“Getting Back to Yer Again”
ALISTAIR VIVEKENANDA. Is the target of my revenge. And he (as you’ve probably guessed by now) is the main reason I am tied up on business in the Land of the Thais, with a biz-man’s wad of cash that I swapped for a bagful of Baht.
My flight was a non-eventful one. There was a drunken bomb threat and a couple of attempted rapes (one of which was attempted on the guy who actually made the drunken bomb threat), but that’s about all. The highlight, of course, was the airplane cuisine. OH!! AB-suh-LOOT-ly duh-LISH! Processed Lobster. Sun-dried Gravy. Steamed Bread. I tell thee, Noble Reader, when I floated off that plane, propelling myself towards the tuk-tuk rank with a series of high-powered lobster-burps, I vomited with Joy when I got there. (Hey. Wouldn’t it be huh-LARIOUS right now if I said the “Joy” I vomited with was an actual person called “Joy”, instead of a human emotion, also called “Joy”? Ay? AY?? Sadly, though, there was only one person called “Joy” on that flight. And she didn’t have the lobster.)
Now, just in case you don’t believe that reality (like in this blog) is far freakier than fiction (like in so-called “news” blogs), then allow me to present you with a little “Zone of Twilight” moment. It went like this: the guy who pedalled the tuk-tuk taxi that I took (after I stopped vomiting with Joy) was a Pakistani dressed formally in a dinner suit, wearing a watch, and a pair of business boots (that obviously came off the cloven hooves of a White Collar Crim) just like the guy in that taxi rank back in Aus was! And further-freaky-more, this Tuk-Tuk Man was actually carrying a thigh-threateningly dangerous looking BRIEF-CASE, which could– in the wrong hands– prove temporarily fatal.
As he pedalled along, I mentioned all the above to the Tuk-Tuk Man (because Hey: it was his right to know), but he said it “wasn’t” a dangerous looking brief-case at all. It was a dangerous looking bamboo lunch-box. Then he said the dinner suit he was wearing was actually more yer, yer, yer Casual Summer Ensemble (board shorts… tank top) and the business boots he sported were actually (in his opinion) a “pair of sandals”. And the watch was a string of beads. Oh, and finally, the Tuk-Tuk Man claimed he wasn’t a Pakistani at all, but was actually (or so he claimed) a Malay (oh, sure, like South East Asia is just groaning with Malays).
Anyways, after a few more pointless minutes of haggling over who he was (an unwinnable argument, you’d have to say) I gave him his 5,000 Baht fare and got out of the tuk-tuk. So! (I thought) I am now (i.e. then) (as now) in Bangkok’s notorious Worst Enemy District– but where would I find Smelly-Stare Dribble-Kenanda (as I satirically called him)? There was only one way to find out: Ask a friendly local. So I did so– thusly:
“‘Scuse me. I’m looking for a certain– shall we say?– worst enemy?”
“Yours or mine?” said the Local.
“Well…” I mused, scratching my head as I always do whenever I get multi-choice questions. “Mine… I suppose…”
“Ah,” said the Local. “Then you’ll be needing t’ get yourself off to the notorious Worst Enemy District.”
“Now, hang on!” was my riposte. “Isn’t this the notorious Worst Enemy District?”
“No,” said the denizen of that area. “This is the ‘Ask a Misleading Local’ District.”
Oh, curse that elusive Tuk-Tuk Fiend who just could not handle getting soundly THRASHED by me in the argument we had regarding who he was, thereby causing him to “spin me a curvy one” by dropping me off in the wrong friggin’ suburb! (is what I thought). If I had’ve known he was gunna do that I never would’a given the little bugger a generous (for him, anyway) five thousand Baht! Would’ve only given him two, maybe three thousand, MAX.
Ah, well. Just write it off as a travel expense. I thanked that smiling local by handing him a “well-deserved” 5,000 Baht (MIN) and started looking for a more reliable Tuk-Tuk Fiend this time. One who was comfortable in his own skin– so comfortable, in fact, he didn’t feel challenged by a better-educated person (i.e. me) telling him what he was. (NOTE: We get that sort of stubborn resistance in Australia aaaaaall the time.)
Wasn’t long before I found my fiend. Without wasting a second, I jumped into the back of his tuk-tuk, moved his dangerous looking bamboo lunch-box aside (so I had somewhere to park my Baht-laden roll bag) and shouted:
“Put yer sandals to the pedals to the metal to the rubber to the pebbles on the gravel, man, GO!!”
He turned ’round, looked me square, and said: “Where to?”
“Oh, DER! Worst Enemy District? Ploise?”
“This is the Worst Enemy District.”
Stunned, all I could blurt was: “I thought this was the Ask a Misleading Lo–”
Wait a minute, I thought. Could this be an example of the Chinese proverb: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on you TIMES TWO”? I put my concerns to the Other Tuk-Tuk Man:
“Are you– perchance– misleading me about this not being the Ask a Misleading Local District?”
“No,” said the Other Tuk-Tuk Man. “I’m a local here, myself. ‘Here’ being the Worst Enemy District. Where we presently are. It was a misleading local– though not necessarily one from around these parts– who misled you. And I should know– because that particular misleading local I saw misleading you actually is my own personal worst enemy, which explains why he strayed all the way from his district into mine!”
“That lyin’ BASTARD!!” I cried, in a thinly-veiled reference to whichever one (or more) of the misleading locals it was who misled me (so far).
“I know, I know,” nodded the sympathetic Other-Tuk-Tuk-Non-Misleading-Worst-Enemy-of-the-Real-Misleading-Pseudo-Local-Whose-Not-From-Around-These… Parts… Man, who then held out his hand and said: “That’ll be 5,000 Baht.”
Cursing under my breath at the mysterious ways of the two types of local (“Misleading” and “Other”), I slapped a surly five-K into his palm and got out of his tuk-tuk. Then (with hands on hips) I did a quick scan of Porn Pong Road.
Well! I thought. Somewhere at last.