The Cleopatra, Patpong
The Cleopatra. Well, there is a bar that brings back so many happy memories! It was run by Vinai and his twin brother Somchai and had the best show in Patpong. You never ever get ripped off nor did you have the girls hustle you for drinks. In fact, one new young girl did try once and Vinai wanted to sack her for asking me for a lady drink when she had been told not to!
My pal in the UK worked for three tour companies, one a very big one I will not mention but it went bust recently and if I was in Bangkok and he arrived with a tour group he would tell me I have 22 for the night life tour which I would organise and he would charge a fee for and we would split it between us. Shush!
We would take them to a couple of tame gogo bars like Grand Prix, and then to Cleopatra for the “show” then to Suriwongse Road for Quittio on a pavement food stall.
Even today when I go into Cosmos, Vinai still buys me the odd drink as a thank you for taking so many tourists to his bar all those years ago. Vinai is still a very good friend today.
At that time I flew my mother out to Thailand and put her in the Royal Orchid near my apartment and she was getting on a bit then. My friend had a niece fly in from Australia on her way to the UK and she asked her Uncle Willum for two things she wanted in Bangkok. One was real Thai food and the second was to see a sex show. Willum asked my Mum if she wanted to come with us too, and she said yes!
After the meal we took the ladies to The Cleopatra and while the show was taking place and the young Aussie girl was wide-eyed, my Mum asked her, “That man on the stage, does he have an erection because I have forgotten my glasses?” Oh yes, Mum, he certainly does. To which my mum replied pointing to me only when his Dad took me to Paris in the 50s the Frenchman could not manage. I expect she did not need glasses then.
My friend Willum who worked and retired in Thailand told me once that if you go in to a bar and see a bloke sat on his own at the bar sit next to him and say hello. I still do this today and over the years have met some very interesting people, as well as a few plonkers. If you meet a plonker, say just going to the hong-nam and go out the back door. And if you ever see him again, just say what happened to you when I went to the hong-nam?
Now I walked into my local, The Kew Gardens, in Suriwongse Road, and saw a big man at the bar. I sat next to him and said, Hello not seen you here before. Are you on holiday? To which he said, Noa I coma to Bangkok to singa the opera at the worlda trade centre. I introduced myself and he said his name in Italian. I said I will never remember that. I will call you Pluto because you look like the baddy in The Popeye cartoons. We had a few beers and he says I never seea the tita show you a takea me.
So I took him to a few more bars then to see the show at The Cleopatra and I then put him in a tuktuk back to his hotel. Pluto was great company all night and got his round of beer in.
Two months later my pal the tour guide came back to the UK with a bottle of duty free whisky and we went to the pub first then grab a gran, pull a pensioner night at the night club (over 25s) nearby then back to my house to drink the whisky. I had the TV on as background noise and Pluto came on the TV singing opera! I got all excited and shouted at the TV saying my pal Pluto who I took out on the piss in Bangkok. My pal said don’t believe you, that is Pavarotti – and it was too. A true story!
I wish we had a bar like The Cleopatra today we could take friends to, to see a “show” without being ripped off.
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