Cumming Of Age
Mondays back in the office normally consist of me staring out of the window wondering where the hell the weekend got to and how on God's earth I managed to spend so much money getting drunk and chasing women that frankly weren't worth chasing. However for a brief hour or so I can catapult myself back to the best holiday I ever had in Thailand just a few short weeks ago by reading the various adventures that some of you guys have been up to by checking out www.stickmanbankgkok.com. As such I thought I’d try and write something that could perhaps go into the readers submissions, and if not then at least it'll solve my boredom at work on a Monday problem.
It was the first time me and my pal had ever been to Thailand and first stop was Bangkok for three days to see if the stories were true and perhaps take a few of our own stories home with us. Upon landing we had a few hours to spruce ourselves up and then we were journey bound to Nana Plaza (courtesy of the Stickman's various recommendations).
So the taxi pulls up and two reasonably good looking guys in their mid twenties, dressed in there best threads, with pockets full of money and no suntan whatsoever step out. Did we stand out?? Damn right we did, like a bloody lighthouse. We thought we'd ease ourselves into it and have a beer at the bar by the entrance of the Plaza. Within ten seconds of sitting down and ordering a couple of Singhas we're approached by the first of our wannabe girlfriends. Now I’m not shy but I wasn’t quite sure how to deal with a situation of some lady offering to come back to London with me and settle down within two minutes of the conversation starting. The best bet seemed to smile a lot and enter into a conversation with my pal on the various merits of the offside trap (problem solved). This was followed by another girl sitting behind me giggling like a lunatic and sort of scratching / touching my back. OK so I’m pretty flattered seeing as my pals not getting as much attention, but as it’s my first night I didn’t want to get tied up with the first pretty girl that comes along, so into the depths of Nana Plaza we went.
It seemed to be pretty much an obstacle course of pretty young girls trying to near enough drag us into various bars before we finally settled on sitting outside the Voodoo Bar. It looked like a good place to sit down, check out the talent and see if we could work out what's what. Anyway, a few beers later and we're thinking “OK so there's lots of women here but it all seems pretty tame” AND then we had to go to the toilet. Suddenly we're in the Voodoo bar staring at a throng of very beautiful, very topless and VERY eager young women. Aha the Bangkok we'd heard about. A couple more beers and it didn’t take long for my pal to ‘commence negotiations’ with some beauty whose name escapes me but was definitely wearing a number between one and a hundred if it helps. So off he trots for some various bedroom gymnastics Bangkok style and all of a sudden I know exactly how Tom Hanks felt in Castaway (I was truly a man alone). So I thought I’d visit the toilet and work out whether to get with one of these girls or not, you see I’d never been with a prostitute before and the bravado I’d felt earlier with my friend was slowly ebbing away. More Singha was definitely required. However, before I’d had the chance to put my Singha plan into effect I felt a little startled when I realised that whilst trying to avoid splashing my boots, I was also expected to hold a conversation with half a dozen young girls standing about a foot away from me at the urinal. Surreal!!
It was then I figured that the best place to put ‘Operation Singha’ into effect was back outside of the bar where life seemed a little less full on. Sat there for about an hour having a right giggle with the two barmaids as we discussed various options on them getting into either my wallet or my pants but preferably both. Now call me paranoid but I was wary of being stung so maybe I’m reading too much into this, but has anybody else noticed that the change for beers in Nana invariably came with lots of coins which you'd generally offer as a tip? It’s hardly a lot of money so we didn’t worry about it but I figured that this small amount of money would add up over the weeks.
Eventually my pal returned, not particularly impressed with his ladies ‘Lie back and think of Thailand’ attitude, but the deed was done. We decided that we now had to venture to the upstairs of Nana for a look round and it was then I had a bit of a shock. Can’t remember the name of the bar but there were two ladies dancing topless in a small bar and half a dozen leering farangs, but also a couple we'd noticed earlier on our plane, a Thai lady with her English husband and their son (about 9 or 10 years old). I don’t know whether this is the done thing or not, and judging by the look on the kids face he was pretty happy, but I never remember these sort of trips when I was a kid. Perks of having an ex-prostitute as a mother I suppose. (This is of course only a guess).
Staggering wildly and with the jet lag starting to kick in we decided to head back to the hotel. However, half way out of the Plaza I decide that it’s time to ‘come of age’. Now it all gets a little hazy here as ‘Operation Singha’ was turning out to be a little too successful but I do remember one of the girls taking me for a walk where I could get a nice massage from her friend and sober up a bit. One hour later, a massage, some head and 600 baht light I felt a new man. That's when I began thinking I was invincible and got on the Thai Whiskeys with my new found friends for life. Now the trouble with thinking you're invincible is it’s only a matter of time before you find out you were wrong (again). And find out I did, I awoke in the early hours of the morning in a hotel (which I later found out was the Nana Hotel) totally naked with two equally naked young girls next to me. For so long as I live I’ll never forget what they said when I finally woke up “Hello, you velly velly drunk last night, you ready to play now?” BINGO!! It’s a shame that this was the highlight of my whole trip (women wise) and yet the part I remember least about. But after a fantastic couple of hours and 2000 baht later I near enough moonwalked my way back to my hotel with a grin bigger than Linfords Lunchbox.
By day two we figured we'd have a stroll round that evening and make our own way to Soi Cowboy, which was next on our list of places to visit (OK so it’s not a very cultural itinerary but this isn't Bangkokpalaces.com either). We ended up just opposite our hotel (Raddison) in what seemed to be a market specifically for Thais thinking that it would lead somewhere if only to a taxi. After walking to the end of this market and being stared at by every person there, paranoia started to set in that we might just be in the wrong part of town to be walking round with £500 watches on our wrists. I was avoiding eye contact like I’d just walked halfway down Lady Boy Avenue and only just realised. After 3 weeks in Thailand I now realise that if we'd have stopped and perhaps tried some of the food and talked with the locals a little then all feelings of paranoia would have gone, but this was only the second night in so what did we know?
Anyway after beating a hasty retreat we ended up down another more built up road full of Thai night-clubs blaring out some of the worst music we'd ever heard, each to their own but God knows how you were meant to dance to this. After a while we stopped for dinner and decided to try the Thai food, it was only a yellow curry but for the next three weeks all we ate was the local food and God how I miss it now. From here we ventured on (by taxi) to Soi Cowboy, went through (what we now know to be a Bangkok taxi custom) the usual massage parlour sales pitch which incidentally used the same flier as yesterday's taxi, before arriving. This looked more like what I had expected, a long line of bars on either side with a collection of young darlings trying to manhandle you into there bars. After a few beers in an Irish (yeah right) bar we headed into the (not sure if I remember right as I was pissed) Dollhouse where the women seemed to be really young, and unlike yesterday wearing bikinis. I’m not sure what was going on upstairs but there seemed to be a lot of shouting and one of the girls told us that some men were taking all their clothes off – cheque please!!
Next stop was “Long Gun” which was by far my favourite bar that we visited. All of the girls were really friendly and seemed to speak very good English, which was a major plus point. Although the girls dance routines and uniforms / outfits were a bit naff at least some effort had been made rather than the traditional rocking from one foot to another. Oh yeah, and the girls were all sorts in various stages of undress – which was nice. This bar seemed to be particularly busy and the show (is this even close to the right word?) was worth seeing (ONCE) just for the shock value. To watch these girls bursting balloons with darts fired from blowpipes powered by pussy was a sight I’ll never forget.
By this point in the night my friend and I are both umming and ahhing about which lady to take home for the night. Remembering that we'd seen a couple of (obvious) ladyboys around that evening we devised (in good old Singha fashion) a foolproof plan to avoid them like the black death. Nothing complicated but it evolved round checking height, adams apple, length of fingers and toes etc. It was only after about half an hour of sitting next to the stage that we realised there's 15-20 beautiful naked women dancing about a foot away from us and we're eyeing up their feet like a couple of pervy foot feticists.
From there on in it starts getting hazy again, but it did involve us both liking the same girl so we got her for both of us. She said she'd never done it before but was fine with the theory so with some Thai whiskey down us for (Thai??) courage off we headed back to the hotel. It is at this point that I can’t praise the Raddison Hotel enough, back in the room we realised that we had no rubbers and not wanting my weight to plummet down to the four stone mark so early in my life, off I went on the hunt. The concierge was pulled to one side and ten minutes later arrived at our room with enough rubbers to last till daylight. His palm was greased and all parties seemed more than happy (Raddison – we will be back!!). It was at this point we realised the virtues of the Thai Monetary system, it’s true that the notes have been designed with us (the Farangs) in mind. For Example:- (1000 = Sex), (500 = Bar fine), (100 = Large Beer), (50 = Fried Rice), (Coins = Tips). Now how great is a country that bases its whole financial system on us shagging, drinking, eating and tipping?
Anyway, the girl took both me and my pal together for about an hour before she insisted on one at a time. I think that might have been her undoing though as it meant that one of us would be resting while the other was shagging, we just kept swapping most of the night till she was literally all shagged out. She was cool though so we gave her a 500 baht tip and she left smiling, telling us she could not have anymore boom boom for a few days as she was sore. Made us laugh at the time.
The third night we went to Patpong and hated it, being hassled by the girls can become a pain after a while but when it’s smelly guys covered in tattoos it can really piss you off. We eventually let one of them take us into a bar where we thought we'd have one quick beer and got charged 600 baht for two Singhas, obviously we got charged for his finder's fee which he forgot to mention. This was bad enough but the women were absolute trolls, they were my first experience of really ugly Thai women. So there it was, we'd finally been hit with the Bangkok Sting.
We had (quite) a few beers at one of the bars on Patpong that had a live band and although there were some really pretty Thai women there we had no idea whether they were working girls or not so didn’t bother approaching any. A couple of ladyboys tried their best to show us the error of our previous ways without any success whatsoever before we finally found sanctuary in the back of a taxi. Incidentally, he tried to charge us 600 baht from Patpong back to the Raddison before we gave him 200 and told him to piss off.
Now to be honest I've never even taken a step outside of Europe so believe me when I tell you Bangkok was a total culture shock. It takes time to adjust to such a different way of life and totally different outlooks but I don’t regret a minute of the time that I spent there and I had a great time. Both Nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy were great fun and had some fantastically beautiful women who were fun to be with and I definitely intend to go back. However, it'll be a cold day in hell before I ever step foot back in Patpong, this seemed to us to be the area where the tourists are targeted to be totally scammed in every conceivable way. You can’t really take offence seeing as this happens in every major city in the world. I suppose it takes a little bit of local knowledge to try and avoid having your wallet raped.
After we left Bangkok we headed down to Koh Samui for a couple of weeks and it was a totally different type of scene. Neither one better than the other but everything was more subtle in Samui, maybe it was the laid-back beach attitude or (and more likely) the girls had more long-term scams in mind. Because the tourists inevitably spend a longer amount of time in Samui it gives the girls the opportunity to foster relationships with them. This all of course being with the sole aim of netting themselves a piece of the western dream. Aren’t I the cynical one? Because my friend and I were a similar age to most of these girls we had quite a laugh with most of them, we even stayed with a couple of them for a few days. But that was all, anything more than a few days seemed pointless bearing in mind we had no intentions of taking on tarts (prostitutes doesn’t seem the right word, especially in Samui) as girlfriends. Something we did notice that bordered on the pathetic was these older guys walking down the beach or having a meal with a Thai lady and not saying a word to each other. The women are doing it for the money but they’re obviously not getting enough as they looked bored to sin 95% of the time, as for the guys well surely some attempt at communication other than negotiating a price on a calculator would be appreciated. Only a thought…
In Samui I slept with seven different women and only one ever asked for money, and I got her out of Samui's only go go bar. The rest of the time my pal and I would just smile at the Thai women in the clubs or bars and they'd invariably come over and you'd have a dance and a drink with them. We'd give them a 1000 for the 1st night and 500 if we went with them again. We'd hand it to them the next morning (for taxi) and they wouldn't even look at it but would always seem happy. After talking with a lot of these girls they told us they were there on holiday (which is an apt way of putting it), so I s’pose all we were doing was giving them a little bit of extra holiday money – God am I ever in denial??
Either way I’m definitely back next year!!
A wonderful trip report with some most amusing anecdotes – well worthy of being reader's submission number 100.