Thailand is full of people who like to speak to you, welcome you, offer their services at any moment, anything. They are possibly the most friendly people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. The area we live in is fairly tourist free, so when we get the Bangkok bus to our city, we are invariably the only white people on board. Everyone shows an interest, and often stares, which we have become used to. They also test their limited English on us wherever possible.
This is how we met Babe.
On the way back from Bangkok on Tuesday we were fairly down. Our visas weren’t sorted and we had wasted time going to Bangkok. Jade has an app on her phone similar to Ellen DeGeneres’ app ‘Heads Up’ and so we set about playing it in our seats; may as well give everyone something interesting to stare at. Clearly thinking we were approachable, a guy sitting in the seat in front of us began talking to us, and introduced himself as Babe. Yep, you read that right, Babe.
We sat talking to him on and off for the remaining hours of our journey to Roi-Et, explaining we were teachers here. He was lovely and polite, asking anything he could think of in English, telling us as much as he knew how to about himself, and it was all lovely. When we got off the bus on Tuesday night, we said our goodbyes when we got in a Tuk Tuk and he got on his bike, and we went off our own ways.
On Wednesday night, much to our surprise, there was a knock on the door. The neighbours sometimes knock on our door, but apart our American friends, the Big C Tuk Tuk drivers, and our schools, no-one knows where we live. I am sure you can imagine our surprise when the smiling face of Babe was there asking if we wanted to go and get some food.
We decided to go, because he had made effort to come and see us, and we wanted to see the night market that we had yet to go to. He bought us dinner and a lovely strawberry yoghurt smoothie thing, and was painfully kind and polite throughout. It was a little embarrassing to be called teacher all the time though, it sounded like we were out with a student. We went on to the local 7/11 to buy a drink each, and set about walking home. This is when the storm hit, and the rain came crashing down; we were soaked in seconds.
We took shelter under a shop awning at the side of the road and waited until it eased off before returning home. Our selfie of the day was obviously with him, and so he added us on Facebook so we could send him the pictures. As great as this was, it unleashed the notification floodgates as he started to like, comment on, and post things all over our profiles.
He spoke to us both over Facebook chat, and both said it felt a little like he was attempting to take us both on dates at the same time?! When Jade said she was in Bangkok, he decided he was going to pop round to our house to take me for food as ‘Teacher Jade in Bangkok, I be your Friend’. As I was on the way to the Bus station and couldn’t go with him, he offered me a lift to the station on his bike, helped sort my tickets, and after a KFC and dairy queen, I left on my bus to Bangkok.
On Sunday afternoon, Jade was speaking to her Mum on skype, and decided to tell her al about the hilarious situation. Either his ears were burning, or he just has perfect comedic timing, because he knocked on the door during the call and asked if we were free. It was a hot day, so I got him a drink to cool down, and before we knew it, he was sitting on our floor showing us videos of Roi-Et Spas, Teacher Michael, and Euro Typhoon jets. To say it was strange…!!
The problem with this was we were tired after the night bus, we wanted to clean the house, and we needed to prepare for our lessons. No amount of hinting, telling him we were busy, or even setting up work on the table and starting our lesson plans could deter him. He even popped off to the local shop and appeared with a coke and ice cream each, before making a fan out of paper and fanning us while we worked. The whole thing is just ridiculously hilarious.
We thought ignoring him on Facebook and attempting to kick him out on Sunday would have done the trick….but no. We were inside the bedroom watching TV on Monday evening, all the lights off at about 8:30 when we heard a knock on the door. Of course it could have been a neighbour, or the landlord, but no, it was Babe, just coming to drop some cokes off for us!
The worst bit about this all is that it has come so late in our time in Roi-Et. Our last week is not the time we wanted to be making Thai friends to go out with and spend time doings things with. It’s such a shame. We have to pack, and see the Americans, and sort out our onwards plans, and get rid of the furniture in our house over the next few days and just won’t have time to burn popping to the local market and watching trailers for The Hobbit on Youtube. As lovely as he is, he needs to get a few more friends. Harsh, but true.
I have no idea if he is going to come round (but realistically, he probably will) or how we will get rid of him is he does pop his head in, or how he found out where we lived in the first place. He is lovely though, honest!