It was more like a mega-temple, said Brian. ‘And a fucking freak-show.’
‘Lets see,’ I said as we paid our entrance fee to the Mega Weird Temple and were told to leave our guns outside.
A carnival spirit pervaded this place. ‘It was Disneyland Thai style,’ said Brian as we walked past a replica of a Golden Mount Temple. ‘Holy shit,’ said Brian, as he pointed at a very large and flat stupa, ‘looks like a fucking UFO.’
‘Maybe we’ll hit the ghost ride later,’ I said to Brian as we entered the Rehab temple.
’No need,’ said Brian. ‘There should be enough zombies at this temple to keep the most die hard horror freaks satisfied.’
I looked over my shoulder and watched the foreign patients spewing their guts out. They were drinking large amounts of water and induce torrential sprays of spew. ‘More like a who can spew the furthest contest’ said Brian, who saw no use in the technique ‘other than bringing in other tourists to watch the freak show.’
‘They are just a bunch of junkies who don’t know what drugs were made for, ‘having a good fucking time.’
‘Da obvious,’ I said. We could hear loud trancing music. ‘That must be the place,’ said Brian.
The Rehab joint was one of five different ‘themed’ temples.
It didn’t take Brian long to point out the players.
This temple had been fair game for many years for the English press, said Brian. ‘Every fucking singer and songwriter in the world has been here, except Elton fucking John.’
He then pointed to said Brian and pointed out an Afro-American in robes.
‘He’s a junkie and he’s moving high-grade smack and speed and fucking the Hmong to boot.’ A refugee camp for Hmong was in the temple compound.
‘Now that’s not charitable, I said but most likely spot on. ‘And he tells everyone he’s a mercenary. He’s addicted to the media’s attention. But he’s just a common pimp and drug dealer.’ He then pointed at another monk. ‘He’s been in and out of jail for stealing. He even beat up an old granny after his purse-snatching backfired.’
On site was a resident DJ and inmate from the UK who was blasting righteous rave-beats over his system. The strong jungle beats reverberated across the limestone mountains and large Buddha statues around the temple compound. ‘I’m just waiting for Buddha to appear,’ said the DJ, ‘and ask us to make some noise.’
The DJ told us he even had his own recording studio courtesy of the Thai monks. ‘And he is taking massive amounts of valium,’ said another foreign monk. ‘I should know, I was supplying them.’ Brian said these kind of temples had been exposed over and over. “And that shit about vomiting is just another sham.’ He said the medicine needed to be absorbed into the body, ‘And not vomited out.’
About 100 meters from the Rehab Temple we could hear tiger roars. ‘Has to be the Tiger Temple,’ said Brian as we came across a foreign cameraman filming. From his accent, it was obvious he was Italian. ‘If you don’t move out of the way,’ said the cocky camera man, ‘I’ll thump you.’
Brian was pulling funny faces in front of the camera, blocking his view of a tourist patting tiger in chains.
‘And what are you going to about it, Spaghetti Head?’ asked Brian.
‘Just get the fuck out of my frames before I thump you,’ bellowed the angry cameraman as one of the tigers let out a loud whelping noise.
‘Just a trainer abusing the tigers again,’ said Brian as we watched the tiger getting the flogging of its’ life. ‘Brings in the tourists though,’ said Brian, now speaking to the cameraman. ‘So why aren’t you filming this little example of cruelty to animals for your little promo documentary?’
Spaghetti Head was about to nudge Brian out the way, with his heavy camera.
‘Too late Figaro,’ said Brian as he decked the Italian with a king hit to the jaw. The camera fell to the ground, and so did its operators. His eyes rolled as he landed at the abbot’s feet who proceeded administering him holy water. A horde of tourists gathered for the scene, snapping around, thinking it was just a regular show.
‘Only one viewing of this show today,’ said Brian who told me to check out the retail shop that was crowded with Chinese tourists. Cuddly tiger toys and fake paws were selling like hot cakes. ‘I bet the monk’s got some real ones out the back,’ said Brian as we entered a tiny house called ‘ The Love Distillery. ’’
‘He’d extract fat and oil from aborted babies,’ said Brian, as we looked at the displays of aborted babies in jars.
‘How fucked up is that Brian?’
‘Very fucked up,’ said Brian as the conman, his 40s smeared some love potion on my back and then started whacking it very hard with a sword. It fucking hurt.
‘Luckily he only used the flat side,’ said Brian, as I gingerly walked through fields of poppy and frolicked in the cool mountain air. I was gently caressed by a big breasted beauty. They were the biggest and best boobs that money could buy. They were Bumrungrad Hospital specials, sculpted by God’s artisans. God Bless the Thai’s love of aesthetics. And then I moaned as she pulled my head into her luscious… Smack, smack, thump, thump. Brian had to stop the retard from doing any more damage.
I was knocked out briefly unconscious by the brutal beating.
It was the briefest of highs but that the love potion did bring on some trippy visions.
The woman of my dreams was real, and offered me a round with her two beckoning water melons.
‘Only 1000 baht, short time,’ said Brian who pulled me out of the Love Distillery.
‘She was a fucking lady boy,’ he said as we followed the loud noises coming from the next temple.
Thugs were crawling, sliding, slithering in a temple compound as they were acting out their magical tattoos. The abbot blessed them accordingly the wai khru, paying respect to your tattooist.
Brian suspected they were drugged up to the eyeballs on yaba to get them in the zone.
‘I could easily put on an angry monkey look with a hit of high grade KNLA speed,’ said Brian as the abbot was explaining how unfortunate it was that his temple attracted gangsters, as he pointed out 101 Corpses- a famous hitman from Ratchaburi who had one hundred and one hits to his name. He was walking towards us. Brian acted quickly as he saw 101 pull out a shotgun from under his jacket. Before the hitman could blow the abbot’s head off, Brian zapped him with old sparky. “That’s 102 corpses now,’ he said.
The wizened old monk wearing a glow in the dark robes and wearing a Rolex watch accepted our donation. His living quarters had all the fine trimmings of someone who had come by a large inheritance. The door handles and framed pictures on the wall looked like gold, said Brian.
We were at AIDS hospice, our last freakish temple for the day.
‘It has promises of death,’ said Brian, who like me was assaulted by the smell of the dying.
‘I bet by the look of the abbot’s little palace, he’s making a fortune from the dying,’ said Brian, as we entered the palliative care ward. Tourists were racing through the room, taking selfies, then disappearing after making merit.
‘Talk about ambulance chasers, ‘ said Brian who I followed into a quiet ward. Before we entered, we took in the display. A lady boy was floating around a tank supposedly full of formaldehyde.
‘Yucky,’ I said. ‘You can even see her punctured implants.’
‘Not even death is sacred anymore,’ said Brian as we heard a chirpy voice welcome us.
‘Hello Darling,’ said a lady-boy, in her 20s. ‘We are dying to meet you,’ said one of six other gorgeous lady-boys. They looked like they just got off at the wrong stop on the way to a Miss Tiffany pageant.
Then another gorgeous lady-boy entered the airy and bright room claiming she was Miss Tiffany.
I looked again. It was a room full of very sick lady-boys, too tired and skinny to move, who were practically moaning their last breaths. Brian thought they were moaning for his cock.
‘Stop, stop,’ I said. ‘Can’t you see they are full-blown AIDS patients?
‘Fucking Hey,’ said Brian who snapped out of the death spell. ‘This place is more fucked up than most. But it makes for a great freaky theme park.’
‘Talking about weird temple events,’ said Brian. ‘I once hired 60 drunks from Esaan.’ He looked at the throngs of tourists buzzing around, taking pictures, and stuffing their faces with snacks. ‘They were nothing but a bunch of pissheads love nothing better than getting in a durnken trance.’
‘The more they are in trances, ‘ he continued. ‘The more booze I feed them. That’s how you get the best out of these clowns.’
He said the spirit mediums were chain-smoking cigarettes and boozing it up hard on the brandy.
‘Then one of the fuckers jumped on my back and started attacking me with a knife.’
‘Fucking whackos,’ I said as Brian continued his story.
‘I had hired cameramen and photographers to document the event. They swarmed around me as I hammed it up with grimaces of extreme pain and ecstasy, in equal measure. The drunk was thrashing hard and speaking mumbo-jumbo that probably translated as give me more booze. But the fucker wouldn’t stop. So I pulled out Old Sparky and fucking zapped him to Buddha Hell and back.’
He said a doco made on him did the rounds in China. ‘I’m somewhat a cult hero in certain occult circles.’
I didn’t doubt the veracity of it one bit as we left the Mega Weird Temple for a quiet temple in the north east of Thailand.
Tee really believed this monk had special powers. Tee was an architect and part-time artist. He was Chinese-Thai and had a heart of gold. He mixed with the very rich Thais and for kicks hung out with low life foreigners.
As we drove down a dirt road and into the temple compound, Tee told us if he controlled his breathing, he could reach heightened states of consciousness. He was always sucking on a lump of rock with a hole in it. ‘If I breathe through the hole I’ll pick up on the energies of the universe and reach a higher state of consciousness.’
‘How very Josh Wink of you’ laughed Brian, winking himself. Tee goggled at him. ‘Never mind,’ said Brian, ‘but anyway that’s not right. You are only depriving yourself of oxygen, and hence the head-rush. It’s got nothing to do with enlightenment you idiot.’
‘No,’ said Tee. ‘If I breathe through the little hole, electronic particles will vibrate at a higher frequency and eventually I’ll be tuning into the higher order of things.’
The stone balls were made by the monk who used ashes from the crematoria, explained Tee. ‘It’s then put in a sphere-mould and baked at extreme high temperatures.’ For this reason, Tee believed the stone had supernatural powers.
A few bungalows were scattered around a the compound. The ground was sandy and we were surrounded by rice and corn plots. Tee was very excited to meet his guru. Most nights, around 3 am in the morning, Tee said he’d tune into the monk’s show. It was creating a bit of a stir in Bangkok.
Tee handed over an envelope of money to the monk. He was in his late 60’s and chewing beetle nut. He had that glazed look of someone who drank too much rice hooch.
Tee said the monk was famous for courting the Naga fireballs in the nearby Mekong River.
The monk was in frail health and drank lots of rice whiskey mixed with local herbs. His eyes darted around as Tee told us he was a living enigma. ‘He’s the reincarnation of Lord Buddha,’ said Tee, who changed Buddhist gurus like he did his underwear. This monk just happened to be the next big thing in Buddha Land.
Tee wanted the monk to demonstrate his powers by invoking the Naga dragon to spew out fire-balls from the Mekong.
Brian didn’t waste time and organized a fisherman to park his boat in the middle of the Mekong. Brian had bought some fireworks and Tee was really going to witness a miracle. “And you’ll even sell more of your dodgy stone ball amulets,” he told the monk. Brian really felt sorry for the old man who desperately needed to raise funds for his run-down temple.
Late afternoon, we all jumped in the pickup trucks and made our way down the Mekong. Shadows moved in the dark and whispers seemed to float across the turgid water. Across the river, lights twinkled from shacks on the Laos side. Tee goaded the monk on. Tap tap on the water. No fireballs. The monk’s followers watched. He tapped the water again. No fireballs. He was losing face. Then Brian said ‘Jai yen, jai yen- just wait, we haven’t given the Naga a chance.”
As the clocks struck midnight, fire balls shot out from the middle of the river. Tee’s faith in the monk was now cemented as we headed back to Bangkok.
‘And when I told Tee what really happened, he went ballistic,’ said Brian.
‘I doubt it,’ I said. ‘Tee lives for these kind of discrepancies.’
As the tuk tuk navigated the footpaths and back roads to get us quickly to Petchaburi Road, I said it was time to meet some more Planet Bangkok luminaries.