Tales from a Barfly
Some, but not all, of the following tales were originally written (in whole, or part) in my “Mobi’s Bar thread” in the Thai Visa Expat forum (Pattaya section).
Theses have been since revised, edited, and in some instances extended (or shortened) for publication in my blog.
Mr Ting Tong
One thing is for sure – win, lose or draw life is never dull when running bar on the Darkside, and hardly a day goes by when there isn’t an incident of one kind or another to get the juices going.
I have written on several occasions about a certain ‘resident drunken’ – a German gentleman, the self-styled ‘Mr Ting-Tong.’ As with most continental Europeans, Mr Ting Tong does speak some English – albeit very slowly and very precisely, but with pretty good pronunciation.
His most commonly used English phrase when he is drinking at Mobi’s is: “You! Mobi! Very good man!” which he repeats loudly, while shaking my hand vigorously.
The problem is, that apart from telling me that I am ‘very good man’ the rest of his English never makes the slightest sense to me or anyone else who he is talking to. The only way that either I or the staff can communicate with him is in Thai, with a generous smattering of Issan thrown in for good measure.
Many is the time that I have spoken to him in Thai /Issan and he has responded in the same tongue and the girls have sat around laughing their heads off!
Hopefully, using modicum of gentle humour, I have described on a number of occasions about Mr Ting-Tong’s efforts to defy his highly intoxicated condition and drive home on his motorcycle.
We recently learned that Mr Ting Tong’s current ‘live in’ girlfriend – the one we contacted a few weeks ago and who told us where he lived but declined to come and get him – is in hospital suffering from liver cancer.
This of course put a whole new perspective on his very long, daily drinking sessions, which on a typical day can last 12 hours or more. I can only assume that he is taking the presumed fatal illness of his beloved very badly and drinks to try and forget what is happening. Most of us have been there and done something like that at some point in our lives. (I have – many, many times)
We last saw Mr Ting Tong about 4 days ago when he turned up in the evening with a very elderly German gentleman.
Mr Ting Tong introduced me to his friend, who he told me was in his late 80’s…
I didn’t catch his name but later that night, I was speaking with some friends and we decided that the newcomer, with his old, craggy face and wild, grey, professorial hair looked the spitting image of Albert Einstein.
I walked over to the drinking Germans and told them that the elderly man looked just like Einstein.
‘Yes, that’s him, Mr Einstein!’ said Ting Tong with a smile.
‘You’re joking’, said I.
‘No – I not joke – you ask him’, protested Ting Tong.
‘Excuse me sir, what is your name?’
‘My name is EINSTEIN!’
‘Yes really, and truly…’
I’m still not sure if I believe them….
We have not seen Mr Ting Tong for several days. It seems kind of strange without his ever-present ‘residence’ in our bar.
This can mean one of two things. His girlfriend has died, (or is on the point of doing so), or he has had an accident and is therefore unable to come and see us.
I will report back when I know more…..
The Return of Scarface
Here is a follow-up to last week’s tale of the unfortunate bar-owner who I christened ‘Scarface’.
You may recall that Scarface beat a hasty retreat to Mobi’s after having a gun pointed to his head when visiting his own bar to discuss the deposition of the marital assets with his estranged wife.
I was starting to become worried about him, as a week had passed and I had not seen him since the ‘night of the gun’.
To my relief, he made re-appearance, late one evening a few nights ago. He was pretty drunk, which for him is quite unusual and I asked him if there had been any more progress in settling matters with his wife and her gun-toting boyfriend.
I was quite surprised to learn that he had been back to the bar and once again he found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. His wife was in the process of trying to rip-off a an expat female customer, by insisting she had only paid 100 Baht for an 800 Baht bill, whereas in fact she had paid with a 1,000 Baht note.
Scarface had seen the whole thing – including the one thousand Baht note handed over by the female customer, but he hadn’t cottoned on that his wife was trying to do a scam. So when he tried, somewhat naively, to explain the facts to his wife she suddenly exploded.
She picked up a glass, smashed it on the bar and slashed it across his face before giving him several hard kicks in the nether regions.
(His wife’s propensity for slashing him across his face with broken glass is the reason for his nickname.)
He collapsed onto the floor and was still lying there, covered in blood when a bunch of motorcycle ‘mafia’ taxi drivers appeared from the road outside, and screamed abuse at him demanding that he leave the bar immediately.
He was in no position to refuse their ‘request’ and somehow managed to hobble outside and back to his car. He then went on a massive bar crawl which ended at Mobi’s around midnight.
I think he is slowly coming to the conclusion that if he continues to try and get his share out of the bar, he might end up on mortuary slab – or more likely, in Mabprachan Lake in a bin bag.
Frankie goes to Mobi’s
Some days we have a good crowd in and on other days, we can can wait an hour or more for the next single customer to grace our poirtals.
It seems to be the way of bars on the Darkside, and during the three months we have been trading there is no discernible pattern as to what days will bring us good business and what days will be bad. It varies widely from day to day, week to week, month to month.
Even hour to hour….
Sometimes, I will be sitting in Mobi’s, late in the evening on a day when we have been doing very meagre business when suddenly the bar is packed with late night revellers, who often stay until the small hours.
I have now learnt never to write a day off until we are well past midnight, as you never know who might turn up at the last minute and spend a ‘bucket load’ of money.
There is one valued customer who specialises in late night arrivals and always keeps us going well past the ‘witching hour’ and spends a fair amount of money.
I will call him Frank.
Frank is one of life’s characters, by any standards, and he always is full of fun and life and he soon has us and the girls in fits of laughter with his jokes and zany behaviour.
Luckily for us, he also one of life’s genial drunks, and the drunker he gets, the more genial he becomes.
Frank loves 80’s music, and the first time he came by, he insisted on us downloading a load of 80’s video song tracks from You Tube. As we played them, he would sing along in a loud voice. Remarkably, he knew all the words of every single song.
Frank always ‘rings the bell’ several times, and after all the ladies have received their drinks, he declines to let them come over and ”clink’ glasses with him.
He doesn’t want any fuss, and just wants to make everyone happy and put a bit of cash in their pockets.
The next time Frank dropped by I was prepared. I had downloaded all the songs he had requested during his previous visit and had added a few of my own, which I hoped might appeal to him.
Fortunately I got my selection spot on and he loved the new ones along with the old ones that we had played before.
On two occasions Frank has asked me to play the long version of Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ which, for those who haven’t seen it, it is a brilliant, 15 minute video. It is very, VERY scary, especially when played in almost total darkness on ‘The Darkside’, next to a spooky, ethereal lake…
And were the ladies sacred…. And did they scream….
Frank loves getting the girls involved in dancing and singing and he tries to teach them the choruses of the songs so that they can join in with him.
On one particular night, it was very late, and all our lights were off, but the party was still in full swing. I put on a video track that some of you may know called “Matchstalk Cats and Dogs”, which is about the famous Lancashire artist, L.S. Lowrie.
The song has a great marching tempo with a very catchy and rousing chorus. In less than a minute, he had all the girls singing, and for those of you who know the song, he even got them ‘counter-signing’ ‘Ally ally oo, alley all oo’ against the main melody line. Magic.
It was an amazing accomplishment – no doubt fuelled on both sides by copious amounts of alcohol and great time was had by one and all.
Frank always orders a take-away chicken curry with chips, and he always stays for at least an hour after the food has been delivered to his table.
‘Frank, your chips will be cold!’ I told him on one such occasion.
‘Ee lad, don’ you worry abeet that. I’ll just chuck the hot curry over the chips and they will taste jest greeeet!’
Frank – we love you……
One recent evening started quietly, with my ever present and very loyal, daily group of nearby residents, but as sometimes happens, as the night wore on, the customers kept coming and coming.
There was one gentleman from California who stayed all evening and chalked up a very generous bill. He had heard about Mobi’s from my blog and had decided to drop by and obviously liked what he found.
Then there was a couple from Ireland, who come to holiday in Pattaya every year, and like the Canadian, had read about Mobi’s on my blog and decided to seek us out.
Then there was a third gentleman, who was very complementary about our bar, (vis a vis nearby bars), and it was very kind of him to say that. He spent the evening working his way through Mobi’s bar list, as he said his favourite activity was having a different drink, every time he ordered….
And so it went on… topped by a couple of long-time residents who I have known for years, and who I rediscovered a few days ago when they popped by for a late late nightcap. Once again we were able to catch up on old times and mutual acquaintances.
Every single customer was a pleasure to talk to and I have to say, whether or not we go broke, running this bar is anything but boring.
Then if all that wasn’t enough, very late on that same evening, the girls all suddenly rushed out of the bar to the other side of the road, near to the lake.
What on earth????
There had been a minor accident – a farang and a Thai girl had fallen off a motorcycle.
Neither of them were seriously hurt and the girl was very angry. As the man tried to get up, the girl kept screaming at him and beating him back down into the undergrowth
Mobi’s girls returned to the bar and left the warring couple to it.
The shouting continued for a while, but eventually, the couple got back on the bike and drove away.
Never try to get in between a belligerent Thai woman and her equally angry farang boyfriend.
No good will ever come of it and you will get no thanks…
More ‘Barfly Tales’ soon…..