Stickman's Weekly Column March 30th, 2008

The Dangers Of Drug Smuggling In Thailand

Bangkok attracts some real characters and over the years I reckon I’ve met more than my fair share.

And when I think of characters, the guy who always springs to mind is Big Jack. I wrote about Big Jack once before, when he was broke. He begged a friend for 500 baht saying
that he had not eaten and was starving. The friend gave him 500 baht. The next day he called the guy asking for another 500 baht. When asked what happened to the money he had given him the day before, Big Jack explained that he had been on the
way to get some food but was coerced into spending it on a blowjob instead. That was Big Jack.

mens clinic bangkok

Today it’s time to tell another Big Jack story. Like that previous story, I assure you this one is absolutely true.

Jack managed to get himself out of the financial mess he had found himself in. He had moved out of the cesspool that is Soi Sribumphen and had moved into a rather comfortable pad in Lad Prao. Big Jack’s newfound but short-lasting wealth
had come from one of his domain name investments. Jack had had the foresight to purchase a number of dot com addresses years earlier and sold one of his few decent remaining addresses to an internet entrepreneur for a reputed $50,000, at the time
around 2 million baht. Jack moved himself into a pleasant house well away from the nightlife areas that had been such a magnet for him.

Jack began to lead a relatively normal life. He had a pleasant English retiree and his wife for neighbours and an older Thai lady who came by each day providing maid's services. Big Jack still enjoyed a drink, but he managed to stay away from Sukhumvit
most nights.

Life was good and Big Jack was enjoying a different side of Bangkok, a quiet neighbourhood, nice neighbours, and a more healthy lifestyle.

Big Jack made a few sojourns down to his beloved Soi 33 but much less regularly than he had previously. But alcohol was still a big part of his life and he had no shortage of liquor in the house. Guests were always offered plenty of choice from his well-stocked
liquor cabinet.

Now 2 million baht might sound like a lot but Big Jack was never one to watch the pennies. He had always enjoyed life. When he had money, he spent it. Back in the UK where he had spent almost 27 years (26 and ¾ of them overstaying –
yes, really!) he had enjoyed all that the UK had to offer, the food, women and perhaps best of all, the liquor.

His lifestyle in Thailand was much the same. Big Jack liked his comforts, one of which was air-con. He couldn't live without it. When he went out for the day, he would leave the air-con turned on. Even if he was away all day, he would leave the air-con
running all day so that when he arrived home the house was cool. Instead of paying 1,000 – 1,500 baht for power, his monthly power bills ran to several thousand baht.

wonderland clinic

Jack also liked computers, mobile telephones and electronic gadgets in general. Whenever something interesting was released, he would buy it. He always had a collection of mobile phones, a couple of computers and one or other digital camera.
Over the years many of these items were pilfered by light-fingered ladies of the night but that's a whole other story.

The point here is that 2 million baht is actually not that much money and unless you’re really prepared to live like a Thai and keep your total spend limited to around 20,000 baht a month, the money won’t last forever.

18 months after collecting his 2 mill, Big Jack faced a familiar situation. His finances were in dire shape. Now to put this in perspective, Jack had worked all of his life and now in his early ‘60s, he really wasn't keen on reentering
the workforce. And God forbid that he should be forced to enter a classroom at that ripe age. The obscenities that came out of his mouth when that was suggested turned heads. Any students he would have had would no doubt have been first class
at cursing, if nothing else. Fortunately that never happened.

Jack had to come up with a new way to make an income.

He contemplated sourcing Hawaiian shirts and flogging them online. He registered a domain name but his foray into that didn’t last long. He looked at various other possibilities, usually exporting something that was cheap in Thailand
to Western countries, but he never could find the right product.

Jack’s finances dipped lower and if I recall correctly, they were well below $10,000. That was the last 10K to his name. He started selling a few assets, electronic goods and the like but those sorts of things plummet in value and he was only getting
20-30% of what he had paid for them a year earlier.

Big Jack was in financial strife. Again.

Now Jack wasn’t a shy boy and he'd enjoyed the ladies of the night and like many guys his age, I guess, Jack had at times had pharmaceutical assistance while partaking in the bedroom Olympics. But the blue pill as it is known
was expensive at that time, around 500 baht a pill in Bangkok.

Jack searched online and found out that there were alternatives to the famed blue pill. The one that grabbed his attention was a new drug called Cialis. To make things even more interesting, Big Jack’s research revealed that a generic
version of Cialis was manufactured in India and if purchased in bulk was available at ridiculously low prices.

Jack had a brainwave. He would import Cialis from India and sell it in Thailand. He knew there was demand for it and he could source it at a very low price, sell it at many times the price and make a good living. It would also give him an
excuse to spend more time in the bars. Perfect!

So Jack contacted the manufacturer in India and made arrangements to fly to India where he would meet a representative of the factory, make the purchase. He hoped this would become a regular thing.

Jack left his teary eyed teeruk at Don Muang and flew out to India.

From the moment he arrived in India he hated the place. It was hotter than hell, alcohol was not always readily available and he thought Indian food tasted better in the UK.

Passing over several thousand dollars to an Indian he had never met before, Jack was in turn given thousands of Cialis pills. He joked to the Indian that he sure hoped they were the real thing. He became dreadfully nervous. This was the last
of his money! He had precious little left and if these pills were fakes, he would be in dire straits.

So what do you do if you want to test erectile dysfunction drugs? You take a couple yourself! So there, in the toilet at the airport, Big Jack popped a couple of the pills.

He had used them before, but had never taken two at once. In fact he used to cut them up and just use just half or a third of a pill. He figured that by taking two he would soon know if they worked or not.

Well, it seemed that the Indians had been good to their word and this was indeed the genuine article. In no time Big Jack had a stonking hard on! “I felt like I was Mr. Ed” I clearly remember him saying.

Excited about the reaction to his drugs while at the same time trying to hide it, he called his girlfriend in Bangkok just before he got onboard the plane and told her to be ready. It had been a few days and he was struggling not
to jump the gun.

The thousands of Cialis pills were carried on board the Thai International flight in two hold all bags. They’re not illegal drugs, are they, he thought to himself. They can be bought in Thailand, in fact you get offered them on the
street in some places.

The quantity of drugs that Big Jack was bringing into the country didn’t play on his mind until a few hours later when the big bird started its gradual descent into Bangkok.

Big Jack started to dwell on his situation. He had thousands of pills – drugs – in his carry on luggage. For the very first time, he started to wonder what the men in the brown would think if he said they were for personal use.
The quantity was so large it was clearly of a commercial nature. What if they didn’t know what Cialis was? Would they arrest him? Would they charge him with a crime? Was there a chance he might be thrown into the Bangkok Hilton?

The cabin temperature seemed to soar and in moments Jack’s shirt was clinging to his body. He was perspiring profusely as his mind went into overdrive.

Should he ditch the drugs in one of the quarantine bins at the airport? The thought crossed his mind but then what would he do? He only had a small amount of money left. This was his last chance!

He had no option. He had to get through with the tablets and then he would be ok.

The plane landed and once inside the terminal he turned on his mobile and called his girlfriend. She was ready and waiting for him. She asked him if he was still hard. He had forgotten all about that but a quick check revealed that yes,
he was still in somewhat of a state of arousal.

Big Jack only had carry on. There was no reason to delay his fate any longer. With thousands of pills in his two handheld bags he headed straight for the green channel. “Sawasdee krap” he said to one of the officials he passed
in his awful Thai. The official wasn’t listening nor interested. Big Jack walked straight through, past all of the airport officials and into the relative sanctity of the arrivals area.

A quick peck on the cheeks with his girlfriend, a “Why you sweat so much” and Big Jack herded her straight towards the nearest taxi. The queue was short and in no time they had jumped into a cab and were making their way towards
Lard Prao.

He was free! He had made it! As the minutes ticked by and the cab passed dimly lit building after dimly lit building, Big Jack felt more and more relieved. He had made it! He hadn't given any thought into the seriousness of what he was
doing, importing commercial quantities of prescription drugs without a license. He was almost home. His money problems would soon be behind him and he would soon avail himself of all that Bangkok had to offer.

15 odd km after departing the airport the taxi pulled into the driveway of Big Jack’s home. He paid the driver and trying to balance the two hold alls he pushed open the door of the taxi to get out.

Now Big Jack was a big man. That’s why he was known as “Big” Jack. Duh! A few beers on the plane, the roller coaster ride his emotions had taken in the last hour and the stonking hard on along with a ready and willing
teeruk and Big Jack was leaping out of the taxi.

Outside the cab Big Jack was met by a bunch of barking dogs. He was alarmed at their proximity to him. They were barking more aggressively than your typical soi hound and Big Jack went to scamper away from them. But Jack was not 100% himself. Fatigue,
liquor and anxiety all combined causing Big Jack to lose his footing. He went crashing down and screamed out in intense pain.

It might have been late at night, and he may have had a few beers, but the sensation of not just feeling, but seeing a bone sticking out of your leg is enough to wake up even the most heavily inebriated. Jack screamed in agony, cursing all
and sundry, those present, and those fortunate enough not to be.

His mind was spinning but he somehow managed to get his girlfriend to carefully follow his instructions. 1. Store the two bags inside the house. 2. Call a "farang hospital", as he called them, and get them to send an ambulance.
3. Kill the dog. Well ok, shoo the dog away.

Jack was rushed to hospital where he underwent major surgery on his leg. He spent several days recovering and returned home to two bags of Cialis – but no one to use them with! That said, his leg was giving him so much grief that he doubted
he would be able to operate for a while.

Jack didn’t have enough money to pay the hospital bill that ran well into 6 figures and was forced to agree on a payment plan which he hoped to finance from the sales of his drugs.

But Jack was in no position to meet people to make any sales. He worked his mobiles and got friends and acquaintances to visit him and buy a few, but without the ability to get out and find new customers sales were very slow. The money coming
in was only enough to keep the household running, not enough to get ahead. And he wasn’t able to sell at the price he had hoped. Those who bought were friends, many doing so out of sympathy and to help a mate.

Some months after the accident, Big Jack managed to make it back to his beloved soi 33. As happens in Bangkok, friends had moved on, bar owners had changed and it was now the slow season. Cialis was available locally, not at the same prices
that Jack was offering it at but what was available elsewhere was the real article. Potential customers were less interested in buying from an unknown seller and saving a little money when they weren’t sure what they were getting and so
they continued to buy from existing sources.

Jack made enough sales to get by, but he wasn’t getting ahead and he hadn’t made a dent in his hospital debts – and they were starting to scream and yell. A visa run was coming and to make matters worse, the leg wasn’t healing. An
unsightly limb, my last memories of it were of the gunk it continually wept. I found it hard to lay my eyes on it but it can’t have been that bad. Big Jack was still visited by the ladies and he convinced us that he still managed to get
his leg over. Months ran into years and the leg didn’t get better.

With his Cialis supply running out and no means of surviving, Jack was forced back to his native Australia, a place he had been away from, at least on a permanent basis, for more than half his adult life. The leg still hasn’t healed
and Jack still rues the mutt that startled him that night and sent him stumbling over and changed his life, ultimately forcing him to leave Bangkok.

I guess it doesn’t pay to smuggle drugs!

Where was this picture taken?

Last week's picture was taken of the Indian Hindu temple on Silom Road. Wow, so many people got it right that I decided to make this week's pic a little bit more tricky. In fact, I bet only a handful of people get this week's right! 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.) Preference may be given to emails which refer to the previous week's column.

EMAIL OF THE WEEK – Random tipping not expected.

You should consider that outside foreigner-focused service industries, random tipping is not expected nor is it really appreciated in the same sense that westerners think. From his perspective, the time spent walking with you up the mountain and telling
you about local attractions and stories shows pride of place. It gives him "face" to be sharing his superior knowledge with you, a visitor. He already made his sale of 50 baht of monkey food, after all. The respite as a tour guide
was for his own edification. When you tried to tip him, it implied he was effectively in your employ for the "tour" instead of the wise local kindly sharing his knowledge with the visitor. Taking the money would take away the face
and pride he held. In the future, the best course of action would be to thank him in a sincere tone, and to praise him for generously sharing his time and information with you. That gives him even more "face" by acknowledging his
good deed. That would leave him far more satisfied than 100 baht.

They just don’t get it.

Last night a good friend of mine – my only real Thai male friend – and I decided to go to Patpong. I’m thinking I’m in good hands with a Thai who has been around the block many times, owns a condo and works in the travel biz.
We head to an “upstairs” venue promising no cover, 100 baht Heinekens and a show. We walk up the two flights of stairs and the place is pretty dead because it’s still early but the show is going on. We get a lot of attention
from a mixed bag of yings. We order two Heinekens and my Thai friend orders a lady drink for someone who caught his eye. The next thing I know five – count 'em five – ladies come up to me with colas in their
hand wanting to clink drinks. I say, “no, no, no” and we call the big ladyboy mamasan over to settle it. Keep in mind we have been there for less than 5 minutes. We settle on one lady drink a piece – which I never
offered – instead of five and the bill is still 1,200 baht! In other words same old crap in Patpong. I should have known better. Our Heinekens were 100 baht but the lady drinks were 300 and oh yes, there is now a cover charge for the
show. So much for being in good hands with a Thai national. It had been 3 years since I had been to Patpong. It will be several more before I go back again. They just don’t get it.

Beware the ling!

You and the Mrs. should know that groups of monkeys can be extremely dangerous and in some cases make group attacks on people or individuals that you can not ward off. Recently, in the US; a group of 'cute' monkeys attacked a man and nearly
killed him. His face and his fingers and his toes and his genitals were all bitten off. Only a gunshot from someone else stopped the attack. I regard groups of monkeys as dangerous and do not go near them. They are without fear. I suggest
that you and the wife never go near groups of monkeys again.

The best Thai dating experience

Coercing the customer to tip.

Regarding the sense of entitlement that Thais have regarding tipping, there used to be a charming clever aggressive funny waitress in the G-Spot bar years ago who would let the tin tip tray fall to the floor if she did not get enough (or any) money. It
made a huge metal racket. The sound cut through everything. She would let it fall to the floor over and over until she got a tip. Irritating or funny depending on your point-of-view. I used to go in the G-Spot at about 1:45 AM because at the
last part of the evening the music would be turned up to the max and they had a great sound system. I would spend 15 minutes sitting up in the bleachers just grooving on the music. One night it occurred to me that I could hear falling metal
tip trays all over the bar. The girls were making a last ditch effort to make more money. Made me smile. Only in Thailand.

Is Thailand slipping down the order?

I wonder what plans the Thai Government has in mind for the development of casinos here. Sumptuous secure complexes with world class facilities for the family, or the typical hotel with adjoining disco and massage parlour? I suspect the latter given the
time left to generate cash before the next 'government'. We have seen a lot of huge investments over the last decade or so in the region to promote tourism and the economies: Malaysia – new airport and Formula 1 circuit, Hong Kong
– new airport and Disneyworld, China – Formula 1 circuit, Singapore – Formula 1 event, casino / resort complex. Thailand? Ah yes, the new airport. Enough said. Yeah, I like Formula 1, but the construction of a circuit is a good example of
the intention of the country to attract investment and visitors and generally raise its image and standing. India will be next. Thailand is slowly slipping down the order when it comes to tourist destinations, unless of course it is the nightlife
and its company that is the agenda. It is visible that tourist numbers are well down. Are people getting bored with the beaches and islands that have been over developed and frankly present zero cultural experience or is it the ever increasing
hassle and bans on being able to have a drink and enjoy yourself? The signs are not good for foreign investment and a lot is needed to pick this place up again in terms of tourism. The redevelopment of the beach front in Pattaya is a classic
example of how things continuously and consistently go wrong in this country; investments and budgets siphoned off to those with some power or influence with countless projects suspended. It is sad for the Thai people that this country continues
to be 'governed' by the most blatantly inept and corrupt members of society. I have reached the stage were I can't even look at the first few pages of the Bangkok Post. The current political situation has become ridiculous and
is simply a disgrace. Let's hope for some sanity to return to Thailand with a government that deserves some respect.

As fake as a Patpong Rolex.

That girls all pretend to be so called 'good' girls. I just tried again to make an effort with 2 girls, one studied in the US the other one comes from rich family. I did not push for sex, was dating them 10 times without not even kissing them
and being completely polite. The results were one asked me to invest in her family business (that's when I discontinued the dating), the other one made promises she could not keep, like making appointments and cancelling them an hour
in advance. Now the fun part is, that the friends they introduced me to asked for my number or got hold of my number. Both of them – they did not know each other! So I thought it's a trap and told them politely that it's better only
to meet with their friend. It wasn't a trap what I found out later. They wanted to have sex with me behind their friends back. Anyway, I waited until I saw how things turned out with the girls I was 'polite dating' so when I
realised that both were rotten, I had sex with their friends. AMAZING THAILAND. It's very common by the way, that BEST friends of your date ask for your number from your date. Learn what friendship means in Thailand.

Closing times remain early. In Bangkok it is 1 AM and it must be said that it is often a rushed closing with the bar staff having the same nervous looks they had a few years back when early closings were all the rage. This past Friday for example, Soi
Cowboy closed up at 1 AM sharp! In Pattaya, Walking Street is supposed to close at 2 AM. At that time police from various units start the walk from the entrance of Walking Street on Beach Road, heading south. As they pass bars they check to see
that they are closed. So those bars nearer Beach Road close at 2 AM or a little later whereas those located further along it is closer to 2:20 or even 2:30.

It's a case of deja vu with Ricky shown the door at Sisterz in an episode that will remind nightlife fans of what happened to the veteran manager at Soi Diamond. Why on earth would management oust a hugely experienced and popular manager?

The girl situation in some of the big bars in Pattaya is getting desperate, in fact it is so bad that I overheard one person saying they wouldn't barfine a girl from one particular bar even if it was free! And we're talking a big name bar here.

But then some bars do seem to have a decent stock, and none more so than New Living Dolls 1. Having been disappointed in a number of Pattaya bars, I was pleasantly surprised to see the usual line up of cuties in NLD1. Combine that with the 39 baht happy
hour before 10 PM and NLD1 gets serious thumbs up.

Another fine bar, Catz, refuse to rest on their laurels and have some new shows that make the Covent Garden icon worth a visit. And they're still doing the air hostess fashion pageant show, yeah!

The latest edition of Pattaya By Night is out, that's edition #4. It's a big improvement over the previous editions in terms of the lay although once again I was disappointed with the photography. If you're hunting for a copy, Secrets
has it for sale at the hotel reception desk at 150 baht. And if you don't want to lug your copy around on a night out, for a nominal fee Secrets will deliver
it to your hotel.

It's the end of an era at Secrets. "Miss Buriram", pictured right, easily the cutest in a bunch of very cute girls, and the latest in a line of what can only be described as "Internet stars", is about to depart the bar scene…for
good! An Asian version of Samantha Fox (short, big bazookas), she has mesmerized all and sundry, both those who visit Secrets and those who have only seen her online. Her last night in Secrets is tomorrow. Who will be the lucky last?

Pattaya bar owners love to knock Club Boesche. "Business is down", they tell me. "Only a few ugly old hags in there", another said. I went and checked it out this week and these quotes could not be further from the truth. The place
was packed with customers and there were heaps and heaps of attractive damsels.

There is at least one bar in Pattaya, a big name gogo bar, that currently has three girls on the books with no experience. Yes, as amazing as it sounds, not all of the girls who enter the industry do so because they had a kid
at a young age to local boy who did a runner.

A dancer for a big name Walking Street gogo found out this week how little US dollars are worth. She was approached in the bar by two young, good looking Americans who wanted to take her for a short-time liaison. They offered her $100 and after checking
with friends how much that was, she said yes and off she went. She returned to the bar shortly afterwards waving her $100 note around, and much face was gained! She was so proud she waved it under the nose of the manager who grabbed it and as
soon as he did he knew something was up. It didn't feel right. Closer examination showed that it was a fake! To the two young American guys who did this, it might pay to get out of town and never come back. If you are ever seen again, the
girl is going to press charges for rape and fraud. And I hope she finds you and fxxxs you big time, you cheap ass bastards.

If you are disputing that Pattaya is not as busy as previous years, think again. This year already 10 gogo bars have closed down in Pattaya. Or in other words, more than 10% of the seaside city of sin's gogo bars are no longer! From almost 90 gogo
bars in Pattaya, there are now less than 80.

As if we needed proof that the bar industry is in serious strife, Baby Electric Blue in Soi Diamond is no longer a gogo but a takeaway shop!

Heavens Above was not its usual self this past week, the night I was there they had a total of 18 dancing girls and the atmosphere was much like elsewhere, reflecting the low season gloom.

Pattaya bars doing shows are much more careful with doormen on alert and warning systems fine tuned and even practiced in some bars!

I notice that Soi Pattayaland 2 is going gay at a rapid pace. Bordering Boyz Town this is no surprise and I wonder how long it will be before straight guys are best advised to wander elsewhere?

After an absence of a few years, Pete, the former FLB Bar owner, is back in the bar biz. He has leased the bar area at the back – the very back – of the first bar complex on the right as you approach Walking Street. It's a strange bar area that is
like a cross between Thermae and the Biergarten in Bangkok, a freelancer venue. And it's a hell of a walk to get there from the main Walking Street!

Mandarin Bar in Nana just can't help themselves when it comes to price increases. Following their last round of price increases as well as the abolishment of their happy hour, prices have once again been hiked, this time on bottled liquor. A bottle
of local whisky that cost 950 last month is now 1,100 baht.

There appears to be new pricing at the Deja Vu group in Cowboy. Local beers are now priced at 140 baht and for anything imported, like Stella, you're looking at 180 baht per bottle, up! Decent top shelf stuff like Jack Daniels and
Johnny Walker Black is also 140 baht a glass. Rot gut, also known as Chang, can be had for a still not wallet-friendly 130 baht. Lady drinks run 150 – 170 baht, depending on whether it's alcoholic or not. And those who think ordering a bottle
of Coke will save them money, think again. Even Coke is 120 baht! The barfine is up to 700 baht and the menu now states that the "holiday bar fine" is 1,200 baht. Let's hope other bars in Cowboy do NOT follow suit. There is now
a major chasm between the prices of drinks at happy hour and those after happy hour at Cowboy. Makes me think about being Mr. El Cheapo and ordering a few glasses before happy hour ends! Come the slow season and prices go up. Which genius came
up with this?!

Also Deja Vu and Midnite have had yet more remodeling done. I guess that's why they've hiked drinks prices?

In what seems to be a Raw Hide exclusive, why is it that the dancers always have their left hand hovering over the sugar bowl? I have never worked it out – and it seems to be only at Raw Hide.

There have been massive rumblings on Sukhumvit and across Pattaya and Patong as bargirls have been forming lobby groups to take on Nokia, Motorola and the other big boys of the mobile phone world. The bargirls are horrified at the prospect that the next
generation of GPS-enabled phones won't just tell you who is calling you, but will display a map of the world showing you exactly where they are.
And with GPS, that means accuracy to all of about, give or take, 3 metres. "Oh teeruk, I stay Udon Thani with papa, mama and buffalo" will be a thing of the past as the caller can see that she is in fact in the PB Hotel! Seriously
though, this new mobile feature which is not far away will be become the bane of many bargirls. Once they realise what is going on, they'll suddenly downgrade to an older mobile which doesn't have GPS capability!

FindLoveAsia.Com contacted me this week, the newest free online dating site which claims to have lots of female users and not too many male users. I guess that means you should go and sign up right away.
It's totally free!

Anton, ex-VIP and Nana, has acquired the lease to all of Soi Sukhumvit Road, 42 bars, which is going to be renamed Nana Plaza Patong and according to Anton is attracting interest from the big names in the real Nana Plaza up here in Bangkok. Now, I can
hardly talk for the design of this site is very '90s, but the quite appalling NanaPlazaPatong site is one of the very few sites on the net which looks even worse! Anton is looking for investors
who want to get in and make a mint in Nana Plaza, Patong, the hottest spot in Patong. Yeah, right. I can't but feel that given Nana Plaza's gradual demise, perhaps the venue should be renamed.

Recently opened in Phuket is Chang Club, a hotel with dining but the best part is the pool club with around 14 tables. One game is 20 baht compared with 30 baht in Bangla Road. But the best part is the beer. One jug of draught is a Pattaya beating 110
baht of Chang! Or if you prefer farang beer, draught Heineken, one jug is just 120 baht. At these prices you can have 8 glasses of Heineken and 8 games of pool for 400 baht whereas the same deal on Bangla Road, 5 minutes away, would set you back
1,040 baht. The cynic in me says that they'll probably jack up the prices as they get more established but for now, as the Mafia might say, they are wetting their beaks.

In other Phuket news, Rock City has their second branch well under construction on the site of the old VIP Asia.

Wasabi Rage is playing at Larry's Dive on Saturday, April 5. They're an unusual band for Bangkok – a combination of techno backbeats and blues / rock guitar. The former singer of UK grebo band Crazyhead, Anderson, sings on about 8 of their tracks.
Mostly originals but also a few covers, and they're playing a varied set on Saturday ranging from full techno guitar numbers to acoustic tracks and full blown electronica. They're also launching a CD called "Oxy the Moron"
and giving away 50 free copies at the gig. And if that was not enough, they will also have coyote dancers there! Admission to the gig is free although of course you have to be a drinking customer in the bar to watch the performance!

I am often asked to recommend a good dentist in Bangkok but truth be told, I am lucky and have had very little work done, just clean ups and a couple of fillings – not really anything complex enough to recommend any dentist in particular. So, can anyone
tell me the good dentists to recommend those people who email asking?

Narathiwat Road and the road below Chongnonsee BTS station is a total mess as the city goes about constructing this BRT. If you have to use this road, factor in more than a few minutes into your journey time…

Quote of the week comes from a top Pattaya bar owner. "If you want great sex come to Thailand. If you want love, buy a dog!"

Last week we had an Australian murder an American and this week we have a Brit rip off an American for 45 million baht. It seems that being an American is tough
in Thailand these days.

The crime wave against tourists continues with an Aussie girl raped on Ko Samui this week.

Thailand's harsh defamation laws rear their ugly head with the top dog of the Oriental Hotel caught up in a libel suit.

Thailand's tourism crime wave has hit the big time, the New York Times, no less!

Here's an interesting piece from Time magazine on Bangkok's gridlock.

Ask Mrs. Stick

Mrs. Stick is here to help you with your relationship and culture questions and the things that baffle you about life in Thailand. She accepts questions on matters of the heart or cultural misunderstandings. Her answers are entirely her own without any influence or editing by me. She looks forward to reading and answering your questions, so please send in some thought-provoking questions and let her know what is on your mind!

Question 1: I would like to know if the Thai lady I met last November is one I should continue to pursue or not and what to look for. I met her at a clothing retailer where she works in Pattaya and we dated
over the last 10 days of my trip. We were very happy together and had sex one time during that period. We have kept in contact through phone calls twice a week and emails since then. She works long hours, has no children and lives with her brother and sister in law. I believe she is looking at me with serious potential and I have since then taken a more serious look at her in the same way. I will be returning as promised this April to stay with her. I have already met her sister and spent two overnights with them at their residence (of course in separate beds). I have met her friends, doesn't seem to have too many of them. She has never asked me for any money or anything for that matter and has actually paid for some things. My heart and conscience say yes but one can never be too sure of anything especially hearing the horror stories of what can go wrong. This next trip will be a big one, some decisions will be made and I can use some advice. How do you rate her with the provided information?

Mrs. Stick says: I think you need to spend more time with her. 10 days is not enough to see her heart. More time together will help you know her better. She and her friends and family will also be watching you too! I think you also need a plan for the future. We like a man who knows what he wants in his life so if you decide you want to be with her, you need to know what and where your future will be. In Thailand or your country? If it is your country, what will she do? If here, what will you do? Take your time to examine her closely as she will you and let her know your plans for the future.

In the early days especially, but still to some degree today, this site has been known as a resource for Western guys not just messing around with Thai ladies of the night, but actually entering into the longest of relationships with them, marriage.

From the very beginning I have been a campaigner against guys marrying bargirls. In the old days I wrote screeds of nonsense about the whole deal and gave a myriad of reasons why it shouldn't and more often than not, doesn't work. I did try
to be measured and said that to really understand the issue we would need to observe a number of such relationships over time and see how they developed. I can honestly say now that the initial hypothesis was spot on. Very, very few relationships
between Western guys and bargirls work. In fact most don't just end in break up, they end in disaster. Perhaps this will make for an interesting column opening piece, highlighting some of the disasters that have unfolded over the years.

Without wanting to say I told you so, the advice still remains. Bargirls are for a good time, not a long time.


Stick Mark II

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