A Year in Bangkok – Drunk as Charged!

13 03 2011

Some drunks are aggressive. I, on the other hand, am a slobbering over-friendly drunk who thinks the whole world wants to cuddle him. In the early hours of a Sunday morning I was staggering home from the delightfully named Sin Bar, a rooftop bar in the city centre. As I passed one of the ‘entertainment plazas’ (a small area of go-go bars) I observed a tiny Thai guy using his kick boxing skills to severely damage three westerners who looked like professional rugby players. Goodness knows what they had done to cause offence but I have yet to see a westerner come out best in a street brawl. In my inebriated state it struck me that all they probably needed was a cuddle and a bit of love to sort things out so I resolved to go and talk with them. Fortunately, there was so much traffic on the street that I was unable to negotiate a safe crossing so I got a taxi home instead. It took me some time to remember where I lived and the driver was on the verge of throwing me out of his cab when the address came to me.

A little bit of love!

How did I get into this condition? Somebody I know got married on that day and I was fortunate enough to go to her wedding. These tend to be morning affairs although Ae’s extended until early afternoon. And what an interesting wedding it was. Her husband is called Gotchang, a name which really appealed to me as chang (as well as being the Thai word for elephant) is a brand of beer. I liked the name so much that I spent a few minutes dreaming up English equivalents – Gottaylorslandlord, Gottetleybitter, Gotfullerslondonpride and so on. He is Japanese and many of the guests there were Japanese and Ae is Thai. Japanese names are wonderful. I know one guy called O’Gucci and, when he introduced himself to me, he told me that his name means ‘big mouth’ in Japanese, adding that I would never forget that. He was right, I haven’t. Another friend is called Yumi, pronounced ‘yummy’ and there is a Japanese dental surgery near where I used to live with the wonderful name of Fuku – pronounced ‘foo koo’ of course.

It is the first time I have been to a Japanese style wedding and I was surprised to see Gotchang dressed in a very fetching floor length skirt in a sort of black and white checked pattern. Ae was also wearing a lovely dress. At least, it looked lovely from the front but when she turned to the side it was all I could do not to laugh – it was one of those traditional Japanese dresses with a huge bow at the back, making it look to me like she was carrying a back-pack. Asking why Gotchang was wearing a skirt, I learned that it was because he is samurai. I had no idea that they still existed.

A very fetching floor length skirt.

There were about a hundred and forty Japanese guests there, fifty nine Thai people and me. I am usually the only westerner at work but this was the first time I was aware of being the only Caucasian face at a social affair. All but one other at my table were Thai and I communicated by telling bad one-liners which the Thais love. I don’t think the Japanese guy at our table was so impressed though. The beer was free-flow and, as it flowed, my jokes got worse. A problem with drinking beer in a lot of Thai places is that you have absolutely no idea how much you are drinking because your glass is constantly being topped up as if it is a magic glass of beer which can never be emptied.

 

I found the speeches hilarious where employers and family members relate the bride and groom’s life histories, even giving their blood groups. One of the employers was bald but had a magnificent beard so I announced to the others on my table that he had his head on upside down which caused enough laughter to get us some funny looks. Suddenly, it was time for us to toast the bride and groom. We all stood up, raised our glasses and the Japanese majority shouted something which sounded like ‘yeuk’. The groom isn’t the most handsome man I’ve seen but I didn’t feel there was any need for that! When I expressed this view, the Japanese guy at our table told me it meant ‘good luck’.

 

There then followed a bad singer, more speeches, more free-flow beer and the bad singer again. The free-flow beer still flowed and I, rather foolishly considering the company, decided it was time to tell the joke about why Japanese men have slit eyes and buck teeth. The joke was highly appreciated by everybody at the table except the Japanese guy, who had been sensible enough to drink free-flow orange juice. Then we all stood up again to say ‘yeuk’ to the happy couple and it was over so we all went home. I had a short sleep before heading out again to meet a friend for more beer, hence my getting into something of a state and wanting to give those brawlers a cuddle.

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