Bargirl or Chimera?
My diary entry for 19th December 2008 describes one of those nights when you trawl the bars in vain and go home alone (very similar to my recent experience in Angeles, which I describe in Parts 3 and 4 of Same Same But Different).
The diary entry is from my Thailand diaries, which have just been published in a book entitled Pussy Struck in the Land of Smiles. This is the result of several weeks work in lockdown, when I have been typing up my old experiences as a substitute for new ones. The poem is from my Thailand poetry collection entitled Jasmine Kisses. FREE copies of this book are still available. Just email me and I will send you a Kindle version (now also available in PDF format).
Very slow start to the evening. I had read on one of the forums that Deja Vu is the most happening bar at the moment, so I went there first, but there were only four girls on stage and no customers. Well, it was still early, so I decided to try again later. I popped my head into a few bars, and finally settled down in Baccara at about 8:00. 18 girls in total (up and down). Atmosphere was not as vibrant as usual, as it was not as full as it usually is (for once, I could actually choose my seat). White rah-rah skirts and bikini tops downstairs with no panties – could see everything in the bar top mirror. Upstairs, navy blue skirts, white blouses, no panties. The blouses came off from time to time. Didn’t recognise any of the girls.
Looked into Deja Vu again, but still nothing doing. Looked into Tilac, and a new bar called Kiss – nothing much happening. Went to Long Gun in desperation – my, but those girls are huge! All the girls were naked, though they would have looked better clothed. Nothing took my fancy except a shy girl who hid her pubes with her hands. The bar is undergoing renovation and the place (like the girls) was stripped back to the bare boards – music still great (classic Rhythm and Blues), and the bar still popular (a fair few customers).
Shark was next – 20 girls on stage, all petite, in pink bikinis, and so many customers I had to sit at the stage. It was the first time that evening that I felt a sense of atmosphere. Got talking to an Indonesian guy who had been all over SEA, but preferred Thailand because it was safer. He put it down to Buddhism, and I think he’s right.
There were many pretty girls of the right sort: petite and cute. Took a fancy to #78, but she was with a guy (who didn’t seem too bothered). Tapered hair, baby face, perfect body with good sized boobs, shapely legs – a real doll! – the kind I could get interested in, if only to stroke that perfect body! I watched them for a while to see if a barfine was in the offing, but gave up eventually, deciding instead to come back later and see if she was still there.
Decided to give Deja Vu one last try. It was 9:30 and things were a little livelier with ten girls on stage and about half a dozen customers. Clearly, the forum that described it as “the most happening bar” was way out of date, but I decided to stay anyway.
A girl came up to me, and as she looked OK, I let her stay. #45, Fon, 22. I didn’t get where she came from, but it was not from Isaan. Four months in the bar, some English (not much). Pretty, with tightly-drawn features. Smallish breasts, largish earrings, no tattoos. Very touchy-feely. Cold hands though [I often find that the old adage “cold hands, cold heart” applies to bargirls]. I was tempted [or was I just desperate?] but didn’t feel any chemistry. She was nice enough, but I just didn’t fancy her. Bought her two drinks + two Heinekens for me (total 550 THB). When the drinks were finished, I said, “Krang na,” [“next time”] – but I don’t think so.
I popped back to Shark to see if #78 was still there, but there was no sign of her – probably barfined (I’ll bet she gets barfined every night!). Looked into a few more bars, but there wasn’t much doing (isn’t this supposed to be the high season?) so I walked up to Nana Plaza.
First stop was Carnival – but the place was practically deserted with only four girls on stage, and a few others waiting to pounce on any of that rare breed – a customer. I didn’t recognise any from last time, and there was none that I even remotely fancied.
It’s funny how, one night, you just walk into a bar and it all happens, and on other nights you can’t seem to do anything right – this was one of them!
Went to Angelwitch and saw a petite gogo girl I liked – killer body, large breasts, small nipples, but just as I was about to signal her to join me, the guy in front of me beat me to it. I’m always interested to see how other guys operate, so I watched them for a while. He seemed to be working hard at it, but she was unresponsive – I should have thanked him for saving me the trouble!
The best thing about Angelwitch is the shows. This time I saw the Soap Show, in which two semi-naked girls soap each other all over, the Ironing Show, in which all the clothes come off one by one to be ironed, and my favourite: Ram Thai [Thai traditional dancing] as it should be done (topless).
Went to Rainbow 4 – but there were only about 18 girls spread over the two stages [when I first went there, in 2005, there were never less than 20 girls on each of the two stages, and many more sitting around the bar]. Several pretty ones, though: #20 was gorgeous (but knew it). #2 was equally alluring, but left the stage to sit with another guy.
I was beginning to feel tired (the jet-lag kicking in, even though I had been asleep for most of the day), but I didn’t want to give up just yet. It’s a funny feeling: you want a girl, but you know that you are too tired and too drunk. There’s also the nagging reminder that you didn’t fly 6,666 miles just to look. It seems crazy to spend months fantasising about it, and then be too tired and too drunk to do it, but I didn’t think just then that I could face another banal lady drink conversation, or another session of robotic sex.
Went to Pretty Lady next – a misnomer if ever there was one! A fat, ugly girl pounced on me before I had even settled down – with the result that I was rude to her – sorry about that! [I pride myself in always treating ladies like a gentleman!] Five girls on stage and about 10 in total – all were horrible – so I left sharpish.
Where to next? Rainbow 2. Some pretty girls. Just missed a well endowed cutie – too slow! She ended up with a Japanese punter – but by then I was far too tired, cross, drunk, etc., so it didn’t really matter.
Decided to try one more bar and ended up (by mistake) in Temptations (another misnomer – at least as far as I was concerned). For a moment I thought it was full of pretty girls – but they were too pretty, and too big – and I realised with horror that I was in a Ladyboy Bar! I paid and left in hurry, taking my overpriced can of Coke with me. One of them shouted after me: “No need run away! We won’t bite!”
It was then about 1:20 and the gallery lights were out – time to call it a night. A bad night, certainly, but not my worst by a long way [that was with the bunny girl – see Bangkok Don Juan Part 5]. At least, this kind of bad night is cheap! –Costs: 9x my own drinks, plus two lady drinks, and a few tips: 1,670 THB – is that the cheapest ever?
Despite the fact that it was high season, it was quieter than I have ever seen it [of course it was! There was a financial crisis going on!] – Angelwitch at elevenish had several spare seats (it used to be standing room only!) R4 not crowded, R2 almost empty. In Soi Cowboy, only the popular bars were doing well.
* * *
When I started to write my cloned version of Campana’s masterpiece, Chimera, I had no idea what I wanted to say or where it was going, I just followed his poem and Thaied it – yet the result is, I believe, one of my best poems, because, on re-reading it years later, I find that it expresses perfectly that experience of reeling drunkenly from bar to bar driven by a strange mixture of the erotic and mystical that can only be experienced in Thailand. I like the way that the search for the perfect girl becomes a metaphor for the search for that perfect poem – both of which can never exist in the real word and are therefore illusions, or “chimeras”.
Bargirl or Chimera*
E ancora per teneri cieli lonate chiara ombre correnti
E ancora ti chiamo ti chiamo Chimera.
I don’t know if your face really appeared
To me among the bars, or if you were
A wish-fulfilment, half-known and half-feared,
Seen in my visions dreamed in lands afar.
Your copper skin, your hair of ebony,
Haunt my mind with passions that appal;
Queen of Soi Cowboy, lost eternally,
O youthful queen, supremely sexual.
I seek the unknown poem, O jasmine girl!
With words as rich as your voluptuousness,
Yet metaphorical: you as a pearl,
Its theme profound but plain: you in undress.
Waiting for you, a poet in darkness, I
Try to read the poem the neon writes
Across the parchment of Soi Cowboy’s sky,
Its message one of deepest dark delight.
I wait with trembling for the mystery
Of you. Are you bargirl or Chimera?
I cannot tell what you will do to me:
Delude, or clarify? Make me, or mar?
I cannot tell – is that the neon’s glare,
Or coming dawn deluding my dazed brain?
I walk the soi, seeking you everywhere,
Try every bar and gogo – but in vain.
I cannot find you – perhaps you always were
A figment – like that poem I’ll never write:
Not real at all, but part of my mind’s blur
Of alcohol and the Soi Cowboy night.
*Chimera: i) in Greek mythology, a fire-breathing she-monster usually represented as a composite of a lion, goat, and serpent; ii) a fanciful mental illusion or fabrication.
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