"Fast Freddie" Huff is an American who has
fit into the Pattaya "scene" very quickly. Gregarious and
colourful, he regales anyone who will listen with wonderful tales of his
vibrant past. A past that has covered the aerospace industry, medical
laboratories and bars - in some ways a most unexpected background.
was born in Bradford Pennsylvania, the elder son in a well respected
medical family, with doctors on both sides of his family, running all the
way back to the Civil War. With the expectation of following in the family
mould he started a pre-med course at university, while accepting a
By this stage a young adult, he took stock of his
circumstances and looked at his fatherís way of life with the typical
doctorís grind of house calls, emergencies, long hours and no family
life and came to the conclusion, "I didnít want to put in the time
and effort. Anyway, I liked playing basketball."
With playing hoops beating the hoopla of medicine, Fred
began a B.Sc. degree course at Washington and Jefferson University, only
to break it off after two years to enlist in the American Army.
There he managed to get himself an overseas trip to
Europe (paid for by Uncle Sam), where he managed to get himself on to the
basketball courts, since that was really his first love. However, his
career was shortened by a compound fracture of his left forearm, when he
got slammed, when he should have dunked!
Returning to the US he took up his university studies
again and received his B.Sc. with a major in Business Administration. With
these qualifications he returned home to run his fatherís medical
laboratory, which he did very successfully for a few years.
However, Bradford is a small town and Fred Huff had
larger ambitions. Fred wanted to go to California. Pulling up his roots he
headed for the sunshine and landed a job as a project administrator in the
aerospace industry, involved with the production of the Atlas D series
rockets (next stop, Mars)!
With the aerospace industry slowing Fred began looking
to where next he could use his talents. One such talent was playing darts,
which he used to do in the pub at lunchtimes, so it seemed natural that
the next step was to buy into the pub itself. With his own bar he
practiced assiduously and became an internationally ranked darts player,
even becoming part of an American team playing in the UK.
But remember that Fred had studied business
administration and had worked in the field for some years. It did not take
him long to see that the money was in selling bars, not in selling beer in
the bars. He would take over a bar, build it up and sell it. A simple
formula. "One bar in Redondo Beach, California, I sold five
When his fatherís health began to fail Fred took the
return step back to Bradford to spend some quality time with his father,
the man whose work had taken away the quality time Fred had expected when
he was a child. This was a rewarding time for both of them, but also an
association which saved Fredís life.
Fred had an acute abdominal condition blow up, but
through the skilful and prompt intervention of his father (who assisted at
the operation) Fred survived a potentially life threatening condition. He
still has the scars today - testimony of his fatherís handiwork.
It was twelve years ago that Fred had his first taste
of Thailand. Having experienced a plethora of failed marriages in the
States (he has two children, one of which returned to the fold to become a
doctor), he admits that the initial attraction here was the Thai women.
"The women here treat men the way they want to be treated," he
said simply. He has matured further since coming to live here and says
that the camaraderie he has found with fellow Americans in this city (such
as the late Wayne Tischburn) has helped make Pattaya a special place for
him, but he is realistic enough to say that you will never get the best of
all worlds in just one place.
Although he is financially sound, Fred is not one to do
nothing. He has formed a company here to promote his latest project - a
pub, guest house and restaurant - the newly opened Paradise Road in Soi
Regent Marina, with Hans Teitze (a previous subject of Successfully
Yours). "A bar is a place to socialize, not to get drunk. Yes, Iíll
have a darts board in here soon."
When I asked Fred Huff if he considered himself to be a
success he replied very frankly, "I was not a success as a husband.
But success is mental. I believe I am a success in life as I am content
with myself. You never measure success financially. Being well liked and
well received - thatís success."
His advice to those who follow was exceptionally sage,
"Donít do drugs. Iíve seen too many people ruin their lives. Get
the best education you can afford, as education is the key."
When I asked him what lay ahead for Fred Huff he
replied, "Well, I could have planned my own life a little better, but
the future? Damned if I know. Iím content doing what Iím doing."
He went on further to say, "Iíd like to think that people will say,
ĎYou know Fred Huff - heís not dullí - thatís what Iíd
On that score Fred has no worries. Dull is never an
adjective that could be used for this witty, twinkling, energetic and
by the Pattaya Interrogator
Lewis Underwood, known as Woody, has been overseas in
Asia more than he has been in his country of origin, the States. He first
came as a Peace Corps Volunteer to Nepal in the fall of Ď73 in a
freshwater fisheries program. Eventually he became a mountain guide and
led treks in the Himalayas. His association with the tours and trekking
agencies used to bring him through Bangkok en route to the States. After
12 years in Nepal, Woody decided to have a go in Thailand. From the
mid-80s on, he has made Pattaya his home, where he lives with his family.
Presently he is president of the Jesters Motorcycle Club of Thailand and
chairman of the Jesters Care for Kids Charity Drive.
PI: How are you and the world getting along?
LW: Life is good right now, thanks. And now Iím
getting revved up for our annual charity drive.
PI: How long have you known Pattaya?
LW: I first visited here in 1980 with an American
girlfriend. Rented a Gold Wing for an hour and rode it to Jomtien Beach,
where there was absolutely nothing but sand. Beautiful.
PI: Where is your spiritual home?
LW: Without a doubt, the mountains: the Himalayas
PI: What CD are you most proud of in your
LW: English album, all-time favorite would have to
be Jimi Hendrix, "Are You Experienced?", although "Axis:
Bold as Love" is right there as well. The consummate rock song for me
is "Little Wing". American album, Duane Allman, "An
PI: How are you at cooking for yourself?
LW: I sometimes cook Sunday breakfast for myself
before the family wakes up and I have the house to myself.
PI: Are you happy in your career?
LW: Yes. It has given me the freedom and
opportunity to be involved in many worthwhile projects and enjoy my family
PI: If you had to take over somebodyís life, who
would you pick?
LW: That was easy when I was a kid with all my
childhood heroes, who were mostly baseball players. But these days,
although I admire many athletes, I wouldnít want the baggage and
constraints of a celebrity. The wealth would be great. Just think how easy
it would be to do charity drives.
PI: What are you like in the bathroom?
LW: In and out. I donít recognize the old man in
the mirror any more anyway.
PI: What is it about you that is most
LW: You would have to ask my friends. We used to
get accused of giving bikers too good of a name with the charity work that
we do. But there are several other motorcycle clubs in Thailand, and
around the world that are doing charitable things.
PI: When was the last time you cried at a movie?
LW: Many of our generation tend to say Old Yeller
or Bambi, when his mom got shot, as the last time. But for me, that was
just the beginning. I have been a pushover since.
PI: If you could have a dinner party with 4 people
from the present or the past, whom would you invite?
LW: Excluding 3 of my oldest friends back in the
States and my first girlfriend, who I havenít seen since leaving there
in the early 70ís, I would say Aldous Huxley, Jim Morrison, James
Stewart and William Howard Mays.
PI: Where are you coming from and where are you
LW: Well, it has indeed been a long, strange trip
from the mountains of Nepal to the shores of Pattaya. I like to think that
there is still something else coming up around the bend. Another
transition, another evolution. In the meantime, I will watch my daughter
grow up, work with our charity drives and ride my motorcycle.
Updated every Friday
Copyright 2001 Pattaya Mail Publishing Co.Ltd.
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Chinnaporn Sungwanlek, assisted by Boonsiri Suansuk.