THE PISS ARTISTS: Happily, they are a dying breed, but all farangs will have come across them in go-go bar toilets. A Thai male lies in wait for the unwary pisser, armed with hot towels and debatable massage skills. It happened to me in Rainbow 1 in Nana Plaza recently. As I aimed my appendage at the sanitaryware, two hands started massaging my shoulders very roughly, causing me to piss over my trousers and shoes. There was a world map on the wall in front of me and, for the first time in my life, I noticed how massive Greenland is (836,109 square miles populated by only 56,361 people unless someone has died or been born since I checked Wikipedia. It is also the world’s largest island as Australia is also a continent and doesn’t count). “Christ, Greenland is massive,” I told my masseur. “Velly cold,” he replied. “Where you flom?” I pointed at Britain. “Velly far. 12 hours in airplane. Solly about Plincess Diana (it was the anniversary of her death).” That last comment alone was worth my lavish Bt20 tip.
FARANGS WHO WEAR FACE MASKS: The whole point about living in Bangkok is that you are tacitly accepting that at least 10 years will be taken off the lifespan you would have had if you had stayed in Farangland. If the pollution doesn’t get you, alcoholism, a road accident, stray bullet or sexually transmitted disease probably will. Those are the rules and it is not acceptable to try to shorten the odds. In any case, the farang I saw wearing a face mask as he ordered food in Robinson’s basement restaurant not only looked like a total dickhead but was being deeply insulting to the people who had prepared the dishes, as though he might contract bird flu from the khao pad gai. Prat.
THE 7-ELEVEN ICE DISPENSER: When I watch Thais use this device, everything goes smoothly. When I use it, half the polar ice cap goes crashing to the floor. I suspect it is programmed to discriminate against farangs.
TOURIST SURVEYS: Guess what? They aren’t tourist surveys at all. The black-clad youngsters with Amazing Thailand shirts who approach you on Sukhumvit Road are really promoting a hotel in the Asoke area. They are perfectly pleasant and some are up front and ask you to complete the form so that they can get their commission. If I have time, I fill out the form but supply false details so that I appear to the hotel’s management as their ideal target: a married brain surgeon earning more than $100,000 a year who visits Bangkok six times a year and is staying in Room 506 at the Landmark Hotel. “Call me any time,” I say.
KINGTEX CONDOMS: The name would suggest that they are of a farang-friendly size. While I am by no means hung like a donkey, my experience of this brand is that they would not fit round a farang’s little finger. And they break at the most inopportune moments.
THE THAI IN FRONT OF ME AT THE SKYTRAIN COUNTER: There are always two queues at every station. One progresses quickly and smoothly; the other is mine. That is because the Thai in front of me, unlike everyone else, does not want to get change for the ticket machine. No, he wants a monthly pass with a student discount enabling him to travel from On Nut to Victory Monument between the hours of 8am and 10am and 4pm and 6pm, excluding Tuesdays, Thursdays and Buddha days. He haggles over the price and never has enough money, so he disappears to the nearest ATM. Meanwhile, I have missed three trains.
THE ‘TAH CARP’ CENTIPEDE: I was taking a leak in my apartment when one of these creatures went scuttling past my bare feet. It was black and about six inches long. I tried to kill it with a shoe but it just kept wriggling. Eventually I managed to flush it down the shower drain. I later learned via a Bangkok Diaries article that these giant bugs are known as “motherfuckers” by Thais and have enough poison to put you in hospital for a few days.
‘MAI PED’: While I love Thai food, even the sight of a red chilli has me rushing to the toilet. The owner of my local restaurant knows that I don’t like really spicy dishes. “Mai ped (not spicy),” she assures me as I make my selection. One hour later, I have stomach convulsions and chronic dysentery.
THE SALES PITCH: Sex, massages, shirts, sunglasses, lighters, watches, maps, amulets, flowers, suits, bags, CDs, DVDs and a shoeshine. These were all offered to me within the space of one hour on Sukhumvit Road recently. I don’t know what happened to the guy with the laser pens.
FARANG GIRLFRIENDS: I was watching the general craziness on Soi Cowboy one night from a beer bar where I had bought one of the girls a drink. Along came a good-looking farang male of about 25 with his farang girlfriend who, to put it bluntly, was a lump of lard. He looked seriously depressed. My hostess turned to me with a look of utter bewilderment and said: “Peter, why do so many farangs have ugly girlfriends?” I felt the need to defend my admittedly pig-ugly Caucasian sisters and explained that while the girl might not have been attractive, she perhaps had an inner beauty that appealed to her boyfriend. “I can understand that, but why do they bring their girlfriends to Thailand?” she asked. “They only do it once,” I replied.