first few hours back in Pattaya and events here
"still under construction"
Well, I’ve only been back in Thailand for a few hours but I’ve already seen that the main road leading to my neck of the woods in Pattaya is still under construction, and that this underpass, begun three years ago to relieve all jams, is still jamming everything – cars, motorbikes, lorries, coaches, bicycles, pedestrians, stray dogs, reincarnated dogs, the odd meaow and thirty-three, all culled to an enormous standstill. The construction-developers have gone even further. They have closed the soi to my house as well – almost. If you drive or walk too near their works, you can fall down one of their little, neatly-prepared precipices. If you hurdle, you can hurdle over large, blue pipes. If you fancy getting pronged on iron spikes, you can get pronged. If you fancy sitting on metal forks you can sit. If you fancy getting backache in your car, you can sit in your car for hours and achieve backache.
an interesting looking toilet-seat in the soi by my house
Well, it wasn’t the welcome I wanted but at least I got here safely after hurtling through the air in a winged container at five or six hundred miles an hour. The air-staff were nice to me and nobody said I was being foolhardy to believe I was safe hurtling through that horrible airspace at a velocity akin to the speed of light. Yes, reader, if you are still there, I got here!
One of my first tasks was to renew my internet monthly subscription to enable me to content-create in peace. To avoid all problems I presented myself at the stall in Big C Extra, Pattaya Klang, armed with my last receipt and pointing to it said, “muean kan” which means “the same”. (Of course I could have said “same, same” which everyone would have understood. Instead I said in Thai “muean kan”.) The assistant heard “nueng phan” which means “one thousand” and, of course, assumed “baht” and added it – in his mind. Anyway, after lengthy explanations and much laughter I got my internet sub. done for the usual three hundred and twenty baht and left mopping my brow and reflecting on my inability to make myself understood in Thai after ten years here and their inability to…to…!
In a few hours’ time the fourth of October will change to the fifth of October and my darling Na’s birthday will be no more. I arrived in time to celebrate my love’s birth day in true "farang" fashion, that is down the local goldshop, hoping two things. One that the necklace will not be too expensive. And two, that my loved one will not pawn it today. On both matters I have been severely compromised but not entirely disappointed. We exited the goldshop near Tops Supermarket on Pattaya Klang Road and my love told me thanks. She pecked my cheek. All was hunky-dory, sweetie-weetie, lovey-dovey, so imagine my surprise when, a few hours later, I found that one of our ten-year-old quarrels was resurfacing with a vengeance. I have fanatically vowed to learn Thai (so I can communicate with the Thais in their very own tonal language!) and Na has resolutely told me I am a bad, bad man for not speaking to her in English. Tonight, with that gold necklace round her sweet neck, she answered my question, “What’s “cucumber” in Thai?” with “coocumber” not “queuecumber”. I had been complimenting her on buying a vegetable which lowers AZOTEMIA (UREA), thus helping the kidneys to function because, yes, you’ve guessed it, an English doctor has put me on statins to lower my cholesterol but said tablets can mess the noble kidneys which mess they are doing somewhat but not allwhat. For those interested in blood tests done in Italy and my kidney functions born in the U of K, my CRETIN (CREATININA) is just fine.
“Ah ha!” I thought, “not even a gold necklace will quell a ten-year-old quarrel.”
So, guess where muggins is heading first thing tomorrow morning? Straight down the local market to ask the cucumber-sellers to say “cucumber” in Thai. I am not going to rely on a search-engine and the net. No, it’s local search and research; it’s on-the-spot stuff. I will avoid the dog-mess by our front-gate, put there by our neighbour’s enterprising dog which doesn’t care for me (and neither does my neighbour – a German with a penchant for owning short-time bars in Soi 6, probably the “dirtiest” soi in Pattaya). I will make it there and back in time to greet Na with a cheerful and patient sawatdee khrap (good morning).
And, yes, I know what you are thinking about me and my life in Thailand, and in Pattaya, in particular. You are thinking patience is a great virtue in Thailand. Well, thanks. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to rewrite and add to “Collected Selected Words”, my memoir-novel about the UK, Thailand and Italy. (Yes, it is on Amazon but I’m not allowed to tell you that!) A great guy called Grant, an indie author himself, told me to change its title to something less pretentious like “Habitat of the Great-Crested, Pattayan Ladyboy (with descriptions of other flighty species)” which I’m duly doing. Grant added that only Chaucer or Dickens would think up a title like “Collected Selected Words” and that the majority of my would-be readers probably think that my title means I’ve got my head stuck up my…uum…eer…aah…postratumusposteriosFinchus.
Yes, patience is a great virtue, but mine is just about running out! Am I to blame for this? Are my choices just plain ridiculous? Are my titles risible? Or has Lady Fortune got it in for me in a big way?
We all know the answer. She has got it in for me in a very big way (and, please, don’t disagree with me unless, of course, you enjoy reading replies from me full of four-letter words – damn! — all going to prove that patience, a great virtue, has been lost).