Summer In Siam

11. PattayaIt was a national holiday in Thailand, on the occasion of a Buddhist festival: floating floral arrangements with lit candles, representing the souls of the dead, were cast into the rivers. Universities had a few days off, so I took some myself and went to the islands with Sean. Our first destination was Koh Chang. The rainy season was not over yet, so the hotels and the beaches were empty. Still, the sun was burning. We were sitting in the sun, the coconut trees behind us, the sea in front of us. We were both silent, each deep in our own thoughts. I knew Sean better now. He had married and divorced two times. The first time, to a woman who was older than him and had a child from a previous marriage. He soon realized he could not make a good father to that child. And got a divorce. The second marriage was to a woman about his age, whom he loved deeply. "All the time we were together I never looked at another woman." But after a few years she cheated on him with their best friend. Sean did not trust women. I was wondering what I was to him. I had told him once:"You don't give a shit on me."And he answered:"I care about you very much."I was thinking of all this and wondering if it was true. I have no idea what he was thinking of. Anyway, at one point he drew closer to me, laid his head on my shoulder and put his left arm around my waist. I think I loved him. And I was so afraid to fall in love… I had only had two steady relationships and both had ended miserably. The first had lasted five years before the guy, a Japanese, dumped me when I had a schizophrenia attack. The second was also with a Japanese guy, a little more considerate than the first, since he left me because I drank too much and I would be an unfit mother to his future children.We spent a lot of time on the beach, swam a lot, sniffed coke, had sex and ate. The food at the restaurant was delicious. We would come out of our bungalow and cross a lake swarming with red fish on a small wooden bridge to the restaurant. I usually went to breakfast alone. I would fill a platter and take it to Sean in bed. He would eat and then we would make love. Then out to the beach again. I wished it would never end. If only time could be stuck forever within the twenty four hours you most wish for! Just go to bed and wake up again in the same circumstances. And again, and again…We took the plane to Phuket and enjoyed another few days of tropical paradise. It was a little more crowded here, but it didn't bother us.We then got on the plane to Bangkok and from there we took the bus to Pattaya. 180 kilometers. We got to a dusty bus terminal. Taxi vans were waiting for us to take us to southern Pattaya, where most hotels were. The road was awful but after we got to the hotel, as soon as we went out on the beach and sat down on a bench, a street vendor appeared selling huge prawns and beer. We ordered, ate and inhaled the breeze coming from the Andaman sea and I knew that was where I wanted to live and die. There were many Thais, as well as foreigners sitting on benches or on the sand, on towels. Indians, Arabs, Africans, Americans, Germans, Danes, Thais ask us where we come from and what we are doing there. We share experiences with Thailand and other places, we drink beer and smoke. Several rats scurry between our feet at some point. I don't like that."Let's go."We go back to the hotel, have a few more beers and continue in bed.Next morning I go for a Western breakfast – eggs, bacon, sausages, butter, jam and coffee – and take it to the room. We sniff some more coke and rid ourselves of sexual inhibitions, then we have a beer and leave for the beach. It's already eleven o'clock. The sand is so hot you cannot step on it barefooted. The water is so warm! It feels rather like a Jacuzzi. For lunch we have calamari on the beach and only around five o'clock, when the sun is already setting, do we part with the sand and the sea. We go back to the hotel and hit the showers – then back to bed, for another candy-party."I wonder what it would be like to have a warm sea, a hot beach, mountains of coke and a lover every day…""Mmm… Sea… Sex… Sun… Snow flakes…"We get dressed and leave for Central Pattaya. We have to take a taxi van – the only type available. We finally get to Walkin' Street, where there are parties all night long. We eat some steaks in an American restaurant and go to where the hot clubs are. Pigalle. We go in. The girls are dancing only on the stage, with their panties and their bras on. Uninteresting. We go out. Move to the next place. Hooty's Sexy Girls. We go down a long corridor with white walls painted with bodies in sexual interpenetrations, explicit penises and pubes. We get to the bar. Semi-darkness. We go past the stage in the middle and sit down at a table. In front of us, the stage and beyond it, a window giving on to another, brightly lit room. It is a classroom with a blackboard and five desks. The blackboard reads in white chalk: "I must not play with my pussy in the classroom." The girls at the desks are extremely young – not yet eighteen, probably – wear uniforms consisting of white, starched blouses, neckties and pleated dark-blue skirts. They sit with their legs wide apart and, naturally, wear nothing underneath. They pretend to be reading. Or maybe they are really reading. I should have thought about it when I was younger. Maybe this would have been the best job for me. Instead of working, I could have educated myself. Even now it shouldn't be too late. I could play the part of the teacher scribbling all sorts of rubbish on the blackboard with her naked bottom turned towards the audience. This way I wouldn't have to work and I could write all I want. But no more daydreaming. The show had begun. Several girls in scanty black costumes and boots with enormous heels had grabbed the poles on the stage and were performing dance movements. The pupils were still reading when an electric billboard was turned on, reading "Ring Bell. Buy Girls on Stage." To our right, great excitement. Some guy was celebrating his birthday. The mirror above the merry guests read "Happy Birthday, David Fletcher!" David Fletcher was wearing a pointed tinfoil hat and was surrounded by pupils and dancers in scanty black costumes. He seemed in the seventh heaven. I felt pity for Sean. He had an uninteresting farang at his side, and didn't look like he was tasting enough of the pleasures of the Orient. I spotted an incredibly beautiful dancer on the stage, but I wanted to see more of the show. The next number in the program was a lesbian one. The girls smeared cream on each other's body and started licking one another everywhere. I could clearly see their pubes. The outer lips were very small – almost inexistent. They were so beautiful! Then each of them stuck in a dildo and you could clearly hear the to and fro movements in their vaginas. It took long. Then the scanty black dress dancers act again. I went to the "Bell" and rang. A girl showed up at our table immediately. "Which one do you want?"Sean looked bewildered."Number nine."Number nine was a rare beauty. Her name was Lily. A tall, slender Thai girl with long hair, almond-shaped eyes and plump, sensual lips. She was rather timid. She had got the job recently. She had come from her native town in the north-east, Sisaket. A poor region. She was providing for her entire family."I'll leave you two. Get another room at the hotel."Sean was astounded."But, sweetheart…"We went down the corridor with dicks and cunts, and outside in the fresh air. I had an asthma attack. It wasn't fair. Why had I never been as beautiful as Lily? And it wasn't so much the way I used to look like, as what I was going to become, that was the real tragedy. I was thirty something and I was a total mess.I walk aimlessly in the tropical night. I pass beautiful Thai girls, bars with dazzling lights… I go into a side street, famous for the smuttiest bars in Pattaya. Super Lion. I go up some narrow steps to the second floor and go into the bar. There is no stage. The girls are dancing in the middle of the bar, among the counters. Farangs are sitting at the bar admiring the pubes that open in front of them. I sit a little further back, on a sofa. In a corner, a window gives on to a brightly lit room. Inside there is a shower and under the steaming jet a woman is sensually soaping her body. I order a beer and watch the numbers I have already seen at Jasmine & Roses. A failed trick. A dancer gets up on the counter, puts an egg into her vagina, lies down on her belly and bang! bang! hits her pelvis against the bar top. She spreads her legs over a glass and clink! the intact egg drops inside. The farangs clap their hands enthusiastically. They are either ingénues, tourists who have no idea that the number actually failed, or well-versed customers who want to encourage the girl.A number I didn't see at Moscat's. A dancer kneels on the counter and another one introduces the neck of a bottle in her anus. There follows – naturally – a feigned anal sexual act with the bottle. Another number that makes your mouth water: a dancer puts a bottle neck into her vagina and simulates the usual to and fro movement. In a few minutes the liquid substance starts trickling down her thighs. But the number that makes the strongest impression on the audience is the one with the candle. A girl is pouring hot wax on her breasts, her thighs, her abdomen, her pubis. It's spectacular, but I could do it myself. I like the sensation hot wax gives me. I have to insist with Moscat to hire me at Jasmine & Roses. I can't do the egg trick, but I'd be an ace with wax. The show is over. The girls come to the tables to talk to the clients. It's time for me to split.I go down the stairs and across the street to the Purple Panther. A smaller place, just a stage and a couple of tables. The usual numbers. A girl blows through a tube stuck in her vagina towards the flame of a candle. Whoosh… they all go out. Another girl appears on the stage and inserts a rope knotted with razor blades in her vagina. She pulls them out one by one. The girl who blew out the candles comes and sits down next to me. "Hi, I'm Rose."Rose is plump. About sixty kilos, maybe? Beautiful."Do you want a Coke?""Yes, thanks.""You can have a beer if you want.""We're not allowed to.""I knew it.""Can I take one?"She reaches out to my cigarettes."Help yourself. How old are you?""Twenty four. You?""Thirty something.""You look twenty eight.""Thanks."We then watch the numbers on the stage together. Rose informs me about the age of the performers. Most of them are not eighteen yet."She's forty one. It's a difficult number."The forty one years old girl sticks a marker into her vagina and squats over a sheet of paper. She makes a few movements. Finally she stands up and shows the paper to the audience: "I love you. Pattaya 2002.""But it's very simple!" I say."Simple?!?! You should work at the Purple Panther."I definitely have to talk Muscat into hiring me at Jasmine & Roses. I could write a whole novel with my vagina! And while I'd be doing that I could have tons of hot wax running down my body."But you know what? I can't break an egg inside my vagina. Not that I've ever tried, but I doubt it would be possible.""Don't worry. No one here can do it. There is no such number."I go on to play the reporter."Men from what country do you like most?""I don't like men from any country. I like women."Rose takes a cigarette from my pack with her left hand, while her right hand plunges between my thighs.""Shall we go to your hotel room?"According to the arrangements, Sean should be with Lily in another room."Why not?"I gave Rose 1000 bahts. 500 was the standard price, but if you wanted to be treated like royalty you had to offer 1000. These women had no obligation towards the bar, so Rose went for her suitcase and we left for South Pattaya together. We took a taxi van. I don't know what had got into me. I had never had sex with another girl. But I imagined it had to be less invasive than having sex with a man. We went into the hotel room and Rose opened her suitcase. She took out a body lotion, a feminine cream and a dildo. She caressed and embraced me until dawn. She penetrated me. She licked me. I was in love. I discovered I was a passive lesbian. Rose had done everything.Around ten o'clock there was a knock on the door. I opened. It was Sean."Hi."He gaped in surprise when he saw me in bed with Rose and all our accessories.We had breakfast, in the hotel restaurant, the four of us: me, Sean, Lily & Rose.Then we parted and went each to our homes. Sean and I went back to our room."What did she do to you?"I shrugged and smiled. We abandoned ourselves to the white powder. We tested each other sexually after the previous night's experiences. Then Sean went to bed and I went to the beach. It was a torrid day. I was lying alone on my towel. I rolled over on my belly. A large group of young Thais, who were sitting at a table nearby, eating and drinking beer, were gesturing to me desperately. "Hey, come here! Drink beer!" I was in no mood for drinking beer, because my period had just started and, apart from being very ill-disposed because I couldn't find any Tampax my size – "small" were too small and "medium", like the one I had stuck in my vagina, were too large – beer always made me go to the ladies' room. I couldn't pee in the sea, precisely because of the damn Tampax. But they seemed so cute that I couldn't say no. I stood up and went over to their table. None of them spoke English, except for Bee. She translated for me:"You are very pretty!""Thank you. But I'm also very old."The best-looking boy I had ever seen was sitting next to me and he stroke my arm. "He says your skin is very soft.""Where are you from? How old are you?""We're students in Chiangmai."They were in their early twenties. Bee pointed to the boy next to me:"Chatree likes you very much. He's twenty-two.""Tell him I'm thirty-four.""You can't be. It's a joke. You look seventeen."Chatree then said he was twenty-nine. But he certainly didn't look it."We go back to Chiangmai tonight. We spend all our holidays here. But Chatree stays with you. He says he goes where you go.""In my hotel room there's another man.""No problem. You take another room."Uh! Just my luck! How I would have liked it! But I couldn't just tell the whole audience I had got my period. And you don't go to bed with a twenty-two years old boy during your period."I'm sorry. I can't. Bye, bye! Have a nice trip!"And I went back to my towel. And then back to Sean. We went shopping for a few things at a Seven-Eleven and we had the afternoon snack in the room.I left for the beach. Chatree was still there. They looked hard at me, but didn't invite me over. The vacation was indeed over and they weren't the only ones who had to go back. We also left the next day. Back to the City of Angels. "Who is Claudia Golea (b. 1968)? A too direct authoress of chroniques scandaleuses, who would have found a more fitting venue in adult magazines? A trendy biographer of her own love life? A very talented writer, as lively in her third book (Summer in Siam, Polirom, 2004), not necessarily original, but extremely authentic? I incline to the last hypothesis, referring you, with infinite precaution, to the French and Spanish feminine bibliographies, starting with Amélie Nothomb." (Simona Sora)

by Claudia Golea