“Five star.” He starts pouring yet another glass, “You see someone drink this….”
He trails off, motioning his hands higher and higher, like he was climbing a ladder.
“Then they are O.K.,” He said, “Five Star.” he reminded me, this time with 5 fingers spread wide.
I never contemplated Thailand as a brandy mecca, so I decide to take his word for it. Puba is grinning at the comment, his big smile looks deceivingly exaggerated when compared with Mers’ Clint Eastwood impression. Mers’ kind of scares me. Its hard to tell how old he is, and I suspect he’d be pretty quick to cut you. I make sure not to look at his wife.
Clint Eastwood sips.
“Want something to eat? We have fish head left.” Puba is grinning with commitment. When I tell him Im full, he laughs, as if he suspected I might say that. Everyone knew I wouldn’t even know where to start eating a fish head.
Clint Eastwood’s lips move. A smile.
For a second, the three of us stare off at debauchery bay, a string stupidly themed bars located across the lagoon. Mindless music competes for attention, like the scant make-up caked girls that populate the shore. The total effect is dislocated booms, off beat and out of tune, a million car wreaks. All the audio grace of a seizure.
Clint Eastwood squints. One Eye.
We are the only ones at Pubas Relaxation bar.It is all a stark contrast. Puba’s joint is the end of the road, located on the outskirts of the small hotel worker shanty town. Its only draw, a hand painted sign promising two things; Puba and Relaxation. A third unadvertised draw being a strong, if not redundant, Bob Marly collection.
Across the way, someone is spraying an impressive stream of fire into the air. Some sort of outrageous fire show has started, flames spinning up and down the beach. It all adds to a contrived and bizarre Vegas vibe which seems, if nothing else, very unsafe.
Clint Eastwood is unimpressed. Which he shows by squinting some more, and lifting glass to his lips.
Collectively, we peel ourselves away from the madness. We talk about tourists, Puba leading the charge, “We dont like big talkers. Flashing money. We thai people, we like to sit and talk, not like that.” He points back to the mess. “We dont care about skin (color), we care about whats in here,” he points to his chest, his eyes going a little bit glassy. It all seems very honest.
Clint Eastwood nods in agreement and drains the remainder of his bottle.