Ships In the Night

Table of Contents


The following is a true account of investigation work done in Thailand by our company. Names and details have been changed to protect identities. Some creative license has been taken to provide a more narrative experience, but the story and people are real.

Chapter 1: Arrival in Chiangmai

The year is 1986. A young, soon-to-be paralegal named Lisa stepped off the plane’s steps and onto the tarmac with a heady sense of exhilaration. She had just graduated college, and had accepted a position with a law firm in Austin, Texas. Nevertheless, she made sure to budget just enough time, and a little bit of money, to see some of the world before getting bogged down in life’s never ending struggle to earn one’s keep and prove one’s worth.

Chapter 2: Finding a Place to Stay

The air in Chiangmai was warm, but cooler and less humid than it had been in Bangkok. It was certainly a nice change of pace from the frigid, dry air conditioning on the plane. The balmy breeze injected life back into her body as she inhaled a curious mixture of fresh air and distant diesel exhaust. An orange sun hung low in the sky, illuminating the lush mountains surrounding the city and casting shadows between their crests. A golden glimmer atop one of these mountains caught Lisa’s eye and held it for a second.

Perhaps she should have prepared for the trip better. In her youthful excitement, she had neglected to pick up a travel guide or do any real research. She walked down the line of older model Chinese and Japanese made buses, vans, and taxis parked at the airport entrance. She approached one taxi driver, an older man in aviator shades, and asked him if he knew a good place to stay. He smiled at her, clearly not understanding a word of what she said, and held up five fingers on one hand, and his pinky finger on the other.

“Hey! Farang girl! You need some help?” Lisa looked to her left to see a young, brown-skinned Thai man with long hair, probably around the same age as her. “He will cheat you, why don’t you come with me!” the young man said in heavily accented English. With no options otherwise, she agreed.

Chapter 3: Aiya Guesthouse

They arrived at a 2 storey building on a side street. The bottom part of the building was made of concrete, and the top part was made from dark wood, teak perhaps. It looked well maintained compared to the other buildings on the street. The entrance was well lit. A sign stood in a wrought iron stand outside on the street which read “Aiya Guesthouse.” Lisa checked in and found her room, but soon discovered that it didn’t have a bathroom. She went downstairs to inquire about its location.

Chapter 4: Meeting Buem

She found Buem engaged in relaxed conversation with the receptionist. He looked up at her as she made the transition from wood to concrete. He smiled once again in her direction. “He’s really easy to smile, she thought. “Where are you going?” he asked. They continued small talk and pleasantries for a short time.

Chapter 5: Lisa’s First Night in Chiangmai

Lisa left the guesthouse to explore the city on foot. She saw several street vendors selling food and trinkets, and a group of teenagers playing music. She soon found herself at a lively open-air market. She tried some new foods, and enjoyed the festive atmosphere. As she was walking back to the guesthouse, she saw a group of young men playing a traditional Thai