I guess I can say that I'm very lucky. I asked a fellow worker who traveled throughout the world about fifteen years ago, shat is the best place in the world for women and his reply was Bangkok. Ever since that time, I have wanted to go to see and experience it for myself, but one thing into another made me too involved into where I was at the moment. Finally, I get to Bangkok just before the end. Some might say its a change but I know better.
I lived through and experienced the early rock and roll days in America during the late 1950s and I watched it die. I was very young. I lived through and experienced the hippy / love movement which was one of the greatest musical eras that ever existed. I was sure that love was going to last, but I watched it die. I lived through and experienced the rise of the pop idols followed by the disco movement. It was a very cool movement and I watched it die. As a lot of this was going on, I watched my country changing from a Constitutional Republic into a Self-Centered Corporate entity with very little rights. Therefore, I saw my country die. It was like a big unstoppable invisible corporate WAVE of restrictions that slowly consumed the entire country and I needed to find a way out of it.
When I finally arrived in Bangkok for the first time 5 years ago, it was like stepping off the plane into heaven, little or no restrictions or actually an entertainment world like I once knew. For the first time in a long time, the women treated me with respect. I could stay out as late as I wanted to enjoy myself. I felt like I had become a man again. When I returned to my fast food corporate country, my month long visit to LOS seemed like a dream. I wanted to make that dream come true. Like everyone else before me, I wanted to return once again to make sure that it was real. So I came back a year later only to find that this dream is true. After another month in LOS, I went back and sold everything. It took awhile, but I returned. One week after stepping off the plane, that big WAVE found its way into Thailand and hit hard. All the clubs and the country were hit with massive restrictions. Just my luck! But I can say that I'm very lucky. Not lucky enough to have been here before the night market hit Patpong, but I can at least say that I experienced BKK before the WAVE hit and I watched it die. So I remember:
I remember when Beer Sing was 70 baht. I remember when the bargirls were sweet and pleasing. I remember when you didn't discuss money, when they went with you and you paid them what was the norm. I remember when the bars were packed with beautiful girls. I remember when the bargirls took me out to all these underground places in BKK. I remember when Angels Disco was free. I remember when the beer bottles were a normal size. I remember Thermae before the Japanese took over and before is was 5 baht to take a piss in the Thermae toilet. I remember Cowboy before all the undercover police were walking up and down the soi. I had a lot of inner tears in my life, but I can say that I am very lucky to have experienced BKK before the big Waves hit.
I wonder what I will remember in 3 years time. I will probably say: I remember when food was cheap and there were vendors cooking fresh food on the streets. I remember when the poor people could afford computer programs and movies. I remember when you could pay a cop and be on your way. I remember when everyone didn't have smart ID cards. I remember when Stickman had a website. I wonder what I will also remember. I tired of watching things die.
Don't be so cynical. Yeah, Thailand has changed and if you are here merely to follow your little head's desires then yeah, Thailand might not be the place it once was. But it still has a lot going for it and the nightlife clean up will benefit many Thais in the long run. They charge 5 baht to take a leak in the Thermae now? Damn!