CHAPTER 2: THE BURN
The following morning, we all had to wake up early to head to the office of one of the Companies that sponsored our trip in Bangkok. This was all part of of our ‘official trip’ charade and so was a necessary song and dance to perform. I will not bore you all with details of this; it should suffice to say that the discussions, interactions and experience were pretty mildly interesting (if you’re into drilling and reservoir engineering anyway). I did however find out why the entire country was so bloody hot. First, it’s a tropical region so the suns heat is intense overhead, second, it sits on the ‘pacific ring of fire’ so the ground underneath is hot too. Basically, Thailand is a giant oven with fire from above and below. This knowledge however did nothing to comfort me or cool down my overheating brain cells. For all I care, it may just be that Satan comes there to fart and the farts heat up the place.
When we were done, the good folk at the company decided to treat us to lunch at some fancy restaurant opposite their office. It was delightful. Really. No Really…
Really. Thai food is pretty awesome with lots of flavor in everything. And they hardly cook with grease. Just the right amount of oils to get the flavor in. I loved it.
With that formality all done, we were returned to our hotel and at this point I realized there was no plan. Everyone was meant to make the most of the trip in their own way but I had little or no information on what to do and so I turned to the most reliable person I could for help: Google. I found out that there were a number of interesting attractions in Bangkok and I promptly laid out a plan to make the most of my few days there. While doing this, I was interrupted by “Rima” who told me that they were going to a tailor in the middle of Bangkok to get suits. When I asked how long it would take for the suits to be made and how much it would cost, He simply replied “2 days and about £100”. I was in shock. How could a suit be made to fit be ready in two days?! Surely he was conspiring with the tailor to scam us. First off, £100 is about 25000 Naira which is quite cheap for a suit tailor-made for an individual. Second, 2 days is quite literally, well 2 bloody days!!! And this was a Friday. Meaning they would have to work over the weekend. The last time I had a suit made to fit for me; it cost me 35000 Naira and took 3 weeks to be done. This seemed preposterous. But it was true. We went to the tailor to pick out our material and have our measurements taken on Friday; came in for fittings on Saturday and collected the suits on Sunday. Along with a shirt and a free tie and pocket square. SCORE!!!
When we were done with the Tailors on Friday, I headed back to the hotel to cool my head. While on my bed, I received a phone call from my friend “The Lion” informing me of plans for the night. “The Lion” is one of the most intelligent, charming, funny, interesting and outright diametrically insane people I have ever met. He had also been to Thailand before, so when he called and told me that they were going out to a place called “Nana” for some fun, I agreed to show up without thinking too much about it. However, before going, I did consult with my ever reliable friend: Google who referred me to his girlfriend Wikipedia. This is what she had to say about Nana
(If you would like to read more about nana, this is the full link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nana_Plaza)
Needless to say, I was hooked with curiosity. They say curiosity killed the cat but I happen to know several cats that also go laid out of curiosity. Not that I wanted to get laid there or anything. God forbid that I would be “laid” in a place that sounded as vulgar as “Nana”; Nah, Nah, Mba, no way, I just wanted to see er…what was er…going down (pun intended). I am a good, pristine, chaste and holy virgin afterall, beyond reproach and as yet uncorrupted and unblemished by the sins of this carnal world.
After rubbing my beard in thought for a few seconds, I stood up, got dressed immediately and headed out. I wasn’t going to miss this. I convinced my friend Ms. O to come along and we went outside. A strange thing happened when I asked the first cab to take me to nana, he looked at me like I was satans former side chick and drove off. I ignored this and hailed another cab, same thing again, once I said “Nana”, his eyes clouded over, he said no and drove off. By this time I was getting worried. What were they scared of? Why would no one take me to Nana? Was there something really freaky going down there that the locals were aware of and therefore scared to even go there? I was starting to feel like a pervert.
I asked the girlfriend of one of my classmates, a lovely Thai girl, for help. She helped call a cab and speak to him in Thai. She then translated to me telling me that he said there was too much traffic that way and that was why none of the other cabs wanted to go. (Whew, talk about over-reacting! Just because of traffic!!! Jeeez!)
She advised I and Ms. O to take either the sky train or the smaller, more mobile “Tuk Tuk”. We opted for option two and hopped on Thailands answer to Lagos’s ‘Keke napep’: the infamous “Tuk Tuk”.
Sitting at the back of that Tuk Tuk, my Nigerianness started to get the better of me: I became tense and held my pen in my pocket like a dagger, ready to strike if need be. I mean, I had good reason to be scared; here I was halfway around the world, heading to one of the most infamous urban areas on the planet in a contraption that could barely be called a vehicle, driven by an over-enthusiastic barely-literate young man who for all I know, could have been a robber, a killer or some sick transvestite rapist cum serial killer who would rape, kill and sacrifice us to some strange elephant god. I sha know say Waffi no dey carry last, I was ready to kill him if I had to. But after a while I relaxed. This was Thailand, not Nigeria, the people were absurdly friendly, so much so that it was to a fault as I would soon discover.
Once we arrived safely at the nana station, I called “The lion” and he came to grab me and the others that had shown up. He took us to a place called ‘spankys’
Once we arrived, the entire party of nine froze outside. For a few seconds, no one was sure they wanted to follow “The Lion” into the “den of sin”. This was the infamous Nana after all and surely there would be plenty of carnal debaucheries in progress there, right? After about 10 seconds of ‘dead air’, two of us suddenly motioned forward and climbed up the stairs. There was no way I was going to come all this way and not witness what all the fuss was about. I hesitated at the entrance of Spankys for another second before taking a cautious step inside and looking around. I wasn’t sure what I expected to see there but it was most assuredly not what I saw when I got in. I was shocked to my core!
To be continued
Coming next….CHAPTER 3: NIGHT OF THE LADYBOY