My 4 year-old daughter had a long Christmas Eve.
Gifts in the morning.
Khao Khio Zoo at noon and then a swim at the Shaba Hut pool.
By 7pm her eyes drifted together and weary muscles refused to support her weight. I carried Angie into the bedroom and laid her on the mattress. She fell asleep within 30 seconds.
I cracked open a bottle of Chardonnay and poured two glasses. My wife took a sip. It was a little off, but I drank the wine while listening to Serge Gainsbourg's BALLADE OF MELODY NELSON. Not really Christmas music, yet still is the best 27 minutes of music ever produced by France.
I wandered back into the main house and my wife was putting on make-up. This was not a good sign.
"Where do you think you're going?" I slurred in my Boston-accented Thai.
"We're going to Walking Street. My mother will take care of Angie."
"We?" My wife hated the nightlife and I avoided the popular destination during high season like an Ebola-infested Congo village.
"Yes, we." Nu glanced at my clothes.
My twenty year-old shirt and torn jeans didn't make it on Walking Street, the Champs-Elyees of Pattaya..
"Go get changed and look handsome."
"That'll be easy."
After a bottle of wine my reflection in the mirror resembled a young Rock Hudson. I changed into a white Armani shirt and Versace jeans with Gucci loafers. None were a copy either.
My wife waited in the garden. She was in a new dress. I kissed her on the cheek. "You look beautiful. What about we go to the bedroom first?"
"No." Nu wasn't buying this trick to not go to Walking Street.
Nu's mother waved tonight. I had 2000 baht was in my wallet and I surrendered saying. We hadn't been to Walking Street in years and . At least not together. "Okay, let's go."
We got on my motor scooter and I drove to Soi Diamond. My wife didn't want to go to any go-go bar. Neither did I. They were packed with sex-starved Western men and there was no telling what they wanted from man or woman. Instead we wandered through the throngs of sweating Russians, wide-eyed Indian men, and giggling Chinese tourists to the Hot Tuna bar.
Pi-Ek, the owner, sat on a stool. A glass of whiskey was on the small table. He wai-ed my wife and we sat down for a few drinks. My wife didn't take long to ask about my mia noi.
"Only time I see your husband here, he is always alone." Pi-Ek was telling the truth and I wouldn't ask him to lie, because I wouldn't be caught dead on Walking Street with another woman, because my wife would kill me and I have full intentions of living out my natural span of life.
After a 3rd drink my wife was enjoying herself. She laughed at our jokes and made fun of the passers-by, but by 11 we were ready to call it a night and headed back home. She kissed me before falling asleep and I laid on the bed ready for dreams of sugarplums.
Everyone wished us "Happy Christmas."
THe Thais love a good time.
Tonight everyone was all smiles and I drove back to our house with my wife's arms around my waist.
There was no telling what Santa Claus would do in Pattaya on Christmas Eve although neither would I tell Mrs. Claus and neither would any of his reindeers, if they didn't want to end up as reindeer stew.
And I knew the same.