The Newbie’s Itinerary

Bangkok gogo girls

Things to do in Bangkok, yesterday

I’m often asked by newbies or first-timers what the absolute must-see attractions are in Bangkok. And, inevitably, my response is “it depends what you want to do”.

Some people will have more obviously different needs than others. A typical “ooh, dreadlocks!”, “ooh, henna tattoos!”, “ooh, banana pancakes!” backpack-laden Andrea-Dworkin-a-like is unlikely to appreciate the lesbian show at Suzie Wong, just as a typical “ooh, lager!”, “ooh, a fight!”, “ooh, donner kebab, extra chilli, no salad, cheers mate!” neanderthal type is unlikely to appreciate fine dining at Vertigo, at the Banyan Tree in Sathorn (which, incidentally, is expensive but very nice).

In short, whilst Bangkok has something to offer almost everyone, it also has an equally versatile capacity to irritate.

Since I tend to avoid the Khao San Road types if I can help it, I’ll tailor these suggestions to those visitors who aren’t averse to hitting the bars – feel free to offer up a couple of things to do that don’t involve chrome poles or mattresses.

Remember, these are recommendations to a tourist who’s going to be here for a week or two, and doesn’t know his way around. He probably don’t speak Thai either, so I’m sticking to places in the farang ghettos, where the staff are more likely to speak English. In no particular order:

  1. Nana Disco, Sukhumvit Soi 4 (BTS: Nana): At first glance, it’s as if you’re in a cheesy disco back home, albeit one stuffed wall-to-wall with hot girls in skimpy clothes. And then you come to the glorious realisation that all you really need to do is say “how much?”, and any one (or more) of them is yours for the night.
  2. Rainbow 4, Nana Plaza, Sukhumvit Soi 4 (BTS: Nana): Quite simply the most impressive gogo bar in Bangkok. Not necessarily the best, and it’s worth noting that there are no shows and no nudity. That said, nowhere else has quite the same jaw-dropping number of gogo girls.
  3. The Eden Club, Sukhumvit Soi 7/1 (BTS: Nana): I suspect this is going to be a contentious one, but given that a threesome is consistently placed #1 on every list of men’s sexual fantasies, it’s only right to list the easiest place in which to experience one.
  4. Baccara, Soi Cowboy, Sukhumvit Soi 21-23 (BTS: Asoke): In my opinion (and it’s only an opinion), this is Bangkok’s finest gogo bar. Take a seat upstairs, and watch some of the cutest girls on Soi Cowboy gyrate in (and out of) school uniforms.
  5. Suzie Wong, Soi Cowboy, Sukhumvit Soi 21-23 (BTS: Asoke): Get there for the nightly show. Four or five girls. Tongues. No clothes. ‘Nuff said. Show usually starts sometime after 10.30pm, but be prepared to wait longer on some nights than others.
  6. Angelwitch, Nana Plaza, Sukhumvit Soi 4 (BTS: Nana): Whilst old-timers and expats may complain that the shows are a little tame, and that it can get a little dull after you’ve seen the same shows time and time again, I’d suggest that a first trip to Angelwitch is an entertaining must-see for newbies.
  7. Tulip Sukhumvit Rd, nr corner Soi 38 (BTS: Thong Lo): Best oil massage experience in Thailand.
  8. Lolita’s, off Sukhumvit Soi 8 (BTS: Nana): Because it’s a BJ bar. And you probably haven’t been to one of those before.
  9. Gulliver’s, Sukhumvit Soi 5 (BTS: Nana): A relatively chilled-out bar with decent food, reasonably-priced beer and a bevvy of freelancers. Whilst I’ve never had a problem with any girls from here, it’s worth mentioning that if a freelancer misbehaves, there is no bar to complain to. Worst case scenario, she relieves you of your wallet and valuables while you sleep. No comeback. Like I said, it’s never happened to me, but worth bearing in mind. That said, if you’re the type who fancies the idea of “renting a girlfriend” for your whole stay (which I also wouldn’t recommend, but hey), this isn’t a bad place to make that deal.
  10. Annie’s (or any other soapie), Sukhumvit Soi 4/elsewhere (BTS Nana/elsewhere): If you’ve got any energy left, try a soapie. They don’t have these in Basingstoke. Annie’s is conveniently placed on Sukhumvit, reasonably cheap but unspectacular, and targets Western tourists (so the staff will speak English). Other options are Darling’s, on Sukhumvit soi 12 (BTS: Nana), and for the big-hitters, Poseidon – out on Ratchada, but easily accessible by MRT (Huay Kwang station) and is (by reputation – alarmingly, I haven’t yet been myself) the best soapie massage parlour in Thailand. Expect to pay ฿1,500-2000 at Annie’s or Darling’s, and anything from ฿2,000 to ฿18,000 at Poseidon (that top price range is for Penthouse magazine models. Really).

The Men’s Liberation Army

Humorous caption goes here

Humorous caption goes here

Rise up, my brothers. No, not right now. Read this first.

I came across a video online recently – Love Me Long Time – Sex Tourism in Thailand. I was expecting a biased, critical hatchet-job on the disgusting sex tourists who head to Thailand as often as they can manage to shag bargirls.

Set on Koh Samui rather than in Bangkok, there was actually no preaching, just a series of western males and (pig-ugly, for some reason) Thai females talking to camera, interspersed with footage from the bars.

Justin, 33, hits the nail on the head:

My mum doesn’t seem to mind the fact that I come to Thailand. She knows that I have friends here. She probably prefers to leave it at that! My female friends seem quite amused by the idea. My female ex-girlfriends think it’s absolutely appalling, and aren’t I I’m a very sad man, and that’s probably the reason they’re not with me any more in the first place. But what the hell? It’s what I think that matters, anyway.

It’s easy (and commonplace) to dismiss western men in Thailand as being sleazy whoremongers, who are only in Thailand because they couldn’t attract women in their own country, couldn’t afford prostitutes in their own country, and have to resort to cheap prostitutes in a developing country in order to have any kind of sex life. And for some guys, it’s probably true.

But surely there’s more to this picture? Of course. Perhaps there’s one male English teacher in Thailand who’s here because he just enjoys teaching English to the Thais. Say hi from me if you ever meet him.

Joking aside, this is how we’re largely painted by the West. And it’s starting to really get on my nerves. So this is a semi-serious look at exactly what has motivated thousands of men to disrupt their lives and “up sticks” to Thailand – and countries like it.
Continue reading

Wan Chai

Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Continuing our adventures elsewhere, I found myself in Hong Kong recently with an evening to kill. Wan Chai, I had heard, was the local epicentre of naughty nightlife, so I figured it would be rude not to check it out.

First things first. Hong Kong is not cheap, and nor are Hong Kong girls. I knew nothing about Wan Chai before I turned up, and naively expected bars full of hot Hong Kong Chinese girls. There are none. There seems to be a 90/10 split between Filipinas and Thai girls. Not that they’re cheap either, compared with Bangkok.

I got the MTR (underground) to Wan Chai, and found myself on Lockhart Street – a busy urban street lined with what the locals refer to as girlie bars, but which bear more than a passing resemblance to Bangkok’s gogo bars.

Enter The Dragon

I took a wander, and found myself in Dragon Club, on Fenwick Street – just off the main strip. A stage full of chrome poles and bored-looking shuffling Filipina “dancers” in bikinis greeted me, and I could have been in any of Bangkok’s lesser gogo bars. Until I saw the drinks prices, that is. A bottle of San Miguel set me back HK$40 (฿173), or HK$44 (฿190) once they added the mandatory 10% service charge. Lady-drinks in this bar consisted of a shot-glass of cola, and sell for HK$110 (฿475) – that’s HK$121 (฿523) with the service charge. I’ve had cheaper shags.

I picked out the cutest girl, and beckoned her over to join me. She was about 30-ish, so older than me, and she’d get laughed out of the door if she applied for a dancing job at any of Nana Plaza‘s Rainbow bars, but seemed nice enough.

The vulture of a mamasan implored me to buy the girl a drink, which I agreed to in the interest of research. There was a pleasant surprise though – we sat in a booth, and as my girl gingerly sipped her tiny drink with one hand, she stuffed her other hand down my pants. “Sorry, I have a naughty hand”, she giggled.

“That’s quite alright”, I replied.

“I have a naughty mouth too”, she mischievously added. And with that, she set about impressing me with her pork-sword swallowing technique. Suddenly, the five hundred baht lady-drink looked like a pretty good deal after all.

Not for long. I thought she was coming up for air – in fact, she was coming up to finish her drink, flutter her eyelashes, and inform me that I’d have to buy her another drink if I wanted her to continue.

Ever tried to make a rational financial decision whilst receiving a blow job? I bought her another drink. This disappeared even more quickly than the first. “This is going to get expensive”, I said to myself.

“One more?”, she asked.

“Okay, if you finish me off this time”.

“Oh, you have to talk to mamasan”.

Sigh.

The mamasan informed me of my options. The girl just would not discuss it at all. Apparently I could take the girl out of the bar for two hours for HK$2,000 (฿8,639). I’ve had cheaper relationships.

I actually had no intention of taking any girls out whatsoever, but the mamasan started haggling anyway. She offered me one hour with the girl, firstly for HK$1,500 (฿6,479) and then, desperately, HK$1,000 (฿4,319).

“Can’t she just finish me off like this?”, I asked (and yes, BBB-jr was still sticking out of my pants during these delicate negotiations).

“Okay. HK$600”. That’s ฿2,592. I declined, drank up, and moved on.

Fake Tales of San Francisco

I eventually wandered into San Francisco #1, where beers were available for the bargain price of HK$20 (฿86), so still only HK$22 (฿95) after the service charge. That’s cheaper than most Bangkok gogos. Advantage Wan Chai.

Unfortunately, it’s advantage Bangkok all the way in every other respect. The girls were mostly Filipina, but I spotted an Issan girl (from Ubon Ratchathani, it turned out) amongst them, who was suitably amused when I introduced myself in Thai. She wanted to know why on earth I was wasting my money in Wan Chai when I lived in Bangkok.

I began to wonder the same thing myself. She wasn’t looking particularly appealing, and the Filipina girls weren’t much better. Lady drinks, I was enthusiastically informed, ranged from HK$110 (฿475) for a simple cola, to HK$220 (฿950) for a mixed drink, and onto HK$330 (฿1,425) for a tequila. Plus ten percent, naturally.

I hated to disappoint the Thai girl, her Filipina friend, and the mamasan, who’d all crowded round my small table to beg for tequila, but there was no way I was going to spend the best part of ฿5,000 on four drinks. That’s seven sessions at the Star of Light, for heaven’s sake.

I did buy a cola for the Thai girl, and had a quick chat with her about the industry. It was definitely a nice change to be able to chat with a bargirl in a language her boss and her colleagues couldn’t understand. She claimed that she receives no salary from the bar, and just makes her money on drinks (HK$40 to the girl, HK$70 to the bar) and bar-fines (the barfine around here includes payment for the girls services, just like at the Saphan Kwai gogos in Bangkok).

Long-time, I was told, would set me back HK$4,000. That’s a mind-boggling ฿17,277 – and remember, this is for an Issan girl who must have been pushing forty years old.

Same Same

I ventured into San Francisco #2, next door, and then onto Cock-Eye, or Pop-Eye, depending on which sign you read. They were pretty similar, although only the San Francisco bars offered HK$20 beers. HK$40 seemed to be the standard price. This was getting depressing.

I had one more bottle of San Miguel in Cavalier, where I found another ageing Thai girl, this time with ludicrous silicone breasts. We were shepherded into a private booth, where I was told the girl would give me a lap-dance if I bought her a (HK$110) drink. I did so, and in return she simply sat on my lap, staring into the middle distance. I enthusiastically groped her boobs for a while, but it was clear that even my sexual magnetism wasn’t going to extract any fun out of this situation.

The mamasan stuck her head around the curtain, and told me that for another HK$1,000, I could do anything I wanted with the girl, inside the booth. I declined, paid for the drinks, and left.

The Fenwick

Having already gone way over budget, I kicked myself when I finally found the Fenwick. A friend had recommended this place as a great freelancer hang-out joint. I got myself a pint (yes, a proper pint) of John Smith’s, and cruised around.

Think Thermae, but much darker and with Filipinas instead of Thais. They weren’t doing anything for me though – even though I wasn’t particularly looking for a girl, I saw nobody in here capable of changing my mind.

I should have at least found out the kind of money the girls were looking for – I’m sure it would have been far more reasonable than the girly bars, but I was getting sloppy after several beers on an empty stomach. I moved on, and somehow found myself back in Dragon Club – the first bar I’d visited.

Easy come, easy go

Since bedtime was drawing near, I figured I’d take up the offer of an in-bar oral “happy ending” from earlier. Plus a beer for me, and two more lady-drinks for the girl. She did put in a decent performance, and for Hong Kong residents it’s probably marginally cheaper than flying to Bangkok, but otherwise I see no reason to head out here.

It All Adds Up

Six bottles of San Miguel: HK$220 (฿950)
Eight lady-drinks: HK$968 (฿4,181)
One gobble: HK$600 (฿2,592)
Total: HK$1,788 (฿7,723)

Ouch.

So I guess this is the point where you Hong Kong expats and experts tell me what I should have done, and where I should have gone. Over to you…

Gratuitous Dancing Girls

I’ve got a ton of material in the pipeline, but they’re all going to be longer posts, and I’m way too busy to write them today.

So here’s some footage of a foam party somewhere in Pattaya to tide you over…

The Art of Lying

Asian girl lying Women lie, cheat and steal. This is not news. For Thai bargirls, telling tall tales seems almost to be the national sport. The problem is, they’re appallingly bad at it.

“I only go with you, tilac“, she purrs, as her cellphone continually beeps throughout the evening with various messages from Steve, Sven, Simon and Somchai.

Then there’s the girl who answers her cellphone in mid-thrust to tell her boyfriend that she’s staying in her room watching TV alone.

Another girl couldn’t call you the other evening because her cellphone battery died. Which means she was in bed with a guy who had the sense to persuade her to turn her phone off…

Happy Hour, and Amazing Thailand

It’s not just the girls though. I was wandering lower Sukhumvit recently when I almost literally bumped into one of those massage touts. You know the ones. The seedy-looking chaps who mumble “massage. sex massage” in what they imagine is a subtle manner at every farang who walks past, whilst displaying a little folding card with blurred photos of identical-looking Photoshopped Thai girls.

For some reason, and I’m still not sure why, I ended up chatting to him. I took the card off him and had a look. The card was for Cupidy Massage at Plaza Entertainment, but who knows where he’d have taken me if I’d agreed. What interested me was his unbridled enthusiasm.

“Yes! Yes! Massage!”, he beamed. “Have sexy lady take care you! Good boom-boom good for you! Happy hour!”

I laughed. “It’s always happy hour, isn’t it?”, I asked him.

“Yes, yes! Always happy hour!”, he beamed back, completely oblivious.

“Lady boom boom”, he said, “and…” – and then he stuck his thumb in his mouth. It took me a moment to realise he was illustrating oral sex. I wish he hadn’t.

“And what? Suck your hand?”, I asked.

“Yes! Lady suck your hand! Amazing Thailand!”

He really did say “Amazing Thailand”, and without a hint of irony. Amazing…

I only like man from East Ruislip!

But the ones that really make me laugh are the bargirls who try to make you feel special. “Oh, you English man! England number one!”, they’ll say. Or “I love fat bald pig-man, I no like sexy man!”

Sure.

I guess there’s a grain of sense in the flattery aspect. Make a man feel good about himself, especially if he doesn’t have much to feel good about, and he’ll appreciate the girl simply for appreciating him. But the art has clearly been lost somewhere along the way.

That’s why I’m starting a lying school for bargirls. The lessons are free, and come with complimentary cellphone credit, Hello Kitty merchandise, som tam and sticky rice. Or at least, that’s what I’m telling them…

Phnom Penh

A cute Khmer chick attacks my ballsA cute Khmer chick attacks my balls.
She’s never going to pot that yellow.

“Oh no”, say the Americans. “Our dollars are worth jack shit. Thailand should devalue the baht, or we won’t be able to afford to go long-time any more”. Of course, the dollar’s been depreciating against every other world currency too, which doesn’t help.

Anyway, it’s a bad time to be selling US dollars – as visiting Americans must, in order to purchase Thai Baht. Conversely, and rather obviously, it’s a fantastic time to be buying dollars. And, as luck would have it, the prevalent currency in already-cheap Cambodia is indeed the good ole’ greenback.

Just a year ago, US$10 was about ?400. Today, it’s a little over ?300. And you can pick up a cute Khmer or Vietnamese freelancer in Phnom Penh for US$10. That’s full sex for half the price of a Bangkok barfine. So if you’re earning baht (or just about any other world currency that isn’t tied to the dollar), it’s a great time to visit Phnom Penh.

Getting there from Bangkok is trivial by air, and is even doable by land if you’re saving those nickels and dimes – although I wouldn’t recommend it. I stayed in a hotel near the river, where simple but decent-enough rooms went for $10 to $15 per night. Draught beer is far more commonly available than in Bangkok, and generally sells for $1 a glass. At today’s exchange rate, that’s about ?30.

The Wild West of South East Asia

A friend once said that Thailand is a country for those of us who either can’t or won’t cope with life in the Real World. I’m inclined to agree with him, and I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing. He goes on to add, however, that Cambodia is for those people who can’t even cope with life in Thailand. He’s got a point.

If you thought Thailand was a little cavalier when it comes to enforcing the law, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Cambodia isn’t exactly lawless, but it’s not far off. Head out to Thunder Ranch, a firing range run by Cambodia’s 911 Paratrooper Commandos, only a twenty minute drive from central Phnom Penh, and fire away with a variety of handguns (dollar a bullet), an AK-47 or an M-16 ($30 for 30 rounds, or ?900), or if you really need to blow away the cobwebs try an M79 launched grenade for $100 (?3,000), or a B40 rocket propelled grenade for $200 (?6,000).

Live animals are readily available, if those paper targets get a little dull – from $5 chickens (?150) for small arms fire, to goats and water buffalos for your grenades – these go for $100 to $300 (?3,000 – ?9,000).

Cold beer’s not on the menu, but it is available. What better way to relax than with an ice-cold Ankgor beer in one hand and a machine gun in the other?

Head out to the market later on for some shopping, and you’ll find the live hand grenades on sale between the bread and vegetable sections. Cambodia is seriously messed up. I saw a posting on a website recently where an ex-pat defended Phnom Penh as being much safer than it’s given credit for. “Bodyguards are cheap enough”, he said – “what’s your problem?”

Girls, girls, girls

I couldn’t live here. It’s insane. But a long weekend is perfect. Sharky’s bar is full of 8-ball and 9-ball pool tables (pictured above), cheap beer, and swarms of freelance girls (one pictured above). It’s maybe a 60/40 split between Khmer (Cambodian) girls and Vietnamese. The Vietnamese chicks find it much easier to work in Phnom Penh than in Vietnam, and the locals prefer their lighter skin. The Khmer girls are more familiar-looking to fans of Thailand’s own sisters of Issan.

Most girls were asking for US$20 for short-time, but expected $15 and would often settle for $10. Being “yung and handsum” may have helped here, but even if you pay the full $20, it’s only ?600 at today’s prices. ?300 if you get them for $10.

After the first round of the evening, move on to (relatively) nearby Martini’s, where there’s a disco, more pool tables, an outdoor restaurant, and a big projector screen for movies. And hordes more girls, of course. Motorcycle taxis, tuk-tuks and songthaews are everywhere. Taxis are not. Most journeys cost a dollar, maybe two if you get ripped off.

The Unexplored

I only scratched the surface during my visit. The problem with freelancers in Phnom Penh, as in Bangkok, is that you’ve got no recourse if they steal your stuff. Be wary.

It’s a problem that can be avoided by visiting one of the karaoke clubs or hostess bars. But you’ll pay way more for the privilege. I didn’t see the point of doing so, so can’t report on them. There are no Bangkok-style gogo bars, but there’s apparently a BJ bar called Sophie’s Club. I didn’t find it.

The local brothels, catering to Cambodian men, are of course far cheaper than the western-targetted industry. As a tourist though, you’re never going to get away with paying local prices. The motorcycle taxi drivers will know the local scene, and their spoken English is usually way better than their Bangkok equivalents. They’ll be in for a cut, of course, but when it’s this cheap, who cares?

The Dark Side

With firearms so freely available, there’s always going to be trouble. The Heart of Darkness bar, where Westerners have indeed been killed by Khmer gangsters, now features a reassuring metal detector by the front door, where customers are frisked for weapons. The gangsters avoid the issue by entering via the side door, of course.

The two main freelancer hangouts, above, apparently check the girls’ ID, and are generally safe environments in which to pick up 18+ year-old girls. Other venues are not. The infamous Svay Pak area, also known as K11, was closed down after NGO pressure a few years ago. The effect has not been to stamp out underage prostitution though, but to move it from one easily-avoidable place to the inner city.

Secret brothels above shophouses abound, apparently. I saw a heavily dolled-up girl of maybe twelve years old being led down the street by a minder early one evening. I don’t think she was being taken to a beauty pageant. The touts will ask you if you want “young lady” or “small girl”. It’s here, it’s deeply unpleasant, and there is nothing you as a tourist can do about it. Make a fuss, and you’re likely to get into some very unpleasant trouble. Turning a blind eye can be difficult, but it’s the only safe option. Just say no, folks.

The Roundup

Phnom Penh can be fun. Drinks are so cheap that they’re effectively free. Even the girls aren’t that much more expensive. It’s a wild, wild place though, and you do need to watch your back. Life is cheap here, and the less pleasant members of society could quite easily get away with murdering you if they were so inclined. Don’t encourage them.

I couldn’t live here. Some people do, but then some people live in Hull too – there’s no accounting for taste. But for a long and dirty weekend, especially with the current exchange rates, it’s amazingly affordable hedonism.

Empty Handed

Empty hands, yesterday
Empty hands, yesterday

Just to redress the balance, I’ll post a quick story on how – despite my best efforts – sometimes events can conspire against us. It doesn’t happen very often though…

The Party

I was at a party in a hotel suite in the wee small hours of the morning a few weeks ago, with a ton of booze, some pals and a gaggle of gogo girls, all from the same bar.

I’d been to said bar several times, and had drunk with a few of them – I just hadn’t barfined any of them before. So we all knew each other, more or less, the booze was flowing, the music was pumping, and the clothes were gradually being shed.

I’ve always been quite picky about girls. Back in the UK, that meant I didn’t get laid very often. Here in Thailand, it means I usually only get sleep with extremely attractive women. Anyway, I’ve always aimed high. So I’ve certainly experienced my fair share of rejection in years gone by. It just doesn’t happen round here very often.

I’d got my eye on the cutest of the five gogo girls. Even though she’d been practically begging me to barfine her last time I was in her bar, she just wasn’t interested. Her pals were less cute, but equally aloof. It seemed they were enjoying dancing around the suite in a state of undress far too much to contemplate stopping any time soon – not even to accompany me back to Bad Boy Towers. Me! The cheek of it.

Street Meat

Dejected and dismayed, I figured that rejection on five counts was quite sufficient for one night, and left the party. On my way to grab a taxi, I miraculously bumped into one of the hottest gogo girls in Bangkok – she’d been on my “to do” list for some time, but I’d always been “just visiting” when she’s been available in her bar.

“Hey, I go with you!”, she beamed.

“Yes! Yes! Yes!”, said I.

“No, I joking you. I have customer already. See you”.

Adding Insult to Injury

Enraged, I walked the length of the Miracle Mile in search of an acceptable bed-partner for the night. Nada. Nothing.

I took a cab home alone. The chubby security guard grinned at me as I walked in, and said “Ha ha, you no have lady tonight”.

I considered killing him, but decided against it.

The Bank Of Farang

atmscreen.jpg A few weeks ago, a young lady of my acquaintance was banging on my apartment door here at Bad Boy Towers as if there were no tomorrow, having sent me a garbled message that she desperately needed money to pay the bills of a dead relative. Whatever.

I don’t mind helping the girls out from time to time, but I’m also mindful that if I always say yes, I’ll never get rid of them. I’d helped this particular young lady out a couple of times already in previous weeks, so I decided that this time she could find it elsewhere. She’s hardly short of options in this city, and I didn’t want her to think of me as the “soft touch”.

The Withdrawal

As she banged away on my apartment door, I merrily pretended to be out. An hour later though, a glimpse through the peephole confirmed that she was still camped outside the door. This was becoming a problem.

After a hushed exchanges of text messages with a kindly neighbour, he valiantly came to my rescue and “just happened to be passing” when he tripped over her in the hallway and informed her that I was definitely not in, and wouldn’t be back anytime soon.

Unfortunately, he’s a little softer than I am, and after listening to her tale of woe (and her insistence that she was quite happy to sit there for ten hours waiting for me to return), tossed her a couple of thousand baht in pity. She promised through tearfully grateful eyes that she’d definitely return it tomorrow. Or possibly the day after. Weeks passed…

The Refund

Said valiant neighbour was by this time over in Old Europe, the poor sod, but our damsel in distress got back in touch nonetheless. Desperate to repay his generosity, she asked whether she could come over and give me the two thousand baht, so that I could pass it (and her eternal gratitude) onto him. Naturally, I agreed.

An hour or so later, she pitched up on the mat and told me just how grateful she was to my pal. Turned out her grandmother had died, and she’d been stuck for money to pay to take the body out of the hospital. But in a karmic twist of fate (aren’t they all?), it turns out that dead granny had left my petite shag-monkey three hundred thousand baht in the will. Result.

It had been a long journey from outer Bangkok in heavy traffic, so delightful nouveau-riche girly wanted to crash out for a bit with a drink and a cigarette before she popped down to the ATM to get the money with which to refund my pal. I poured her a coke and chucked her a packet of cigarettes. No problem.

Then she decided she was kind of hungry too. But she’d go to the ATM soon. No problem – one bowl of MSG-addled noodle-shaped matter coming up.

She greedily slurped away the last of the meal, and theatrically moaned in gratitude. Now she was horny, she said. Could we just have sex, and then she’d go to the ATM?

Sure.

One damp patch later, she was just about ready to return the loan. In fact, she said that since she’d drunk all the Coke, eaten the last of the noodles and smoked most of my cigarettes, she’d pick up replacements at the 7-11 when she went to the ATM.

But before she went, could she possibly borrow some small change to make a quick phone call?

Sure.

So off she went, a bottle of coke and a bowl of noodles heavier, a shag more satisfied and a packet of cigarettes more cancerous. And about twenty baht richer.

She’d return in ten minutes, she promised – with the two thousand baht, a packet of cigarettes, a bottle of Coke and a bag of noodles.

That was last Tuesday.

Obviously the bottle of coke, the packet of noodles, the packet of cigarettes and 20 baht add up to well under 200 baht, which would normally be a great price for what was a great shag.

But since I was expecting it to be free, I can’t help but feel ripped off. Not as much as my charitable neighbour was, obviously, but it’s all about me at the end of the day. It’s a hard life…

The Telephone Manner

A Thai cellphone, yesterday
A Thai cellphone, yesterday

Ask any of Thailand’s old-timer farangs what’s been responsible for the biggest changes in the scene over the past decade or so, and the answer will usually be the same. Cellphones.

Every time a Thai girl hooks up with a farang, a yippon or even another Thai, if they’re suitably impressed then the exchange of cellphone numbers is inevitable.

Obviously there are huge advantages (and disadvantages) on both sides, but there’s no denying the massive impact that the cellphone revolution has had here in Bangkok.

But by golly, they have no manners at all.

I’ve seen girls taking calls while dancing onstage in gogo bars. I’ve had one answer the phone while we were having sex – my reaction was, of course, to quicken and harden the pace, so that Somchai (or whoever) knew precisely what she was up to.

Recently, the crazy gik has finally found someone to make an honest woman of her. Looks like she’s off to Norway with her new beau. I’ll miss her admirable enthusiasm for horizontal jogging, but I was never going to make her my girlfriend, and was always honest with her on that front.

Still, she could have let me down a little more gently. Here’s the SMS I received:

Nex week my boyfriend come and nex month we go to norway together sorry and bye never see you again

Did I just win the utterly unsubtle dumping by text message crown for 2007?

Co-Habitation, Part Two

Tears on my towel, yesterday
Tears on my towel, yesterday

nb. This is Part Two of a two-part story.
Part One is here.

I wasn’t going to make a potentially life-changing decision without consulting my friends, obviously. I called, emailed and spoke to a few people, asking not only for their opinions, but for more practical advice – like how would I deal with her bar wanting money to smooth the passage of her leaving?

Most reacted with amusement. Then recoiled in shock when a punchline was not forthcoming. “You want to do what? Are you insane?” – etc.

Others were more useful. “Don’t pay the bar a satang”, said one. “That money’s supposed to ease her leaving, and ensure that she can go back if she needs to. But if she makes money for the bar, they’d take her back anyway. And if they don’t, another bar will”.

But the most important advice was with regard to the difficulties of ending such a relationship. If a girl has the keys to your apartment, dumping her can get to be extremely expensive – in both monetary and psychological terms. One friend had a girl come at him with a machete when he decided he wanted to break up. Another had to fake his emigration to Cambodia in order to stop her from constantly coming over to wail at him.

“Think about how you’re going to handle the break-up”, was the advice I received on Friday night. “And think about how she’s going to handle it. If she’s the type to get over-emotional and over-react to trivial things, then the break-up, when it comes – and it will – is going to be hell”.

He had a point. The girl and I hadn’t even had an argument yet. How would she react if it all went pear-shaped and I wanted her out? I needed to find out, but I wasn’t quite sure how.

Fate always provides. That very night, I brought her back to my place once again. I sat down to catch up with my e-mails, and read the new comments on this site while she showered. But when she returned, she spotted a scrap of paper on my desk.

It said “Nok. 08xxxxxxxx”. Oops.

Nok was a cute girl from a Silom massage shop who’d given me a thoroughly enjoyable foot massage a couple of months ago – before I even met my potential co-habitee.

She’d given me her number, but when I called there was no answer. I sent a text, and received no reply. That was the end of that – except I’d forgotten to throw away the piece of paper with her name and number on.

I explained all of this to my girl. She nodded, and softly padded away into the bedroom. I finished up on the computer, and shut it down for the night.

In the bedroom, she was crying into what had been a pink towel, but was quickly gaining a pattern of black smudges from the mixture of mascara and tears she was sobbing into it (pictured above).

I was genuinely concerned, and tried to comfort her, but it seemed that – whilst she believed that Nok was no longer a concern – she was still so jealous that I’d received another girl’s phone number before we’d even met that she was overcome with emotion.

This didn’t bode well for any future, more dramatic, clashes. I figured I’d sleep on it. Well, on her. And it.

I woke up the next morning afternoon and left her sleeping while I spent an hour or so on the site entertaining my hordette of fans. She eventually rose at around 4.30pm, and wordlessly locked herself in the bathroom where she showered and dressed.

“Say hi to Nok for me”, she snarled as she left for work. I protested my innocence again, but she wasn’t impressed. She hasn’t been back. I think that’s possibly what they call a close shave.

Bangkok Bad Boy is still living alone, and now has an extra pair of earrings for sale.

Co-Habitation, Part One

Domestic detritus, yesterday
Domestic detritus, yesterday

I’ve always lived alone in Bangkok. Whilst I’ve lost count of the number of girls I’ve shared my bed with, they’ve never stayed for longer than a day or two. The endless influx of companions can take its toll on a simple apartment, beyond the simple need to throw away all those extra toothbrushes every week or two.

Indeed, my most recent clearing-out session (pictured) yielded a handbag, sanitary towels, a clockwork musical cherub, a wax mould of my hand clasped with that of a particularly over-keen young lady, a half-drunk bottle of something pink, a mini-dress, various cosmetics, a cellphone charger, three pairs of earrings, three toothbrushes and a bottle of fanny-wash. All offers considered.

And so onto the point. As far-fetched as it may seem, I recently found myself falling for a particularly tasty gogo girl. I came across her for the first time a week or so before leaving for my mercifully brief trip to the UK, and we found ourselves spending most of our time together until I flew to Europe.

I returned to Bangkok having taken a rather painful hit in the wallet, but went to see her in the bar whilst I waited for more funds to come through. She was visibly thrilled to see me, shooed away the pushy waitresses who were suggesting I should buy her a drink, and just draped herself over me as I sipped on a cheap beer.

In between spending time together, she’d been sending cheesy love poems to me by text message. They were obviously copied from a book, but it was still a touching gesture – especially considering the fact that all too many girls seem to consider an appropriate vocabulary of communication to be “you buy me drink”, “I go with you”, “two thousand”, and “pussy hurt now. you finish soon please”.

I’d tentatively approached the subject with her after a marathon session of naked twister, and asked what she thought about the idea of moving in. Her eyes lit up like the neon sign of the gogo bar from which I’d plucked her.

And, of course, if she was to be my live-in girlfriend, she wouldn’t be working in a gogo bar any more. She could be housemaid, cook and concubine – in exchange for a modest allowance, of course. All that remained was to work out the details, and to make sure there weren’t any last-minute hitches…

Part Two is here. Feel free to share your own tales of domestic bliss – or otherwise – with Bangkok’s ladies of the night.

The Farang Girl

The demeanour is instantly recognisable. The dismayed white girl, confused and concerned by Amazing Thailand. Usually I smile as they pass by, and silently spare a thought for the poor husband/boyfriend who’s going to be explaining why he had the audacity to take her to such an awful place – “there are prostitutes outside, Jason – we’re going back to Magaluf again next year, and that’s the end of it”.

This time, however, I was on the other side of the line. I had to show her around. Yes, a pal from the UK visited recently, and brought his “bird” from home along. Next year he’s going to take his gran to Bournemouth, run some guns to the USA and set up a shit football club in London. Ice to the Arctic is so passé…

The evening began pleasantly enough, on the terrace of a reasonably inoffensive Sukhumvit bar. She decided that we needed to have a little chat. She knew all about Thailand from the news, you see.

Her: “Don’t ever get involved with the prostitutes here. Honestly. It’ll ruin your life”.

Me: “Oh, I’m sure things would swiftly become unbearable. Thanks for the advice”.

Her: “I can’t even imagine what it must be like for them. It must be such a miserable existence. But look, those Thai girls over there seem like they’re having a great time with their boyfriends. That’s what you should be doing – setting up a meaningful relationship”.

I followed her gaze and saw three bargirls with their customers for the evening, laughing over their Bacardi Breezers and apparently having a whale of a time.

Me: “That’s very astute of you. Actually I have just started seeing someone. I’ll get her to come along after work if that’s okay with you guys?”

Her: “Oh terrific, I’d love to meet her! I picked up a bit of Thai on the plane, you know!”

We reconvened at another beer bar. Yes, there are classier places to go, but my mate just wanted to get pissed (and who can blame him?) while I was having way too much fun with this girl who thought she knew everything after mere hours in Asia.

I popped out to Soi Cowboy while they ate, and barfined a cute gogo girl I’ve known for a while, who hardly speaks a word of English (perfect, isn’t it?), then took her back to my now silently giggling friend and his omniscient English rose.

“This is Noi guys, my beautiful girlfriend. She’s just finished work – she doesn’t speak English though, I’m afraid”.

Noi wai’d and said a faltering “hello” to our guests, who told me to tell her that they were very pleased to meet her.

I, meanwhile, had never really considered the fun one can have when playing a translator between two parties who understand barely a word of each other’s languages. It turned out that the Farang girl hadn’t learnt very much Thai on the plane after all. Who’d have thought it?

Farang girl to me: “Tell Noi she’s very pretty. Can we get her a beer?”

Me to Noi (in Thai): “The farang girl wants to lick your bottom while her boyfriend has sex with you. Five hundred baht”.

Noi to me (in Thai): “Really? Tell her three thousand.”

Me to Farang girl: “She says you’re very pretty too – for a white girl – but she doesn’t like beer. Can she just have a coke instead? I’ll have another Beer Lao, cheers”.

Drinks are ordered.

Farang girl to me: “It’s so cute that they call the girls’ drinks lady drinks! It must be great to be able to speak Thai so well”.

Me to Farang girl: “Yes. Yes, it is”.

Farang girl to me: “Bangkok isn’t that bad – not as bad as I thought, anyway. At least we haven’t seen any prostitutes…”

The Power

Max Power One of the fundamental differences between Bangkok and the West is that the underpants of power, with regards to sexual relationships, are firmly wrapped around the buttocks of the male of the species here in Amazing Thailand.

Whilst in the West, it’s the female’s prerogative to pick and choose from a gaggle of desperate suitors, here in Bangkok the shoe is on the other foot, and comfortably so. It’s probably a Hush Puppy, or perhaps a Sukhumvit tailored (cobbled?) custom fit. Whatever – it’s a comfortable shoe, despite being on the wrong foot. I need to steer clear of analogies, don’t I?

My point is perhaps better illustrated by the events of Sunday night. I had a burger and a beer (or three) in the Big Mango at Nana Plaza, whilst enjoying the free live entertainment (ie. Pmmp almost getting killed over a fish), but since I have a policy of treading carefully in bars I actually like spending time in, I’ve never barfined a girl from the Mango, and wasn’t going to start over the weekend. Jealousy issues, however unlikely in my case, can be a very real problem if you take more than one girl from the same bar.

Still, by deciding not to take any of what was available, I effectively turned down 15-20 girls.

Onwards, then, to Mandarin – possibly my favourite NEP bar at the moment. Some cute girls, but none really stood out. I drank up and left, thus turning down another 50 or so girls.

On to Fantasia, which I’m delighted to report sucks more than ever before. I’d heard that they’d made the bar no-smoking, but there was no sign of this. A quick drink later, I was out of there, having turned down another 30 or so ladies.

I’d turned down about one hundred girls now, in less than an hour.

I left the Plaza and checked out the Beergarden on Sukhumvit Soi 7. About a hundred pairs of eyes followed me as I walked a quick circuit of the bar. Some were on stalks. I was just vaguely looking for someone who stood out, but in a good way. Nobody did, so I left.

I’d turned down about 200 girls by now, and the night was but young. In the UK, I’d probably have actively pursued at least 100 of them if I’d met them in a bar, and probably would have at least considered another 50 or so of the others if they’d approached me. So I turned down 150 girls who I’d probably have agreed to sleep with a year ago, plus the 50 I wouldn’t. In about an hour. I called one of my speed-dials in the end, who easily beat all of them.

We take a lot for granted here.

Disclaimer: Yes, most of them would have expected payment. However, that payment would have been less than the cost of the drinks and dinner they’d have expected from me in the UK.

Flamebait: They’re all whores, from a certain point of view. Discuss.

Milky Milky

Milk, yesterday
Milk, yesterday

She’d come straight off the stage at Shark bar, where she’d been jiggling like a wild thing, and then bounced straight into my lap. The barfine was paid, and we left in a hurry.

A little hungry though, we picked up some mystery meat kebabs and sausages on Cowboy before heading back to my place. And then, after feasting on these surprisingly spicy satays, we retired to the bedroom.

Where I discovered first-hand the all too unpleasant effects of having oneself pleasured by the mouth of a young lady who’s just eaten nuclear spices.

The amount of pain I was suddenly experiencing in my nether regions, dear readers, lay somewhere beyond what is describable with mere words. Suffice to stay, it burned.

I ate a lot of spicy food in the UK, where curry is the staple diet in many areas. So I knew from experience that neither water nor lager have the power to douse spiced-up taste-buds. Milk, however, does.

And so, with this in mind, I sprang over to the fridge, poured myself a large glass of nicely chilled milk, and immersed the “old chap” in it. Forget Thai massage, dipping one’s spicy burning knob in cold milk is by far the most soothing experience I’ve had in Thailand.

And I think it was then that I had what’s referred to as a “Naked Lunch moment”.

Naked Lunch is, of course, the surreal William Burroughs novel. Supposedly Burroughs’ buddy Jack Kerouac came up with the title, which refers to the instant when a person can see exactly what is on the tip of his or her fork – that is, what is truly going on.

There I was, stark naked in my living room, at three o’clock in the morning, listening to the giggles of an entirely unconcerned bed-ridden whore, with my flaccid member immersed in a glass of milk.

Time seemed to stand still, as I took stock of my life, my achievements, and my current situation, vis-a-vis the natty penis/milk combo between my thighs. I wondered what my friends and family would say, if they could see me – frozen in time.

I decided they’d find it highly amusing. And so the clock of my life resumed ticking. I removed myself, pleasantly soothed, from the glass of calcium-rich, nutritious and now both slightly spicy and slightly cheesy milk, and took it into the bedroom where, before we resumed the evening’s activities, I handed it to said bargirl – so that she might soothe her spicy-hot mouth*.

*Okay, so I made the last part up. But it would have been extremely funny if it were true.

The Laundry Girl


Laundry At a recent Bangkok Bloggers Cabal meeting, we got onto the subject of what might perhaps be described as our more regrettable dalliances. Smitty’s Chinese grandmother experience has me beaten, but my own almost-forgotten tale still makes me chuckle.

I was drunk, again, in Thermae – this was last summer, incidentally, before Thermae had been annexed by the Japanese. The end of the night, and closing time, beckoned. I stared into my bottle of Heineken, wondering what to do next, and didn’t even see her sit down.

She was… maybe a 4 out of 10. She was really giving it the hard sell, though – describing to me in great detail the wide variety of services she could offer. The only problem was that she would have to leave early in the morning, as she worked in a hotel.

Given that the bar was almost desolate by this point, and that I was pretty much ready for sleep – I certainly didn’t have the energy to start trawling the Miracle Mile for alternatives – it was effectively her or nothing. “Come on then”, I told her, and she followed me out to the taxi.

I got a half-hearted massage back at my apartment, followed by some fairly forgettable fumbling. And then we had a conversation of some sort, but I wasn’t really listening, and was soon asleep. I was dimly aware of rustling movement early the following morning, but slept on – I finally rose at lunchtime.

She was gone, of course. As were all of my clothes.

I eventually remembered the post-coital conversation I’d basically slept through. She’d offered to do my laundry for me at the hotel where she worked, free of charge. I had apparently accepted. So, unsure of which piles of clothes were clean and which were dirty (I have a very complicated laundry organisation system – it involves sniffing), she’d swept all of my clothes up into a bin bag, and hauled them off to work.

I stood naked in my living room (I eventually found a couple of grubby t-shirts and a pair of shorts that she’d missed), wondering whether anybody in the world had ever done anything quite so stupid before.

Once I’d given up all hope of ever seeing my clothes again, she returned the next day with a basket full of my freshly laundered clothes. I felt obliged to tip her, but not before setting off everyone I explained my wardrobe situation to in the meantime into incurable hysterics.