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Farang Chronicles.

a travel blog by heraclio

A two mounth trip to Southeast Asia in 2009

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A Thai monk on Dutch wooden clogs

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam, Schiphol International Airport.

A young Thai man dressed in vivid saffron robes, bald head and shaved eyebrows disappears among the crowd of rowdy English passengers. Even through the noicy din that rules the departure lounch of any airport in the world, despite the rowdy semi-drunk English passengers, I can clearly hear the typical sounds of his yellow Dutch wooden clogs on the tiled floor.

For a short moment I`m mystified. Thai Buddhist monks are supposed to live a life of austerity, poverty to the max, a plain and simple life dedicated to the worship of Lord Buddha, dedicated to finding the righteousness in their earthly ways to live their life by, maybe hope for treasured enlightenment and a ticket straight to Nirvana.

So what is this young Thai bloke doing here so far from his native soils and on Dutch wooden clogs no doubt bought in an Amsterdam tourist shop?

I shift my attention to the English lagerlouts who are in front of me in the queue waiting to check in and loudly discussing their unquenchable thirst for cold Chang beer much stronger in alcohol content than that weak good for nothing catpiss they serve in English pubs - their words, not mine - , their cherished experiences with Thai Hot Mommas they met during earlier trips.

Two young blond haired ladies in faded blue jeans pushing a airport provided trolley with enormous backpacks whispering to each other in German, discussing places to stay in Bangkok found in the blue colored Lonely Planet guide on Thailand.

A tall man in his early sixties, short greyish beard and a massive beer belly, already dressed in a pair of hawaii type shorts despite the cold of the Dutch winter, is smiling broadly at me while his young Thai lady-friend - not even half his size despite her high platform shoes - high heeled shoes you know, Thai women call them platform shoes - and probably in her mid twenties, gives me modest but friendly stares reminding me of the thousands upon thousands of mixed race couples I have met during my previous trips to Bhumipol`s Kingdom.

Usually older European males with local Thai ladies, much younger and practising a docile female behaviour, holding hands shyly with him like young couples in love, willingly serving a role of Love-You-Tender in exchange of what to him is a hand-out and to her a small fortune.

Destitute can do that to you!!!

permalink written by  heraclio on April 1, 2009 from Amsterdam, Netherlands
from the travel blog: Farang Chronicles.
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My poor TILAK

Calcutta, India

I looked at you there and then but I don`t seem to remember where and when.

You lady from the night, belonging to the Isaan clan of females, playing the game hard and with determination.

The only thing you have to do is earning the Thai Baht for your kids back in your home village, back in the poor north of Bhumipol`s Kingdom.

You`ve come to the beach resorts, Nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy in Krung Thep, you work the bars, you walk the Pattaya boulevard, the seedy streets of nighttime Bangkok, your young oriental mind full of hope.

Maybe a foreign husband who will support you, a trip to Europe, a way out of you wretched life.

You look with amazement at the rowdy punters populating the GoGo-bars, drunk english lagerlouts and rowdy Aussies holding big bottles of high alcohol content Chang beer
in sausage-like pinkish fingers, they eye you with obvious lust.

You look at yourself one more time in the mirror, mascara and lipstick where they belong, manicured eye lashes in place, your high heeled platform shoes waiting in front of the door to the ridiculously little room that you share with several of your contemporaries, your "sisters in arms".

You`re ready to play the Game one more time, another night of putting up with rowdy boozing s*x starved farangs. There is no hope for you, you little poor creature of the night. Even Lord Buddha himself has turned his back on you.

You are out there on your own realising that your upbringing has taught you a responsibility to the baby that your Mum is looking after back in Thailand`s northern provinces, back in that little dusty hamlet where your younger sisters are still working the rice paddies twelve grueling hours a day under the scorchingly hot Thai sun.

I looked at you there and then but I don`t seem to remeber where and when.

With a sudden jolt I wake up realising I was reliving The Dream again, The Dream that though various different ways was always the same in its very essence, The Dream that has followed me through all these years of my life since my first trip to Thailand.

Not a dream that is really negative, nor has it ever been really positive.

The Buddha pendant I wear is burning on my chest while I slowly get my act together, flying over the Indian sub-continent, well on track to my destination.


permalink written by  heraclio on April 2, 2009 from Calcutta, India
from the travel blog: Farang Chronicles.
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My resignation as a farang boyfriend

Bangkok, Thailand

Pattaya, 17-01-2009.

It is early morning and I`m on the local bus from the Suvarnibhumi New Airport to Pattaya. I was supposed to be on the back of Nik`s scooter heading for downtown Bangkok.

Nik is Mag`s younger brother who she send to the airport, not to pick me up and bring me to her appartment as she had told me on MSN, no he was there to inform me I had been fired as a farang boyfriend to his elder sister!!! "She have English Tilak now", as he dutifully told me.

Haaa, I was madly in love with her last year, long and tenderly hot hours together walking the raucous streets of nighttime Pattaya, eating at street food stalls while losing myself in her beautifully brown eyes, the magnificence of her open oriental face, waking up in the morning and feeling the warmth of her light brown colored body next to mine after a night´s out at one of the many discos on Walking Street. I still remember how she told me `me phone boss in Bagkok, me sick this week, stay with you all week` after our first night together. She was in my mind, in my very essence all summer while waiting anxiously to return to Krung Thep - as the Thais call Bangkok.

I`ve plenty of experience with the fickleness of Thai ladies. I know of no nation on Mother Earth where the locals are so much in love with FUN, where people love to live life to the MAX, no thoughts for tomorrow when you can have fun today. Why wait for a crazy Dutch farang boyfriend when the city is full with blue eyes males.

Anyway honesty forces me to say that I`ve not exactly been loyal to her during these long months apart. I`ve accepted my resignation as a farang boyfriend with the same quiet acceptance the Thai use to accept bad luck.

Outside the long rows of appartment buildings glide by, the bus assitent told me they house airport staff. They all look alike, similar in size and height, laundry hanging from balconeys giving the dull grey colored concrete monsters at least some colors. I see dogs scratching their behinds and slim cats staring back at me with the feline eyes of any hunter. I see old women washing a small babyboy in an abandoned oil drum, families having breakfast together in the cool of early morning.

Everything looking RIAP ROY, the Thai word for orderly!!! The sort of orderly society the Thais are so good at. But beware... underneath all this easy go happy, the big smile and their so-called riap roy society is a strong and unbeatable Asian soul, so alien to the Western mind it might as well come from another planet, another universe.

My english lagerlout "friends" are also on the bus - no big surprise there - drinking green colored cans of Chang despite the still early hour, loudly expressing their pathetic need for cheap Thai working girls, infantile behaviour brought about by a certain cultural collision.

permalink written by  heraclio on April 3, 2009 from Bangkok, Thailand
from the travel blog: Farang Chronicles.
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A farang`s life story

Bangkok, Thailand

Pattaya, 18-01-2009.

I look down on the perfect half moon of Pattaya's boulevard from the hill that houses the Wat Kho Phra Bath - Wat means temple in Thai.

Down below a heavy cocktail of farang high testosterone and hormone levels rule the veins and arteries inside white fleshy bodies dressed in colorfull Hawaii shorts, mostly belonging to middle-aged western men whose ruddy faces carry a constant grin of happiness due no doubt to the petite hard-bodied local ladyfriends holding their huge hairy hands, often not even half their age.

Indian tailors stop them in sthe street offering exclusive business suits at ridiculous low prices, s*xy bar girls giggling and secretly hoping it was them holding that fat farang hand. Russian tourists with a big thirst for wodka mingle with Saudies dressed in their long white djelebas. Hawkers constantly on the move from the police offer sticky rice with lemon, roasted chicken legs or barbequed shrimps, cooked eggs or slices of fruit.

Pattaya is a mad house at any time of the day or night. The party continues even after the curfew, though it might have to be in the privacy of your hotel room.

Up here at Wat Kho Phra Bath tranquility rules, young monks involved in whispering conversation, a scawny dog with hardly any fur left is ferociously scratching his flea ridden body, a few sleepy cats on the stairs and of course lots of gold colored Buddha statues all over the wad.

I'm actually here on a mission, I've come here like any other time I've been up here, to make Darsha, to pay my respect to Lord Buddha and the Thai people. But also to remember the past, to find the peace to let my mind flow freely without any inhibitions.

My farang mind wanders back to my first trip to King Bhumipol's nation, how I ended up in a police holding cell on fighting charges, a police cell where the cockroaches were bigger as European mice and where the mosquitos ruled your skin, where the toilet was as hole in the ground and the shower a basin where you laddle yourself with a plastic container cut in half, a police cell I was sharing with the same three young Thai males I had been fighting with the night before, where twice a day you were fed a small plastic bag of sticky rice with some miserable looking pieces of vegetable on top.

My first day in this rathole was also my twenty-fifth birthday - "happy birthday" the jailer said in terribly accented English". But this crazy experience was also the beginning of a completely new life, something changed during these thirty days of incarceration, somehow I fell in love with Thailand, made up my mind to get to understand the complicated oriental mind, learn Thai and live rest of my life according to the Buddhist rules, spend some time living at a wat as a simple monk.

It was also the time I met Jamie, another inmate and a Leuk Kreung, a Thai/Karen half-caste of my own age who made money as a Muay Thai boxer in obscure bars in Bangkok, whose body was covered in weird tattoes, strange designs and symbols as a protection, a Moordu against bad luck in the ring.

I eventually met Nong, his sister with whom I've two children, Jay and Joy, hope to meet them in Bangkok next week.

Nowadays my Thai is, despite years of dedicated study and determination, still only passable at best. My understanding of the Thai oriental mind.......sometimes at the end of yet another trip to this so-called Land of the Smile I believe I'm finally there but that "enlightenment" is gone the moment I set foot back on Dutch soil, blown away by the stormy Dutch wind. My relation with Nong something of the past, countless Thai ladies have gone her way. Living my life according to Lord Buddha's rules for Nirvana too difficult considering my passion for life itself and all the attractions that come with it, no time in a Wat dressed in saffron robes, all bodily hair gone and getting up early to ask for alms.

Jamie left this weird world swept away by the Tsunami that hit Thailand in 2004 together with his Swedish Tilak. I actually felt his watery death in my own mind being in Amsterdam at the time. The pain and grief is all gone now.

Slowly I allow my farang mind to return to the here and now coming to the conclusion I need a few cans of cold Leo beer on the boulevard after this emotional state of mind.

permalink written by  heraclio on April 4, 2009 from Bangkok, Thailand
from the travel blog: Farang Chronicles.
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The makings of a perfect marriage

Bangkok, Thailand

Pattaya, 19-01-2009.

The raucous sounds of nighttime Pattaya are all around me while I've my second meal of the night, my favorite Pla Neung Menau, steamed fish covered in lemon sauce - an acquired taste, really - at one of the many food stalls in Soi Post Office.

Young Thai women sit at iron tables dressed in cloaks having a quick break in between their erotic shows at the GoGo-bars that dot the street, dressed in sparkling cloaks they eat their noodle soup while discussing the gossips of the night.

Beef is cooking at the next food stall producing big grayish clouds heavy with the odour of hot thai spices.

"Dürfen wir uns hier vielleicht mal niederlassen?", a tall German wants to know. He is dressed in the habitual shorts worn by all farangs in Thailand. and a sweat drenched T-shirt that spanns over a gigantic beer gut, big drops of perspiration dropping off his nose while he instantly starts raving to me about all the evils and woes of farang women, not bothering to ask if I can actually understand his gutteral Deutsch.

The stench of Chang beer is heavy on his German breath and while he continues his anti-farang female tirade I try to zoom in to the converstaion his two young lady companions start in Thai after ordering food.

One wants to know form the other how they do "ït" with that big farang tumpui being in the way splodging all over her belly during Bam-Bam as the Thai call s*x, is his male organ as big as his big tumpui and is it just as white as the rest of his massive body.

I've a hard time to control my amusement while the subject of the ladies' gossip raves on about European bitches and Thai hot mommas chucks of noodle protruding from the corners of his mouth, drops of soup mixing with the sweat on his T-shirt. This bloke is a real slob!!!

"Guck toch mal freund, mit dieser Alte bin Ich schon zeit Jahren zusammen, die werde Ich noch mal heiraten und mit zu München nehmen". His Tilak realising she is being discussed gives him her sexiest smile while patting his big gut lovingly meanwhile telling her friend it is not really a big problem because most nights he is too drunk and will fall asleep so she can watch TV ands order food up to the room and yes his male organ is really white, quite smal and bright red after Bam-Bam.

Hahaha, the makings of a perfect marriage are well in place here.

permalink written by  heraclio on April 5, 2009 from Bangkok, Thailand
from the travel blog: Farang Chronicles.
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She is my poor Tilak

Bangkok, Thailand

Pattaya, 20-01-2009.

With the Thai sun setting over the ocean my mind goes on an endless narrative trying to understand the hidden structures of the oriental mind, trying to make sence of my own involvement, the very influence this strange Asian society has got on my farang way of thinking.

"Hans, me choi-choi you here, Hans, you tell me what happen Joseph, what happen me luuk chai, me luuk saaw?, bitte Hans me poor Moo, Ich will wissen bitte".

Moo`s head is on my shoulder while she goes on and on in a strange and weird mix of Thai, German and english, mostly to herself not really expecting an answer from me sipping every so often from the straw that sticks out of her can of Chang beer - Thai women like to sip their beer from a straw.

How can I possibly answer her questions when I don`t even know myself how all this sh*t came about...her boyfriend Joseph she has got two Leuk Kreung with, who was so much in love with Thailand he decided to make take a suitcase full of coke back to Germany...make big money, stay Thailand long time...who got caught at Don Muang Airport...who ended up in Yard Lao Prison and went Kingdom Come two years into the process because of HIV related physical complains.

I`m back in that little interogation room where I saw him only weeks before his sh*tty death, back at Yard Lao where the cockroaches were the main source of proteine for the inmates, where huge rats were roasted for dinner...where I had to bribe the guards to see him privately though he was already three quarters on the way to Lord buddha`s kingdom...Joseph sitting opposite me, a shadow of his former self, no more big muscular blond blue eyed German but a miserable little sh*t reduced to a nervous wreck not even half his former weight wetting the end of his Marlboro sigarette...I still remember his pleading eyes and his words "Ich werde hier sterben Hans, wie muss dass weiter mit Moo und unsere kindern?.

Poor Joseph died two weeks later and I still remembered the words of his sister screaming at me over the phone when I ask her about the kids "Wass habe Ich mit seiner Hure zu machen oder mit dieser scheiss Kindern?.

I my mind I`m still in the Happy Years when we used to go to Jomtien Beach, went dancing at Marine Disco, when life was fun and uncomplicated, when I was back with Nong.

How can I possibly answer Moo`s questions when I don`t even know myself how all this sh*t came about. Moo sleeps on the beach now selling her body to s*x starved farang drunks every night, her mind destroyed by Yaa-Baa and Thai whiskey.

She is my poor Tilak.

permalink written by  heraclio on April 6, 2009 from Bangkok, Thailand
from the travel blog: Farang Chronicles.
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A little act of jai-Dee

Bangkok, Thailand

[[Myanmar-(Burma)/Pattaya]], 21-01-2009.

I`m here in [[Myanmar-(Burma)/Pattaya]] because in my life staedy relationships do not work, I`m here because I`m reaching my middle age years, I`m here because I do not have to live on low substitute levels like the young members of the Isaan clan of womanhood.

Either you work these rowdy bars in Soi Eight for a meagre 5000 Baht a month entertaining the Brigate of Lonely Farang Hearts..or else the rice paddies back in the north, a baby strapped to your back, the hot Thai sun beaming down on you while your husband is out having fun with his Nia-Noi, his second wife or maybe philandering in the local bordello with his mates while getting Mau on cheap moonshine whiskey expecting you to have dinner ready when he will get home.

My bottle of Kloster beer is cold to the touch, the Doors are blaring away on the sound system, Manchester playing the English League on a 60 inch flatscreen, bar girls giggling when their behinds get pinches by drunk Scots in kilts. The beer is flowing in amounts that could well compete with all the water in the Mekhong river.

A young blond German, not yet twenty probably on his first backpack trip in Asia, is watching one of the bar girls shyly. He better be carefull or his budget for the whole month will go down eager female throats. If he came here to loose his virginity he has come to the right place!!!

I`ve given the key to my room to Miss Tuan earlier on the boulevard where we met while she was collecting empty cans and bottles for the deposit. "Me old lady now", she told me adding "farang not like old lady". Actually at 45 she still looked quite attractive despite all the grease and stale sweat covering her body. "Sorry sleep beach, not have money for room".

So I gave her my key telling her to go take a shower, wash her greasy clothes amd leave the key with the reception.

My heavy farang Karma will hopefully be a bit lighter with this little act of Jai-Dee - good heart in Thai.

permalink written by  heraclio on April 7, 2009 from Bangkok, Thailand
from the travel blog: Farang Chronicles.
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The Dutch Farang Bench in Pattaya

Bangkok, Thailand

Pattaya, 22-01-2009.

There is that Western side of my stupid farang mind always looking for rational explications to an unsolvable dilemma, always wanting to knop that which it shouldn`t question, 24/7 in conflict with itself and trying hard to get rich, stay in the picture fast and furious.

There is also the Oriental side to my mind, divine since it came later in my life instead of the childhood trained Western and better capable to withdrawn to its inner sanctorum where peace and stability rule my mental chemical processes , shrouded in sleepiness when I`m in the West, a consumer`s paradise where a big Mercedes is not just a transport mode but also a show-off to the neighbors.

It`s near nightfall and the ladies are busy trying hard to convince the punters a shorttime before the night will really start is surely worth considering, clickety-clack their high heeled platform shoes go on the boulevard`s pavement. dressed in short skirts or even shorter jeans showing off shapely female legs the color of cafè-au-lait.

They are all around me asking me every so ofen for 20 Baht "me hungry Hans", now that was Moo. 35 Baht for a can of Chang, now that was Tuan, "not have man tonight, Hans", now that was Nang I remnember from last year. 12 Baht for a coffee, now that was Lek who has been walking this boulevard longer than I care to remember.

I`m sitting on the Dutch Farang Bench right in front of the 7/Eleven, conveniently close, just have to cross always busy Beach Road if you want another beer, and the gathering place for the farang population of Pattaya. People from Holland who have saved up enough dough to sit it out here untill there pension, small time criminals who spent their black money on cheap booze and even cheaper s*x, but also the hard *sses like Johnny Mieremet - one of the notorious Heineken kidnappers and who got shot in neighboring Bhanglamung some years ago.

This is the hang-out bench of the Dutch in Pattaya and therefore off limits to the fat-bellied Germans, rowdy English, Belgiams that are rumoured to be child molesters or French entrepeneurs but the countless Hot Mommas are more than welcome bringing a bit of entertainment to otherwise boring Dutch conversation topics, send them across the road to the 7/Eleven for beers and sigarettes.

Yes, that is The Dutch Farang Bench in Pattaya.

permalink written by  heraclio on April 8, 2009 from Bangkok, Thailand
from the travel blog: Farang Chronicles.
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Walking with my daughter in Bangkok

Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok, 24-01-2009.

How make Karma work, by paying free Tiger Beer to Hot Mommas on Pattaya`s boulevard, give them the key to your room so they can have a much needed shower, a quick nap on the bed, let them have the worthless bunch of second hand T-shirts that I put in my backpack just for that occasion?

The hidden structures of an oriental society of moral and evil, Jai-Dee or Cheap Charley. I`m not really sure about my farang status in this mystifying nation with its superstitious people whose bodies often carry the weirdest tattoes of chinese dragons and other non-excistent animals from the world of the myths and Asian legends, their crazy fascination with animal behaviour, their total and complete devotion to spirituality as a whole with every house having its own spirit house.

I can make no sense of male chauvinist local views on women. They talk about them like they are only around to be used but at the same time as a society they give them more personal freedom than quite a few countries I could mention. Where every local male should have a Mia-Noi or else he is not considered a real man but at the same moment don`t care a temple rat`s *ss they sell their nubile bodies en masse to degenerate farang males.

The endless narrative churns through my farang head while I work in Lumpini Park in Bangkok, an oasis of green in an otherwise gray concrete jungle of skyscrapers, a super-jammed traffic flow at any hour of the day and often at night, with more food hawkers then there are restaurants in the whole of my native Holland.

This is a busy city, one of the biggest in the world!!!

I`m holding hands with a twenty year old Eurasian female of a rare beauty who is talking happily to me, who keeps giggling about the photos of baby Charlotte, her half sister "ay, she beautifull have uncle Jamie`s eyes, me like photo with she sleep", and on and on she goes.

I`m acutely aware of the mental gossiping going on in the minds of an elderly farang couple just passing us, another European s*x-tourist with a local girlfriend not even half his age, she could well be his daughter so young she still is.

Well guys, I have news for you....SHE IS MY DAUGHTER, the product of me and Nong whom I`ll meet later tonight.

permalink written by  heraclio on April 9, 2009 from Bangkok, Thailand
from the travel blog: Farang Chronicles.
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On the way to a dinner date with Nong

Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok, 24-01-2009,

All Bangkok taxi drivers are superstitious to the max, often orinating from Thailand`s poor north, wearing several Buddha pendants around their necks, go to the wat every morning to make an offering of rice, garlands and moonshine whiskey, cuban sigars and sigarettes to the spirits that rule their fears, the spiritual world of the goddess whose image adourns the inside of Bangkok taxis, whose pendant hangs around the necks of the countless motorbike taxi drivers in this huge staeming metropole.

I try to concentrate on the powerfull Buddha pendant hanging around my own farang neck, my tighs clasped tightly against the upperlegs of the taxi driver while he skillfully wringles through the Bangkok traffic jams. I fear for my kneecaps with only centimeters to spare at both sides, mere inches to the cars we pass at both sides, we round a corner at a 45 degree angle paying no heed to all the people who crowd the streets of Bangkok`s China Town.

Bangkok`s Chinese population preparing for the upcoming Chinese New Year. The admosphere is festive with many farangs mixing with the crowd of mostly in red dressed locals, elefants marching down Charoen Krung Thanon, the Chinese dragon dancing in the street while fire crackers go off at an deavening sound, farang tourists desperately trying to capture it all with digital camaras, endless rows of chinese shops all having a small spirit temple nailed to the wall, the bony faces of Khatoes disapaer behind me while my driver carefully avoids two fat Americans tourist ladies, white cotton dresses spanning over large layers of pink behinds "wow, did you see the elfants?"

Then the mayhem is behind me when we leave the Chinese District. We pass the Wat Traimit were I tell the driver to stop, I want to make a quick offering to Lord Buddha before my dinner date with Nong.

The expensive five star Shangri-La Hotel is set on the bank of the Chao Praya River and while I pay my driver, tipping him generously and wishing him a safe night with many customers so he can visit the girly bars tonight - I know the Thai after all - I watch the hotel`s security guards dressed in their heavenly blue uniforms, handcuffs and battons dangling from their belts, playing Thai checkers at a wooden table with Chang bottle tops.

I enter the gigantic lobby, my heat heavy like a whole brick wall is pressing down on it, trying to think about the good Thai food I will soon eat, trying to ignore the stupid fact I`ll in mere minutes meet the most important woman in my life.

For a moment I feel like running away as I`ve been running all of my life but then I see her, a bit more full in the face, a bit more weight on her once lith small body...she sees me too, walking toward me slowly...we wai each other politely, she carefully holding her clasped hands a bit lower down her face as mine and therby showing me respect, no embraces and public shows of emotionsas is common in the West but frowned upon in King Bhumipol`s Nation.

permalink written by  heraclio on April 10, 2009 from Bangkok, Thailand
from the travel blog: Farang Chronicles.
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