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Fifty Years of My Life (1939 - 1990)
A Memoir by Jeff R. Noordermeer

Nude Dancers in Bangkok

When we got back on shore again the taxi driver was waiting for us. He took us for a ride to the Ancient City which is about a 30 mile ride from Bangkok. From there we went to a crocodile farm. Lu Lu loved the crocodile farm and wanted to take some crocodile eggs home.

We drove along the river side and next to the river were small bamboo houses. In front of those bamboo houses I noticed that people had large fishing nets on poles so that they could be lowered into the water whenever they needed fish. If they didn't need the fish, the nets were pulled up in the air to dry. There were so many beautiful scenes of the country side that I didn't know which picture to take first. With the floating market and all the other places we visited, it had really been one of those days I enjoyed and will talk about for many years to come.

Another day again, Lu Lu always gets up early. This part of the world is like her own home. She knows where to shop in the early hours to get her favorite fried fish and rice for her breakfast. She already made friends with some of the local people.

We spent most of the day downtown in Bangkok. I went to Thai Airlines to schedule a flight to Rangoon, Burma. From there we went to the Bank of America to cash some travelers' checks. After that Lu Lu and I had some lunch in a restaurant and we went back to the motel again. I took a little nap in the afternoon as I had told Lu Lu that I wanted to see some of Bangkok's night life. Lu Lu didn't like the idea for me to go all by myself to visit the nightclubs. She was scared that I might get harmed walking on the streets at night all by myself.

Neon Signs in Bangkok

The nightclub area was several streets away from our motel. As I was walking on the street, several taxis stopped and offered me a ride to one of their favorite clubs where all the sex was available. I told the taxi drivers that I was not interested and that I would find my own way. As I got to the neighborhood where all the nightclubs were, women totally naked stood inside the front doors of the nightclubs and invited you to come in. Most of the nightclubs had American names. I went into one of them and very good looking naked Thai women were dancing on the customers' tables. Most of the customers inside the club were Westerners. As I looked at those girls dancing I felt kind of sorry for them, as I know the things they were doing was only for the money. In any Asian country you visit it isn't the custom of a woman to show her naked body in front of people, it's a disgrace in her culture. This was something influenced by the Western society.

As I was walking through the neighborhood, it seemed everybody was trying to get your money. I was told which massage parlor to go to with prices and names. When it comes to sex and everything that goes with it, there is plenty of it in this city.

Lu Lu was very happy when I came home that night. She said that she worried about me being on the street that late all by myself. I have heard so much about it that Bangkok had such a fascinating night life, but what I saw was disappointing.

I was trying to get Lu Lu's visa. It had become a long waiting process, and it seemed that the staff of the Burmese Embassy in Bangkok had no authority to be of any help. I spent many hours calling my friends in Burma to use their influence with their friends in the Department of Home Affairs and yet nobody was able to send Lu Lu's visa to Thailand. It had to be approved by some high government official, but it seems to me they were all dragging their feet.

I was so disgusted that I went to the American Embassy in Bangkok and talked with the Consul and asked him if he could be of any help by contacting some of the Burmese officials. I was told by the Consular that his influence wouldn't help much, as in that matter there was a very cool relationship between the governments. So we left the American Embassy knowing there was not much hope for Lu Lu getting a visa. As we spent most of our morning hours at the American Embassy, I told Lu Lu that we should take a taxi and go to the country side. I told the taxi driver that we would like to visit a village where they still used elephants for heavy work loads. When we visited the village the elephants were not working but were tied up with a big rope on their legs in front of the bamboo houses on a large open spot. There were all kinds of bananas for sale which must have been from the people who owned the elephants. When I saw the elephants I told Lu Lu I was going to feed them. So I bought a large bunch of bananas and fed one of the elephants. As huge as these animals are, they are so gentle and friendly. After I fed the elephants all the bananas and I started to leave, one of them raised his trunk and made all kinds of noise for me to come back. I don't think anybody ever fed them that many bananas. In another village we saw elephants move large trees. Whenever I saw an elephant I always had to walk over to the elephant, pet him a little bit and say a few friendly words to them. I always enjoy seeing those village scenes, everything is so natural. I don't know how long we will be able to see this as the future is going to change a lot of those people's lifestyles.

CONTINUED: Last Day in Thailand
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© Copyright  - Antonio Zamora

- Foreword
- Old Rotterdam
- World War II
- After the War
- Coming to America
- Washington, D.C.
- Southeast Asia
- Philosophy of Life

- Book Index