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”.
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.
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.
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)
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…