Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Khon Kaen Karaoke

Sunday Night:
Monkey left me with 'Uncle', 'Sit' and 'Nu' to take me back to Khon Kaen while she, Dennis and Jook went back home to Bangkok. Dennis will be resuming his Cycling trip on Wednesday the 23rd, into Laos. As we parted for the final time he shook my hand and said "See you Ugly." and left in Monkey's car with Jook, Monkey, and my new best friend 'Kow' who I now refer to as 'Kato' after the Green Hornet's side kick, Bruce Lee.

Now keep in mind that I speak 12 words of Thai and Monkey's parents speak as many in English so all we knew was whatever Monkey told them when we parted. An hour into the trip Nu turns to me and says something that I take to mean that we are going to their place tonight and Khon Kaen tommorrow afternoon. All I know, is when a Police Commissioner and a Tank Commander say to stay, I stay.

So now it's two hours later and we're sitting outside Sit's place polishing off the second bottle of Seagram's whiskey when I said the one word that transformed our sleepy drinking party into a frenzy of activity. I said 'Karaoke' and suddenly Sit is animated and everyone is shouting and nodding and before I know it I'm having a shower and getting ready to go out. Another woman arrives and seems to be a friend of Uncle's and we all pile into Uncle's Police Truck and head out. I can't help wondering why it was not possible to drive me to Khon Kaen and yet here we are driving to a Karaoke Bar. But then we arrive there only five minutes later.

The place is a throwback from the Seventies with Neon lights and a 32 inch TV on mounted on each opposing wall. I'm not able to take pictures because my flash doesn't work. I tell them I'm buying, and I'm just getting ready to say: "please feel free to order something to eat as well..." when a stack of plates and cutlery suddenly arrive at the table. Then a bottle of Whiskey is brought out along with ice, mixer and some wine coolers.

Sit pours everyone a drink and after a few quick gulps, motions me up to the dance floor. The TV screen is showing two transvestites dancing and singing in a front of beautiful Thai show girls dressed in red feathers.

As the two men in drag are singing, Sit is showing me how to dance as a Thai. The hand gestures are very much like harem dancing except the men keep their fingers straight. I feel embarrassed at first but people start clapping and giving me the thumb's up so I just relax and have fun.

Then a group of teenagers arrive and two of the guys stand up and start doing a dance where they stand side by side and do a lot of hand motions as if they are pushing and pulling the air. The rest of my table are ignoring them but I finally get up and join them. Now there are three of us dancing and the people at their booth are all laughing and clapping. When I'm done, all 10 of them excitedly shake my hand and talk a mile a minute in Thai. All I can say is "Cup-khun-Cup" and they get really excited. For some reason I am starting to understand intuitively what Thais are saying so I tell them I'm from Canada and they all welcome me to Thailand.

I rejoin my own party and Sit goes up and talks to the DJ about finding a song in English for me to sing. Suddenly they hand me a mike and Sit and Nu drag me up to the dance floor to sing the song that is being put up on the TV screens. At first I keep saying "Mai, mai" (no, no) and shaking my head. They think I'm just being modest and insist I start singing. So I finally give in and begin to sing the words projected on the screen: "When I go out with the girls, I get a little bit bitchy. When I go and buy my dresses, they're all a little too sexy..." I do the Thai dance with the song and the crowd goes wild. I just keep praying there are no people in the place who understand English.

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