One Crazy as Hell Night in Bangkok
I’ll level with you first of all and say that I’m a fairly streetwise, 30-something guy who is no stranger to the odd scrape or two in life. What follows is about the most random and bizarre night of my life, which has left me realising how lucky I was to escape unscathed.
Last Thursday on the third night of my first ever visit to Bangkok, curiosity got the better of me and I decided I needed something stronger than beer to perk me up. Now I’d read all there is to read about this crazy drug called yaba that seems to be the stim of choice of the underclass of Bangkok. So after a few beers I thought I’d chance my arm and see if I could get hold of some.
Alcohol loosens the inhibitions but it was still with some trepidation that I set out walking about the soi 4 / Nana area looking for some likely drug venders. I’m no angel, that much I’ve said already so I know a player when I see one but after an hour of walking here and there around the Sukhumvit area I’d pretty much given up.
It was then I was heading back to Nana Plaza that I spotted a couple of likely lads drinking Thai whiskey and with prison tattoos on their person. They were perched on the wall of the Raja Hotel’s car park where Strikers Sports Bar now sits. I walked past twice to see if they were ‘in the game’ and after making eye contact with one of them he invited me to sit down and have a drink.
At first my tattooed friend asked me if I wanted a girl but then I told him I was after something else. He suddenly become alert and said “You no farang police?“ to which I assured him that I wasn’t police at all and was part of no set up by the Thai police to entrap him. I then asked him if he could get me some yaba and he once again asked me if I was police and asked to see my passport to prove that fact. Of course I didn’t have my passport with me and police don't have passports anyway, but he was still very unsure about me. He then spoke to his friend who was sat on a moped necking rum and coke and they then agreed I could be trusted if a little tentatively.
I was quoted a price of 300 baht per pill and then 200 baht on top of the price for the moped fuel. I agreed to buy three pills for 900 and gave the guy 1,100 for the transaction. The guy on the moped then sped off and said he’d be about “17 minutes” which I thought was a precise time all things considered. I was then invited to sit and have another drink on the wall and chat to my new friend about how much he hated the police and if I was police then we’d both get killed. He was a little worse for wear and I don’t scare easily so I took this as just bravado on his part.
Time moved on, 17 minutes passed and still no moped guy had arrived back. I began to feel a little uneasy about the whole thing but I did know that that guy I was sat with was on the level so worst case scenario was that his mate had done a runner with my money. Another 20 minutes passed and another bottle of rum was opened, and I suddenly found myself having a good time as my new friend was indeed a player and seemed to know everybody – hookers, ladyboys et al.
Eventually, I’d had enough and decided to write it off as a loss and head back to my hotel or maybe even a gogo bar. It was then a hideous looking hooker came over and started talking to me about something or other that had no interest to me whatsoever. That was until she said “I can get you anything you want” being half pissed and now franticly in need of getting high I agreed yet another yaba transaction but with a lady hooker this time. Again the price was agreed and the obligatory ’17 minutes’ was mentioned. What I did insist on was that she leave her handbag with me as security.
Now I know right now you’re sat thinking that I’m either the most stupid or naive guy in the world and deserve everything that was about to come my way. In my defence, I’d been drinking all day, had half a bottle of rum and some Valium that those nice street vendors sell on Sukhumvit.
About another ten minutes passed and my tattooed friend was a little upset with me for trusting a street walker with my money. The fact that I’d already written off the money I’d given him and his mate must have escaped him. In fact I had to physically stop him going through the bag she’d left behind to look for either money or cigarettes.
Then low and behold, the roar of a moped on the pavement in front of me woke me from the melancholy to the fact that I’d been clipped for cash twice in the space of an hour. The moped guy did indeed produce the goods and fairly decent they were too as I sampled one of them. It was then my tattooed gangster friend decided he’d had enough and took me on a hunt for the hooker who by now had been gone a good 40 minutes. I insisted I took her handbag along with me so I probably looked a right fool with it slung over my shoulder as we walked up and down soi 4.
Eventually, my friend led me to a side bar behind the Nana complex and introduced me to some even more dubious characters who seemed less than pleased to see a pissed up farang with a handbag slung over his shoulder. These guys were serious players and I could see that didn’t trust me at all and I was searched for any hidden devices or anything resembling a police badge. Luckily for me all I had on me was a debit card and some cash. I was warned by one of the guys in the bar that I should never buy anything from street walkers as they will get a payoff from the police. The advice they gave me was to ditch the bag and head away from the area for a few hours.
It was probably advice that I should have heeded but I thought I’d have one last walk back to that Raja car park to see if she had come back with the goods. As it was, there she was waiting for me and looking very agitated indeed. My tattooed friend immediately set about her giving it both barrels in Thai and the hooker produced a little packet of pills that she placed in my shirt pocket.
It was then it happened. From the corner of my eye I spotted a blue light flashing and realised this was a setup. From my right I saw some guys in uniform running our way and heard the sound of a siren close by. My only option was to vault the wall of the Raja car park and head for the gap between Strikers bar and Annie's Soapy massage. I ran like the wind and although I could hear the commotion behind me I didn’t hear anybody chasing me on foot or via a motorbike. Even so I kept running behind Annie's and past some street vendors who didn’t seem to notice me all to be honest. I ran about another 200 yards and decided I’d best get off the main road so I vaulted a metal fence into some kind of car lot. It was there I hit the ground between parked cars and stayed there for a good 20 minutes.
Any normal person would have by this point ditched what he was carrying and head as far away from the area as possible. For some reason, probably because I wasn’t followed or had I seen any sign of the police since sprinting away, I thought I was in the clear. I decided to try and head back to Nana to get to my hotel and call it a night. In a roundabout kind of way I managed to find a main road and flagged a taxi down. I got the taxi to take me to the stalls around soi 7 and I proceeded to buy some sunglasses, a white polo shirt and a cowboy style hat. Dressed in my disguise and looking like any other pissed farang I walked to soi 4 and turned the corner. I half expected to see police roadblocks, with people being searched but no, nothing at all. I simply breezed past the first few bars and into my hotel without a second glance from anyone.
Back at the hotel I consumed a fair amount of Yabba, got changed again and headed out to the bars. Risky? Yes, but by now I was so mashed that I didn’t care one way or the other.
At around 6 AM the following morning it dawned on me while laid in bed with a girl that I presume I picked up in climax that I’d been a very lucky and stupid boy that night. The next morning I checked out of my hotel and away from nana for fear of reprisals from the Thai gangsters who by now think I got one of their own locked up.
Cops with blue lights?! Umm, they're not blue! Cops who wouldn't pursue a foreigner buying drugs? You do know that when the local police arrest someone there are usually quite a few of them, like a half dozen or more – and some Thai policemen are in very good shape and would be quite happy to run after you. Furthermore, if locals saw the Thai police running after a foreign scumbag like you, they would probably help the cops! The bottom line is that this story doesn't add up at all! And let me say not for the first time that anyone who uses drugs in Thailand is STUPID! So that means that anyone who buys drugs on the street from a local scumbag or a hooker is a even worse than stupid. What do we call such people? "Bloody idiots" is the best I can come up with…