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I had a friend whom I mentioned in other articles.  One article was mostly about her, and she made the title.  So, this is called the second story Ning, because that is what it is, another story about when I learned from Ning.  

As an update, this Ning was a sex worker whom I met early in my arrive in Thailand about 2009.  She was not specifically beautiful, and she was not a successful sex worker.  She had come from Isan, like so many women do, and I found her on the street.  She was a happy but very calm person, which was a good match for me at that time.  We lived together for a while and took some trips together.  I signed up for some education about how to teach English although I didn’t need it, but it was a prestigious program with a program to connect new teachers with teaching opportunities to teach in and many countries.  Ning did not understand and assumed I left her and would never be back.  That is the kind of language difficulty when language is a problem. I did plan to come back.

Ning got some help from a friend with a pickup truck.  Furniture I had bought for us both to use in the apartment I rented went with her to her home near the Loas border. That, by the way, was about a 16-hour bus ride from Bangkok. 

When my course was over, I flew up to Udon Thani and rented a car to go the rest of the way.  She lived in in a small village maybe another hours drive east of Udon.  This was my first experience of life in truly rural Ison farm country. Yet this environment is the source if a large percentage of Thai sex workers who many foreign tourists long to meet.   

We will talk separately about other Thai sex workers favored by native Thai men.

First, learned that her family was very small, a son of a sister no longer with them and an uncle.  Several friends of the uncle hung around the house.  Regarding the house, the most important feature of the house is the bamboo platform under a shelter in front of the house.  People almost lived their lives on that platform. 

Most of the day the uncle and his friends sat on that platform and drank Thai whiskey.  People could easily sleep on that platform and probably do.  The house was one story, but the rooms were large because it seemed like one large room.  In one corner of this house was a stake of the furniture I bought for our apartment in Bangkok.  It was not in use, dusty and looked like it was undergoing deuteriation. 

Bathroom was outside in the back with squat toilets which, in Albania, I learned to call Turkish Toilets.  Other than my furniture there was no other furniture that I an recall now.  My friend Ning provided me with a few blankets, and we slept next to each other on the wood floor.  The next day I sat with the uncle and his friends.  We all tried to talk while sharing the whiskey.  They had a few laughs because I hardly drank any while they drank plenty.  It was great fun. 

Later a young guy showed up with a delicacy, a large field rat.  He skinned it and cooked it on a charcoal grill which seemed like the only source for cooking.  Just looking at my rat reminded me of my microwave back home.  But, frankly, the couple of bites of rat were pretty good.  I would like to say it tasted just like chicken to try to be fun, but no, it tasted like rat.   was assure that the field rats were very safe and not to be confused with rats in the city.  Okay, so I had a little more Thai whiskey. 

Overall, it was a great experience and my first time I got into a rural part of Ison. 

Ning and I did not get back together but that was never our intention.  But we did stay friends for many years.  I paid her way to take a nine-day course in massage at Watt Po and later she returned to do work in massage in Bangkok – only massage with no indication that sex work was part of her job at that time.

Since then I have other chances to learn more about village life in Isaan, rural Thailand.  One thing I learned is that when I seek a conversation with a sex worker in either Bangkok or Pattaya will ask if they are from Isaan, and usually they are.  Next, I will ask where in Isaan.  They often answer with a name like Bure Ram.  That is a name of both a provenance and the capital of the provenance, so I ask if they live in the city or a village.  The answer is often that they lived in a village. 

That is my clue to ask if, as child they slept on the floor, and again the answer was often yes.  Now, when a sex worker will tell me business was poor or it rained a lot and then they ask me to give them money for their rent, I know they probably have a simple room (about 3,000 bath a month) with little or no furniture.  I saw the “room” of a friend who lived in Bangkok with her 82-year-old father and saw two bed rolls of blankets on the floor. 

Why did I tell you this?  For one, it might imply that I have gravitas to claim understanding of these aspects of Thai culture.  And second, this explains a lot.  It makes clear libertarian understanding of sex work in Thailand.  As the author of LOVE, MONEY, AND OBLIGATION – REF XX – makes clear love can be different in different places and in many poorer countries obligation to be a part of the welfare of the whole family is also a part of love.