A good friend observed yesterday that I am always writing: “Today I have been sober, for one – two – three – four days and so on” many times and it is all pretty meaningless as these days my sobriety never lasts more than a few days.
He is quite right, and from now on I will refrain from putting the length of my sobriety up in lights until it reaches some kind of meaningful stage, but I will still mention my current state of abstinence or otherwise in the narrative of my daily(???) blogs.
I haven’t written since May 16th for a number of reasons.
Some of these reasons are concerned with excess alcohol consumption, but in the main, there are two other reasons that have kept me from my blog.
The first is that I have been suffering from severe “red eye”, (infectious conjunctivitis), for the past ten days. It has been so bad that I could hardly see and it took a great effort to use my computer keyboard to write even a few sentences.
The infection has been really stubborn and despite a load of meds, regular eye cleaning and application of drops and ‘paste’ in my eyes, I have been feeling very ill, and it just wouldn’t go away.
It was probably because I have been running myself down with excess alcohol and the body didn’t have much in reserve to fight it off.
Yesterday, I finally detected an improvement in my condition, and today, although my eyes are still red, I feel I am definitely on the mend. I can see much better, the redness has reduced and the pain and watering have more or less subsided.
The second reason I haven’t been blogging is all the trouble we have been experiencing lately in our beloved Thailand.
This blog is not intended to be a political blog, and although I may from time to time make the odd ‘political’ comment the state of things here, I do not wish to try and impose those views here as there are plenty of other blogs and forums where this is being done.
Nevertheless, I do care very much for this country. I have been coming and going since 1973, and have lived continuously here in two separate spells totalling almost twenty years.
I read a great deal about Thai politics and what goes on here, and I have pretty strong opinions on a number of matters concerning Thailand, its political system and how the country is run.
The recent troubles in Bangkok have bothered me enormously, and frankly it has occupied most of my attention. I really haven’t been in the mood to blog about my personal life, which, however troubling it may be, pales into insignificance when compared to the daily tragedy that has been playing out daily in our Capital City.
I also assumed that it was unlikely that my readers would be particularly interested in reading about Mobi’s pathetic little life when such tumultuous and dramatic events were unfolding around us.
Indeed, I received no comments during the height of the troubles, and it is only since things have started to settle down a little that the comments are starting to trickle in, which I think proves my point.
So here I am, back in the driving seat, and I guess I’d better do a brief re-cap of what has been happening in the life of alcoholic Mobi in the past two weeks.
In my last blog, of 16th May I wrote that I would be driving to Nakhon Sawan the following day to take Tan’s daughter, Fon, back to her mother’s house as I considered Bangkok to dangerous a place for us to drive to, and also too dangerous a place to leave a baby until the troubles are brought to a conclusion.
We were duly on the road in the early morning and it is now clear that it is high time I bought a ‘sat- nav’ system. Although I had made the journey from Nakhon Sawan to Pattaya, via the Bangkok outer ring road without any hitches, I made a serious error when driving in the opposite direction.
At the end of the ring Road, in the Bang Pa In region, I should have made a left turn to pick at route 32, a fast six to eight lane highway that goes directly to Nakhon Sawan, and then joins up with highway 1 which continues northwards to Chiang Mai.
But instead of turning left, I turned right onto Highway 1 which meanders all over the place as it sort of ambles it’s winding way to Korat, before turning west again to meet up with Highway 32 at Nakhon Sawan.
I had been driving up highway 1 for over an hour before I realised I was on the wrong road and that if I kept going I would be taking a massive de-tour which would add hours to my journey. After a quick perusal of my trusty map I decided to take a left onto a minor road and drive directly west across country to meet up with Highway 32.
This was a big mistake. For some reason this rough, pot – holed two lane highway was chock-a-block with trucks and it took a very long time before we finally made it back to Highway 32, only to discover that we were not really that far North of the outer ring road we had left hours ago!
So instead of a two and half hour journey to Tan’s home, it took us over four hours.
Tan is truly different to just about every Thai lady I have lived with. My own stupidity was completely responsible for the additional two hours we had to spend on the road, and she had even suggested that I might be going the wrong way when we turned off the ring road and I completely ignored her.
Yet not a word of complaint and there were no recriminations that I had not listened to her and doubled our journey length unnecessarily.
I even joked that we had taken the ‘scenic route’ and she laughed indulgently at her crazy boyfriend who always gets lost.
In spite of all that we made it to Tan’s house in the early afternoon where it was incredibly hot. As before, I was greeted warmly by Tan’s family – her mother, father, grandmother, brothers, sisters and in-laws.
We had stopped to have a snack in town before driving to Tan’s home so we weren’t hungry. I decided not to stay long as I wanted to get back before nightfall and who knows what obstacles I might encounter on the way back.
It was still the height of the troubles in Bangkok, and only the previous day the ‘reds’ had blocked the Viphavadee/Rangsit Highway which was not far from where I would be passing.
Additionally, I had lost my driving licence, forgotten my passport and was travelling alone in uncertain times.
The journey back along highway 32 was without incident,, although several police road blocks had been set up, but when I reached Highway 1 where I should have picked up the outer Ring road, yet again my navigation was faulty. I soon realised I had passed the turn off and I was hurtling on my way towards central Bangkok.
I drove some distance along highway 1 before finding a U-turn and retracing my steps in very heavy traffic to the Pang pa In area, to have another try at finding the entrance to the ring road.
But I was on the other side of the road, and as I have mentioned previously, entrances and exits aren’t always duplicated on both sides of a connecting highway.
Eventually I saw a sign for the airport and although the other place names didn’t ring too many bells, I assumed it was the ring road and took a left, paid a toll and was soon on my way to ‘somewhere’.
I quickly realised that it wasn’t the ring road because it only had four lanes, and the ring road has six – eight lanes.
I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what road I was on and looked for an opportunity to retrace my steps – but of course there wasn’t one.
Then I saw another sign for the airport, so I decided whatever road I was on it would eventually bring me out where I wanted to go – back to Pattaya on highway 7.
Ten more minutes and it suddenly dawned on me where I was.
I was driving down the Cheng Wattana /Bangkok Highway that runs right through the centre of Bangkok. To get to the airport and beyond I would have to follow it into Bangkok, via Din Dang, and out the other side on the Rama 9 expressway and then Highway 7.
For those of you who are not familiar with the Bangkok riots of the past few weeks, Din Dang was a flash point area and a number of buildings in that area had been torched. It was a ‘red’, no-go area.
But I had no choice and followed the traffic ever closer to the troubles where even from several kilometres away I could see billowing smoke filling the sky with an unearthly grey pallor.
We went slower and slower and at length we were right on the top of Din Dang and had a bird’s eye view (or maybe a sniper’s view) of the troubles below. My luck held and we kept on going. I heard later that it wasn’t long after I passed through that area that the road had been blocked off as police and fire-fighters had commandeered it to try and deal with the fires and the rioting reds.
I finally reached Jomtien at 7.30 that evening and was completely exhausted. I had been on the road for nearly twelve hours with a few brief breaks.
I had one small snack in Nakhon Sawan and was very hungry but proceeded to get absolutely plastered.
Tan stayed at her home for three nights, and each night I stayed home but drunk myself silly. God knows why.
She was originally going to come home on the Thursday, but when she went to the bus station they told her that no buses were running that evening due to the curfew. So the following day her brother drove her to Pattaya, together with another three adults and three kids!
They arrived around noon and told me they would spend a few hours on the beach and then make the return journey.
In the event, they were getting ready to depart at around six p.m. when the brother called home and realised that he wouldn’t make it back before curfew.
So I had four adults and three kids to put up for the night!
Tan told me they would leave at the ‘crack of dawn’, but when I emerged from my bedroom at 8.30, the men were still sound asleep. I asked when they were leaving, starting to worry that this invasion might drag on a few days.
Tan told me: “When they wake up”.
It was with some relief they all finally departed at noon and I got my condo back.
Tan started full time college on Monday, (after going for half a day on Friday to be ‘hazed’), and she looks very smart in her white and maroon uniform. She is studying Business accounting.
We have to get up at six thirty as she has starts at eight and it’s a good twenty five minute drive in the morning rush hour.
It is good for us both to get up early and we are slowly slipping into the habit of rising early and going to bed early.
In just a few brief days Tan has made a number of new friends at college and I am hoping that I will slowly ‘wean’ her away from the bar she used to work at where she also has many friends.
She’s a really good kid, full of character, and disarmingly honest.
We chat and joke all the time, and Tan delights in telling me all the gossip about her friends and what she’s been up to at college.
Our first sexual encounters were very tentative, but after a week or so I started to enjoy the best sex of my life. Tan is sometimes insatiable, and my only worry is keeping up with her. I know that she is enjoying it as much as I am, and I genuinely believe she is very fond of me.
During the past two weeks I have had sober days; days when I didn’t drink much and a few days when I got very drunk and suffered for it.
Recently I attended a few evening AA meetings, and this week I went to two morning AA meetings. I stopped drinking for three days this week but yesterday i started again, and today I have had a couple of beers while I am writing this.
I am thinking about what to write in my next ‘Mobi Vignette’. I have a number of ideas but haven’t made a decision yet. Hopefully I will be putting fingers to keyboard very soon.