Old Patong: One Baht Dance

Thai Garden Dao and Paradise Dawn knew the One Baht Dance in the village would be fun!

The premise of this party would be the local villagers of Baan Nam Sai Yen would arrange many 55 gallon petrol drums, put flat boards over them, and charge the local men one baht to dance with the ladies attending. All the funds would go to local school charity.

Naturally there was some type of Karioke also. The party went on from dusk til early in the morning, closing a few hrs before sunrise.

On the way back, Dao driving Crazy Dave little Honda 125CC twin, complete with 007 trademarks over both exhaust pipes, and Dawn holding on as she sat on the back, as Dao weaved thru the village, maybe too fast, as a water buffalo crashed into them, throwing both from the bike, and goring both ladies!

The bottled gas man drove them back to Thai Garden late that night, all bruised, beaten, torn and gored!

Thai Garden soon looked like a MASH emergency unit, with the local Doctor patching up the maimed as best as he could, they were injured, but no broken bones, just extreme road rash, and various puncture wounds from the buffalos sharp horns!

Both ladies lay in web lounges for the next few weeks along the north side of the restaurant. The Doctor visited daily, attending them and they were miserable, moaning, crying, Dao often uttered a sound that was like “oh-eee” but were healing properly, bandages changed daily,etc, all was entirely professional, but we were heart broken around them and always tried to cheer them up and never show in our faces what we really thought.

Dao was up and cooking back in her kitchen within a few days, then would return to her web cot between shifts, Dawn, only 18 or 19 at best, didn’t mend as fast as Dao, although Daos injuries were much more serious.

A few of the patrons had tee shirts made of Dao and Dawn, entitled “Buffalo Hunter”, that seemed to cheer the lasses up some, but both ladies knew they’d skip the next One Baht Dance!

Over the next decade, we saw way too many results of motorcycles and their folly with water buffalo, “moving” coconut tree, sometime just plain bad luck, other times the result of mixing riding with booze, the tales of road rash and destruction are many.

When we acquired The Spirit Of Patong, we always maintained that having 3 wheels vs 2 was in itself a more reasonable chance of finishing a run to town or the beach without just falling over, but we were also paranoid and would quickly move off the road when those GIANT tour buses would play chicken with those foolish enough to be in their path!

Often, driving back to the Waterfall house late, late at night, I’d especially take care on those nights without moon light, the water buffalos are a grey/black and many was the time when I screeched to a halt only inches from them just meandering in the middle of the road!

Driving anything in Thailand is an eye opening experience where the wise took their time, the speedy often didn’t finish the trip!

We rarely used our little horn on the scooter, most everyone else more than made up for it. The hierarchy of the road on ALL roads in the Kingdom=survival of the fittest! The bigger the vehicle, the more “right of way” they enjoyed…

In our short decade, we were most fortunate that we never got in a wreck, although I flipped the scooter with sidecar several times the first week while “learning” to do “figure 8’s” in a dirt parking lot, I’d just crawl back up, attach my forearm crutches between the scooter and sidecar until I perfected the handling and didn’t get thrown again!

Having benefitted greatly from “instant Karma”, we knew we were blessed!

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