In recent columns, I have talked about the differences between Thai girls who work the bar, and Thai girls who would never dream of working in such a place. Good girls and for want of a better term, bad girls. I have, in recent columns, surmised that tenderness, sincerity and trustworthiness are the traits that the better girls have over the so called bad girls.
Recently I found myself in a relationship with a good girl, and as I was starting to get keener and keener on her, a few things started to seem a little unusual. Something was up, something I couldn't quite out my finger on. Here was this girl, a very bright and on the surface, a sincere lady. But there was something wrong and her stories just didn't quite add up.
Not wanting to get myself deeply emotionally involved with someone who was up to no good or who had dubious motives, I made the difficult decision to start being a little nosey and decided to check out what was really going on. It was something that I was not proud of, but it was something that nonetheless had to be done.
What I found was astounding. She had told me that she had been involved in a long term relationship with one guy, which itself was true. What she failed to tell me was that she had cheated on him so many times, that it was hard to keep count of them all! That she had cheated on him, was the least of my concern, but that she had lied outright to me was a far greater concern. But there was more. This girl was trying to get money out of some of these guys! Yes, a regular Thai girl who I had met online was playing the "search for the walking ATM" game, just as the bargirls do!
I have always believed that in a relationship, it is over when the trust has gone. And well, my trust had suddenly been evaporated by what I had found out. I may have been devilishly deceptive in procuring the information, but rightly or wrongly, I had managed to find out what I wanted to know.
Thinking back about this girl, where did things start to go wrong? Well, they never really went wrong as such, but there is a pattern here that makes me wonder. This girl was a "good girl" so to speak. Anyway, what was interesting is that she was a girl who pursued me, suggesting that she was actively looking for a foreigner. Why? Because she wanted to get her hands on Stickman's pot of gold. Silly girl, the pot really isn't that big…
Well, perhaps I am being paranoid but I think one ought to take a little more care when they are approached by a "good Thai girl" under circumstances which may not be entirely typical. This girl chased me and it was all just too easy… I should have realised earlier. This particular girl happened to have a very similar agenda to that of the bad girls. Her motivation was financial, although she had planned things out more carefully and had a somewhat more long term plan than that of a bar girl.
One must be very careful when dealing with ANY Thai girl who is just too easy to meet. Bar girl or good girl, if things happen at a frantic pace, there may well be an ulterior motive. There are more and more good girls chasing the farang gravy train. The big give away is that things happen faster than would be considered normal. Good things really do come to those who wait.
Where is this pic?
One of my favourite places…next
to one of my former favourite places.
Remember, the first person to email me with the right answer wins a fantastic calendar with pictures of Thai ladies from the good folks at ThaiTemptations.com. Last week's picture was taken at Dusit Zoo and about 50 people emailed me the right answer. The person with the right answer was "Mr Rictic" so he is the winner of the calendar. In fact, he emailed me within minutes of the weekly going online!
So it is not just me, phew, that's a relief.
Beautiful, deserted beaches can still be found on Samet.
Woodstock in Nana Plaza has instituted new rules for playing pool. In order to play, you have to buy a ticket for 20 baht at the cashier. Are they worried that the waitresses are pocketing the 20 baht between the loser paying and the cash register? Or, are they that cheap that they want to earn that extra 20 baht? Basically, before the loser paid 20 baht. Now, it's basically 20 baht to get on the table. So, for the first game, both players pay 20 baht and Woodstock makes an extra 20 baht rather than just the loser paying.
Word from down at the Grace Hotel is that there is a decent ratio of girls to guys – that is if you are a guy. One Bangkok barfly reports spotting more than a few gogo girls there from Rainbow 1, Dollhouse Soi Cowboy and and King's Group bars there. The enforcement of the 2:00 AM closures had changed the demographic of the girls in such haunts, with few gogo girls to be found. Now it seems again that you can once again find gogo girls in freelancer bars. Just remember that you may not be her first of the evening…yuk!
I notice that Rock Hard has a big sign as you walk into the bar proudly stating that all beers and spirits are still 90 baht. Worth knowing about if you are as tight with your money as I am.
Mandarin Bar in Nana Plaza has opened, just along from Rock Hard. It is owned by the same guy that owns New Wave Bar. A bunch of freelancers and folks who used to
hang out there are now employed at Mandarin. Apparently the top floor will have short time room with jacuzzi's – surprised there aren't more places that make the investment and include this. There's a swing room (whatever that is – but it sure gets the imagination running wild!) on the first floor. The same owner bought Suzy Wong's on Cowboy and expects to take another 2-3 months to fix it all up before it opens.
Has the Crown Group of Nana bought Bacarra bar in Cowboy? One could be forgiven for thinking so because Bacarra seems to be the first bar in Soi Cowboy to increase their standard bar fine price to 600 baht, the same price as Crown Group bars charge. Yep, Long Gun may have charged 600 baht for the barfines for their showgirls, but 600 baht standard bar fines at Bacarra mark a first for Cowboy. Remember, Bacarra also has obscenely expensive lady drinks too. Not quite sure what they are trying to do. Maybe they think that being at the east end of Cowboy and being the closest bar to Soi 33, they too can try and introduce soi 33 style prices?
Spider's Web bar in Nana Plaza are advertising for dancers to work on a daily basis and are paying the generous amount of 200 baht. Girls applying to work there obviously don't know that there is at least one bar in Patpong that is paying 600 baht a night for GOOD dancers.
Angel Witch are also advertising for dancing staff. 10,000 baht a month for a girl who can achieve 12 offs and 6,000 baht a month for the girl who gets 8. Actually, this is one bar that has more than a few pretty girls there already.
I'd been in Bangkok for almost four years before I finally ventured into Check Inn 99, the odd bar on Sukumvit Road near Soi 5 with a dwarf standing at the door, trying to entice you inside. Upon entering this cave like bar, one finds a bar that is more than a little odd and to me at least, it is not clear who their target market is. Inside, the lighting is dim and there are the obligatory Isaan girls floating around the bar in evening wear. The bar is nicely decorated with lots of plants and even a small waterfall. They have created a laid back, homely atmosphere, but the bar suffers from one very serious flaw. The smell from the urinal permeates through the entire bar, making you think that you are actually standing in the WC, taking a leak. The smell is bloody awful, so bad that you almost want to throw up. No amount of alcohol is going to distract you from it. The other significant problem with this bar is that the drinks are outrageously expensive. 135 baht for Heineken (small bottle!) and 170 baht for a Jack Coke are quite simply unacceptable in a bar of this ilk. No sexy dancing girls and no sophisticated girls to chat with. Check Inn 99 gets the thumbs down from me, and I can see why it took me 4 years to make it inside.
With the coming of the birthday of Doctor Blues (who?!), I hear that the Sunday Blues Jam will be held next at Tivoli Bar in Clinton Plaza, TONIGHT at 9:00 PM. You'd better rush if you want to be there before 9:00!
Nana Plaza was VERY quiet over the Songkran period AND has been damned quiet since. Over the Songkran period, the single entrance way / exit which can be a bit of a gauntlet at Songkran time put many locals off venturing down that way….and it seems that many haven't come back. Soi Cowboy on the other hand, was quieter than usual, but not as quiet as Nana. As one former Nana Plaza bar manager said to me this week, "Nana is dead, everyone now goes to Cowboy". Word from Pattaya is that the place was very busy at Songkran and there are still throngs of people down there now though with it being the hot season, it is easy to see why people would choose Pattaya over Bangkok at this time.
Tawan Dang Beer House…well worthwhile.
Now whether some of you horn dogs will admit it or not, the fact remains that many of you are looking for love and not sex. Now you won't be finding true love down at Cowboy and Nana way, and frankly, maybe it is time to venture elsewhere? But what you don't know is where to go to find regular girls, do you?. Well, I can't guarantee that this is the place for you, but it is a great place for a night out, and it is what I would term a "bargirl free zone" so anyone you meet there will likely be of the regular variety. The Tawan Dang German Beer Hall on Rama 3 Road is my current favourite place to go for a drink, Thai style. Its one of these huge venues Thai style, whereby it is like a cross between a barn and a theatre. There are lots of really good performers up on stage singing a variety of different music styles. They brew three varieties of beer on the premises and all are fairly decent. Brewed on the premises, there is a lager, a wheat beer and a dark variety, and they run at a very reasonable 100 baht for a 500 ml glass with other sizes available. The food served on the premises is excellent, maybe even up to Mr. Bonk's high standards. It is worthwhile going fairly early to get a decent seat, figure around 8:00 PM or earlier. And if you are going to go more than once, or if you are planning a big night there, it is well worthwhile buying a VIP card which for 500 baht will get you a 20% discount off everything for a year. To get there, simply say Rong Beer Yeuraman Tawan Dang tee Tanon Pra Rarm Sarm 3 to your friendly taxi driver, which translates as the Tawan Dang German Beer Hall on Rama 3 Road. I'll mention a few other decent places of the beaten track in future columns, away from the bar environment.
Quote of the week from Chicago Dave who had just been dirty dancing with a young lovely. "I'm hard enough to cut diamonds right now!"
And another quote made by Whosyourdaddy this morning that I VERY much agree with… "The bars should be looked at as A form of entertainment, not THE form of entertainment".
I notice that Lonely Planet have just published a new book called "Chiang Mai and Northern Thailand". At 695 baht, I hope they have included a lot of information that is not in the standard Thailand guide. The first Thailand offshoot called "Thailand's Beaches and Islands" was a disgrace in that it just copied a whole load of information from the main Thailand volume without adding enough to justify its price…or at least that is how I saw it.
The annual Cobra Gold military exercise gets underway soon with 13,500 randy seamen about to be let loose on Pattaya. Already signs saying "Welcome US Navy" have been put up. In addition there are several navy already there with shore patrol keeping the peace.
It has to be one of the biggest scams of all, and worst of all because it seems to be run by a people in power. All along Khao Sarn Road are those horribly familiar signs that say in English only (not in Thai!) that there is a fine of 2000 baht for anyone who drops litter. Now it is bad enough that the sign is in English only, and that the rubbish police seemingly only target us innocent farangs. But to make it far, far worse, there are almost no rubbish bins anywhere on Khao Sarn Road, making it damned near impossible to dispose of one's rubbish thoughtfully! A scam if ever there was one.
Rumour has it that Larry of Rock Hard fame has got himself a new toy. No, it is not a 150 cm, 42 kg brown skinned Asian beauty, but rather an 800 horsepower street rod. Larry seems to have left Bangkok behind and is rediscovering his youth on the streets of California in a hotted up street legal dragster. So, if you are in LA and you see a guy with a bad leg in a hotted up car, then that may well be Larry.
What's the deal with the prices of DVDs in Thailand? Wandering through the local record shop (which happens to have the best selection of DVDs in my neighbourhood), I was dumbstruck by the huge range in prices of DVD movies. The range in prices for single disc DVD movies was from 229 baht right through to 1,999 baht. Why such a huge range in prices? These are REGULAR prices and NOT specials I am talking about. There didn't seem to be any pattern to it all. I asked one of the sales assistants why such a range in prices existed and was given the "how the hell should I know, I'm only paid 150 baht a day and please don't bother me" look. Closer inspection of the DVD cases revealed that many of them had the info written in Thinglish, which lead me to believe that they may be illegal copies, notwithstanding that I was in a very big record shop. The sales assistant attempted to quash this, although she wasn't very convincing. I note that the cost of copied DVDs has dropped at Panthip down to 200 baht for a regular movie and 250 baht for a naughty movie. Rumour from a lewd dude has it that copied DVDs can be bought from some market down near the bottom of Sukhumvit, somewhere near soi 101 or thereabouts, for 100 baht. If true, this represents a bargain. For now, it remains unconfirmed.
And speaking of naughty movies, one thing that amazed me at Panthip this week was the way all of the X-rated movies were openly out for all to see. Usually the smut is behind the counter or down in some of the back corridors were shady looking characters approach you with calls of "sexy movie". Well, every second stall has sex movies for sale and nothing is concealed. They are laid out for all to see, no effort made to conceal what they are. But I'm sure the wholesome bunch of people who are readers of this column would not be interested in such smut…!
If the bus numbers are confusing you, you're not the only one. Waiting for an air-con bus the other day, I noticed a number of buses going past with numbers that I didn't recognise. There goes the 508 and the next one is the 501. The what? Are these new routes that have started recently? No, what has actually happened is that many, but not all – they like to confuse us you know – of the air-con buses have had 500 added to their old number. So what was the #8 is now the #508, what was the #12 is now the #512 etc. But then there are other routes where the numbers have stayed the same… Easy solution: use a cab or the skytrain!
Apparently, the powers that be in Bangkok have introduced considerably steeper airport landing fees in recent months. So much so that some airlines have re-routed long haul services previously routed via BKK to more cost effective stops like Singapore. One must wonder if this may result in less tourists on stop-overs and loss of tourism dollars for Thailand.
One reader suggested that I start a new corner in the column called "girls I can't remember"! Hmmm, a novel idea, but it won't be happening in a hurry. I'm reluctant to name girls, but it was a fun idea nonetheless.
Many people left Bangkok at Songkran, but there were a few upcountry folks who decided that it was finally time to come down to Bangers and visit the big smoke. It was amusing watching these upcountry folks in the big city and their MO in most cases was very similar. The extended family would all jump into a mini van for the long journey down to the capital. Alongside all of the family members, there was enough food in each vehicle to feed a small army. As these folks arrived at venues and attractions all over the city, these friendly upcountry folk would get out of the van, roll out the mats and begin preparing a huge amount of food. Before long it would be time to feast and the conversation would waver as everyone started to wolf down their share of the tucker. After eating, the women would start clearing away the mess, washing the plates etc. before the women would join the men in having an afternoon nap. An hour or two later, and everyone would start to wake up and ahhh, we've seen Bangkok so it must be time to go back to the comfort and familiarity of the village! Back into the van and off they go! I wonder what they actually saw of the capital?! If you ever underestimated the importance of food and harmony within the family to Thais, then perhaps this story may change your mind?
To everyone who has emailed over the past two weeks, apologies for the delay in replying. After arriving back from holiday, there was quite frankly a shitload of email to reply to. And as I am still technically on holiday, although back in Bangkok, emails are not responded to as quickly as usual. But I'm sure you're patient…!
The Songkran Festival in Sydney, Australia.
Photo supplied by Aussie Aaron.
I don't know how things have been in your neighbourhood, but Songkran was a lot more subdued in my part of Bangkok this year. And that suited me just fine. Over the three official Songkran days in the capital, I was shot exactly once, and that was with the tiniest of guns, the sort of gun that Clint Eastwood would just laugh at. Was Songkran more subdued this year or was it just me who felt that? While it may have been quiet in some areas, it was madness as usual in the popular areas like Khao Sarn Road.
Down in Pattaya, after being quiet for most of the week it kicked off in a big way on Thursday and especially Friday. It was total mayhem – in a friendly way – with water all over the place. Even on Sukhumvit Road, the traffic was nose to tail with most vehicles being pick up trucks filled with a bunch of Thais all armed with water guns, and the ammunition dump – a huge tank of water! As with last year, Soi 8 was the heart of the action. The beach side of the Beach Road was relatively calm due to the lack of taps to supply any water. Many vendors had set up shop so you could have a beer and fried rice without getting wet. It was excellent fun and little trouble was seen. Try to imagine this happening in New York or London and just imagine the fights. By sundown it had calmed down a lot. It seems like the police several undercover cops were about shops had been told to cut the supply of water into buckets outside. So by the evening it was possible to go home, have a shower, change and go out without getting soaked again.
For those of you computer savvy folk who keep emailing me looking for work, the following may interest you.
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Your Bangkok commentator,