The last time I ran away from home I was eleven years old and managed to hitchhike all the way from my parents’ home in suburban St. Louis to the airport. This was in the days before boarding passes, seating assignments, hijackers, metal detectors, alternative rock and many other ills which plague modern society. I hung around the gates until I saw a large group of kids my age on their way to summer camp in Colorado. I tried to board the plane with them – and would have made it too – had it not been for an alert stewardess who started asking questions when she noticed I wasn’t wearing the same uniform as my fellow pre-pubescent travelers. I was promptly escorted from the plane and taken to the airport’s security room.
A policeman frisked me and forced me to turn out my pockets. Eying my life savings of $2.59 and eighty-six Bazooka Bubble gum comics (I only needed fourteen more to get a free spy decoder ring) lying on his desk, the cop asked me how far I had expected to get.
I had to confess that I might not have done the most thorough job of planning.
While we waited for my mother to retrieve me, he gave me a root beer, an Eskimo pie and some advice. “When you run away you have to be a little bit more prepared, bring enough money and know how to blend in better so you don’t stick out like a sore thumb. Oh, and don’t try to stowaway either, because had you been discovered on the plane the pilot would have the right, in fact he would have the duty, to open the door and throw you out – and unless you’re packing a parachute it could have been a rather grim landing for you.”
Polishing off the extremely tasty Eskimo Pie, I briefly considered that he might be bluffing but dismissed it because he was a member of the police force – and from my vast experience with the constabulary (which consisted of watching every episode of Adam 12 and Dragnet) there was no way he could tell a lie. I was going to heed his counsel. The next time I ran away I would be prepared.
So here I am on a Sunday morning in October some thirty-four years later leafing through The Los Angeles Times, with a wife who is on a perpetual diet and refuses to allow me to stock the freezer with Eskimo pies. My wife is yammering on about this week’s schedule and I’m only half-way paying attention until she gets to the part where she promised her friend Agatha that we would go Tuesday to a downtown gallery to see Agatha’s new piece of performance art.
‘Performance’ and ‘art’ are two innocuous words in and of themselves, respectively conjuring up visions of Mick Jagger and a portrait of some naked woman with fat thighs by some long dead European painter. However when these two words are strung together they become a weapon as potent as any Scud missile in Saddam Hussein’s arsenal. As much as I hate ex-New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani I find myself secretly agreeing with him – there is no way you can claim elephant shit, aborted fetuses or anything executed by Agatha is art.
Suddenly my old childhood thirst for adventure is coursing through my veins. I reach for the travel section and look for the first advertisement promising air travel anywhere that doesn’t have an extradition treaty with Agatha’s art gallery. I open the section and there it is in beautiful bold type:
Special Los Angeles-Bangkok roundtrip $495, no advance purchase required. Limited seats available. Call now!
I go through my memory banks and retrieve all stray information I have on Bangkok:
1. Bangkok is the capital of Thailand, which used to be called Siam, and everyone knows it is the most strategic country to hold when playing Risk, because he who controls Siam controls the continent of Australia, which with its two-army reward is the key to winning the game.
2. I have a close friend who used to work in a Thai restaurant.
3. The drummer from a German heavy metal band I’ve produced goes to Thailand regularly because there are a lot of prostitutes there. He always comes back smiling.
4. There are two movies about Thailand, the new Jodie Foster flick, Anna and The King, and the old Rogers and Hammerstein warhorse, The King And I.
5. Thailand is so far away from here that there is no way, if I get on a plane tomorrow, that I can be back in time to attend Agatha’s show.
“I’m running away from home,” I interrupt my wife.
“You’re what?” she gives me a nasty look like I had just asked for one of her kidneys.
Realizing that I live in a community property state, I rephrase my statement, “Didn’t I tell you I had a business trip scheduled for this week? I swear you never listen to a word I say.”
No one can accuse me of being unprepared this time, I congratulate myself as I pop The King And I into the VCR. I was going to bone up for my trip to Thailand by going to the movie theater to see Anna & The King, but opted not to upon discovering the movie was three hours long. When is someone going to stand up to all those fatuous movie directors and explain the facts of life to them? No movie, and I mean absolutely no movie (unless it’s got lots of sex scenes between Angelina Jolie and myself, and alas, despite my numerous attempts at submitting screenplays, that movie has yet to be made or even financed) can possibly be interesting after two hours.
I fight Basil and Opus, my two golden retrievers, for a place on the sofa. Recognizing the futility of this battle, I stretch out on the floor in front of the television to learn all there is to know about Thailand. It is only then that I notice The King And I is two hours thirteen minutes long.
I panic – but only momentarily. I have a remote control with a scan button on it and just as soon as I can extricate it from underneath Basil, I’ll do what some editor should have done eons ago and fast forward through all the boring parts. I try to coax the dog off the couch, but he gives me an ‘I can be just as imperious as your wife – so I want what she got” look.
Thankfully bribing the dog is cheaper. Whereas his mistress cost me a Prada purse and matching pumps to accede to my travel plans (inflating the cost of my roundtrip ticket by four hundred percent – a feat I thought only the boys in the Pentagon could accomplish), moving Basil only requires a strategically tossed dog biscuit.
I grab the remote and fast forward through the credits. I could care less who the movie studio, director, producer, choreographer, or best boy is. Let them labor in obscurity, content that they were handsomely paid at the time for their toil. This knocks five minutes off the running time. The movie finally starts. By the time I manage to stop the forward progress of the VCR, Deborah Kerr, as Anna Leonowens, has had some sort of conversation which I missed with the ship’s captain, and for some unfathomable reason decides to burst into song. I hit the fast forward button and trim another two minutes. The Siamese prime minister arrives, and tells her, “In a foreign country it is best you like everyone until you leave.”
This pearl of wisdom cuts right to the crux, and I stop the movie and copy the line down in my notebook, content that I have come to the right place for my research on Thailand. The $1.99 of my hard earned money I shelled out at the video shop was worth it. I push a button and let the movie resume. Yul Brenner comes on screen as King Mongkut. Mongkut had thirty-nine wives (I wonder how many Prada purses it cost him every time he wanted to get out of seeing any of their friends) and eighty-two children who are presented during the sickeningly saccharine children’s choir number, Getting To Know You. I’m just about to fast forward through it when my wife joins me in the den and prohibits me from any such action, because this turns out to be one of her favorite movies.
Two hours later, after suffering through not only the entire film but also my wife’s off-key accompaniment to several of the songs, I examine my notebook. I have added the following observations to the Prime Minister’s quote:
1. Keep your head lower than the King’s.
2. Thai women don’t wear underwear.
3. Ask a Thai person anything and you better hold your ears because they’re going to answer with some trite melody.
4. Thailand might not be worth it. Check out Prada’s return policy.
I couldn’t pry the purse out of my wife’s hands, so there is no chance of a Prada refund. I have committed to the trip and am booked on a thirteen and one half hour Korean Airlines flight to Seoul’s Kimpo International airport. After a two hour layover, I have a connecting six hour flight to Bangkok. This has all the potential to be the most boring twenty-one hours of my life outside the time I was dragged to see a special preview showing of Titanic (which I was asked to leave for trying to lead a chant of “we want the iceberg” at the top of my lungs).
But thankfully I have packed my carry-on bag well and am prepared for any outbreak of ennui. I have purchased a guide to Thailand which, in addition to being chock full of information on temples, elephant rides, poisonous snake shows, botanical gardens, and markets to see in each city, has a bunch of handy phrases in the back (‘thong ruang, lae puad-thong maak’ means ‘I have diarrhea and a gripping pain in my abdomen’) which I can use in case no one understands English. More importantly I have 20 milligrams of Valium which I nicked from one of the rock and roll bands I work with, so I should be able to get some sleep.
Being that I hate to wait in airports any longer than absolutely necessary I have disregarded all the airline’s warnings to arrive a full two hours before departure. My extensive experience has taught me to arrive thirty minutes prior to departure when the queue has thinned out. The Korean Airlines ticket agent admonishes me for being late and tells me to hurry to the gate because they are just about to begin boarding.
As I saunter toward the gate, enjoying having beaten the system, I hear a boarding announcement for first class and those passengers traveling with small children. I arrive at the badly misnamed departure lounge (According to Webster’s dictionary a lounge is ‘a room...equipped with comfortable furniture for lounging.’ I’m almost certain Cole Porter never invited either his friends or fans to get dressed up in tuxedos and experience the sumptuous comfort of twelve rows of molded plastic seats covered with old copies of USA Today and empty Starbuck’s plastic coffee cups) and see only a few people waiting – they haven’t even called my row for boarding. I’m elated, it looks like the plane is going to be empty and I’ll be able to commandeer a few seats to stretch out and sleep.
My row is summoned and I walk down the gangway to a Boeing 767, where I am greeted by a stewardess, cabin attendant or whatever the politically correct word for ‘multi-talented waitress who in addition to serving incredibly bad food can point to which exit is best for egress after your plane crashes’ is. She examines my boarding pass and directs me to the back of the plane.
I walk down the aisle and, to my horror, notice a diabolical conspiracy at work. Every seat is occupied – and not because this plane is a continuance of a flight from somewhere else. No, every seat is taken by those enemies of all experienced travelers, Passengers Traveling With Small Children. I count at least forty kids as I squeeze into my seat between a cute four year old Oriental boy to my left and a woman clutching an infant of indeterminate sex to my right.
As I reach into my bag for a Valium the four year old asks me something in an Asian language of unidentifiable origin. I swallow ten milligrams of tranquility and send a silent prayer, “Please Lord don’t let this kid sing Getting To Know You.”
I open my guidebook and wait for the Valium to kick in. I read the chapter devoted to a short history of Thailand. Anna Leonowens turns out to have been a total fraud and to have had very little, if any, interaction with King Mongkut – meaning that everything I thought I knew about Thailand is most likely wrong. Thai women probably wear underwear. Within a few pages I have learned that Thailand is known as the ‘Land of Smiles’, foreigners are called ‘farangs’ and for the last 53 years the country has been ruled by King Bhumibol Adulyadej, a/k/a Rama IX, who is the most revered person in the land. The plane takes off as I’m reading the section on social customs. Thailand is a society of many social classes, and one’s social position can be ascertained by the Thais’ traditional form of greeting, a bowing gesture known as the ‘wai’. A wai is executed by clasping one’s hands in front of one’s nose while bowing. Whoever holds their hands the highest is evidently the underdog in the relationship and upper class Thais barely lift their arms at all, so by virtue of my unique ability to conserve energy (a talent which my wife consistently has failed to appreciate and quite unjustifiably has called ‘lazy’) I figure I might be in for some serious social climbing.
As we gain cruising altitude I’m engrossed in the chapter on rudeness. Perhaps it is due to my twenty-five years in rock and roll, but whenever I see anything written about bad manners I feel inexorably compelled to check and see if either I or anyone I know is mentioned by name (i.e. acting like Gene Simmons and wearing a bad hairpiece while rubbing one’s crotch and ogling a woman’s breasts is considered impolite in most cultures). Thankfully everything is anonymous, but I do learn that one should neither point one’s feet at anyone and that not smiling, and losing one’s temper, are both considered extremely rude.
So when the four year old grabs the book from my hands I smile serenely and, without pointing my feet, ask if he might like to go play outside.
The child must not be Thai, because he does not return either my smile or my book. Instead he lets out a piercing shriek in an international language which needs no translation. It means “the next thirteen and one half hours of your life are going to be hell.”
I debate whether I should:
Action Taken Results/pro and con
1. Strangle the child and repossess my book.
Positive: Receive the eternal gratitude of my fellow passengers, including child’s parents.
Negative: Incurring lots of legal expenses before winning court case based on plea of justifiable homicide.
2. Grab the book without strangling child.
Positive: Regain possession of book.
Negative: No satisfaction from killing child.
3. Force remaining Valium down child’s gullet before grabbing book
Positive: Receive the eternal gratitude of my fellow passengers, including child’s parents.
Negative: Incurring lots of legal expenses before winning court case based on plea of the justifiable practicing of medicine without a license. Will have no Valium left for return trip.
4. Let kid keep book. Read something else while waiting for Valium to do its magic
Positive: Have not committed any felonies.
Negative: No satisfaction in killing child. Child may be one of those stereotypical Oriental geniuses and may be able to read and fully understand book. Child will be so inspired that with his parents’ blessing, he chooses to go all the way to Thailand – where he will spend my entire vacation screaming in my ear.
I reluctantly opt for number 4, and reach for alternate reading material in the form of the in-flight magazine from the seat pocket in front of me. I quickly peruse the section devoted to the duty free goods Korean Air are flogging to see if perchance they sell mace or any other weaponry which can be used against the hell spawn. The moppet has invented a new use for the book and is in the process of whacking his mother, who looks like she would welcome an opportunity to debate Pat Buchanan and any of his fascist right-to-life cohorts on the subject of abortion. She retaliates by slapping her progeny across the derriere, causing the happy result of loosening his grasp on the book, which sails into my lap. It also has the unhappy result of giving the tyke a new raison d’etre. He now want to see if he can get into the Guinness Book of Records for the longest continuous scream, both in terms of distance covered and length of time. From the flight status map displayed on the movie screen we have thirteen hours and six minutes to go and are traveling at a speed of 546 miles per hour, meaning if his tonsils hold this has the potential of being a 7152 mile scream – well eclipsing the 172 mile shriek of the Challenger astronauts as they plummeted back to earth.
A few minutes into the caterwaul the pilot announces the plane will be experiencing a “bit of turbulence ahead” and requests we fasten our seat belts, sit back and enjoy Korean Airlines in-flight entertainment.
Relieved to know our entertainment consists of more than my neighbor’s interpretation of the Spice Girls meet Godzilla as performed by Metallica, I sit back into my seat and watch a movie about an attractive kid who is dumped off on the doorstep of Adam Sandler in Big Daddy. This leaves me disturbed as I wonder whether this is an omen. I nervously look to my left and check to make sure the screaming kid’s mother is still there. There is no way I’m going to be taken by the old ‘will you look after my kid for a minute while I go to the bathroom’ trick. Thankfully she hasn’t tried to make a break for it...yet.
About five minutes into his scream we hit the advertised turbulence. I’m not sure whether it is due to the airplane being buffeted around the sky or, as I now suspect, a well organized scheme hatched by all those under the age of five years old, but suddenly the plane erupts in a chorus of juvenile screeching. The lone abstainer is the infant on my left, who is too busy launching a Vesuvian load of vomit all over his mother and me to join in.
I really owe the manufacturers of Valium a thank-you letter, I think as I calmly sit with a lap full of infant puke (by the texture the baby seems to be on a diet consisting exclusively of strained carrots) waiting for the fasten your seat belt sign to be turned off, bouncing my way to Seoul singing not completely sotto voce:
Getting to know you
Getting to know all about you
Getting to hate you
Getting to hope you hate me
Heeding the advice of the Prime Minister of Siam in The King And I, I am not going to say anything bad about Kimpo International Airport until I leave in three hours. Yes, I am aware that I told you I only had a two hour layover in Seoul, but it seems I was misinformed. For one and a half hours I savored my emancipation from the international daycare center in the sky by waiting patiently in the transit lounge, alternating between watching a Korean baseball game on television and a departure monitor. Thirty minutes before my plane to Bangkok was to have boarded, and with the bases loaded and one out in the seventh inning between an unidentifiable team in blue uniforms and an equally anonymous one in red, the departure time disappeared from the monitor and was replaced by the notation ‘ask ticket agent’. Being half-German I obediently went to the ticket agent and announced, “I’m supposed to ask about the flight to Bangkok.”
“What you like to ask?” a fresh-faced, but at the same time dour, Korean Airlines representative replied.
“I don’t know. It says on the monitor I’m supposed to ask.”
“What you like to ask?” she repeated defiantly.
There are several questions I would have liked to ask, but as I said I’m not supposed to speak badly of anyone until I’m out of this God-forsaken place, so I gave her the benefit of the doubt and assumed she may be screening contestants for Jeopardy and making sure everything is in the form of a question narrow in scope, “Can you tell me what is going on with my connecting flight to Bangkok?”
“Sorry, but plane have problem. I give you meal coupon for lounge upstairs. Then you enjoy duty free shopping.”
“Can you just give me an idea when my plane is going to leave?”
“No. Listen for announcement. Now go eat and shop,” she ordered handing me a voucher.
I trudged upstairs and exchanged my voucher for a box containing what appeared to be remnants of rations from the Korean war. There were two extremely stale pieces of bread wrapped around an indeterminate meat substance (reminding me of why I’m a vegetarian), a soggy carrot, a pickle, some congealed mass of white goop masquerading as dessert and a can of Coke. I was ruminating on what could be salvaged from this feast when they announced my Bangkok flight would be delayed three more hours – which brings us to the present.
Even with my stomach growling I can’t bring myself to eat any part of the sandwich, so I scarf down the carrot and the pickle, chug the Coke, and go explore the duty free shopping in quest of something edible.
Long before I became a globetrotter, I recall staring longingly at the duty free stores which were off limits to us mere domestic peons. While standing in the airport shop deciding whether to shell out two dollars for a chocolate bar that would cost fifty cents in the real world, I imagined the duty free shoppers were sipping French Champagne and drooling caviar while perusing shelves laden with shopping’s equivalent of getting in on an internet IPO. New technological wonders like the latest combination wristwatch-cellular phone-pager-computer-big screen television-DVD player-micro refrigerator stocked with Eskimo Pies being offered for a mere pittance right next to all those drugs which are really fun to take and therefore proscribed by the puritanical American government.
Unfortunately this turned out to be a myth, no doubt propagated by those who have a vested interest in perpetuating the swindling of captive audiences with goods priced comparably with your average Times Square clip joint. Kimpo’s duty free shop has the latest shiny gadgets from Sony, and I find my quest for food momentarily sidetracked by a digital camera that I covet, sale priced at only 899,999 Korean Won.
“This great bargain,” a friendly saleswoman assures me.
I’ve learned one truism of travel – no matter what the currency is whenever prices get up into telephone numbers you can generally be assured you’re getting ripped off. “How much is that in United States dollars?” I inquire wearily.
“Is latest Sony camera. Duty free. Come with guarantee. You want me to take picture of you?” she avoids answering my question.
“No, you misunderstood me. I wanted to know how much the camera costs in American money.”
“Is duty free. No tax.”
“How much is the Won worth?” I try a different tactic.
“We take American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa too. You have?”
“I don’t want to buy it until I know how many Won there are to the dollar,” I attempt to hide any signs of exasperation and hunger.
“Won our Korean money. Lots of Won worth lots of money,” she provides a quick primer in Korean economics.
Recognizing the imminent danger of being suckered into a Monty Pythonesque argument I wander through the aisles of Hermes scarves, Armani suits, Yves St. Laurent wallets and Cartier watches in search of a currency exchange booth. Spotting one I go over and discover there are 1,127 Won to the dollar.
I return to the electronics booth and ask the saleslady if she has a calculator.
“Palm pilot have calculator. We have for a very good price. Duty free,” she opens her display case and pulls out a new Palm VII.
“Can you show me how the calculator function works?”
She turns it on and allows me to do a calculation. I divide 899,999 by 1,127 and learn that the camera’s price is $798.57 – nearly three hundred dollars more than the cost in America.
“Palm pilot only 699,000 Won. Good deal, no?” she grins.
“No is correct,” I hand her back the Palm Pilot, and go in quest of a two dollar chocolate bar to feed my complaining stomach. I find boxes of chocolate assortments filled with liquors for 20,000 Won, packages of Lindt chocolate truffles for 17,000 Won, assorted Godiva chocolates for 15,000 Won. But there is no sign of a plain ordinary chocolate bar. I ask a salesclerk where I can find one.
“This duty free – no tax. We take all major credit cards,” she beams with pride.
I slink back to the departure lounge clutching the largest Toblerone white chocolate bar I have ever seen. It tastes extremely good, as well it should considering it cost me fifteen dollars. I savor every bite while reading my Thailand guidebook and watching the clock dawdle to my departure time.
Finally they board our plane. I am relieved to find the plane is nearly empty and manage to snag a whole row of seats. Within minutes we’re taking off and as I happily watch Seoul disappear beneath the clouds I drift off to sleep thinking that if Kimpo International Airport is an accurate reflection of Korea I must revise my opinion of the hellhole. It should be the most revered place in the country, because you can rest easier knowing there is a place you can always leave from – although you may have to do some duty free shopping as the price for your escape.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
There is something about me that customs agents find fascinating. I instantly become as popular as Pamela Anderson in a men’s prison. But whereas she is paid a lot of money to disrobe – and looks quite good once she does – I receive nothing in the way of compensation other than the privilege of some grim civil servant earnestly protecting his country by shining a flashlight up my rather unattractive ass.
So needless to say I’m a little nervous. This is the first time in my life I have ever smuggled anything illicit – because I forgot all about the remaining Valium in my pants pocket until now. I can feel the Valium weighing heavily in my pocket as I watch my fellow passengers retrieve their suitcases from Bangkok’s Don Muang International Airport’s carousel. By the time the last of the luggage has been delivered I’m sweating, because in addition to having a three ton Valium concealed in my jeans, it’s 35 degrees Celsius and I don’t have my bag. I walk over to the Korean Air baggage office, and report my luggage as lost.
I fill out a form and the agent types the information into his computer. A few seconds later he sheepishly explains that my luggage was for some unknown reason sent back to Los Angeles – and that if I so choose I can have it sent to my hotel in two days. He gives me a handful of toiletries, and sends me on my way for my customs inspection.
Of course I am stopped. “Is that all you are carrying sir?” a smiling customs officer asks as I look down at my feet to make sure they are not pointing in any direction which could cause offense.
“Unfortunately yes. The airline lost my luggage,” I lie, opening my carry-on.
“There is no need for you to open the bag, sir.”
I can tell he’s already spotted that Valium bulging like a cancerous tumor from my pocket. Maybe Korean Air can directly forward my suitcase to my jail cell.
“You’re going to be needing some clothes aren’t you?” the agent distracts me from my paranoia.
“Yes, I guess I will.” I hope my voice doesn’t belie my guilt.
“Well let me write down this address for you. It is my brother’s custom tailor shop, he can have you a very nice suit of clothes made for you this afternoon if you like,” he hands me his brother’s information. “I’m sorry about your luggage, but please enjoy our country.” He waves me through a set of doors, which I walk through without once looking over my shoulder.
I’m officially in Thailand!
I walk over to the currency exchange booth and slip three hundred dollars through the window to be converted into Thai baht.
“Sir, the dollar is worth 39.32 baht, are you sure you want to convert this entire amount?” the cashier asks with a smile.
“It’s dangerous to walk around with so much money.”
“Is there a lot of crime in Bangkok?” I leave off the predicating phrase “other than my brazenly smuggling in ten milligrams of Valium.”
“No we don’t have much crime. But if by chance you should misplace your wallet, I would hate to read about your losing your fortune in the newspaper.”
I assure the helpful cashier I want the money, and promise I will be careful with my wallet. He gives me a wad of multicolored currency and wishes me a pleasant stay in Thailand.
I walk toward a door which should take me to a taxi, but before I can get there I’m intercepted by a smiling man inquiring whether I would like to hire his limousine. My guidebook had warned me to avoid airport limos, they will rip you off unmercifully charging you as much as twenty dollars for the trip. Considering that a taxi to the bottom of my street would run me nearly twenty dollars this doesn’t seem much of a rip off to me, but I decline it nonetheless.
“Why you no take my limo? I can take you massage parlor. Girls very pretty – do everything,” the driver entices me with a pamphlet with a picture of approximately one hundred girls clad in lingerie sitting in what appears to be a giant fishbowl.
“No thanks.” I brush past the brochure.
“Oh. You want boy then? Can do, I know place,” he pulls out another pamphlet from his pocket.
“No thanks, I’m not gay,” I feel guilty for saying it quite so defensively.
“You no want boom boom?” he gives me a look as if I must be from a foreign planet.
“No, but thanks for thinking of my happiness. I just want a taxi to take me to my hotel,” I hope this dissuades him from volunteering any further tour guide services.
“You want suit? I know place. I take you to friend’s shop. Very nice. Very cheap,” he gives it one last try as I make a break for the exit.
I quickly hail a taxi. The driver speaks a little English and I am able to communicate that I want to go to the Nana hotel on Soi 4 near Sukhumvit Road.
As we pull onto the highway the driver asks me why I have come to Thailand.
“I’m here on holiday.”
“You want go to massage parlor?” he pulls out the same flier the limo driver had flashed.
“No. I want to go to the Nana hotel.” I had nearly forgotten to book lodging altogether. A few minutes before I had to leave, in a panic, I had gone onto the Internet and entered the following phrases into Yahoo: “Hotel”, “Bangkok”, “room service” and “air conditioning”.
Out popped the Nana which at 900 baht, or twenty-two dollars and fifty cents per night, seemed to be a bargain. I ask the driver if he knows anything about the hotel.
“Nana very popular hotel for farang. Lots of girls. You have girl already?”
“Yes I do. I’m married and my wife’s in America.”
“You no have girl in Bangkok?”
“You need girl. Let me take you place. Good girls. Been to doctor. Very clean.”