By Magic Monkey
DisneyWorld. Ever been to DisneyWorld? You know, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, big fat American hot-dogs, the fancy parades and the Florida sunshine. Yeah, that's it, DisneyWorld.
Maybe you haven't been to DisneyWorld. Maybe you've been to one of the numerous Disneyland's. Same thing only smaller. Maybe, just maybe, you've been to Thailand's own Disneyland – call it Patpong, call it Nana Plaza, call it wherever you like, the similarities are amazing.
Take Mickey and Donald and all of the other cute little characters, running around keeping the tourists happy. Giving out cuddles, posing for photographs, making everybody feel special and lavishing attention on the parks guests. Admit it, you've got that photo somewhere, the one with the cute little bar girl, who was so intent on keeping you happy. Just like good old Mickey (OK, maybe minus sex but who'd want sex with Mickey Mouse anyway…)
Those friendly Disney porters, keen and eager to take your bags. ‘No sir, its no trouble. The lifts broken, oh well, ten flights of stairs with two suitcases will do me the world of good – just so long as I get the mother of all tips’. Ring any bells. Maybe that bar girl intent on topping your drink up, or the mamasan helping you to make your choice. Service with a smile all the way and all so genuine. As long as you are genuinely paying that is.
The fixtures and fittings – the garish colours, the bright lights the fake bars, pubs, saloons. It all fake. DisneyLand or Nana Plaza, who cares? It’s not real.
Mickey doesn’t really love you. As soon as you leave he'll be hugging some other tourist, guaranteed. The friendly porter? Oh you're not the first, the lift trick is an old con, he gets double the tip and then catches the service elevator anyway. Beneath the shiny veneer of all of those impressive buildings – fibreglass & plastic. Fake. Nana Plaza, Soi Cowboy, Patpong? Same thing, different characters, different scenery but underneath it all just like Disney – fake.
You know its fake. I don’t need to tell you this. You know that DisneyWorld is fake. So why then, when Patpong, Nana Plaza & Soi Cowboy are just as fake do so many farangs get suckered in. How many grown adults do you know who are obsessed with DisneyWorld? How many do you know who send money to Pluto to stop him hugging other tourists? The Thai bar seen is fake. It’s a hedonistic DisneyWorld. OK, maybe the sex can be addictive but hey it’s still fake. You pay your entry price (hmmmm…) enjoy the hospitality, have a few good rides (hmmm… again) and leave. End of story. You didn’t really think that sweet little Minnie was going quit cuddling tourists just for you? Unless you are really lucky you've got no chance. Of course she cute, and those eyes…so sweet….so innocent. It’s a costume. She's acting. Doing a good job too.
Remember this next time you step through those neon entry gates – welcome to the Magic Kingdom. Just like DisneyWorld, Bangkok's night life can be great fun. But, and it’s a big BUT – don’t take it too seriously. You are paying for the bar girl to entertain you, you are tipping her by buying her drinks. The better the service the more the drinks. Maybe you'll get a nice cuddle (and whatever else takes your fancy) and maybe some nice photos to show your mates but, you're paying for it just like in Disney. She might not be wearing a fluffy costume but she is definitely acting and you're paying her wages.
The morale of the story. Some bar girls are genuine. Unfortunately they are rare. Very rare. Whether you're an old hand or a Bangkok newbie you would do well to remember that. The rest are merely characters, employed by the greatest theme park in Thailand to keep the customers happy.
Enjoy yourself, have fun – you'll probably have the best time of your life. Just remember where the exit to the ‘park’ is and make sure you use it once in a while. Mickey & Co will still be there when you get back.
Amen! Never has a truer word been spoken. I still cringe when I see someone old enough to be my father breaking down in tears because a bargirl "broke his heart".