What happens at a Thai Funeral

Annie, (in black) helps prepare her grandfather’s body for cremation. He raised Annie so it was important for her to help with all the aspects of the ceremony. Notice how tenderly but unsentimentally they take care of the body before carrying him around the temple three times and burning his body in one of the huge outdoor ovens commonly used in...
What’s Pattaya Like?

What’s Pattaya Like?

The lights of Pattaya reflect off the water and add colour to the velvet blackness of the night. It’s 1 am and the rooftop pool is a languid green. It’s a tiny lagoon about 12 metres square trapped between the thrusting towers of the surrounding hotels clawing their way toward the sky. The Pattaya city lights are changing colour and glowing,  flashing in the darkness, sending out sparks. We catch the tiny elevator downstairs still in our swim wear. The door opens and we are caught snogging by a fat, rural Russian and his fatter wife. This gives me great pleasure and amusement and for the first time in Pattaya we make a Russian look away. England 2, Russia 0. Get in there! Back on 2nd road another Russian steps so close to me that I say, ‘ what do you want?’ He lurches and looks surprised. There are so many of them and they are everywhere. This is no longer ‘our’ place. The Western star is waning. The Slavs all stare and stare with no sense of grace or warmth or even sentience. They stare at Annie because they have never seen anything like her and they stare at me because in their own hideous country anyone different is likely to be hunted down and attacked. Physically handicapped people, gays and people of colour stay indoors. Neo-Nazi skinhead groups roam the streets of Moscow looking for someone to vent their anger, frustration and dissolution on. It is however a country of great contradictions. The Russian soul is indeed a beautiful thing, sad and yearning for a lost age...
The Silver Bullet

The Silver Bullet

This is an excerpt from Bangkok Baby, by David Bonnie. It’s available on Amazon, Bangkok Books and Barnes & Noble. I had a reckoning in Bangkok late last night. Travis rode the silver bullet over the Chonburi state line to be where the action was. Across the city Beauty shares a cab with J to the hangout on 22. The made men sit drinking warm beer in the evenings soft heat The New Yorker pulls into town figures it all out from the signs in the book of Leviticus. He carries it for the benefit of the strangers that sojourn in this holy land. Keeping the laws of the jungle at bay is a life’s work. So midnight’s men are met at their rendezvous for the night beneath that giant Emporium sign that brings so much joy if not to us then to the hearts of our Ladyboys. They are ours, after all is said and done. There’s a carnival every night out on Sukhumvit and a dance that is measured in steps between the hungry and the hunted as they face off against each other. Nobody knows which is which. But nocturnal contracts are made and they disappear together only to reappear alone, empty. The streets are alive with secret debts overdue, assignations, partings. Promises made, ‘ never again’ and a police siren rips apart the strange sanctity of the Nana Jungle. It’s Big Buddha Night. Again. In the Nana parking lot the mai tam mesha sport the latest ‘Paris’ fashion. Those fresh from Isaan just sport flesh. Fashion TV plays in the corner bar. The girls down here are like ghosts;...
Bangkok-Day One

Bangkok-Day One

This is an excerpt from Bangkok Baby, by David Bonnie. It’s available on Amazon, Bangkok Books and Barnes & Noble I knew something big was going to happen today. I came up from a deep sleep to alert, gasping for breath. I was dreaming about falling and just before I hit the ground I woke up . . . and started laughing to myself . . . I couldn’t stop laughing. I was lying in the bedroom of the Royal Asia Hotel, Sukhumvit soi 8, Bangkok. Yesterday, was it yesterday? I was in England. How could I be so far away from what I knew in such a short space of time? . . . . .My laughter began to sound like panic . . .even to me. I was completely alone . . . having left everything and everyone I know behind! I suddenly heard my father’s voice . . . ‘You need backbone to live the life you want!’ He was Sergeant Major of the 11th Hussars before he died last year. I miss him. The day passed without a ripple but under the surface I was ticking and tight, waiting for the night to come. I knew I was going to take a giant step, a step that would set me free. I had seen Ladyboys online and these creatures fascinated me. I tried to understand why? I am way past 21 and have never entertained the idea of gay sex. No. not even a little. I remember when I was a soldier hearing a story about some guys from my Company who got tricked by some Ladyboys in the...
Bangkok Tattoo

Bangkok Tattoo

  This is an excerpt from Bangkok Baby, by David Bonnie. It’s available on Amazon, Bangkok Books and Barnes & Noble. You are running in nightimes chirruping heat. Sweat is burning your eyes now and you turn from the dark of soi 6 where you both live onto KrugThonburi alive with pink and yellow taxis, tuk-tuks and the smell of burnt carbon. You thought you could handle her proposition but later a kind of panic gripped your heart and still you cannot breath, but you keep running . . . time is running out. It is 10.40 as you jump into the On Nut train just as the doors close. The cold air hits you and you force yourself to sit down. You try to phone her again but again there is no answer . . .she is doing what she feels she must. Is she doing it for both of you? You have to stop her before it’s too late, before the world unhinges itself and all the pieces fly apart destroying everything you love. A young, pretty girl covered in tattoos sits opposite you: there is only one place she is heading. Just like you. She looks in your eyes and a feeling passes between you, the kind of feeling shared between soldiers moments before a battle. ‘Naanaaaa’says the voice of the train. Somebody laughs, somebody always laughs. In the laughter is a kind of nervousness and an edgy, tense excitement. You wait until the door opens before you leap up and out. Tonight you cannot face the stares of the farang couples on the train. That look that says, ‘we...