My Last Trip?
I just returned to USA from my 3-week trip to Thailand. I thought you might be interested to hear of a few things that occurred, and some thoughts I had about this trip.
I am not one of those types that just walks up to a girl and says, "Hi, wanna go to my hotel room?" I don't really get anything out of that, and prefer the LT GFE types that you can go off on a trip with if you feel so inclined. So, I like to know the girl first and usually will have talked to a girl a number of times before going with her.
Gulliver's Soi 5
I usually pop in there most nights that I am in BKK because there are girls there I have known for years so there are some familiar faces, who usually speak decent English and can hold a conversation. Anyway, this time I got quite a surprise, because I did not see even one familiar face! No point phoning anyone…they change their phone numbers so often. Kind of disappointing.
As if that wasn't bad enough, I was really pissed off with the Gulliver's staff. You walk in, take a seat at the bar, and no-one bothers to serve you. You can sit there 10 minutes and see about 6 staff around the cash register not interested in the customers, but only interested in their group chat. Is there a manager in this place?
Then there was a incident with a drink that pissed me off big time. I had a rum/coke and Oy (a former girlfriend's cousin) walked over and asked me to buy her a drink. Since I was buying her one, and was nearly finished mine, I ordered another Rum/coke. The drinks arrived. The waitress placed them in front of me. I had a little left in my prior drink, so poured that into my new glass. I took a sip. It was not rum/coke! It was JD/coke. Looked the same though. I told them it was not what I ordered – and then the guy sitting along from me said it was his! Obviously they could not give it to him after I had poured my drink into it – and also took a sip. I told them…don't try adding that to my bill! Well, time to leave, and checkbin arrived. They had added it to my bill! I was not amused. There was a brief standoff between me and the waitress with me refusing to pay for it, and her refusing to allow me NOT to pay for it. She said I poured my drink into it so they could not give it to the customer. Therefore I must pay. I said…and what if I did not pour my drink into it? I only discovered it was not my drink when I took a sip! Can you then give THAT to a customer? It was when I took a sip that I discovered it was not my drink for God's sake! I was about to ask for the manager…when the guy who originally ordered the drink volunteered to pay for it. Perhaps a good thing on my part…as this could have got ugly for me. I was having visions of the door security coming over and getting physical, or the cops being called and this costing me big money at the end of the day with payoffs to them to get out of a messy situation. And for what? Some idiot waitress that can't deliver drinks to the correct customer? A manager who doesn't seem to give a damn about customers – this could easily have been sorted out and waved off as a mistake by the bar staff. But they tried to bill me…OK, only 110 baht, but still…it is not only bad service, it is bad manners on their part, and total disrespect. All so a waitress could save face. Crazy.
I met 4 that had stories to tell.
2 girls were from Burma, and did not speak Thai. They communicated only in English and were trying to learn Thai phrases from the Thai girls. Interesting watching them practice.
#3 claimed to be an ex-nurse (this was my date the night of the fire, see below), and said she had liver cancer and needed money for life saving drugs (was I being fed a story to prepare me for financial support requests? She has not made any requests yet and I liked this girl a lot). Very friendly, and a lovely smile. I wonder how someone can put a brave face on and smile, knowing they could die soon. I kind of felt sad this could happen to such a lovely person.
#4 claimed NOT to be a working girl. She claimed to be the General Manager of a electronics manufacturing facility in Thailand. She says she would normally spend one month in Thailand, and one month in Canada…rotating. The R/D facility was in Canada. She said she was married, and her husband was Canadian and she lived in Canada. That she was simply hanging with friends. Could be true…guys approached her and she didn't even look up from her texting on her mobile phone to acknowledge them. I saw her 2 times there, with her "working" friends, and she didn't seem to be interested in any guys, or leave with any guys. My thoughts are that she married a Canadian electronics engineer, now lives in Canada, and he designs some products, and she has them manufactured at low cost in Thailand. She may have been working in a prior life and that is why she knows these girls….comes to hang out with them when back in town…but only hang out. Her name was Tik (she says). She was very pretty, was very well dressed, and spoke very good English. She was obviously educated.
About the only bar worth going into is Tilac. I have been going there since 1994, and it is still as good as it was then. Can't say the same for the rest of the soi. Long Gun has long since died off. I went to Baccarra, and it was wall to wall Japs. One Jap guy had a massive checkbin and was arguing with the mamasan for at least 15 minutes. Hey, these Japs want to have a gang of girls hanging around them and feel like kings, but don't seem to happy come time to pay the bill! Anyway, no-one even looked at me and the waitress was so sour faced, never smiled. I had one drink. Left a 10 baht tip on the tray, and she picked it up and pressed it back into my hand as if to say it was an insult to leave that. Stupid cow. Makes me wonder why I bother with these places.
I went into one of the Arab's bars to see if these were any better…on the opposite side. Not sure if it was Rio, or Sahara. They all look the same to me. Inside, there were 2 or 3 Jap customers with about 2 girls each. And then there was me. Sitting alone. There were 6 girls on stage. About 10 more sitting around the stage, but staring directly ahead into the mirrors, completely motionless, and uninterested in anyone or anything. I kid you not. Staring straight at the wall. All of them. Were they all drugged up? I was a ghost. I wasn't there it seemed. Drank up and left.
Over to one of the older bars, After School. I walk in and I am their only customer. Immediately every girl in the place surrounds me. I order a drink. It arrives. One girl then proceeds to place about 7 drink mats next to my rum/coke, signifying that I should buy all the ladies a drink. I finish my drink in one gulp and pay the bill. As I am about to leave 2 guys come in and say, "Hey, you have all the girls!" I say "They are yours, have fun" then exit!
What the heck has happened to this place? There are 5 ladyboy bars! Is that really what people want now? Every gogo on the bottom floor seems to have only a few girls on stage. Nothing to look at – ugly, fat, old, with kids etc. Unbelievable. 2nd and 3rd floor the same, with the exception of Rainbow 3. The only place worth stopping in. I recall back in the mid 90s spending every night at NEP, and nearly every bar was a great time, with many babes in every bar. Even the old style bars had some pretty girls. What a dump now! Not worth bothering with!
Same story as Nana Plaza. Many bars seem to have disappeared. Those remaining that are not ladyboy bars have very few girls compared to the old days. And low quality, the same as NEP. What the heck is happening? Patpong used to have many babes. One good thing, the drinks are reasonable at 100 baht. NEP and Cowboy have ridiculous prices. I am paying more now than I do at a nice bar in USA!!!!
Full of young guys on Fridays / Saturdays, just totally packed out. I didn't stand a chance meeting a girl there except the dregs. Where do these young guys get the money? I did not have that kind of money at their age. They seem to be doing better than me and I am 48 now! <There are a lot of young entrepreneurs in Bangkok today, trading stocks, currency guys, website / online business guys etc – Stick>
Spoke to 2 girls that took my fancy. Thought I might give the first one a try but it was after 4 AM. I offered 2K. She wanted 3K. I walked away. Then I had a conversation with girl #2 for 15 minutes, seemed to be going well and I liked her. Again, offered 2K and she wanted 3K. I went home alone. I wondered if they got anyone that night. It was between 4 and 5 AM…
I was staying in a new hotel, which is situated between soi 19 and Asoke, Fusion Suites. A very nice little hotel, 8 floors. A bit expensive, but they had the "3 days for the price of 2" which made the price more reasonable. I decided to try it out and booked 2 nights there. I was happy enough with it, so booked a 2nd stay for 8 nights after my return from Pattaya. It was on the second stay that the "incident" occurred.
I went out for the night, and returned with my date (Gulliver's girl mentioned earlier) around midnight. I was in the taxi on Sukhumvit road, leaving soi 5 when many fire engines raced passed us. As we pulled into soi 19, the soi was in darkness. Power was off. Further down the soi, at the junction where my little hotel was, there was lots of activity. The taxi said he could not go down, so dropped us off. We walked down, wondering what the heck was going on. Then we reached the junction, took a right towards soi Asoke. The street was packed with fire trucks, police, and onlookers. My (new) hotel was on fire!!
Smoke was billowing out of the building and swirling down the street. The power was off because the electricity cables that run above street level had blocked the fire trucks from getting in close to the building. The cables needed to be hoisted up so the truck could get in! This was necessary because they had to use the fire truck hoist to rescue trapped people on the top floor! I saw a guy waving a towel to attract attention, hanging out of his window. This was the room directly above mine! Had I returned an hour earlier, I too would have been waving towels out of the window to be winched to safety! Lucky for me I was out!
As I was standing outside watching my hotel go up in flames, 2 firemen came out, brushed past me, and collapsed on the ground with exhaustion. I could smell the fire as they walked past, that burnt barbeque smell of carbon ashes. Their colleagues immediately helped them out of their clothes, and doused them with water to cool them down. Hats off to these guys – they have a dangerous job, and it hit home when I saw them collapsed there and exhausted.
The fire was eventually extinguished and we were housed in a lower class hotel that night by the management, who did everything they could to ensure we had a room at short notice. The next morning, I sauntered back to the hotel, and all the staff were outside with a makeshift office, trying to find alternative accommodation for everyone – there were new guests arriving and the hotel was fully booked for a month. I got lucky and they put me into Fraser Suites in suk 11 for my remaining 5 days. Very nice!!!! They must have lost a lot doing this but I guess insurance paid for it. I asked if they knew what caused it, and they said it was from a controller at the rear of the hotel that exploded. One room was gutted by fire, which was on the 4rth floor. There was a lot of smoke damage throughout, and the place was a mess after the fire brigade had been through the building. The electricity was off while the fire raged, so no one could use the lifts. The stairwell was filled with thick smoke so no one could exit that way.
Walking Street used to have the Arabs restricted to their own bar area at the top of Walking Street, in the back area around Marine 2. Now they are spreading out. The street is full of Middle Eastern guys sitting at the bars watching the street, smoking their hookah pipes. I met a girl in Gulliver's. Pretty, fun. She suggested we go to Insomnia (downstairs). Ok, so off we went. She went to the area at the back near the bay. It was filled with Middle Easterners, again smoking their hookah pipes. She says it is where she usually hangs out. So I guess that means these guys are her normal customers. It kind of turned me off to her. Walking down the street, there were young Arabs everywhere, even in the gogos. Airport Gogo had many young Arabs inside. So did Lucifer's.
So that is some of my observations. With the high drink prices, low quality of girls, the girls' asking prices, expensive hotels (partly because of the weak dollar), flight prices etc, I am seriously considering if this may be my last trip!
But, from reading your column…you have heard this a lot recently!
This is a really damning report of how things are in Bangkok these days. Sadly I can say that I agree with almost everything you wrote.
On the subject of the staff and management at Gulliver's, that's one venue where customer service has never been a priority.
For someone coming to Bangkok to experience the sex industry for the first time, without first-hand knowledge of how it used to be, they will probably still have a good time. For guys with a lot of money who are prepared to pay the asking prices of today – which really are quite a lot higher than they were, especially if you work them out in $$ – they will probably still have a good time. And for the guys who are so old or so physically repulsive or so creepy or who have such bad social skills that they cannot possibly get laid in the West, then they too will probably have a good time. But for those of us who know how it used to be, how much fun was to be had and how great it really was, it is sad to see the way things have changed.