Mercenaries

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At the end of Patpong Street, the infamous Red Light district in Bangkok, Thailand, was Luci Tiger Den. A non descript bar run by Tiger Riddick, an off shore oil Expat, and his Thai wife Luci. What makes the place special, was their walls that were covered with messages from Expats looking for lost friends and notices for jobs, or tips on where to go for whatever. The whole place was a giant Bulletin board. This was 1978 and the Internet didn't exist for most of us. You could walk the walls with a Singha beer in your hand for hours.

 

Among the patrons were the burn out GI's from the Vietnam war, who didn't want to go home for whatever reason. Some were addicted to drugs, some were addicted to Danger, others were just screwed up. Many were listed as MIA's whose family never knew what happened to them. Soldier of Fortune magazines and American Newspapers filled a reading rack. But most important to them was a section of wall that listed contact numbers and locations where a Mercenary could make a drug run.

 

A drug run paid $100usd. Not a lot for the danger and time involved, but provided a way to keep the party going. It was a 2-3 day trip up the Mekong River on a Rooster Tail boat. They were called Rooster Tail because the motor was a car motor mounted on a swivel with a long shaft and propeller that sprayed a stream of water, under fast acceleration, that resembled a Cocks Tail. Fast as hell and very maneuverable.

 

They would deliver Pharmaceuticals to Communist Vietnam, still in short supply and very profitable. Then cross over to Cambodia. Still under the control of the Khmer Rouge, for a load of Thai Stick, Marijuana wrapped around a piece of bamboo to dry, heroine and Ya Ba (Amphetamine) and Ya Ice (Meth amphetamine) to be sold throughout Thailand, or shipped to America.

 

Any one of these governments would shoot an American not in uniform, on site. Not to mention the river Pirates, who constantly attacked the smugglers. That was the reason for mercenaries on every boat. Many of these MIA's became MIA's long after the Vietnam war was over.

 

I guess life is only valuable when you are LIVING IT.

Comments

EXPAT Added Feb 27, 2017 - 4:32pm
I was reminded of this by Stones article on Blackwater. Nothing new in soldiers who cannot give up the fight, and find ways to make money off conflict.
 
I bet Jeffery Gilbert remembers Luci Tiger Den.
Utpal Patel Added Feb 27, 2017 - 10:09pm
There is a difference between fighting you "cannot give up the fight" and fighting for profit.  The former implies someone that’s bloodthirsty and the latter is simply someone that needs money. 
Jeffry Gilbert Added Feb 28, 2017 - 12:02am
If I recall correctly it was actually on Suriwong. Closed in late 80 I think.
 
I didn't go there often preferring the still operating Madrid Bar a third of the way in on the left on Patpong itself just past the first ever 7-11 in Thailand. 
Jeffry Gilbert Added Feb 28, 2017 - 12:34am
Late 80's.....
EXPAT Added Feb 28, 2017 - 4:15am
Utpal. I never knew anyone who is bloodthirsty. The guys I refer to were the same as Sky divers or mountain climbers, or speed racers, or base jumpers, or thrill seekers in many ways.
 
Putting your life on the line, has a very special adrenalin rush like no other. Have you ever faced death of your own volition, and won? It puts you in control of life like never before. Instead of submitting to what life brings, you have conquered life! You are above all. The master.
 
These guys could not return to a family-work-sleep lifestyle. That was for most people. The intensity of life is everything, if you only live ONE day, make it the best day of your life.
 
If you have never faced a life/death challenge and won, I cannot explain the  King of the world feeling!
EXPAT Added Feb 28, 2017 - 4:19am
Jeffry. Was the Madrid bar owned by a chubby guy who liked to sing? I forget his name, but he loved people and remembered ALL his customers.
It has been so long, that I doubt what I know.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Feb 28, 2017 - 4:35am
No, Daeng and her US husband ran it until '04 when her daughter and current owner Jenny took over. More restaurant now than before. CIA no longer uses the top floor as a safe house.
EXPAT Added Feb 28, 2017 - 5:34am
My friend Alzheimer, fills in the blanks for me!
Mircea Negres Added Mar 3, 2017 - 2:56pm
It is quite an experience to see death and Death then come out alive, I'll admit. Just ran out of brandy and the bottle stores are closed, so I got nothing to raise to the memory of guys I once knew, who went to the edge and looked down without flinching. Nice one, EXPAT.