This is a reasonably accurate account of a wonderful if not bewildering 18-month period spent meeting and living with a Thai girl in my adopted country of South Africa. I have for obvious reasons used fictitious names.
Elusive would be an understatement, as she would float in and glide out. Often seen in the indoor plant section of our store, lingering amongst our various floral arrangements and foliage, but, never, ever in full view, always partly concealed, behind one plant or another. She would never buy or indeed communicate with anyone.
I would simply describe her as STUNNING, early thirties, immaculately dressed, beautifully groomed with this magnificent smile, which drew you towards her like a magnet, except whenever you headed towards her she was already floating out the entrance like a butterfly. This Thai lady would just disappear, as though by magic into the crowded street and by the time you had reached the entrance, she was just nowhere to be seen. It was as though she had been a mirage or dream, a recurring dream.
I would sometimes see her looking in my direction and that smile just made you feel like a million dollars or, horror of horrors, was she looking at my business partner who was a 6’ hunk (He was married, but the chicks, thought he was the best thing since sliced bread or as my younger brother who lived in the UK would say “he was the dogs bollocks”). Oh! please, no, no, no! MY partner was 10 years younger than me with long hippy style hair, an English speaking South African in his late thirties. His wife worked part time in the store as a bookkeeper, but his female friends were wise to this and only made an appearance once she had departed in the early afternoon to collect their daughter from school. They lived on a smallholding in Honeydew, approximately 30 kilometres from our store in Hillbrow. Our store was in an area which was quickly gaining a bad reputation in Johannesburg, well known for it’s crime and grime. (Amongst the various nationalities, 1000’s of Nigerians and Mozambicans had decided to make this area their new home and had managed within a very short period of time to transform the area into an unrecognizable cesspit. They brought with them their entrepreneurial skills, utilizing the local female population, who amongst their normal tricks were always able to produce drugs of your choice, from their new found friends, within minutes.) Honeydew was fortunately of just sufficient distance to discourage her from making a return trip to the store through the late afternoon traffic. That same traffic that would supply sufficient excuses for Wayne, when he arrived home to his family, after spending a considerable time in our favourite pub testing Castle our local brew and obviously keeping some of the local talent happy.
I, on the other hand was a 5’4” (giant), (originally from the UK, but had lived in South Africa for many years) with considerably less hair and teeth than Wayne. Probably in your language known as a ‘wrinkly’ but a lot more active on the sporting side as I was still participating in a reasonably high level of sport on a regular basis. He on the other hand was a lot more interested in his female conquests. I had just come out of a 2-year relationship with a divine Indian girl, who had just moved out of my house, (with a little help from myself) she wanted to own me body and soul. This caused me a great deal of anguish as any man will tell you “we need some space”. Probably the most possessive female I had ever been associated with in my entire life. An amazing lady, who was insanely jealous of my every move. Man, I couldn’t fart without her enquiring as to what I was up to. Eventually it was to kill off our relationship. (Gee, I miss those curries, and all!!)
At night, I would have wonderful dreams of this exquisite Thai female who frequented our store and the staff had become aware of my fascination for this lady and became an early warning system of her presence in the store, but, she was always so elusive and this was to carry on in this form for several months. Eventually, my luck changed, as I appeared from a different direction to which she was accustomed, having entered the store through the main entrance, I noticed her as normal in the garden section, she looked ‘finger licking good’, I had unintentionally outmaneuvered her and took the plunge. Having introduced myself, she looked at me in a totally uncommitted fashion, as if to say “and now” but, being a relatively shy individual, all I could think was to ask her if she liked our new range of ferns that had recently arrived. How, positively stupid of me, I thought later on when she had left the store, after having discussed various subjects, but not what I wanted to discuss. I had never met a Thai lady before, but have since made a few trips to LOS as my younger brother had fallen head over heels in love with a Chinese / Thai and married her. Now seeking divorce…he is older, poorer, but sadly, not much wiser. Unfortunately his insatiable sex drive rules his brains!
Amazingly a few days later she was back and my heartbeat went into overdrive and encouraged by the fact that she had returned, I ‘casually’ raced over to her and we continued our conversation as though she had never left the store. She had a lot more meat on the bone than the average Thai, but, was not overweight. This was due to her western lifestyle having lived and indeed been married to an Italian ‘Count’. I was later to hear how she had lived in Italy with him, in total luxury, but she had had to endure many physical attacks from him and had been forced on occasions to perform lewd acts on him, with his friends being spectators and sometimes participating. Secretly, I thought to myself, there were too many vowels in his title, and maybe this would more aptly describe him?) I courageously invited this angelic looking female for coffee…she declined . I was devastated.
She was very bright and spoke Thai and 4 European languages fluently, Italian obviously being one of them. Her English was almost perfect, which helped, as my Thai was non existent. She had lived in South Africa for 2 years in the affluent Bedfordview area, with her Italian husband and had been divorced for a year. I was later to find out she was now involved with the Greek equivalent of the Italian Mafioso, as a Personal Assistant? A person who was very well known for his controlling interest in the area. Constantly seen driving with his minders / bodyguards in his magnificent white sleek Rolls Royce. Included in his empire was a chain of hotels (which were all known to be hotbeds (literally) for the huge flourishing prostitution trade in the area, he also had a thriving pool hall next to our business, which sold more liquor each day, than some of the local bottle stores (Nick as we shall call him (A lot better than Mr. Dropthelotonus or some similar sounding Greek name) told me on one of his pickups from next door, “He had every intention, of one day getting a trading license to sell beers, next door” (but, it wasn’t exactly one of his priorities in life.) I had grown to know him personally as most days, whilst his henchmen were collecting the loot from next door and emptying the machines, he would come in for a chat and a cup of tea, so I was reasonably aux faix of his dealings locally and aware he wasn’t a person you got on the wrong side of. His entourage were Man Mountains, built like tanks with the obligatory sunshades, they were not inclined to look very friendly at the best of times. (Their was never less than 3 accompanied him at any given time. When he said jump, they only asked ‘How high”? I heard one of them talk once, so he may have had a brain, somewhere! Anyway, once they had returned with all the bags of coins, they were off, to the next collection.
Eventually, after many visits to the store, she agreed to go for coffee, but, I was to pick her up by car outside the Hillbrow, police station and she would only go to a coffee shop of her choice. Fair enough!! Thought I, let’s just get this show on the road! I arrived at the ‘cop shop ‘ at the given time and naturally she was no-where to be seen. Here I am sitting like a lemon parked on a double yellow line outside a damn police station, trying to look suitably stupid and lost for the various curious uniformed officers lingering in the area and at the same time trying to look in all directions for the elusive butterfly. (It was not the cleverest thing to do, as during that period, it was not unusual for the local stations, to be attacked by armed gunmen and invariably there was always heavily armed security outside the entrance.) One of the more amazing aspects of this was the fact that more often than not, private security companies supplied the protection provided for the police stations. I presume this was because Hillbrow was a hive of activity and little things like rapes and murders were a dime a dozen (and still are) which kept the understaffed station exceptionally busy and for some reason (totally beyond my comprehension) they struggled to get personnel for that station and those that did get coerced into moving there, were able to feign sufficient illnesses to stay off the streets and remain safely in barracks and married quarters. Eventually, after a wait of about 10 minutes, which seemed like hours, there she was, as usual, I hadn’t seen where she came from and after looking casually in all directions, she came over, got in and immediately gave me instructions to drive away to Rosebank a mere 10 mins or so away, driving through an area known as The Wilds. Rosebank is a yuppie area (I felt totally out of place) as we waltzed into a swanky French coffee shop
Here, I was to learn, the reason for all the caution. She was living in one of the better hotels of ‘Nick the Greek’ in Hillbrow (although I was only to learn where she lived months later, as she obviously considered this to be a state secret) and had had an affair with his ‘Head of Security’ she had broken off the liaison and he wasn’t too amused and warned her if she went with any one else, he would “sort them out”. Suddenly, I realized she wasn’t half as attractive as I had originally thought and my pulse went into overdrive as I scanned the joint to see if their were any potential Secret Service types hanging around, as I knew of him, as Nick had casually, on one occasion, spoken about him and his previous employers in the government, where he was sometimes used to eliminate various individuals, who were as he put it “surplus to requirements” I’m not sure if this was fact or fiction, but, I was definitely in no hurry to meet him, socially or otherwise! In fact, I was quite keen, to return her to where ever she wanted to go, LIKE YESTERDAY! She had told me how he would often have her tailed on her travels locally. BUT, at least I was starting to understand all the secretive moves. I suggested she talk to her boss ‘Nick the Greek’ she said,“she had, and he had said ‘I’m not interested, it’s your fucking problem, I’ve got enough of my own problems with that shit” (Now, that sounds encouraging, when even the bloody boss couldn’t control him, I thought to myself) She then warned me NOT to mention anything to Nick as he will definitely tell Peter (The problem child) She had told me how Peter would use the various basements and parking areas of Nick’s buildings to teach certain individuals’ new manners or whatever.’ That was more than sufficient motivation to suddenly get permanent amnesia! Man, suddenly, I couldn’t even remember my name ha!
I finished the delicious coffee quicker than normal and was not to keen on over staying my welcome, but, she convinced the bag of nerves next to her (me) to have a ½ price refill (now that made sense) and after various other conversations I was to take her to the under cover parking area, where would you believe, she got into a car she already had parked there and drove off, without so much as a goodbye. I was totally ‘flabbergasted’ she hadn’t even mentioned she had a car, let alone, had it parked in the car park. How in heavens name did it get there to start with? I was later to find out, a friend had driven it there for her and had taken a taxi back to the hotel and phoned her to let her know where exactly it was parked. She had given the friend a duplicate key and the parking ticket was placed under the front seat. I wasn’t even sure if I would ever even see her again. This female was something else, and totally alien to all my previous ‘girlfriends’ I walked back to my car and my mind and eyes were going in all directions as I tried to get everything into perspective and at the same time became aware of everyone around…wow, was anyone watching me or even worse following me?
A week went by and I hadn’t seen her again and thought she was history and THEN there she was again in the garden section. I wasn’t winning; I just couldn’t understand her tactics. I started to ask her, but she just placed a finger over my lips as if to say “Don’t ask” she said “I’m being watched and followed’ as she bent and talked to me with her face looking in the opposite direction, as though looking at some plants,” but, I’ll be back when I can” with that, she turned on her heels and walked straight out the door, without even looking back. I didn’t see her again, for at least a month. A great relationship we were having, but strangely one I didn’t want to give up on, it was just one intrigue after another.
Eventually, she returned (much to the surprise of my partner and staff) and the visits became more frequent (Peter, had found another girlfriend and suddenly ‘my little Thai’ was not so important)’ That helps’, I thought, although I understand she was not being given total freedom, as he still had intentions to continue the relationship, given half the chance. We would start to disappear on most afternoons on various coffee trips where she was never picked up or dropped off at the same place twice and where she would always dictate, when, where and how. She would never use her own car. About, the only thing about our rendezvous’ was they always seemed to be about the same time and only in the afternoons. Now, we had started going out on our first evening dates and yet again, she would say where we would eat, but it would never be pre-arranged. She would use her car in the evening to get to a specified parking area, and she would invariably be there before me and from no where, would be next to my car door ready to climb in and go, and only then would I know where we were going for the evening. I often thought “am I henpecked, or what” and I always thought I was reasonably ‘macho’ but, with her, it was suddenly. You do it ‘my way’ or you take the ‘highway’ …..so, guess what, I did it her way!
I was to find out, she had parents who lived in her house she had bought in Bangkok, which was fully paid for. A brother in America at University. She was used by the South African Courts as an interpreter for court cases involving Europeans or Thais who couldn’t or wouldn’t speak English and translated written documents for various large businesses and corporations. Often invited to the Thai Consulate for functions and appeared to know the complete staff, including the Consulate General. Many of the staff were amongst her closest friends and then there were the various braais (barbeques) at Thai Air and Cathay Pacific at their headquarters close to The Hard Rock Cafe in Inanda. near Sandton, very exclusive areas in the north of Johannesburg. She was bright, very bright, an amazingly beautiful intellectual female, who had me spellbound, with her poise and interesting Asian features.
We met that weekend in a park near Sandton, which was great, as I was playing in a hockey match close by, but I found it strange she wanted to meet in a park? Fine, I finished the game, had a quick beer with the lads and rushed off to meet her. She was just sitting there, very close to a ‘jungle gym’ with kids clambering all over it. Eventually, after sitting and chatting a while a young boy of about 7 shyly wandered over and I knew immediately, I was about to find out another one of her secrets. Yes, it was her son, the resemblance was phenomenal, but, with an aristocratic Italian bone structure in the face and much taller than usual for his age. It transpired he was living with his mother. The penny dropped, the set times each day for our coffee trips, was to enable her to pick up her child from school each day. He had already, mastered speaking Italian, English and Thai, obviously he had obtained his mother’s gift for languages! Now, that I knew about the boy, it was time to find out about where she lived, and off we went in my car (they, had taken a taxi, to get to the park, which was close to 15 kilometres away from Hillbrow) to a well known hotel owned by ‘Nick the Greek’ where she had a suite with 2 bedrooms. Their accommodation and food in the restaurant was being supplied ‘free’? She was no longer working for Nick…..sooooo wasn’t he a kind man, to give her all this for FREE! Thought I ruefully.
A few weeks later, I was to get a tearful telephone call.” He wants me out,” says she and I have nowhere to go!! I had been played like a violin and went to collect her from the hotel, when I arrived, everything she was able to carry, was being taken out of the rooms, via a back fire escape and down into the basement…all, we had to do now, was to pick up her son from school. (It turned out to be a very exclusive school reasonably close by ….. her ex was picking up the school fees bill!) Whilst, she went to fetch him from inside the school, I looked at the meager belongings she seemed to have accumulated, scattered all over the back seat and cringed as I saw bed sheets bearing the name of the hotel and various crockery with the same motifs emblazoned on them. Her clothing though, was absolutely superb and the popular fashion labels were there in abundance. She definitely had good taste in clothing.
We arrived at my house, which she had been to often before, having stayed over on numerous weekends when the son would be hived off to her ex. Her first words were “we will have to hire a maid from tomorrow as I hate all this housework, and washing and ironing” and with that she disappeared to get changed to have a dip in the pool. We both joined her and after a while she transferred herself into the Jacuzzi (which was outdoors) out came the ‘hotel towel’ and as she was sunbathing we supplied her with the mandatory drinks, one could reasonably be expected to be served at the poolside?
“Where is you car” I asked “Oh! Says she, it belongs to a friend of mine and he wanted it back” Now, I knew, she would either want the use of my car or I was to become the delivery boy each day, otherwise how would the child get to school and back? And there was no way, but, no way, she was going to drive my 53 Chevy pick up….. Which was raised on big BIG takkie wheels or maybe I was the selected one to pay for the taxi each day? I mean, it was only 20ks from my house.
I, drove my Chevy every day to work, my car had been commandeered (by you know who) and suddenly, her daily schedules were so full, she was unable to make sufficient time for us to go to coffee at all. The maid fortunately had been hired and all household chores had been taken care of, (including the evening meal). My girlfriend was such a busy bee and to this day, I have never ever found out how she managed to leave in the morning, return in the early evening and never had a permanent job. Are all Thais so secretive and fly? This went on for about a year. Then one evening we got into a huge argument as I had suggested perhaps it was time she moved on, as I became aware that their were other girls / ladies out there, who needed my attention. She was not amused and immediately opened a bottle of vodka (she very rarely drank) and poured it into a large beer tankard and started drinking it, as though it were a cool drink. I was horrified, (the kid was asleep in his bedroom) and tried to talk some sense into her, but, she wasn’t having any of that and continued drinking and laid down on the bed and started closing her eyes. I thought okay, you might spew and you might end up with a monstrous headache. So what? I left her and went into the lounge to watch some TV, my favourite team Spurs was playing, so that held my attention for a while. It was a recorded game of an earlier match and it was close to 12pm. I then had a conscience and thought I must check on her and there she was flat out on her back…..with pills and empty containers scattered everywhere. I panicked and immediately tried to wake her up, but with not much luck, she was just groaning.
I grabbed the boy and bundled him into the back of the car and then rushed to get her as well. (I had to put her over my shoulder and carry her) Having put her in the front, with a seatbelt round her, she just slumped over like a rag doll. I drove like crazy towards the hospital, it was almost 1am, all the time she was moaning and groaning and by now the kid was crying and screaming. Jesus, this was just, fun, fun, fun! I was terrified she would ‘kick the bucket’ before I got to the hospital and kept pushing her and slapping her trying to keep her awake and at the same time fly like a ‘bat out of hell’, with hazard lights flashing in the direction of the hospital, fortunately, it only took about 15mins as the roads had been relatively deserted. On the way she had decided she wanted to empty her bowels and in her comatose state, just peed all over the seat and onto the floor. This
definitely was my lucky day! I drove like a man possessed straight to the emergency casualty section, lights flashing, and horn blowing and out rushed 2 guys with a mobile trolley. We started to unstrap her and lift her onto the trolley, she was soaking wet and decided to thrill us a little further and farted. Her dress had rode up over her waist and she at least had some underwear on, although the panties she had on were not exactly covering a great deal. The hospital attendants didn’t appear to be in any hurry to cover her bush up, so I did. The kid was by my side as we rushed her inside. She was immediately admitted into casualty and the doctor was questioning me on what pills she might have taken. Fortunately, I had grabbed the various containers prior to leaving the house. We could hear her wailing and groaning in the background. The doctors decided they would do an emergency stomach pump and they took her to a different section, we in turn sat in the waiting area for any news. I consoled the kid, who was almost hysterical. Eventually a nurse appeared and told us she was fine, but that she would have a monstrous headache in the morning when she woke up. What a relief! We were to pick her up at midday (It was already nearly 4am) How did the stomach pump go I asked? She replied “Oh! That wasn’t necessary, as she had told them “I didn’t take any pills, I just wanted to scare him” I was very angry with myself, she had conned me yet again. We returned home.
Later that morning I took the kid to school, he was half asleep, returned home and rang two friends of hers who lived on a farm ‘out in the sticks’ (out of town) They were two ‘gay’ guys, who she often spent time with and asked them to pick up her belongings from me by midday or I would just throw them and her out onto the street…(I’m not sure, I would have BUT! They arrived and loaded up her belongings and picked her up from the hospital.
Years later, we met up….but, that’s another story. She had been on a 3-year contract in the jungle, in the middle of Africa working as an interpreter for a Thai Company that had a contract to build roads and of all things, a hospital. She now has returned to Italy with her son and every year without fail, I get a Christmas card and a telephone call. Just her way of reminding me of a nightmare but, shit, she was just so cute! I miss her sometimes!