Hookers on Wheels
With all of the serious discussion here lately, I thought I would share a funny story from the other night. I work nights here and my walk home is always entertaining. Anyone who is familiar with Chiang Mai has certainly taken a stroll down Loi Kroh Road. It's the backbone of the naughty night life in this city, and my trek towards home every night takes me through a portion of it. By the time I get there, most of the bars are either closed or closing, and the chaos has begun to spill out on the street. The ladyboy hookers are dodging in and out of the alleys, and the bar girls are trying to pour their drunken farangs into the backs of tuk tuks. Most of the working girls here know me from the club I usually work in and despite the casual greeting, they don't really pay too much attention to me. The ladyboys are still a little aggressive, but they're usually pretty drunk or high. I've only had one time one of them really spooked me. She grabbed my arm, dragged me behind a street sign, stuck her hand down my pants and said "300 baht I go with you". I'm no master of martial arts, but I got away from her pretty easily. The fact that she was so drunk she could barely stand certainly helped.
Moving on to this week's adventure. I was nearly home walking down Loi Kroh and a girl pulls up on a motorbike. Here's the conversion that occurred.
Her: Where you go?
Me: I go home
Her: I go with you?
Me: No money (it's true, I'm one poor SOB most days)
Her: You want ride home?
Me: Sorry, no money. I walk home
Her: OK OK. No money. I take you
Remembering all the discussion here lately, I started thinking about what I might be able to learn and pass along. I was only a few blocks from home, and if things got out of hand it's always easy enough to hop off the bike at the next stoplight. I'm a fairly adventurous kind of guy, and feel pretty confident in the neighborhood where I live. So, I said what the hell. I gave her directions to my building and we were there in a matter of minutes. I hopped of the bike, said thank you and goodnight. Here is the next portion of the conversation.
Her: I go your room?
Me: No, I say before NO MONEY
Her: OK, OK, I go your room. No money OK
I was really quite shocked at that point, and paused for a moment to calculate the risk versus benefits. I was pretty sure that I wasn't going to be getting any, but I just had to see where the conversation would go. My building has got pretty tight security and thin walls, so it's always easy to tell when something goes awry. I've assisted the night manager here many a time with drunken foreigners and bar girls who have gotten out of hand. Once again, I said what the hell, and we walked into the lobby. The night manager gives me that sly grin he always does, and I shot him back a raised eyebrow of acknowledgment. We headed up the stairs and to my apartment. Attempting to be a good host, I offered her something to drink and a cigarette. She took the cigarette and asked if she could go out and look at my balcony. I agreed and we stepped outside. Once the lights were on, the "streetlight" good looks were gone. This girl had seen some rough times. Obvious bruises and cuts on her legs and arms told me that she had probably not made some of he best choices lately. Attempting to be mildly charming, I pointed out the various temples and sights visible, and then started asking questions.
Me: How long you live here?
Her: 5 year.
Me: You have boyfriend?
Her: Yes. Him Australia.
Me: Your boyfriend send you money?
Her: Yes, 20,000 baht every month.
My eyes got a little wide at this point. This girl just picked me up on the street trying to turn one last trick for the night, and she actually has a larger steady income than I do!!! In addition, she doesn't have to do anything!!! Anybody who's ever been down and out here knows that you can get by on a lot less than that. I myself have had a few times where my daily food budget was less than 20 baht a day. It's not fun, but it is possible. Many Thai people do it every day.
I asked her why she still works if she has a decent income from overseas. Her answer was simply "need more money". I asked her if she was sending money to her family and she said "No". I reminded her that 20,000 is a good amount of money. On a slow month, I'll make less than half that, and manage to get by just fine. The light bulb came on, and she realized that I knew her game. Needless to say, I moved in off the balcony for fear of being pushed off of it. She asked for another cigarette, and said goodnight. I wished her luck and and a safe ride.
So, there you have it. One more thing I can cross off my list. "Free motorbike ride from a Thai hooker….CHECK!"
A good swordsman knows that you don't argue with a woman in your room. Smile, agree, laugh, bide your time a little and then go for the kill!