Chapter 5 OK
King of the North - Power nap - Nap DM - Food - OK - Thai girl - Guitar - Haircut - Massage - Yoke - Japanese - Land of the Smiles - Lava - Dynamic lighting - Ninja - Shrimp - OK.
Tiger had been in Thailand already two weeks, up North, in and around Chang Mai, and just the night before we met in our Hostel, he had gotten shit faced to the max. Of course. So he was gonna take a powernap, which is a weapon to wield and behold, and one he utilized with prestige. I was not such a pussy, and went to enjoy my time around the hostel.
Just now I talked to Tiger about that nap. Here’s what he had to say [edited for clarity]:
I forgot about it too
Then I said that maybe it’s better if you take a nap, too
You of course said NO
That’s when I thought Okay, I see now, this trip Fury is going MF HARD
Here’s the same DM, in its original raw and unedited and unfiltered Dutch form, for those interested:
Toen zei ik dat jij misschien ook beter een nap kan nemen
Jij zei uiteraard NEE
Toen dacht ik Okay, ik zie het al, deze trip gaat Fury KkHARD
I had just gotten off the plane and the meals had beenmeager and I eat a lot and I was and am bulking. Therefore I went looking for food. Went downstairs, past the tables, past the counter. And I was about to breach the heavy ass doors when I saw a cute Thai girl talking to the owner behind the counter.
I slowed down. Looked at the owner, and around the room, and across the counter. At the advertisements they had, for food. I was about to say something, when the owner gave me a smile, and said, ‘How do you like the room? Everything OK?’
Thai people love the word OK.
I OK. You OK. I go here, OK? We go here, OK? We dance, OK?
I said, ‘Yeah, everything is good. I’m just a bit hungry.’
I touched the small plastic rectangles which housed the food advertisings. Pad Thai, tom yum goong, and khao pad gai. The staple Thai dishes.
The Thai girl to my left smiled at me. I returned the smile.
I said, ‘You work here?’
She said, ‘Yes. But today’s my day off.’
She looked at the owner.
‘What you doing here, then?’ I asked.
She said, ‘Had to pick up something, going home right now.’
She came closer. I swiveled around the corner of the counter, and went to sit beside her. On a barstool. I noticed the guitar in the corner again.
We talked about this and that, about family and where from Bangkok she was. How long I was staying. And what I was doing tonight. Eventually I got her number. I had to use Line, a text messaging app they use heavily in South East Asia. I didn’t have it on my phone. I did like her a lot. Just so many things got in the way, and afterwards all the vodka killed my brain, and the fatigue and sleep deprivation took over, and I forgot her.
Content with myself and getting a cute girl’s number, only five minutes after entering the hostel, I go through the heavy doors, and sit in front for a second. The sun was high in the sky still, even though it was past high noon.
Down the alley and to the left was a barber. I made a mental note. I needed to trim my hair. I always cut my hair when I’m on vacation. I started this ritual in 2017. In Budapest, of course. After that I cut my hair again in 2018. In Ljubljana. I always have fond memories of cutting my hair in a foreign country. In Thailand it would be no different.
Across the hostel, Thai women were sitting and standing in front of a massage parlor. Some were strolling in and out the joint. Some were staring at me. Later I heard from a native I look Thai. Might be one of the reasons why some women couldn’t keep their eyes of me. Irresistible.
I turned right and walked out the alley.
I looked across the street. Seven Eleven. To the left was a hostel and a photo of something to eat. I couldn’t really place what it was but it had an egg on it. Sunny side up. Me likey. Yokes are perfect to get yoked. I walked up to the place, and paused for a second. Stairs going up. For a sec I wondered if it was safe and I wasn’t going to get shanked.
Razor sharp. Highly paranoid.
The more paranoid I am, the luckier I get. The luckier I get, the longer I live.
I went up the stairs and found this quaint joint. Completely empty. I was the sole customer. It looked like a Japanese sushi shop. Which I’ve seen in anime and movies and documentaries. Very narrow. The distance from the right to left wall couldn’t have been more than five meters. The room was long-ish. And at the end of it, more stairs, another floor. I later found out, it lead to the kitchen. The finish on everything was the color brown. Laminated floors. Off-white painted walls. Pretty bleh. But very peaceful and Zen. Love it.
To my left there was this stunning Thai girl behind the counter. She wore a black ballcap, and had her hair in a ponytail, and wore a red and black uniform.
I said, ‘Hey I wanna order.’
She said nothing.
Then another girl approached her, from her left, near the fridge. She just looked at me, too.
I said nothing. Waited.
Then it clicked.
I said, ‘No English?’
They nodded. And smiled.
Land of the Smiles.
Figured just point and nod my way through the whole thing. Above her head there were these massive designs of food with Thai lettering, with the prices. I saw the same thing from outside. Think it had beef inside. Two sizes. Small and large.
I pointed to it. She nodded. She used her hands now. Gesturing. Her two hands measured an imaginary distance in the air. Then she separated her hands, further.
Small, or large?
I made the same gesture. Large. Come on please. I’m here to dirty bulk and feast. My friend calls it filthy hulking what I did.
She waved to the fridge.
Anything to drink?
I pointed at water.
She nodded again.
She tapped keys on the cash register, which made a ping, and opened. She gave me a receipt, and I paidcash.
In my head, like always, I calculated back in euros. It was around three euros, which is around five bucks. That’s dirt cheap. At times I felt like I was robbing people. However, I did do loads of investing in the local economy. So my conscious is at ease.
She waved to the Japanese style looking booth, and I nodded, and ushered my way to there and sat down. Waited for my food. To my left, near the ceiling, there was a television set.
I sat and while I waited I looked at the cute girl. The whole time she was preening. Fixing her hair, and doing her uniform. She had a smile from here, to Thailand. Or at that moment in time, from there, all the way to the Netherlands. Absolutely a beautiful woman. I looked at her. I smiled back. Finally some respect andpeace and quiet. This does not happen in the Netherlands. Ever.
After a while the taller girl walked in front of the booth, to the left, to get my food from upstairs. Then she came back, from the left, from upstairs, from the kitchen, and walked towards me, and to the booth. And gave me my dish.
The dish was my very first Thai dish. Something I’ll never forget.
It was ground beef and red and green chilis on top of white rice and a fried egg sunny side up on top of everything. The egg was runny, and the dish was hot and steamy. It smelled good. Full of spice and flavor. Very Thai. They love to work with herbs. Like cilantro. And there was probably something with lime in it. They love lime.
Then something happened which defined my Thai journey, and specifically my taste and cuisine journey there. I like spice. A lot. I’ve been brought up in a Surinamese family, and we eat hot dishes. Real hot. No lame ass pussy shit. We have this signature pepper. Madame Jeanette. Look it up. Its hotness is measuredaround three hundred thousand Scoville, the measure to indicate hotness.
So there was this small glass container, with chili oil. The same green and red chilis, chopped up, floating in the clear oil. I took the thing. Screwed off the top, and flung in a big scoop into my dish. I stirred up everything. Breaking up the egg, and chomping it up with the rice and beef and veggies and chilis. The dish was the Thai version of the Korean Bibimbap.
So. I take one bite. And that shit was hot as hell. Hot as motherfucking lava. I kid you not. I’m no wimp. My tongue is trained. For years. But this was the shit. What did I do? I put in more and more and more. Maybe five scoops more. Hell. Yeah.
My tongue was in hell, indeed.
I think my tongue after this dish, got burned good. I would feel this effect for days to come.
All the while the girl was staring at me. And the tall one, too. I was like an animal attraction. A cute panda in the zoo. But only for a limited period of time.
I ate my dish in peace. And finally finished up. Stood up and left my bowl behind, at that booth, briskedpast the counter, with the smiling Thai girls, and I smiled back, and left.
On the street I was still not full and looked right. There, on the corner of the alley of the hostel was another place. I walked over and the place was dark as fuck. The dynamic lighting was bad. Looking inside it looked dark, and void, but from the inside, looking out, it was shiny outside.
I stood outside, in front of the sign. A waiter came close to the door. Looked at me. Through the glass. He smiled, shyly. Opened the door and came closer and said hello.
His English was basic but enough to communicate.
I said, terse, ‘Open?’
He nodded with the exact same warm and calm and kind smile. Waved me inside.
I was the only customer.
Paranoid bells again.
It was abandoned as fuck but looked very sheek. The prices were a tad higher too, and aimed at tourists, and I knew this of course, because this was in Sukhumvit. Which was the more expensive part of Bangkok.
I scoped the place, tactically. Took a spot on the right, in the corner. By the window. The joint was exactly on the corner, so I could see the alley leading to my hostel. Still sunny. Same same. I checked my watch, my Fossil my dad gave me once upon a time. I wore it with the dial, on the inside of my wrist, military style. Much like John Wick, for the fans out there.
The place had dimmed lights. An ideal spot for a coffee date. Or lunch. Perhaps even dinner. It was very modern. Walls were black and sleek, and the tables too. On my right was the counter, with a woman doingadministration, and probably handling the cheques. Kitchen was somewhere at back, outta sight.
Guy came with the menu and left. Like a ninja. Silently. I remember this waiter well. He was so damn covert. Inaudible footsteps. Uber calm demeanor. Almost no presence. Like a ghost. Damn he was cool.
I looked at the menu. I don’t look long at menus. Actually I don’t look long at things, in general. I make what I’ve come to call: beast decisions. Fast and almost instant. Aggressively. Savage. Monster. Like a beast.
Therefore, I saw two dishes with seafood and lots of veggies and it looked healthy and I waved the same waiter over again and pointed at the pictures of the two.
The waiter vanished just as fast as he came.
I waited, played with my phone. Stared out the window. To the light outside. That beautiful Bangkok sunlight. Tiger was texting and asking me what I was doing, and I told him I was still eating. I had send him the photo of the yoke and beef dish. He wasn’t surprised. He knows how much I can eat, ever since our trip to Budapest. Still in his own words he said daily, ‘You never cease to amaze me, Fury.’
So we were almost ready to hit the bar, and Tiger was getting pumped up after the power Tiger nap he took. Weakling. He has so little energy. Compared to me then. Compared to other people, though. He just straight up blows them outta the water. They ain’t got nothing on him.
The ninja returned, first with the papaya salad, and later after I’d started on the first, he came with the second, the shrimp. I love papaya. Just like my dad. It’s perhaps an exotic thing, as Thailand had plenty of papaya dishes and drinks. Something really cool was the fact they had wild papaya. It’s not ripe papaya, still green, and they put it in vinegar. To pickle it. Much like pickled onions or garlic. It’s fresh, but with a kick.
The dish combined the wildness with peanuts and tomatoes and cucumber. The peanuts really give the dish a totally different dimension. It was bombarded with herbs and spices and with each bite I could still feel the burn from my beef and chili dish. The dish of course was finished off, with fresh lime juice and a lime on the side.
Now the shrimp. Now that was something else. Outta this world, man. Thailand is famous for seafood, since it’s close by the Adaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. So it has easy access to the freshest of produce. And you can tell. I could tell.
The instant, I took a bite of the shrimp I knew my Thai stay was gonna be a tasty stay. And that’s a massive understatement. You could taste the freshness of the sea in each bite. Super sweet. And the flavors released with each succulent bite.
The ninja returned and asked me what I wanted to drink and I ordered water. He vanished again.
He stayed far away, while I ate, and helped other customers that came in. The same ninjutsu was used.
The new customers were a man and somewhat of a colleague and two kids, two girls. The leader had ordered a bottle of Johnny Walker Double Black. It was left to chill, in a steel bucket of ice. The leader poured on two glasses.
Jetlag and the journey to the hostel had made me forget what time it was and it was in fact around supper or dinner time.
I finished up. I was full, man. The beef, and then the shrimp here. I looked at the Ninja and asked for the bill. Swiftly he swooshed to the counter and whispered to the woman behind the counter. She made some tapping movements on her keyboard. I waited. A few spells later the silent waiter rejoined me.
Said nothing. Just offered me the bill. Same smile. Same shyness.
I smiled back. Paid the bill. He strolled to the counter. Collected change and strolled back.
I left him a tip. The tip was twenty per cent of the bill. I read about it in a tweet. When you tip, and when you think the service was OK, tip well. Tip generously. So I did. Plus I’m from a Western country, and I aim to invest in local economies and small businesses. I’m privileged to be born in a country where the quality of life is very high. To be able to travel Europe, and now and then further. To places like Thailand. I’m truly blessed. And in knowing this, my behavior towards poor people and less privileged ones has made a complete one-eighty.
I stood up and chugged the last of my bottle of water. I nodded the ninja and the woman my farewell, and strolled towards the door.
I looked at them one more time. The last time.
The kind and calm waiter smiled his smile. The shy one. Subtle.
The food satiating me, and my time spent optimally, drenched in Bangkok sun whilst walking between the two restaurants, which served premium quality food, for a steal of a price, with stellar service, it all left me with the lingering sense that the rest of my night, and the rest of my stay, was gonna be more than OK.
You can buy Fury’s latest book, LLT, available here: https://gum.co/oKOvi