Expat@Large

Orchard Rd, Evening Street Scene

Posted in 4FoW, Bruce, coffee, hookers, Orchard Rd by expatatlarge on September 17, 2012

Bruce sucks up his ice-blended coffee on Orchard Rd, runs the mouthful of sweet crystals around for a taste, swallows. The Coffee Bean and Tea-Leaf. Not his favorite coffee shop, but OK, it passes, and it’s convenient for an hour or two of quiet contemplation before things start, before he finds some dinner, before he kick on across the road to the 4FoW. A Spinelli (San Francisco’s best) Spin would suit him better, the ice is finer, the coffee less bitter, but outlets seem few and far between these days. He makes a mental note to Google their locations.

The table has a nice vantage of the footpath. Young Singaporean girls in their ultra-short jean, inside pockets visible, their white singlets and push-up bras, chatting with friends, briskly gesticulating, walking fast. And those ambling ones, generic Asians, maybe even in a cheong-sam, a tight skirt, nothing ostentatious, and a tight top, an LV handbag and a lean hungry look. And so slim, narrow waist, trim buttocks (as they say, there’s a Latin term for this), thin thighs.

Bruce loves this town. Old man, single, financially secure so long as his job lasts. Lecher. Typical nomad, it’s his new word for ‘expat’. Is it merely because they are slimmer that he finds these girls so attractive? Discuss.

It is after work on Wednesday and evening is hanging around like these hookers, it’s half-light, it’s a half-real world. He feels sticky and warm, man we’re in the tropics, and so welcomes how the ice-coffee cools the inside of his body, at least as far it can get down into his throat. Every now and then when he has cold drinks like this his oesophagus goes into a spasm, as it does now. The drink is too cold. He pauses from drinking, it’s sitting – just – there. And he waits, sighs. A central chest pain. Another heart attack? He can’t belch, his stomach is unavailable. Then the mucosa warms the ice, melts, his body heat, and the constriction eases, the ice-coffee slips past. GORD. Is there no health problem he doesn’t have?

Birds, the feathered ones, in the many plane trees (not fruit tree, there is no orchard here anymore), have begun their evening chirping, and slowly, as it builds up to a 76 trombones effect without him noticing, their combined song has become a roar. It covers the bursts of traffic that flow according to the traffic light’s rhythms. Maybe not throat-singing Ferraris and Maseratis, let them scream, let them roar. White noise. He has one of his several thousand unread books in his hand and he is not reading it carefully.

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

A person is beside him. Her presence sudden, blue sparks, ozone, she’s here to hunt him down, that’s all she does.

He looks up at her and sees the thin ridge of angular cheeks, smile showing small teeth constrained in expensive wire, bright green eyes and a line of mascara going up at the outer edge to emphasis her exotic face, as if she needed that. She is one of those women who had been walking in front of him, parading past several times, up and back in the previous half-hour.

She had at last caught his eye, his Nordic blue, hers emerald green, held his gaze past that special time, into the who’s going to be the first to break zone, and then smiled at him, the killer. However he had been lost in reverie, not in his book, but somewhere else, even further away than Cloud Atlas. Some place where a tightness in the chest from ice-choke didn’t mean impending death, myocardial infarction, spilled coffee and an unpaid bill. He had hardly been aware that he had been making eye contact, and every working girl looks at him like that anyway, like he was target demographic. He was now looking away, into a nowhere, but she didn’t notice that he was more than day-dreaming, he was willing himself to stay alive. She only saw a man. With a wallet and a sex-drive. Or perhaps she saw more. Probably not.

“I can join you?” she asks. Slim, in a dark green, eye-matching, body-hugging top, white skirt, tight.

”I’m sorry?” The background bird chirping, he didn’t hear. “Of course, of course,” he says, ever the gentleman. He shuffles his chair back and nudges the table so that she can slip past the pole onto the chair opposite him. It doesn’t have to slipped far, there is not much to her body.

And soon the banalities are out of the way. The special massage price, so cheap, how come?

“Tomorrow, I go back Hanoi. Need have some money.” The implication is that she hasn’t been making much. Good English, pleasant GFE personality, nicely faked sincerity. He is surprised, genuinely.

“Why do you not have so much money? Such a pretty lady!”

“It very quiet, too many girls. And I spend my money on my plane ticket, need always to be work. Work, work. Go to home and come back only three month after. And,” she tapped at her mouth, “my teeth is expensive.”

“You should marry someone here. A dentist maybe.”

“Yes, yes,” she urges. He seems to have pressed a button. “I need husband for come here. Get visa for many entry.”

“Well you would need that, I guess. So many entries,” smiles Bruce.

“If can get marriage with local man, can get visa. Ten thousand dollars.”

“What is ten thousand dollar?”

“For husband. We pay ten thousand dollars for Singapore man get marry.”

“You pay the man ten thousand dollars if he marries you?” Bruce immediately thinks of E@L as a likely candidate for an arrangement such as this.

“Yes, he get money. And girl get visa.”

Bruce drums the table with his empty coffee container. This too, is hard to swallow. He texts E@L.

~~~~~~~~~~~

The evening is advancing quickly enough, no hurry. E@L was otherwise engaged anyway. She knew of a Thai place, we wonder where, for dinner. She ate slowly, noodles, picking sprouts form her braces. She is not in a rush now. Her flight is early in the next morning, one customer tonight – Bruce – and that’s enough. And they stand to move away, collect their stuff, her LV, his man-bag with iPad, and walk across the road to the Hilton where he is staying as usual.

“You have condom?” she asks before they get too far from a 7/11.

“Me? Why? Don’t you have a condom, surely you can claim it on your tax!”

She smiles, gets the joke. “We cannot carry condom. Working girl on the streets cannot carry a condom. Police. You know this, I am sure.”

“No, not at all. Really? Why not?”

“Police can make arrest against you if you have a condom. For being prostitute. It illegal for girl to work on streets, so we don’t carry condom.”

Bruce shrugs, impressed. He’s never thought of that – why would he? – and it makes sense. There are so many of these details in the world, where the devil lies in wait. Have a condom, must be a prostitute. No condom, must be a charity worker seeking donations.

“You don’t have condom?” she asks again.

“Yes, yes, I have several in my room. The hotel supplies them,” he lies.

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

Within two weeks of this mythical incident not having taken place, the immigration department cracked down on these marriage scams – she wasn’t joking about the $10k. And then, later, local newspapers talked of the aggressive tactic of streetwalkers on Orchard Rd.)

Laws To Penalise Sham Marriages. Today Online.

“… Pointing to the increasing number of sham marriages – from four to five cases a year in the past five years to 12 cases this year – Second Minister for Home Affairs S Iswaran said this is a “significant rise” and is “probably symptomatic of a larger trend”.
“So we want to introduce new laws to send a strong deterrent message to individuals who contemplate entering MOCs (marriages of convenience) for the purpose of obtaining an immigration facility such as Permanent Residency, long-term passes and visas,” he told the House.
But, while there is a “desire for vigorous enforcement” in clear cases of marriages of convenience, he cautioned against unfairly penalising genuine marriages.
Several Members of Parliament were concerned over how gratification could be proven.
…” [My emphasis]

~~~~~~~~~~~

Streetwalkers getting more blatant at Orchard Road. The NewPaper

“Foreign women touting sex services are no longer just operating around Orchard Towers.
They are now covering areas as far as Far East Shopping Mall.
The minute they spot a potential customer, usually a male tourist, they would approach them with offers of ‘massage’.
Said one expat: “It’s like running a gauntlet. If you make the mistake of looking at them, they’ll be all over you in seconds.”
[My emphasis]

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

Anywhere up to eight years ago, walk anywhere from the Marriott to corner of Tanglin Rd, and E@L would be given the look, sometimes a question. Then it went quiet for a few years, or perhaps he didn’t walk there as often as a resident, but yeah, as this hypothetical and nowhere near 100% true story suggests, it might be “on the rise” again in the areas not immediately adjacent to the 4FoW.

E@L

(E@L knows the birds aren’t in the plane trees, but the other ones. Larches? Elms? Jesus, E@L knows fuck all about treeology. And those trees are down further anyway, by Paragon.)

The Bruce Bits, etc…

Posted in Bruce, old blog, writing by expatatlarge on April 5, 2012

I am currently trawling through my old blog (again), as well is this one, looking for bits and pieces I can cobble together – not necessarily into anything coherent or internally consistent – something about Bruce, and/or taxis, and/or the Mouse, and/or Kopi, and/or hotel breakfasts and toast…

~~~~~~~~~~

There are maybe 700 posts and perhaps 250,000 words over there place (approaching 2 milllion hits btw) and with the 740 post here, god knows how many words.

There must be something I can do with it all (as people have been saying for years) rather burn my few remaining hours over something new that is not taking the shape I want it to.

I will need to redo a great deal of the earlier risqué E@L stuff retrospectively as Bruce stories, to give a semblance of character continuity.

Plot? Don’t make me laugh.

Watch this space. (If I don’t run out of steam…)

~~~~~~~~~~~

Do you think I should I should charge you guys for the effort I am taking to do this, as Dick Headley does, or let it run free amongst the wolves on the internet marketplace, as Mercer Machine does?

E@L

"My Boyfriend The Sex Tourist."

Posted in Bruce, hookers, stereotypes, Thai girls, Thailand by expatatlarge on March 6, 2012

Something of a stereotype breaker – at least as far as the “trafficking” situation of some of the working girls in places that cater to mostly westerners is concerned.

At least you can see that not every bar-girl in Bangkok has been dragged off the farm by marauding snakeheads and chained to their beds in a cardboard dungeon. Well, yes, no, not every bar-girl…

via

~~~~~~~~~

It would be an interesting exercise to study the expectations, feelings and motivations of these boyfriends in more depth (say, to the bottom of three bottles of Hennessy) and in a less stereotypical way… If that is, um, like, possible. Nah.

~~~~~~~~~

Bruce of course has had some experience of less salubrious working conditions

~~~~~~~~~

It is depressing and frustrating to wander the streets by yourself in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, browsing in the shopping malls or checking out the temples. You are old, fat, bald, generally unattractive. You are wearing cargo shorts, a loose shirt or tee, and sandals. You know that everyone in the world is making the assumption that you a sex tourist.

It is even more depressing and frustrating when you admit to yourself that this is exactly what you are.
Bruce (in a more contemplative mood than we are used to.)

~~~~~~~~~

Gustave Flaubert, the man who was able to look so profoundly and convincingly into a woman’s heart, was a completely sleazy sex-tourist on his trips to Egypt, reveling in his debauchery… Not that this is any form of excuse…

E@L

Say It Right In Thai

Posted in Bruce, hookers, pathetic old man, romance, sad old man, Thailand by expatatlarge on February 25, 2012

E@L has a book of this title in the desk in front of him. Nothing to do with the previous post.

Without wishing to bore you with the maudlin regrets of a superficial, middle-aged, single man, he wishes to bore you with the maudlin regrets of a superficial, middle-aged, single man. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

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

Say it right? Say it RIGHT?

E@L can never say anything right to women in whatever language of love you suggest. Thai, English, Mandarin, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog or Hindi. He is completely hopeless at preventing his hopes of love from being dashed on the rocky shores of lust whenever he opens his stupid mouth. Which is why he never gets to fuck can seduce the women (should there be any) he might wish to.

Even with all silver-tongued the advice from that super-experienced chat-up man, our Bruce, he does not succeed. Because, as when packing his bags for a trip, he gets all anxious and leaves something out, or brings the wrong item. “I find you very attractive, enjoy your company and would like to get know you (or ‘your body’ – optional) better,” as advised by Bruce, somehow comes out of his mouth as, “Let’s fuck like they do on the Discovery Channel,” with gestures and body language to support the unintended effect – of a blank look of terror, followed quickly by drink over the head and either a kick to the scrotum or a standard dose of pepper-spray to the conjunctiva to finish E@L off.

When E@L approaches a lady and is feeling romantic, it’s stand back and avoid the shrapnel as his improvised seductive devices explode. Lines like that might be OK when you are in midst of each of each other and unmaking the bed (or couch, or kitchen table), but in a bar at 7pm with someone you’ve just met? In all likelihood, nope.

Say it right? E@L? Blurt it right out, more like.

So the conversations people like E@L might prefer to implement, after having made fools of themselves time and time again in legitimate circumstances, becomes more appropriate to the expectations of their intended female companions when augmented by the alluring soft plonk of a ping-pong ball falling into a glass, to the crisp slap of a mock-truncheon on various glutei maximi, to the just-audible hiss of a body slithering up-side down on a chrome pole, to the alluring perfume of cigarette smoke and alcohol fumes.

When these things turn his thoughts to thoughts of love, out pops the perfect Thai phrase, finally. Here are words that exactly express his feelings and carry no offence, quite the opposite. As the purloined letters of Cyrano De Bergerac did for Christian and Roxanne, these words will have the lady swooning her loins into his loins…

“เท่าไหร่ดีบาร์คืออะไร? Charisma Card(tm) ok, krup?”

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

Getting married at 19? Don’t do it if you are contemplating getting divorced 20 years later. They’ll remake Swingers all about you. You’ve never done the dating thing as a kid, and now you’ll never scale-up enough chat-up skills before it gets too late for you, you’ll never shrink to the right kind of small talk, you’ll never polish away the rough edges of your wannabe smooth lines.

You’ll be paying someone else to do the polishing instead when and if you make it to E@L’s age.

E@L.

* How much is the bar fine?

* OK they weren’t “stolen” as such, but purloined is a great word and needs to be used more often, though with proper syntax whenever possible.

Jaded

Posted in Bangkok, Bruce by expatatlarge on August 22, 2011

The bright lights and big… um, bright lights of Soi Cowboy wash over Bruce now, like some much water off so much duck. Bangkok, OMG not again. Way skinny girls wearing not enough (if anything at all) given the settings of the air-con. They have to cuddle their bronzed bodies, so unforgivingly hard and unforgivably toned, they have push themselves right up against Bruce to borrow some of his body’s substantial calorific storage.

Ah, dear. The breasts on these girls are so small and sitting up way too high, their nipples too prominent and stiff. And what the hell is wrong with that girl’s KNEES? So knobbly, eh?

Jaded. Sigh. Shrug. Meh.

So hard to be impressed these days, so hard to be moved, so hard to be bothered. Same same, only more-so. Really, shouldn’t there be more than just … this?

Bruce is listening…? No?

Well, no-one has come up up with a good answer yet so Bruce will just have to shrug and bare bear it, and buy the not-quite naked girl sitting next to him (knee-high boots are clothes, right?) another ‘tequila’ before she “go dance now” and he’ll pretend to watch the TV while she pretends that what she her and her two colleagues are doing on stage could, in anyone’s vocabulary, be called ‘dancing’.

E@L

Knocking The Top Off

Posted in Bruce, massage, Thai girls by expatatlarge on July 18, 2011

Bruce tells E@L he had a massage, sans happy ending in Chiang Mai! WTF? It was his frackin’ BIRTHDAY – thank you Facebook! – but after his rhythmical back slaps and neck pinch, nothing. He gets dressed, walks out in a huff, determined to do better.

Tromps down the street to the least likely to be honest place, in the dark heart of Loi Kroh Road, where a short, dumpy but nice personality mamasan calls out to invite him in for a “massage”. She points down to a shanty room at the back of what was once (like last week) a travel agency judging by the posters of Dubrovnic on the walls.

“You wan massage? 60 minute, 90 minute, oil, Thai, foot massage.”

“No, no,” he says. “I want a happy ending, forget the massage. I want a blow-job or a chuck-wow. Already had a massage.”

She looks at him for a second, doesn’t ask him to repeat the request, but leads him by the hand inside. They go past uninterested, bored girls playing with eye-make in mirrors or plucking at a bit of guava peel caught in a tooth-gap, all too unenthusiastic and unattractive to get a job elsewhere; they don’t even look up.

“Special service, for you,” whipsers mamasan. “But we take our time. No rush, have 60 minutes of massage time.”

60 minutes was not required.

~~~~~~~~~~~

At Club “Paradise”. The usual. Reliable, predictable, professional, nice and friendly.

As the other girl was showering, one was re-energizing her skin with moisturizer (so many showers in a day) and looking benignly on Bruce as he pulled up his underwear.

“I like your cock,” she says, unexpectedly wistful.

Bruce looks up at her as she stands on the other side of the bed, briskly working the cheap lotion into her small breast and thin rib-cage, looking at his package, her facial expression completely neutral: she is stating a fact, neither praising, nor criticizing.

“It’s not too long.”

Pause.

What do you say after that? Thanks? Yes, so I’ve heard?

He can’t confirm her opinion as, thanks to his his belly, except for an occasional glimpse in these mirrors as it disappeared inside her and her colleague’s anatomy, he hasn’t seen it for years.

“Too long can hurt. Yours nice.”

Nice to know, Bruce supposes.

~~~~~~~~~~~

When Bruce told us this, we completely cracked up… People in the pub, the waitresses, the bar-staff all looked at us. Crazy ang mohs.

E@L

The Fishbowl

Posted in Bangkok, Bruce, hookers, Thailand by expatatlarge on January 14, 2011

So there we were. Smashed in Bangkok. Again. Bruce narrowed an eye even further, if that were possible, and said, “Let’s go for a massage. I know a place that gives a great soapie.”

“Oh Jesus, Bruce, not Annie’s again. Anyway, I’m hammered. It’s late. It’s what – 4am? Everything will shut. I am so way past all this. I’m going back to the hotel,” said Stuart.

“One more, one more,” said the grimy faced urchin (who claimed she was twelve) to Stuart as she restocked the trays with pink and yellow disks. “I beat you, I beat you good mistah. You not so smart, but I like you!” Stuart, having been out-thunked six consecutive times, knew that he had met someone more than his intellectual match and that at this point, going back to the hotel and throwing up the toilet was the better part of valor. And that Connect-4 was way too complicated for him and that he was going to sell his chess textbooks the minute he got back to Hong Kong. He picked up his plastic cup and drained the last of his sour gin-tonic. He patted the disappointed girl on her head and said goodbye with a 50baht note.

That left Bruce and E@L. Again. Stuart was always crashing early (well, relatively early).

But it was hardly a minute, or hardly another futile move in Connect-4 against the determined-to-win street savant, before a revived Stuart was back. He was escorting a large green dress which contained a goodly proportion of, but certainly not all, the body of a hair-braided freelancer from Africa. Stuart could barely contain his glee. The street kid stared at Stuart like he was yet another inconstant lover.

We invited her to sit down at the small tables on one of the remaining fold-up chairs. Her face was a soft, shiny velvet-black. She was very pretty, thick-lipped, not so broad a nose and her forehead sloped back roundly into the back-cut braid, but her tits were enormous and overflowing in the too tight dress, her belly bulged out (not that we are slim, eh E@L?) and her butt ballooned out the back.

‘Mo-anie’ shrugged and spoke softly in a strong African accent when we asked some polite questions about herself (28, Sierra Leone, no kids), and then about her preferences in film (which was her favorite Harry Potter?) and politics (red shirts, yellow shirts?). Eventually she realized we were just drunk funny-guys all taking the piss, mildly enough and in good fun, but still there was no tricks to turn here. She excused herself and hustled off, rather shaken by the experience if he movement of her large bubble-butt was anything to judge by.

“Massage!” said Bruce. He called for chek bin khrup and Nit, our young waitress for these early mornings libations at the yellow trolley-bar (which would be folded up neatly into itself and wheeled away in a few hours – assembled and open 6 till 6) brought over a scribbled reckoning. Bruce paid. “It’ll all work out over the weekend.”

We scuttled the 12(?8,?16) year-old girl off with an initial offering of 50baht, but she pointed out that Bruce owed her another 10baht each for the five games he had insisted on gambling against her and lost. She had won at least half our Connect-4 games. She left with 100baht, probably enough to live on for three days, or for her mother to go gambling with.

Amazing kid. Sharp mind. Good at Connect-4.

“Imagine what she could have done with her life if she had ever gone to school,” mused Bruce.

“Or been born in another country,” E@L countered. (Frackin’ social conscience, E@L’s Achilles testicle.)

“Like Sierra Leone,” double-whammed Stuart.

~~~~~~~~~~

“Everything’s shut, Bruce. Nothing will be open. Stuart is right,” E@L said. Indeed the whole strip was much quieter than just 45 minutes before when we had first sat down at the street bar.

“We need maaaSSSSAAAAaaaaaage!” cried Bruce.

“And I know where we can get a fuck at 4;15 in this god-forsaken megalopolis!” He may have thrown a few extra “ol” and “al” syllables into that last word.

He led the charge across the legendary shifting pavers of Sukhomvit, over the legs of stacked-away stalls, of chairs at other temp bars and those of sleeping soi-dogs. We turned the all-too familiar corner where the fried locusts stall had been two hours earlier. The Nana clubs and bars were supposed to be closed by now. Even the trolley for the best hamburger in town was packed away and gone.

“I know a place,” he said. “Open 24 hrs, but don’t tell the police. You’ll wake them.” Ho ho. Bruce always had some new snippet of knowledge of the local debauchery scene to amaze us with, and a joke to follow.

Stuart, earlier adamant that he been heading for bed, was with us E@L realized, however his energy was fading fast after the fun of bringing the exotic hooker to our little table. We waved to the last of girls who called out to us from bars that were obviously shutting up shop and dodged the crotch grabs of the last of the katooeys still manning(!) the front of the Nana Hotel. After a few short blocks of the typical Bangkok shops (tailor, laundry, foot massage) stepping up and down at pavement and road, Bruce unexpectedly turned down a soi to the left. We had expected to go right, didn’t know there was anything to the left.

“If this placed is closed, I’m heading straight back,” complained Stuart. “Seriously, I’m fucking tired.”

At the entrance to the soi, Bruce hesitated at first. “This is the one” he said, unconvincingly. “C’mon mate, nearly there.” We walked slowly to the end of the soi, where it progressively became darker as we moved out of the street-lights and glowing signs on Soi 4 and moved behind the rear of the taller buildings on the left. Finally, maybe two hundred meters in, we made out the low rise block on the right side that E@L guessed Bruce was looking for. On the very last verandah a dim, solitary red light hung in front of a door and it silhouetted a row of pot-plants. “Here,” said Bruce, quickening. We stepped up. It was dark but not dark enough to miss the four-foot high electric sign with a plastic sign and curly fruit-loop Thai script on it and, tellingly, the outline of a naked lady in a bath-tub. But the sign was up on the verandah behind the plants, turned off. The place looked closed up. Bruce shrugged and walked up to the door confidently. “It’s always open. The locals know about it,” he said.

A knock, a wait, the sound of foot-steps. A look. A female face. “You wann massagee? Welcome!”

The welcome lady, maybe a kind fifty, maybe a harsh twenty-five, hard to tell in the dim light, was wearing a light-colored evening gown with a low-cut top. She gave Bruce some directions which he hardly needed as he was already on his way up the stairs. We walked up on worn red(? – also hard to tell) carpets to the third floor, behind him. There was a bar directly in front of us as we reached the top. It was almost pitch dark in here as well, but with the blue-tint of ultraviolet lights that reflected from the mirrors behind bottles of spirit (Mekhong, SongSam, Johnny Walker Red, cheap but expensive gin and vodka) and liqueurs (two of them, both Baileys) and empty beer bottles (Heineken, Tiger, Chang). The strange light made the dandruff on our dark t-shirts light up, our teeth glow and our eyes go smokey, but didn’t really help illuminate much around. We could just make out large-hewn, darkly lacquered wooden stools at the bar. As our eyes adjusted, down at the far end we made out the form of a person in a brown uniformed leaning forward on one of the seats, his peaked cap on the bar, his head on his cap and his arms outstretched around them both and a half full/empty bottle of Johnny Red. Bruce and E@L raised eyebrows at each and gave a silent high five! There WAS a sleeping policeman here!

The lady who looked up over her reading-glasses from behind the bar where she was toting up large pile of thousand baht notes, a lip-balanced cigarette wavering in her now-smiling face, greeted Bruce as an old friend. After a soft catch-up chat in pigeon-Thai, Bruce introduced us to Mrs Samathinporn or something like that, or not like that, and ordered more gin-tonics. Stuart’s face dropped. He really did not want more alcohol. But the tonic in our gins lit up, electric in the blue light and Stuart took a long sip. And then Bruce asked something that sounded like “Is the bowl still open?”

“Of course, Mistah Brut.”

She smiled warmly(?) at Bruce and put out her cigarette. She made a phone call that needed only a single number and then screeched rapidly into the handset. We heard a sudden loud scurrying behind the walls, like mice playing basketball, like girls putting on high heels.

“Solly, take time, girls rest, watch TV.” Practice Connect-4, thought E@L.

To the right of the bar, at the end of the room, the wall flickered into light. This wall was in fact made of two full-height glass windows that looked into into another room that was where the fluorescent globes were coming awake. There were three rows of stepped seats, up against the three walls in the room, all painted white and with cushions and stuffed toys on them. The cause of that scurrying sound became obvious as fifteen, maybe twenty, girls walked in quickly from an adjoining room and took their places in a well-understood arrangement.

“The fishbowl,” said Bruce.

Mrs Somethingporn led the three of us over.

Several of the girls were looking out towards us through the glass walls. Some were waving, some adjusting their low-cut dresses even lower to their push-up bras and some smiling falsely as if they were listening to a bad joke, but some sleepy-eyed ones were quite sullen and had just plonked themselves down. E@L noted that the welcome lady was sitting there as well, unambiguously older in the harsher light. Many of them appeared stunningly beautiful, but it was well after 4am and Bruce, Stuart and E@L had been drinking since lunch (oops) dinner.

“Is OK,” said the bar-lady to reassure Stuart and E@L, as we must have looked uncomfortable, “they cannot see you.” E@L, even now and having been back a few times, has no idea if she was lying or not. “Take you time. You look, you look. Take two lady Mistah Brut? Very pretty tonight.

“Girl this side of room,” she explained to Stuart and E@L, “are model, very beautiful, 2500baht. One and half hour massage, you very clean. Girl this side, very pretty also, special price, 1700baht. Take two for massage, only 3000baht.

“Please take a look. Very new girls. All very new.”

Bruce smiled. Stuart blanched. E@L wondered where the hell they got the idea for this!

~~~~~~~~~~

Harem, Thomas Rowlandson, 1812.


Caged Prostitutes in Japan, 1890-1900 via Flickr

~~~~~~~~~~

All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing.

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time.
Ecclesiastes 1, 8-10. ~250BCE.

E@L

Typical Thailand Story – Bruce again!

Posted in Bruce, ladyboys, sex, sex-change, Thailand by expatatlarge on October 27, 2010

Hi E@L

I have to tell you something. The reason I haven’t written for so long is that I have been in Thailand ever since forever and something has happened, well two things actually.

Firstly I have fallen deeply and madly in love. She is a lovely woman… well, she’s a not technically woman at the moment. Almost is. She certainly acts like one, the walk, the coquettish smile, despite her deep voice and immense hands and feet. Adams apple too, you know the drill. Like I said, she’s sort of almost a woman at the moment and you wouldn’t know she’s not, not when look at her through the eyes of love as I do, apart from the anatomical stuff I just mentioned, or if you read the gender thing on her ID card, which the concierge at my hotel seems to find so amusing. (She must be a popular girl, because he already knew her name.) She comes up really cute in an LBD (and out of one too, so long as she keeps a towel draped across you know where). She is so shy! It is cute. She hasn’t got any bosoms yet but when the hormones I am buying for her kick in, whoah, eh?

And there’s the jewelry I pay for, she looks great in it with her LBD, though I haven’t seen her wearing that diamond bracelet recently, maybe she has misplaced it… Her Thai brother (obviously a close family as they kiss a lot) has a new motorbike, maybe she dropped it from the back of that. And it is so sad, her father needs another operation, his fourth in the past few weeks, and there are those new tyres for the village buffalo, etc… The drama never seems to stop up there in Isaan (or did she say Laos?) so I chipped in a coupla thousand dollars for those emergencies too. Funny, I thought she said she was an orphan when I first met her, when I she was writhing under all that wax in the BDSM bar.

She will be a real woman when she has the chop: I can’t wait. I have been storing up on KY for those first tender moments. Some very good hospitals for that sort “aesthetic” surgery here in Bangkok by gum! At the moment though, it is pure love, platonic and profound. I do get a bit worried that she is still sleeping with about 400 older German and Australian men, men who don’t seem as sensitive to her emotional needs as I do. But she is pulling in heaps of money I guess, so who cares, right? She says she doesn’t get “paid” much, and I am not sure where those meagre earnings go but sometimes she has this white powdery crystalline stuff under her nostrils and she acts a bit weird, but I doubt that has anything to do with it.

~~~~~~~~~~

The second thing is that I have decided to go through the change with her. Who needs penises, right? Half the world gets on without them already. Why shouldn’t my lady and I get rid of ours? …

We’ve decided that I should go first. She said she’d wait for me up in Isaan. Or was it Laos?

regards

Bruce.

Nan — With The Lot II

Posted in autobiography, Bruce, Thai girls, Thailand, travel trouble by expatatlarge on July 8, 2009

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

With The Lot

Posted in autobiography, Bruce, food, Thai girls, Thailand by expatatlarge on June 26, 2009

Bruce had an added exaggerated loll to what had once been called his “unfortunate” gait this evening. Four hours in the car yesterday morning, an afternoon on the vinyl seat in the cop-shop’s backroom, cheap sheets in the hotel last night and no talcum to lubricate the creases (it had been a rough and spontaneous trip to Buriram to bail a mate out of prison), then another fours hours in the car back to Bangkok, to deliver the chastened mate off to his non-too pleased wife, and then through the traffic jams to his own apartment off Wireless Rd. Sweat rash, flaring around his tackle. “Out of action” until this settles down. In his immuno-suppressed condition he was susceptible to such hazards. He made his way slowly to the pharmacy on Sukhomvit Rd just up from the Marriott where Pei, the lovely attendant, found some of the appropriate cream – part hydrocortisone, to take away the itching, and part mycolytic to kill any fungal spores – in fact the base cream probably did most of the hard work.

Pei was big-boned girl for a Thai, well-fed with it, though she presented an amazing, classically beautiful face that kept drawing your eyes back to it: the gentle line of her nose, her full lips, her huge almond eyes and those not-too-high cheekbones. To the Thai men however she was too brown-skinned and hence working class. In a westerner like Bruce’s opinion, she should get an eating disorder or hit the horse and become a cat-walk model. She should be selling magazine covers, instead she was selling people like Bruce lotions to rub on their balls.

Bruce usually picked up his medications – a wide range we won’t discuss here – from small shops like this. Girls like Pei and the splendidly grumpy pharmacist Boochit (Bruce’s called him Bullshit) made the effort of topping up his prescriptions a pleasant chore.

He came around the corner into Soi 4 slowly, past the fried cockroach and locust stands, gingerly stepped down to the road to avoid a herd (two) of baby elephants on the footpath and waddled eventually to the entrance to the infamous Nana Entertainment Plaza. He looked in briefly, saw the gaudy sign of Pharaohs and thought back to the pre-Thaksin days when all sorts of things counted as “entertainment” and how the shows were now a poor shadow of their previous shadowy hyperbole.

He had a sour stomach from the food in Buriram. There were locust stalls there too – this was not just a Nana phenomenon to shock gullible tourists – but the hot and sour Isaan soup he’d had for early lunch had sat there for hours. He needed a western food fix.

The small stall stands squarely at the Plaza entrance. You have to walk past it to go in, but Bruce was not wasting him time tonight as he couldn’t take a girl (or two) home with this broad purple rash (it looked like a bruise in the dim light of his bathroom) all around his arse.

Minn was a short girl, as chubby as Pei, but with a square puffy face and not at all attractive – except when she smiled. Any slight joke would break her face in half with immense perfectly aligned teeth in a captivating and contagious smile. Bruce gave her a wink, and she recognized him at the rear of the solid contingent of European men around the front of her stand.

Sawaddee na klhup, khun Minn,” he wai-ed to her. Her hands were full of utensils so she could only continue her brightest of smiles. She had on a yellow ‘We Love The King’ polo-shirt under her grey apron.

Sawadee kaaa, khun Bruthe, she said as she flipped three burgers over on her hotplate.

She arranged another bun to toast at the side of the hotplate, pulled up a patty and dropped into a small puddle of fresh oil, cracked an egg into a ring and laid some bacon down. The usual for Mr Bruthe.

“Best burgers in town,” said Bruce to the big fella in front/next to him who had noticed the special attention given to him by the short-order chef and was staring blatantly. “You live here, or are you a tourist?”

In a soft Aussie accent the embarrassed man replied, “Live in Singapore, come here one week a month. For work… Look didn’t mean to stare, just that… well, your Thai is very good.”

“Yeah, this is the place for burgers in Bangkok. Fuck McDonalds and Burger King, eh? I been living here since 2003. All my mates we… if we are in this part of town, we always come here for a burger. You’re an Aussie too, eh?” asked Bruce.

The other man nodded. His 70Bht burger was delivered wrapped into a tight triangle of butcher’s paper with a perfect one-third of it exposed, just begging to be chomped into.

“Certainly looks good,” said the man as he admired its tidy presentation – lettuce, onion, tomato, beef patty, squirt of mustard, squirt of tomato sauce, fry-toasted bun, neatly tucked into the white paper which was folded in such a way as to hold any juices.

“Come over to the bar here, grab a beer to wash that down,” said Bruce. “If you got time.”

“Yeah, I’ve got time.”

“Wanna tell you story. True story. What’s your name, lad?”

The man, no longer a lad, had dripped some juice from his first bite of burger onto his goatee where it eventually fell onto the striped t-shirt stretched over his protuberant stomach, and it joined a stain from his lunch, or breakfast, or yestrerday’s dinner… “My mates call me The Expat at Large,” he said. “Please to meet you…?”

“Bruce,” he said. “You can call me Bruce…”

“Like the sketch in Monty Python,” laughed

E@L