Stickman's Weekly Column April 5th, 2020

Shagging Strangers During Covid-19



The bars are closed due to the Covid-19 crisis and everyone knows the importance of social distancing, but don’t think that has stopped horny expats in Thailand seeking company. There are still options aplenty for horny expats….but what about the risk?

Some expats would no more leave their condo without donning a face mask than they would go outside without clothes on, so concerned are they by Covid-19. But when it comes to the pleasure of the flesh, some just can’t help themselves.

In Bangkok, some of the places scattered around Sukhumvit are still open. It might not seem that way, but there’s someone manning the door who will let you in.

And in a certain notorious soi in Pattaya there are a few venues where you can quietly slip in the back door (literally, not a euphemism for something else).

None of these venues are supposed to be open, but when do they ever respect the law?

In this industry, making money has long trumped safety and what could be argued in these troubled times as the public good.

Naughty boy expats know where to go.

And it’s business as usual online with the likes of Smooci and ThaiFriendly. Find someone you like, make arrangements and she’ll be right over to your place.

Girls are hungry for money and expats are hungry for sex. Each gets what they want. But in these times of Covid-19 and social distancing, is it worth the risk?

The inherent danger of getting too close to others is widely known – you might just contract something life-threatening. I guess that makes it kind of like unprotected sex – which is hardly uncommon between expats and working girls either.

Is the danger of going out for a quickie real? What are the chances of contracting Covid-19? And if you do, will you get a nasty bout or a mild one?

When thinking about hitting those places open for business, consider a few things:

  • A number of girls working in Moonshine Pub in Sukhumvit soi 7 tested positive for Covid-19.
  • At last count, 3 ladies from Hillary 2 on Soi Nana had tested positive for Covid-19 and efforts were underway to conduct contact tracing of all staff, friends and others.
  • A coyote dancer from Tilac on Soi Cowboy tested positive for Covid-19.
  • A number of staff across various bars in Soi Bangla, Phuket’s bar area, tested positive for Covid-19.
  • There are almost certainly many more unknown and / or unreported cases from bars and knocking shops popular with Westerners.

The very nature of bars, the close contact between people and in many cases, the intimacy, makes it the most fertile of breeding grounds for the virus to spread.

But you’re in decent health, right, without any underlying health conditions? You’re aged under 70? The media says it’s unlikely you’d suffer anything more than cold-like symptoms if you contract Covid-19. That seems to be the prevailing attitude.

Plenty of friends and expats in Thailand tell me they are bored, cooped up in their condo. I get it, I see how getting a lady around for some fun appeals.

And to be clear, it’s not just a working girl thing. For dating sites and the likes of Tinder it’s very much business as usual. It’s not just working girls willing to risk it. That said, I imagine the pickings are slimmer than usual on the dating sites with many everyday Thais genuinely scared to be anywhere near a stranger, particularly a farang.

I scratch my head and wonder about those willing to shag a stranger at this time. Merely being in close proximity with working girls would worry me. As for jumping in the sack with them, the most expensive sex is that which you pay for with your life.


Billboard Bangkok
 

Mystery Photo

mystery-photo89

Last week’s photo was taken of the Time Square Building, which was taken just seconds after the mystery photo in the previous week’s column.


Nana Plaza
 

Stick’s Inbox – the best emails from the past week.

Many in for a rough time.

A lot of mid-so Thais who have just lost their jobs have zero coping skills. I have one contact on LINE who straight up asked me to send her money. I said: we haven’t met, why would I do that? She then began to plead and send me crying-face stickers. Her, and maybe Colin, are in for a rough time.

Stuck, in the wrong place.

I’m one of those stuck, but in the wrong place! I would love to be stuck in Thailand with my wife and baby girls. I told the wife today, if I’m lucky, hopefully I’ll be back home in Thailand for Christmas. No use sugar-coating it. If it’s earlier I’ll feel blessed. The girls don’t understand and I haven’t been away long enough for them to be upset yet. I saw the writing on the wall  and tried to get back but then Thai Airways cancelled the flight. Then cancelled another, and another. Then you needed a health certificate. Then you needed a Covid-19 test with a negative result which everyone knows is impossible to get, unless you’ve had it or pass all the criteria for being tested as kits are in short supply. Effectively, the borders were closed without them having to say it. Then they did say it. I’m not worried about me but I am super scared about what will happen if Covid-19 kicks off in the provinces and I’m unable to do anything or get to see my family. I know it’s their country, their rules. Mai pen rai, right?

Partying like it’s 1999!

For Thailand and the naughty nightlife, I see a resurgence of the old days for a while. More girls are going to have to work and hunger makes for good work habits. Looking at that industry like any other, it will ramp up slowly and prices will come down to entice trial purchases. Flights, hotels, bars and restaurants will all want to see their business come back and disposable incomes of tourists will need time to recover. If someone has protected his wealth during this time, he’s going to find a buyers’ market that will rival the old days. That may last a year or two. Much too late for me to take advantage of, but I’m thinking that by the next busy season, people in Bangkok and Pattaya may be partying “like it’s 1999”!

Will the party resume?

The empty streets of Bangkok and Pattaya are heart-wrenching. I’m as much worried about the service staff as I am about the patrons. Once people weather the storm, how many will be able to afford to come back with deep pockets to fire up the party? I fear maybe a whole generation of partygoers could hang up their boots early. Does that sound too pessimistic?

A silver lining.

I see VFS Global has basically closed its doors world-wide to visa processing. I hope like anything that VFS Global will be a causality from this, and that as a result visa applications will re-commence being accepted directly by embassies like in the “good old days”. No more VFS Global would be a great thing to come out of this.

When will things be normal again?

How long will it be before we can travel again? Or maybe the better question is: how long will it be before people can afford to travel? Well, the minimum is the Wuhan experience – lock-down from January 23 to April 8. That is 2.5 months. So that makes the earliest mid-June. But as we know, the West is not handling it so well. I think the caution with opening borders will be balanced by the continued economic impacts of not opening them. Countries will be moving from recession to depression if borders remain closed for more than a few months. So I would go for a further 3 months and say mid-September. I doubt that prices will be significantly higher. Only a tiny percentage of the population would be able to afford significantly higher prices, and with oil at $20/barrel, airlines have significant tail winds once they can fly again. As for hotels in Thailand bumping up prices, screw them – there are plenty of other places that I will be dying to visit again and if Thailand tries any bullshit, it can go to the bottom of a long list.

Changing the way we travel.

Covid-19 will change the way we travel. Next time we do travel, it will always be with back-up plans and consideration for the scenario where the virus “re-appears”. Plus non-refundable hotel bookings will become a thing of the past – even if they do cost a bit more. And out-of-the way places where a quick exit is not so possible may be off the itinerary. Even up-country Thailand could be classed in this category.

Looking on the bright side.

So far in 2020, there have been 4,235 road deaths in Thailand, but the number of deaths has dropped significantly since the lock-down. Based on what we are seeing from the end of March there are about 10 fewer deaths a day. For the last 5 days of March, that is 50 fewer deaths, while the number of deaths in Thailand from the virus is just 9. So the virus has been a good thing for Thailand in that respect as so far ~41 fewer people have died in Thailand than otherwise would have. Should we hope the coronavirus lasts and continues to save lives in Thailand?!


Spankys Nana Plaza Bangkok
 

Some expats who spend time in the bars build up a list of ladies of the night they know. In the old days you had ladies phone numbers. These days you have their LINE ID. And with the bars closed for the foreseeable future, these girls are without income. Just as I wrote in today’s opener, they’re contacting local expats and they are keen to meet so they can make some money. They’re hungry so prices have come down, right? Not a chance! Word is that hungry girls without an income are asking 2,500 – 3,000 baht a quickie. But word from expats is that that’s too much and they’re refusing. One suspects that in the weeks ahead prices will come down.

The virus is not the only thing to worry about if you make it to one of the places still open behind closed doors. If the virus doesn’t get you, maybe the boys in brown will? There have been reports from massage houses in the lower Sukhumvit area of the coppers working on cahoots with the venue and busting naughty boys. You’re in the room and you’re about to get down to it when in burst 2 undercover cops. 5,000 baht and you’re free to go. Otherwise it’s a trip to the cop shop and you’re in the system and a world of hurt will follow. As a regular reader said this week, “This is mainly happening in the lower Sukhumvit area. Tell your readers to BE CAREFUL about these scams.

If you can’t help yourself and just have to get oral relief, Lollipop in soi 10 is still open. Just don’t go expecting any beauty queens. A visit to Lollipop does raise the question of whether Covid-19 can be transmitted by penis to mouth or for that matter, from mouth to penis?

Bars with food licences have been allowed to trade but word is that most struggled – and location largely counted for nothing. Amongst those places which were open serving food but have since closed are The Game (below the Nana BTS station) and The Old English Pub (on Soi Thonglor). Whether they were quiet because expats aren’t venturing out, or money is tight, or perhaps it has dawned on some when they were not drinking that the food in many of these places just isn’t that great.

Despite so many eateries being closed and fewer options to get a bite to eat, some restaurants popular with farang have struggled too. From friends who live on prime Sukhumvit – from, say, Emporium to Nana, there is just no-one around. Even the generous discounts some restaurants are offering (40% discount off standard menu prices in one place) isn’t enough to entice customers. It’s exactly the same in Pattaya where few are eating out and each day sees venues which had been open shut up shop.

 

charley-brown-covid-19

 

Amongst those farang favourites which are still open at the time of writing (for delivery and takeaway only) are Bourbon Street, Charley Brown’s and Sunrise Tacos. Some are listed with food delivery companies and some you will have to contact the restaurant yourself direct. Some, like Charley Brown’s, have introduced a special menu at this time.

ZippBike is Bangkok’s newest delivery service offering commercial beer, craft beer, wine, spirits and soft drinks. They deliver to most of downtown Bangkok with a flat-rate delivery fee of 40 baht. You can pay with secure credit card or cash-on-delivery. You can also do it the old-fashioned way and make an order by phone. Due to Covid-19, grocery & beverage delivery services are back-logged for a week or more. With ZippBike, you get the order the same day, usually in an hour or two.

The noose got tighter and tighter this week for those still in Bangkok hoping to retain a semblance of a normal life. First, all shops were ordered closed from midnight until 5 AM. Then all parks were ordered closed. Then a curfew was announced from 10 PM until 4 AM. What next? Extension of the curfew hours?

Landlords have come to the party with reports of rent reductions for commercial premises. I’ve heard from bar and restaurant operators that their landlord has offered a discount on rent of anywhere between 25% and 50%. Terminal 21 has waived rent altogether. I guess they have little choice. With little or no income coming in, the idea is to reduce or waive rent so that when this is all over the business can continue as a tenant and the landlord continues to receive rent.

One reader tells he asked the owner of his condo for a discount and was immediately offered a reduction on his rent of 25%. That’s decent. One imagines that when this is all over there will be some good deals to be had on Bangkok condo rentals.

Thai Immigration has been heavily criticised this week. Anyone who had to extend their visa has had to battle massive crowds at Immigration offices – the worst being Bangkok – queuing in close proximity to hundreds (or in the case of the Bangkok Immigration office, thousands) of others. To make matters even worse, Thai Immigration’s list of required documents to extend a tourist visa is verging on the absurd with some very difficult to obtain. Compare what is happening in Thailand with New Zealand. Here in Kiwiland, all visas which expire in the next 6 months have been automatically extended until the end of September – and there is no charge to anyone. Surely Thailand has already made enough money out of visitors that it shouldn’t be necessary to force people already seriously stressed through all of this nonsense?

 

country-road-bangkok

Lights at Country Road, Soi Cowboy. Photo credits: AsiaPhotoStories.

 

From Vietnam, Dan of SaigonExpatServices sent this report:

The government is allowing expats here to extend their tourist and business visa in the country. Previously, over the last few weeks, the cost was a whopping 350USD for a 3 month extension. However, the government has stopped doing all visas now for the period of the shut down – but won’t punish anyone for overstay. Still only 210 odd cases here (this may/will change by Sunday). Most of these are from the people who had to do mandatory quarantine when they arrived in the country. However, a big party held a few weeks ago at an expat bar (Buddha Bar) in District 2 was attended by a pilot who had the virus. 10+ expats who attended the party have since tested positive – and this figure is growing. Anyone who is friends with or has relatives who had contact with anyone found positive in Vietnam have to do a mandatory 14 days in a quarantine area. This also applies to everyone arriving from overseas, that is if you can get a flight into the country. The government is allowing some people to quarantine in chosen hotels outside Saigon – at a price. Expats and locals are really impressed with how the Vietnamese government are dealing with the virus crisis.

There have been plenty of reports in the media this past week of people trying to return home from foreign lands whose flight had been cancelled. And in some cases, the flight they rebooked on was cancelled too. It’s a real worry that the fares are not being refunded quickly – and in some cases a credit valid for 12 months has been offered instead. This is a real concern as some of the prices for flights are multiple times the standard fare. Will anything come of this? Will airlines find themselves subject to consumer protection laws and ordered to refund the money quickly. Of course, that might not be easy because one imagines some airlines are no longer solvent. What a mess.

 

zippbike

 

Speaking of people who chose not to pay the exorbitant asking price for a flight back home, Colin, who was the hero of last week’s column, seems to be doing just fine in Pattaya and is enjoying all that Pattaya is known for!

Future travel plans are very much up in the air. When flights do resume, what’s the bet that China is the first country Thailand allows the borders to open with? China looks like it will be the first country to eradicate the virus and in recent years Thailand has moved towards aligning itself with China and away from its traditional ally, America.

Many Thai females who move to the West with their Western boyfriend / husband go on to get permanent residency and then citizenship. Contrast that with the many Westerners living with their Thai girlfriend / wife in Thailand – very few ever get Thai citizenship. Thai citizenship is quite difficult to get, and I get the feeling that most of us who may have given it a thought at some point in time felt that it doesn’t come with significant enough benefits to pursue. Could that have been a mistake? I have heard from a small number of readers who are outside Thailand while their wife is in Thailand. As they don’t have a work permit for Thailand and neither are they a permanent resident nor citizen of Thailand, they cannot enter the country at this time. These families could be separated for a long time. In a situation like this, holding Thai citizenship would allow you to enter the country and be with your family.


 

Pattaya2020 is a new novel from Philip Hall. The author describes it as a fun, fast-paced story about 3 Brits who visit Pattaya for a stag weekend. The author says it’s not Shakespeare, but it should provide a few laughs and nostalgia for those who have visited Pattaya. All of the profits will go to the WHO Covid-19 response fund. At this stage it’s only available in ebook format but Asia Books will stock it once the lockdown is over.

Many Thais live month to month and with so many out of work there will be some serious financial stress. With this in mind it would be no surprise if petty crime becomes an issue. Be careful when out and about.

Speaking of problems out and about, the boys in brown haven’t stopped setting up checkpoints on sois on prime Sukhumvit and hassling foreigners with reports from Sukhumvit sois 23 and 26 this week. It’s just another reason to stay home.

A long-time reader and very long-time resident of Thailand runs a hydroponic farm in northern Thailand producing high-quality vegetables. Until Covid-19 came along, everything they produced was bought by 5-star hotels in Bangkok. But sales have fallen off a cliff with hotels closing due to the Covid-19 crisis. They are now offering their high quality produce in quantities as small as 1 kg. You can order online for delivery next day by Kerry Express. More details at: Mthydroponics.com.

 

vitamin-iv-booster

 

Quote of the week comes from a friend of a friend, “20 years ago Pattaya was full of temporary girlfriends, now it is just full of whores.”

A compelling article from a Thai is about what it’s like to be in quarantine, Thai-style.

Tourism in Pattaya has been devastated by the virus, but then where hasn’t?

20,000 Russians are stranded in Thailand due to Covid-19.

Elephants have been chained up and left to starve in Thailand due to the Covid-19 virus.

Thailand’s Foreign Correspondents Club is on the brink of bankruptcy and calls for donations.

Foreign men and Thai women are caught at a drug-fuelled party in Phuket defying the lockdown.

Vendors at MBK have had rent waived for this month.

Incoming flights in to Thailand are suspended after some Thais refuse to quarantine.

Working girls in Bangkok and Pattaya are feeling the pinch of the lock-down.

A British businessman jumps to his death from an expressway in Bangkok.

Partying teenagers are jailed after defying the emergency decree.

 

pattaya-covid19-3

Soi LK Metro, Pattaya. Photo: Reader Andy.

 

It’s been interesting chatting with friends in Bangkok this past week and finding out how things are, and how they’re coping. For most, frustration is creeping in. None of us likes being cooped up at home and having many of our freedoms taken from us. Those in Bangkok single and living alone seem to be the least happy about the way things are. And I guess that is hardly unexpected. Many expats live in a condo without a proper kitchen – and many haven’t cooked in years. Probably some can’t cook (beans on toast doesn’t count). As more restrictions are rolled out, you’ve got to feel sorry for those in this position, especially as many had a vibrant social life before Covid-19 arrived. For many, their condo is a place to sleep and keep their stuff – and there’s not much else there. Many expats’ condos are just not set up for such isolation. I guess it’s a bit late to get a live-in for company, or move to a bigger condo….but then in Bangkok, almost anything is possible.

Your Bangkok commentator,

Stick

Stick can be contacted at : [email protected]