Old Patong: 1980: Electricity comes to Patong

Big Dave had Thai Garden restaurant running like clockwork, sorta, by early monsoon.

He had Nok on top of the roof turning the new tv antenna around and around until he could pickup the one Bangkok TV station that showed all the Thai soap operas!

There still was NO electric power on the beach, other than a few owners that had generators. We didn’t really know at the time how good we had it made, without full time electricity!

I used to think how nice it’d be if Mr. Singh would run his noisy generation during the day, thereby resting under the COOL fan, which only ran after sunset.

We were green then and only thought of immeadiate pleasures, but full time electricity brought alot more than being able to switch on the fan anytime we wanted…it brought…GHETTO BLASTERS at EVERY shop along the beach, all playing a DIFFERENT tune! Often at earsplitting decibles that ALL the bars just seemed to think their thirsty customers would buy more hotch, the louder the music was!

Daves generator was fairly strong, the biggest on the beach then, but it seemed to osilate frequency during the movies, often making Dave yell out to the ever working Dao, “fix the generator”, Big Dave rarely left his perch at the bar, surrounded by expats all listening to his many tales of adventure[lies?], but somehow, we never really watched the continual movies Dave played, but would just “solve the problems of the world”, laugh at the rest of the world during winter, reading and commenting on various Bangkok Post stories, detailing what “Trink” really meant at the various watering holes he went on and on and on about, and told each other that we were definitely the chosen folks for being intelligent enough to stay on Patong Beach as long as we could before the dreaded “visa run” to Penang, Singapore, Hong Kong or unfortunately for the many rigrats, back to the awful oil fields for another 90 days.

It was during this 2nd phase of our Patong visiting that we met…Dutch Jeff, expat extrodinaire, former Dutch freedom fighter during WWII, jack of all trades, master of none, and absolutely the most frugal person on Patong Beach!

Jeff was a big fella, 6’2″ 250 lbs, that could even out talk Big Dave. Jeff had been a “business” partner of Thai Gardens for a short while, but the usual craziness of the “guy with the $[Big Dave]vs the guy with the original ideas[Dutch Jeff]soon parted their need to run the bar together, it really didn’t matter who claimed to own the place, it was Dao that did ALL the work, shopping, cleaning and she always had a smile on her little kisser too!

Dave & Jeff could often been seen at the same table, they rarely moved for any occasion, cept Dutch Jeff would stop by another table if the drinks were offered, but Big Dave never left his spot. Holding court and over elaborating on things past, as well as future.

One evening Big Dave, Dutch Jeff and Shady Brady concocted a wild tale of Yamamotos WWII sunken submarine full of GOLD, buried on the other side of the island around Can Ang Restaurant, well, it didn’t take long for the coconut telegraph to put word out of the huge treasure trove, just waiting for the “right” bunch of lucky folks, it could almost be seen at low tide, etc,etc,etc,

Soon, bus loads of locals, a few expats drove over the big San Francisco like hills, thru Phuket town, turning south past the huge Wat Chalon and toward the east silt filled low tide beach with a myraids of shovels, scoups, etc to quickly find Yamamotos $20,000,000 worth of GOLD BARS!

Of course, those of us “in the know” didn’t venture past Thai Gardens those few weeks of financial anticipation, we had many a laugh when some of the locals & expats would return from their daily grind across the island where all they really got for their hard shovelling sand labor was sunburnt!

We never let on that there would NEVER be any treasure found, but would strive to convince them that they were probably just a few feet of sand between their lucky shovels and immense riches! They finally quit digging about a few weeks.

too be continued…

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