A 15-year friendship is a long time. Any 15-year male-female relationship is an extra long time. Today, a 15 year marriage is a long, long time so a decade and half love affair between a German ex-pat visiting Thailand for two weeks once a year and his committed Thai lady is almost beyond belief. I wouldn’t believe it if I didn’t see it for myself.

We called him Rich but he preferred that his friends call him by his given name-Ulrich.  He said that

once the Thai girls overheard someone call him Rich, why, then the girls assumed he was, in fact, a very rich man. Quite the opposite was true; Ulrich was a hard working and dedicated government worker, slaving away at some nondescript job in Berlin. Ulrich, was rather nondescript himself in that at 57 years of age he had never married, never had a serious German relationship and seldom dated or went out alone. Certainly, he was no Sylvester Stallone of Bruce Willis.

Convinced that what he read and heard about Pattaya was the perfect place for his annual two-week vacation, Ulrich ventured away from his regular summer vacation to a seaside resort in Spain. What Ulrich experienced on his first day, practically his first hour, in Pattaya changed his life forever.

Within minutes of reaching his hotel, bravely, Ulrich walked into the very popular and always busy massage shop just outside the Royal Garden Plaza on Beach Road. You understand that it took enormous courage for Ulrich to go anywhere outside his own small world but nearing sixty years old he promised himself a vacation of a lifetime and followed his instincts when an attractive eighteen year old massage girl screamed out to him from her bench on Beach Road “Massage, massage.”

This was Kip’s first week in Pattaya. She too held a very secluded life in her hometown of Ubon Ratchathani. It’s quite possible that Kip was even more nervous, shyer than Ulrich…that was before Kip’s energetic massage. By the time Kip’s massage finished, Ulrich believed that in spite of their age difference, cultural, religious, educational and language difference’s, Kip was made for him. A couple more visits to Kip and Ulrich proposed marriage. Surprisingly, Kip accepted immediately if Ulrich would visit her family in Ubon Ratchathani and they married in a Buddhist ceremony with her whole family attending. It became a done deal. Ulrich would continue to stay in Berlin until his retirement and pension kicked in. Kip would return to her hometown, live, once-again with her mama and papa. Plus Ulrich would wire her the equivilant of $700.00 monthly…every month.

Fast forward fifteen years and both Rich and Kip, young enough to be his grand-daughter, are happily married, settled into a quiet lifestyle in Ubon Ratchathani. Kip works as a street food vendor earning some small but welcome monthly income, Rich has never been more happy, more relaxed and satisfied; all because of his brave venture into Pattaya-or otherwise know as the Sex Capital of The World.