Habibi and the Egyptian Papyrus


I bought this in Cairo.  Usually, I’m simply not into this kind of art.  The whole papyrus thing has never excited me.  But this darker piece and the three ladies interested me for some reason.  The feminine is always fascinating to a man, I suppose.  So I asked the proprietor his price.

He tells me “1500 EGP.”

I laughed.  Loudly.

That’s about two or three hundred dollars.

I haggled back and forth with him.

Finally, I told him that I’d give him 50 bucks for it.   “AND NOT A PENNY MORE!”

He tried to get me to accept the same painting on a smaller piece of papyrus.

I just laughed at him again.  Told him that his store looked pretty empty to me so he’d better take the sale while he had it.  Because it was about to walk out his front door.

He acquiesced.

I think he finally saw the wisdom in making a sale rather than attempting to bugger another tourist.

I was wrong.

He carries the piece over to his counter and starts to retrieve packaging for it.  A tube and some wrapping paper and a certificate of authenticity.  He hands me a receipt on which he’s written 300 EGP as the sale price.  I laugh at him.

I say;  “Dude, 300 EGP is 60 bucks.  We agreed on 50.”

Achmed the Papyrus Proprietor replies; “It’s only 10 dollars more.”

I tell him; “That’s ten bucks more than agreed.”

And I start to walk out of the store.

He tells me that he’ll change the price on the receipt and tells me to pay at the cash register.

I tell him;  “NO WAY!  Wrap up my purchase and hand it to me and I’ll hand you the 250EGP.”

He and his compatriots stare at me.

I tell them; “Dudes, if you want the money, wrap up the papyrus in one of those pretty little tubes and hand it to me.

You do that.  I’ll give you the money.  Until then, no one gets a dime out of me.”

Finally they relent.  I get my papyrus in the handy dandy little scroll carrying tube and a quaint little certificate of authenticity.  They get their money.

After returning to Herat in mid August, I unpacked.  Found the papyrus in my bag and threw it into the corner.  Wondering why I’d bought it.  It was a nice piece.  And the three ladies are brilliantly done.  And, admittedly, it’s a gorgeous piece.  But what was I gonna do with it.  Certainly not tack it to my wall in my hooch.

So it sat in the corner.  Forgotten.  Until…

December 25th.

On the 24th, I arrived in Bangkok for my R&R.  I had a lunch date.


She called me and told me to meet later.  5 PM.  AND…she’s bringing a friend.

I agreed.  I’m excited to meet this girl but now I’m a bit apprehensive.  Thinking that maybe she is going to blow me off.  Call again and tell me that she can’t meet me.

We agree to meet at Gulliver’s Tavern on Sukhumvit Soi 5.

So I walk down there a bit early.  Want to make sure that I’m not late.

She calls to tell me that she’s on the way.

BUT…she and her friend decide to stop at Starbucks.  Right at the end of the Soi (street).

I’m not getting a full appreciation of what is going on at this point.  Kinda freaked out.  Why did they stop down there to get a coffee if we are supposed to have dinner.  I guess they were tired and needed a caffeine jump start.

She texts me and asks me if I’m coming or going to wait at Gulliver’s.  I walk down to Starbucks.  I walk in to Starbucks and immediately recognize both of them.  Two diminutive, yet stunning, Thai girls sitting right at the door. Unny–the girl I came to meet and Khanitta, her friend.  I’ve seen Khanitta’s pictures on the website ThailandFriends.com.  So I know who she is.  I had erroneously assumed that she was married or otherwise involved with another fellow.

Now, I’m not scared of women.  But I get a bit nervous at times.  This is such a time.  I have to entertain two gorgeous Thai ladies now.  How to do so?  Luckily, it turns out to be easy.  They were incredibly easy going.  They didn’t have to be coaxed into talking or joking around.  They weren’t difficult.  Maybe, we just had good chemistry.  Part of it is that I’m so relaxed in Thailand that I’m easy as well.

After finishing their coffees, we walk up to Gulliver’s.  We are seated.  We eat.  We chat.  We get along pretty well.  By now, it’s getting on 8 PM.  Khanitta suggests that we walk down the street to Soi 4.  I’m a bit shocked by this as Soi 4 is part of the “dark side” of Thailand.  It’s bar girl [prostitute] central.

We make the trek down Sukhumvit Road to Soi 4 and go to a bar called Big Mango.  It’s a little dive in a back alley off of Soi 4.  It’s a decent joint with a bit of personality.  A smallish room with a square bar in the middle and a pool table in the back near the restrooms.   We walk in and Khanitta introduces me to two of her friends–Tony and Stevie.  Two Scottish fellows.  Mid-40s or so.  Stevie is a nice, laid back fellow.  Tony seems a bit mad to me.  He seems to be attempting to shock everyone with how crass he can be.  I’m not the most tactful fellow on the planet.  Tony makes me seem quite the diplomat by comparison.

Khanitta, Stevie and I play a bit of pool   I get my ASS handed to me by both Khanitta and Stevie.  Too nervous to play pool at this point.  (Give me a couple drinks and I’d play better.  lol)   Unny sits at a table behind us watching.  I don’t know what to think about her at this point.  The usual.  Is she interested?  What to talk about to keep in interesting?  How to act?  What’s next.  Should I just give it up and call it a friendly night out with a couple of gorgeous ladies and count myself blessed.  I can always meet someone later at Q Bar or one of the countless clubs and after hours bars in Bangkok.  Never had a problem with meeting women in Bangkok.

But I like her.  So I try to be patient.

Tony at one point tells me loudly.  “Just remember lad.  When you’re back home, we’re fucking them.”  I look at him and think to myself.  “Yeah, right.  There’s not many women that you’re fucking that you haven’t paid.”  I chuckle to myself and walk over and miss my shot on the pool table.  Stevie, aside from being a generally good guy, is a pretty good pool player.  So he takes me out easily.

We spend an hour or so there and then we head out.

It’s time to hit the Q Bar.

At the Q Bar, we lounge in the corner room on a couple of couches that I’ve reserved for the festivities that I’m hoping will be my Birthday.  The waiter brings over the two bottles of Jack Daniels that I’ve ordered for the occasion.  Khanitta and I pour ourselves a drink with a liberal amount of Jack.  Unny sips on a Coke.  She doesn’t seem to be too much into drinking.  She only weighs about 90 pounds.  I understand a reluctance to drink for her part.  Can’t take too much to get her fairly well lit.  Khanitta drinks like a pro, though.  lol

Eventually folks from TF start showing up.  Emma (EmoKitty) and Oh  (I’m Back).  Stevie makes it over.  And a few others.  It’s a pretty good time.  And I’m pretty lit.  I can’t remember the names of anyone to whom I was introduced that night.  But all nice folks and we all got pretty hammered.

I spend most of my time sitting with Unny.  Trying to talk to her.  Trying to get to know her.  Just looking at her because she is so breathtakingly beautiful.  I get up and mingle with others as well.  We make toasts and generally act as people do when imbibing heavily.  Khanitta has her camera with her and takes tons of pics.  Khanitta is a really wild and fun gal.  I was happy that Unny brought her along.  She’s the life of any party.

Emma brought me a little Strawberry dessert thingie.  It seems like someone sang the “Happy Birthday” song to me.

I went outside a couple of times to talk to family.  I think I got Terry, Ginger, Jonathan and Momma on the phone that night.

It was  a great birthday.

But the best part of it was meeting Unny.

She was pretty quiet and shy.  I was starting to doubt that she was interested in me until I went outside and one of the girls asked me if I wanted to go have some real fun or if I was going to stay with my “shadow.”

When I realized who she was talking about, it was all I could do to suppress the smile.  I really wanted to get to know Unny.  If this gal was noticing this then I probably stand a good chance of getting a second date with her.

So I declined the invitation and hung tight with Unny.

At some point, we all part ways.  Q Bar closes at 2 AM.  So I’m sure that it was 2 AM.  Unny, Khanitta and I rolled down Soi 11 to the Ambassador Hotel’s Spice Club.  It’s an after hours bar.  Stays open late…until 6 AM on some nights.

Unny was still being a bit of a wallflower.  I got a bit too drunk and start telling her that  she is “the most beautiful girl” and some other nonsense that probably bored the piss out of her.  At one point, I realize that I’m probably making an ass out of myself.  So I tell her;  “You probably get this kind of talk all the time.”  And I vaguely remember apologizing to her for boring her to tears and being lame.  haha

Khanitta and I get up on the stage at Spice Club and dance together.  We both try to get Unny to come up with us.  But she’s either too shy or doesn’t really like to dance.  At this point.   For some odd reason that I don’t recall, I decide that it would be a good ieda to pick Unny up [and carry her to the dance floor?].  This royally angers her.  Little gal.  Cute as hell.  Probably has had a problem with this before.  Doesn’t appreciate the loss of control or being manhandled by an idiot.  She’s pissed.  She stomps off.

I’m standing there in shock.  Thinking to myself.  “Dave!  You DUMBASS!!!  You just royally fucked it all up there…retard!”

So I just kind of stand there.  Figure I’ll wait for a minute and then head back to the room.

As I start to get up to walk out of Spice to head back to the room, Khanitta walks back in and tells me to come on.  I’m a bit surprised.

Unny had told her to come get me.

My luck has held through.  Unny still isn’t completely turned off by my buffoonery.  haha

So I walk out and sheepishly join up.  I apologize.

Then I notice that I’m drunk AND hungry.

I suggest that we go eat on Sukhumvit Road.  One of the street vendors that sells “Isaan food.”

We walk on down to the Suk.  Grab a couple of chairs and eat fried rice and whatever else is on the menu.  Sit there and chat for a bit.

After eating, we head home.

Next day, I text Unny and ask her to meet me again after she gets off work.  To my amazement, she agrees.

We spend all that night talking.  Just talking.  It’s one of the nicest nights I’ve spent in Bangkok.  Talking about anything with the most beautiful girl in the world.  I can’t take my eyes off of her.

All the while, I’m thinking to myself.  “This girl reminds me of someone.”

After a bit, I remember theEgyptian ladies on the papyrus that I had purchased in Cairo.  Unny has the same eyes.  Almost the same nose.   I decide at that moment that I will send it to her as thanks for making my time in Bangkok so enjoyable.

About ten days later, I’m at the Camp Stone APO with the papyrus in hand.  It takes a month to get there.

When Unny receives it, she texts me excitedly to tell me that she loves it.  As well as the little post card inscription that I’d sent with it.  I’ll let that be between us, though.

What you see in the pictures is the result of this little story.

And with the blessings of the Gods, there will be many more stories to relate about Unny and Dave.