Written onboard M/T Ek-Star October 2010
Yes, I was feed up with India and I had decided to go trekking in Nepal. But first a stop in Bangkok to buy my ticket to Kathmandu, Nepal with Thai Airways.
My friends were going for a diving tour to Thailand and the Philippines and I think they were flying with Philippine Airlines from Paris. I was going to Nepal from Thailand and I was flying with KLM. But we were going to meet at Lucky Luke around mid day.
I remember it like their flight arrived before my flight, but when I arrived to Lucky Luke there were no sign off them. They arrived to Lucky Luke an hour or so later due to some shopping.
We drank Mekong Namsom and before we knew it a bright day had turned in to a dark night. Time for sure flies by when you're having a good time.
I think they had checked in already and I think they had booked a room for me and I needed to go leave my weekend bag before we got real serious with the party. So we took a taxi to Hotel 27 at Sukhumvit Soi 22. Of course, the spirit was high so we decided to stop at Cheap Charlie at Soi 11 for a few drinks for the road. It's at least 4 minutes with taxi from Lucky Luke to Soi 22 so we really needed a PIT STOP.
The driver was waiting while we did our PIT STOP and when it was time to continue to the hotel one of my friends was puking all over the street.
When we left for the hotel my friend asked the driver if he could drive.
- No problem!
We arrived safe to Hotel 27 and we stepped inside while the driver was waiting for us outside the reception.
- Aladdin!! You're back!
- Yes, nice to be back. Missing your hotel every minute I'm not there!
I got a room and we left my weekend bag on top of the bed and we were back in the taxi within a minute or two.
We were on the way back to Lucky Luke and now our friend that had puked all over the street outside Cheap Charlie wanted to drive. AND THE DRIVER LET HIM DRIVE! Amazing, the driver had watched him while throwing up dead drunk and he is still letting him drive the car.
Hotel 27 is about 150 meters down a small street from Soi 22 and as you could expect. My friend had crashed the car before we even reached Soi 22.
Motherf@cker, the driver got a little upset. But it was noting a handful of cash didn't took care of and we were soon back at Lucky Luke.
Thailand back in the days, and even today. I understand that tourists ended up in a shit load of problem. You arrive to Bangkok, Pattaya or Phuket. It was like a big amusement park. People driving dead drunk, you bought drugs at the drug store. Amphetamine or as they were called “Pink & White” bought over the counter.
You could do pretty much what you wanted to do if you had money.
Yes, it was very easy to come under the impression that everything was allowed. So there has been more than one getting caught losing all the money to the Police. The rule of thumb was to never show your key to the safety deposit box at your hotel. They would take everything you had.
Today, yes, they do random drug tests at the discos and bribing the Police today is a little harder. At least you read more about people ending up in jail, and many tourists end up in problem with drugs. Of course, if you're one of the rich and famous in Thailand, then you can do whatever you want without anyone bothering you.
And since a few years back they have campaigns against drugs and drunk driving. And the Police try to enforce some kind of law on the roads by check points on the roads. Of course, my guess is that an open wind shield and a fist full of tea money still make the tricks in many cases.
Well, they still have a lot of problem with people drinking and driving. And the use of drugs as almost turned in to a plague. The prisons are full of people jailed because drug related crimes.
I knew a few Thai people with sons in jail for Ya Bha. (Crazy medicine) Yes, that must be a real dream come true, to have your children in jail for drug use. So if you're in to doing drugs you’re better off staying well clear of Thailand.
And I have also seen campaigns for saving the environment in Thailand. If you had told me that 10 years ago I would have thought that you were crazy. Coming to Bangkok is not like arriving to an amusement park anymore, but I think Bangkok is getting better by the year, the only bad thing is that I get older.
Getting better by the year, well, maybe it's about to get worse again. But this time around it’s not turning back to a big amusement park. Yellow and red shirts, people getting shoot on the streets. Protests and censorship and it feels like they turning back their clocks.
Turning back the clocks? I don't know, maybe they are moving forward! How did it went down in Europe back in the days? It's not all that long ago we had child labour in Sweden. The Swedish military shoot and killed people back in the 30s' when the trade union was protesting and the workers were on strike.
Ådalen, Sweden 1931 was the last time soldiers were used for crowd control. 5 people got killed by the military and this was something considered as a terrible thing, and this was back in 1931. But today we have forgotten these events. We're just drinking beer having a party and it's our grandparents and their parents that did the fight so we can enjoy our lives today. Without their fight we would not have holidays so we could go to exotic places exploiting the less lucky people.
- Unbelievable, it's so cheap around here!
- Yes, I wonder why.
And I'm 100% sure there were people calling them terrorists. Actually, the relatives and families to the dead and wounded never got paid any damages just because the dead and wounded was considered terrorists.
Who is running the country, the elected government? Elected government, govern or just a puppet show, happy as long as they can fill their own pockets with money that could have been spent on the education and health care. I don't know. Never mind, back to Hotel 27 in 1994.
I don't know for how many days we stayed in Bangkok. I remember having pictures of us at NASA but I can't find them. Well, I remember a lot of pictures that I can’t find and I don't want to go through my slides again.
But we spent a few days in Bangkok before we left for Ko Phangan. We had been at Khaosan Road one afternoon to buy the tickets and to have a few beers. Bus to Ko Phangan with bus, well, bus to Surat Thani or whatever the place was called. And from there we had to go by boat to Ko Phangan and the famous full moon party.
And my friends where here to scuba dive, well, at least one of them. I didn't know the guy, but it was a friend to a friend and he had brought his equipment. Must have been a cubic ton of scuba equipment that he was carrying around.
I don't know, some people just can't take Bangkok. The Diver Man, we had to take him to the hospital. He could not breathe so we rushed him to Bamrungrad Hospital a few hundred meters away from Lucky Luke. We were worried for the guy.
The Doctor could not find anything wrong with the guy. Second time it happened we rushed him to the hospital again. And the excitement had vaporised the third time I took him to the hospital. The Doctor checked the guy.
- He is suffering from severe agony!
As I had suspected all the time. We had Baby Man and his adventure in Bangkok fresh in memory. Suffering from agony, what the ?? They are grownups! And as I was considered the Bangkok “Old Hand” I was the guy that had to take care of him. At the end I just said:
- F@ck it! You're better off going home!
It was embarrassing. We plunged down Sukhumvit Soi 3 in a taxi and this guy is hanging out the taxi with open mouth to get air. People thought that I was back from a fishing trip with worlds biggest cod fish in the back gasping for air. Motherf@cker, this on top of living at Hotel 27 where you had to be unconscious to be able to stand it. So it is not strange that I had to be drunk all the time.
Hotel 27, it was not like you enjoyed staying on the room.
- What's happening tonight?
- Well, I will stay in for a cosy night in my room.
Well, time to leave for Ko Phangan and I don't know who came up with the bright idea to go by bus. But we entered the bus at Khaosan Road and it was one of those double decked VIP buses with a karaoke lounge on the first deck. Everyone continued up on the second deck and I told my friends to hold it.
- We stay on the first deck!
- Are we allowed?
- If you ask they will send you up on the second deck and the comfortable chairs.
We had sofas and a table in the VIP lounge. Smoking was allowed in the VIP lounge and we had brown bagged a few drinks and when we turned on the music we were in a good mood. Of course, it would have been more fun with female company. So we asked the driver if he could stop at Patpong. This was impossible. Hmm, we offered him 1000 Baht and he was still rejecting the offer. We gave up the whole idea when we offered him 15000 and he rejected.
We left Bangkok in the afternoon and we had an ETA to Surat Thani early morning
I remember a girl from Denmark, she came down from the second deck to have a smoke in the VIP lounge. As soon as she spotted us I could see on her face that she was regretting that she hadn't taken the VIP lounge back at Khaosan Road. But she had the typical Scandinavian “We're all having the same human value and if you can sit in the VIP, so can I” behaviour. Uninvited, bhe just pressed herself down between us asking.
- How much did you pay for these tickets?
Arriving to some bridge early morning and they dropped at a small restaurant on the bridge. We had to wait a while for the boat and I had expected a quick trip to Ko Phangan. No, it was a very long ride and I was soon bored to death. We made a stop at Ko Samui and then we continued to Ko Phangan.
We got off at a ferry terminal and from there we had to go by long tail to some beach with a guest house. We were delirious with anticipation.Full moon part and we had expected the party crowd and music everywhere.
What a disappointment. We got off the long tail and we stopped at a restaurant for a few drinks. I and one of my friends stayed at the restaurant and the other two went to look for a place to live during our stay
Didn't take long before they had a bottle of Mekong with fresh orange juice on the table.
- Can you please play some music?
- We don't have electricity until 5 o'clock.
- What kind of party place is this.
Well, we had batteries and my entertainment centre so we managed to entertain ourselves. We left to look for our friends and we ended up in something that looked like a small village. There was a bar and some people playing pool. Same story here, no electricity until 5 o'clock.
- What the
Yet again, thanks to my entertainment centre we managed to entertain ourselves. But when we turned on the music the guys at the pool table started to complain.
- Can you turn off the music? We're playing pool!
- Are you shitting me?
I cannot play pool, but these guys they were the worst I have ever seen. Most have been high on drugs. Every second shoot and the white ball ended up on the floor.
- OK, no electricity and people playing pool.
- Let's go back to Surat Thani and we take a taxi to Phuket! I suggested
- A very good idea!
But the diver and my other friend wanted to stay so we decided to go alone. My friend always reminds me about the English girl wearing a witch hat. No need, how can I forget her? When we told her and her friend that we were leaving.
- This place is dead boring! We're leaving for Phuket.
- Oh no! STAY! It will soon be fun.
- No, we're out of here!
When we left for the ferry terminal she was running after the car screaming that we should stay. Hell, like that didn't scared us away! Yes, I guess they were desperate for some music and party.
Ending up with the pool playing gang was most likely not their idea of a good time.
Sitting on an island and you're dependent on ferries. Last ferry back to the mainland was an overnight trip. We bought plenty beers and batteries for my entertainment centre.
What I remember from the ferry? I remember that there were plenty people and that we had to sleep on the deck. We ended up next to a Thai family with 2 daughters. And I don't know, they might have been 16, but they could as well have been 25. Never mind, but their parents wanted us to marry their daughters.
- WHO THE WANTS’ THEIR DAUGHTERS TO GET MARRIED WITH GUYS LIKE ME AND MY FRIEND? WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE?
We thanked for the offer, but no thanks. OK, getting married with the girls. But imagine ending up with parents-in-law like that. They don't hesitate to sell their daughters, then imagine how they would treat your stuff. As soon as you turn you back something goes missing.
We arrived to Surat Thani in the middle of the night and we started to look for a taxi that could take us to Phuket. My friend left with one guy to go get a taxi and I was waiting at, well, I think it was a taxi station or a travel agency.
Obviously it wasn't that easy to find someone that wanted to cross Thailand going to Phuket. Well, after a bit of waiting they found a taxi and we could take off towards Phuket.
I don't remember how long it took us to get to Phuket, but I remember us making one stop for a fried rice. My friend was sleeping in the front seat with his feet on the dashboard.
The dashboard was full of Buddha and other religious figures and my friend managed to clear the dashboard from every each of them with his feet. The driver was grunting a bit, but not much so obviously the trip was very profitable.
The driver dropped us the hotel, the very same hotel I had stayed at last time in Phuket. I think it was “Phuket Island View” or “Island View”. Never mind, they recognised me as soon as we stepped in to the reception.
And they were happy to see me again. But after a few mornings, we usually came back around 8 or 9 in the morning and they had to come out and get us in the taxi. They had to carry us in to the pool room, well, after a few of those mornings they greeted me with:
- Hello Mr. Kaput Man!
OK, and they also remembered me at the lady boy bar next door. And nothing else was expected.
- Hey! Aladdin, you still have the record in keeping a bar open here!
Well, we remember the adventure me and my friend had here back in 1992. We didn't left the bar until they were out of booze. Well, they still had Whiskey. But who drink Whiskey?
But that was what was left. All the booze and mixers was gone and they had to close the place and they drove me and my friend around the corner to our hotel. It was 10 or 11 in the morning. Yes, that's how you live your life when you're 20.
Phuket in the winter of 1994. The Americans had fled Somalia and the US Navy made a stopover in Phuket on their way back home. So Patong beach was full of US military and MPs.
Not one of US military’s proudest moments when they left Somalia. But strangely enough all these Marines were screaming like they just had won WW II.
- We're going to charge....
- If you want to kick arses call the marines....
- Only real men in the marines....
- Didn't you just escape a good ass whupping?
We were drinking Mekong by the bottles and we mixed it with Namsom in the ice bucket. And luckily enough we were in an outdoor bar because my friend could not keep up.
My friend was puking all over the street and by now we're used with him throwing up after a few drinks.
And of course, it didn't took long before one of those “Ass kickin'” marines showed up.
I don't know if he had felt in love with one of the girls, but he was really showing his paces.
- You’re a guest in this country....
- Try to behave......
- This is how things work around here....
Yeah, we have all meet them.
- Ugh! What? Of course....
It’s pure Mekong fer f@ck’s sake! Pretty much the same as if I dropped a bottle of Mekong on the street, minus the glass splitter. What’s' the big deal?
It's a small world, we ran in to the very same guy I had been with in Phuket back in 1992. He had his girl friend with him so my guess is that the spent a romantic holiday in Phuket.
We spent pretty much every evening at the same bar. Good music (Provided by MC Aladdin) and that's important when you’re out for a good time.
One day there was a Swedish guy stopping by at the bar.
- Why are you drinking in a bar owned by a British guy? You should support a Swedish bar.
A bar owner, what a looser! Who buys a bar in Phuket? Well, there are many of them. Buy a beer bar, put up a Swedish flag or whatever the nationality is of the owner. Expect plenty Swedish people to sit in your bar just because of the Swedish flag. Big disappointment and after 1 or 2 seasons you have lost all your money and must return home.
The rest room was at the end of the street so you had to pass all the bars on your way to the rest room. The bar with the Swedish flag was empty and when I returned to the British owned bar.
Owned, hmm, they rent a piece of concrete and suddenly they are bar owners. Well, anyway, we decided to try the Swedish bar so we took my CDs and we went down to the place.
Not one single customer and the guy were losing money by the minute. Why to go! If I got a cent for every tourist falling in love with Thailand and became a bar “owner” with crushed dreams and empty valets I would have been rich today.
We turned on the music, and I swear to God. After a few minutes with good music on full blast the bar was crowded. The customer was lined up in triple rows around the bar. Business was booming. But suddenly the Swedish guy told us to turn off the music.
- They have complained from the other bars
- You're joking!
- No, they have complained about the music.
- Of course, your bar is full and their bars are empty. Tell them to off!
We returned to the British bar and the music was soon back on full swing. Later on I went to the rest room and I passed the bar with the Swedish flag, empty. Back to losing money by the minute. People don't choose bar because of the flag hanging behind the bar, they want music and fun.
And as I mentioned, the world is very small. I meet the bar owner or renter in Bangkok a few days later. He was staying at Hotel 27 and we went for a few beers. He asked if I wanted to help him run the bar.
- You know, to get the party going.
- You're joking!
I remember a few years later, we were sitting in a bar in Bangkok drinking Mekong Namsom and the DJ had my CD on full blast. Suddenly he turned off the CD.
- Eh eh
- There is a guy wanting to listen to AC/DC.
- Can we please have the bill
The AC/DC CD ended up in the trash bin and my CD was back on full blast. Of course, they can play whatever music they want and we choose bars after the music. So if they play AC/DC here we have to find something else.
And obviously, the AC/DC guy spending hours sucking on a bottle of beer wasn't all that profitable customer. At least not so profitable so he could choose music driving away paying customers. Up to the bar owner and he choose us. Of course, they open a bar to make profit out of it.
I don't remember if my friend returned to Ko Phangan to pick up our diver. But back then there were no e-mail or mobile phones so he must have returned to pick him up. So I spend a day or two alone in Phuket waiting for them to return.
And when our diver came to Phuket it was Guest House. What's wrong with a hotel? Well, we had to sympathy live in this darn guesthouse up the hill. A terrible place and, yeah, it was only for a few night until they returned to Ko Phangan and I got a flight to Bangkok.
Well, I never saw the scuba diver again and I never saw him doing any diving. And I think he returned to Sweden without going to Philippines with the other 2 guys. Well, actually, I was in a bar in Gothenburg some 13 to 15 years later and this guy approached me.
- Yo! Aladdin! Do you recognise me?
- I'll be darned, our scuba diver.
Back in Bangkok and I had to get a ticket to Kathmandu and we know how hard it is to get a ticket out of Bangkok so I spent more time than planned in Bangkok. But I meet our friend that we had met in Phuket. Yes, the world is small.
- Hmm, it’s most likely just that simple that we go to the same kind of places.
I don't remember how long we stayed in Phuket and for sure, I don't remember how long I stayed in Bangkok before I got my ticket to Kathmandu.
But it's always hard to leave Bangkok, when you wake up it's too late to go get a ticket. Not too late, but I really don't feel like running off looking for a ticket when I can go have a sit at Lucky Luke.
And yes, I had been at Hotel 27 for a while when the Swedish bar owner from Phuket checked in with his friends.
So of course, it was PARTY ALARM again.
Pretty much the same every day, starting at Lucky Luke, then DC-10 and Thermae. It became very boring so I just had to get out of here. I could not return to Sweden without having been to Nepal.
I even bought a new pair of Dr. Marten for trekking in Nepal. Well, a pair of new Dr. Marten trekking in Nepal. That turned out to be a big mistake, but we're not there yet.
I managed to get my ticket and no VISA required. I could buy a tourist VISA at the airport in Kathmandu. So at least I was on my way. Nice, I had been in Bangkok way too long.
And the Swedish guys from Phuket had left Hotel 27 bound for Sweden. At least that's what I remember it like. I was alone again and I think it was this time I ran in to a guy in the coffee shop at Hotel 27. I recognised him and he recognised me.
Turned out that we had been in school together when we were 7. Actually, we started grade 1 in the same class. I meet him a few times and every time at Hotel 27. Last time I remember that he was in Thailand to get married. He was just for a few days and he and his girl friend was busy 24/7 with paperwork and to chase documents. I haven't met him since so I don't know how it turned out.
Finally I got away to Kathmandu, Nepal with Thai Airways