Old Patong: FatBob

FatBob was as his moniker implies, really a BIG man!

Bob rolled off a tuk tuk late one afternoon and ended up with a Singha in both hands by sunset.

A person as large a Bob could easily keep up with the many expats drinking. Bob could out drink most of em, but the professional drinkers would still be chatting early into the morning from the night before while FatBob lay passed out at a table.

Bob used to be an electrician in the Middle East oil fields where he’d managed, mainly due to there being NO booze or whatever to get himself in trouble with, to save up a decent enough nest egg to tide him over in the laid back and low baht existence of Old Patong.

Old Patong, early 80’s where most could get by for less than 100baht per day, guys like FatBob needed about 500baht per day just for beer!

“Other” cost could sometimes make him take the baht bus into Phuket town and put in a order for more moolah from one of the local international banks there. In the early days of Old Patong, you had to first call your bank overseas, there were NO CELL PHONES and it was a major hassle, could cost nearly 500baht just for the phone call, let alone various “fees”,etc that ALL the banks charged. There were NO ATM machines on the island…

FatBob lived the life of the carefree, buy anyone a drink philosophy that was prevalent with a vast majority of the rigrats/oil workers,etc at that time. They made plenty in the horrid Middle East, they spent plenty on R&R in The Land Of Smiles.

As word got out of the wonderful paradise only 500 kilometers south of Bangkok, more and more expats/oil workers/r&r seekers/tourist/travelers visited the sunny shores of Old Patong.

As the saying goes “A fool and his money are soon parted”, like a sailor on leave,etc, FatBob finally did some “investing” in Paradise Bar/Bungalows. Owned by Mr Bruce and Mr Bill, they would steer those with extra income or funds the way of the expat, investing in a local business.

FatBob being a first class electrician soon had the horseshoe shaped bar at Paradise where each customer, under the guise of watching a video, could put on their on set of earphones, drink and watch the videos without being pestered by the other barflies, customers or touts.

These ear phones were the single biggest reason I quit going to Paradise Bar and went next door to the much friendlier Thai Garden Restaurant/Bar run by Crazy Dave.

After FatBob had wired up and got all the various jacks/electrical cords/ear phones,etc working, his main responsibility was to walk down to the only video shop in town, only 100meters or so, slightly before Lada’s Bar where the “VDO SHOP” kinda hide under the Banana Disco.

Bob being a rotund individual found this the hardest part of the job and sadly, many a time headed in that direction to acquire the 1/2 dozen videos for Paradise nightly viewing, only to fall culprit of Thai Garden or Sea Seas or Scandia along the way and somehow just forget to pick up or if he picked them up, forget to return to Paradise!

This never went over well with Mr Bill, the mastermind behind the fun and business of Paradise Bar, Mr Bruce usually left the majority of that part of the business to Mr Bill and Mr Bruce ran the bungalows in fairly good order, never displeasing any of the customers and constantly soothing jarred nerves of expats and customers than didn’t see eye to eye with Mr Bill!

Early one morning as I rolled down Soi Bangla[Bar Rd]and turned south on the beach road, under the big banyan tree by the Police shack, sat FatBob, all bruises/bloodied and dejected.

It seems the big guy had made his daily run to the VDO Shop, only to fall victim to a case of “dodgy lagers” with the result that FatBob had an accidental delay by way of stepping one of his elephant sized legs into the local sewer/klong that ran along infront of the shophouses to relieve the hognams!

Bob had taken a bad spill, falling half way to his rather ample girthy waist, busting his noggin with a nasty gash above his right eye and several lacerations on both knees/elbows/etc. Bob was in bad shape!

I pulled the Spirit Of Patong over and motioned the giant to amble into the side car, first dropping off Patong Patty at a nearby noodle shop for morning breakie.

Bob managed to get in the seat of the side car, the little mono-shock compressing metal to metal as the entire side car unit sank to the small tuk tuk tire holding it all up.

I resumed the run along the beach road, FatBob commiserating the entire time about the “moving klong”,etc, he was still well lubed from the night before and every other word was naturally unintelligible.

We arrived at Paradise, I unloaded the big kid and he grinned and said “thanks” and took the few steps, rather unstead as a few of the girls there helped him hold up the bar.

I turned the Spirit Of Patong around and went next door to Thai Garden where Dutch Jeff met me in the front lot and looking down he pointed to the FLAT TIRE on the rear wheel of the scooter…:-(

Well, I thought it was flat, but Crazy Dave pumped it up with a hand pump and it held air, it seems the extreme weight of FatBob[nearly 400pounds]had was just too much for it and deflated the tube inside!

Crazy Dave sent one of his staff off to get someone to bring a new new and by the time Patong Patty had finished her noodles down the street, I was able to pick her up several hrs later, after much discussion of the subject with Crazy Dave, Dutch Jeff, even Mr Bruce came over and joined us for a few hours early that morning.

FatBob knocked around Paradise Bar for close to a year. His money finally ran out, his welcome did too. Like most expats, FatBob went back “home”, where ever that is, broke, covered in mozzie bites and recovering from various “ailments” he picked up along the way. A fool and his money were soon parted, but in Old Patong, this was SOP.

Most folks liked FatBob, I did, he could knock you down if you were foolish enough to get between him and table or …bar, but he always had a big smile on his face, almost as big as his heart.

In Old Patong, things just happened, usually to no fault of those it happened too, but often because of whom it happened too.

Old Patong, where every day was holiday.

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