When Paul gleaned from a terribly friendly gay couple back at the Mekong that one could take up lodgings on a military airbase in Thailand he knew it would take no persuasion to get Andrew onboard. ‘Wing 5’, a military base belonging to The Royal Thai Airforce, amazingly allowed tourists to stay at a hotel put in place for the airmen and their families.
As long as their was room of course.
Just over the runway and adjacent to the hotel was a gloriously unspoilt beach. Cleaned and swept by the cadets when they were not in the cockpit. In fact, as Paul had only spotted just one very small and very old banger of a plane in two days, he wondered if there was much real action at all.
Paul had always had a penchant for a snug uniform and a peak cap, perhaps due to his early years when being schooled at a naval ‘borstal’ in Waterloo. Most days it had felt much like ‘The Battle Of Waterloo’ He had loathed the violent establishment. But the hang-up for a touch of naval brass still clung to him like a tight flak suit.
Sadly, most of the airmen with whom they’d touched base seemed a little too young and too petite to trigger any flights of fancy.
They were more like fledglings. Aiming high, but quite obviously some had not yet left the ground. There was certainly no chance of shooting a bit of ‘Top Gun’ – but the recruits were very amiable none the less. Paul had been hoping for a touch of Val Kilmer. But on Wing 5 it was more a case of nice man rather than ‘Iceman’.
He certainly wouldn’t cometh!
The boys had reached Prachuap Khiri Khan, a small Thai seaside town near the border with Myanmar, just a couple of days before they’d got their wings. They had taken a fantastic, if lethargic, sleeper train down to Bangkok. They’d spent a couple of hours at the almost majestic Huamphalong Station, before boarding another choo-choo to chug down the track to Prachuap. This journey had proved a little more turbulent.
Paul had secured he and his husband comfortable seats for the first part of the five-hour trip, the latter section, however, proved less ‘plane’ sailing.
The diminutive guard marched Paul swiftly along the platform of an unpronounceable station in the centre of the country at supersonic speed. He then made a sign for them to board the very front carriage of the train. He showed Paul to a nicely padded seat surrounded by a plethora of miserable Frenchmen.
‘One person here,’ he gestured, and then took Paul to the front of the engine and then disconcertingly pointed to the luggage compartment, into which a small seat, sans cushioning, had been squeezed.
‘You here’, he said.
‘Lovely’, Paul replied smilingly, not meaning a word of it. It was, after all, just big enough for a small Buddhist monk who’d recently been on hunger strike. Not something Paul had done for a while. Starvation or monkdom, if he were to be totally candid!
When the time came the boys were instructed by the little ‘Hitleresque’ guard to take their luggage to their new compartment. They lumbered clumsily through the train, struggling with their rucksacks and oversized hand baggage, knocking out teeth and removing hairpieces as they went. On their arrival in cabin 1, they were greeted enthusiastically with sour faced contempt and no attempt by anyone to make a gangway through which they could walk. Paul spun sharply a couple of times, in feigned surprise, trying to bash a little bonhomie into the rude bastards – but rien!
All the French they had met this time in the east had, like a bad vin rouge, not travelled well. They were tannic and left a hideous aftertaste. Certainly not giving off the charming Gallic bouquet their French friends at home possessed. Paul assumed that they must have come from Paris! A city known for it’s lack of cordiality, even amongst it’s fellow countrymen.
There was certainly no ‘entente cordiale’ on this railway.
Andrew, (quelle surprise), was then shown to his roomy chair in club class, and Paul was led into the hold, forced to wedge himself between fourteen valises and a mop and bucket.
But he was more than content to be squashed in on his own rather than having to share the malodorous atmosphere of the main cabin.
When they eventually arrived at the little coastal town, frequented mostly by Thai tourists, they had failed to get any of the tuk-tuk drivers to understand them. This despite having the flight plan for their home-share written down in perfect Thai script. These guys were certainly not high flyers when it came to reading and writing.
Paul’s energetic semaphore didn’t help much either, and after ten minutes of polite, yet infuriating bemusement, the boys set out on foot to find their room for the night. They arrived, a couple of miles later and almost collapsed under the weight of their 23 kilo backpacks. Paul cursed himself inwardly for making sure they had both used all of their British Airways allowance. Andrew did the same, but in a less introverted fashion. Much like a bitchy, superannuated air stewardess.
Paul knew he’d overpacked!
A couple of mornings later, after having touched air base, Paul and Andrew made a pre-dawn trip to a Hill-top temple – minus baggage. They usually saw 4am from a vampiric perspective, yet in Thailand they rose as early as monks.
Or rather – monkeys. Because the particular shrine they were climbing towards had been taken over by two types of that primitive primate.
And they weren’t monkeying around.
Paul knew the pack had a fearsome reputation locally, often stealing visitor’s cameras and sunglasses, but he had no idea they were always so ill-tempered. Surely, he considered cheekily, these belligerent little bastards had also been shipped over from Paris!
Andrew managed to bypass the bothersome buggers, but after his third attempt, Paul aborted his climb. A huge, cantankerous git, had blocked his take-off each time, baring teeth and flying at him each time he took a step higher. The aggressive simian had taken an instant dislike to him, it was quite obvious. A clear case of air rage. As Paul attempted to front things out, the affronted ape took umbrage plus a large section of Paul’s curls, torn from his head in what was now an even clearer case of hair rage. Paul pushed the malevolent monkey from his shoulder, avoiding eye contact, which he knew was a no no. He shouted to Andrew for aid, but there was no response. He was obviously on another planet. The planet of the apes!
Only after another hard shove from Paul, and another paw-full of hair later did the monkey business cease.
Paul was slightly shaken. The creature had been in fight mode and he was unashamedly in flight mode. It was a little uncourageous he knew. Whatever, he wasn’t going to end up with a black arm after an unwelcome monkey bite, as he had once witnessed during one of he and Andrew’s previous oriental adventures.
And he wanted some hair left!
He made a sharp descent to ground level and waited on the tarmac for Andrew to do the same.
Once Andrew had made a safe landing, they then headed across the runway and to the stunning monkey-free beach called Ao Manao; Lime Bay in Thai. But there were no sour French faces on this stretch of track.
Just a couple of stunning gay porn stars from that wonderful country, restoring Paul’s faith in the place and providing a little ‘je ne sais quoi’ to the day.
The temperature as well as the libido was literally soaring now. The suffocating humidity practically saturating. Paul could feel what was left of his hair expanding exponentially on Wing 5.
It was following it’s very own flight path and would soon be in dangerous need of some hair traffic control.
But Paul knew there was nothing to be done folically speaking down in the tropics. He knew he just had to fly with it. Even though he was well aware that his big, bouffant look did absolutely nothing for his husband’s landing gear.
He knew the best he could do was to fly solo.
Although the terribly charming couple of Parisian Red Devil’s made a tandem flight seem most appealing, their bodywork and precision of movement being deliciously aerobatic.
Vive La France !!!
Paul knew it was time to take off before he booked himself a very cute seat on Air France. And this time he would be in club.
‘Le Mile ‘Igh Club!!!’
Wing 5 had certainly lived up to expectations. It was magnifique in every way.
But it was definitely time to take flight.