There’s a list of musts when you come to Thailand. One of them being to watch Muy Thai boxing. We went to a venue that was tucked back in the back of a building, looking rough and smelling equally as bad. Just like anywhere in Thailand, we passed a million motor bikes to get in and found our way to front row seats. We were close enough to see their faces when they got knocked out. Close enough to get loads of sweat flung on us when they punched someone in the face or kicked them in the gut. Yummy.
The greatest thing about going to an event like this is that it’s not a tourist trap. Sure, there’s tourists, but the Thai people love it, too. A lap around the venue revealed the strange characters in attendance. People hung in the back in packs looking shady and worn out. Come to think of it, these could have been the boxers and their posses. However, I don’t remember seeing any younger boys and that’s exactly who we ended up watching fight.
Oksana, Sarah and I aren’t much in the way of boxing enthusiasts so we kept a betting pool going on which kid would win. Geeze, betting on kids!? That sounds bad, doesn’t it? Well, it kept us interested and at 1 Baht each, we weren’t breaking any banks. As the night went on, the opponents got older and older. Eventually, two women fought and then the final match was an American vs. Thailand. This would be interesting.
The scrawny American had a surfer hair cut with a bandana on his head. The Thai fighter was a bit pudgy and much bigger than his opponent. Oh crap. I was prepared for total defeat. What does this scrawny surfer know about Muy Thai boxing, anyway?!? Apparently a lot. To our surprise, he kicked the crap out of the Thai guy in the first round. The Thai fighter fell directly in front of us, knocked out. Game over.
Heading out of the boxing venue, we bumped into the most interesting bar I have ever seen. A large cart that could be towed by a truck, had a bartender inside it surrounded by booze and mixers. To either side of the cart, there were bicycle seats attached for the patrons to sit. We jumped on.
To the end of the cart were some other foreigners with which we struck up a conversation. One was from Germany, the other from France. Frenchie, what we called him the entire night, asked what we had been up to that night. I explained how we had just watched Muy Thai boxing and we were excited to see an American win.
Frenchie: “You Americans! Always thinking you’re so awesome at everything!”
Me: “Um, okay. Actually, I was just saying that we didn’t expect to see an American fight and were surprised to see him win. And that was cool. That’s all.”
We decided to agree to disagree. Later on that night Frenchie admitted to Dusty that we were actually the first Americans he had ever met and we were “pretty cool.” You’re welcome, America. Wendy, Dusty and Sarah proving Americans don’t suck, one Frenchie at a time.