Readers' Submissions

Thailand…Sigh Part 1

  • Written by Lecter
  • August 1st, 2006
  • 9 min read


I am sitting in Manila airport, heading back to LOS and I am reflecting on the few days I’ve spent here. I’ve hit the town with some work colleagues and it was same ol’, same ol’. Very disappointing. Why? One might ask . . .

Well Manila is about the bottom end of the slapper market so to speak. We had a couple of interesting experiences.

Night One. We get in the taxi and I was thinking to go down to P. Burgous where the bars are abundant (but there’s probably less than the Nana strip) and have a few drinks. Well the hotel taxi driver previously (different trip) had hassled me about checking out a different spot on Roxas Blvd. This has never been a place I like to go, as it’s much more greedy and demanding on the customer. But, because it’s been many a year, I took my “Manila Bar Virgin” off and about to the bar recommended by the “current” hotel driver. We in we went, feeling a little self conscious with the mass of security, admin and “mama’s” hanging around the entrance. So we were led in to a large room, with rows of vinyl couches and tables, a small stairwell on the left heading up to a mezzanine floor (with some more couches and tables) and on the upper right there’s a “well past her used by date” slapper aimlessly “dancing” by herself and not looking to rapt in it either. It seemed that the set was finishing and I commented to my fellow drinker “thank god, Godzilla has left”. We ordered our JD Coke and Pale Pilsen and waited for the anticipated show. We were then suitable disappointed when the same slapper (what is it with Filipina’s in the 2000’s, major tubbiest everywhere in all the bars. Only a few slender ones ever) came out wearing even less. It was kinda like watching someone's “mum” preening herself in the mirrors (there’s a universal trait) and pathetically dancing (cough cough). This was the show! Well I was about to suggest a move to my friend when I was tapped on the shoulder. A “Mama” had sat down next to me to explain the house rules. Here we go I thought. My American friend was still a little gob smacked and couldn’t really hear the exchange. Mama proceeded to hand out her card, a big introduction {drinks are put in front of us}, my cigar is ceremoniously lit and I smile a “what do you want” smile at her.

“Well sir, welcome. I just wanted to let you know about the cover charge …”

I looked at her and then pointed at the stage…

“For this? A 77 year old granny too bored to go home 55 years ago??”

Used to a little recalcitrance, the Mama is unfazed by my dripping sarcasm and then proceeds to let me know it’s P650 each and that the show’s been on for about half an hour. As in all situations where I am being set up as a fool, I asked for the bill (check) and instantly knowing she was not onto a winner she takes a different tack . .

“But sir, everyone pays a cover charge for the show”

“Not me”

“I know sir, but I can organise a discount for you”

“100%?”

“Maybe P500 each?”

“Where is my check (bill)?

“Sir, please wait, I will arrange the discount, I will talk to the manager”

<standing>

“where do I pay?”

Remember now that my American colleague has started to get the gist of a problem. I gestured to his drink and said, scull it mate, we’re outa here. Being in a foreign country, in a scary part of town, seeing at least five morons with shotduns, revolvers and a machine gun, he gets the idea and we head out to the cashier. Now the mama is distraught, I hear many tagalong discussions (I understand more than they realise) along the lines of, “I can’t understand why he’s upset” and I ask to see my bill before the cashier starts to ring it up. Common Filipino scam is to quickly ring it up and then say it’s too hard to reverse. It’s P400. A lot compared to BKK for sure (and that is one reason to only stay where you are completely happy) I pay the bemused cashiers and we’re escorted out, happy smiles and welcomes now turned to “potangi na mo” type words (this can be translated by those who know, but it revolves around deviant acts with ones mother).

Our driver, from the hotel, then asks us if we want to go to the “recommended” place. It reminded me of a Patpong experience everyone’s probably had, where you go from place to place and they are all the same, and you hate them. So I declined, happy to head off to where I would be known, comfortable, safe and in a element closer to my “heaven” of BKK. Not the same, not close, but closer.

So off we go, now readjusting our deal with the driver (on my hotel bill so hardly notice it after a week or so’s stay in Manila) we’re in the traffic. Something special about the traffic in Manila at 9:30pm… Walking would be an excellent option, but it’s also a good time to chat with ones guests as well. We admonished the driver for his bad recommendation(s) and he smiled and shrugged as clearly many people like that kind of place… It’s the reason it still exists I guess (like the Pong). We chat about what happened and his only issue was to actually finishing his pale pilsen… I understand this, but I paid the bill, so nothing lost really. My cigar goes out…

Here we are, P. Burgos, Dimples beckons. I don’t hit bottoms as the amount of pressure you get to fork out major $$ there puts me off this early in the night. Dimples we’ve had a few calmer nights in, the girls are on average nicer and slimmer (about a 40/100 compared to my favourite BKK bars) and one can have a drink and a chat with friends in an interactive or non interactive mode. I am typically chatty and talkative these days and my friend was besieged by a fairly awful probably 33 year old slapper, with a few too many miles on the clock. But she was feisty, fun and was up for some no good fun. So body shots, knob tickling and general cavorting was the order of the day. But I was playing the straight had to make sure we walked out with a bill that wouldn’t require “explaining” in any circles (they take credit cards). Well the night continues, fun is had. I have a nice chat with a few of the waitresses and mama while my friend is thoroughly molested by the old slapper. This begins to wear thin on him after a while, because, drunk or not, one does start to see better in the light of the bar, and there were a bevy of better bints all over. Seeing his entrapment, I called for the check and we departed. Now this is about three hours of what I would call medium drinking with a couple of girls. It was P7,500. I was expecting it, but compared to BKK where the same amount of cavorting would come in around B2-3,000 for sure. It’s certainly not calue for money. Remember here, we haven’t barfined anyone (that’s around 10 ladies drinks or P3,000 which ever you achieve first) and we’ve not been buying drinks outrageously. It’s one of the reasons I often give “out on the town” a miss in Manila as it’s clearly a rip off. And they really really hassle you all of the time to buy more and more and more and more… even buying you a few free drinks which are the strongest you’ll drink, so you keep on “spend” mode. I kinda hate it. But there are occasions where you’ll strike pay dirt with a really really nice girl and you’ll have a whirlwind of fun. What struck me this time is the difficulty some of the girls had with English. This was a bit of a first for me. I am typically impressed by their grasp of the language, and the reparte on any given night is all part of the extra cost (is how I justify it anyway). If this is lost, this place goes from a “sucks horribly” score to something akin to the Penang submission I read today. {Side Note: I lived in Penang, and I can attest to some of his comments. But I loved it for the scenery, the drives in the country the bird parks etc. His one dimensional view is really rotating around slappers. Penang is wrong place if you’re into that scene. }

So it’s getting late and we head to bottoms. I am feeling feisty, and that’s one place where a feisty attitude can be flamed. I allocate an hour and we soon have all the dancers in the stripped room doing shooters. I spend P6,000 and bail, having made my point with my friend about how you can empty a card limit in short time of you get into party mode. We head home in the taxi, not contented. We are both thinking of Bangkok… for B14,000 ish, we could have achieved soooooo much …

Manila gets a “D” for this night. It’s just not value for money. The Cuban Cigars I bought in

Glorietta were top notch, so was happy there. Oh yes, remember folks, if you want to keep a mass of tarts away in any bar, light up a stogie. Only the toughest will come on over… hehehe

End of Part One

Stickman's thoughts:

And I thought the Philippines was supposed to be cheap!