Thai Surprise by Taylor Dibbert

September 3, 2012 Comments Off on Thai Surprise by Taylor Dibbert

Colombo to Bangkok to Koh Samet: the beach. A vacation. Poorly planned in about forty minutes.Sometimes I wonder if I’m getting too old for this. The hangovers are bad enough, and the guilt is even worse.

The island I’m on is full of Thai families, although I still see plenty of young people. There’s no arrack available, so I’m drinking vodka. I guess that pineapple juice is the best option for a mixer, but it doesn’t matter.

I see so many older men with younger girls, but that’s not what I came here to do. I am no longer in Sri Lanka; that’s for sure.

I’ve been at the bar for a while. By the time I get back from the bathroom, someone is sitting on the stool next to mine. Based on the tattoo, the makeup, and her ability to start flirting with me so effortlessly, I make a few basic assumptions, one of which is that this is going nowhere.

She’s attractive, but I’m having a hard time with her particular line of work.

She’s read Tolstoy and Yeats, prefers Barcelona over Madrid, and has some good arguments to support her opinions. She considers Van Gogh overrated, Picasso a genius, and she believes that art museums have gotten far too expensive, except for the ones that are free.

The bars along the beach will stay open for a bit longer. Instead of sticking around, we decide to wander along the main drag, away from the action. The street is poorly lit; I hope I can find my way back home later.

She says she’s a writer herself, and that she has even published a book of poetry. She reveals this with such nonchalance, as if she were an English lit professor.

Perhaps I have been unfair. Everyone’s got to make a living. Maybe I am being too judgmental.


I wake up with a splitting headache. I need to catch a boat back to the capital before I make any more mistakes. I am starting to think that, at least for me, inhibitions and alcohol are mutually exclusive.

“Time to say goodbye,” she tells me.

“I know.”  I need to end this.

I walk her down to the hotel lobby.

“I am not who you think I am,” she says with a grin.

“Okay,” is the only reply I can think of.


I am now at 30,000 feet, wondering where might be the nearest clinic I can go to right after I deplane. Reading will take my mind off it. The more I read of Lessing, the more I like her. As I find where I left off reading, I notice that my bookmark has been replaced. Someone has put their business card in there.

This can’t be possible. Maybe they just have the same last name.

But this card looks so official…

© 2012 Taylor Dibbert

Taylor Dibbert earned a BA in political science from the University of Georgia and a Master of International Affairs degree from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). He has worked in Latin America, Europe, Africa and South Asia. His writing has appeared in Slow Trains Literary Journal, Foreign Policy Journal, Global Politician and elsewhere. Dibbert is the author of the book Fiesta of Sunset: The Peace Corps, Guatemala and a Search for Truth. He is a columnist for International Policy Digest.

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