The prices charged by Bangkok's women of the night for extra curricular services have soared and there is much conjecture as to why this is. Customers "over-paying", the effect of "sponsorship" and even inflation are often cited as the reasons. This week I happened by chance on to one very possible reason why some of the girls, especially dancers, are requesting so much.
I hadn't noticed her because quite frankly she was hardly remarkable. She's no spring chicken, aged well into her ‘30s, and I don't think it would be disrespectful to say that she really was not that easy on the eye. She was darker
than most and while that might be a turn on for some, it doesn't do anything for me.
Added to her woes, she had "acid stomach", that look as if someone had poured acid, or perhaps boiling hot water, all over her tummy. Of course it's actually the scars of giving birth, a physical affliction many Thai women seem to suffer from. Why is it that farang women seldom look like that after birth? I hate to repeat myself but she was, quite frankly, unremarkable to look at.
So I got the shock of my life when at 2:05 AM, just after the music had gone off and the house lights had come on, she came straight over to me, looked me in the eye and said "I horny. I want go with you."
I did a double take. I hadn't signaled her nor made any gestures towards her. I had been in the bar for more than 3 hours yet up until the point she introduced herself I hadn't even noticed her.
She extends out her hand in that awkward gesture that she wants me to shake it. A handshake in a gogo bar. I just can't get used to that but I begrudgingly accept her hand and she plops herself down beside me. I look at my good pal Dave The Rave, and roll my eyes as our fascinating conversation is halted by this vixen.
"I horny. I want go with you", she repeats. As daft a thing as is to say as I had no intention of taking her, or any girl, for that matter, home, I respond and say that I'll give her 500 baht. I know that this is an insult to a gogo dancer
and know that it will achieve the desired result.
"I no go less 3,000 baht" she tells me and I can't help but smirk. I don't erupt with laughter for that would cause her to lose face and, well, we know how unpredictable the locals can become when that happens.
Thais are expert at noticing the small details, the body language and the change of expression. "Why you laugh?", she asks me.
I don't reply but you can see that she has already worked out that I simply don't believe that she refuses to go for less than 3,000 baht.
She pulls out a wad of cash from her knickers and makes a point of slowly counting it. Slowly, ever so slowly, she counts it before my eyes. She has on her person the grand total of 1,670 baht – in Thai baht, as well as a $US 20 note. At current exchange rates, that makes a total of around 2,300 baht. She explains that this is what she has earned in tips from customers for one night. Just one night of dancing on stage and she has earned a decent whack.
She now has my attention. I ask her how many lady drinks she has had this evening and she replies 12. She doesn't blink. She has already done the maths. I turn to Dave and while he is much too professional to ever divulge the details of what a girl earns, he verifies that she is one of the best earners of lady drinks. 12 drinks at 40 baht a pop is another 480 baht – which will be paid when she collects her salary at the end of the month.
I now have a great deal of respect for this lady. I explain to her that I do not barfine girls and do not take girls out of the bars. She realises that there is no chance that I am going to take her home, at any price. She gets up to go, but I tell her to sit for a bit, tell her there is no hurry and that we can chat. She responds positively and seems to like the fact that I am interested in her as a person, and not after her body.
We talk about the money she earns in the bar and she explains that she averages around 1,500 baht in tips every night and at least ten lady drinks a night, usually many more. She says that with this amount coming in there is no need to go with customers
unless it is worth her while. She makes more than enough in the bar so why should she go with a customer for 1,000 baht, or even 2,000 baht, when she is already earning that amount each and every night just dancing?! She acknowledges that she
has to go with a certain number of customers to meet her quotas and retain her full salary – and she claims that she has no shortage of offers to do that at the "right price". She regularly gets 3,000 baht a night, often more.
We did not talk specifics about how many nights she goes out.
I don't probe about overseas sponsors but it is my experience that any girl who has worked in the bars for more than 3 months has a sponsor. She has been around the block, closer to 3 years than 3 months. She must have a sponsor, maybe a few.
She might not be easy on the eye but she has a certain charm about her and you just know that she knows how to press a certain type of guy's button. Given that she is no spring chicken, she probably appeals to the older guys and let's face it, it's the older guys who tend to have more money – and are more generous with it.
I quietly chuckle to myself as I see some of the pretty young things getting changed, about to make the trek home. I guestimate that 65% of the girls have been barfined tonight, but there are still plenty of younger, pretty things who didn't find a customer. You look at some of the younger girls and there is a hardness about them. Looking back at Miss 30-Something, she has an ease about her, a quiet confidence. She might have been around the bars a long time – but I bet she is much better with customers than the younger, prettier girls.
It's great to see the girls doing well in the bars. The industry takes its toll on them and I for one are all for them doing well – while treating customers decently too.
I do the maths in my head and calculate that if Miss-30-Something works most nights, and achieves her quotas, and the figures we talked about are genuine, then there is some real money passing through her hands.
My best guess is that Miss 30-Something is earning around, and most likely in excess, of 100,000 Thai baht a month, and for that she is not being barfined every night, far from it in fact. She's a real success story.
|Lady drinks||12 x 40 baht nightly||14,400|
|"Service fees"||10 x 3,000||30,000|
|Sponsorship||1 x 10,000||10,000|
|Tips||30 x 1,500||45,000|
|TOTAL MONTHLY EARNINGS||109,400 baht|
The increased prices being requested in Bangkok (more so than in Pattaya) by the girls are I believe partly contributed to by the silly money that guys are throwing to the girls as tips. I don't barfine so what the girls charge is completely irrelevant to me, it simply gives me something new to write about each week. It has to be said that there are increasing numbers perturbed by the prices some of the girls quote these days.
I have since paid more attention to the girls dancing in the bars and have observed that more and more they are attempting to solicit tips from the customers, often by performing a raunchy dance for a ringside customer. Many guys seem to take a great deal of joy at slipping banknotes into a girl's knickers, cheered on by their mates. And if you look closely, they're not 20 or 50 baht notes, but 100s and sometimes 500s or even 1000s.
But if you think Miss-30-Something is doing well, she's far from being one of the top earners. There are many girls in the bars earning closer to 200K baht a month. That's not the average of course, but the real hotties – and invariably they have a few sponsors on the go – are pulling in serious money. But with that said, I thought a seemingly over the hill woman in her mid 30's doing 100K baht a month was just marvellous. Good on her.
Where was this picture taken?
Last week's picture was of the touristy seafood restaurant called Seafood Palace which can be found close to the Asoke intersection, where it intersects with Sukhumvit. The first person to email me with the correct location of the picture wins a 500 baht credit at Oh My Cod, the British Fish And Chips restaurant and the second wins a free jug of margarita, valued at 840 baht from Charley Brown's, a well-established, popular restaurant, offering authentic Tex-Mex Cuisine and delicious margaritas. Charley Brown's is located in the small sub-soi off Sukhumvit Soi 11.
FROM STICK MARK II'S INBOX (These are emails from readers and what is written here was not written by Stick Mark II)
EMAIL OF THE WEEK – Put off the Bangkok nightlife.
I've just read this week's column and I have to say I fully agree with what you say. I, too, used to love the Bangkok nightlife but it just doesn't do it for me anymore. In fact, I've had precisely one night out (alone) there in the last 3 years. I was talking to my business partner about having a couple of nights up there "on business" at some point just for a change of scene and a look-see but your musings are leading me to the conclusion that that might not be such a good idea after all.
Samui is a mean, over-priced place. I once had a long time girlfriend (the legendary Oy who Dana wrote about a few times) and she grew up there. There is so much ganja and greedy real estate moguls there in a concentrated area that it is dangerous. I think I've mentioned to you before my opinion about sex market areas that are close and tight as being just too dangerous. It and Patong have their tourist appeal, but are too concentrated for me.
What happened to the other half? Is this "justice"?!
The tourist police helped me get half of my 8,000 baht back from a Burmese girl who stole it from my wallet when I wasn't looking. I was in the town of Fang located north of Chang Mai and close to Burma about 3 years ago and met her in a bar before taking her back to my hotel where the theft occurred. The next day I went to the tourist police in Tha Ton, a short distance away, and explained what happened. The officer spoke perfect English and agreed to help so he drove me to the bar and made some phone calls to persuade the girl to come back to the bar. At first she denied having stolen the money but the cop did not believe her and was able to work out a deal whereby she would return half the money to avoid some further action against her. When I got my money back I had to sign some papers at the regular police station in Fang.
Westerners making a buck or two or…
Last week a guy wrote in about younger westerners coming here and being crooks. I can't see this being a plausible complaint in that normally these crooks just don't last here. Either they get caught up with and are dealt with "Thai style," or they just end up losing their circle of friends which ultimately will lower their source of income. I do, however, know of at least 10 young westerners out here who play online poker for a living. They make between 40K USD up to over 200K USD a year crunching numbers. They own condos and definitely do their share to help the Thai economy.
Fun on the number 46!
We travel a lot on buses as the Mrs. has not managed to persuade me to buy her a new car as yet. Recently on the 46 there was a fierce looking conductress barking orders at the driver. Go, go, keep left, don't stop here etc. To add to this she even had a whistle although it was not clear if this was aimed at controlling the passengers or the poor driver. Sometimes she would shout at him to go on when there was no way the bus could move at all. The strangest part came when a rival bus was coming up from behind – go, go, don't let them get by, go, go! She even forbade him to stop to let passengers off – well they were only foreigners. He only pulled up when the passengers complained. The rival bus sped by and the driver got stuck at the lights. Was he in for an ear bashing by the granite-faced whistle blower! The Mrs. could not stop laughing as, apparently, the driver and the conductress are a married couple! My heart went out to him. Imagine having to put up with your wife giving you instructions all day like this. Good fun for 8 baht though!
The fun of banking in Thailand.
One of the more frustrating and often amusing aspects of Thailand vs. back home is the standard of services you find in various places. I recently decided it was time to open a bank account and had already transferred a large amount into my wife's account at a Sukhumvit branch <you stupid sack – Stick>. On applying we were told no way without a work permit, but when we pointed out another bank had said no problem for that amount they said "Oh, ok, then that's alright." After opening the account I wanted an ATM card but they said "No have, go down the road to another branch." Having done that they sent us back to the first branch who then said they could give us one after all. Now there were no translation problems as all was done by the wife. I think the girl just could not be bothered to give a customer a card with only 900,000 baht in the account. Today I checked out another leading bank which was offering 2% interest on an account. I asked the woman at the enquiries desk what the interest would be on 900,000 baht over a year. After struggling with the calculator and going off to consult another she came back with 1,300 baht after 15% tax. I had better stick with the first place, better the devil you know where banks are concerned.
Do you trust rural hospitals?
I would just like to thank you again for the information on the BNH hospital. I managed to get back to Bangkok from Qatar last Thursday. The sister-in-law had already made her way from Nongkhai to Bangkok. She had been diagnosed there as having liver cancer and told she had 100 days to live. On Friday she underwent an MIR scan where she was cleared of any serious problems with her liver. The doctor wanted to be certain that there were no other problems so he had her back on Monday to undergo an endoscope to rule out any tumors that might have been the cause of her stomach pains and vomiting. Again she was given the all clear. The diagnosis from BNH is a vitamin deficiency and poor diet. Can you believe that! She has gone from having 100 days to live to being given a few vitamin pills and a clean bill of health. She is now one happy camper as you would think! Unfortunately this being Thailand there will be no apology or compensation for the 10 days she lived under a death sentence. How many other poor villagers are suffering needlessly and not receiving the correct treatment?
The next big name venue in the growing Sukhumvit Soi 11 area will be Twisted Republic, brought to you by the same team behind Sukhumvit Soi 4's Sin Bar. The owners and management of the new venue promise that it will challenge the stranglehold that Q Bar and Bed have on the higher end market in that increasingly popular neighbourhood.
Spice Bar in Cowboy has been renovated and was due to re-open last night.
Tilac bar in Cowboy has also been revamped. The left hand side is open while work continues on the right. I never really liked the old Tilac Bar so I will be interested to see what they have done with it. I tried to check it out on Friday night but the area that was open was so busy that I was literally forced out. I'll try again next weekend. Management reckons the other half of the bar will be ready before the end of November.
There is now a door between the Hollywood bars on the top floor of Nana. It was installed a week ago and is something that Dave The Rave said should have been installed years ago.
The Fun House's long-term manager, Goi (Beyonce), has found her knight in shining armour who is whisking her off to Australia for marriage. They will be hosting a going away party for her at the Fun House in Sukhumvit Soi 11 this Friday the 26th starting at 8 PM. There will be discounted drinks and a few bell rings to send her off on a drunk and happy note.
Down in Pattaya, Roxy Bar informed that they will have their monthly party on Saturday October 27 with free food and selected 65 baht drinks (Chang, Vodka, Gin, Thai whiskey and soft drinks) all night. Some new shows will be introduced.
A party will be held at Sisterz in Pattaya, this coming Friday, 26 October. Kicking off at 9 PM, there will be the usual fun and frolics.
On Sunday, October 28 there will be another exciting Sexy Body Contest in Coyotes in Pattaya. With 20,000 baht up for grabs expect things to get wild! Well known local columnist Nightmarch will be the MC.
There has been a slow, but subtle change at Nana which is having an effect on the atmosphere in the bars. For many years Nana has been the expats' choice of Friday night drinking venue. And on any given night there would be a good number of expats in attendance in the bars. This has changed and the percentage of expats in the Nana bars is, I would suggest, down – and down quite a bit. More and more of the Nana bars are full of tourists – even the big name bars.
And this situation was no clearer than one night this week when 6 farang women got up on stage in one particular Nana bar and stayed there for what seemed like an eternity. My best guess is that the bunch of unsightly lard asses were up there for a good half hour. They dominated the stage and pushed all the dancers off to one end where they couldn't dance, but rather just stood there, looking perplexed. The mamasan was told to clear the stage but she was caught in two minds, realising that the farang women had run up a decent checkbin and did not want to upset them by pushing them off the dance floor and potentially out the door. But this inaction caused the bar to suffer and the moans and groans heard from customers around me resulted in the number of punters in the bar dropping as they voted with their feet and left!
Shock, horror, sex tours are being conducted at Soi Cowboy! Buggies are carting small groups of Asian tourists along the length of the soi and as the buggy slowly crawls along, the Asian tourists are firing off snaps of the soi, sending the girls skedaddling out of sight, petrified of getting their mug shot taken. Frankly, given that there are often cops in attendance outside some of the Cowboy bars, I am surprised this is allowed to happen.
A tragedy was confirmed the other night. A "cowgirl" nicknamed Tiny Dancer has gone home to die. She stands just 138 cm tall. Anyone that knows her will instantly connect as to the reason, simply her liver is shot. She was literally smashed 24 hours a day. One good friend walked through Cowboy at 2:00 PM and saw her getting hosed down as frantic efforts were made to sober her up. That's the sad side of the bar scene.
One of the twins at Angelwitch is no longer. She is still of this earth, but can no longer be found at Angelwitch after her farang boyfriend decided to pull her out of the bar once and for all.
Which Soi Cowboy bar owner is raising the ire of his partners due to his love affair with one of the dancers in one of his bars. Shitting in his own doorstep, this bar owner has upset not just his partners but also the punters, many of whom experience his teeruk bouncing up and down on their lap – but then refusing to go out, clearly stating that one of the owners is her boyfriend!
With the Siam Hotel now closed, it has been suggested that the area around the hotel may well be full of streetwalkers. Apparently most of them did not even use the short time rooms in the hotel, preferring to go to the cleaner short-time rooms in other salubrious venues, nearer Rachada.
The Office Bar, one of Bangkok's true blue Aussie hang outs, will host a Melbourne cup party on Tuesday November 6th, kicking off at 9 AM. Tickets cost 1,900 baht and for that you get a Champagne & Bloody Mary buffet breakfast, a buffet lunch, all the draught beer, wine, gin, vodka and whiskey you can drink as well as heaps of Aussie mates to party with. There'll also be a lucky sweepstakes and lucky draws. Tickets are on sale now.
Isn't it amazing that you can buy these little 40-kg-when-wet bargirls Tequila all night long and my God, they can drink gallons of the stuff and not get drunk! Some guys try and rationalise this by saying that the girls drink it every night and harden up to it. That they don't eat for hours on end and that they are tiny doesn't seem to ring the alarm bells it should. Well, I received word from someone this week that in some bars the Tequila is not Tequila but WATER! If you are buying Tequila for your girl, have a sniff of it and check that it's the real deal.
The odd couple mentioned in last week's column working as touts in Patpong are said to have worked there for years. The black man is in fact a Thai national and the white a Geordie (that's a native of Newcastle, for you Americans).
Ever since the airport opened its doors the public (metered) taxi stand could be found downstairs at the first floor below arrivals. However, a reader informs me that they have moved the taxi stands to the second floor, opposite exit doors A and C (B does not seem to have a stand, which means you have to wrestle yourself through the mob's travel agents crowding the exit doors if you come out of door B). In true Thai fashion, there are no signs of any sort directing you to the public taxi stands, and the touts seem to be more aggressive than ever, now that they operate on the same floor as the metered taxis.
A number of friends and acquaintances, some very long-term residents, told me that they would "definitely be leaving Thailand soon". I have spoken with a few this past week and not one is any more advanced in their plans to leave Thailand now than they were when they first declared their departure plans many months ago! In fact most had stated that they would be long gone by now. Isn't it funny how many people get totally fed up and disillusioned with life in Thailand but continue to stick at it? It's different for everyone but I wonder if there is a common theme? Fear of the unknown and not being able to fit in back home, I wonder?
A number of readers asked me about the restaurant I spoke very highly of in last week's column so I imagine that explaining exactly how to get there will be of interest to many readers. La Cuisine Au Beurre is located in the lane next to Deuk Com, the computer shopping centre. To get there, you walk up South Pattaya Road about 400 metres. South Pattaya Road is the road heading inland from the intersection where Beach Road intersects with second road at the southern end. In the same lane as La Cuisine Au Beurre are a number of other very good restaurants including Luxor and a handful of others. Bordeaux is said to be excellent but I have not tried it myself – and it is more expensive than the rest which offer a daily dinner set menu for around 200 odd baht.
When I first came to Bangkok, I always thought I would take regular trips down to Ko Samet, the small piece of paradise off the coast of the Eastern seaboard. I'll probably get shot down in flames for saying this, but as crazy as it sounds (remember, it is an island), I have NOT had good seafood on Ko Samet. I have found better seafood to be available in other beaches like Pattaya, Hua Hin etc. Even at Bahn Pe I have had better meals than I have had at Ko Samet. And don't get me started on the accommodation options on Samet. Low standard, high price is my best description! For me, Samet is ok for a day trip. I'll drive down from Bangkok, take the boat over and spend the day on the beach – and then drive to Pattaya where there is good food and nightlife – and a great selection of hotels at much more reasonable prices than Samet.
At long last Thailand's two major fruit juice producers have diversified their range of products. In the old days we were stuck with apple, orange, pineapple and guava juices – and that was about it. Now there is a far greater range of juices with cranberry, various berry mixes, golden Kiwi fruit and interesting other mixes. If you love your juice, they're all worth trying.
The word "barfine" does not appear in any major dictionaries yet. But with more people traveling, more people coming to Thailand and paying barfines, just when will this word become known and understood by the masses? English is evolving and new words enter the language – and the major dictionaries – all the time. You could say that new words become "official" when they are picked up by one of the major dictionaries. When will "barfine" appear?!
4 Europeans were caught in Thailand this week, suspected of drug trafficking. Looks like they're going to be staying on in Thailand for a very, very long time.
Here's an interesting interview with Paul Hanley, author of that book.
Here's a good article about relationships between Western men and Thai women.
Miss Udon is no longer. Remuneration talks collapsed and Miss Udon has no interest in answering your questions any more. Despite my best efforts to tell her how much her answers were appreciated, and me forwarding all of your emails of positive feedback to her, she insisted that she was done.
This posed a dilemma. The Thai female's perspective is appreciated and enjoyed by many readers, so I had to find a replacement. I am therefore very pleased to announce that from next week, the ORIGINAL MRS. STICK will return to answer your questions. Actually, she was going to start today, but she got busy, and was unable to meet the deadline. But from next week, the original Mrs. Stick is back. Questions received this past week will be answered by her in next week's column. So please forward your questions for her now!
In her absence this week, let me answer one question sent by a reader that I feel I can answer just as well as any Thai female.
Question 1: I'm presently learning basic Thai language. Can you tell me what level of Thai language proficiency I would likely need to teach in a Thai university? Thanks very much for your help.
Stick Mark II says: I have not heard of a Westerner teaching at a university in Thailand using Thai as the medium of instruction. Universities hiring Westerners usually do so because they want the instruction to be in English and for the professor to use Western teaching techniques. Remember, these professors are usually lecturing in an "international" – read English language, program. If they wanted instruction to be in Thai, they would hire a Thai national. The ability to speak Thai to a high level does not have any direct advantage when it comes to seeking employment at a university in Thailand although indirectly, the understanding of the culture that comes with learning a language to a high level will be of some benefit.
This website, more specifically this column, survives on the generosity of advertisers who take out paid advertising. If you would like to expose your business to thousands of Thailand crazy Westerners as well as a small number of Thais and nationals of other countries – as well as support this column – do drop me an email. Advertising rates are reasonable and exposure is wide.
Stick Mark II