It is Monday afternoon here in the City Of Angels. I'm sitting in an internet cafe in The Mall, Ramkhaemhaeng. It is 4:50 PM and I've been here for approaching an hour. I never intended to write this week's article now but Bangkok is one of those cities where you just never know what will happen next.
So here I was, minding my own business, fighting my way through the inevitable huge pile of emails that arrive on Sunday night and Monday morning in response to yesterdays's weekly. I was going through my email, firing off as many replies as I could when my nosey eyes wandered over to the girl at the terminal next to me. I noticed that she was chatting with someone online. Nothing unusual in that. But she wasn't chatting with just one person, she is chatting with three. Three people. And three young guys… To me she looks to be about 21 or 22 and the guys look to be about the same. I know this because like her, they are chatting on MSN with a webcam and their face can be clearly seen.
She is chatting with three guys. Now let it be known that I am no fag, but I can tell that the three guys she is chatting to are ugly, really ugly. And she, it must be said, she is very easy on the eye. I knew she was up to something so I kept sneaking looks across.
But she is not the only attractive girl here. As I sit here, I am surrounded by a bunch of the cutest young Thai women imaginable. I count over 20 computers in the 'net cafe and most of them are being used by either university students or women who look like they have some sort of an office job, ALL of them are in their early 20s….and most of them are chatting online. Correction, from where I am sitting, EVERY one of them I can see is chatting. But chatting would not really the most precise description for what the lady sitting on my right is doing.
Anyway, this woman next to me, who is very easy on the eye, is chatting with three guys. One guy is this big, fat, Chinese dude who – and I swear I'm not kidding – is sitting in a dimly lit room wearing dark glasses. Truth be told, he looks like quite the freak. Why on earth she is chatting with him, don't know. Even from the crappy webcam you can see he has a pockmarked face. Fat, pockmarked face but worst of all, really creepy looking, I would imagine he is every girl's worst nightmare, but no, this pretty girl next to me is chatting with him, quite openly too….
Then we have got the second bloke. He is another Chinese Thai dude, and again he looks like he feasts at McDonalds daily. He won't be representing Thailand at the next Olympics at anything other than junk food eating, that's for sure. He looks like a serious guy, but most of what I have read – you see, I am trying to discretely read what they are chatting about – is innocuous enough. The ability to read Thai can at times be quite revealing. You can read the signs when you are driving around the countryside, you can read a newspaper and….if you are naughty, look over someone's shoulder at what they are typing.
That leaves guy number three. Yet another Chinese Thai dude, but this guy she seems to be interested in. He is talking dirty with her and she smiles when she opens the window and chats with him. He has asked her if he can see her nude and she is saying that it is all a little fast for that and that she doesn't know him well enough yet. He responded that this approach is neither slow, nor fast, but "normal". She audibly chuckled at his response and I had to look the other way so as to not let her see the grin that leapt on to my face. She is now checking to see if he has anyone and of course he no doubt has a whole list of 'net girls he chats with but he said no. A wise answer, I think. She isn't so sure so she asked about the existence of a girlfriend again to which he replied that that is not something she should be concerned about. Is that a round about way of saying yes?
Ahhh, she just killed the guy with the shades. Good call – he looked like quite the creep and I had to wonder what she saw in him. Whoa, here comes someone else! This girl is busy! The creepy guy has been replaced by another guy. This guy looks suave. Even the view of his lair on the webcam is much clearer and more vivid than the others. A smooth internet operator. But he looks hungry and he seems to have a certain determination in his eyes.
So now, the 4th guy, Mr. Suave, is asking her about how frequently. Oh my goodness, she jut replied that she likes sex as often as possible. Really! I don't know why but everything is typed in Thai, except for the word sex, which is typed in English. Maybe they think sex is some sort of farang concept? Another Thai guy is a liar! He just came on to her screen and says he has a big cock! Ummm, sorry son, we've seen the Thai porn flicks. We know the truth.
Oh shit, she just looked at me and smiled. Well, that ordinarily wouldn't bother me until I looked at the screen and the most recent guy, the 5th guy, just re-adjusted his webcam down to his crotch! This guy just popped up less than 60 seconds go. Talk about a bold approach! She minimised the window but I got the feeling she didn't want to.
I am starting to feel like some sort of voyeur now. I really shouldn't be looking at her screen. It is wrong. But hell, neither should she be talking about this sort of thing in such a public place either, surrounded by others, and expect me to stare straight at my own screen. Readers' emails or modern day sexual liaisons arrangements? Sorry, but it is the latter that gabs my interest.
Watching some of the stuff that the guys are saying – and she is only talking to Thai guys, it is all ULTRA sweet. They really lay it on thick – they know what Thai girls are like and the way Thai women respond to being praised and told how beautiful they look. But then they go for the kill. It is like, "you are as beautiful as field of new flowers in Spring", followed by, "I'd love to see your flower without the petals."
The casual sexual liaisons of young Thais has been quite high profile in the news recently. We know about Thai teens bonking and jacking each other off on the bus but in many ways, this is even more public… I swear some of these girls are on heat. Just looking around, there is hunger in some of these girls' eyes. If one was to scrutinise what is being said on some of the popular Thailand internet chat channels I have no doubt that much of Thai society would be shocked at what is going on.
Young Thai young adults have embraced the internet and it seems to be a major way for them to arrange sexual liaisons. Of course there is not necessarily anything wrong with this and it is perfectly healthy for such people to have strong sexual desires. But the way that they chat so candidly at public computers was a surprise, even for me.
Where is this pic?
Last week's pic.
This week's pic.
It was Christie's Bar in Sukumvit Soi 33.
Ok, show me you're clever…where is it?
Last week’s pic showed the entrance to Christie's Bar on Sukhumvit Soi 33. I thought this pic might pose a few problems so I was surprised at the number of people who got it right. You have got to be quick to get the prize. I uploaded the column around 11:30 AM last Sunday and the correct answer came in around midday. Sometimes, the correct answer comes in within 5 minutes of the column going live. Amazing what some people will do for 500 baht of piss! This week's picture is outside of Bangkok! Each week the first reader to correctly state where the pic is wins a 500 baht credit at Tony's Bar in Soi Cowboy. Please note that the credit MUST be claimed within two weeks. So, to claim that prize, you must be in Bangkok at some time in the next two weeks.
FROM STICKMAN'S EMAIL INBOX:
The reason us English teachers exist.
A friend of ours, talked about when her uncle went to the UK for the first time. The Immigration Officer at the desk asked for the purpose of the trip, and the old fellow happily said "terrorism". "What?", queried the startled officer. "I come for terrorism," he repeated, with a smile. Boom. Off they go into the little room and wait for the big boys to show up. They arrive, and get the same answer. Confused, they ask, "what kind of terrorism are you here for?" "You know! See Big Ben. Go palace. Take pictures….I am terrorist (tourist)." And with that he was out.
About this passport business – my view is leave it in the hotel safe and carry a photocopy of it to keep in your wallet. Maybe I'll photocopy the page with the entry stamp too. There's no good substitute for carrying the real thing with you. However, the odds of you losing or destroying your passport by carrying it everywhere are much greater than having the cops check you for yours. If I get checked, oh well. I guess I'll write again with the story. I plan to be spending a good bit of time in Thailand underwater (scuba diving). Ain't bringing' my passport down there!
Who is at fault, him or her?
My perception is that you had more compassion for these idiots than you may at this time, instead ascribing most of the fault to the Thai lady in question. Understandable, given the atrocities that some of them commit, especially on the monetary side. Yes, they are MONSTERS. My perception is that possibly the past few years may have brought you closer to my position with these guys: they are almost entirely responsible for their situations through piss poor judgment, and I refuse to feel sorry for them. In fact, I have outright contempt for them and believe that they cause definite damage to Thai society! When I read these stories, I feel sorry for the rest of us farangs in Thailand. Because when Thai women hear about the jackpot that this whore hit with this or that fool, it encourages them on to such evil, money-driven behaviour. Ripples are indeed sent through the social fabric of Thailand, and the ripples are not friendly towards us farangs.
Who was that? Mr. Mungkoot?
Went to Silom Thai supermarket in Hollywood yesterday. A small man scurried past and my wife's eyes bugged out. "Thai movie star", she said. Name sounds like "Hell?", Thai fruit. Thais throughout the market were fawning over this gentleman and he displayed a big smile. He bagged our groceries and helped others take their purchases to their cars. I don't know if he is on hard times or has bought this well known market but it was a rather unique experience to be waited on by a star. I still don't know the gent's name, but he is appearing with another Thai celebrity in concert in Hollywood to raise money for a Wat in this area. Possibly Wat Thai in North Hollywood. There was a large ad in the local Thai paper this week. I guess he was bagging groceries last weekend to promote the event. Very gracious individual. So much for the mystery. My wife says the fruit he is named after has a dark skin and a white edible interior about the size of a large marble.
This Brit sure ain't leaving!
Several English ex-pats and myself were having a conversation following what your Mother-In-Law said about the UK. We were disdainfully discussing at length the extortionate cost of living and extreme taxation that the British have to suffer. In the UK (Good Old Blighty!) you are taxed, then taxed again, only to receive more taxation in the form of hidden taxes…there is even a huge death duty, you can't even die in bloody peace!!! "They say that an Englishman's home is his castle", well that is about all the people can afford, they cannot go out much at all. Most families are in debt up to their eye balls (mortgage, credit, etc), so much so that many Brits see little more than their workplace and their home. Very sad. This is why I wish British "ex-pat brats" here (those who are critical of the cost of living in LOS), would appreciate what great value for money Thailand is. If British Cheap Charlies need a reality check they should be made to spend one year surviving in the UK, and after "doing porridge" they will be begging to come back to the LOS…
Are you addicted?
I work in a large city hospital and have come across patients who make trips to Thailand for extramural activities. If they confined themselves to whore mongering there would not be such a problem. Unfortunately, for many it is part of an addictive behavioural pattern which includes heavy drinking and smoking, gambling on sports and stocks, occasionally drug-taking too. These people are losers because they refuse to accept they have a mental condition which underlies the physical problems which arise from a self-destructive lifestyle. They reject the advice of their friends and medical practitioners and do nothing to save themselves. It is anybody's guess which of liver cirrhosis, lung cancer or an STD will kill them first, but they are destined to die a slow, lonely and painful death well before their time.
Thailand or the UK?
I think your mother-in-law got it spot-on about London and British life generally; the outrageous thing is not the prices (which are borderline taking-the-piss for almost everything) but that British people no longer seem to be outraged by them. The UK has a high standard of living by world standards but it's dismal value for money, sky high prices for very average quality in almost all respects; Swiss prices but without Swiss salaries. For all its problems, Thailand beats it hands down.
The confusion over bar closing times continues. At Nana, the closing times vary a little each day. The other night the owners and managers of Hollywood Strip and Angel Witch were discussing the "organised chaos" that is Nana Plaza. From September 1 – 4 there was no visit from police which is likely due to the heavy rain which meant that on Friday & Saturday (3 & 4 Sept.) they closed at almost 2 AM. Sunday night (5th September) it was 1.15 AM sharp and on Monday night (6th September) – 1.20! Since then it has varied, but seems to be before 1:30 AM most days. Word on the gogo street is that this early closing will likely end around the beginning of October though I personally am not too sure.
The Cathouse, that open air bar on the middle floor of Nana, are having a party this afternoon with free food offered from 2:00 PM – 8:00 PM. We're not taking the usual free bar food, but real pizza! There will also be tequila and other mixed drinks available for just 25 baht. Sounds like a hell of a deal!
There have been a lot of name changes to the bars in Soi Pattayaland 2. Bubbles has now become Crystal Girls; Rodeo Girls is now Wild West Girls; Lipstick is now called Athena; and Planet Rock has changed its name to Jupiter. All of these bars belong to the same person, an American who also owns All Girls – which hasn't changed its name yet – and the New Orleans restaurant. Someone mentioned that that the owner had leased out some of his bars to others because of his financial situation. But other than that it isn't clear why they've changed their names all of a sudden.
Bourbon Street's 18th anniversary party will be held on Saturday September 18, 2004 from 5:00 PM until late. There will be an all you can eat "buffet extravaganza" featuring over 25 items. Only 180 baht per person plus 10% service & 7% VAT, which really is cheap for a buffet at a place like Bourbon Street.
Bully's on Sukumvit between Sois 2 and 4, next to the JW Marriott will open, on schedule (that makes a change in Thailand) on September 15. They'll be open from 11 AM – 1 AM daily and will have four pool tables, ladies, Singha and Heineken draft
with Guinness coming soon.
Nana Minimart staff were arrested for selling beer after midnight. It appears that nobody ever told them that this was the law and that it is enforced. If you drop by the bigger supermarkets such as Villa, you'll see their coolers marked with signs saying no alcohol sales after midnight.
Strong rumours have it that a certain bar in Soi Cowboy will not get a lease renewal and apparently are also having a problem with the license. A shame as the last time I was in Cowboy this was the most happening bar there. The non renewal of the lease appears to have originated over a dispute around the key money, or rather, the lack of it….
The lease for Temptations has been renewed and it will be business as usual there for at least another year.
Many bars are struggling and it is no secret that amongst the casualties, Mandarin and Silver Dragon combined barely broke even last month. Rumours have it that the partners are not happy with the management.
Ball In Hand, located in the Rajah Complex, Sukhumvit Soi 4, is holding the first Thailand Open 9-Ball Challenge starting on Friday the 1st of October. The event will last three days with the semis and the finals to be held on Sunday the 3rd of October. The tournament is fully sanctioned by the Thai Billiard Sports Assoc and organised by Tim and Henning. The very generous prize money on offer is (all in Thai baht): 1st – 125,000, 2nd – 60,000, losing semi finalists (joint 3rd) 15,000 each, losing quarter finalists (5th, 6th, 7th, 8th) 5,000 each, losers in 4th round (9th through to 16th) 1,500 each. The entry fee is 1,500 baht and everybody is welcome, both men and ladies. The tournament is limited to 128 players, and signing up can be done at the Ball In Hand. For any further information please contact Henning 01-917-8530 or Tim 01-914-6801 or e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I mentioned Thai Travel Tips in last weeks column, who have a bar in Soi 8 in Pattaya. Actually, they had more than one bar and one of them was sold last month. The new owners wanted to change the name of THEIR bar and relocate the sign. The Thai Travel Tips Bar sign was therefore relocated and placed over their bar. Unfortunately, TTT do not have control over what the new owners do with their bar or their signs, hence the bar name fiasco. The reason why they sold the middle bar in the complex was because they will open bars in different locations for their members rather than having two venues right next to each other in the same location.
Which local author bears more than a passing resemblance to Michael Schumacher? I swear it, especially when he puts a cap on, he really could pass for the German.
I have always been surprised at the lack of companies providing visa runs from Bangkok to the border and back, like there are in both Phuket and Pattaya in some numbers. This week I received an email from Five Star Visa Service. I cannot vouch for them but simply list this as information. If you use them, let us know how they are. Five Star Visas have now opened an office in Bangkok and they claim to specialise in luxury visa runs to the Cambodian border offering a complete service which includes all paperwork done before you leave breakfast at the pick up point, travel on an air conditioned minibus with a maximum of six passengers per bus. There are on board movies with personal headphones and there is an English speaking guide to take care of things at the border. There is a packed lunch on the return journey and arrival back in Bangkok is around 3.30 PM. The total cost is 2,500 baht and their office is located in The Nanatai Mansion Hotel in Soi 4 Sukhumvit. Telephone 02-2525690 for more details. There is also the visa run service run by JackGolf which I have heard VERY good things about and unlike Five Star, their visa runs are on a big, full sized bus, and included is a free buffet lunch at one of the casinos in Cambodia. Jack Golf even charges less than Five Star! It is good to see some firms offering these services.
I heard a very funny story about a Brit in Phuket who met a young lass called Joom. He spent a night with her and enjoyed her company. He asked her what her name meant and she told him "good luck" – which it doesn't mean. The fellow thought it would be neat to get a tattoo in Thai saying good luck so he went and got a tattoo that said Joom, written in Thai. It wasn't until a bit later that he found out that it doesn't mean good luck at all and is simply a popular Thai female's nickname…
Good service (as in table service at a restaurant) seems to be becoming an issue in certain establishments. Complaints are mounting about Nana Restaurant. The late shift (midnight to early hours) comprises of many waiters who are anything but interested in providing any service at all. A handful of long term Bangkok residents have complained that the table service has gone way down hill. The likeable service captain "Joe" has long since parted company with Nana restaurant, (along with a few other good guys) and it seems the new waiters are totally disinterested. Orders are being forgotten, dishes are arriving late and some customers appear to be totally invisible. Half the time the late male shift spend all their time chatting up ancient street walkers, rather than taking any attention to the real customers. However, the day and early evening shift are much more pleasant and the waitresses do a far better job there. The management really need to sort this out as long term customers are starting to go elsewhere. Now with this problem emerging how on earth can they justify the new price increases? More expensive for worse service it would seem.
Mrs. Stick's Corner
Each week, Mrs. Stick answers your questions about Thai / farang relationships and general issues that baffle the average Westerner in Thailand. Mrs. Stick likes to think of herself as an open-minded Thai lady so go ahead, ask anything because you won't shock her. Please send questions for her, via me, at the usual email address. One or two questions will be chosen each week and answered in the following week's column. The responses are hers and NOT mine although I may attempt to correct her English from time to time. Please note that I may not necessarily agree with what she says. Unfortunately, she doesn't have time to reply to your inquiries via email. Questions for her should be limited to 100 words. Mr. Stick may answer the odd question in place of Mrs. Stick of he thinks he can do a better job.
Question 1: I am going to be married soon and my wife to be's family have said that the dowry is 500,000 baht. That is $12,000! I am not a wealthy guy and it feels like the world is falling down around me and I am being scammed. Does this figure sound right? How can I get the message through that this will clean me out?
Mrs. Stick says: I think I have answered this question a couple of times before but here goes again. The dowry is determined by a number of factors so it is hard to say if 500,000 is fair or not, but it has to be said that this number is not as high as you might think. Some of the hi so weddings that are reported in the press have dowries of several times this as well as a lot of gold too! You have to work out if this is a fair amount and it would be best to talk with Thai friends who know both you and your fiancée. They will be able to assist and advise you. I guess you also have to think about whether you can afford this. If the amount is fair given the family's background, but you are unable or unwilling to pay, then you have some big decisions to make.
The talk in expat circles in Bangkok this week has been of the brutal slaying of two British backpackers in Kanchanaburi province. If you hadn't caught it in the news, evidence suggests that it was a policeman known to the young couple who shot and murdered them both. What strikes me as somewhat unusual is that while we are to assume that the murdered were a couple, it has been alleged that the young female spent the night with the copper a couple of nights before his gun, the alleged murder weapon, went bang bang. Incidents like this are a reminder that Thailand may not be quite as safe as we think.
Your Bangkok commentator,