I was recently contacted by an Australian guy who had, earlier this year, spent the best part of a month in Bangkok. During this time he met up with a local girl in the Khao Sarn Road area and it turns out that for the bulk of his time here, they did their very best to break records in the Bedroom Olympics.
Khun Aussie returned to Kangarooland and stayed in contact with his little teeruk. After some time, she gives him the announcement that he least wants to hear. She is pregnant. Khun Aussie knows that this is indeed a possibility, for condoms were absent from the events, him wrongly believing that she had been on the pill. She requests that he provide her with money and the inevitable flow of money starts. Khun Aussie quite likes the girl, but is not yet ready to have a child, so he contacts me, outlines what has happened and asks for a bit of advice on what to do.
Pregnant Thai girls and requests for money? Ever the cynic, I smell a rat. We agree that it is best to verify that she is indeed pregnant first which would then allow me to give him some advice on how to proceed.
This little Thai princess used to hang out at a certain Banglamphu bar to which Khun Aussie sent me but after a couple of visits there she couldn't be found. Nothing unusual in that, for young pregnant Thai girls do not usually hang out in bars every night of the week, particularly if their pregnancy is visible to all.
We then agreed that the best approach was for me to simply go to her apartment and pretend to be a friend of her former flatmate, another young lass who also had a predilection for farang. As the girl in question was purportedly a few months pregnant already, we believed that a visual check of her tummy should be enough without the need to request her to get take a pregnancy test. If she was indeed 5+ months pregnant, she would be showing, and that would be proof enough that she was pregnant. Khun Aussie spent all that time with her and he believed that the odds were that if she was pregnant, the unborn child would most likely be his.
Stealthily side-stepping security, I ascended to the 5th floor of her apartment building and hunted for the apartment, # 512. Reaching the 5th floor, I wandered around and looked for 512. 501, 502, 503…..510. Hmmm, something funny is going on here, the rooms are only numbered 501 – 510! Hmmm, check the printout… Yep, 512! Where is 512? What? It doesn't exist?!
This is when things really started to go awry. Yep, it was at this stage that the doubts I had that the pregnancy was genuine increased. In fact, in my own mind, I now believed that it was little more than a scam.
If pregnant, the chances of a safe abortion were becoming more and more difficult by the day, so I came up with a new plan fast to help my fellow ANZAC. As we are now getting into the real danger area as far as abortions are concerned, I told him that time was of the essence and that he fabricate a story about how a friend of his from Oz is in town, on holiday. So, Khun Aussie emails her and tells her that a workmate of his is in Bangkok now and has 20,000 baht to hand to her, being money to cover the abortion that they had agreed on. All she has to do is go along, meet the friend (me!) and collect the money.
Arrangements were made and although she was 2 hours late – it is only 20,000 baht after all….I met up with the little vermin. She looked undernourished and hell, if she was 5+ months pregnant, that is going to be the world's smallest baby inside!
I asked her where the baby was and she replied that she had just come from the clinic. Ahhh, I said. And how was the abortion? What did the procedure involve? Oh, I get injection in my leg! WTF! You mean a few hours ago a baby was inside you and then with a quick prick of a needle, it is all over… My Thai started flowing, and while medicine and surgery are far from my areas of expertise, I'm not THAT stupid either!
It was around this point that the poor girl really lost it, the story started getting really whacky, and I started to lose my temper. I really wanted to tell her just how much I despised what she had done and my blood was boiling, but somehow, just somehow, I managed to restrain myself.
To every question, the bullshit flowed. Where is the clinic? Can't remember. What was the name of the clinic? Can't remember. How did you travel from there to here? Not sure. How much did it cost? About 18,000 baht. Are you sure? No. How did you pay? I no pay, they say I can bring money now. OK, so I will go there now and pay them for you. No, cannot.
It was at this point that I told this girl in no uncertain terms that I knew what she was up to, that she had been swindling money and that she had never been pregnant. I denounced her claims as frivolous and fraudulent and told her that Khun Aussie would block any communication she cared to make with him. But still, she kept at it, trying to convince me. I'm outta here, and with that, I turned and walked away, incredulous as the tears started to flow down her face!
The old "I'm pregnant, you give money to me" scenario is one of the most common bargirl scams, but this girl was not actually a bargirl as such. She was one of those girls who hangs around Khao Sarn Road, preying on farangs, largely open to the offers that will come her way if she hangs around for long enough. She was on the fringe of it all, but she had quickly learned her trade.
Our Aussie friend's failure to use condoms backfired badly and he has to accept a good part of the blame for this whole situation. But having said that, no-one deserves to be scammed like that. He always wanted to do the right thing and do everything he could to put the situation right.
Obviously if he had been using protection, the odds of her falling pregnant were minimal. And, even if she had have got pregnant, abortions can be performed easily and cheaply in Thailand, though convincing her that that is what is best, may not have been easy. Finally, if this happens to you, and if the baby is born and she claims it is yours – and you are not so sure – paternity tests can be done fairly easily too. You can either go to one of the big hospitals like Bumrungrad who will act as an agent and factor it out to one of the two government hospitals who perform the tests, or you can go direct to one of the government hospitals. I believe Siriraj and at least one other hospital do paternity testing.
Where is this pic?
Last week's pic
This temple is located in the grounds
This week's pic
First to get last weeks pic right was a Mr Soe Moe who won $25 worth of goodies from the good guys at ClubHombre.com. Remember there are TWO prizes offered for the where is this pic. First person to get the pic right, irrespective of location, wins the prize of $25 worth of goodies from ClubHombre. In addition to this, the first Bangkok based person to answer the pic correctly wins a tube of MyCreme sexsational cream. You MUST be in Bangkok to claim this particular prize which will be delivered to you. So, to all Bangkok based folks, make it clear in your email that you are Bangkok based so that you qualify for the cream that will send your teeruk to heaven!
Yep, I can relate to this. Whenever I pull out my camera in Bangkok, people literally go running into the shadows!
Looking out over Bangkok, a typical neighbourhood.
One of the most popular bars will be closing down very, very soon. But which bar will it be? Keep your eyes peeled, because it is going to be gone before you know it.
As the recruitment department swings into action at many of the city's bars, preparing for the high season by recruiting new girls, many bars are offering the girl's sweeteners to get these girls to sign on. This may include higher than usual monthly salaries or even a sign on bonus, just like big corporates use to attract top notch graduates.
Temptations gogo bar in Nana Plaza has opened at long last, but no word on what it is like because I haven't stuck my head in Nana for a while.
Over the last month or so, I have visited various venues where dual pricing is the norm i.e. one price for Thais and another price for foreigners. I have managed to overcome this annoyance and get it down to a fine art and now don't have any problems getting the local price. The first thing to do, though this only works if you are aware that there is dual pricing, is to send your Thai girlfriend (friend, boyfriend?) to buy the tickets. Invariably, there is NO DISTINCTION made on the ticket that the customer is Thai or farang, so the person who collects the ticket simply doesn't know what price you paid. Obviously, you need to be out of sight of the vendor when your teeruk buys the ticket. This worked well at Suan Siam. This works most of the time. If that fails however, the next method to try is to just put your money down on the counter, being exact change for the Thai price. Stare straight into the vendors eyes and as much as I hate aggression, give them, the feeling that you will make a scene if they question you. Most of the time they will give you the ticket at the Thai price. This worked at all of the historic places and ancient sites that I have visited recently. If this doesn't work, then presenting your work permit or other official looking Thai ID – anything in the local language is good – usually works. If this still hasn't worked, finally you can, assuming your Thai is good enough, politely explain to them that dual pricing is illegal (well, it might be…but ticket sellers are not exactly rocket scientists) and usually, they will relent. This final method worked at the Alcazar cabaret in Pattaya. One place where I doubt you will be able to pay the local price – which is actually free entry – is the Grand Palace. Us foreigners get stung for 200 baht, irrespective of whether you are Buddhist, a resident, married to a Thai or whatever.
Balance is important when reporting in this column and I gave one hotel a hard time in a recent column about problems of theft there. In the interests of balance, it must be noted that I received 3 complaints about theft from another Sukumvit Hotel over the last few months, and a friend was denied a discount when it came time to settle the bill at the Honey Hotel which he had previously been promised – and which had convinced him to stay there as opposed to elsewhere.
Some readers have told me that you can get DVDs for 100 baht if you bargain hard enough. In fact some people even got them at this price in Patpong, the place with the reputation for the highest prices. A reader from China advises that they can be found there for well under $US 1 each.
I note that several bars are for sale. Let me qualify this a little: naughty bars; bars where sex is most definitely for sale. Now admittedly I am not in the bar business and am not privy to all that goes on in starting a bar from scratch, business patterns et al – but I have seen the odd set of books, and have also heard many profit figures thrown around by bar owners. Many of the bars for sale seem to be pricing themselves using what could be considered as a conventional business model to come up with a price. I wonder if such models apply to bars in this industry? The goodwill component of a bar could largely be attributed to the staff, and when bars are sold, often mamasans may drift to another bar – and with them take a big chunk of the girls. Suddenly the goodwill that bar might have had gets dragged across to the other bar, virtually reducing the goodwill and specifically, the value of the bar that has been sold. Needless to say, if you are someone looking at investing in a bar be very, very careful. Yes, there is A LOT of money to be made, no doubt about it, but it is not the simple business model that you may think it is.
Owning a bar. Potentially profitable…but not easy!
Just like Cowboy, there is a lot of work taking place at Nana with new bars opening and old bars being renovated. It's as if the whole of Nana is getting a makeover. Speaking of which, more than a few of the Nana girls could do with a makeover too.
The temperature dropped at least a couple of degrees this week and it looks like the rainy season is, in Bangkok at least, behind us. Now we are into that pleasant time of year when you can walk around without breaking out in a sweat, and sleeping without having to have the air-con on full blast is the norm.
Phil Stoker, if you are reading this, Don Lawrence is looking for you!
So the new no smoking laws came into effect this week. It'll be interesting to see how the law is enforced. While I am not a great fan of smoking, I do respect people's rights, and personal freedoms. More than anything, I am surprised that such a law has been introduced in a country where personal freedoms are a very big part of the lifestyle. There is bound to be quite a number of restaurants where the laws will not be enforced, and it'll be interesting to watch. Somehow I don't think we have heard the last of this one.
Steak One has sprung up next to The Warbler in Sukumvit Soi 4 and looks like a nice place. The big question of course is, just HOW expensive are their steaks? They have a small seater restaurant attached to the bar, nicely built but looks a bit expensive…and not English teacher friendly! I don't want to come to conclusions yet without trying the grub, but I would expect an excellent steak and portions for the price.
I failed to mention it when it happened a few weeks ago, but the food prices in Woodstock took another jump, with many items up by about 15%. This price increase has pushed the prices from what could be considered reasonable, up to what I would consider overpriced, at least by Bangkok standards. Yep, the burgers are still good, and if you are travelling through the extra baht may not bother you, but they are now at a point when some customers will look much more seriously at the likes of Warbler, Jool's and other bars renowned for their good food. Yep, there is plenty of choice in the Soi Nana area when it comes to decent Western food.
I hear rumours that a certain boutique brothel, for want of a better term, is up for sale. This Sukumvit institution that specialises in multiplicity is reportedly up for grabs, with a cool 50+ million baht price tag.
Is the "Bali effect" real or imagined? Local operators in the tourism sector have been greatly concerned that the recent bombs in Bali may have a detrimental effect on tourism into Thailand. But if the availability of air tickets to Bangkok is anything to go by, local operators have nothing to worry about. Try getting an air ticket into Bangkok over the coming months and you may find that there are lengthy periods where the flights are choc a block full, and you are shit out of luck.
I notice ads in the paper recently for one of the boiler room companies. Yep, it looks like they are STILL going! The ads are targeting English speaking Thai nationals though, as opposed to us Westerners.
Yep, I do get things wrong in this column. Yep, I get it wrong and when I do, I'll be happy to acknowledge the mistake. So, do let me know if I have stuffed up so I can correct things. With this in mind, The Wall contacted me about the piece about them in last week's column. The owner states that they do not do anything illegal – so if you want to get yourself a dodgy visa, that is NOT the place to go. But if you want to get yourself a good meal, then by all means, do visit The Wall.
Just to really confuse people, the weekly column is back to a Sunday publication time. 6:00 PM Sunday. I have finally managed to organise my life to fit it in!
Your Bangkok commentator,