Stickman's Weekly Column July 26th, 2020

We Dated Just Once



I dated some lovely Thai women back in the day and from time to time I wonder what happened to some of them. Did they find a decent guy and settle down? Or was dating foreign guys a phase they went through before going back to local men? This week I had cause to remember a Thai lady I dated just once.

Online dating in Thailand before 2010 was, for want of a better word, incredible. So many lovely Thai ladies were super eager to meet a Western guy. There were armies of them. Often you would meet a lady who had yet to date a Westerner. When she met you, the first westerner she dated, her excitement would be palpable.

Jane had a degree of sophistication, but she wasn’t hi-so. We met at Molly Malone’s and she had come from work and was sharply dressed. She was not typical of ladies I dated. She was a year or two older than me, was a divorcee with a kid. But she was sharp, could joke in decent English and was charming. And she was up for it.

You never know what someone you meet online is really like in person and when we met I immediately felt like a British pub was a bit downmarket for her. But she seemed fine with it we enjoyed each other’s company.

She signalled that she was keen and quite forthright, more than is usual with Thai ladies. “When I have a boyfriend I like to have sex with him”. “Sex is a very important part of a relationship for me.” I’ll never forget those comments which weren’t so unusual on their own – but they certainly were on a first date.

She was up for it, and odds are she was going to be dynamite in bed.

But she had work the next day so we parted ways.

The weekend was a few days away. I was single. So I arranged a date with someone else. Why wait for the weekend? After one date with Jane there was chemistry there…but one date a couple doesn’t make.

I arranged to meet someone else, one thing led to another and before I knew it we were spending time together. I sent Jane a message to say that I had enjoyed meeting her but I had since met someone else and wouldn’t be able to meet her. I wished her well. All very polite. That should have been the end of it.

You cunt, you prick, you arsehole, you die!

Jane flipped!

There was no reason for her response. No promises had been made – and no promises had been broken.

I learned a long time ago not to try and reason with people who are unreasonable, so I blocked her phone number and blocked her on the dating site. That was the end of Jane.

This was more than 10 years ago, 2009 to be precise. I dated so many women back then that I soon forgot her. Jane was nice, had a lot going for her and for sure there was potential, but I met someone else and that was that.

I understand that the likes of ThaiCupid, ThaiFriendly and Tinder are a bit of a lottery these days. Money girls are all over dating sites and apps, and it can be a bit hit and miss.

Some friends in Bangkok tell me that Facebook is where it is at. They friend Thai ladies on Facebook and arrange dates. Some of their stories make it sound almost like the days of ICQ, when online dating in Thailand was at its very best. Why was it so good back then? Because you were talking with Thai women who away from a dating site don’t have that whole dating site mentality.

I don’t care for social media at all. I do have a Facebook account but I don’t use it often. It’s there for those times when you need a Facebook account to access something. But besides, I am very happy with the other half and all going to plan, I won’t ever date anyone else.

And besides, I don’t care for social media culture and all of the nonsense, the showing off to friends who you’ve never met or hardly know, and the general silliness. Seriously, do adults really get so upset when someone unfriends them?!

From time to time I get a message on Facebook from someone I don’t know. And the odds are that they don’t know me either because I don’t use my real name on Facebook. So anyone contacting me who I don’t recognise is instantly a red flag.

I received a message on Facebook from a chubby, middle-aged Thai woman recently. First guess was it was a mamasan. She had that look – a heavy build and hard eyes that suggested some hard times had been experienced.

The message was short. “Hello Paul, can you remember me?”

Damn Thai woman fishing, just like some of my friends do with Thai ladies on Facebook, except this is the other way around. Can she not see from my profile that I am half a world away?

I waste 15 seconds and do her the courtesy of sending her one line. No I don’t know you, you’ve got the wrong guy.

You cunt, you prick, you arsehole, you die!

It was Jane and she had found me after all these years. The lady I dated once at Molly Malone’s in Soi Convent all those years ago. I’d never have recognised her – but I do remember those words!

How she managed to find me given that my Facebook account does not use my real name, I have absolutely no idea. For a brief moment it felt like life had been rewound to a precise point in time some 11 odd years earlier.

I blocked her on Facebook and changed the settings so no-one but my real friends can see me, all of 15 on Facebook.

I get the feeling that I am not the only one Jane had said those exact 8 same words to.

It’s tempting to dismiss Jane as a nutjob….but I can’t shake the feeling that she would have been dynamite in bed.


Billboard Bangkok
 

Mystery Photo

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Last week’s photo was taken from the Twin Peaks Condo, behind the new row of shops on Sukhumvit near soi 17 where the original Asia Books branch used to be on Sukhumvit Road. I was really impressed that some of you got it right because to be honest, when the photo was sent to me by a reader I studied it hard and I did not know where it was.


Nana Plaza
 

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

Great times in the bars right now.

The ratio of girls to customers in some of the top gogo bars is amazing. There are many attractive, sexy girls in the gogo bars. There is no sign of desperation. Girls are there to have a fun, catching up with other girls who they have not seen in a while. Still admiring themselves in the mirror all night long, plenty of eye contact and attention. As is typical in Thailand economics, prices have not come down and in fact have gone up with barfines running 1,000 baht for takeout in some of the better bars. Drink prices are about the same. The problem now is that there is just too much attention, but that is a good problem. I know this will not last forever so I’m enjoying it while it lasts. Thailand may no longer be the value it once was but for expats, life is good. The only downside is the vibe is not the same.

Not cheap to drink in because they’re not cheap to run.

I’m not a big drinker and don’t really check prices much, but with the rent and salary costs involved in running a gogo bar, I’m not surprised at a 180 baht beer.

Dire days at Soi Cowboy.

I was out on Cowboy last night and was flabbergasted at how slow it was. Saturday night used to be shoulder to shoulder packed at Crazy House. Sometimes I would go in and there were simply no seats available either downstairs or upstairs. Last night around 10:00 PM, upstairs was closed and there were only two guys sitting on the stools around the stage. The tables behind the stage were empty, and the bench seating had a scattering of people. Maybe 10 people in the entire bar. Crazy Cozy had one customer in the bar when I walked in. I made two.

Town is on its ass.

I was in Bangkok on Friday, Saturday and Sunday there’s no way to put it other than to say things are bad. Inside a Soi Cowboy bar on Friday night at approximately 10 PM, myself and 2 friends went inside and we were the only customers. We followed that up by going into Shark where there was one other customer, so a total of 4. We were the only 3 customers in Suzie Wong. Crazy House which is usually full had maybe 7 customers including the 3 of us. A bit later in Nana, Spanky’s had a fair crowd but it was far from full. Billboard had a big crowd. We were the only 3 customers in Angelwitch. There were a few people in Twister, maybe 7 or 8. We went out to Patpong and we were the only 3 customers in XXX and we were the only 3 customers in another little gogo bar, the name of which I don’t recall but it was a real dive. We also went into Thermae and maybe there were 30 girls there. 6 months ago I took a friend down there and there had to be 200. Town is on its ass.

Sukhumvit on a Sunday afternoon.

I am meandering along Sukhumvit on my way to Bus Stop to watch AFL and have a burger. It’s a lazy Sunday afternoon. I am writing this while sitting in the soi 7 Biergarten where there are 10 working ladies, 3 staff, and for some reason, a couple of young kids playing on their phones. I hate seeing young kids in places like this. I’m the only customer. Drink prices are still high (125 baht for San Miguel Light) – guess the rent is high, but there’s no air-con. Good that it’s reopened though as I guess everybody has had some good rowdy times here. I stopped in at The Red Lion on soi 13 where there were a handful of customers and San Miguel Light is 75 baht. I walked up soi 7/1 right to the end and did a u-turn. I was the only customer I could see anywhere on the soi.

Postcard from Hua Hin.

I’m in Hua Hin and it’s very quiet here during the week. Weekends are busy as Thais come down from Bangkok. They go to the night market and restaurants, but not the bars. So the bars are dead. About 65% of the bars have reopened. Others look like they are shut permanently. Bar owners tell me landlords have reduced rent by 50% but they still have to pay every month, hence many have given up. There are enough long-stay Westerners here to keep a few favourite bars going but the others will be dead soon.

Ticking all the boxes while staying at home.

Living under the current situation, I can get to my local and have a few beers, but better yet, I can sit at home, do what I need to do, play my computer game, make a booty call, and then get back to business. I don’t feel the need to hang out in bars. I might go downstairs or to my local around the corner for a night cap. All my boxes are ticked.


Spankys Nana Plaza Bangkok
 

Let’s start with some good news. Despite being told to close early, many bars are open well beyond midnight. Some are open until 1:00 AM. And some are open even later. If you want to party in to the night, you can.

A number of readers have commented on Suzie Wong, in Soi Cowboy – and every comment has been very, very positive. Suzie Wong might just be the most popular bar currently on Soi Cowboy. Since the young manager Liam took over, there’s a new lineup which has people talking. And then there’s the great drinks special. Suzie Wong has extended its Wet Wednesday promotion through until the end of the month. Buy a lady a drink and you get a free drink for yourself.

Face masks have been dispensed by most girls in most bars so unless you have a face mask fetish, that’s a good thing.

Are they 90 baht or aren’t they? The 90 baht beers at Baccara rumour I mentioned last week was confirmed as fact earlier in this week….and then there was conflicting information from a reader who said drinks prices at Baccara were at pre-Covid levels. Sigh, not being on the ground makes it difficult to confirm details like this.

Lighthouse on Soi Cowboy has reintroduced its all drinks 100 baht all night long special on Wednesdays. And remember, Lighthouse is one of those bars which dropped prices and most standard drinks are only 140 baht other nights. Great deal.

Sexy Night in Nana Plaza has dropped the prices of some drinks. Just like Baccara, I just wish owners and managers would drop me an email when they drop prices. Why keep it a secret?

One small Bangkok gogo bar which shall remain nameless went an entire night earlier this week without so much as a single customer and not a baht spent.

But some bars are still doing just fine and it looks like Billboard is still top of the pops. On Saturday night of last week one punter ran up a 79,000 baht bill.

 

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The view of Soi Nana from Morning Night.

 

In Nana Plaza, the bar outside Rainbow 1 has been ripped out. It had only just been renovated last year. Let’s see what the new operator of the bar in that space comes up with.

At a large, popular, farang-owned and managed beer bar near the top of Soi Nana, the owner is considering opening just 3 days per week – Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

A bit further down Soi Nana on the other side, Fitzgerald’s is offering a 10% discount card to anybody who declares themselves a Liverpool FC fan. Clearly, Fitzgerald’s is one of the best bars in Bangkok and you will meet some cracking people there! More details here.

The ramshackle street bar on Patpong soi 2 mentioned in last week’s column where Vinai and some of the girls from Cosmos were spotted has in fact been owned by Vinai for ages. The clue is in the name….it’s called Vinai’s Bar. Word is that Vinai gave up Cosmos but wants to keep this small outdoor bar.

A reader emailed me suggesting that Thai men could save the farang gogo bars. Errr, no! Pretty much all of the gogo bars in Nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy explicitly do NOT allow Thai male customers inside. There are many reasons for this but the main one is to avoid trouble (i.e. boyfriends or husbands of staff seeing what their girlfriend / wife is really up to). Some gogo bars in Patpong allow Thai male customers but even then, farang bars generally aren’t popular with Thai men.

Is now the time for the mooted change of direction for Patpong that the curator of the Patpong Museum talked about a few weeks ago? The current Patpong concept goes back to the ’90s. Imagine Patpong soi 1 as a strip of bars and restaurants, each with an outdoor terrace in the style of Silom soi 4. It would have widespread appeal. Patpong soi 2 is much narrower and could remain as a soi for the naughty bars. And there’s no reason some of the old-style bars on Patpong soi 1 like Safari and SuperStar couldn’t remain. Now seems like the ideal time to actually put in place something new at Patpong, although there is probably reluctance for business owners to put down money on leases and fit out new premises at this time.

 

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Taco Taxi, in the car park of the Nana Hotel.

 

On Soi Nana, Taco Taxi has reopened so you can get a tasty taco or two to soak up all the drink. Taco Taxi operates from the Nana Hotel car park.

While the bar areas may be quiet, some regular bargoers have told me how much they are enjoying it. For those of you in Bangkok, this might just be something of a short, mini-golden period. Prices are dropping (which I don’t ever remember happening before), there are no crowds and the ratio of girls to customers is better than ever in many bars.

Weekends in Sin City mean an influx of moneyed Thais who see Pattaya as a convenient break from the big smoke. Don’t think Thais are not keen on Pattaya because that’s not necessarily true, it’s simply that what they like about Pattaya – seafood, hotels with sea views, shopping, is different to what the traditional Pattaya visitor may enjoy. Word is that some Thais are buying holiday homes and condos in Pattaya with some on the market at fire-sale prices.

Former Sapphire Club manager Lee has moved from Walking Street to Soi LK Metro and is now working at Queen Club. He’s a popular frontman and enjoys partying with punters.

But word is that Pattaya remains quiet. And no doubt it will stay that way until the border reopens.

 

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Walking Street, Pattaya, last weekend. Photo kindly supplied by a friend of a friend.

 

Back in Bangkok, 4 restaurants on the 4th floor of Terminal 21 have closed and there has been no sign of any remodelling or new outlets setting up. The 4 restaurants are Tony Roma’s, a Korean restaurant, a dessert restaurant and KinKao, a really good Southern Thai food restaurant which was popular with Thais.

It was confirmed this week that the visa amnesty has been extended until September 26th. It sounds like there won’t be another extension – so if you are still in Thailand and taking advantage of the visa amnesty, you had better either extend your visa before then or make plans to leave.

There are a couple of groups in the so-called visa amnesty crowd who may have a problem soon – some married guys and some business owners. The first group is those foreigners married to a Thai who can get a one-year visa extension if they deposit 400,000 baht in to a Thai bank account. If they cannot or choose not to do that, they would get a visa that allows them to stay for 90 days, at which point then can exit via a land border and re-enter immediately and get every 90 days. The second group is the small number of self-employed business owners with a work permit but who don’t employ at least 4 Thai nationals. They have been in the system since before the requirement that for every work permit issued there had to be at least 4 Thai nationals employed by the company. Despite having a work permit, paying taxes and meeting all other requirements, they are not issued with a one year visa and like the married guys who don’t have the 400K bank deposit, they also exit the country and re-enter every 90 days. The problem these two groups of people have is that once the visa amnesty period is over they will have to leave the country – as they do not qualify for a 1-year visa extension. Once they depart Thailand they may not be able to get back in easily. Land borders remain closed so they cannot hop to a neighbouring country and hop straight back in. Flying out by air and returning is costly. But worst of all, when they do return to Thailand they will have to meet the many requirements all foreigners flying in must and they will have to go through a 14-day quarantine. What a nightmare this could be.

 

suzie-wong-bkk-2-4-1

 

Seldom does Phuket get a mention in this column these days, but a regular reader sent a few photos. He usually avoids Patong, but decided to stay there because bars, restaurants etc are more likely to be open there. It was dead and very little was open. See photo at the end of the column taken on Bangla Road, in Patong.

For Brits in Thailand who wish to return to the UK, Thai Airways has 3 repatriation flights scheduled for August 9th, 16th and 23rd. The one-way economy class fare is 25,295 baht. More details here.

For those of you who really want to get back to Thailand, my old friend Greg of Sunbelt and Sunrise fame who is known for creative solutions to complex problems has found a way. With medical tourists soon to be allowed to visit Thailand, you could make an appointment for your Mrs. to get a boob job or some other cosmetic procedure. It could be your sister, your mother, your daughter etc. You can travel with them as they are allowed a couple of people to come with them to support them / assistant them etc. Once in the country, you can convert your entry stamp to an Elite visa (costs minimum 500,000 baht) and then you’re good to stay there for at least 5 years. Easy!

 

vitamin-iv-booster

Reader’s story of the week comes from Blue Skies, “A Post Lockdown Night Out In Bangkok“.

95% of Thais say no to foreigners to prevent a second wave.

Things look grim for budget airlines in South-East Asia.

Covid-19 has decimated Thailand’s tourism industry.

Cambodia is to waive the insurance policy and $3,000 deposit requirement for incoming travellers.

Passengers on Emirates get free, global insurance cover for COVID-19.

All charges have been dropped against the Red Bull heir accused in the death of a Thai policeman.

A former actress is found dead in Chonburi.

A broke Buriram man steals a police pickup truck so he can get home.

 

bangla-road-covid19

Bangla Road, usually the bustling heart of Patong Beach, Phuket, was dead this week. Thanks to reader JC for the photo.

 

Expats and long-term residents went out to the bars and caught up with their pals. They had a night or two out….and then they went back to their new routine, spending time at home. The honeymoon is over. I’d love to write more and be more upbeat and positive but the truth is that not much is happening. It doesn’t help that I haven’t stepped foot in Thailand since last year – and I almost certainly won’t be back this year. Recent columns have been very same same, a combination of me being away from Thailand for so long as well as it being very quiet out and about and, to be frank, not a lot to write about. I’ll be writing about travels around my homeland for the next couple of weeks to break things up a bit.

Your Bangkok commentator,

Stick

Stick can be contacted at : [email protected]