You've heard and read all of the advice, but you just couldn't help it and you've gone and fallen in love with a girl in a Thai gogo bar. Surely, she too will fall for your charms, and the 10,000 baht that you are sending her a month is after all, a lot more than the average Thai earns – so bingo, she must be yours!
But, as doubts start to creep into your mind, you decide to make a few inquiries to see if she really is at home, alone, as she promised. The word comes back and its the bad news that deep down you really expected – she is still working the bar and God damnit, she's still going with customers too. What the hell is wrong with her? 10,000 baht is a lot of money in Thailand, more than enough to live on! And it's a lot of money in some other countries too! Why can't she stay at home? What is wrong with her?
After working the bar for a while, these girls realise that there is the potential to make a huge amount of money in a very short time. A small fortune by Thai standards that can, with a little planning and care, buy land, a house and maybe a pickup for the garage too. They also realise that their shelf life is short and they really do need to maximise their earning potential while they can. The reality is that some of these girls are comfortably earning 100,000 baht a month, an amount that will go a long, long way in rural Thailand, their home. For most girls, 10,000 baht simply just doesn't cut it. For some girls, even 20K per month might not be enough! For many of the girls, the opportunity cost is huge!
On top of all of this, like it or not, Bangkok's gogo bars are getting as competitive as a Western bar or disco when it comes to picking up a girl for the evening. Young, handsome, successful guys can be found in all of the bars, and you are competing with them. Yep, that blue eyed, blonde haired guy over there who looks like he spends all day, every day, in the gym is going to be far more appealing to her than your fat, sorry ass. But when it comes to long term things, she will start to look at the whole package, so where looks may have come into play for a one nighter, your wealth should have the edge, or so you think. That's the perception, but there are now more than a few young guys around, guys in their late 20's and early 30's, with a hell of a lot of bread in their wallet.
In the red corner we have Pierre from France. He is a little older and he could do with a shower. He's not the sort she'd usually go for, but he's charming, wears fashionable clothes and hell, is his final name must be Renault because he has no shortage of money. Over in the blue corner, we have Joost from Holland. He isn't what you'd call rich but he does have enough and at 190 cm and with that blonde hair, blue eye look that the girls revere, he is every Thai girl's idea of Mr Handsome. And over there in the next corner we have John from Australia. And then there is Brad, the American, Chris the Kiwi…and the list goes on. These girls have REAL options to choose from. But at the end of the day, if they are serious about either moving in with you locally, or especially if they are considering going overseas with you, more weight will be given to the financial aspect of the package. If you're looking at moving a girl overseas, you need deeper pockets than you had imagined… But then, looks won't be out of place, an English speaking country helps and well, a Ferrari in the driveway might just settle it.
It's getting competitive out there, and for some girls, the most popular girls, they have a lot of options. There are a lot of guys out there and some of these girls are weighing up guys like you like one sort of investment package. Like it or not, finding a Thai bar girl to be a long term partner is more difficult than you ever imagined.
Last week's where is this pic was taken at Wat Arun AKA The Temple Of Dawn. The shot was taken around the back of the temple, near where the monks live.
Where is this pic?
clue: It looks more like a scene from a
Wild West movie than Bangkok.
What a damned mess! But where is it?
The life of a Pattaya girl met by a reader…
As far as avoiding any potential problems, also think the I.D. card is key. Even at hotels that don't require it, I require it! I ask the girl for it before we get to the lobby and hand it to the desk clerk when I get my key. I always get a big smile from the clerk. He knows what it's for.( It reduces problems for the hotel management too. It can't be good for business to have guests summoning the cops to investigate theft, etc.).
I would guess guys don't like the hotel ID policy because it makes them feel like their social life is being monitored and scrutinized, and they are a bit self-conscious about their butterfly ways. They need to realize that Thais accept this sort of security precaution as a natural part of life. Just look how many security guards you see everywhere! Hotels, malls, 7-11; you name it, watchful eyes are posted all over the place. Thais know better than to trust each other! They'll only think you are stupid to trust them the first night you meet. And they certainly won't be offended if you ask for their ID or take your wallet into the shower with you. I've heard many a tale 'o woe from bar girls crying about how they were ripped off by fellow bar girls.
Why not invest in a fruit cart? It's hot, and there
are queues of people waiting to buy some fruit.
So returning on Saturday night, half expecting the bar to be closed, I was pleasantly surprised to see that yes, the bar was actually open for business. Entering the bar, I noted only a small number of customers, which may have been because there was only a small number of girls. If you are going to open a new bar, I would have thought the idea was to do your best to fill it up with a lot of girls! There were perhaps 15 dancers in Cascade, and we are talking about a bar that is perhaps the same size as G Spot, so to say it felt quiet is a bit of an understatement. Anyway, it must be said that the Crown Group management have really gone to town on the design and construction of this new bar, and the decor really doesn't resemble any other existing gogo bar. The whole interior is done out as a cave, creating this sort of weird atmosphere that makes you feel like you have just entered Aladdin's cave. There is a large gogo dance area in the centre including a small rotating section. The much hyped waterfall was not working last night but it will apparently be up and running in the next few days. All around the area where the girls dance you can see where the water will flow. But what about the much talked about and greatly anticipated laser machine? Well, if there was a laser machine in there, I must have missed it… That was the big one that we were all looking forward to….and it was conspicuous by its absence. Asking one of the service girls about the laser machine got me the semi expected alai na response. I wonder how the dancing girls will find this new bar as there are almost no mirrors around the exterior to allow them to stare at themselves as they dance. Another minus is that the acoustics are a little flat, though whether that was due to the design of the bar, or teething problems with the sound system, who knows? While he might be viewed by many in Nana Plaza as the devil, David Walls, the Crown Group's numero uno deserves a big pat on the back for opening up such a bar when the industry is going through a period of uncertainty. There is no question that a significant amount of money was put into this place. Once the waterfall is up and running and they fill the place with more dancing girls, Cascade might just contribute to pulling some customers back to Nana.
It used to be Pretty Lady Bar, then became Pretty Girl Bar and now, it is Bottoms Up Bar. Back in mid 1998, it had the most amazing bunch of girls, many beauties amongst them. And back then, they used to play this tacky animated European porn flick on the TV inside the bar. Since then, the '98 vintage have all long gone, the staff from that era have largely moved on too and the bar has been completely renovated. But that same video tape still plays… So one can surmise that either the customers enjoy watching those movies or the VCR is broken and they can't eject the tape.
As the 25% Nana Plaza property rent increases that came into effect at the start of the year start to bite, Woodstock Bar has once again been forced to increase it's prices. Apparently the bar is not that profitable – and hasn't been for some time – and every little increase in their fixed expenses must be followed by a subsequent price increase to keep the bar's books in black ink. Although many expats like Woodstock as a quiet oasis amongst the madness of Nana, might the owner finally relent and convert the restaurant come bar back into a gogo – as it used to be many moons ago? Oh, and before you go blaming Thais for increasing the price and seemingly hammering another nail into the coffin, you might be interested to know that Nana Plaza is owned by Indians, and not Thais.
Word on the street is that The Crown Group offered the management of Titty Twister Bar 5,000,000 baht to take over the lease of their bar. Titty Twister turned it down and made a clear statement saying that they will be there for at least the next three years.
Around the Mahboonkrong area, amongst other places, you'll find a lot of beggars. Some of them may be genuine, but many of them are gang controlled, and the money that you give them, often ends up in someone else's hands. To add to the beggars frustration, there are now some street performers in the area, performing all sorts of shows and tricks, with a hat sitting on the pavement for those who watch the show to make donations. But to add insult to injury, the performers are not local, but rather farangs. Actually, they are pretty good, and worth watching for a minute or two, until the heat gets you. Anyway, with all of the anti farang sentiment that is floating around, how long will it be before these guys are arrested for working without a work permit, or failing to pay tax? Call me a cynic, but I reckon these guys will be in the newspaper before too long, being told that they have been stealing jobs theta should have been taken by Thais!
Just as DTAC did to us around this time last year, Orange, the new mobile phone provider, is assaulting us with an unabating barrage of advertising. You can't get on the skytrain without suffering all of their soppy, lovey dovey advertising. But just what will Orange offer us that the existing mobile phone providers don't? Well for one, it seems as though one of their specific target groups is expats as they have a large team of English speaking Customer Service Reps – and damned good English they speak too. Whether Orange compete on price remains to be seen and just how extensive their network will be is another issue with a big question mark. I hear that they will launch some time this month. Their network has been operational for a few months now as they test and word from within is that their SMS facility is experiencing problems.
At Panthip Plaza, dodgy software can still be procured. It is simply a case of wandering around where the CD vendors are and looking frustrated. Before long, one of them will approach you and in hushed voices will ask you what you want. Hand the money over and within a few minutes they will return with the software. Its all very covert. A lot of the shops that used to sell dodgy software now have original software for sale, predominantly original VCDs, educational software and some games. But Panthip is much quieter than it used to be, and it is so much easier to walk around than it was in the past. That place used to be a nightmare at the weekend. While I personally find it hard to believe – because most Thai people simply do not have the income to buy original software – it looks as though copied software will not be returning to Panthip in the near future.
Shirts off as the mercury rises with soaring temperatures.
Here is the one you have been waiting for! Anyone that is GOOD at web programming and wants to work full-time in Bangkok, there is an opening for a web programmer and project leader. You MUST really know what you are doing. i.e.) a professional. Apply to: the manager
Wandering through soi 33 earlier in the week, my drinking pal was none other than the infamous Bangkok Phil who delighted me with the quote of the week. "As far as nightlife goes, for the last 8 years I've been non-existent". So why did all the girls know ya name, Phil?!
The Office Bar and Grill down one of the little side alleys off soi 33 has been getting a lot of press recently so I thought it was about time that I checked it out. Very nice surroundings with my favourite 5 metre high ceilings manage to give it the feel of not just a soi 33, but perhaps a more exclusive gentleman's club. And one thing I really liked, they give out really good free snack food, like spuds with butter melting over them. Thoughtful and far better than the usual boring peanuts. With cheap draught beer all night, this bar is well worth a look.
On the teacher training front, big news in Phuket and Ban Phe, with ripples affecting the whole world. The Via Lingua TEFL course in Phuket will change to become a TEFL
International course later this month. Stephen Brierley, Course Director of Phuket, author of the Via Lingua course and former head of Via Lingua TEFL courses worldwide, decided to make the change because of TEFL International's rising international reputation. TEFL International is now in the midst of a very aggressive expansion. Along with existing courses in Ban Phe, Phuket and Zhuhai, China, new courses will open up in Mexico (June), Rome and Seville, Spain (July), and Morocco, Paris and Prague soon thereafter.
In last week's column, I reported that various Government departments are getting tough with prospective English teachers who do not have a degree, and that these people are finding it a real problem to get a work permit. Obviously, the relationship between the school and the respective departments can make a big difference – and some of the more well known schools, particularly those schools where the kinds of influential figures may study, have far less problems than other school. It must also be noted that it is very different in the provinces where very little scrutinizing seems to be made in several provinces. Its not nearly as tough outside of Bangkok as it is in the Big Mango.
With regards to the court case between a teacher and his former employer that I have mentioned in previous weeks, I must confess that I had been misinformed and provided some inaccurate information in last week's column, so here are a couple of points that need to be made. To set the record straight, the fellow did win the case, but he was not awarded as much as he had hoped for. Other interesting points to arise out of the case are that a contract written in English *is* legally binding – it does not need to be in Thai, although it does need to be translated into Thai for the judge's information. It should be also be noted that most employers will include clauses stating that either party can cancel the contract with one month's notice. The employer does not need to give any reason for this, the argument being that employees do not have to give any reasons when they resign. The key point then that teachers / employees should ask for in their contract is one stating that if they are dismissed before the end of their contract without reason, then they are entitled to receive full payment for the contracted period. If this clause is not in teachers' contracts, they are only entitled to one month's severance pay per year of full-time employment with the company. Obviously, if the employer has documented grounds to dismiss an employee, then employees are not entitled to this pay.
With the internet problems in Thailand this week due to the cut cable, I see that KSC and Internet Thailand, the two biggest providers were virtually unusable for a period. Once again, Loxinfo proved to be unaffected by all of the problems and whenever there are internet related issues, Loxinfo seems to chug along just fine. Yeah, they're more expensive, but they seem to be worth it.
There's a really annoying ad playing on Smooth FM at the moment. For the last second of the ad, you hear a mobile phone ringing, and it is exactly the same phone as I have…so every time I hear the ad, I get fooled into thinking my phone is ruining when it is not…it really does piss me off!
Did anyone hear who won the Bledisloe Cup this week? No, not the Bledisloe Cup that these two great rugby nations compete for each year but rather the bar games competition as held at the Kiwi owned Wall Street Bar in soi 33. The score from the two previous weekends was Australia 1 : New Zealand 1 and the final was yesterday. I had hoped to make it down there but missed it
Patpong, home of the hardcore, the place where you
will find many girls who have worked a long time.
Always hunting for the latest in Thailand paraphernalia, I stumbled across a wonderful item which can be found by the good folks at www.thaitemptations.com. They have put together a beautiful calendar of lovely Thai ladies and are selling it at give away prices. The wonderful calendar would be an ideal way to decorate your walls for all lovers of Thailand. Decked out not with 12, but a whopping 73 beautiful Thai girls, the poster sized calendar should be on your wall now! Following is a brief interview with the owner and founder of the calendar company, a humorous and down to earth Aussie.
How many times have you been to Thailand, and how often do you come?
I have been to Thailand 63 times, for the first ten years it was more of an annual leave / travelling / island thing. Then 5 years when I went underground & surface mining on a 4 week on, 1 week off roster, I became hardcore and have been coming 10 times per year. Phuket for one year and the last four only Bangkok.
How long did you have the calendar in mind for, and how long did it take to put it all together?
I have made similar montages in the past of friends / parties in Australia but thought to make a Thai glamour one four years ago. It has taken that long by process of trial and error to satisfy myself that it is "ugly proof". It would have been even better but some of "high nines" I have on film did not want to sign their OK to claim their 15 minutes of fame.
While you have many beautiful girls on your calendar, do you agree with me that the girls in many bars are not as attractive as they used to be?
Your astute observations on the declining glamour levels around the scene are also in my opinion shockingly obvious. One can only theorise where they have all gone. I have no answers, though personally I think it peaked at Xmas / New Year 2001. It would be great if your Stickiness could run an open forum on this question over a few weeks, I'm sure many thesis' would be forthcoming.
So, come on, tell us the truth…did you do the wild thing with every girl in this calendar?
A gentleman of class and distinction does not discuss such matters. Fortunately I have about as much class as a rat with a gold tooth so I can share with you that only 8 of the girls failed the interview and progressed no further than the camera flash. I would like to make it clear to all that only one of these girls was unobtainable and I hope Soo the bunny girl in the middle row found the life – someone as beautiful, charming and intelligent as she deserves.
Are you going to be able to find a as many girls for next year's calendar?
That question should be related back to Q #3. Yes I could but not around the gogo / disco circuit and not on the $ outlay of this year's edition. To guarantee myself a constant supply of girls in this league now I would have to join the 3000 baht plus club and spend most of my time on Rachada Road etc. If I may add, I have become not so much jaded, but fussy. Only long term expats or tour veterans could agree with our views, certain memory files can not be deleted and I'm sure you will agree that for all coming to Thailand on their first or first few trips, almost all bar scene charmers will the eyes.
The link again is: www.thaitemptations.com
Your Bangkok commentator,