Archive for May, 2010

The lost chapter of Vientiane

‘Whats this Noi?’

‘I brought you breakfast’

How nice, she had gone out to fetch me breakfast.  She places a large bowl on the table and picks up a plastic bag containing the breakfast, I was eager to see what she had for me.  She lifted up the bag and began to pour out into the bowl what looked like some sort of soup, indeed that’s what it was and then ‘what’s this’ something large sliding out the bag ‘OH MY GOD’ a fucking FISH HEAD.  The silly bitch had brought me fish head soup.

‘What the fuck is this darling?’ I exclaim.

The look on her face is one of bewilderment she had no idea I would not welcome this as a tasty nutritious breakfast.  I mean is she that stupid or what, a fellang having fish head soup for breakfast, nevermind any other meal of the day.

‘I’m sorry darling’ she says  ‘I dont know what you like to eat’  Not soup with a great big dirty severed fucking fish head is a start.  I mean, this is what they give prisoners in the Bangkok Hilton for a meal, and that’s about the best meal they get.

Before Mia and I really got together we had a little falling out and the night after we kind of split up, before we even got  together I met Noi.  She was very slim and very attractive and was always hanging around Bor Pangyang bar.  She approached me, like she had done many times before.  I however was in no mood at all, I was still awake having not slept for two whole days solid.  I was still wired from the previous days shenanigans and was hardly bothered to be up this late in a bar drinking in the first place.

She was of course a working girl, and so this put me off even more.  She was however being quite persuasive, even after I had told her I was tired and ready to pass out, and was not interested in paying for sex.  She said she didn’t care so long as I bought her a drink and treated her to some breakfast she was not bothered about my paying for her company.

I gave in.  We left as soon as I had finished my beer, it was getting late and the bar was closing soon anyway.  Somehow I managed to find some energy from somewhere and ended up having an amazing night, before promptly passing out, like I said I would.

Noi ended up living in my hotel with me for three more nights.  During this time I would bump into Mia in Samlo.  She was sitting in the corner by the bar.  We talked a little and she would ask me to leave this girl and take her home instead.  Of course that was not possible at the time although I wanted to all the same.

On the last day I would see Noi was the day I finally got my cards back, and was then getting ready to move the bike to a friend’s house and to where I would stay a couple of nights to save money.  The plan was to then leave for Vietnam.  Sometime after I had settled into this house, I noticed I could not find my Mp3 player.  In fact, I could not find my phone either, and where the hell had all my money gone, I was sure I had more than this stashed away.

That bitch Noi had fleeced me, it was obvious and I should have been more careful, I might have known she could not have been trusted.  The next day Mia was back on the scene and I had decided to forget for now about the thieving bitch Noi and concentrate on having fun, and with a nice girl like Mia.  We continued to party and a couple of days later would be Songkran.

It was the night before Songkran, I was in Bor Pangyang again with Mia.  Whilst we were sat having some food, I noticed Noi at the bar, on her own.  I approached and was seething with anger but managed to somehow suppress it as I approached her.  She looked shocked to see me.  ‘How much did you get for the Mp3 player Noi?’  I said

‘I.. I don’t know what you’re talking about’

‘and where is my phone and money by the way?’

‘I never steal from you!’

I gave her the opportunity to just admit it to me and I said if she did I would leave it for good and wish her a happy new year.  It was totally unnecessary but I thought a nice thing to do at such a time, under the circumstances.  She through it back in my face with a smug look and walked away.  I quickly followed grabbed her by the arm and told her, since she decided to take it this way, I would now make sure any fellang she was with would know what she was like and I wished he bad luck for the coming year.

Every time I saw her after this she would look terrified to see me, and soon she just disappeared for a long time.

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Heading into a war zone.

The train finally departed, 10 hours later I would be in Bangkok central.  A few hours into the journey and after it had got dark I took a seat in the restaurant cart for a light meal and some drink.  A small TV behind a counter flickered with the Bangkok news.  It was all in Thai but I only needed to see the pictures.  It was of course all about the current state of the unease in the capital.  I saw tower blocks on fire, smoke filling the air.  Streets ablaze, tarmac melting from the heat of tyres burning.  The military were fighting the insurgence of red shirt protesters.  Bodies were piling up along the side of the road.  What the fuck was I heading into.

A short while later I had finished half of my meal, the other half I had noticed was being eaten from the bottom by tiny insects.  It was enough to put me off.

Suddenly the train came to an abrupt stop just short of a town and still a while yet from the capital.   The staff were all racing about talking on their radios and trying to assess what the problem was.  A little while later I was told there was a fire on the tracks ahead and the train could not pass until it was removed.  Had this anything to do with the protests, I did not know but it was just another worrying thing to happen on the way to what ever was awaiting me in the city.

That night I somehow ended up staying in the restaurant cart with the staff drinking into the night.  I was about to leave when another traveler a Thai man had bought me another large bottle of Thai beer. I really didn’t want another but felt obliged to accept it.  He told me it was a way of saying sorry to me for the trouble that was going on in his country.  I said thanks and told him he had no need to apologise.  We spoke of the current situation in Thailand and of the problems with the present government and Thaksin.   I managed to have a good sleep that night after the many beers.

I woke early, my head was pounding.  I had not drank so much in a long time.  Two Nurofen and a bottle of water soon sorted that out.  Looking out the window I could see I was now heading into Bangkok.  The train was due to arrive at the station in around 20 minutes.  It was around 6.30 am when I finally got to the station and there was a slim chance of any riots at that time.

I made my way to the taxi ranks and asked to be taken to Soi 6 off Sukumvit Rd, the place I had stayed before on previous visits.  The taxi seemed to be taking the scenic route, I knew the hotel was not this far from the station but I assumed it was because of the road barricades, or at least I thought this would happen as a perfect excuse to get more money out of the newly arriving fellang.  I tried to take some photos of the devastation along the way but the taxi would not slow down at any point.  I missed most of the main spots, such as the Stock Exchange building.

Around Soi 6 were barricades and a military presence, so where I was going to be spending the next couple of days was very close to were some of the riots were taking place.  I could only imagine what it was going to be like on the night.

I arrived at the hotel around 7 ish and after checking in I collapsed on the bed and fell into a deep sleep instantly.  I awoke much later feeling still sleepy and exhausted.  I knew my friend from Pattaya was due to arrive at some point but I had no word from him as yet, so had a little to eat and drink from the mini bar and fell straight back into another deep sleep.

I woke late the next day and checked the news, the riots had ended the day before I had arrived and nothing had happened since then.  The curfew was still in place however and was the reason my friend could not come to visit me.  It was time to make a move, I had no other reason to be hanging around Bangkok, and the accommodation was too much for me at this point.  I spent a few hours trying to get a good deal on a flight out to Bali.

I booked a flight for the next day at around 6am.  This meant because of the curfew I would have to find a hotel closer to the airport as I would not be allowed to leave Soi 6 between 9pm and 4am.  The hotel staff sorted this all out for me, hotel near the airport, flight to Bali the next day.  So long Bangkok.

Time to leave

I had two to three days to rest and recuperate in the hotel after the plague.  It took some time to be able to eat like a normal human being again but in time I was fighting fit -well as fit as I would usually be.  The bike I managed to sell, well practically give away to a young lad who worked at the hotel.  It was a piece of junk really, it had so much needing  doing to it, and was going to end up costing him around 200 bucks anyway.  No matter it was out of my hands and one less thing to worry about.

I had to make it to Bali I thought, to see my good old friend Nick whom I had not seen in many years, he now had has a wife and two children whom I were looking forward to meeting.  I could not fly from Vientiane and so the closest place would be Bangkok.  The only thing with Bangkok was at the time the Anti government (red shirt) protests had been escalating to a full-blown war on the streets.  The plan was to get in stay a couple of nights and then get the hell out of there.

I booked transport to the Laos/Thailand border just 30 K down the road and from there I would catch two trains to Bangkok central.  The station was two blocks away from one of the appointed danger zones.

The next day I was ready to go, and after a good meal and what seemed like the longest good-bye ever with Mia I was on my way.

Finally happy I was leaving Vientiane yet at the same time a little sad.  I had become accustomed to the place and had made a lot of new friends, some I may see again, some I don’t know.  One day I may return and surprise people in Samlo.

The Sickness

I wake up, dim light through the window lights the room as per usual, I had slept most of the day as per usual.  So had Mia, who was lying next to me – just another day.  Wait! ‘What the fuck was that?’  My stomach, a shooting pain ripped through my stomach, and then again, this time so sever I grabbed my stomach as if to contain a sudden explosion and instinctively lurched up from my bed.  I could not help screaming out, the pain was so real so intense.  Mia awoke suddenly and frightfully at my whaling.

‘Wha what is it?  Jim whats happening?’

‘I don’t know I just had a…’ I screamed again grabbing my stomach in both hands, not sure what was happening.  I cannot fully describe the pain I was feeling but if a live rat dressed in a razor blade suite was running around frantically in my belly that would be about close.

Along with this unpleasant episode I had to endure I also had a major case of the shit’s.  Mia suggested taking me to the hospital after several hours of this, but in this time I had been to the toilet more than five times.  I believed the more I used the toilet the better I would feel and I still believed this as the day had passed and turned to late into the evening.  By now the pain reduced to a predictable 10 minute intervals.  Mia was worried the hotel staff might think something sinister may be happening in room 207.

I tried to muffle my cries but the pain was too sever.  It kept me (and Mia of course) awake most of the night.  Finally I had to take two vallum to knock myself out and get some rest.

The next day was exactly the same, a friend from next door came to see me and see what the problem was whilst I tried feebly to eat breakfast.  She lasted ten minutes in the room before I had to start whaling again.  I will remember the look on her face as she promptly made her exit.  She must have thought I was dying in front of her.

Mia took me to the International Hospital as soon as I had some food in me.  I was taken to an observation room immediately and withing minuets I had another episode.  The staff acted quickly to help me.  I was introduced to an IV drip which would be apart of me for the next coupe of days and the rest of my time in care.  I was later given my own room where I would spend the next two nights.  Mia stayed with me the whole time, apart from having to go out and get food as the hospital did not provide any.  ..I know

During the time I spent in hospital some of the locals from Samlo had come to visit and see how I was doing, which I thought was very nice.  I really was a local here now.  My Visa was also due to expire during my stay so I had someone from the hotel extend it for me.  At an extra cost.

By the time I was well again and allowed to leave the hospital I was left feeling weak from lack of a substantial diet, pissed off with the time wasted and having to extend my visa and determined to get the hell out of Vientiane and Loas.

In Vientiane part 3

A week or so had passed, I had become accustomed to Vientiane.  I knew the locals in the bars, I knew the owners.  I started to feel like a local myself.   Every night we would end up in Samlo playing pool and occasionally we would end the night at Don Chan Palace, a top star hotel here that had one of the most popular nightclubs.

By now I was starting to feel fed up of having Mia around all the time.  I hardly had anytime to myself, she was always there.  At first it was great, she really looked after me, taking care of the room, my laundry even going out for cheap and healthy local food.  I could feel my independence slipping away though and I needed to do things for myself, I needed a break and sometime to myself.  Every night we would get high which sometimes meant I got little sleep.  The days began to flit away as I found myself sleeping most of the day and then spending the night going out and doing the same as the last.  I was becoming stuck in the capital and the thought came to me of the feeling I had back home when I was waiting around to leave and start traveling.  The same thing was happening again.  I needed to get out.

I started to make plans as to my next destination and what I was going to do with the bike, either go with or sell it here.  The planning was taking far too long, I was stuck in the routine of getting high and sleeping all day, I needed to break free of this cycle.

Just when I almost got my act together the sickness began….

In Vientiane part 2

The following night I found myself at Samlo, it was clear to me by now this is one of the best bars to end the night or a good stop off before hitting the clubs till the early hours.  As usual I went straight to the pool table at the back, added my name to the list and ordered drinks.   Next up to play to my surprise was Mia.   She was a really good player and won 3 or four games in a row.   She made it clear she noticed me and would constantly look up from the table and give me a cheeky smile.  I was fascinated and enjoyed watching her take down fellang at the table to their astonishment and disbelief.

When she had finally met her match she came over and I ordered a drink for her whilst congratulating her on a superb game.  ‘So I see you haven’t found a lady yet’?  She intimated.

‘Oh I think I have now’ and with a kiss her face lit up and from that night we were inseparable.

‘What you want to do tonight?’

‘Don’t know, anything’

‘We can go party with a friend of mine if you like?’

And on that note I threw caution to the wind and was initiated into the underworld of Vientiane a world of sex, drugs and sleepless nights.

I wake up to an instant blurred vision and for a second I have no idea where I am, what day it is or how long I had been in this room.  My vision cleared my thoughts came back to me, next to me was Mia half asleep herself, and across the made up bed on the floor was our new friend.  We had been partying in his front room for a couple of days.   I obviously passed out at some point.  It was day time probably around noon.  It was the start of the Buddhist New Year, Songkran where the whole of the country and some others in SE Asia erupt in a massive water fight as it were.  The idea is the washing away of the past year and of any wrongs and starting the New Year afresh.  I had sufficient rest to be able to venture out again into the real world and after sorting our selves out Mia and I headed into the center to join in with the festivities.  Our friend was blatantly too wired and had clearly no slept so he was staying put.  You have to carry your mobile and wallet in a Sealy bag in your pocket as there is no way of avoiding getting soaked through.

We headed for a few places, friends of Mia’s and stayed a little while before ending up at the very same bar I had first met her.  Here they had two huge speakers and were blasting out good tunes while a whole group of people danced and through water at passers-by.  This was great, I was really enjoying myself and we continued like this into the evening.

This was where we decided to get a hotel room as a more permanent base.  She took me to a place where she knew the owner and I got a really good price for a smart room.  Handy.

Songkran lasted 3 days in Vientiane and we were out partying for the full of it.  Had I checked my emails during this time I would have known my friend Hugo had run into difficulties with his cards and was back in Vientiane also during the festivities.  By the time I finally checked my emails It was too late and he was on his way south in Vietnam.  He was too far ahead for me to catch him up.