Delightful Asian Infatuation
Travel, and Romance, in Tropical Paradise
Below: 1. the trailer, 2. the blurb, 3. excerpts, 4. the map.
Several times, Hans fell in love with wonderful, respectable ladies of the area. Until he married one of them.
This is Hans Meier’s account of his delightful Asian encounters. Among them are Noi in Thailand, Isah in Indonesia, Cambodian Norah and Vietnamese girl Phuong. As an intrigued westerner, Hans Meier shares their amazing local culture and their special Asian mindsets.
What happens when boy meets girl on the Asian trail? Hans Meier has stories to tell – sometimes heart-warming, touching, often funny. Always insightful, well-natured and non-offensive.
You will travel straight from your armchair with a smile. You will learn a lot, you might even fall in love. Stunning photographs add eye-candy to the experience.
Note: This book is perfectly family friendly. There is no explicit language, no graphic detail and no red-light visit. The author meets respectable people only, on beaches, in parks and restaurants.
Ever dreamt of discovering delightful Southeast Asia? You like the Asian ways, the food, the people? You could see yourself with a special Asian someone? Or you have been there, done that, and want to reminisce? This book tells it all:
20 sparkling stories, written from real life, introduce very special ladies and their charming environment. Experience life styles and thinking in Southeast Asia – in entertaining, fun ways, easy to follow (35.000 words, like a short novel of 110 pages, professionally prepared by an Amazon recommended studio).
Along the read, you’ll visit popular destinations such as Bangkok and Isaan in Thailand; Angkor Wat and Phnom Penh in Cambodia; Solo Surakarta and the temples of Borobodur in Indonesia. Plus all those charming villages and provincial capitals that tourists rarely get to see. And you’ll feel it was you who fell in love on that beach, or in that river side restaurant.
Questions left open? Then check the book’s executive summary, Ten Rules for Delightful, Successful Encounters – and enjoy your next trip to the region even more.
Excerpts from Delightful Asian Infatuation – Travels, And Romance, in Tropical Paradise
Isah in Central Java, Indonesia
Isah was my first Southeast Asian lover. A Central Java rice farmer’s daughter with a bunch of five or seven brothers and sisters, Isah was the one child chosen to invest in. She was sent to classes for English, computer and tourism. Yet the family money would not make ends meet, so during holidays Isah worked as a waitress.
Java is Indonesia’s main island. I staid on Java’s south coast in Pangandaran, on the Pantai Timur (lit. the eastern beach). A sudden afternoon downpour interrupted my town stroll and drove me into a restaurant that catered to Indonesian tourists. I was not hungry, but I needed a dry space, so I ordered local tea with lemon.
Isah was the waitress. Isah and I were totally alone on the premises.
Too bad, I thought, now I’m easy prey. The Javaneses’ “Where-you-come-from-Where-you-go” can wreck your nerves, and in this restaurant I sure was exotic.
Isah delivered the tea with a smile and then left me alone with my Jakarta Post for over an hour.
The rain had stopped. “Harga berappa”, I called for the bill. Isah materialized out of nowhere, brought the bill, then the change.
“Where-you-come-from”, she finally asked.
Phuong in South Vietnam
I staid in Sa Dec, the sleepy riverside provincial capital in Southern Vietnam, in the rotten best hotel in town. One late afternoon I had settled in an open-air coffeeshop next to the road. I opened the guide book to look for Thai Air’s Saigon phone number. My return flight was about a week from then, but I wanted to go out even earlier because I’d gotten tired of traveling.
I heard a school bell. Too bad, I thought, now 1000 uniformed school kids will descend on me – the kids’ “HELLO MISTAAAH” can wreck your nerves, and in this remote town I sure was exotic. Just a reason more to fly out early. Why didn’t I check for schools before settling in that coffee shop? And I had just ordered another hot black Vietnam style coffee, those with the filter right on top of the glass.
But almost no kids passed the coffeeshop, only a few lady teachers in their lovely silken white Ao Dais. One attractive young lady was walking her simple bicycle and stood there in my view for quite a while, looking back all the time, maybe searching for a colleague, until she moved on and I turned back to my guide book.
That was Phuong. And when I looked up from the guide book a little later – the Thai Air phone number now written on a paper in my wallet – Phuong suddenly sat one table further upriver from me. As soon as our eyes met she smiled and asked “Why do you travel alone?”
Then, “Don’t you have a family, a wife?”
“Please join my table”, I said and ordered iced coffee with condensed milk for her. Such a good English in Sa Dec!
Norah in Cambodia
At Phnom Penh International Airport, Norah waits for me right behind passport control. But we can’t hug so soon. Passport control is especially slow in Phnom Penh airport. They still have this interesting sign. In September 2003 it had been a quick laser-printout. As of April 2004 it reappeared in professional print with yellow letters on glossy blue cardboard:“We apologize for any delays that are caused by the use of our new computer system.”
Norah’s and my combined beams can’t go unnoticed. When I finally manage to show my passport and get photographed with a Logitech webcam, the officer behind the high counter inquires: “She your girlfriend?”
“Oh”, he smiles dreamily, “she beautiful, you very lucky“.
“Yes”, I smile dreamily.
The fact that she made it right to the passport desk, where she shouldn’t be, doesn’t worry him.
Seconds later, she holds me, trembling, as if we hadn’t met for a decade, or as if my return had not been clear at all.
“Oh darling, my darling”, she whispers into my ear, almost under tears, “sorry I am late“.
“But you aren’t late, we’ve met right on time.”
“No, I wanted to see your airplane come down already, but I missed it, because I was so busy today.”
Noi in Isaan, Thailand
Near the clock tower, right on the edge of lazy Mekong river, there is this string of internet services. Khun Noi walks in and buys the usual password for one-hour-usage, that’s a mere 15 baht up in the provinces. As so many Asians, she has a Yahoo account, so she logs into Yahoo-dot-com, and for the first time she will write to a westerner!
Shy Khun Noi, believe it.
There she goes: “Sawaas dee khaaa Khun Hans :-)… Sabai-dee mai khaa ? :-)”
All her shy, easing Thai smiles she transcripts into smiley emoticons. I guess she had pondered her move for weeks, she may have consulted dictionaries, friends and family, is it decent for a single Thai lady to write to a single European man; but now she finally types across the miles: “You remember we talked about the old photographs my parents have? 🙂 ? You want see them, chai mai? OK! But you promise me, you send pictures back? You send me promise, OK, I can send pictures to you 🙂 Oh, and Isaan now not so hot anymore 🙂 Can sleep well now! 🙂 Good luck to you, from Khun Noi :-)!”
Khun Noi hits “Send”.
Lek in Isaan, Thailand
8.30 a.m. A telephone call on the hotel phone for me? Slowly I arise from my dreams. Oh, I am in Udon Thani, right? That hotel again. Who might be calling?
Oh, my fruit lady.
“Sawas-dii khrap”, I merely manage to whisper and cuddle back to the cushion, pressing the receiver to my ear. Half dreaming and half listening to her warm voice from outer world.
I am not sure what she wants. Our common vocabulary does not exceed a total of 30 words in two and a half languages.
“Sabai-dii mai khrap?” (Me, asking her well-being.)
“Sabai-dii khaa.” (She, confirming her well-being.)
8.37 a.m., I try to speak a full sentence: “Khun mah hotel mai, chawp mai khrap?” I ask if she likes to come to the hotel.
I had thought of having breakfast together. But I realize only after this longest Thai speech I ever made that I might sound sleazy: inviting, from out of my bed, a young poor fruit selling lady to a hotel. What with my bedroom voice, as I am still half asleep and fully horizontal. And there it comes: her very firm “NO”, very clear. Seems to contain a little smile though, like “Maybe I like, but I cannot” or maybe like “I know you’d try, my little boy, but I am not like that”. But who knows Thai ladies?
I feel bad now, indecent, so I try to make sure why I had invited her to the hotel. As we don’t have a common word for breakfast, I say: “Drink coffee, yaak mai khrap?” (Would you like to drink coffee with me?)
She doesn’t want. But she wants to know more about this exotic European: “So you like coffee very much, do you?”
Fon in Bangkok, Thailand
“One more Beer Singh, sir?”
“No, one beer was already enough”, I murmur more to myself. Then louder: “I’d like a lemon soda please.”
The waitress gives me a puzzled look and swerves off. They have this interesting waitress here, Fon is her name. No smiles, you know. Very serious. She constantly seems to say “No! I am not one of those ladies.” When the temperature drops below chilly 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit), she is known to wear a woollen Norwegian ski pullover, fancy that together with her waist long black hair.
No smile. For nobody.
The waitress rushes back to my table and – with a smile! How have I deserved this from Mrs. Stern? Does she know I am in love with her country? She delivers my lemon soda and proudly places a small plate with cut fruit in front of me. “Fruit free for you, sir”, she goes, with a very affirmative smile! In a jet stream of black hair she is off again.
About These Excerpts
These are short excerpts of 20 longer stories from Hans Meier’s e-book Delightful Asian Infatuation – Travel, And Romance, in Tropical Paradise. These excerpts have a total of about 1.700 words. The e-book has 35.000 words (like a short novel of around 110 pages).
Compared to the full e-book, the excerpts have been slightly edited to ensure clarity within the excerpts.
And the map.
Here’s where it happened: