Tales From a Barfly
The Rains are a-coming
During this past week at long last we have had a fair amount of rain. This has obviously deterred some residents, (especially those on motorcycles), from venturing out for a drink. In spite of this, it has been pleasing to note that while many bars have been suffering from a sharp drop off in trade – not so at Mobi’s, where we are still seeing enough business to pay our way.
All our hard work and promotion has clearly paid dividends and it can only get better as the high season approaches.
On Friday, when I arrived at the bar, who should I see wandering around the bar making himself a nuisance – none other than our favourite drunk, the redoubtable German gentleman who we have christened as Mr ‘Ting Tong’.
‘Hello Mr Mobi! – How are you?’ he shouted, shaking my hand vigorously.
I knew he was very drunk because he kept asking Lek to ‘check bin’ even though Lek kept telling him he had paid it hours ago.
‘Where’ve you been Ting Tong?’, I asked him, as we hadn’t seen him in more than a week.
‘Oh… much much trouble’… he said in English, before launching into a tirade in German, about which I can only guess.
‘I’m sorry, Mr Ting Tong,’ I responded in Thai, ‘I don’t speak German.’
He seemed perplexed and not a little drunk.
I took a look around the bar and wondered where all Mobi’s ladies had disappeared to.
‘Where have all the ladies gone?’ I asked Lek who was sitting at her cashier’s chair.
‘They’re all hiding from Ting Tong’, she told me.
I had another quick look but couldn’t see where they had gone.
‘Maybe they’ve gone upstairs’, I speculated.
Just then, a couple of young men arrived at the bar and before I could blink my eyes, a number of girls emerged almost literally from the woodwork, rushed out and escorted the newcomers to their seats.
Ting Tong stood beside me and blinked his drunken blink. He was even more bemused than I was.
In the blink of an eye – the bar was suddenly full of girls.
I walked around the bar to take up my usual position in the far corner, sat down and turned around to survey the scene. This time it was Ting Tong who had disappeared.
He had done a runner, once the message had got through to his alcohol-sodden brain that none of the girls wished to talk to him.
Later that evening, two young Aussies arrived by taxi, and I confess that when they arrived, I was otherwise engaged and failed to personally welcome them, as is my usual custom.
Anyway, they played a few rounds of pool before returning to their table and had a general chat with the staff. All told, they must have been there a couple of hours, and when they came to pay their bill, I finally got round to welcoming them – just before they departed…..
‘Are you Mobi?’ they asked.
‘Yes’, says I, ‘Why? Have you heard of me?’.
They proceeded to tell me that they had come all the way from Pattaya city to seek out Mobi’s bar as one of them had been following my blog for years. They were on a two week vacation from Oz , and had decided to seek me out before they left for Koh Chang, in a couple of days’ time.
I apologised for not welcoming them earlier but they insisted, ‘No worries, mate’. They told me that they didn’t particularly want to bother me, they just wanted to find Mobi’s bar and put a ‘face to a name’.
They went on to tell me that their taxi driver had been having trouble finding Mobi’s and in the course of their search, they had stopped at no less than three other bars around the lake, en route to us. I will not repeat the bar names but will just say that they informed me that they were pretty ‘rum places’. They had one drink at each establishment and couldn’t wait to leave….
They may have just been trying to make me feel good. They said that they had thoroughly enjoyed their little drinking session at Mobi’s, loved our old music videos, (we were playing from our disco/Motown playlist), and the girls were really nice and friendly and not at all ‘pushy’- unlike everywhere else they had stopped off .
Last night – Saturday – the heavens opened and the rain came down, but this did not seem to deter Mobi’s determined and most loyal customers.
They trickled in in their ones and twos and it wasn’t long before my own table, was chock-a- block with no less than eight paying customers. We could hardly squeeze them in.
They were all of a ‘certain age’ and I had to resist the temptation to call my table ‘the wrinkleys-table’ as I would guess the average age of my guests must have been well into the mid-sixties, if not higher.
So in our world-weary and ever polite manner, we all put the problems of Thailand and the world to rights. Many of those present had stories of past adventures to brighten up a dark, storm-laden Saturday night.
I love these storms, provided they start AFTER the customers have arrived – which was the case last night. I love the storms even more if the customers have arrived by motorbike…
I responded to a music request to play the ‘Queen, Live Aid set’, when the late Freddy Mercury was at the peak of his singing powers. We sat enthralled as we re-lived that magical evening back in 1985, when Freddy and his gang stole the ‘show of the century.’
There were calls for ‘more’, so I put on the vid featuring Freddy Mercury singing, ‘Is this the world we created’, accompanied by Brian May on guitar, to the adoring, but totally silent, thousands at Wembley. It was hauntingly beautiful.
The rains eventually stopped and the wrinkleys made their way home and we settled back down to await the late, late crowd, which did indeed materialise almost on the stroke of midnight.
One couple – a German man and his Thai wife – told me that they had come seeking refuge from a large drinking establishment just down the road that was holding an extremely loud karaoke night.
They settled down and the man in particular was greatly enthused by our own choice of music. He insisted in telling me the name of each artist as soon as they hit the big screen, or as soon as he heard the opening refrain.
Somewhat eerily, he went on to inform me that he favourite singer by a mile was none other than Freddy Mercury, who we had been featuring earlier in the evening. It transpired that the gent had actually known Freddy many years ago and was a close friend.
His Thai wife then went on to enquire about the sale of the bar with Lek, asking if the price could be reduced. She told us that some years ago she had actually owned our bar, (about 4 owners previously), and was thinking about going back into the business. We both told her that we were ‘open to offers’ and left it at that. I have no idea how serious she was.
The last few customers stayed until past 2 a.m. When I eventually decided to turn off the music, I told the German customer that he was welcome to stay as long as he liked and would be looked after by our ladies, but that we had to go home..
‘Thank you, but there is no music, so we will also go home’…
Probably, but I really couldn’t stay there all night.
Such is the life of a bar owning barfly.