Discovering the world on $20 per day ......................

Post 279: Nakhom Ratchasima .... Fort Suranaree

After three nights of free living with Aeg’s parents on Fort Suranaree in Nakhom Ratchasima, I just have to move on. It’s not the lack of a recognisable bathroom, the outside kitchen, the swarms of mosquito or even my embarrassment at the level of hospitality being thrown at me. No, all of these I can easily live with. It’s ‘Boney M’ that’s getting to me. Perhaps they want me to feel more at home, perhaps it’s the only C90 Cassette Tape that they have, but trust me people, if I hear ''Ra Ra'' frigging ''Rasputin'' one more time, then there will be violence. I have to go, but it’s certainly been an interesting few days.

Aeg and his wife Ning have returned to Sattahip and his father seems to be an NCO in the army here, but never seems to go to work. I’ve seen his uniform and a hundred photographs of him proudly wearing it dotted around their humble home, but I haven’t seen him actually go and do any real 'Army Work'. I don’t necessarily mean anything that involves shooting people, I just mean anything that might possibly have some connection to defending his own Country or invading a neighbouring one. Also, their home here on the base is really quite 'humble', but I’ve seen the properties that they own down in Sattahip and 'humble' they are certainly not. What’s going on here? He does run the Base Golf Club, but I think that’s more of a voluntary thing and I get the distinct impression that Aeg‘s father is really the ''Sgt. Bilko'' figure around here. He has lists, lists of everything in every pocket. People come and ask him something and he writes it down on a list. Somebody calls at the house, a package changes hands and an item is removed from a different list. His wife, and one day I will discover their names, seems to do the cooking and cleaning, but as ’meal-times’ never seem to end around here, then she’s probably the busiest person on the entire base. It also means that I’ve been eating some very interesting dishes. ‘Tak-a-tan’ is the grasshopper that makes the ‘clicking’ sound at night, like a giant cricket. ''Very Tasty'' when asked, avoided when nobody is looking.

Thanks to the efforts of this family, my toe is now on the mend. I’ve been visiting the Fort Suranaree Hospital and I believe, using a false ID card. How the hell they mistake me for a Thai National is beyond me, but I suspect that it probably has something to do with Sgt. Bilko and his seemingly endless influence in these parts. It really does remind me of spending time with Roman and Slava in Volgograd. Another reminder of Russia is that I’m the only person without a gun around here. Mind you, this is a Military Base and Volgograd wasn’t.

The families live-at-home daughter, Aporn, is an artist and runs a commercial art business from the house. Everybody seems to get involved in this thriving business, even me. Yesterday I was trimming canvases ready for some huge children’s painting party to be held at the weekend. They seemed to revel in the fact that a 'Farang' was helping them and I had to sit at the front of the house and trim away at canvases for hours. I honestly didn’t mind. They kept bringing me ice cold Chang beer and over the course of several hours, many of Aporn’s unmarried girlfriends seemed to pass by the house and spend far too much of their day just staring at me. It’s not everyday that I get stared at long and hard by any quantity of attractive single females and it’s certainly not a complaint, just another observation from a very grateful man.
Anyway, my point is that for the interests of my own long-term sanity, I had to leave Fort Suranaree quickly. I borrowed Aporn’s aging ‘Yamaha Fresh II’ and rode around Nakhom Ratchasima for hours. I didn’t really see anything that resembled a hotel capable of meeting my budgetary requirements, but of course I was looking in all of the wrong places. Within minutes of staring defeat in the face, I’m inspecting a more than respectable room organised by Aporn. It’s only a few minutes walk away from the centre of town and they call it an ‘Apartel‘. It’s a Hotel but without the Room Service and the linen will only be changed every 72 hours. At 140 THB per day, it works out at just under £3 per night if I book for a week. I double check the price and my maths ……. mai pen rai


Anonymous said...

Aporn artist?

'Blue 88' said...

oh yes .. there had to be one lol