Life In The Laugh Lane – November 2022

It’s A Bad Sign

Two thousand years ago, a guy named Joseph tried to find a room at an inn with his Israeli wife ready to give birth. (The Book says the inn was full, but perhaps his wife was from Thailand.) Two thousand years later, a guy named Scott tries to find a room at an inn with his Thai girlfriend—very sick and ready to throw up—in Bangkok near Khao San Road, pronounced “cows on road” and named after the first herd of large, rotund, backpackers grazing through Thailand.

Many rooms are available to Scott but not to his Thai friend.

Talking to any female Thai receptionist surrounded by a bevy of Thai waitresses, female Thai travel agents, cooks and cleaners is like listening to a skipping CD: mai dai, mai dai, mai dai—can not, can not, can not. Maybe they just don’t want other women invading their territory. Gentle persuasion has no effect whatsoever: “I love your guest house. I’ve stayed here before. She’s sick, has an American driver’s license and speaks fluent English. Okay, fine. I’m going to set fire to your hair.”

What is the rationale behind this sign? “It’s possible a Thai woman could be a prostitute, so we’ll bar all Thai women.” What’s the next level of this reasoning? “It possible women might drink, so can not let them drive.” “Woman might run with sharp stick and poke out eye, so can not let her have chopsticks.”

I saw other variations: “Must have foreign passport to stay here.” “Police order—no Thai woman allowed in hotel.” I can’t imagine how many civil liberty lawyers would show up if this sign were posted in a hotel in America: “No American woman allowed in hotel.” Actually, before any lawyers could get there, the hotel would be burned to the ground by a livid pack of feminists.

You’re traveling, you need a room, what are your options? Boycott Bangkok. Carry your girlfriend in a huge golf bag. Get her extreme white makeup, five-inch high heels and an illegal passport from Khao San Road. (Oops, that is a prostitute.) Follow my father’s simple advice: “With so many nice people in the world, why spend your time with a horse’s ass? Just walk around the corner and you’ll find a new friend!” Three corners and ten guest houses later, I found a room and a surly, but semi-friendly manager. (Hey, it was Bangkok, not Chiangmai.)

Or be like Joseph and take the stable. You’ll get a sweet manger instead of a sour manager; the three visiting kings from Orient Are will have foreign passports; and you’ll find new friends—cows, goats, sheep and authentic asses. They’ll all be color-blind, much more accepting and won’t even know what a passport is, except for the goat that might eat it.

For more information about Lake Chapala visit:

Scott Jones
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