Once upon a time in Bangkok – by Flank

(Thanks Frank, for sharing the story of how it is you came to be in Bangkok…)
The year of the Lord 1989 (August).
A young Civil Engineer gets seconded to BKK to assist our construction partner to bring a 28 storey condo out of the ground to typical floor levels.
I had heard this and that about BKK but no idea what to expect. To be honest, I was shitting myself.
Hit Don Muang….got lost…but finally hooked up with my manager and off to unknowns.
The project was in Soi Somkid off Sukhumvit. I was staying in a small but nice hotel just past the British Embassy. I wasn’t to know then that Nana was only 10 min walk away….but I was about to find out.
Ok…checked in…it was about 2pm.
So, what to do now??….Well Sunday afternoon, let’s go for a few beers. Walk up the road, chuck a right and we are in Nana.
Up the stairs to the left and my very first bar was the Three Roses. Not flash but I soon enough had a pretty rough looking chick pushing for a lady drink. At the time, I was out of my depth….but ok….She hit me straight up to help her…but I told her it is not going to happen.
Well Off course I went back to Nana at nights after work and found the Hogs Breath. Again not renown for pretty girls but I used to hang there a lot, especially Sunday lunch when you got free Chilly and Rice and CNN on cable.
One night I met this girl (Bugs) working in the corner bar (forgot the name but it is still there) just down from Hogs Breath….at the time there was only one Ladyboy there (and what an overacting asshole he was). We hooked up (not the ladyboy) and I went to see Bugs every night and shit happened in the dark corner of the bar. In these days I did not take the girls back to my room yet.
I did the Nana circuit these days and some bars were better than others. It was time for RNR back to OZ for a week and I promised Bugs to come and meet her again when I was back in town. Now she could stay with me as I was moving into a room on Soi 11.
Back to BKK…Sunday mid avo…dump my bags and off to Nana. She is not in the bar so I wander back to Hogs Breath and inhale a few Jacks and Coke standing on the Balcony and admiring the scenery.
I get tagged by this chick from Hogs (name: Won)….not a stunner but cute and English speaking….well it ended up by me asking her to come with me…..hehe…
We leave Nana, turn right towards Suk and I run smack bang into Bugs….we looked at each other and time stood still for a second….then all hell broke loose. I copped a torrent of Thai abuse followed with a slap across the face….followed with “no come to my bar anymore” (You would have thought I was married to her for 20 years)….ok honey, as if your bar is the only one around here. She stormed off and I asked Won ‘what did she just say?’ Won said ‘She angry you’….Ohhhhhhh….I wouldn’t have guessed that in a million years. So I took Won back and spend most of the time with her for the next 2 months…..But…. living in Soi 11, you turn the other way and you are in Cowboy….yet to be discovered.
To be continued

Back in Thailand pt 2.

Back in Thailand pt.1

With Black Swans menu off the menu – we needed somewhere else to get our breakfast. Somewhere close by as we don’t want to walk too far or sit in traffic all morning. Hemmingways?

As you enter soi 14 it’s on your left. I wanted to like it, I really did – but was left disappointed.

We arrived at 12pm. It opens at 11:30 so you’d expect them to be ready for customers right?

My gripes were the same as the ones I’d have at the Mango. The staff just can’t think for themselves. If you tell/show them what to do each day for one year, but one day don’t – then they won’t do it.

We ordered our meals and drinks and waited. In silence. Bars without music is deadly. You expect some back ground music – otherwise you can hear everyone talking. The silence was deadly. Then there was the heat. It was mid-day so fairly hot. The zircon was on, but all the doors were open. The staff were just standing around not really doing anything. There is ALWAYS something to do in a bar – even if no customers.

After 15 mins or so, the Manager/Boss arrived and straight away pointed out there was no music, turned the TV’s on and told them to close all the doors. I am sure he has to tell them this every day.

This is the problems when you don’t have Supervision there all the time.

I had heard really good things about the food and was looking forward to it. I wish I could say it was good but it wasn’t. That’s not to say it was real bad – it just didn’t have that ‘wow-factor’ which some other places do. A real HATE of mine is when the staff don’t write down the order and THINK they can remember everything. When my curly fries arrived after what seemed like hours, I couldn’t be bothered to point out what I thought to be something wrong with them.

Can you see what's wrong with these curly fries?
Can you see what’s wrong with these curly fries?

I

think we’ll return to Mulligans next time. Great food there.

It was then time to hit the shops. Off once again to MBK to subject myself to torture and discomfort by having squeeze by all the Japanese and Indians out buying bloody selfie sticks.

 

As much as I hate the riff-raff that you can find in these places, I do find it fascinating looking at all the different items you can find. As soon as you stop at a stall/shop, there is someone on you straight away telling you they have your size, different colours and a cheap price for you. They piss me off. Each time someone said ‘come look, velly belly cheap’ – I’d respond with ‘no thanks, I am looking for expensive’ and walk off.

After several hours of buying crap (Miss Tim) we headed back to the hotel to check out and meet up with the chaps. Where were they? Hemmingways! Never in my life have I returned to a bar that I pledged never to return to so quick!

This experience was much better – very busy and staff were on the ball. I guess it was just the early morning (12pm) staff that needed a kick up the backside? An added bonus was one of the old Pretty Lady girls now works there – so there were hugs and kisses all round. Made it all the more pleasant.

After Hemmingways we headed to ski 8. Viva 8. Another busy pub so we sat outside on the side soi at a table. The weather was getting cooler so it was quite pleasant. By this time we have Spats, Rick Masters, Gamblin Man and Lomeo & Juliet. Sitting there shooting the breeze was pretty fun and various friends would walk past, see us and come over and say hello. It had all the makings of one of them evenings that just goes on and on and before you know it you’re wasted. Good times.

It was not to be. Time for people to go so GM, Lomeo, Juliet, Miss Tim and myself headed to Monsoon for some dinner. We like Monsoon. Always busy in there and we were lucky enough to get seating outside. Great food/company.

By 10pm we were suffering from food-comas. Which was good as our taxi was booked for then so we could sleep all the way back to Hua Hin.

Hua Hin being around 2.5-3 hours drive, we have now figured it best to travel at night. That way, we easily sleep and the journey feels like it was only 10 mins. If you travel in the daytime – its dead time and you feel like you’re wasting the day. Travel at night when you sleep is the way forward!

It was good to be back in Hua Hin. I had a week of doing nothing ahead of me.

To be continued.

Bangkok Go-Go’s – By Dan

Can somebody tell me what the attraction is with Thailand’s GoGos. Okay you might say there are pretty girls with very little, or no, clothes on. But is there?

There has been a couple of stories that I have read this week about the GoGo scene in Thailand. We had Graham returning after a 3 month break and not being very impressed with the Plaza, there was a link on another submission that led us to a Soi Cowboy run. Stick had a recent reader’s submission from a Singapore guy who visited the Plaza with his friends.

Each and everyone of them were disappointed with what was on offer. A combination of not very nice looking girls, padded bills, over pricing, bad attitudes and pushy mamasans. I can understand that first time tourist may wish to visit, or you may wish to take a friend for a look-see but I don’t see the attraction for the people who have a fairly good idea about Thailand night life.

My first ever night in Thailand in 2005, and in fact my first drink in Thailand, was spent in Lollipops in the Plaza. Purely by chance I ended up on Soi 4 from the airport. I had asked a taxi driver to take me to a cheap hotel (he took me to The Nana Hotel) and instead of going into the hotel I walked into the Plaza.

I plonked myself down on one of the stools at the bar that leads into the show area. That was a stroke of luck for me because a young Englishman was there who gave me the low down on how the scene worked and he got me set up in a decent hotel. I was fascinated by what was going on. The exotic smells, the pounding music. The coming and goings. Dwarfs and Ladyboys. Gangster and hawkers. But when I did go in and have a look at the shows it was all a big turn off.

I know everyone is different but surely once you have been in one and sampled it why would you go in again. As far as I’m concerned there is a lot more fun to be had in the beer bars (and I still do have a drink at the Lollipop bar) or even the proper bars than what can be had in th GoGos proper.

Hit these GoGos if you want as it’s your money but there is no point complaining about it afterwards as you know the score.

The Return of RC

I am on the way back to Perth from Northam….my project is in a small township installing infrastructure. My XR6 is covered in red dust…I am covered in red dust…it gets in your ears, up your fucking nose and when you sweat into your skin. We call it Bulldust…it is so fine, you have to take a couple of showers to get that shit off you. Straight road for one and a half hours…I feel like I am on Fury Road. I hit 110 (speed limit). A couple of cold beers would help if I swing into a bottleshop…Unfortunately there are numerous country cops patrolling so fuck that ….

Mobile goes off with message alert. I pull over into a truck stop…check…”hi Frank…this is my new number”…”it’s me RC”…..Ok first thing going through my head is…what does she want?
I shoot back that I cannot text, I am on the road. Then comes “I still love you”….yeah ok
I kick back into gear an hit the road.

At home, I reply with “what’s wrong” as a crazy chick like RC would never get back in contact if she didn’t want something.

We have a strange relationship…I really care for her but I don’t trust her…she knows that I know I know and we play the game. To her credit, she did not leave my side when I got crook on my last visit to Thailand.

So, yes we texted back and forward…she got herself a Tattoo of my name…MY FULL FUCKING NAME….I don’t mind Frank, but my surname!!??…

And what I was expecting, happened…she wants 100,000 Bath…yeah fucking right….Fail on that one.

And meanwhile the story continues………

Class dismissed.
Frank

Back in Thailand…

Day 1 & 2

After a 3 month break from Thailand, I should have been more excited to return. In the last 10 years, the longest I have been away from Thailand is 6 weeks. I have always been excited to return.

For some reason I am just not excited this time. Why? Not sure. Yeah, I wanted to see Miss Tim of course, but all the other things that used to attract me no longer do. All the things that didn’t used to bother me, now suddenly do.

Arriving at the airport – I went for a taxi. The new system is in place where you get a ticket/number from the machine and head to the parking bay of that number. I got the ticket with number 29. Went the bay of 29 to find a locked car with no one in it. Stood there in the heat for a few minutes until a driver arrived with a load of passengers – waving a ticket with 29 on it. Can’t be bothered to argue – no point. Just another typical Thailand trait.

Back to the ticket machine and off to find bay 40. Once again, no one there so I had to wait by an old pile of crap that looked to have been built in the 80’s. Some old duffer arrived and opened up his 4 wheeled skip. He tried to fob me off by asking me if I knew about airport taxi and the 100bht surcharge and no meter. I told him to put the meter on, I am not a tourist and I am not paying the 100bht surcharge. Off he went. Had the twat not tried to scam me, I’d have handed over the usual 500 I normally give taxi drivers to take me from the airport to Sukhumvit. Not this time.

Breakfast

After checking into the Hotel S15 – we decided to have a little breakfast at the Black Swan. The BS breakfast has always been good and as it was just across the road – it was a goer.

I had forgotten. The Black Swan has moved. Doh. Not too far though so off we trekked to Soi 19. Bit of a hike to be honest but sure it’d be worth it. Or so we thought.

One thing that kind of pissed me off, which highlights how lazy the Management/Owner is…  there was a sign on the door of the old venue that read ‘We are moved to soi 19’

Being this is an ENGLISH pub with prodomantly UK or Western Expat customers, you’d have thought the notice to all customers would have been written or checked by someone who’s English is their Mother tongue?!

Has the management changed? Certainly the staff have.

Inside the new Black Swan is much smaller than the old. At 10am, they really don’t need to be playing dance/house music videos. As is most (British) Pubs, you have easy listening music in the mornings.

We were the only customers so we thought service would be quick. We were wrong. Kept waiting for quite a while – I ordered the full monty English breakfast that I’ve had many times in the past.

While waiting, I dropped a pen top on the floor, under the table (we were in a booth) so put on my phone torch to have a look for it. What a shock! Under the table there were chunks of old toast, the odd chip, the usual hairs and dirt and a coin or two. It didn’t look too clean that’s for sure.

One thing I prided myself on at the Mango was each night (or morning) the stools were raised off the floor and the floors were mopped. There is no excuse for having dirty floors if you have a cleaner.

The food was not like it was or how I remembered it. I shall not be returning, leaving The Queen Vic and Chequres my only places to go for breakfast when in Bangkok now.

Headed over to Pantip in the afternoon to have a computer cleaned and filled with new software. I really do find Pantip a fascinating place. The work carried out on my computer would have cost 100’s in the UK. Here… 500bht. I am sure I could have got it less than that but hey, its only 500bht.

For those of you who have never been to Pantip, it’s a place where you can get pretty much any gadget, computer, accessories and DVD’s. After looking around various little stalls, Miss Tim asked what I was looking for. I told her an ‘under water smoke alarm’. It took a minute or two before she realised I was pulling her leg.

Hotel

S15 has been a fave hotel of ours for a little while. Conveniently located, clean, good value. Ticks all the boxes.
This time… things are different. I am not going to acknowledge the maintenance going on in the lobby or the lift being out of action – this is a necessary evil and can’t be avoided. However, I don’t excuse the chambermaids chatting to each other at the tops of their voices to each other from one end of the corridor to the other. Hearing Thai’s speaking (fast) is not exactly soothing on the ears. A few time I had to open the door and ask them to keep the noise down.

The reception staff were efficient as ever – filling out all paperwork for us which other hotels seem not to do.
Through the night, I could hear music. Thought it was coming from another room, so was all set on knocking on peoples doors and giving them what for.. turns out it was the hall speakers and their piped music. I guess they forgot to turn it off at night?

I guess we’ve outgrown S15. The next one to try is Terminal 21.

Friday was wedding day. No, not mine. Miss Tims best friend Nok. Miss Nok married a Spaniard last year. She has been living in Spain a few years now. Nice girl. The main wedding took place in Spain so it was time for Miss Nok to have her Thai party.

It was my 1st Thai wedding (party) and I am hoping my last. It’s just not for me. Had it have been anyone other than Miss Tims pal, I’d have made excuses not to go. I totally understand that it’s important for the Thai girls and how much pleasure/excitement they get from it. I do. I get it.

It was all about Miss Nok and I wasn’t going to spoil it by being the grumpy farang sitting on the table looking miserable. Well, I was going to try not anyway.

I wasn’t the only Farang. There was a table of about a dozen Spaniards who came over for the party in support of the Groom which was good for him. How many farangs have to do this on their own without any other white faces there to chat to. Sorry, but it’s Thai. I am not Thai so have no interest in this.

The day started at 7 with all the Monks blessing them with good luck. I did point out it was too late – as they’re already married so his luck is all gone. No one gets my jokes.

At 9am they were serving Thai whiskey and all sorts of food dishes. At 9am! I’d have much preferred a boiled egg and some orange juice, but as I said – it was all about the Thai’s.

First time I've had red wine for breakfast.
First time I’ve had red wine for breakfast.

There was a band – which had two male singers and a separate female singer. Is it compulsory for all male singers to be gay? Anyway, when the music was on, the farangs got up to dance. I can’t help but think this was due to them starting drinking at 9am. They danced to the Thai music. Only them. All the Thai’s sat there pointing and laughing.

 

One old guy kept giving me shit about me going up and dancing. I politely smiled and said it wasn’t for me. Behind my recently professionally cleaned pearly smile I was muttering that if he keeps it up, he’ll be needing to visit a dentist soon too. The old duffer just wouldn’t let it go. Why was I not keen? Well, lets face it, farangs can’t dance to Thai music. It was plain to see to all the Thai’s and me. I was not about to have this lot poke fun at me. Put on a bit of Bee Gee’s Stayin Alive and I’d have been up there bustin my John Travolta moves – but as they didn’t, I sat firmly in my seat.

All was going well until things started to wrap up around 2pm. This is where things went a little dark. Again, it’s a Thai thing, but in this day and age I’d have thought things would have moved on or evolved a little. The old Thai’s were badgering the Bride and family about how much money the Groom had paid. It all came down to money. This upset Miss Nok and she was in tears. On her wedding day party of all days. There was money there – laid out in some golden bowl which was photographed by many people, wrapped up in some golden cloth which was then carried by the mother with a big smile on her face. How vulgar. I know, I know, it’s a Thai thing. But when you break it down and point out to them that all they are interested in is the physical cash – it’s vulgar. If it were me and I was asked what money I was bring to the party so to speak I’d be saying, well, there is the houses, the cars, bank accounts, living expenses. What the fuck have YOU ever given anyone?

Nope – it’s all about the visual of how much cash you can sell your daughter for. Horrid.

Soi 4

Back to the hotel for a quick change and head to soi 4 to meet the rats. The rats this time were – Rick Masters, Spats, Lomeo, Aussie John, Khun Jim and GM. The girls were with us but they were off to do their own thing.

One thing I noticed more so than I have in the past is how dirty and untidy soi 4 is these days.  The garbage on the side of the street, the smells, the general grime of the place.

It was good catching up with the rats. Bit or reminiscing about the old days. Many of it in the days of the Mango. What has become of the old Mango? We thought we’d take a look.

Under the name of iDarts, the old Mango has some Electronic Darts machines. Never played on them or wanted to. Still, they have booze so off we went. One of the 1st things you’ll notice when approaching the Mango is a small group of girls at the end of the soi in little pink figure hugging dresses. Not a bad start. They walk with you to the bar and hang around. The bar is pretty much how it was when it was sold as the M Bar but a few minor floor changes.

The hostess came over to us, took our drinks order and asked us if we wanted any company. Perfect. Not pushy, very polite and friendly.

We all had a little chat with her about the bar and it was all good. There are some plans in the pipeline for a ST hotel upstairs – which was on our plans back in the day. Good luck to them.

iDarts is certainly a bar you should include on your crawl of soi 4 with the rats.

Next up was the Plaza!
As per usual – the 1st stop was Pretty Lady, I mean Spellbound. The girls greeted us like superheros as per usual and a good time was had by all. DavetheRave looked to have the worlds problems on his shoulders and was trying to figure out the owners next step. He told me the show-girls had walked out as the shows were cancelled by the owner. To be honest, I had forgotten all about the shows. I go there because of the staff, girls and of course Dave are a great bunch.

Out the door and up the stairs to Mandarin. It’s not a place I like going to. I HATE it when an aging, pug ugly Mamasan marches a couple of girls upto you and offers them up. If you’re not in the mood or just don’t fancy them you tell them ‘no’. How does that make those girls feel? Some young girl getting rejected by fat old men more than twice their age? I’d like to think that we are more than capable of flagging down a Mamasan, waitress or even the dancer in person should we want to engage with them?

This time was different. There seemed to be a different vibe inside. Upstairs was even open as they had so many girls. Looks to me like they have a fresh stock of girls. The girls who have been there a while were mulling around – not looking too happy. I find it funny that the veterans of Mandarin are still only very early 20’s!

Where to next? Well, this is where it gets tricky. We regrouped outside and openly asked ‘where is next’? There was a time we had a full menu of venus to visit in a night. Now we found ourselves scratching our heads.

Rainbow 1 was close by so we went in there. Non-descript. Can’t remember much about it. It’s just another generic gogo.

Out of there and into Erotica. Not too many customers but plenty of girls in good spirits. There was even a boob or two to be seen around the place.

Drinks finished… approaching midnight, we had our fill. There was nothing else in the Plaza we wanted to see.

Is this what it’s come to? Standing around trying to think of places to go? Sign of the times?
We called it a night.

Watches synchronized, the plan was to meet at Hemingway’s the next day.

Meanwhile, back in Dubai….

Times flies when you’re having fun. In a few days I head back to Thailand. It’s been 3 months since I left there. Only going to be there for 10 days which I think will be enough. Why? Well, there is stuff to be done here which Miss Tim and I need to do!

I’ve been away on business for the past week, but before I left, I took to the desert on an ATV with some pals of mine. Great fun – and more exciting than the ATV’s we go out on in Thailand.

In the dunes
In the dunes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As soon as Miss Tim arrives back here – we’ll both beheading back there for sure. Aswell as Quads, they have the 2 seater buggies too. Even better. I’ve not seen the dirt bikes yet, but if they’re here – I’ll have some of that too.

Every now and then we come across an event which is a little different to what we’re used to. My buddies and I tend to just hit the bars and clubs and get wasted. So it was a nice change when a pal invited me to a Steak / Whiskey night. A chance to experience some old whiskeys. One of which is 42 years old. The problem is – I am not a whiskey drinker. I’d even go so far as to say I hate whiskey! But what the hell, its an experience so I’ll give it a go. I just hope I don’t end up spitting it out all over the person opposite me.

No Vodka?
No Vodka?

The last time Miss was here she didn’t do much shopping. She spend most of the time just doing some research. Where is everything, how much is it and do I really need/want it. It’s no easy job being a shopaholic. One thing she never noticed, which I stumbled across in the Dubai Mall the other day was this…

I found gold.
I found gold.
People will buy any crap.
People will buy any crap.

 

A vending machine for gold. Selling those little amulet things. Not really my thing. I did see on the news some time ago a vending machine that sold small gold bars. Much more preferable to these ugly looking things. The only people I have ever seen wearing this stuff are old grannies in seedy little bars in Washington Square.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meeting up at the weekend with GamblinMan and Lomeo. Jonas is now in Sweden – so I guess we’ll have to venture out with out our sleeping comrade. The usual Nana trek will have to be done of course. Wonder if there is any changes? Wonder if the prices have risen? Wonder if the girls are the same? Wonder if we’ll actually give a shit?

My two biggest gripes here are the smoking and the driving. Again, I use the UK as a benchmark, so anything less than the standard there in my opinion is below standard. Why is it, when people are in a bar smoking, when they exhale – they don’t blow it in the air, or in front of them, they turn their head and blow it my way?!? ASSHOLES. I have lost count of the times I’ve had to tell someone to stop blowing smoke at me. It’s not come to blows yet, but I don’t rule it out. The same with driving, it’s only a matter of time before some useless twat drives into me.

Right, time to get the washed and respectable – ready for my night of whiskey.

Next report will be from Bangkok!

Carry on..