Nana Car Park: A Lot of Sex – Part 2
This FR is based on a late-night excursion in January, 2006.
This is based on a late-night excursion in January, 2006.
Car park, theme park … haul in some mobile homes and you'd have a trailer park as well. The male white trash population is already in place. The average farang punter, wearing the NEP Neanderthal uniform of sweaty tank top, stained shorts and flip flops, doesn't inspire much confidence in the future of Western civilization. But these guys must have an awesome faith in whatever providence it is that looks after drunks, considering the dozens that I saw stumbling around at 2.00 AM, looking for trouble with whoever would give it to them. I'm surprised the casualty rate for rolled drunks isn't much higher in Bangkok than it is.
But when I speak of white trash, I'm not referring exclusively to the U.S. down-home, white-bread, good-ole' boy variety. Those guys usually don't travel anywhere a pick-up truck can't take them. Around Nana car park, you're more likely to see white trash from the south of England, Sweden or Germany than Alabama or Mississippi. Who knows, maybe white trashiness is the true human common denominator and the real basis of universal brotherhood? In terms of inherent trashiness, Nana car park still falls short of Pattaya. Not only is Pattaya a formidable seaside resort, it doubles as the capital of the Republic of White Trashistan. There, if a punter has all his tattoos on straight and none of the words misspelled, drinks no more than a six-pack of beer before noon and doesn't eat mashed potatoes with his fingers, he's considered both high society and a sober man. There are numerous exceptions in Pattaya, punters range from teetotaling tradesmen and bashful backpackers to perverted professors and millionaire mongers, but I'm painting a picture in very broad strokes.
Abandoning my philosophical musings and the car park, I headed back towards the Suk in pursuit of pussy. Of course, the Nana car park experience isn't confined to a few square yards adjacent the Nana Hotel. It describes a state of mind – the determination of both providers and punters to reach afters-hours agreements on a free-lance basis – more than a physical place. Every night, even before the bars close at NEP, it spreads throughout the lower Suk.
I hadn't gotten many steps when a pretty young thing blocked my way and tried to interest me in an early–hours tryst. She had a nice smile and spoke English better than most BGs, so it was suggestion at least worth discussing. She wanted 1,500B for S/T, which I thought was very reasonable, but the deal was dashed by her insistence on using a nearby hot-sheet hotel. Maybe she hadn't heard of the Town Lodge Hotel and therefore wouldn't go there, or perhaps considered Soi 18 was too far away. I suspected she didn't want to invest too much time in any one punter and hoped to cram in several more customers that night before the cock crowed.
I smiled and moved on, passing the world's most infamous 7 Eleven on my left, then waited at the intersection for the longest red light in the history of traffic control to change. Once across the Suk, I was again accosted by a TG, this one well past 30 and her eyes wild with yaba. She hadn't bathed, or even combed her hair, in a long while.. I've never struck a woman in my life, but if a junkie ho' grabbed my arm like that in New York, I'd be sorely tempted to drop her in her tracks. In Thailand, I'm not on my own turf and therefore subdue my vigilante impulses. I shook my arm free and told her "No!" and put some distance between us. I gave silent thanks to the gods of good health that I'd had the prescience to wear a long-sleeved shirt and had avoided skin-to-skin contact with her. Considering the direction from which she'd come, I wondered how much time she had before wailing the lament of all Soi 3 girls, "I go back my village to die AIDS."
The sidewalk is crowded with vendors and hawkers of all descriptions, with a lot of their goods aimed directly at P4P providers rather than tourists. Shoes, belts, lingerie, books and CDs in Thai, the fried bugs in a big glass, none of that could have been very appealing to farang visitors. The girls who'd gotten off work from the Suk's many and varied pussy palaces were spending their hard-earned cash, even though they could get it all cheaper and better if they'd waited to go shopping the next day at a local market. It reminded me of one of the very first P4P experiences I'd ever had in Thailand, back in 1979. After an overnight session with a Patpong bar girl – I think she got 300B – she insisted on immediately spending some it on a pair of earrings from the hotel's gift shop. I had thought the prices were high there even by Western standards and did my souvenir shopping elsewhere.
A lot of the items on display on the Suk were intended for tourists – knickknacks and souvenirs of all sorts – and the number of white-haired ladies bargaining for them at 2.00 AM surprised me. I couldn't help wondering what a group of retirees from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was making of the whole scene on the lower Suk. I'm certain the most daring thing many of them had previously done was dancing the Macarena at a wedding reception.
I then encountered another refugee from Soi 3, the semi-legendary Natasha. The story goes she's the widow of a minor Communist Party official from the ex-Soviet Union. He'd been sent to Thailand a few years before the breakup of the Soviet system to supervise a state-run import-export business. Unlike most Soviet-era expats, he wasn't a spook, but had been given the posting abroad as a reward for long service to the Party. He had been accompanied to LOS by a much younger wife, also a perk afforded to Communist officials, along with a few oranges, apples and bananas around Christmas. As a TASS correspondent once told me, pretty girls had been easier to find – and much cheaper – in the Soviet Union than oranges or bananas.
With the end to the Soviet system, he'd lost his job. He didn't have a pension worth mentioning, but didn't want to return to Russia to the uncertainties of post-Soviet life. He managed to support his wife through small ventures of his own for a few years, but that ended when he keeled over dead of a heart attack.
His widow, Natasha, was left stranded in Bangkok with only the most meager means of support. Already past her prime, she turned to prostitution to give herself a better life. But that was 15 years ago and now, in her fifties, she should be knitting booties for grand-children, not doing the Sukhumvit stroll.
She has the shape, if not the stature of an American football center. Her skin is blotchy and she has oddly mismatched facial features that make me think of a hobbit or one of those Scandinavian troll dolls. If American-style football ever caught on in Middle Earth, she could play center for the Shire's pro team. With a shudder, I moved past her.
I've seen Sukhumvit Road very late at night many, many times and the crowds never cease to amaze me. The fold-up eating places are always jam-packed, making it impossible to pass in more than single file. As I passed Soi 5, I saw a farang in his twenties sitting splay-legged on the curb, a puddle of puke in front of him, the product of his night's drinking. He's weaving like he's going to fall over at any moment. His Thai GF, or least companion for the night, was responding to the situation by wiping his forehead with a cloth. Talk about re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic! A six-foot guy is about to go bow down in his own vomit and his girl is mopping his brow.
I had a feeling he was from somewhere on the Anglo-American continuum, but whether it was New Zealand or New Jersey, I had no idea. Anyway, he deserved more assistance than he was getting.
"Is he O.K.? Do you need any help?" I asked the girl. I figured we could prop him up, or at least lay him flat so he wouldn't be rolling in the gutter in his own puke.
The girl looked up at me and answered, "You go away now."
Sure, sweetheart, up to you, I heard myself say inside my head, but I just remained silent. I wondered for a moment if she was worried I would make a play for her once her cavalier had sunk into unconsciousness or whether she had more nefarious plans, like relieving him of his wallet. It's not always possible to be a Good Samaritan, so I rejoined the throng of people moving up the Suk.
I was troubled by the lack of ladies to whom I was attracted. Girls! Girls! everywhere, but nary a one to shag. I remember an episode of the original "Twilight Zone", in which a U.S. soldier during WWII sees a light glow on the faces of comrades who will die in action. I had the same sort of eerie precognition about most of the Thai girls I had encountered along the way, except it was a big starfish I saw across their faces.
As I passed Soi 7/1, I thought fondly of the Eden Club, but it had long since closed. Although I had expected to find companionship before getting this far, I didn't despair yet because there were still dozens and dozens of women moving up and down the Suk. Short of being the unluckiest – or pickiest- man on the planet, I was sure to see one to my liking before many more minutes had passed.
In Part 3, I ponder the motives of fellow mongers, meet a girl and pay a Karmic debt.
A very nicely written story.