It was the clear blue alcohol thin sky of the far north combined with the no humidity nostril clearing atmosphere that marked the day Dana lost his mind. It was on a luxury tourist train making a trip to the Yukon before the snows would shut everything down for the winter. Due to some incidents that I would prefer not to go into the United Nations had stepped in and taken Dana's Pattaya planes away so he was making the trip by train.
Suddenly with the impulse of the insane Dana was up on the table in the dining car and running from table to table scattering pink cheeked Canadians, and train buffs, and silver dishes, and mountain flowers, and cutlery. Before they could catch him he managed to exit the dining car and get up on the snappy shaking roof of the train. There, silhouetted against the thin blue sky and stunted pines of the sub arctic north; he danced and ran with a simian lope from car to car. Eventually train officials coming aft from the engine and forward from the caboose were able to wrestle him down.
Tests in the Yukon General Hospital showed that he had Burnt Out Farang Syndrome (BOFS). Never seen in the Canadian North but a well known malady in South East Asia and particularly in the Kingdom. Eventually too many beers, and too much Viagra, and too many barfines, and too many love affairs, and too many trips to the doctor to check out the rash, and too many heart stopping boom booms just causes the farang system to shut down.
Lines of meridian no longer shunt electrical signals with regularity, and the body starts to retrench like a Burrough's junkie. The foot starts to shamble instead of striding, the eyes accept any light source without discrimination, and the chest feels high and tight as aortas start to make short term decisions.
Then it is time to be shipped (or to ship oneself) to the Farang Stud Farm and Bargirl Retirement Home (FSFABRH) in rural northern Thailand. A place of myth without postcard but a real place none the less. A facility of over 400,000 rei populated by ponds, and rivers, and meadows, and happy natural vistas, and botanical gardens, and fountains, and aviaries, and small zoo, and meditation gazebos, and temples, and wats, and housing, and medical care.
Visitors can stay overnight at the Teeruk Hotel and dine in the Hansum Man dining hall on the premises. All the buildings look like bars but believe me the 'Hello' girls sitting out front aren't virgins. There is even a gift shop where you can buy antique bargirl cellphones, and Frankenstein shoes, and photos of G Spot shower shows, and revealing black strappy keepsake outfits from the Angelwitch Bar, and hanging kitchen tapestries with bargirl sayings like:
Father Bad Gambler, He Need Money For Luck
Sister Has Prostate Disease And Needs Surgery
I Marry Denmark Man, You Must Pay For Divorce
Need Money For Cellphone To Talk To Husband
We Go Boom Boom In Loom
You Hansum Man
I Luf Yuu
Yu Too Big Maak
and the dreaded . . . I No Like
It's a quiet place. A place of retirement, and dignity, and peace, and quiet, and repose for whores and whoremongers and long time denizens and players of the red-light districts of Thailand. It's amazing some of the people you see there: Hi So Chinese white face girls, and politicians, and bankers, and moralists, and University students, and housewives, and professional people, and schoolteachers, and yes; even some mouthy feminists and Bible thumpers.
It's always a fun weekend to just drive up and stay overnight to see what you might see. Check into the Teeruk Hotel alone or with a friend and leave your cares behind. Loud talk, and pretence, and salesmanship, and bravado, and storytelling, and ego have no currency here. All the stories have been told. The adventure is done. Everyone is on the final glide path.
It's location isn't listed in guide books to the Kingdom; but if you can just barely see the Friendship Bridge spanning the Mae Nam Khong river at Nong Khai to the west then you are close. If you can see an old man running along with a simian lope; you are very close: that's Dana.
Visitors to the Farang Stud Farm and Bargirl Retirement Home will be able to lean against the fence, or stroll along the paths, or lay in the meadows, or sit at the verandah tables and look at Farang stallions and Isaan fillies mixing and gambling (ok, walking and sitting) in happy retirement without the sexual, or financial, or cultural tensions from the past.
If you go there to visit a friend don't forget to look up Dana. He's calmer now and looking fit, and tan, and happy. Viagra is now a memory and he concentrates instead on keeping the belches in, and letting the farts out. Ask him to recreate the simian lope on top of the train for you. It's a riot. The charm of the insane, and the allure of the unencumbered. But don't laugh too hard. This is the place we are all headed. The Farang Stud Farm and Bargirl Retirement Home (FSFABRH). Another example of modern Siam joining the league of nations with social welfare programs that return respect and security to those that loved the country in their younger years. Say it out loud--"Farang Stud Farm and Bargirl Retirement Home".
That is where we are all headed.
© Dana. All rights reserved by the author.