Wednesday, June 22, 2016


Place: Chiang Mai
Time: September 1993


I had to follow my faith, set by me from the loss of my trekking boots and the horrible condition of my feet, and went back to Chiang Mai. My feet definitely needed to recover and the biggest city in the North seemed  the best place for that. I was not able to walk around or even hike around Mae Hong Son anymore. In Chiang Mai I would know some nice people and I loved the city. All around it looked a much more convenient place. As previously mentioned, whenever something negative happens to me I see it as an omen. I entered the evening bus in Mae Hong Son and my exhaustion sent me into a good night sleep. The next morning I woke up on Chiang Mai's bus terminal. I felt some kind of strange embrace by the place as if it had missed me.

Thai names can be very confusing so that you sometimes even do not know from the beginning if you are talking to a guy or a girl. One of my first impressions with Thai names was meeting my friend Pee Pee. The day that we had been introduced, I told him after we had exchanged our names that it was okay to go to the toilet. 'No, that's my name. My name is Pee Pee.'  Strange, the guy had been punished for life by his parents. Well, they could not know that he would have to do a lot with foreigners later on. Yes, indeed Thais do have weird names. I have met a lot of Pots, Pees, Shits, Dongs, Lakes, Corns, Guns and Teas in my long time in the country. Sometimes, these names are even not gender specific. This can cause  the craziest misunderstandings. Be careful if you meet a flat breasted woman with short cut hair and she tells you, having a cold, in a deep voice her name. The same happens of course to beer belly, man boobed guys with long hair. They might talk to you with high pitched voices, so don't think you have met a woman then. An additional factor to increase this confusion is the facial powder which mean and women like to put on in public. Therefor, do not take a name as a guarantee about the gender of the person.

Getting around in a Thai city needs some experiences, tolerance and a lot of patience. Most challenging are thereby to pick the right means of transport. The way to the bus deport for picking up my boots seemed much too far for walking. So, I took one of the Songtaeos.  This are pick-up trucks with a roof at the loading platform and two benches on the sides. Originally, their only colour was red. Now, you can see them in all different shades. They drive around in most cities of the country. Unfortunately, even when the price is written at the back, it is often more expensive for tourists. Only if you are able to communicate in Thai then you might get the right price. This was many years before I learned the language. However, in Chiang Mai, at that time, it was possible for me to bargain a bit. Still, I had to pay triple the common fee. This was in the end still a much better deal than foreigners usually get. On islands like Koh Samui or Koh Phangan you will be clearly ripped off. It is much better to rent a motorcycle. This is much easier than to bargain prices and to wait until one passes, especially in the night. As I was the last time on Koh Samui, the rent of a motorcycle was about 30% below the price of a single ride in the Songtaeo. In Bangkok on the other side you don't have to pay a special farang price. It is often the cheapest way to get around. Reading Thai is sometimes essential. Just don't be shocked that these vehicles are over-loaded. Sometimes you have to stand cramped like fish in the back. People are positioned on any possible place and the car bends particularly in rush hour extremely down at the rear. So, be tolerant to other passengers, the drive and drive style and let's be honest it should be fine that you just paid a dollar more than the locals.

People will help, like and invite you when you are not an ass. The bus depot had good news for me. They had found the boots. I received them happily. This problem was solved. I started to believe that Thais are very honest people. Now, I went to Pee Pee's house. Man that sounds strange! I met the artist in his home together with his student Micky. He got his name from reading Mickey Mouse comics. My friend had sad news for me. Pee Pee had to leave in a few days as well. He was hired from his local temple to renovate the wall paintings. Another part of his work would be to decorate new buildings with his art. This made him very proud. He had only a few days left in Chiang Mai and was waiting for his brother to pick him up. He offered me to join him but I had other plans. I promised to visit him the following year. I was happy being invited as that showedme that I was really appreciated and not only seen as the foreign intruder.


Thais are not very reliable and full of surprises, this describes as well men as also women. That evening, I was waiting for Pee Pee in the Bar Beer Center. My friend did not turn up. Instead, I met a German guy who lived in Sweden. He had been already a few times in Thailand. We got on very well and drove around in the city. Chiang Mai. We found a nice club with a lot of students and young people. We mingled among the students and met two young ladies. They took us for dinner on a floating restaurant at the river. The Swede, Michael, developed quickly an intense relation with one girl. She spoke pretty well English. She told us to be a tour guide. We planned with her quickly a tour to some amazing waterfalls for the following day. The other girl, her name was July, was less interesting. She did not talk much. When she spoke, then with a bit deeper voice. She must have had a cold. I asked her if something was not alright. But she told me to be just fine only a little bit tired. She was yawning at times, so why should I not believe her. I was charmed by her beautiful smile. I liked her unconventional behaviour. She was just the opposite of the girls back in Germany. The girls wanted to go to one more club. I left my motorcycle locked at the restaurant and drove on July's backseat. I felt her muscular hips. Later, in the club, she told me that she had to help her mother with the washing for tourists.  I had no problems with working class girls. So far, I had like the evening and was surprised that young Thai women were not scared of us foreigners.

I think it is pretty normal in life that things do not develop the direction that you are aiming for, sometimes this bring even more fun and excitement. this evening did first develop into the direction, let's hang out, buy a few drinks and get the girl into your bed. At the time that we arrived at the next club I still felt sober. I had not drunk that much this evening and was ready for some more damage. For a few hours, we danced into the night. Around two o'clock in the morning I felt slightly drunk. There had to happen something. July offered me some strange looking drink. I did not trust this to be the right thing formy stomach and declined it. maybe I should have not done that, maybe something warned me, I don't know, I just did not take it. Strangely enough, July turned her attention to an older fat guy from Germany. Well, if I spoilt some of her fun, so be it! This change in the setting  gave me time to make some observations. i discovered that some of her friends had as well pretty deep voices. Did they all suffer under some mysterious sickness? I felt like struggling in a nightmare. I guessed that I got slowly much too drunk. Or did they maybe drug me? I suddenly wished to get away from these people, this club, this scenery and just go home. Maybe I was just fed up not getting enough care of the girls. I walked out of the club and away. The restaurant and so my bike was not far away. Well, this time the change in the development had not brought too much fun nor excitement but the evening was far from being over.

I have been in twilight situations all my life, I tried always to stay in control, in this night in Chiang Mai, the control was almost taken away from me. After I had left the club, I walked through the night in some dimly lighted alleys. It seemed peaceful, not many people were at that time out on the street. After a few hundred meters, I approached a guy with a transparent shopping bag. He was standing in the shadows, having a smoke. Under his arm he had a transparent shopping bag with a lot of white stuff in it. I  did not know Thailand that much and did not suspect anything. I had no clear sight on the bag. It could have been everything in it. Only as I came closer I saw that it was filled with some kind of white powder. Still, I did not have any prejudices and did not want to discriminated the man of being adrug dealer. Then, without a warning, the guy came swiftly closer to me. He stretched his arm out. I was afraid that I would discover a gun in it. Still new in the country I had no idea about criminality in Chiang Mai. He saw that I was looking at him considerately still curiously. He smiled broadly and offered me
'good heroin, directly from the Golden Triangle.'
'No, thank you', knowing the situation in Thailand from stories of some friends, I knew not to trust anybody here about drugs. What attracted the guy anyhow to ask me? Had I landed in the wrong quarters? Was it my long hair? I don't know!
'Rally cheap, you can sell to your friends.' The guy continued hassling me.
Well, nothing about drugs is free in life. Particularly heroin for my friends? Fuck off, I am not killing my mates!
I tried to continue walking but he blocked the way. He really had the plan to force that stuff on me.
'Your last chance!'
What the fuck? Was that going to be dangerous? What if I would not take anything. Okay, then I just ended up here on the street, still better than in a Thai prison.
'No, man. I think you got the wrong guy!'
He turned around, whispering 'If you tell the police I am going to kill you.'
Well mate, I guess you were police. Would not be surprising if you just failed to nail a tourist that looked for your understanding too much like a hippy.
As he walked away, he lifted his shirt at one side slowly and I could see his gun. That was completely not necessary! Philosophy of my life, you don't mess with me and all is good. He let me pass and I started to walk away. I was still afraid that he might following me. I turned around but the entire street looked empty now. Until today I am asking myself if everything was only my own, probably drugged in the club, perception or if it really happened. I was lucky and that made me happy. I had stayed in control and not lost it. This was one of the scariest experiences in my life and it was so deep in twilight that it was one of the darkest shades of grey.

I had enough events for that night, but sometimes things are just happening in streaks and it is hard to bring them to an end. The night was farfrom over for me, I was too confused that I would have found sleep quickly. I found my bike at the same place that I had left it. A drink was what I needed now. It was almost 3 o'clock in the morning. This did not mean anything in Chiang Mai. The city did hardly sleep and I had been up already through a few others nights. I knew one place where the music was okay and usually nobody bothered me. I went to it only for a beer. There were not the same prostitutes inside as a fortnight ago. A few new hookers isat around and only one or two other customers. The last time I had been in the bar, I had a good chat with the Mama San. She did not seem to be there this night. As soon I had sat down, a figure hardly being able to walk on her high heels came towards me. Then she took her place directly beside me. I glanced at her and saw a want-to-be woman with a massive body. She had hardly any tits or should I refer to them as moobs? The massive Adam's apple did not arouse me at all.  Then the figure started talking to me. Really, that was the last thing that I needed in this night.
'You can buy me a drink' the person was directing to me
After the events of the past hours, I was just did not care about being friendly anymore.
'No, I am not in the mood and have come in only for one beer.'
'That's a brothel, honey'
Oh, please don't call me that. I am not you honey and you won't be my sugar.
'Yeah, and I think I have know it longer than you.'
'You can get to know me sweetie. I can give you everything.'
Now I really felt unpleasantly estranged. Particularly as this person stretched out her middle finger and started licking it.  No, really stop that shit. Just now. Stop it!
I finished quickly my beer. The shemale put her hand on my leg. Horrible, really disgusting.
'I think I better pay now.'
'Oh darling, have just one more. I pay for you but you take me with you.'
'No. just the bill. I want to go to bed.'
'Oh, yeah take mewith you. I make you happy.'
The person accompanied her demand by touching me between the legs. That gave me completely the creeps. A kathoey harassing me sexually. I had to do something.
'Let me my peace, will you?  You are not my...type.'
'Oh you don't want me. You don't like me'. You want to fight me now?'
I did not even respond to that crap. I put double as much money on the counter than i had to pay and started walking out. The shemale tried to grab me but I luckily avoided it and went out. Just home, just sleep. Enough for this evening.
 I was happy to end this evening. If going to bed was the only option to end this strange chain of happening that night, then it just had to be that way.


A place can suddenly change its flair or face, depending on experiences, it is always good to evaluate locations new. The next morning, I woke up late. I had the feeling that I had escaped a nightmare. What was wrong with this city so suddenly? Or was it my own personal awareness that had now caught up with me. Did now suddenly tell me something to leave this town? Had i perceived the wrong signs as I had thought it was faith that sent me back here? Or was there a deeper meaning connected with this place that was far out of the reach of my understanding?  I had learned something the previous night. Before I came to conclusions about Thailand, I should first approach this country very carefully. It had not only that smiling face which most tourists saw on their holidays. There was a dark side which many visitorsdid not see. If they saw it they did not understand it. If they did not understand it they would never come to the same conclusion as me. Oh no, I did not dare to think that I had been enlightened through this single night about the country. There were doubts and questions about this country. I did not think that I even wanted to know the answers. It was much more comfortable to try to avoid such weird settings in the future. It was much easier to concentrate on the nice sides of Thailand. This included shopping, having good climate, seeing nice sights and just enjoying the exotic people, at day time. I sstill wanted to buy some stuff on the night bazaar amd spend some more time with my friend Pee Pee. I walked to his gallery and we had some breakfast. Surprisingly, as I told him my story of the night before, he started laughing and told me that I was not alone with my discoveries. He explained me that Chiang Mai was not a good place. If I really wanted to enjoy Thailand, I had to go to small villages to see the people there. I wondered if this statement was in direct connection that he was leaving for his home province. Did he only want to convince me to come to visit him? I did not want to conclude my evaluations about Thailand but I decided to be more carefully before I made my mind up.

Sometimes, you can smile if things do not develop the way that you initially wanted such a case should be for me the story with July. Michael dropped in a few hours later into the gallery. He was accompanied by the fat German dude from the previous night. The guy, called Dirk, had red eyes as if he had not slept the previous night. Maybe he had also cried through it. Dirk told us the story what had happened with July. I had to keep myself under control not to laugh out loudly. He had taken the girl back to his hotel room. There, he had wondered why she did not undress. She wanted to rest fully dressed in her clothes. First, he had considered that the girl was too conservative. He regretted that she did not want to have sex with him. He had only slept a short time in the night. He described that he could hardly control his desire to make sweet love to her. In the morning he had woken up whilst July was giving his dick a good and long rub. However, Dirk explained us that he had tried to put his hand gently between her legs. The woman jumped up quickly, ran out of the room, washed her hands and left urgently his hotel room. Now, Dirk thought that he had insulted July's culture. He told us that he had fallen in love to her.He was very afraid of loosing her. Pee Pee had kept serious all the time. He followed deeply in thoughts the story and listened to Dirk. Then he looked very seriously at the man and asked him without showing any emotion if he was gay. Dirk first stuttered around, then got slightly red and insisted to love only women. In this moment, I was already very relieved that the story had not progressed in my favour.

I was surprised to see my Thais friend to get to such a conclusion out of the story. He had many foreign friends and heard probably the same story over and over again. It just did not make any sense to me to think of the possibility that this would be the behaviour of explicitly a kathoey. My friend tried to give his best advice in that situation and told Dirk
'I think you should forget about her. I am not sure but I could tell you if I met her.'
Fortunately, Michael's new girlfriend had  july's telephone number. Pee Pee was able to convince the girl to drop by. She was there only a few minutes later.  Her mother's washing service was just around the corner. Pee Pee and July went outside and discussed for a short time. Then, he came back and asked Dirk to go and talk to July. She wanted to speak with him. Pee Pee advised the German to consider if he was really ready to build up a relation to a young man or if he rather preferred women. Obviously, my fiend had from the beginning come to the right conclusions.

I think the first thoughts that Westerners have  about lady boys are often influenced from an insecurity about their gender specifics. There are many signs which make a difference between women and Kathoeys. One of the most obvious signs is definitely the Adam's apple. Women just don't have one! Even if you have missed a lot of biology classes this should be clear for any intelligent man. Another sign that has worked for me a long time is voice recognition. No Thai woman will really speak like Amanda Lear. If you hear a baritone or a scratching in the voice than it is almost for certain no woman. Particularly, listen to the way how the person speaks in her own language. Another factor is that these people usually behave over women like so to speak. They act even more female than you would expect from a real female. Further, there are signs in the hip and in the shoulder structures which distinguish kathoeys.  Otherwise, just be lucky and never try to get a woman on a first date into your bed. One night stands become popular in Thailand but are not common yet. so, do not try to force yourself on a woman or in other words, don't be a cunt.
How Dirk's story ended, I did not actually care for. There are even men who are happy to be together with a lady boy, not because they are confused, some like it that way.


A place can loose its attraction if the people that you connected it with are leaving, the best cut is to spice the stay with doing something nice at the end.  I had associated with Chiang Mai through the artist circle around my friend Pee Pee. He told me that he was leaving the following day and a couple of his companions were supposed to join him. A temple in his home province of Nakhon Ratchasima, or Khorat, was waiting for the artist. They had a bigger project and needed all kind of artists. The departure of my friend made Chiang Mai suddenly a lot less attractive for me. I wanted to round up my visit of this town by a visit on the night market. This amazing place offers you a wide variety of clothes, jewelry, food stuff and much more. It is for sure the most amazing market in the North. On the other side you do not have to go to Chiang Mai only for shopping. The offered goods are usually only slightly cheaper than on the Jatujak market in Bangkok. It is more the cultural side of the market which is unique.  The finest of northern dancing is displayed. It is a pleasure for the heart to  enjoy the sweet flowing movement of northern Thai beauty dances. I am not certain if Chiang Mai really features the most beautiful Thai women but these dancers are very sweet and amazing figures. This rounded up my visit of the capital of the North and was a very harmonic ending.

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