A Short Trip
I was originally going to title this “Trannies and Amputees”, but I thought that maybe Dana would do himself an injury in his rush to read it.
I have recently got back from a short 2-week holiday in Bangkok. I normally travel to Thailand twice a year usually for 3 weeks at a time. This year due to the recession I’ve only managed once, and as I say only for 2 weeks. I would not describe myself as a mongrel though I am certainly no angel and my plans for the 2 weeks were just to chill, get my head together in respect to my business which has taken a nose dive. I hoped to keep my drinking to reasonable level, and also visit some different pubs that I have read about on this website and on Dean Barrett’s.
To start with I got a fairly cheap flight from Glasgow via Dubai. Last May the same flight cost me about £590, whereas this one cost £434. To put a cherry on it I was upgraded to business class on the 2nd leg, Dubai to Bangkok. So a good start to the holiday. I normally use cheap hotels around the Nana area. This time I booked for the first two nights into a hotel in the Soi 22 / Washington Square area. I won’t name the hotel as it’s not my intention to bad mouth anyone’s business on the internet. Enough to say that the standard of the accommodation / breakfast left a lot to be desired. After the 2 nights I moved back to the Nana area pronto. This was in my opinion too a far better hotel which at 700 baht was nearly half the price of the one I had just left. The reason I went to the Soi 22 area in the first place was to experience bars like Silver Dollar, and The Texas Lone Star. I also tried The Londoner on the corner of Soi 33 and I just had to have a look at Khun Dean's favourite Coyote dancers in Mojos. All were a good experience but one in particular stood out for me and that was The New Sq Peg, also known as Taffies Hairy Pie Club. The décor was nothing to write home about but the girls were all fun and in the owner, Taffy, you had a real character, as were some of the customers. One customer, whose name I forget told a story about how, after getting it on with his Thai wife one night, she tried to slice off his weapon of choice whilst he was asleep. He woke just in time and managed to take some evasive action, but still required some stitches, but not a complete Wayne Bobbit. The medical bill for that injury takes pride of place on Taff's bar wall. The thing was this guy was from the north of Scotland and although I am from Glasgow I couldn’t make out a word he was saying. Taffy, who is a Welshman but was brought up in Yorkshire, (and has a Yorkshire accent), but who also spent a long time in Scotland, had to translate for me. The amazing thing is that the guy is still with his wife. Only in Thailand. I’m not sure how he manages to get any sleep at night. I also saw with my own eyes how helpful Taff was to a well known Times Square local, (who appears to be having a difficulties), <whose problems are all related to "the bottle", I would suggest – Stick> and to another new bar owner who was trying to find his feet. I have found that some western owners can be worse than the Thais when it comes to trying to rip you off. So it’s always good to find decent ones and in my opinion Taff is one of them. His bar will always be on my list when I visit.
After checking in on my first night I hopped into a cab which took me to Soi 4 where I was going to pop into to see Eddie the owner of the Tequila Bar. This bar is situated in Raj car park on Soi 4. Eddie is another bar owner that I have a lot of time for. I’ve always found Eddie to be informative and very knowledgeable about all things Thai. Whatever he has told be as turned out to be 100% correct, which as I’ve said isn’t always the case with other westerners. Anyways I get out the taxi in Soi 4, and all I hear is a high pitched scream, “Khun Daniel” from a 5’10” ladyboy called Geoffrey. Geoffrey used to work behind the bar in Tequila’s and remembered me from last year. Well there goes my street cred on Soi 4. Then I remembered that I was in Bangkok and this sort of thing probably enhances your street cred. Needless to say nobody bats an eyelid, and I thought what would Dana do. So I gave Geoffrey’s backside a little pat. “How are you Geoffrey, you not work Tequila Bar no more?”
A big flutter of eyelashes. “No Khun Eddie not like me. You take me Tequila Bar, Eddie okay”
Eh naw. Saying hello is okay but taking ladyboys in and out of bars is not for me. Sorry Dana.
“Bye Bye Geoffrey you take care, watch out for any strange men”.
No doubt this is exactly what Geoffrey is looking out for. Before leaving I checked that I still had all my possessions. Yep all there. Also checked to make sure that I wasn’t turning and had got a lazy lob on. Nope, good. Turns out, on speaking to Eddie, that he had fired Geoffrey for being too aggressive with the customers when he got drunk. Seems to me that Eddie is missing a good business opportunity. I would imagine that some people would like that sort of thing, and may even pay good money for it.
Whilst I am in the vicinity of Eddies bar I used the ATM on Soi 4 across from Cheers Bar a few times, (The Bank of Ayutthaya) and was never charged the 150 baht fee. <I believe they now charge it – Stick>
Not sure what I was expecting this time around in Thailand, as I thought maybe with the recession, and lack of tourists, there may have been a desperation for money. Didn’t find that at all, and on the contrary it seemed more laid back than usual. It seemed that everyone just realised that there was not a lot of money going around and just got on with life. The only sign of aggression I saw was on the corner of Soi 7 where 2 amputees were going at it big style with their crutches. Blood everywhere. I imagine this was to do with whose begging pitch it was, or as both were missing a leg, it could have been over shoes for all I know.
Another thing of note was that one Sunday afternoon I was in Lolita’s off Soi 8. I had popped in for a beer whilst on my way to my hotel, (that’s my excuse anyway), got talking to 2 New Zealanders (one of them could have been Stick for all I know) <Nah mate, the Stick, while at times adventurous, steers clear of that type of establishment – Stick>, who had also popped in for a beer prior to going to watch the rugby in the Soi 8 Pub, (that was their excuse), the All Blacks were playing France. Anyway we got talking to one of the girls and asked what the bar fine was. 4,000 Baht! Thought she was joking, but no that was the price. Must be the most expensive in Thailand.
Soon my 2 weeks were over and it was time to return to the harsh reality of the Western world. I’m saying harsh reality, but it isn’t really when you put things in perspective with 3rd world countries which have none of the security nets that we have in place. So another good holiday in the Land of Smiles. God knows when I will be able to afford another one.
Sounds like you had a good time – and it's great to hear you got beyond the usual tourist spots and met some of the local personalities. That's one of the great things about Bangkok. If you actually scratch beneath the surface there are some really colourful and interesting people about.