The CHANG Gang
The CHANG Gang -- Part 4
CHANG Gang -- Part 4
I was awakened by the sound of sirens. Not just one, but many. First I thought it must have been some visiting dignitary left over from the recent APEC meeting. Then I smelled smoke!
A hotel fire at the Nana is not a place I want to be. In a flash I was out of bed and over to the window. Luckily for me, the Nana Hotel wasnít on fire, but Soi Som wasnít doing very well. It was hard to see because of all the smoke, but one thing was for certain; they were fighting a fire.
Standing at the window, I noticed they finished the new pool and it was looking pretty good.
Antman and I had no plans for the morning, so we headed over to Siam Center to see if we could find an American Express travel office. We heard there was supposed to be one in the area and since we used American Express Travel Checks though we might be able to get a better rate at their change desk, but we werenít quite sure where it was. With nothing to do, it was the perfect time for exploring, Siam Center, Discovery Center, and Siam Square.
Of course some touts saw us wandering around aimlessly, and thought they could help us by directing us to one of their stores. I tried to dismiss them, but Antman wanted to talk with them. He just loves to talk to peopleÖ
Antman told them we were looking for the American Express travel office, and one of the touts said that his sister had a travel office and began selling Antman on the idea that she could give us a better price than American Express. See what happens when you talk with people?
There was a Starbuckís a few doors down, and as I headed over I shouted over my shoulder that I would wait for Antman there. About halfway there, Antman scooted up behind me surprised that I wasnít interested in all the great deals the toutís sister could get for us.
ďAre you thinking about going somewhere? Youíre already in Thailand and you have tickets for Siem Reap. Where else do you think you want to go?Ē Antman agreed he was already in paradise, and our stay would be too short as it is so there was no need to think about going anywhere else.
We passed Starbuckís and kept walking only to get stopped buy some girls with questionnaires around the corner. I wonder if those girls get paid by the hour, or by every completed questionnaire they hand in. I hope it wasnít for only the questionnaires with correct information, because Antman was curious to see what questions they asked and made up answers for most of them. At least we were covered by the shade of the Skytrain so I didn't have to wait frustrated in the sun.
We started for Siam Station with the idea to ride the Skytrain back, but noticed they were filming a movie in the middle of Sukhumvit. Iíll bet that doesnít help the afternoon traffic much. But Antman is into all that movie stuff, so we stayed for a while and watched them work.
After a short stop at World Coffee to get caught up on our email, we headed over to GBB to meet Hammers, Gooner, PommieBruv, and MuayGuy.
Each day we sat in GBB, Angel took care of me. She would bring me refreshing towels to cool my brow, drinks when I was thirsty, she would run across the street to get me noodles when I was hungry, and she never asked for a thing. Not a drink, not a barfine, not nothing. She was taking great care of me and I wanted to take good care of her, so I would always tell her to get another drink if herís was nearing the bottom, and offered to buy her and the girls fruit or whatever else from passing vendors. And when we left, I always slipped her a nice tip. I didnít want to barfine her because GBB was my daily bar and I didnít want to get locked into anything, but I did want to take good care of her.
Today was a little different. When I got there, she already had a customer. What ever would I do? I felt like I was going to be lost! Who would take care of me? Who would bring me refreshing towels? Who would wipe my brow? Who would bring me my drinks? I shouldnít have worried, but I looked forward to seeing Angel each day.
And on top of all that, the customer barfined Angel to take her shopping. Angel changed from her GBB shirt into her street clothes and came over to say good-bye. I was pretty disappointed to say the least.
Hammers told me he was sitting at Morning/Night, and it blew up! He said he was sitting there drinking his drink, covered in girls, and minding his own business, when all of a sudden there was a large boom and the roof fell on him! He said he was dazed and confused, covered in white dust or powder, and didnít have a clue what happened.
The next time I was in Morning/Night I asked the mamasan about the ceiling and when they were going to fix it. She said, ďMaybe no fix. Customer no care. Customer still come and drink.Ē That they do.
Back at GBB, I was surprised to see Angel walking up to my table. She was gone less than 10 minutes. It couldnít have been much of a shopping trip. She said there was a mix-up, and she didnít want to go shopping anyway. She wanted to stay with us and have fun. Sheís such a pak wanÖ
We ordered more rounds and plates of fresh fruit to snack on, but today was the day of the England vs. France rugby finals and the guys wanted a meal before the game started. The plan was to watch the game at BusStop, so I suggested a traditional Sunday lunch at Joolís.
Iíd not been to Joolís before, but I heard some nice things about the place. The Sunday lunch was just like Mother used to make; a good roast, potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, thick gravy, and even some peas and green beans! I wouldnít mind going there again.
The rugby final at BusStop was next. We don't get a lot of rugby where I come from, but it was fun to watch. After hearing so much from my European friends, I was surprised to see very few players actually running or doing much of anything at any one time. I expected more action. Especially the way they compared it to American football.
We all met again at Gulliver's around 7PM but evenings at Gulliverís are getting old fast, and no one really wants to go there anymore. But we do go, only for one drink in case anyone should show. And guys do meet us there, but Iíll be surprised if we ever pick Gulliverís for a meeting point again.
After our obligatory round, we head off to Soi 33 since Hammers, Gooner, PommieBruv, and MuayGuy hadnít been there before. We warned them Soi 33 could get a little expensive, but they werenít worried about that.
Our group was too big for one taxi, so we took two. Of course their taxi made the correct turn off Sukhumvit, but our driver decided to drive right past Soi 33 to show us some other sites. We were able to stop him before he got too far, and backtracked to find everyone.
We walked down Soi 33 looking for the guys, but there was no sign of them even as far as Napoleon's. Antman and I had a quick huddle in the middle of the street to decide what to do next. We really didn't look forward to going through the gauntlet of each bar trying to find them.
But what else could we do?
As we were getting ready to dive into Napoleonís in search of the guys, way back deep in the shadows of Soi 33 we saw a merry band of four marching our way. Could it be them? It must be. Who else would have such a spring in their steps after being dumped at the far end of Soi 33?
Antman and I have had a lot of fun at Napoleonís in the past, but it just wasnít happening that night. Like a high school prom with the guys on one side of the dance floor and the girls on the other, no one was mixing it up.
The girl I spent some time with last November was sitting all alone on the other side of the room, so I went over to say hello. Woe is me... She doesn't remember all the good times we had last November. I get so used to people remembering me from one visit to the next, Iím surprised when they donít.
I tried talking to the mamasan to scare up a little fun, but the twains weren't meeting that day. There was just no way a girl was going over to spend time with the guys unless one ot the guys asked her to.
Antman was in heaven. He went over to the foosball (table soccer) game and was immediately surrounded by a dozen girls wanting to have a little fun.
Remembering PommieBruv said it was Hammers birthday a few days ago, I asked the girl I was with if there was a bakery in the area. It turns out the Novotel has a bakery and it should be open. One of the guys that worked at Napoleonís had a scooter, so we sent him off to bring back a cake. The guys really wanted to go because Napoleonís was so dead, but I convinced them to have one more round. Antman challenged one of the girls to a game of pool, so things started to get entertaining; girls came from all around the bar to watch the match so at least there were some girls on our side of the building now.
The bar boy pulled up on his scooter with a screech and brought a package inside. Boy howdy, did he ever pick out a good-looking cake. Not only did Hammers get a cake, he also got candles. The girls grabbed the candles and got to work placing them on the cake and lighting them.
With the cake brightly ablaze, one of the girls proudly presented it to Hammers. The DJ saw what was going on, turned on the light show, and started playing Happy Birthday over the PA. Girls surrounded Hammers and began blowing soap bubbles.
Girls from around the bar came running over to join in the singing, and wish Hammers a happy birthday. We now had a party started. It's simply amazing how the place went from totally dead, to jumping in just a matter of seconds.
PommieBruv turned out to be the champion pool player that night. He just couldnít lose!
I made friends with the DJ who was selecting some really horrible tunes, and she let me start selecting the songs for her. Playing some upbeat music kept the party rolling along.
Also, arranging the cake for his brother (Hammers) help patch over the rough spot I created when I sleazed PommieBruvís girl that first night. I was pretty glad about that, PommieBruv really is a good guy.
Even though the joint was jumping and everyone was having fun, we missed the more familiar fun back in the Nana Triangle. We said our good-byes and grabbed taxis back to Morning/Night. All of us except for Antman who couldn't tear himself away from the foosball game and the lovely hostesses of Napoleonís.
At Morning/Night, the usual dozen or so girls that kept us company for our stay welcomed us with hugs and refreshing towels. Once we got comfortable, Hammers performed his famous magic trick of making a bottle of vodka appear out of thin air!
That was another night I drank way beyond my usual amounts. It hurts just thinking about it! At some point in the evening, someone introduced me to vodka & Lippo.
Song, a girl Hammers, Gooner and I have known for a few years, was walking past the bar and we quickly dragged her in to join us. Song is a great girl, and as it turned out, had a lot of friends at Morning/Night which kept things fun.
It was quite a night; a half-dozen guys surround by a dozen girls, the ebb and flow of conversation and laughter, guys getting up to dance with the girls or play pool, periodic runs out to the Nana food carts for burgers or satay or whatever struck oneís fancy -- it was just a lot of fun.
I noticed a girl in a business suit talking to some girls at the bar, and I just couldnít take my eyes off her. My usual girl was putting the hard sell on me to barfine her but I felt the same way about Morning/Night as I did about GBB; if it was going to be one of my hangouts for the trip I really didnít want to BF any of the girls there so I wouldnít feel like I was locked into anything. Why invite the hassle, there are girls everywhere! And I always have Hooverís number if I want to order in.
Anyway, I told my companion that I could not go with her because I was in love with that girl at the bar.
ďShe not for you. She not go with customer. She good girl.Ē
And thatís how it began. Every time one of the girls would try to sell me on a barfine, I would say I could not because I was in love with the good girl.
Well, it didnít take long (or it took forever, depending on how you look at it) for GoodGirl to hear about this crazy farang who was in love with her. She left her friends at the bar and sat at a table by herself. A quick glance was my invitation to go over and introduce myself.
GoodGirl went to a university, worked in an office, and spoke English surprising well. She had a house, and a car, and I canít remember what else. And we talked for hours until they closed the bar. I invited GoodGirl for a late dinner, but she declined the offer saying she had to give her friends a ride home.
I told her how disappointed I was, and she laughed when I told her about my broken heart. After a moment or two GoodGirl said that she might come to see her friends tomorrow night, and maybe we could talk more then.
Somehow the pack wandered away from me, and I was left on my own. I headed back to the Nana Hotel with a spring in my step, looking forward to the next night when I would see GoodGirl again.
Of course thereís no good reason to let a night in Bangkok go to waste, so I picked up the phone and gave Hoover a call.
Ah, what a girl she was...
This page was last updated on 13 March, 2005
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