"This is the book of life I should have read before leaving university in London.
It's got it all.
Sex, sex tourism, drugs, alcohol, alcoholism, prostitution & suicide.
In my search for sex and sobriety I travel from London to Amsterdam; to San Francisco, California; to Bangkok & Pattaya in Thailand and to Manila, Angeles City & Subic Bay in the Philippines.
Don't end up a loser like me.
Read this book."
- Paul Pisces
Chapter 21: A Sad Story
Arriving in London, I make a quick decision. Since I am unemployed and unattached, I might as well have another holiday in the Far East before beginning a new tedious job search. I book the first cheap flight to Manila that I can find and then relax for a few days at my brother's flat waiting for my flight.
On the long claustrophobic flight out to Manila I manage to keep my drinking under control. Whoever said "better to travel than to arrive" obviously had never flown long-haul pig-class.
I start to feel better as I exit the airplane and feel the warm blast of Philippine air with its mixture of tempting exotic smells. I search for the airport transfer I have booked and I soon find a gorgeous filipina attendant holding a placard with my name on it. She efficiently shepherds me through the lunch time crowds and towards the waiting minibus. I am very tired from the flight and exchange only a few short pleasantries with the other occupants before slumbering on the way to Angeles.
A few hours later I am relaxing in my deluxe room at the 'Narra Hotel' and am slowly preparing to go out for the evening. The deluxe room is a bit more expensive than the standard but I think the extra money is worth it. I am forty-two years old now and my body needs its creature comforts.
After visiting a few bars I decide to visit the Lollipop bar. There, dancing on the stage is a stunning-looking girl with a longish bob haircut, small firm breasts and a perfect smile. More importantly she's lithe and moves effortlessly on the stage, occasionally doing the splits to demonstrate her flexible body. I am pretty sure she's the 'A' girl at this bar for the moment.
I quickly tell my waitress that I want to buy the girl a drink. The waitress relays my message to the dancer who looks up and over at me, sizes me up instantly and then smiles warmly. I am probably the right age for her. She looks in her early twenties and I look about thirty-five. I am not so old as to be embarrassing nor too young to be too foolish or too demanding. She walks over suggestively in her black thigh high boots and a skimpy skirt covering her panties.
The conversation follows the usual routine. I find out that her name is
Raquel and she is 22.
"You're a very good dancer" I tell her.
"Thank you," she says. "Do you mind if I smoke?"
"No, I don't mind," I say. I don't particularly like smoking but this girl is very interesting. She walks off to fetch her cigarettes but turns to flash a smile at me as she goes. Up close it is apparent that she is wearing quite a lot of makeup and she seems surprisingly nervous and vulnerable. I am fascinated by her. As she gets her cigarettes from her bag I notice that she takes a large swig of beer from a pint glass by the stage. It is one addict looking at another addict. I decide to bar-fine her if she will come with me. I want to talk to her, amongst other things.
I buy her another drink and order more rum and coke for me.
"Do you want a bar-fine?" I ask.
She is hesitant but then says "OK. But we have to go now. My boyfriend will come looking for me soon."
"All right, go and change your clothes."
I'll worry about the boyfriend later - right now my priority is to get her off the premises. I pay her bar-fine. Raquel returns having changed into jeans and a T-shirt. She still looks gorgeous.
"Where are you staying?" she asks.
"The Narra," I say.
"I have to bring my things. I have a suitcase."
This is unusual and I am a bit apprehensive as we venture out into the
brightly lit street carrying her suitcase. Raquel is looking around
furtively until she pulls me into another bar further down the street.
"I saw my boyfriend. He is a Korean. He is on drugs."
I look out from the bar and see a heavy-set Korean on the other side of the street. He appears to be in his twenties and he looks mean. Raquel and I stay in the bar, order drinks and allow time to pass. After half an hour, we quickly check outside, hail a trike and make for the hotel. First mission accomplished. The girl is safely at my hotel and I havenít been beaten or worse.
In my hotel room Raquel is still agitated.
"My boyfriend has got me on drugs," she says. "I need a fix." She canít relax. I pour us both rum and coke from the mini bar.
"Can I smoke some crack in your bathroom?" she asks.
"OK I suppose," I reply. This is probably a very bad idea but I know what it's like to be an addict.
"Do you want some, Honey," she asks.
"No thanks." Alcoholism's bad enough for me and if I got caught with crack here in the Philippines I'd likely get shot. Just having the stuff on this girl is very risky. Whereís that rum bottle? I need a fix.
Itís been over half an hour and Raquel still hasnít emerged from the
bathroom. I do hope she hasnít overdosed. I knock on the door, open it
and see her squatting in the corner smoking something. Her eyes are
glazed over but she is relaxed and happy.
"Sure you donít want some, Honey?"
"Yeah, Iím sure. Are you OK?"
"I am now. Nearly finished."
I leave her to it and five minutes later she comes out of the bathroom smiling.
"Do you want to see some pictures, Honey?"
She opens her suitcase and pulls out some photo albums. She then proceeds to show me photos of her family and her ex-boyfriends. She tells me her story. A couple of years ago she had two American boyfriends and one was in the army. The army boyfriend wanted to marry her and take her to Korea where he was stationed. The other guy was nicer to her but he was out of the country. The military man proposed and she accepted. When her other boyfriend found out he had pleaded with her to wait until he could come and see her. But ĎA bird in the handí as they say. The marriage was a disaster. In Korea she was mistreated and abused. And she had lost the boyfriend she preferred and who loved her. Returning to the Philippines to escape her marriage she took to drink and met a Korean who wanted to take her to Amsterdam. The Korean had introduced her to drugs a month ago. She was on a spiral down with no way back. She wanted to get to Manila to escape the Korean. Thatís why she had packed her suitcase.
By now she was relaxed and very amorous.
"Kiss my pussy, Honey. I like it."
I oblige her. Sheís very supple and enthusiastic in bed.
In the morning she says she has to go but she agrees to meet me in the hotel restaurant at noon. Raquel leaves her suitcase in my room. By the time she arrives at noon she is nervous and strung out again. She doesn't want to eat. I take her to my room where I decide to try and help her. I give Raquel five thousand pesos (100 dollars) to get her to Manila with some spending money. She'll probably just spend it on drugs but at least I've given her a fighting chance. She looks very relieved as she takes a trike to the main bus station. I don't see her in Angeles again although I can still find her picture in the comfort room of the bar where she used to work. Where are you now my Honey? Most likely dead.
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