Stickman's Weekly Column May 19th, 2024

Stickman Weekly, May 19, 2024

 

 

Mystery Photo

Where is it?

Last week’s photo was taken from The Game, below the Nana BTS station. It was the easiest photo I have run in a long time but amazingly, some of you got it wrong. This week’s is a bit more challenging, even if it is still very much in the zone.

 

Stick’s Inbox – The Best Emails From The Past Week

YouTubers, the new Mr. Magoo.

mens clinic bangkok

A lot of these YouTubers want to make huge revenues from their generous explication of exotic females. I’ve tried to watch a few and they tend to start with a close-up of Mister Magoo saying, “Hey guys, Magoo here and I’m going to tell you how to find the cheapest breakfast and the hottest girls…”. It’s ego-feed: Magoo had a hamburger he liked so he’s gotta document it. And here’s a bar with cute girls. Or whatever. It all revolves around Magoo, but no one really wants to see his bald wrinkled face. They just want the info. Yet, point the camera, and wow we have a thousand views! It warps some people. Apparently.

Remembering your first time.

Your mention of the first gogo bar you went to made me try and remember my first. I’m really not sure, but I do remember afternoons in the Three Roses in Nana Plaza, where Spanky’s is now. In the days of 50 baht lady drinks, 100 baht ST and 500 LT. I do remember, on my first trip to Thailand, I stayed at The Mandarin on Rama 4 and had my first experience of Thai service. While I was there my sister called me three times to say my father-in-law had died, and not one message was relayed to me. On that trip, I was actually afraid to go to Patpong at night, and only dared wander through during the day. How times changed!

Billboard girls and White boys.

Billboard, by far, has the most attractive, and more mature (a little older than the typical early 20’s or younger line-ups of many / most gogo bars. What do you attribute the best bar having the least Asian men with the great majority of customers being young white males? Older ladies? But most are still in their mid to late twenties or early thirties.

What’s available in Phuket, 2024.

In Phuket, there are basically two types of bars. The open air bars where ladies play games and drink with customers. More and more, these bars are frequented by tourists, females and couples especially. The bars make their money from customers buying drinks, not from barfines. Closed bars, on side-sois, cater to men looking for companionship for the night. A man will stick his head in a bar and if he doesn’t like the line-up will not even enter. Again, the bar makes their money from the customer coming in and drinking. No ladies, no customers. Both types of bars don’t want their ladies to leave so they have implemented very high costs for the punter. When your friend was quoted 10K baht at Suzie Wong, I suspect it was neither that the lady didn’t like him nor that she made more on drinks, it was the bar setting the “bar” deliberately high to force girls to stay. Devil’s Playground is as good as you say (I was there a few days ago), and is owned by Suzie Wong. Harem has the best girls in town but they require 20 (yes, twenty) lady drinks before they can leave. Rather than going through this nonsense of endless drinks only to find the taking out cost prohibitive, I now exclusively call in. I had a lovely lady come the other night – it took her an hour to get ready and take the taxi during which time I went to the gym. When she arrived I opened a bottle of wine and got to know her. She said she worked in a massage parlor so we went to the bedroom where she gave me an excellent massage for an hour, followed by some mutual fun. We then finished the wine and she called a taxi which arrived in minutes. Overall she was with me for 2 ½ hours and it cost me 3,000 baht plus 1,000 baht for the taxis. No lady drinks, barfines or mamasans involved. I got to drink my wine and not lousy overpriced bar booze.

It’s a family thing.

wonderland clinic

Regarding the bring your daughter to work email, a lot of the girls I got more than casually acquainted with had similar origin stories. With those girls I know, it probably wasn’t mum but generally it was an aunty, sister or friend who introduced them to the bar industry.

More Readers’ Emails

Haughtiness on the balcony.

Every time I walk into Nana Plaza I’m always aware of the drinkers sitting up at the bench at Stumble Inn guarding their beers, looking down at the guys entering the bar area. I always get an uneasy feeling that I am being judged as to who I am and why I am going there. I always think the same thing, fxxk them.

Cannabis chaos.

Whilst I will be happy to see the cannabis trade pushed into the background, you have to feel bad for those who have sunk real money into the trade. There’s bound to be a few expats that have based their entire retirement dream around being a grower or some such related business.

In Pattaya, a bargain can still be had.

I don’t consider myself a typical naughty boy, having only spent time with two girls here in almost two and a half months. Pretty tame, in my opinion! I recently had a day=time experience in a Pratumnak Gentlemen’s Club. The staff were friendly, the air-con was cold and the whole set-up was very nice. The line-up of girls was quite decent. The girl I ended up with was very pretty, slim and very happy. The total cost, including barfine / room use was 350 baht and the girl accepted 1,000 baht for short time. The experience was very good indeed, absolutely perfect. In my opinion, there is absolutely no need to pay some of the way over-the-top ridiculous prices some bars and girls quote. It helps if one can negotiate with a smile, and being clean, polite, in shape and reasonably attractive for one’s age. As the low season rolls on, I suspect there will be more and more bargains to be had, especially regarding the girls. For me, to be able to pay 1,350 on top of purchasing a soft drink, as well as a lady drink, all in a very nice establishment with a pretty girl made for a very good time. Reminds me of prices 8 years ago.

Tip-thieving bar management.

So I went to a Soi Nana bar, just down from the plaza. I know an old girl service I wanted to see. I was scanning the bar looking for her and a girl with massive norks fished me in. You know the, “Hey how are you, where you from” routine. Her pick up line was, “It’s my first night, I want to go home.” I was like, no problem, you want a drink? I have a girlfriend and I’m not looking to pick anyone up. 2 drinks in she was dominating the bar, clearly could be a top gogo dancer. She would be an asset to any bar. We were getting on great and she was dancing in a jealously inducing way. At the end of the night, I gave her a 500 baht tip. She was great and I would definitely have taken her home if I didn’t have someone already. I was just leaving as management came over and relieved her of the money I had handed to her. I was furious. I had just spent 5,000 baht on drinks for me, her and some staff. This caused her to burst in to tears. I was like WTF? I took it as far as I could but you know you ain’t getting anywhere in Thailand in these situations.

 

 

This Week’s News, Views & Gossip

I often start the news section of the column with the state of the industry over the past week but I feel I am starting to sound like a broken record. Friday night sees things pick up but generally, it’s not been all that busy. At 9 PM this past Friday night, Soi Cowboy was described as dead. Not quiet, but dead. This would appear to be what happens when all but one bar ditches their happy hour, and early evening is nothing like it used to be on Soi Cowboy.

Patpong is really feeling the slowdown, with bar staff moaning mid-week about just how quiet it had been.

Nana Plaza was said to be steady, which is better than elsewhere, with the usual big-name bars doing very well.

Even Sukhumvit Soi 8 was described not just as dead, but as “super dead” by a correspondent who lives on the soi and is better placed than most to comment.

And down the road, Pattaya’s Walking Street was said to be noticeably slower. None of this should be a surprise – that’s the month of May for you.

Things got spicy in Billboard on Thursday night when a fight broke out between a couple of customers, described as mid-30s buff white guys. Things kicked off around 11:30 PM, between the carousel and the big bathtub. I am told it looked like a baseball scrum with two angry guys throwing punches with few, if any, landing. Other guys in the bar were trying to hold back the two amateur boxers. Just as soon as things got going, it all quietened down again and one guy was shown the door.

Shark in Soi Cowboy, and Nana’s Mandarin and Red Dragon continue to stage their monthly Full Moon Parties. The next round is this coming Thursday, May 23.

A reminder that this coming Wednesday, May 22, is Visakha Bucha Day – and it’s expected that all the bars will be closed. Expect Thursday and Friday to be a bit busier than usual.

After a long period of nothing, there has finally been some activity in the large empty space next to the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, between Sukhumvit sois 12 and 14. It started last week with a bunch of workers laying concrete across the entire plot. What’s that all about? Word was the plot would be developed in to a medical facility / small hospital from one of the major hospital groups, servicing the tourist and expat market. If a building was going up, wouldn’t there be pilings going in, not a plot-wide concrete slab? The latest rumour, courtesy of a security guard on the adjacent Asoke BTS skywalk, is that this space will be a night market. Given the popularity of the market that used to be next to soi 10, a market in that space will probably be a winner.

Once popular Thailand-centric forums and expats websites are, slowly, one by one, falling over. Everything is moving to social media and YouTube. But Thai360.com is not going anywhere. Down for a week or so, one of Thailand’s longest-running forums looked like it might finally have kicked the bucket. What started life as NanaPlaza.com was rebranded to Thai360.com 15 odd years ago in an effort to requalify for the riches of Google Adsense. The forum is back up and remains a place for long-time members to reminisce about the good old days, along with a regular dose of bickering. If ASEANNow – what was once ThaiVisa – is a bit much for you with its quarter of a million members and heavy-handed admin, Thai360.com with a handful of posts each day might be more to your liking.

For those of you living in Farangland with your Thai other half, how many hours per day does she spend talking / chatting with family in Thailand on WhatsApp / Line / Facebook Messenger etc? I frequently hear from friends who tell me their other half spends every free moment doom-scrolling on her phone, or jabbering away with friends and family back home. My other half probably spends about an hour or so per day talking with friends and family in Bangkok. I get the impression that an hour per day is at the lower end of the spectrum. That said, I can’t talk. I frequently speak with friends in Thailand for lengthy periods too!

Language issues in travel and tourism are common, but, occasionally, they may be accidentally insulting. Bo Pattaya Taxi fessed up to a recent faux pax on its Line feed when they picked up a group of Indian tourists from Suvarnabhumi traveling under the name “Vinod”. Someone at Bo Taxi, however, botched the sign and wrote “Nimrod”. Nimrod, of course, is an insult meaning foolish or inept.

Expats and frequent visitors often disagree on the general cost of living in Thailand. Some say Thailand is cheap. Others say it has become expensive. Some things are obviously much cheaper, like public transport and street food while other things are quite a lot more expensive such as fashion brands, cars, decent Western restaurants, wine etc. I thought about prices in general in Thailand this week after I read an article about a buffet that is supposed to be one of the very best in the world. It’s in France and it looks absolutely amazing. I hunted for the price which I thought would probably be in the region of 150 Euros or so. I was amazed to see it was just 57.90 Euros, or a bit over 2,000 baht. Some of the flasher hotel buffets in Thailand can easily run twice that or more – and even then I bet they wouldn’t be nearly as good as this buffet in France. Prices and the cost of living in Thailand really can be polarising.

The young homeless foreigner mentioned multiple times in this column in recent months continues to be a fixture around the Sukhumvit soi 14 & Asoke area. A friend snapped him at the Asoke intersection this week from the skywalk while another reader commented that when he saw him, the fellow was lying on the ground with his bare butt pointed towards traffic. Is he wearing a new set of clothes (from the last time he starred in the column)? It’s amazing he’s still there given this is one of the busiest intersections in the city.

 

The young, homeless Westerner is still hanging around the Asoke / soi 14 area.

 

Down in Pattaya, the juggernaut that is the GentsClubs.com group has expanded again, this month taking over the 3 Ways gentlemen’s clubs on Soi Khopai. Lots of work is underway on both facilities and staffing but the expectation is the out-of-the-way fun palace will soon meet the standards of Club Fate, the two Maggie Mays, Camel Toe and Catflaps. At the same time, construction continues on the third Maggie May location, this one on the Darkside, east of Sukhumvit. A former pool hall is being converted into a gentlemen’s club and an all-you-can-eat sukiyaki joint where girls from all the group’s clubs are expected to dine and hang out. The restaurant should open in two months and Maggie May Darkside by high season.

For a while, it seemed like Pattaya was turning into one big shopping mall. But, apparently, there is indeed a limit to how many malls Sin City can support. Harbor Mall opened to huge fanfare in 2016 which left locals scratching their heads due to its location on Pattaya Central Road nearly at the intersection of Sukhumvit Road. Fast forward past the building of Terminal 21 Pattaya, renovation of Central Marina and Covid-19 and, today, Harbor Mall is all but empty. Fewer than a half-dozen businesses are still shown on the mall’s outside business listing board. And nearly all of them are fast-food chain restaurants whose business is nearly entirely delivery only. Harbor Mall only exists now for one reason: Harborland, the full-floor children’s playground. In that way, it’s just like Royal Garden Plaza which would be out of business if not for Ripley’s Believe it or Not! which took over the top floor of the beachfront mall.

Some lament the idea that Pattaya is changing. But the fact is, Pattaya has always been changing. In the 60 odd years since US troops first began taking R&R there, the city has changed its face many times. Most recently, Pattaya had become a Russian enclave, with signs all over the city, especially in Jomtien Beach, in Russian. Now it has become a magnet for Chinese, with those Russian signs and businesses replaced with businesses whose signage is only in Chinese. Nowhere is that more evident than in North Pattaya along Second Road where the foundations of “Old Pattaya” are disappearing. For old timers, the biggest loss is the demolition of Tops supermarket mall on the corner of Second and Central roads. It was not only expat-friendly, but also housed a bowling alley used by Rotary and Lions clubs for fundraisers for decades. Those who knew Pattaya 20 years ago remember there also was a bowling alley on Second Road at Soi 1. Like that one, the Tops lanes are being replaced by a hotel.

I heard a nightmare story this week from a fellow who engaged a well-known visa run service to acquire him a visa. To be clear, he did not go on a visa run, rather he engaged the firm to get him a new visa that would allow him to stay for a year. This is very much a grey area and there is always a chance, albeit small, that things could go wrong. And in this poor guy’s case, things went horribly wrong. He has been strung along by the agency for some time which used delaying tactic after delaying tactic. After many months, the agency has failed to return his passport. He had believed all the updates that everything would be ok and he is now on a multi-month overstay that means when he eventually leaves Thailand he will be blacklisted from returning for a period. This is made all the worse given he has a young Thai family. While some may think nothing of using an agent – and, yes, in many ways it has become normalised in some expat circles – don’t think it is risk-free. It isn’t. A quick search online and there are more than a few stories of people who have used an agent and it has gone horribly wrong.

When you speak Thai, do you find yourself mispronouncing words from English in the conversation, as most Thais do? This week the other half was asking me about Wales or “Wale” as she says it (the country, not the marine animals). Thais don’t know much about Wales and after it appeared on a TV show, she became fascinated by it due to its many similarities with New Zealand – lush green countryside, sheep everywhere, love of rugby etc. Whenever she says the name of the country, it’s always Wale – despite me reminding her there is an “s” on the end. Now her pronunciation in English is not perfect, but it’s pretty good. Yet she still says “Wale”. Now things start to get a bit embarrassing when I find myself inadvertently saying “Wale” (without the “s”) too, when we talked about Wales. When you speak with Thai friends or your Thai other half in their tongue, do you find yourself using the Thai pronunciation of words borrowed from English? Do you, for instance, change the word stress and pronounce “computer” or “centre” like a Thai? I can’t work out why I sometimes do that with her. Am I sub-consciously taking the piss?

Thailand-Related News Articles

Thai authorities are going to pay closer to attention to Elite Card holders as some criminals use it as a means to stay in the country long-term.

5 Chinese tourists are kidnapped, and extorted for $67,000 in Bangkok, with two Thai cops amongst those arrested.

Two Thais who had been held hostage in Gaza have died.

A popular Brit who loved visiting Thailand was found dead in his hotel room.

The Guardian published a photo essay of cannabis shops in Thailand.

 

More of the new murals in Nana Plaza.

.

Closing Comments

The low season – and particularly miserable May – is being felt all the way down here in New Zealand. It’s another column without an opener, and a column without a great deal of bar news either. Miserable May doesn’t last forever and things should pick up both around the traps and in this column soon.

Your Bangkok commentator,

Stick

 

Stick can be contacted at : stickmanbangkok@gmail.com

nana plaza