The Naive First Timer
My friend came back from Thailand with tales of his recent trip, and reminded me of a old sailor with exaggerated stories of a far away exotic land, and even more exotic women. He always went on and on about the place, but at the time I was living with my girlfriend. Well after eight long years we finally split up then came my chance. Unfortunately for me the good old days of 73 baht to the pound were long since gone, and the pound was hovering at the 53 baht mark. So I finally decided to take the plunge into the great unknown.
I had been around Europe, even Cuba, but never on my own. I remember the plane touching down at Suvarnabhumi as fear started to grip me. I was on my own on the other side of the world in a place I knew relatively nothing about. I'd done a little research about the different tourist scams, by tuktuk and taxi drivers. My friend also give me a bit of advice about the bargirls, and told me don't do drugs and don't fall in love. Mind you, he didn't tell me about what great actresses they were. He also exaggerated about how cheap things where like bargirl prices, unfortunately a bargirl isn't happy to stay with you for 500 baht a week, obviously the drop in the pound didn't help as well. Good job I kept an open mind and took my credit card with me.
So I jump off the plane and waited in the queue at Thai immigration. God, do these guy like to take their time! My nerves were not helped by the sinister looking immigration officer complete in full military uniform and a pair of dark aviator sunglasses. Mind you, I had to bite my lip as not to laugh when I saw him get out from behind his desk to reveal his magnificent stature of 5 foot 2! Must have been sitting on a booster cushion. I'm pleased I didn't laugh because a loss of face to this little guy would have meant big trouble before I'd even stepped into the country.
My friend had told me to catch a bus to the Khao San Road but I didn't have a clue how to find my way, plus I was really tired after a 13-hour flight and not in the most patient of moods. I had one address of a hotel on the main Sukhumvit on soi 7/1. I really couldn't be bothered with any BS off the Bangkok taxi drivers so I took a airport limo to soi 7/1. The first thing that hits you when you walk out the airport is the humidity, then when you step out on the main Sukhumvit it's the pollution. Soon we were cruising down the main elevated highway, passing modern skyscrapers and camp looking pink taxis. By now I had noticed how much better looking Asian women were. It seemed to me no matter where you looked you could spot a pretty looking girl. Now I was starting to feel a bit happier and more relaxed. So we finally arrive at my hotel. I tip the driver as he gets my suitcase out the boot, and I walk up to reception where another gorgeous girl greets me. And then I notice some fat old farang walking hand in hand out the hotel with a stunning young Thai girl, then another and another. I'm thinking Jesus Christ, this can't be right!?! What the hell is going here? As you can see I was very naive haha.
So I quickly shower and text my friend to tell him where I was. He replies to me and says, "So now you're a fully fledged sex tourist, get yourself to soi 5 and look for a bar called Gulliver's. Go get yourself a half whore." meaning bargirl as they don't like to tell you they're really prostitutes. So out I step into the big wide world. I walk down the soi to the main road. So much life everywhere I look. I round the corner and I'm greeted by a toothless old beggar with deformed flipper like hands holding a collection tin. I quickly move on and trip on no other than the famous slugman. By now I'm starting to think my mate must have sent me to this part of Bangkok for a laugh. He wouldn't do that, would he? I soon find myself standing in soi 5, and then a tuk tuk guy shouts me over wanting to take me to a brothel. I'm thinking I might not know much about this place but common sense tells me to stay well clear of these guys. So I side step him and away.
As soon as I see Gulliver's I'm at ease. I walk in and see loads of pretty Thai girls sitting around the main bar area, while some are at the far end playing pool. It looks like my personal heaven. So I walk over to the bar trying to look cool like I've done it a million times before, desperately trying to keep the stupid grin off my face. I order a bottle of Budweiser only to be told that they don't sell it in Thailand. I notice a couple of girls next to me giving me the eye. Christ, I am thinking now my cover has been blown they're going to guess am a newbie. So pretence over with I introduce myself.
"Hi can I get you a drink".
"Thank you I have San Miguel light, what your name?" she asked.
"Johnny it's my first time here, what you called?"
"My name Fon where you from Johnny?"
"I'm from England"
You know usual bar girl small talk. Fon was about 40 from Khon Kaen in the Northeast region of Thailand. I noticed a lot of the Thai girls in the bar seemed to look like sisters from one giant family. Pretty but very similar looking. Still I could live with that, a damn sight better than what we get back home. I look over Fon's shoulder and her friend is being chatted up by a middle aged guy. In fact the whole bar seems to full of middle aged guys, none my own age of 38. Maybe guys my age are married, looking after young kids, and this is where they end up when divorced? Still I could think of a lot worse places to be in the world. And thanks to numerous web sites I now know how to play the game more proficiently than I did back then, and boy have I been put to the test by these girls, and the third kind if you know what I mean!
It's now starting to get late and Fon asks where I'm staying, so off we go back to my room. We're walking past all the night stalls selling an amazing collection of stuff from porn DVDs to fierce looking knuckle dusters and knives. This can't be legal, then again it's "Bangkok where anything goes but the traffic." We walk past a 7 eleven. Fon stops and asks me "You have condom? You can get here."
Now I always thought hookers carried condoms on them. But not Thai ones apparently. This must be to save money and face. Still they're cheap enough. Mind they did feel a bit tighter than the ones back home and I'm no porn star by any stretch of the imagination.
At the hotel it's a shower, a quick session then I'm ready to hit the streets again. I ask Fon if she would care to join me on a trip to Nana Plaza. I did a little bit of research on the Internet about this place. Good for eating, drinking, and debauchery. Sounds like my kind of place. My friend told me of a good bar called Angel Witch. It's one of them must see places, and boy it did not disappoint. So off Fon leads me by the hand to Nana. Walking past more of the same stalls. When we get nearer to Nana I notice some bizarre looking food stalls selling grubs and insects. Later I learn that most of the girls that work in Nana are from a place called Isaan, and these are snacks for the girls and not the tourists. Might try some when I'm drunk. I also noticed some tall girls who looked very attractive like cat walk models, which I learnt later were not girls at all. But that's another story.
Nana Plaza was just sensory overload for me. Forget kid in a candy shop, this was like the whole sweet factory. I didn't know where to look first. I'm just pleased my friend had told me where to go, or I might have just stood there at the entrance with my mouth hanging open. All I could see was girls and bars everywhere like a huge flesh melting pot of sights, sounds and smells. So I ask Fon where Angel Witch was, so we head to the steps on the left as you walk in the main entrance, and up the stairs past a chorus of bargirls all shouting "Hello Welcome" at just about every bar I past. At last I'm at my destination, a chain curtain is pulled back and in I walk. I'm greeted by a middle aged Thai lady who shows us to some seats. And what a magnificent sight there was on the stage. Twenty or so little young Thai girls dancing around in bikinis, all with little number badges pinned on there sides.
Fon says "If you want girl you pick number."
"What, you don't mind?"
"No it OK"
I thought what a great girl. Because they usually give you all that butterfly crap which was something I could never get my head around. Hookers trying to make us feel guilty for going with other hookers. But to be quite honest, Fon was enough for me. She had me worn out. Didn't want to over do it after all it was only my first night. After few Heinekens and well choreographed shows later, Fon sets me up and I get pulled up on stage for a bit of audience participation. This I will never forget as long as I live. Up on stage was a chair and I was asked to sit down in it. The mamasan ties my hands behind my back. The lights go down and the music starts, I distinctly remember the song Joe Cocker's Unchain My Heart. Oh god WOW two of the most amazing young Thai goddesses came dancing up to me twisting and spinning around the poles that surrounded the stage, the neon light bouncing off there perfectly shaped tone figures, both completely naked. Pushing their bodies literally millimetres from my face. Now I know why they tie you up first. I could have done them right there on the stage. After 5 minutes teasing, a blindfold is place over my head. My head spinning with thoughts of what was going to happen next. I can hear a roar of laughter from the audience, as I'm sat there in pitch darkness. Suddenly the blindfold is lifted and the mamasan pushes her humongous tits in my face. Ha Ha take that young man you thought you where going to get some young babe. Oh well all in a days work. Then it's back to my seat, my head still spinning. This is like some mad dream. Now I fully understand why guys get addicted to this place. It's too good LOL.
I'm starting to get quite drunk now.
"Fon, I never seen a ladyboy before you know where the bars are here?"
"You want ladyboy?"
"No I don't fancy them, I just find them confusing."
"You want to boom boom with ladyboy?"
"I just want to look that's all."
"You want look look"
"Yes just look look."
"OK I take you, I not know you like ladyboy?"
"I DON'T I'm just curious that all!"
So we leave the delights of Angel Witch behind and head towards the stairs to the top floor, to even stranger uncharted territory. This place looked and felt like a bit of a forbidden zone, a bit like the back room of an Amsterdam sex shop. I was starting to feel a little bit out my depth but I soldiered on, all in the cause of research you understand for the Stickman readership. We rounded the corner on top of the stairs to see a group of girls, some quite tall and elegant, and they were looking, chatting and doing their make up. My god I'm thinking can these really be guys. Some even had hips and narrow waists like real girls. There was something a bit European about these girls. I don't know if it was because of larger frames or because it was that they wore more make up than the real girls. As soon as I walk through the golden archway a hand grabs me and pulls me in. Now I'm getting scared. Am thinking Jesus just back off a little and give me breathing space. So we all sit down and straight off my assailant asks me to get her a drink. This really starts to annoy me because I think they should wait until you offer. Besides I'm here with my friend and not interested in going short time with any ladyboys just yet. So I start making small talk with her and she starts showing me her surgically enhanced body, insisting that she has never seen a doctor in her life. Speaking in a hormonally altered half male, half female voice that scared the crap out me. Remember this was my first night in Thailand and I think I was suffering from sensory overload. I have come to really like ladyboys since, but at the time it was all a bit too much. Plus I'm not sure why they insist on wearing bikinis, it's a bit off putting when you can see the outline of the fun size mars bar in there, or maybe they were just pleased to see me? To make matters worse I was the only guy in there, and I could feel a hundred pairs of eyes burning into me. Oh god, I hope I don't get dragged up on stage and raped. I have since been back to this place and really enjoyed myself. I've also read books to get a better understanding of the third sex, and feel completely at ease with them now. Mind you, I would stay well clear of any I met on the street. After 10 minutes I tell Fon it's time to go, curiosity satisfied for now at least.
Now it's closing time at Nana Plaza which is quite a scene, drunks young and old staggering home. Young backpacker type guys getting separated from their group, being snapped up by obvious looking ladyboys. I bet they're uncharacteristically quiet around their mates the next morning. Thai guys picking their bar girlfriends up on there motorbikes, off to spend there girlfriends wages. Suspicious looking African men lurking in the shadows almost camouflaged apart from a set of white eyes and teeth. As we are walking back to soi 7/1 we walk past the gauntlet of African hookers and I'm puzzled as to how there allowed to operate out in the open like that. Then I think it's obvious their pimp is paying people off. Back at the hotel I'm thinking that's one night I'll never forget.
I spend the next 4 days with Fon doing the usual things, grand palace, reclining Buddha, Soi Cowboy, even had a threesome with her best friend!!! I think out of all the Thai girls I've met on my visits she was the nicest personality wise. I know the score and they're just doing their job but like all employees some do a better job than others. She could have easily took advantage in my naive state but she didn't, and I thank her for that. One of the best holidays I ever had.
The first trip is hard to forget.