Wednesday, 4 October 2017

TONY QUINN’S “A CANBERRA BOY’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND

TONY QUINN’S “A CANBERRA BOY’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND”
The first story is:
“AN EMAIL FROM THAILAND” or "CROOK IN THE GUTS".
by Tony Quinn
  The following story was largely copied from an email I sent to Dave Wheeler from Thailand on the 26/1/14.
  Gooday you mongrel,
   We left Bangkok on Sunday and went south to a place on the coast called Cha Am. We stayed in a hotel which was very quiet and had a big pool. I could also run along the beach. I hired a Honda CRV and on Tuesday we drove further south to a place I can't recall the name of to visit a mate of the Mrs named Nataya.
  I met Nataya a couple of times before and she thinks I'm really nice (good judge of character). She gave me a shirt last time we met. When she saw me this time she ran over and hugged me. She's very wealthy and owns a lot of properties. Her husband's been active politically.
    She was a beauty queen in the 70's and the last time I saw her she looked okay for her age but this time she looked hideous. She obviously had plastic surgery on her face but something went horribly wrong. Her nostrils were pointing straight out like a pig's snout. It's a pity, because she's a nice woman but now advertises herself as being mutton doing a bad job of trying to dress itself as lamb. Why can't people just grow old gracefully? It's good to keep fit as you age but we can't do much about keeping our looks.
   She took us to a restaurant for lunch and was so happy to see us she ordered beer after beer. As I'm a very polite person and didn't want to offend her I drank several glasses. The food was fried fish, crab, prawns, oysters, pork, noodles, etc. I was turned off when I was eating because every time I looked at her I could see a pair of nostrils staring back at me.
   She told me I looked like a movie star but could not think of his name. I suggested it may be Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, George Clooney or James Bond. She said I was very handsome. I said "If you had a few more beers I would look even more handsome."
   After lunch she wanted to show us some of her land holdings and insisted on driving the hire car. I was shitting myself as she was driving all over the road. I took over at an appropriate spot.
    I wasn't feeling too good at that stage so we commenced the drive back to her place. I started to feel really sick. I had severe stomach pains and my bowels were moving. I pulled over to the side of the road, staggered around to the other side of the car, dropped my pants, and in a half squat position while leaning against the vehicle let fly. The shit flew out of me like a geyser and must have looked a great sight. The Mrs said she was lucky not to be standing behind me as it went about 2 metres. I wonder if Nataya still thought I looked like a movie star.
   I remained in that position for about 15 minutes with multiple shits coming out. Unlike Australia the main roads in Thailand have houses and shops along them. It must have impressed the locals. To make matters worse the wife started yelling at me that I was getting shit all over my white RM Williams jeans (I wore them especially to impress Nataya). I was in no mood to listen to her claptrap so I summoned the last remaining bit of energy I had, to respond with "Get *******!
    After shitting I was too weak to wipe my arse so the Mrs washed it with a bottle of drinking water. While still in the half squat position leaning forward and with much difficulty I started to pull up my now not so white RM Williams jeans trying hard not to expose my genitals in the process. This would have provided even more amusement for the locals. I crawled back into the driver's seat and continued on my way despite feeling sick, as I had no faith in the driving ability of either Nataya or the Mrs. The nagging started once again. This time the Mrs was complaining that I had spray-painted shit over the front passenger car door.


  I only got about 10kms when I started to feel even sicker, so I pulled over to the side of the road again and had 3 vomits out of the car door.I felt a bit better and drove on, but by the time we had dropped off Nataya I began to feel sick again and we only just made it back to our hotel, where I had several more shits and many more vomits. I thought I was going to die. I could not even drink a mouthful of water but I later on managed a bit of green tea.
  I felt a bit better in the morning so I did some exercises and went for a swim. I forced myself to eat some food and I didn't shit all day, although I had a severe headache and a hot forehead. I also felt my blood pressure was through the roof.
  That night I forced myself to go for a 20 minute run along the beach and didn't feel any worse. I’m still not 100% and I'm looking forward to eating some decent food when I return to the Berra.
Regards,
Tony 26/1/14
“ANOTHER EMAIL FROM THAILAND" or “A DEAD MONK LIVES ON”
By Tony Quinn
  I sent the following email to Dave Wheeler on the 10/2/14.
Gooday you mongrel,
   A mate of the Mrs rang yesterday morning to ask if we would like to go with her and her husband to visit a temple a couple of hours drive north of Bangkok on the road to Lopburi. I jumped at the chance as it had been several days since I had been to a temple (sarcasm).
   They picked us up a few hours later and off we went. The temple is a large establishment and is a rehabilitation centre for drug addicts. Western drug addicts also reside at the temple. Evidently the hardest addicts to cure are the glue and petrol sniffers.
   We spent quite a lot of time at the main temple as it contained some Buddha images and relics. There were a lot of coloured lights around a structure in front of the images. On closer inspection the structure was a large glass tank filled with water containing the body of a head monk who died 3 years ago.The head of the head monk, with its hair supposedly still growing, was pressed against the side of the tank. A live monk in the hall came over to tell us the details of the preservation of the body. Next to the tank was a bottle containing water with a yellow substance floating on top. The substance was fat from the dead monk's body! I was surprised that the body could be preserved only by using water.
   The live monk told us how every so often he would drain the tank of water,remove the body and clean it up. He switched on his computer and showed us the various images of the body. He would remove the dead skin and dead finger and toe nails which he said would grow back. He obviously enjoyed his work as he had a big smile on his face. He also said there were another 5 bodies out the back in a similar state. It was like a house of horrors!
  We left the hall and went to a different part of the complex where the abbot was. We sat with him discussing various topics (I could not understand a word as it was in Thai). The husband went and sat at a table and started eating a bowl of soup. He waved me over to join him. I hadn't eaten since I had a breakfast of oats and bananas so I was quite hungry. He was hoeing into the soup so I thought it would be okay. It was a grey, slimy gruel and floating in it was what appeared to be fish balls and raw chunks of liver. The fish balls ended up being bird's eggs. I ate about a third of the bowl. The stomach would not take any more.
  We went back over and sat near the abbot and he gave me a ring with a precious stone attached plus a stone by itself. These he said would bring me good luck and good fortune. He then offered me a glass of water to drink. It was very cloudy-looking so I declined, saying I had a weak stomach. He said the water had healing powers and would cleanse my body of illness and injury. I still declined as the thought of my recent food poisoning was still in my mind. He assured me the water was okay and proceeded to dip his finger into it and dab the water droplets onto his tongue. Against my better judgement I lifted the glass and gulped the contents down. Maybe the water would cure my training injuries. The water tasted foul and I grimaced.
  The abbot then told me where the water came from. You wouldn't believe this, but the water came from the tank containing the dead body! I was shocked! No wonder the water looked cloudy and tasted so foul! I didn't know what to say. I wondered how long it would take for the symptoms of cholera to appear.
   The abbot then produced a bottle containing a dark brown liquid. The drug addicts drink it and it makes them vomit uncontrollably. It's part of the cure. I was tempted to take a swig.
  Shortly afterwards we headed home. We stopped off for dinner at a restaurant but I wasn't in the mood for eating.
   I have attached a photo of the abbot. The brown drink is to his right.
MY LIFE OR MY HONOUR
by Tony Quinn 

   It was late September 2012 when we flew from Bangkok to the city of Trat in far eastern Thailand close to the Cambodian border. From there we boarded a ferry for the one hour trip to Koh Chang Island. Koh Chang is the second largest island in Thailand. Over 70% of the island is covered in tropical rainforest with topography ranging from high mountain peaks to white sandy beaches.
  After arriving on Koh Chang Island, we took a taxi to a resort located at the southern end of White Sand Beach. The main road from the pier runs along a contour line quite a way up the side of a mountain range. The track leading to the resort is made of bitumen but is very steep, winding and covered in overhanging rainforest. On the way down to the resort I thought to myself what great fun it would be to run back up the hill to the main road. 
   The resort was virtually deserted as it was the low season due to the daily monsoonal rains. After checking in, I put on my running gear including my 5 toed Vibram runners and away I went up the hill.
   The legs were really working, the heart and lungs were pumping and the sweat poured off me due to the heat and humidity. I was really enjoying myself until about half way up the hill when I rounded a bend and noticed some monkeys on the track ahead.   Could be trouble I thought and with good reason.
   I have had problems with animals in Canberra and elsewhere, particularly when I am out running. Goshawks and magpies have attacked me on several occasions in the berra, as has a spur winged plover. I was also threatened by a large kangaroo when I was doing survey work west of Bourke. Had the roo sat on its tail and disemboweled me with the sharp claws that are attached to its powerful rear legs it would have ruined my day and made it very difficult for me to focus on the calculations I was required to do for the job.
  Being bitten on the leg by a large dog outside a public toilet in Iran was also not a very pleasant experience.
   As I reached the monkeys, I called out politely to them, asking them to get out of my way. Next thing I heard was a loud screech behind me. I looked around to see a large male monkey rushing out of the jungle straight at me.
    It was screeching and hissing, mouth wide open with large yellow fangs hanging out. I thought it was going to jump on me and rip me to pieces. I came very close at that point to losing control of my bowels. 
   The second thought that came to my mind was the story I read about the poor woman in the USA who had her face ripped off by a monkey and recently had a face transplant. “That's going to happen to me,” I thought as I started running backwards up the hill at 100mph whilst at the same time yelling expletives at it as it chased me. I may not be Asian but I don’t like the idea of losing face. 
   The monkey was very solidly built much like a dwarf on steroids. It had dark brown hair sticking straight out on either side of its head. All the years of martial arts training came to nought as my mind went blank as far as a self defence strategy went. Running away was the only instinctive thing I was capable of. After I had run backwards for some distance away from the group of monkeys the male monkey stopped chasing me. I was still wary so continued running backwards up the hill for several more minutes.
  Eventually I reached the top of the hill. I hadn't had enough exercise so I walked about 100 metres down the hill and did some sprints back to the top of the hill. On the fifth one I pulled a calf muscle. I couldn't help myself so I did another sprint which made the calf even worse. 
  I then wondered how I was going to get back down the hill to the resort. I could walk along the main road for miles and make my way to the main beach then come back to the resort along the beach front but that would take hours particularly with my torn calf muscle. I looked around and found a large branch to use as a weapon against the monkey then started limping down the hill. 
   A few minutes later a young Thai bloke on a motorbike stopped and asked if I wanted a lift. He was very friendly and smiling. Looked like he was wearing lipstick and makeup. What a choice – I could accept the lift and maybe end up with a sore arse and a dose of AIDS, because for all I knew there may have been a gang of lady boys waiting for me. Or I could walk down and possibly get my face ripped off. It was a difficult decision but I went with the faceless option and declined the lift. I am proud of the fact that my arse is still a virgin.
   I continued walking down the hill and started waving the branch around as I approached the monkeys. I couldn't see the one that attacked me - thought he may be up a tree waiting to drop on me so I waved the branch above my head. I managed to get through and past the monkeys without incident. Decided to stick to running on the beach from then onwards.
Tony Quinn
ANOTHER DOSE OF FOOD POISONING
By Tony Quinn
   This anecdote and the following two were written in September 2017 and concerns my most recent trip to Thailand.
   On virtually every trip to Thailand I experience some form of food poisoning. Some are quite bad as detailed in my previous yarn when I ate off seafood.
   I recently experienced a similar bad dose after eating lunch at a restaurant in a shopping complex around 1hrs walk from the house.
   During the walk home I started to feel very ill. I was getting very bad stomach pains, felt sick and dizzy. I kept having to go off the sidewalk onto the road to avoid all the obstacles such as food venders, motorbikes etc. The vehicles on the road were belching out fumes which made me feel worse. I tried to get home quickly before I fainted but my wife was walking like a snail. 
   When I reached the entrance to the housing complex I had to start running before I shat my pants. I just made it, ran up the stairs, ripped off my clothes and jumped onto the toilet. Out it flowed - I wanted to vomit also - could not hold back and it went all over the floor - it was coming out both ends at the same time. I then broke out in a cold sweat - it was dripping off me. I felt I was going to pass out so slid onto the floor - lying in my vomit and faeces. I thought I was going to die. 
   I managed to summon up the last remaining bit of energy I had and reached up and turned on the cold tap of the shower. I lay there for some time before crawling out of the bathroom and making my way to the top of the stairs before yelling to my wife to bring me some water. She brings me a bottle - I had trouble lifting it to my lips - she did not realise I was sick - good one. I crawled into the bedroom and dragged myself onto the bed - both feet then cramped up - I was in agony. 
   Eventually after several pots of green tea I started to feel a bit better. In fact I felt so good that I thought about going for a run. My sensible self took over and pointed out that the most likely reason I was feeling so good was the kick from the caffeine in the tea. I would have already been dehydrated so running in the heat would have made things worse and I may have passed out.
   The following morning my wife suggested we go for a massage at a nearby massage establishment- I said okay. She asked what areas of my body were painful so she would tell the girl to concentrate on those areas. I said my groin area was very painful. Anyway she rang and made a booking. We arrived, the girl behind the counter was very attractive. The two girls arrived - one was young and very pretty, the other was old and fat - looked exactly like a sumo wrestler right down to the hairstyle - guess which one I got. She was washing my feet in a basin and asked me which one I thought was the best looking - being the gentleman that I am, I said both of you are beautiful. 
   I had a massage just after I arrived in Thailand and the girl looked like a bowling ball so I thought I am not going to tolerate this again. I said I wasn't going to be massaged by the fat one - I wanted the young one. I'm not sure if the fat one understood English but I didn't care. I then had a very pleasant 2 hour massage. She said I had a very nice nose and may get plastic surgery to get one like me. They don’t like flat noses in Thailand.
THE KING AND THE PRINCESS
by Tony Quinn
   We were invited along with some others to travel from Bangkok to a place called Wiang Haeng in far northern Thailand on the Burmese border to participate in a ceremony to honour the former Thai King Naresuan.
  King Naresuan ruled Thailand from 1590 until his death in 1605 from an illness most likely either smallpox or septic shock at the age of 50.
   January 23 is a national holiday and celebrated as the anniversary of the elephant battle in which King Naresuan and the Burmese Crown Prince Mingyi Swa fought in single combat sitting atop their elephants.
   This occurred during the battle of Nong Sarai when the largest Burmese invasion force ever assembled marched into Thailand. The fight ended when King Naresuan virtually cut Mingyi Swa in half with his ngaw - a long pike with a curved blade at the end. The now leaderless Burmese army immediately turned and headed home.
  The story starts when we arrived early one morning at the Bangkok house of the woman who had organised and paid for the event. Two minibuses arrived to pick us and others up. Three university professors were in our minibus including the woman and a two man film crew. The whole event was to be filmed and shown on Thai TV. A 35 minute youtube video was produced. The link is at the end of the story. I play a starring role as one of the kings soldiers. The woman who organised it is quite small and is highly visible throughout the video.
  We travelled to the northern city of Chiang Mai which is about 9hrs drive. We stayed overnight in a hotel then assembled next morning at the house she owns in Chiang Mai. A very large house on a big block. The video starts at her house. I can be seen sitting at a table in her house eating breakfast earlier on in the video.
  From there we travelled in convoy with army escort to a place called Wiang Haeng in far northern Thailand right on the Burmese border. The top army and police officers as well as govt officials were there. You have to keep a close eye out for me but I stand out as I am one of the tallest people there. I am dressed in red. Near the end of the video I am in normal clothes shown kneeling with my hands together praying. I knew my days as an altar boy would come in handy. I was the only farang so received plenty of attention.
  As you can see, a bronze bust of King Naresuan was transported from Chiang Mai to Wiang Haeng in the back of a ute. The countryside is quite mountainous with the elevation over 2000 metres above sea level. Also very cold and foggy at night.
   We stayed two nights in the area before returning to Chiang Mai.
 The following day we attended huge celebrations at a temple 40kms east of Chiang Mai that went on for several days. A Cambodian princess was a special guest. That evening we attended a formal dinner for the princess at a functions centre. Lots of music, dancing, speeches and presentations.
   The next day was full on visiting yet another temple on the outskirts of Chiang Mai, large gardens and hot springs. We arrived back at the functions centre where we dined the previous night with the Cambodian princess. The time was around 5pm.
  We were the first there but not long afterwards other people started arriving. Once again the princess was to be the guest of honour. Several times we lined up outside the front door to greet the princess but she did not show. The tables were set with food. I was starving.
  Around 7.30pm panic set in and we all went rushing back to the temple for the start of some ceremony. I was sitting there getting grumpy as apart from some nuts, fruit and milk I had not eaten since breakfast. I was taken to the temple kitchen and given some leftover pork and rice. Afterwards I adjourned back to the temple and took my seat in the VIP area.
   About 8.30pm there was more panic. The princess had arrived at the temple but without having any dinner. The wife in her cool and calm manner called me from my seat. She was with the princess, her personal assistant and an older bloke. We were rushed into a mini bus to be taken to the functions centre for dinner. The inside of the mini bus resembled a disco dance floor with flashing lights, mirrors etc. The driver turned off the lights just after we left but the princess liked them so they went back on.
  We arrived first at the function centre and proceeded to sit at a table away from the VIP one. After getting out of the minibus I noticed the princess and her personal assistant walk towards the toilets. I was most surprised as I was always under the impression that royalty did not have bowel or bladder movements. She was not long so must only have had a No.1. When the princess sat down at the VIP table she waved me over and told me to sit opposite her and next to her personal assistant. She obviously took a liking to me. Although her English was not perfect we had a very good conversation. She asked if I would like to come with her to the hot springs after dinner. Obviously I could not refuse a royal request and accepted her invitation. I suggested we could have a swim together but she said she could not swim due to a back injury caused by a car accident. Also she invited me to visit her in Cambodia.
   By this time the functions centre had filled up with the princess receiving many requests for photos. I had a few taken with her as well. There was a commotion at the front of the building as several police cars had arrived with lights flashing. Evidently the princess had neglected to tell her bodyguards that she was going with us in the mini bus. They thought she may have been kidnapped.
  A Pakistani man of around 40 years of age was also sitting at the royal table, a couple of seats down and on the opposite side of the table. He had a very miserable face on him (far more miserable than my usual face) and would not eat any food. A woman standing behind him kept nagging him to eat but he wouldn't. Eventually she went and got him an omelette and gave it to him to eat. He refused. Shortly afterwards I asked him if the woman was his mother. He looked at me with what appeared to be an even more miserable face and said nothing. I later found out that the woman was his wife and part of the Cambodian royal family.
  An older man was sitting next to the princess. His English was not the best but I managed to have a conversation with him. During the conversation he told me that he was Korean. I asked him whether he was from the north or south which didn't go down too well. I then said that I didn't think he was Cambodian as he had very slanty eyes. To make matters worse I placed my fingers at the corners of my own eyes and pulled them into slits just in case he didn't understand me. He didn't talk to me much after that. I doubt if I will get an invite to sit at their table again.
  When the dinner finished we went back to the bungalow rather than the hot springs as it was getting late.
I WAS POSSESSED BY A DEMON
by Tony Quinn
   This story is about a very painful experience I had when staying in the Burirum area of Thailand.
  It started out as a small drive with the 2 children of the wife’s niece to visit a nearby temple. I was really looking forward to it as it had been almost a day since I had last visited one.
   The temple was quite new and very well built. The whole temple including the inside walls, ceilings and pillars appeared to be finished in highly polished timber but was actually painted concrete. Michelangelo would have been proud of it. It was so realistic that the police had come to arrest the abbot as they thought it was made from illegal teak.
   We had a good look around then sat down to have a yarn with the abbot. He reckoned I had a very bad demon inside of me. This diagnosis was based on what the wife had told him about me. No wonder. However, he was a very smart man as he went on to say that she had far worse problems than me. He then explained where these demons often come from. They come from eating at Thai, Lao, Cambodian and especially Vietnamese restaurants. The worst restaurants of the lot are Sri Lankan and Indian. He said he never eats at restaurants because of this. I told him that I rarely eat out so it wouldn't apply to me. But no, I got the demon from eating at the Thai restaurant in Manuka that we go to each Christmas. Now I know what has caused all my training injuries and for being miserable at times. For those readers who have had cancer or other medical conditions and eat at Asian restaurants you now know what has caused these problems.
   He said that prior to opening these types of restaurants, hot candle wax is dripped around the restaurants. This is done not only to honour the ancestors but to bring good luck and lots of customers. The down side is that all the bad luck and demons go out with the customers. All these years I have avoided eating at restaurants as I am scared of getting food poisoning, flu and other viruses but I had no idea that the real threats were demons and other evil spirits.
  However all was not lost as he could rid me of my demons and restore my good health by giving me some acupuncture Thai Buddhist style. The needle to be used was a long wooden stake similar looking to a very large pencil. He is holding it in his hands in the picture below. Also smiling in anticipation of what he was about to do. The pointy end is pushed very hard into various pressure points all over the body. I was a bit wary after the bad experience I had in Lopburi when I drank the water taken from a tank holding the body of a dead monk. That was supposed to cure all my training injuries but didn't.
   He started on my back. After this was completed, I had to lie face down and face up on the floor while the implement was driven into various parts of my body. I broke out into a sweat. It was agony when pushed into my feet. I have a very high tolerance to pain but this would have to be the worst ever. Even worse than the fillings I received at the dentist as a kid. High rep squats to failure are a pleasure compared to this. He also pushed it into my skull on both sides just above the ears. The left side was very sore the next day.   
    The 2 children were laughing their heads off while this was going on. The girl took 2 short videos of me but were taken after most of the painful stuff had happened.
   During the painful demon releasing process the wife was continually telling me to relax. What a stupid thing to say. When it came to her turn it was a completely different story. Yelling and screaming much to my delight. I said comforting words to her like "suck eggs" and so on. I also laughed a lot.
   The abbot said that some people pass out while getting treatment and have to be taken to hospital. That is due to all the problems they have inside their bodies. Nothing to do with the agonising pain of course. He said one farang he did it to jumped up straight away and was so angry the abbot thought he was going to punch him out. He then ran off. Later he and his wife returned to thank him as their relationship had improved due to the treatment.
   After it was all over, everyone commented how good my face looked. No longer miserable and stressed looking. Probably due to it being lathered in sweat and red. The demon had now left me. The abbot suggested I return the next day for a second session but unfortunately I was busy doing other things. He also asked if we would like to go to Cambodia with him but that will have to wait until my next visit as he cannot leave the temple for awhile.
   The following day the wife said how relaxed I was and that I was back to being the old Tony she once knew. She also reiterated how good my face was looking. A week later she reckoned my face was looking like that of a baby. That worried me - if I started to regress in age too much, by the time I returned to Australia I could be in a pram wearing nappies and sucking on a bottle. To be perfectly honest I must admit to being so glad to have endured that torture.
  Two days later we took the children's parents to the temple as the father had problems and wanted the treatment. I felt very sorry for him as he is only a small bloke and was writhing in pain. His children were not laughing this time. The abbot asked if I wanted another go but I declined. Later he said he only wanted to check me out. He did some prodding in my hands then stuck the stake into my ankles. I just stared at him and showed no emotion. I was ready for it. No way was I going to show any pain. He then said I was cured.
   The boy who was laughing is 14 and loves sports - soccer, running etc. He also plays 3 musical instruments. They day before we went to a nearby lake for a run. We decided to do two rounds. I set off at a fast pace but he kept up. I glanced at him a couple of times but he was not even breathing heavy. He also checked out his mobile phone a few times. 
   About 200 metres from the finish I told him to sprint. I left him well behind. That night having dinner he mentioned he was the second best in the district for the 800 metres. I asked him why he didn't try to beat me. He said he didn't want to walk home. On the way driving to the lake I told him if he beat me he would be walking home. They don’t understand the Aussie humour.
  The following two youtube clips show my demon/s being “exorcised” by the abbott. 

Lost on Chao Lao Beach

by Tony Quinn
   Chao Lao Beach is located in the far eastern part of Thailand close to the town of Tha Mai. The city of Chanthaburi is not far away to the east. The border with Cambodia would be less than 2hrs drive further on.

  It is mainly a holiday destination for Thais and was very quite when we were there. Apparently it is quite popular during the peak holiday period.
   Arrived late in the afternoon and after looking around ended up staying in a bungalow at a resort backing onto the beach. The beach is fairly narrow and very long. Got up the following morning and did my usual exercises while the wife went for a walk on the beach.    After finishing I went to the beach. Decided to go for a long walk just to relax and warm up the feet before running. I had a slightly sore left foot and a slight strain of my right Achilles tendon caused by running on the hard concrete roads in Bangkok. Wife was just returning as I was starting off. 
   The tide was in so the sand part was not very wide. Not long into the walk I noticed a girl in a bikini sitting at the back of the beach in the shade. As I am conscious of avoiding possible skin cancer, I walked in the shade and passed very close to her. Being a friendly person I said hello to her. She just looked at me and said nothing. Probably thought I was an old perve (completely untrue of course).
   I walked for a long time along the beach then turned and started running back. When I reached the girl she was standing up. We exchanged glances but said nothing. After running for some time I looked at my watch and 20 minutes had passed. I thought I had better start looking out for the resort. I began to worry as after more time I could not recognise the resort. My stupid fault as I left it without taking much notice of what it looked like. I was getting close to a jetty so thought I must have gone too far. I turned and went back. Couldn't recognise any of the places as the resort. I had gone a fair distance before coming up behind a woman in a bikini. I followed her for some time before thinking that the resort may be closer to the jetty so I better turn around again and go as far as that. Just as I was going to turn around she did. I had no option but to turn around myself which must have been a bad look.
   I went all the way to the jetty but could not find the resort. A small fishing village was on the other side of the jetty so I had definitely come too far. I did not bring my phone so could not ring the wife. Normally she worries when I am away for a long time. Generally thinks I am up to no good. Also I had no idea of the name of the resort. A bit of panic was setting in. I was getting thirsty and hungry. I turned around once again. The beach in that area was covered in rubbish washed in from the ocean. Foam, bottles, plastic and other crap. Just my luck to step on a used syringe. Two small sharp shells had already embedded into my heel. Along the way I went into 2 resorts in the hope it was mine but no luck. 
   Around 2hrs later I passed a resort and there she was, sitting in the restaurant overlooking the beach having just ordered breakfast. I told her I had got lost. As suspected, she thought I was showing off by running flat out in front of girls plus talking to them. She had waited a long time in the room for me to come back before thinking, “Stuff him, I’m going to breakfast”. 
   After breakfast we went back to the room. It felt like something had stuck to the second toe of my left foot. I lifted my foot up to remove it and found there was a large blister under the toe. There was one under the same toe on the other foot but far smaller.
Tony Quinn

The Kung Fu Man

by Tony Quinn

   We were invited to the opening of a large new restaurant by a woman the wife knows from a scouting movement she is involved in. The restaurant is located in a place called Samut Sakhon which is not too far south of Bangkok.
   A bloke who is also a member of the scouting group lives in the same general area as us so offered to give us a lift. He is very fit. He runs marathons, teaches kung fu and breathing exercises at several universities as well as self defence to the police. He also does part time acting in films and live shows.
   He arrived in his car which was a Honda Accord. It looked a bit knocked about with quite a few dents in various parts of the body and made all sorts of noises.
   Off we went with him driving like a maniac. I was stuck in the death seat. He put on some head thumping music which seemed to make him drive even faster. We made our way onto a tollway and though packed with traffic he drove faster reaching speeds of up to 170kph. He told me he was a Christian and asked if I was one also. I told him I was a lost sheep. However, just a few kms down the road I found God again and started praying.
   We arrived at the restaurant in one piece. A very large restaurant plus functions area and a bakery. Lots of people and lots of food. Most people were dressed up especially the women. The woman who owns the restaurant also owns many other businesses including fleets of taxis and minibuses. I had my photo taken with her. She held my hand while the photo was being taken which I didn't mind as she is very attractive. As usual, I was the only foreigner there so received quite a bit of attention. I sat at a large circular table with all the other seats occupied by women. I was introduced to all of them. One of the women said I was very handsome. I often get that type of comment but I suspect they are only being polite plus their English language skills are very limited to a few basic phrases such as that. I replied that she was very beautiful (lying).
   After eating our meal we all lined up at the bakery for cakes and other pastries. We wandered around the complex for some time before leaving for home. Another hair raising trip.
   The following week we went for lunch again. The Kung fu man picked us up. The engine of his car sounded better but the transmission was making noises and clunking. He was wearing a police top. 
   The restaurant was located on the other side of town near the river. Once again the car trip was a nightmare with me in the death seat. We took toll ways where possible. He was driving very fast, in and out of traffic. On the left hand edge of the toll ways is a narrow strip like a bike path. He would squeeze down these at high speed to get in front of vehicles. He had a pass for the toll ways so did not have to stop to pay. However, a wooden arm would raise to let cars through. He would barely slow down when approaching these - terrifying.
   We arrived early and only a few people were there. I was first introduced to an attractive woman in a very short skirt and top. Her face and hair was all done up. We shook hands and said hello with her face very close to mine, mouth wide open and smiling. She said that she was single - I replied "I am not surprised". I thought how it would be a good idea if she changed dentists. She left shortly afterwards.
   We were seated at a table with a small thin bloke about 40 and an older woman all made up with an obvious nose job. The bloke runs lots of businesses and frequently travels to China and Hong Kong. He makes around $130,000 a month. I told him that it takes me 2 months to make that. His mother recently gave him $1.3mil. He said he used to be involved in mafia type operations when younger but not anymore. At the end of the lunch I noticed him leaving in a huge Mercedes.
   On the stage a bloke was playing a piano and there was a Karaoke machine. The woman sitting at our table got up and sang several songs. She was under the delusion that she was a pop idol. She was wearing sequenced jeans thinking she was a teenager. When she sat down I made sarcastic remarks about her singing ability but they went straight over her head. She owns a large factory. I felt sorry for the workers as she appeared to be a very conceited and aggressive person.
   Lots of other people got up singing. Terrible on the ears. I was cajoled by one of the women into singing a duet with the husband of the restaurant woman. I also did some dancing which went down well with the audience. There was a group of women who danced and sang. They looked like a bunch of Michael Jacksons due to the amount of plastic surgery done to their faces.
   The food was very Thai. Never eaten stuff like it before. Several courses were brought out. Someone was having a birthday so we had to sing happy birthday and eat some cake. Then had to face a screen on the wall and sing as words flashed across it. 
  Another hair raising trip home. He wanted us to go to a church function with him later that day but we declined. Felt exhausted so had to go to bed for 2hrs. Must have been the chemicals in the food. Dragged myself out of bed and went for a 30 minute run in the heat which helped.
   A few days later the wife had a scouting function to attend. A friend who is a fellow scout arrived at the house to pick her up. Dressed in her scouting uniform and looking very attractive. I was in the kitchen in my shorts and singlet eating breakfast having just finished a good weights workout. The wife brought her in to meet me. After being introduced, she said I was very handsome and very muscly. I responded by telling her she had a very good figure so must work out. She liked that. To impress her even more, I held my breath and tensed my muscles while talking to her.
  Later in the arvo the wife rang. The kung fu man asked if we would like to go to Nakhon Sawan with him that evening. It is about 250kms north of Bangkok. I could hear his voice in the background. He said for me to take my runners. Wife must have told him I do some running. There is a steep 3.5km hill he wants me to run up with him the next morning. If he thinks he will beat me on the run up the hill he has another thing coming. Little does he know I run up the various mountains in Canberra several times per week so am used to it. I get the impression he thinks I will be like the rest of the shufflers I see running here. He is in for a big shock. There is no way I would go in his car so insisted on driving the hire car I had.
   The wife and her friend returned home from the function around 7.30pm. I went outside to meet them. The woman was smiling and waving at me. She obviously thinks I am a really nice bloke when in fact I am a complete arsehole. The kung fu man arrived in his car as well. It was making terrible noises. 
   About 8pm we left for the trip in the hire car with me driving. He was in the back. It was pouring rain. I had to get onto the main road which is 4 lanes wide both ways separated by a concrete barrier. Worse thing was I had to get into the farthest lane then do a u turn about 100 metres down the road. It was peak hour and the traffic was bumper to bumper and travelling fast. I had no choice but to push out into the traffic and barge my way across. Making the u turn was just as bad.
   After we got out of Central Bangkok I noticed him asleep in the back. Resting up in preparation for the run I thought. The road was 3 lanes wide and full of trucks, buses, cars and motorbikes. Around 11pm he stirred and said we only had about 15 minutes to go before we reached the resort we were staying at. The word "resort" covers anything from a pig pen to a five star hotel. He wanted to stop at a service centre. He went into a 7/11 and bought some stuff. Next thing I know he was seated in a massage chair getting his feet massaged. He said it would help with the run. The process was to take 30 minutes. I started to get cranky as I thought he was doing it deliberately so as to delay my sleep. 
   Ten minutes after resuming the trip we arrived at the "resort". It was on the highway. At the front of it was a place with coloured lights. Music was blaring out of it. We selected a bungalow furtherest from it. 
   He said we would head off for the run at 5.55am. Not 6am, but 5.55am for reasons unknown.
  I decided to have a shower. Held the shower head and turned on the tap. The water shot out of a hole lower down. It was well after midnight when I finally got into bed. Set my alarm for 5am which would give me time for a bowel movement, wash and some exercises. That was a complete waste of time as at around 4am a rooster started to crow loudly right outside the window. It never let up except for a few short breaks. I did not sleep much before that anyway due to all the rumblings of the traffic on the adjacent highway.
   I got out of bed when the alarm went off. I was worried about managing a bowel movement but luckily things went well. About 5.45 I had finished my exercises. I looked out the window and there he was. Dressed in black ankle length tights, a Kung fu T-shirt and scouts cap. He was stretching and doing breathing exercises. You are going down I thought to myself.
   Out I went along with the wife. She was going with us. There was no way I would be waiting for her though. Noticed the rooster perched on a structure just outside of the bungalow. We started off walking with him swinging his arms. We went down back streets through old temple ruins. After about 10 minutes of this I was getting agitated as I wanted to get on with it. We arrived at the base of the hill with a track leading to steps that went all the way to an old temple at the top. He started a slow run up the track and so did I. The time of reckoning had come. I increased the pace but he did not. I then went flat out and left him for dead. My pace never slowed even as I went up the steps. I waited up the top for him and the wife. More walking around then down onto a rural road. He started to jog. I took off and ran flat out. I kept running until I got out of sight then turned around and ran back to them. What a downer. I had psyched myself up for a good battle but it was not to be. I think he is used to the average wreck trying to keep up with his gently jog. Most people would be stuffed just going for a fast walk, particularly in the heat.
  I kept this routine of running out and back for around 1.5hrs. We ended up on the highway and down by a river. I had to be very careful of dogs. Heaps around and vicious. 
   We ended up at a large temple complex which included a small school. It was 7.30am and the kids were just arriving. He got them to form a circle and took them through a series of breathing exercises. They were laughing their heads off. As a foreigner I attracted a lot of attention. Once all the kids arrived, the headmaster got him to stand on a table and take the whole school through the breathing exercises. I had to stand on the table with him and hold the microphone. All the teachers were there and introduced themselves to me. At the end, had to have photos taken with different groups of kids. Finished off having eats and drinks with the headmaster.
  The headmaster gave us a lift back to the "resort" where we showered and changed. We then went and visited the local mayor. It was around lunchtime by then and I started to feel completely stuffed due to the lack of sleep. He wanted to stay that night in Nakhon again but I could not face the thought of sleeping another night in the "resort" so drove back to Bangkok.
Tony Quinn

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