Stickman Readers' Submissions April 17th, 2013

Lesson Learned At Last – An Insight In to Dealings In Nana Plaza

I went out at 11.30 PM just to have a look around, but things got complicated somewhat because I went into Pretty Lady in Nana to see if any of these "new ladies" were still about – many were – and I was too complimentary to one of them who came after me. It led her to expect too much. It was about 1 AM when we left the bar. We went to 7/11 and then sat and had coffee at the hotel. Then time to enjoy what we wanted. I gathered she enjoyed her work.

The lady had a friend who came up to us while we sat in the bar. She offered I take two ladies, meaning her too. Talking about long time and short time she said she only did short time so I said I would not take her, I only do long time. She said talk to the lady I'd just bought a drink for.

At first the pretty lady said she did long time for 4,000 and I said that was far too expensive, especially as it was a high bar fine, 600 instead of the usual 300. <What?! Barfines have been 600 baht for YEARSStick> She indicated she was willing to negotiate, and at least that was something we have always agreed about.

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I said I would usually pay 1,000 where I was known but for her double was ok. 2,000 baht. She asked, Plus the bar fine as well? Yes, I realised the bar fine had to be paid as well, I said. So it was clear we were talking about what I would pay her. She said she would go long time for 3,000 baht. She would not "go" for 2,000.

I made a counter-offer of 2,500. I thought that was still over 3,000 baht for me to pay including the bar fine and although probably there was no reason to pay three times the usual amount I would pay, she might be good company. Marginally worth the risk.

The lesson to be learned from this is never to agree something on a hope, agree only when you know exactly what you are getting.

She thought very briefly about my offer and said yes.

So we left the bar and went shopping at 7/11 and then I drew 2,500 baht from the ATM, told her and showed her and put it in my top pocket. We laughed about the small amount left in my bank account. I said I wanted to "show her" I had the money. I did that because she had seen in the bar I'd had barely enough to pay the bar bill.

Just after 5 AM she decided to leave the hotel early rather than stay till morning light.

When I gave her the money it was folded over and I teased her there was only a thousand. Then I opened out the thousand and she saw the rest of the money. She then said we had agreed 3,500. I had momentarily forgotten never to joke in business.

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I pointed out she had actually said 3,000 plus the bar fine. I had offered 2,500 and she had said ok. I had paid the bar fine of course. Total over 3,000 but now 2,500 to her.

She denied having said 3,000 or ok to my counter-offer. She stuck to 3,500 as the negotiated price. We were now in to lies and denials. I said I should have written it down. I showed her what I had in my pocket – which she already knew – which was only a hundred and some twenties left after I had paid the bar fine.

I reminded her she had agreed 3,000 – though she was now denying it – and ok I could pay the other 500 tomorrow. But she had agreed long time and it had been less than four hours. She was leaving early. She said that she had done long time. Long time has for a long time, at least since 2002 when I first arrived in Bangkok, always meant all night. So I could see from now on our conversation was going to be meaningless.

On reflection it seems to me she had not made me come and so wanted to restore her self-esteem by getting more money than we had agreed.

Really, there is no reason at all to play along with the bar scene in Bangkok. It is undoubtedly expensive, double or treble what you would pay elsewhere. And it is unreliable and dishonest. These days you virtually have to write out and sign a contract with the agreed terms if you are not going to get involved in demands for extra cash. This, at last, should be "lesson learned".

But one thing I must say from my many years of experience living here. This Is Thailand. Dishonest is normal here. The Philippine way is so much better. Hang the dirt and petty crime there. Bangkok has its own share of that. The Philippine bars I have found on half a dozen visits to that country are generally speaking hassle-free and only a few are a rip-off. Young belligerent men who like an argument are the ones who are in their element in Bangkok. For the rest of us, just remember Nana has changed and despite what the venerable Stickman now says, it has not changed back to being good again just because of a lick of paint and banana lighting, before which he was telling us how bad it had become.

I suppose I didn't get much more than short time and very probably that was always her intention seeing as we had agreed not much more than the short time fee that presumably all the women in Nana expect these days. So I don't complain, I'm just disappointed. Over here dishonest dealing is the norm in every area of life and virtually nothing is ever what it seems to be.

Stickman's thoughts:

That's a pretty disappointing experience, for sure! Probably it is less a reflection on the bar and the bar area, but yeah I think it probably IS representative of how things in Bangkok are different to say Angeles – at least from what I gather because I don't barfine and I have never been to Angeles.

nana plaza