Must Love Dogs

Misty wants your affection (um, not that kind). Plus, one St. Louis man teaches us how to come back from vacation alive, while another reveals our dishonesty.

Seems like a lot of authors have turned up in Chesterfield of late. But how many have dined with Princess Grace in Monte Carlo, sparred with actor Steve McQueen in Los Angeles and been booted from Thailand after appearing on Bangkok billboards?

Far's we know (and we couldn't check all the facts), one: Earnest Hart Jr., author of How to Vacation and Travel Safely...and Come Back Alive, Unreal's nominee for best book title of 2006 (and available on Amazon.com).

The 51-year-old Hart says he was the first African-American champion in kickboxing and one of the first black stars of the sport to compete on television back in the 1970s. Today he teaches martial arts to the young men and women, especially the latter, of Ladue and Wildwood who're preparing for life (in college) beyond the sticks.

Earnest Hart Jr.
Earnest Hart Jr.

Unreal: You dined with Princess Grace in Monte Carlo?

Earnest Hart Jr.: Princess Caroline was getting married, so they brought me over there to do entertainment. It was at a restaurant overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

What do Ladue girls need to know about coming back alive?

We're dealing with a lot of awareness skills at first, because in the environment they grow up in, they're not thinking of those kinds of things.

One night in Bangkok changed your life, according to this press release....

Yes. I got a rude awakening. They held me hostage, changed my way of living.

They say one night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble. Was it a woman that held you hostage?

Oh, no. I went over there to be a guest for some fights. I wasn't supposed to fight, because I had a contract with American television. When I said I wasn't going to fight, the guys with guns came over. They took my visa, passport. And they said, "You better not win the fight or else you're gonna be in prison." They said Thai jails make American jails look like Girl Scout camp.

And almost 30 years later you're writing a book about it?

Right. I got attacked when I went back to my van. Then, when I finally got back to the hotel, the promoters told me they had no money to pay me. I went out visiting temples. [My driver] didn't tell me there was martial law; all of a sudden he just puts me off at an opium den-slash-prostitution house and tells me he'll pick me up in the morning. When I got back to the hotel, the promoters were there to pay me, but they started deducting money for my hotel and my expenses.

How much did they deduct for the prostitution?

Ah, no no. I just stayed in the prostitution house. My wife will kill me: You'll get me killed if you put that I did!

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