My retirement from the bar scene was not quite the sudden transformation in lifestyle as I had originally envisaged, as during the days following the sale, I was continually called back to the bar to fix the sound system that had repeatedly been ‘playing up’.
I should add that I had warned the new owner about the temperamental state of the sound system and had not wished to include it in the sale for that very reason.
I had explained that there was a ‘secondary’ music system, with its own speakers that played CD’s and had quite decent sound; but the buyer had insisted that he needed the main video sound system – warts an’all – and wouldn’t blame me if it kept going wrong – which it of course it did.
So I made a number of trips to the bar during the initial post-sale period and met up with many of my then –ex-customers who all wished me well in my new found leisure and my future endeavours.
Nong Khai – A Brief Pictorial Sojourn
I was beginning to regret my decision to travel to Nong Khai with Lek and her two children – Neung and Song.
(In case you’re wondering, yes, they do mean ‘One’ and ‘Two’….and yes, I know, it’s a bit odd , but she’s by no means the only Thai mother who names her kids in odd ways.
I once knew a family whose kids were named A, B, C, D and E. It’s true, and when the mother was pregnant for the sixth time, nobody had any doubt what the new baby was going to be called…)
Lek had proposed that we leave at around 2.30 a.m. She usually leaves in the middle of the night when she travels alone, but for this ancient tub of lard, to get up at 2.00 a.m. (after going to bed at midnight), was a distinct no-goer.
We eventually agreed on a 5 a.m. alarm call, which was still about 4 hours too early for Mobi. But I had to admit that if we left it much later, we wouldn’t arrive before nightfall, and the last thing I wanted to do was share the roads with the drunk drivers who, like vampires, tend to emerge from their daytime haunts after sunset.
We had an ‘almost new’ bicycle which Lek wanted to take to Nong Khai for her daughter, Song, to use. We had originally bought it for our bar girls to use when they wished to pop down to the nearest 7/11 but when we sold the bar, Lek had made it clear that the bicycle was one of the few items not included in the bar sale.
It was duly loaded for the journey, but was soon removed again. We had so much junk to take back to the ‘family home’ that there was no room for the bicycle – not even in the rear of a pick-up!