Dawny’s Bedtime Stories Part 1
The heat and the atmosphere hit them as they walked through to the outside collection point of the airport. What seemed like hundreds of taxi drivers and holiday reps appeared before them, all shouting and gesticulating, trying to attract their attention, offering them cheap travel and accommodation. The background noise of the traffic was taken over by the constant blasts of whistles guiding vehicles to their parking spaces, the whistle taking over from any verbal directions. The four men stood there taking it all in, they looked at one another and grinned, at last they had arrived.
All were LOS virgins bar one, Stan; he looked into the crowd searching for the grinning face of his friend Sarod, the man who was going to drive them all to heaven.
Sarod appeared out of the crowd grinning from ear to ear with his hand already outstretched to welcome them all to “Amazing Thailand, The Land of Smiles”. After making the introductions they gather their luggage together and follow him towards the car park, the heat in the car park is intense and the beads of sweat start to form.
With the mini bus loaded the adventure begins, Sarod starts the long drive through Bangkok, huge modern blocks of glass and steel stretch out before them, high tech and impressive. The highways one above the other wrap themselves around the buildings and wind their way through the vast expanse of the city. Even though it’s early in the morning the city is already buzzing, thousands of people all making their way to work. Buses, taxis, and cars all vying for position, in between, darting through and round every vehicle, the motorbikes loaded with people, produce, animals and children. They speed as fast as the congested traffic will let them managing to avoid all collisions in a daring display. As the mini bus continues it’s way along the highway the sun starts cutting through the early mist & smog, in between the high skyscrapers the roof’s of the temples start to glint and shine, previously overshadowed by all that is modern these ancient buildings now come into their own.
The group head through the first of a series of toll booths each one representing a stage closer to their destination.
Stan and Sarod chat excitedly together catching up on what’s happened since his last visit. What bars have shut? Any new ones opened? In between he points out to his friends’ buildings and sights whilst regaling them with stories of his
previous adventures. The bus is full of laughter and the tiredness from the flight has evaporated, replaced by the expectation of what is to come…
At long last the sign they have all been waiting to see appears over the hot dusty highway. ‘Welcome to Pattaya City’ it states simply, the grins broaden, they’ve arrived. Turning off the Sukhumvit highway they travel down North Pattaya Road towards the beach road. The streets are busy, mobile food stalls compete with markets and street hawkers for attention. It’s hot and dusty and yet it’s not even 9.00 am. Stunning girls on the back of motorbike taxis sit side saddle so as not to crease their business suits, each with their handbags held close to their heads to stop the sun from touching their delicate skin and god forbid turning it any darker.
Ahead they come to the Dolphin round about glinting in the sun, the traffic is chaos, car horns blaring and bikes nipping into any available gap. There’s no real rush, no real impatience, it’s just the Thai way, everybody smiles and gives another blast of their car horn and waits.
The mini bus makes its way down onto the Beach Road and the first glimpse of the beach is seen. It’s a hive of activity with people setting up the deck chairs and loungers for the tourists, preparing the cold drinks cabinets, getting the boats and Jet Ski’s ready for the onslaught of another day. Crocodiles of oriental tourist’s can be seen boarding sight seeing boats, all carrying the regulation colour towels of their hotels and sporting the company baseball cap. The sea glints in the sun, way above the waves the Para-gliders take advantage of the comparative calm of the time of day and soar above a relatively quiet sea.
Opposite the beach the bars are quiet, just a few hardened drinkers starting off their day as they mean to go on. The few bar girls on duty at this time are concentrating on the important things, eating breakfast, putting on their makeup, checking out
the clothes hawkers for any bargains that may be going, and recovering from the night before.
The road continues to wind along the coast, and the men look at the passing hotels and restaurants’, looking down the sois or side streets wandering what surprises they hold.
A large gateway appears and Sarod drives into it. The Nautical Inn appears ahead of them; at last this is their home for the next 16 days. The front garden is dominated by the biggest spirit house Stan has seen, in the shape of big sailing ship it is covered with prayer scarves and some of the staff are in the process of placing food and drink in it to appease the spirit world.
As they unload the vehicle the staff come forward to take the luggage and usher them into the hotel, it’s cool inside and spacious. As they check in the Manager is busy placing flowers on the shrines behind reception one to the King one to the owner of the hotel. After registering they are escorted to their rooms to unpack and rest from their travels, arrangements are made to meet by the pool later.
After a lazy afternoon spent relaxing and sunning themselves the men prepare to venture out into the world of Pattaya by night. Meeting in reception they await their friend, Sarod knows where to take them. First it’s Sumsak restaurant where they will dine on delicious local food.
The drive to Sumsak opens the eyes of the LOS virgins; the previously dull and tatty streets have evolved into a bright noisy world of colour. Literally thousand’s of bars are lit up, fairy lights glittering away, bands playing, karaoke blaring out, girls shouting to attract custom, flaunting themselves out on the street, all in competition with whatever bar is next door. Above the sound of the traffic the shouts and the laughter from the girls carries over and the atmosphere becomes electric with anticipation.
The noise intensifies as they head along Number 2 road, it’s congested with the local taxi’s who stop & start frequently and drive from side to side along the street picking up all the customers they can. The bars appear to get louder and brighter, the men stare out of the car trying to absorb what they are seeing but their brains are going into overload, only Stan appears to be taking it in, he’s been before but even then he can’t contain his excitement and lets out a yell “Your lives are about to be fucked boys!!”
The arrival at the restaurant is greeted with the usual cacophony of whistle blowing, the parking attendant blowing directions like a cartoon character with the whistle stuck in his throat. The restaurant is relaxed, the food and service good, the beer cold. Food is ordered and consumed and a quantity of the local brew, beer Chang is downed with relish; at 6.5 % and only 85 baht a bottle it’s already a favourite.
It’s time Sarod announces for the boy’s to hit the bars, “Check bin krap”, the waiter brings over the bill and the men look in amazement at the price, the bill is paid and a tip left, the bars are calling.
The drive down Soi 1 back onto the Beach Road reveals the never ending chain of bars, Sarod drives slowly so the men can enjoy the scenery, and huge grins appear on their faces.
Sarod parks on the road by what was once the Poppy bar, a favourite haunt of some of Stan’s friends, now awaiting redevelopment, nothing lasts a long time in Pattaya change is always in the air. The four men stand there taking in the noise, the lights, the delicious smells wafting from the food hawkers and the night begins.
Soi 7 calls to them and slowly they make their way along a narrow street packed to capacity with bars, lights, bands, karaoke and girls. As they approach the first bar five girls all very pretty with long black hair start to call out to them “hey you sexy man, you come my bar!” One of the men older than the rest and cuddly in proportion looks in disbelief, are they really talking to him? Before he knows what is happening he has been guided to the bar, sat down and two of the girls are wrapped around him asking him what he would like to drink. A large scotch is served and the bill placed in his tab cup, one of the girls has come from behind the bar and proceeds to open an ice cold towel and wipe the beads of sweat from his face and arms. He is oblivious of the fact the other men have continued up the street and that he has been left behind. “What your name?” he is asked “John” is the reply “You like me?” the girl smiles and John’s heart melts “you want more ice?” “Where you come from?” Questions, questions, John tries to pay for his drink but the girls explain that he pays when he leaves, more girls appear it’s like bees to the honey pot, the honey pot being the large amount of cash spotted in his wallet.
Further up the street the men are still taking in all the sights and sounds. Stan recalls a bar he had been to before and directs his friends towards it; the girls all scream with delight and rush up to them. Drinks are served, cold towels fetched and questions asked “Tell me you name” one of the girls asks “Brad” comes the reply, “Blad” the girls repeat, Brad finds it quite endearing that they can’t pronounce his name.
Stan observes the girls, this time he’s not going to go with the first girl that shows any interest, this time he is going to do a little window shopping. He looks at Brad who seems to be getting into the swing of things then notices that the youngest
member of the group has not joined them. Looking up the street Stan can see the ‘youngster’ as they refer to him still strolling along, his jaw agape and a stunned look on his face. Stan removes himself from the girl attached to
his arm promising to come back and goes after his friend. “Adie, Adie” he shouts but it’s too noisy for him to hear, catching up with him he taps him on the shoulder and with a start Adie comes out of his trance. “Oh,
hi what’s up?”
“We are over there having a drink, care to join us?”
“Uh? Oh yes sorry just taking it all in, sorry where are you?” Adie appears to be shell shocked by it all but that just makes Stan laugh; he remembers being just the same.
Back at the bar the men sit listening to the music and making conversation with the girls, Brad makes the comment that John isn’t with them and they all stand and look around at the surrounding bars to see John still back at the first bar they passed. Whilst Adie settles himself and one of the girls attaches herself to his left arm, Stan walks over to John. “Hey mate we’re over there at that bar, come and join us, we’ll be moving on in a bit we don’t want to lose you, not on the first night anyway!” John laughs and makes a move towards his wallet. “Don’t flash all that cash around mate you don’t know who’s watching” advises Stan. John however still manages to show a large amount of cash to the girls sitting around him and panic sets in at the thought of him leaving. “You stay here” one of the girls pleads “You no go there, girls not so nice” they implore, John looks around and feeling guilty buys them all a drink, they all put on their sulky faces and pretend to be hurt but he gets up anyway and follows Stan over to the new bar where he soon settles in with the available girls there. Looking across to the first bar the girls are all now flocking around another man, John completely forgotten until the next time he pays a visit.
Sarod is laughing at the antics going on around and suggests a move further up the Soi, after all it’s only the start of the night and there are thousands more bars to explore! The move is agreed and the men extricate themselves from the girls, pay their bar bills and say goodbye.
Further up the road the men are attracted to a bar where poles are the prominent feature, curled around them at impossible angles are girls gyrating to the rhythms of some Thai pop song. The bar is popular so the decision is made to take a closer look. Drinks bought the men watch the show with interest, Adie grins from ear to ear and can’t take his eyes off a young woman who is serving drinks, she only looks sixteen if that, she smiles at him and winks leaves the bar behind her and makes her way over to him. Adie thinks he’s in seventh heaven when she sits on his lap and asks him to buy her a drink. Her name is Noi, pretty and not backward in coming forward, Stan leans over and the two men discuss whether this could be the one for him, bar prices are discussed and explained and agreement reached. Adie glances over at the others and grins yet again; this is going to be one hell of a holiday he decides.
The girls continue to dance, trying to gain attention from the blokes sitting around. One then removes herself from a gaggle standing at the bar and walks purposefully towards centre stage, she walks knowing all eyes are fixed firmly on her; she loves every second of it and flaunts herself all the more. The music gets faster and she begins to gyrate around the pole screaming on occasion to attract attention, all eyes watch her until the music stops and she jumps down from the pole watching her adoring public. Stan smiles to himself and calls her over; she claps her hands together in delight and sits down directly opposite him, pouting her lips and giggling. Stan introduces the dancer to his friends in particular Brad who appears fascinated by her. Lek is 30 very attractive and very different from the other girls at the bar, far more vain and feminine; she really throws herself at Brad, he too is very much an individual and she finds this a challenge. “You sexy, sexy man” she says in a strange low but attractive voice fluttering her eyelids she asks for a drink and starts talking about herself, what she wants out of life, what her ambitions are, the clothes she likes, the makeup she wears. Brad smiles, she’s very convincing. If Stan had not previously told him about her he would probably have been fooled, you still couldn’t take it away from her; she was very attractive, very attractive indeed. Welcome to Amazing Thailand he thought and you had to admit it was amazing, even the blokes were gorgeous!
A good start.