Thailand serves the same function for the world at large that California served for the United States. It’s the place you wind up when you bomb out of every other place. Many an alcoholic abandoned his family in St. Louis or Omaha and drank himself to death in Los Angeles or San Francisco. He was not alone in this, for there were legions of men just like him in California’s coastal cities, using alcohol to dissolve the shackles that bound them back east.
In many third world countries these men arrive from all over the world: Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Great Britain, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, the United States. They’re not in search of anything; in fact they’re in full retreat. The reason the language barrier doesn’t slow them down is because they’re not interested in communicating with the women whose services they purchase. When it comes to these men, there’s literally no one home. If you look into their eyes, it’s like staring at a stroke victim. Error Message 404 Server Not Found.
Some of them can still take care of themselves. They shower and shave. Others, not so much. It doesn’t matter to the ladies who are waiting for them to die. The younger bar girls have many of these men “one the line,” and their major problem is keeping all these geezers straight. The men return to their home countries, clean out another bank or retirement account, and then return to their “new home.” Often it’s a small room in a high rise. Often the room has a balcony for drying clothes and where the air-conditioner vents.
If the room is on a sufficiently high floor, the balcony can also be used as a final exit to the ever-diminishing existence these men have chosen.