New To The Kingdom[1979]: Old Patong:Week 4

Our 4th week on Patong Beach saw us getting brown from the sun, sleepy-eyed from the Mekhong, barely knowing what day of the week it was.

Monsoon was going strong, we still bodysurfed daily, dodging the big logs & all in the warm, almost hot blue Andaman Sea.

Papaya, banana, pineapple, coconut, bbq’d fish, along with copious amounts of Milo, Mekhong, Greenspot and sometimes a Singha kept us over norished and content.

Samai chatted with us briefly one morning about a trip to Laos, as he gleefully said “we go in, we go out, nobody know”…he would guide us to the Golden Triangle where we could “have a good time”, all we had to do was rent a car and go there…nevermind that we had no Visas for Laos, Cambodia or Burma, Samai would show us clever ways to get around those things. We smiled as we declined his adventurous invitation, but we’d seen Midnight Express and just figured our luck in the Land Of Smiles would not hold out forever…

We later found out that Samai had actually talked a Brit into the venture, the last we heard, they were caught doing something that ended their freedom for about 40 years!

This last week we had met several travellers and expats with tales of easy wealth and visions of a life where they knew most everything and had “connections”. We drank with them all, listened to their stories of petty thievery to grand larceny, smuggling,etc. We suspected the worst and were most often glad we hadn’t fallen for Easy Street, every place on the Globe had these same villians and hustlers, but greed and small amounts of magic mushrooms can fool even the strong mind into thinking they know best. We were most fortunate and didn’t succumb. Others were’nt so lucky…

Later in the week we rented a really bad running and handling jeep and drove south to Kata and Kata Noi beach, driving over the many hills to Kathu, then the edge of Phuket town, past the big Wat at Chalong and over another steep hill to the vistas of Kata, a truly beautiful little bay south of the much longer beach at Karon.

We drove south from Kata to Kata Noi, the end of the road, atleast in those days, the most perfect horseshoe shaped bay on the face of the Earth!!! Kata Noi only had a few very small thatched huts on the side of the north hill/cliff and Lenas cafe at the foot of it.

Lena had the beauty of Thailand in her eyes, she’d once been married to a US Army soldier, but that was long ago, now she just fixed bbq’d fish and took things slowly by the bay.

We played in the water, had a good bbq lunch with Green Spot and headed back over the many steep hills trying to keep the lousy Jeep between the ditches back to the safety of Patong Beach. Our driver, Eric The Red, a wild Scotsman keep the Jeep going, but we had to get out a few times and push it up the steep hills.

Back in Patong, Eric quickly went to his bungalow and brought back a crock of whiskey from Old Scotland, his eyes had a bright sparkle as he mentioned that only 50 gallons of the stuff was bottled per year, he pours us all giant water glasses full of the golden dew from the Highlands and we succumbed to its influence quickly, Eric succumbed quicker than we, I sipped my grog, it must have been 100 proof, but Eric gulped his down and poured another big glass. After a short time, we left him ranting and raging about nothing and went over to the restaurant next door, we’d look over occassionally and see Eric and his girlfriend Michell screaming at each other, we had seen this comedy/drama over and over this last month by many of the visitors, we had some delicious crab curry and a few Greenspots, all was well in the world or atleast at Patong Beach, that is,,,until Mr Singh pulled the gun on Eric The Red and told him that he must leave the bungalow, he pulled the trigger, but fortunately for Eric The Red and the rest of us, Mr Singh had bought cheap ammo and it just made a small firecracker sound as the bullet barely crawled out of the pistol and fell on the ground.

This seemed to be about all that was needed to completely put Eric The Red over the deep end, his mad laughter seemed to go some place out behind the bungalows, towards the rice paddy and jungle as Eric The Red ran away. We saw him several days later, he had sweet talked his way into 7 Seas Bungalow just up the road, where they didn’t care much what happened as long as the 30baht per day was paid…

This was our last day on Patong Beach, we smartly had learned a great deal and refused to take the Baht bus or even the speedy Express Bus back to Krung Thep, we paid the extra $30 over the bus fee and FLEW on a very modern JET and landed in BKK, immeadiately checking into the Siam Intercontinental Hotel where we stayed for several days, shopped in town,etc until our flight to Kathmandu that weekend.

Leaving Thailand was sad for us even on our first visit and would be each time we left the Kingdom, but we were young, greatly in love and knew there were better adventures around the bend.

We soon found out that from that first trip evermore, we would compare EVERY places we visited to Patong Beach!

Our honeymoon lasted about a year, we visited many places in Asia, SE Asia, South Pacific, Aussie, NZ, and had a most wonderful time, but Patong Beach burned a place in our hearts that never could be replaced!

We’d tell our friends/family about this mysterious and beautiful Land Of Smiles, but you could see the look in their eyes, they didn’t really believe anything could be that good, they just knew we were lying….:-)

We stayed away from sunny Siam til the following March, where we returned, this time with a double entry 90 day Visa!

to be continued…

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