.

" - The hamburgers or the girls? Long-Gun asked me and everybody laughed.

"I said - I meant the burgers.

"So he said to me - Why didn’t you get one?

" - Burger? I asked.

"He said - No, the girl! There's one right there for you, and you can share the burger with her as well. It's a bargain!

"This pretty girl, she was a stunner actually, had paid and was just collecting her burger and turning to walk away when Long Gun approached her. I swear to God he said, - My friend is very shy, he would like to take you home tonight. Indicating to me. She stopped, looked at me for a second and smiled, and then she nodded!

"Well as you can imagine I was very embarrassed, but I got over it. We got in the taxi together with her still eating her burger. We went back to my hotel, I paid the excess and she stayed the night. And she was brilliant in bed. I kid you not, some of the best sex I've ever had. Just a random girl who happened to be standing at a burger stand. And she was lovely and polite, and had this perfect body. It was amazing."

Bruce was rubbing his chin and staring out over my shoulder.

"Did you get her name, her number?" I asked him. "Did you ever go with her again?"

He gradually focused back on to me. "No, of course not. I wouldn't want to have her number, I might be tempted to call her. That's not how I operate. I'm not like L-G. Gotta keep a distance. Variety keeps you safe. You never know, otherwise I might fall in love with one of them. And that'd be the fucking end of me, wouldn’t it?" He laughed and knocked back the last third of the beer.

"Bloody L-G, you know he married that bloody hooker, Pim. Stupid fuck-wit. She took for a grand ride alright. But that's another story, too...

" 'Nother one, love!" he called to the fierce-eyed waitress who was upset because Bruce could never seem to recollect her name.

E@L

10 comments:

dh said...

Hmmm those Asian drivers. It's beginning to look like a giant conspiracy to make life difficult for E@L. I bet Bruce doesn't put up with that nonsense.

savannah said...

what dh said, sugarpie! xoxo

expat@large said...

DH: more to make E@L's life end prematurely! Freaking scared shitless today. I might have a nervouse breakdown just to use up my unclaimed sickleave. But I'll wait till I get back to Chiang Mai. This Nan place is a shithole that The Lonely Planet forgot/ignored.

Sav: no time to think for yourself? ;-)

Jay said...

I think you should take Bruce's stories, weave them into a cohesive unit and publish them. It'd be a fitting tribute to him. Maybe add some of your harrowing rides into random shit holes.

Jay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jay said...

Sorry that 'twas me. Seems that Blogger was having a moment of randomness.

Momentary Madness said...

Sam thing happened to me as I started to read this post.

The Bludger said...

So I want to know. You can't leave us in suspense.

Did he get any of the hamburger?

savannah said...

no. how'd you guess, sugarpie? xoxo

expat@large said...

Jay: Indeed I should.

Mom: Indeed you did.

Bludger: Indeed he did.

Sav: ... No time to reply to your comment.

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