The TV is blazing away, as I sit here on my couch with a bottle of beer. My laptop is displaying a blank Word document. It has been blank for the last hour.
After flipping through a few channels, I turn the TV off, hoping that some idea would click and I would finally start writing.
But it doesn’t.
The clock strikes 2 am but I don’t feel like sleeping. I don’t because I know that this post has to be special. This is the Platinum post of Good Old Boots. The blog is turning 75 posts old.
Quite an achievement!
I look through the past posts, from the first Hong Kong post to the new ones. Going through the posts I realise that Good Old Boots, apart from sharing stories from the road, acts as a testimony to my growth as an individual. I sound so mature in the new posts.
(No? Shut up!)
Yes, there are posts that are not well written, but all of them share stories that are slowly fading away from my memory. They are all cherished experiences. I laughed as I read about the time my cousin and I went to Bangkok (Click Here). I wondered how the Cambodian tuk tuk driver is doing these days (Click here). I find myself sitting ringside when I read the Muay Thai Post (Click here) or standing naked awkwardly in a Korean bathhouse when I read the post about Jimijilbangs (Click Here).
So many wonderful memories.
I feel glad that the blog mostly shared stories and experiences and not these dry guidebook type posts. So, I decide that the 75th Post also has to be a story.
Yes! Now we are getting somewhere.
It has to be a story that I haven’t shared so far.
Yes! This blog needs a good dark story!
I take a big gulp from the bottle and shove a handful of Lays in my mouth.
Oh… it is dark alright!
That One Night in Bangkok
Khao San Road.
DJ was playing his eardrum blasting music. People of different nationalities were dancing all around in this dimly lit club. On the far corner of the room, a few couches were carefully placed, where people were making out. I was at the bar, sitting on one of the stools, two beers down.
“I should be going back now if I want to catch that morning bus to Pattaya.” I told myself.
A responsible person would have left a long time ago. Come to think of it, he probably would not have even come here.
“Maybe one more.” I convinced myself.
Sitting next to me was an old man, who was smoking constantly. He must have been quite a bad ass in his days, because his wrinkled arms were covered with tattoos. Tattoos of dragons, fires and chains. The colour of his thick white goatee matched perfectly with the smoke emitting out of his cigarette.
I looked around for the bartender. He was busy doing tricks with the glasses for a group of European girls, who were laughing hysterically.
The dance floor was crowded, and colourful laser lights were spearing through the darkness of the room. The DJ was showing off his skills with the mixers and at one point, he jumped on the table and started rapping himself. The crowd went crazy. There was a girl dancing with her glow-in-the-dark hula-hoop, sending streaks of neon light all over the club.
The bartender finally returned.
“One Chang Beer”
“What?” The music was way too loud.
“One Chang Beer!” I shouted at him.
He smiled and brought me another bottle.
“Are you enjoying Thailand?” He tried to start up a conversation like all good bartenders do.
“Yes. Thailand’s great!”
“Where have you been so far?”
“Just Bangkok. It’s my first time here. Plan to go to Pattaya tomorrow.”
“Nice!” He winked at me and moved on to another customer. I don’t know why people winked or did that finger pistol thing whenever I mentioned Pattaya. What does that mean!
I sat there, drinking, watching people dance, listening to music and trying to decipher what the lyrics meant. I failed miserably.
Few minutes later, I walked gingerly into the ill maintained toilet. People stood at the urinals with their head touching the wall, clearly too drunk or stoned to even stand up straight. Someone entered, cried out “Wooohooo!!!!” and smashed a beer bottle on the wall.
No one even bothered to look around.
The walls were decorated with graffiti with profound expressions like “Jesus Rocks” and “Hell Is Waiting”. On one corner of the toilet, there was this flickering tube light under which a man stood, with a cigarette between his fingers. He was staring straight into the wall ahead, probably trying to put a hole in it with this gaze.
I came back to the bar to find that the old man had left.
I picked up with my bottle and sat back down on my stool. The lights had been dimmed further making the dance floor was barely visible now.
I took a few pictures of the surroundings from my phone, to write about it someday.
As I was taking the pictures, I saw someone, standing near the dance floor, mouthing something in my direction. I looked around; no one else seemed to be looking in that direction. I looked closely as the silhouette mouthed something again. This time I was sure that it was directed at me.
I looked closely. It was a girl.
A Thai girl.
She came towards my stool, smiled and said “Hi. I’m ….”. I forgot her name.
“Hello..” I said, surprised and unsure as to what exactly was going on. I may have introduced myself too, but I do not remember. I was way too drunk.
She sat on the stool next to me and ordered a drink.
“How long have you been here in Thailand?” She asked in her Thai accented English.
“Four days.” Actually, I had been there for three days. I don’t know why I lied.
“Never saw you here before.”
“Yes, it’s my first time here.”
She took a sip out of her drink while I wondered what the hell was going on.
“You were taking pictures. Can I see them?”
I showed her the pictures. I thought she came over maybe because she thought I was taking her pictures, which I wasn’t.
“Take a picture with me.”
Before I knew it, we were taking a selfie.
She finished off her remaining drink in one go and said.
“Do you dance?”
“I don’t know.” I said, still quite confused.
She sighed, and got off from her stool. “Watch me dance.” She whispered and stepped on the dance floor.
I looked around for the bartender and the moment he looked at me, I shouted “Chang Beer!!”
It was 3 am. I wondered why she was talking to me. Was she hitting on me?
“Am I handsome in Thailand?”
I took a good look at myself. There was a big ugly spot on my jeans, my t shirt was atleast 3 years old and was fading. I checked out the picture that we took.
I ruled out me being handsome.
Then it hit me. Scam!
Of course, she was trying to scam me!
First time in Thailand. Alone. Drunk. Totally stupid. I was the perfect victim. The ideal choice.
“I have got to get out of here.” I told myself. But before I can get up, she came back.
“Are you leaving?”
“Yes. I have a bus to catch tomorrow morning.”
“Come on.. stay! Please!” She was trying to be cute.
I said a quick “Bye”, paid my bills and started walking. I would have walked faster, but my head was spinning thanks to the beer overdose. I breathed a sigh of relief when I got out of the club.
Khao San Road looked so different this time of the night. Almost all the shops were closed. Few people, most probably foreigners like me, were lying on the pavements, too drunk to walk.
As I was walking towards my hotel, I heard her voice again.
She came running and stopped in front with me, panting.
“You want to go to another party?” She asked, breathing heavily.
I asked myself “What was she up to?” My head was spinning but I tried to maintain my composure.
And then she said it.
“Do you sniff?”
“Do you..you know.. do sniff sniff?”
She could see that I didn’t understand what she was talking about.
She brought out this small packet full of white powder from her purse. “5000 Bahts”
“Sorry, I don’t do drugs.”
“4000 Bahts, for you.” She said, trying desperately to crack an honest smile.
“No, sorry. I have to go.. Bye”
I was determined not to make a stupid decision that would ruin my trip. This girl was trying to get me into trouble.
As I entered my safe hotel compound, which was a few meters from the The Club, I heard her call out one last time.
“Boom Boom?..1500 Bahts”
At this point, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud.
Somehow, I reached my room, super drunk and super proud to have escaped a drug dealer. I remember going into the bathroom to freshen up, and passing out.
This is the perfect end to the 75th Post. Me lying on the cold marble floor of a strange hotel in a foreign country, drunk, head spinning, stomach turning, constantly mumbling
“Never again..never ever again.”
After all, misadventures and screw ups are just as memorable!
(Needless to say, I missed my morning bus to Pattaya)