New To The Kingdom[1979]: Old Patong:week 3

By our 3rd glorious week in Old Patong, we had become extremely lackidazical. Often sleeping til 10am, the long all night parties giving us sweet dreams of pounding surf, folk songs, and bbq’d fish. We had it made!

During lunch at Chi-ans hut, we heard that Guitar Noi played every evening at the big Patong Beach Hotel. We all planned a trip there this evening.

As we walked into the hotel bar area, Noi was behind the big organ he played so masterfully, as soon as he saw me, he changed the tune to his rendishion of Neil Youngs Southern Man[Noi knew I was from Tennessee and he always referred to me as “Southern Man”], Noi asked me to join him on the stage and sing the song, we did our best and the crowd there gave us kind applause.

We sing and partied til the place closed around 10pm, this was still very early for all of us, so some of us went back 100meters to Nois hut, but Patty & I were sure that Cobras would bite us at every bush and step, so we bid all farewell and returned to our bungalow.

The next morning, Margaret & Chi-an told us of the fun they had at Nois hut, he played guitar all night long as they all sang, and Nois pretty wife Lek cooked fresh picked cashews and wok’d them!

Later in the day, we met a couple from South Africa, yawhtees, they had a Land Rover and offered to take us into town to see a movie, if we paid for the fuel. I had not left Patong Beach for 3wks and it was nice to see some of the island and a movie in town.

Can’t remember what the movie was, some gringo action flick,but I do remember at the end of the movie we all stood while a Thai patriotic song played and pictures of the Royal Family were shown. I noticed a policeman looking inside our “english language” room to make sure we all stood. It was an honor to pay respect to the Royal Family, we had heard the King had been born in Cambrige,Ma and we were happy with this knowledge!

Returning to Patong was nice, we had to wear long pants, shoes, socks and long shirts in town, as we wanted to be viewed as not just “backpackers”, but kindly by the locals, we meant no ill manners and always dressed if we left the beach, the beach, we wore only bikinis, singlets, and a smile!

By now, it was near early July, we bought a mess of fireworks for our own 4th of July party. I still grin when I remember one of our Kangaroo pals just staring glassy eyed at the long sting of big firecrackers he’d just let and was holding on too! I quickly jerked them from his hand as the fuse was about to ignite the little bombs, they blew up inside a restaurant and a policeman came running up quickly, thinking a communist was shooting things up!

He asked us not to explode anymore firecrackers til Chinese New Year, but the goofy Aussie immeadiately let off another long stringer,but the policeman felt in a kindly mood because he knew most of the crowd was at a party and inebriated greatly.

He smiled and told us that we if didn’t want to end up in “Baan Ling”, we had better listen…we did!

The party broke up around daybreak,we all rambled and stumbled to our bungalows. Another perfect day in Old Patong…

The next morning at about 7am, Samai, the waiter at the restaurant came by to take us to James Bond Island, I had completely forgotten we booked a tour there, but it was much too early and we just told him, maybe tomorrow.

Well, to put a long story short, tomorrow never came, we never got up that early or would agree too, so we never saw James Bond Island. One of the tourist we met later that week told us we hadn’t missed much at James Bond Island, they picked his group up at the big hotel at 7am, a long bumpy van journey to PhangNa, then an even longer, louder long-tail boat ride to the fabled island. Once there, there was little more than the promised seafood meal and some trinket sellers and then back on the ever noisy no muffered long-tailed boat back to PhangNa, then the journey back to Patong, all the tourists were dead tired by then…so, nothing ventured, nothing gained…oh well

I didn’t see “The Man With The Golden Gun” until years later to understand what James Bond Island was really all about.

We did noticed that the numbers “007” were fastooned to most motorbikes and trucks at the time!

too be continued…

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