– 100 Reasons to Love This Place
April 12th – After a quick nap and some Sangsom Cokes for the road at The Tavern, I grab a Tuk Tuk and head up to Soi Cowboy for my date with a steak dinner at Cactus Club. I arrive sometime after 8:00 PM, the festivities already in full swing. I manage to snag a bench seat along the side wall with a table in front to hold my food. I look around to see what’s on offer, and do a double take as I see what the evening’s fare will be.
Instead of grilled beef, ol’ Cactus John has laid on an American Thanksgiving-style spread; roast turkey breast, half a baked chicken, potatoes and gravy, stuffing, devilled eggs, cranberry sauce, and sweet potato pie and whipped cream topping for desert.
My first thought was, “WTF?” My second thought, immediately following the first, was, “C’mon, Mamasan, where’s mine already!”
The dinner turned out to be home-made and outstanding quality, as Cactus John’s meals always tend to be. But one thing struck me in the midst of consuming my repast – I’m eating what has got to be one of the best T-Day dinners I’ve had in my life, a meal usually reserved for Christian celebrations in certain Western countries, and here are some of the prettiest young ladies dancing and cavorting about buck naked not two arms lengths away from me! One even sits down next to me during dinner and lets me play grab-ass with her while I eat.
And you know what? The more I ate, drank (and grab-assed) and thought about it, the more I liked it. I’m thinking naked ladies wandering around during Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners should be a THING in the West from now on! Maybe if Trump gets elected…
Unfortunately, between the heat, the humidity, the L-Tryptofan in the birds, and my body still dealing with the sunburn from Pattaya, I was so weak and bloated I just went home and crashed from there. I took a doggie bag home with me and had that and some Chang beer I grabbed from the lobby refrigerator at 2:00 AM the next morning. On the ride in from Ekkamie and during both Tuk-Tuk trips to Cowboy, saw a bunch of girls and farangs getting a jump on Songkran in front of the bars out front of Nana Plaza.
April 13th – It’s 6 AM and already I can hear the screeches and screams of the Songkran revellers. I got cleaned up and dressed, and headed out. Started the day by walking up and down Soi 4, looking at all the new places that were built while I was away, and just enjoying the peace of the morning. Bought a pair of beach sandals and got extra plastic bags for my stuff I carry. Already had my safety strap for my glasses. “All geared up for Songkran.” Took care of some internet stuff, then off to The Tavern for lunch and many Sangsom Cokes while I watched the Great Bangkok Songkran Floor Show.
WOW! What a party Songkran is turning out to be! Lots of craziness in the streets with supersoakers, drunken farangs in wetsuits, a homeless Thai girl in her underpants, Middle Eastern farang ladies in their haqibs with their fronts wet (giving me a Muslim-fundamentalist version of a wet T-shirt contest), and the occasional gate arm crashing down on some drunken idiot’s head when they try to throw it out of the way and walk under it at the Nana Hotel parking lot. I was especially intrigued by the way some farang tourists bought supersoakers and rented a Tuk-Tuk to create instant Songkran gunships. At one point, I saw three of them in formation dodge back and forth down Soi 4 to make strafing runs on knots of revellers in front of the bars the revellers had staked out positions at.
So anyway, after 6 or 7 drinks and one drunken attempt to “fix” a malfunctioning barstool I was sitting on, I decided now was a good time for dinner. I had been meaning to get some grilled steak from somewhere, and The Tavern was as good a place as any to order some. Unfortunately, it was one of the few disappointments about the bar, the steak being tough and stringy. Probably from all the walking the water buffalo had to do from daddy’s farm in Isaan to Bangkok. I’m thinking that, for future reference, The Tavern is a good breakfast and lunch hangout, but I should seek dinner elsewhere.
April 14th – On a sadder note, I stopped in Hillary Bar 1 around lunchtime to see if an old bartender from Morning & Night named Jang was still working there. The girls I talked to informed me that she had passed away several years earlier. Really bummed out to hear about it. They also said that Nuk, the former DJ from Morning and Night, had also moved up and would be DJ’ing at 5 PM. After I napped and rested up at my hotel that evening, I returned to Hillary Bar to meet Nuk. He remembered me right off. I got us shots, and we drank to Jang’s memory and reminisced about the old days. I told him to never stop being cool, then I grabbed the little guy and hugged him in front of all his Thai hangers-on to totally embarrass him. A little joking to put some levity in the tragic situation.
The last time I was at Soi Cowboy, I had promised one of the dancers at Cactus that I would meet her again, so I hopped another Tuk-Tuk to Soi Cowboy. After a few more drinks, and some grab-ass play between me and the girls, I took my barfine back to the short time hotel along Soi Asok and got (drumrolllllllll – TISH) #100 – Dear. She was the most active, most excited, and nicest of the dancers at Cactus from what I saw. She wasn’t too skinny or too fat, just a little shorter than my eye level, no obvious signs of post-op ladyboy, a good grasp of English, cheery perky attitude, and a tiger in bed. And I finally got to finish one off with a BBBJ! Dear indeed, the only deer in the headlights that night was ME! A fitting finale to a run of 100 scores over a career of mongering. Having been scammed multiple times for ride fares this trip out, I decided to walk back down Sukhumvit to Soi Nana.
On the way, there were no troubles with ladyboys, no stop-and-frisk by any of Bangkok’s Finest, no harassment by drunken yobs – just a nice, quiet saunter down a Bangkok avenue made cool by the night winds evaporating all the water puddles left over from the Songkran deluge.
Had an Asahi at what was once Big Mango Bar/Hollywood Inn in the plaza. I paid with a 100 Baht note, and was supposed to get 20 Baht back as change. I went to open the little leather folder it was in, and the wind picked up at that moment and blew my change onto the roof below me! Assuming the rains haven’t washed it away by now, if you are caught 20 Baht short while in Nana Plaza, there’s a spare 20 on the roof of Lucky Luke’s. Try not to spend it all in one place!
Then, it was back to Soi Mango to buy a round of drinks for the girls at the No Name Bar. A nice end to a good lay, a good day, and a 100-victory campaign. Next two days are about getting my affairs in order: paperwork, pack, do my taxes (I took the forms with me in case I got bored or insomnia), maybe hit a couple of restaurants I’ve been meaning to try but never had the time to. Then, it’s off to Swan-Boom for the “Ride Back to Reality”.
April 15th – Paperwork done, all my bags packed, and even some money left over from my emergency funds, I stepped over to No Name to get some dinner and hang out with the girls. Got some stir-fried calamari and asparagus, with some chicken fried rice on the side to share with Tik. After dinner, I ordered another Beer Lao and lit up a fat Cuban cigar.
More bus-loads of Chinese tourists were working their way up Soi Nana, on the way to the hotels at the end of the Soi. I didn’t really think about them much until I saw some tourists, men and women, hauling wheeled luggage down Soi Mango on the way to one of the hotels further down the alley. I noticed that they weren’t Farang, or so I thought. I asked Tik who they were.
“Those Chinese tourists,” she replied.
So they were Farang, just not Western. Tik told me that Chinese tourists would sometimes stay on Soi Mango if the big hotels were overbooked. I found this sort of interesting in that there apparently WAS plenty of tourist numbers coming into Thailand. They just weren’t coming to the night entertainment venues like us Western bad boys like to frequent. I half wondered what that would do to the futures of Patpong, Nana and Cowboy, then my mind turned to other things.
As I sipped my Beer Lao, I thought back to the way my last trip over to Bangkok ended. I can remember it as if I opened the saved MS Word document with my trip report yesterday…
While waiting for the gates to open, I glanced down at one of the side-walk bars on the odd side of Sukhumvit. The sky was light enough now for me to see the Thai girls there dancing around the cart and out into the street. I couldn’t tell if they were working there, or if they were bargirls out partying after hours. Or maybe just local office girls having fun before work. All I could tell was that these ladies, these Angels of the City of Angels had not a single care in their hearts. And while looking at them, I couldn’t shake the feeling that this was the last time I would ever gaze at such a sight.
I brought my mind back to the present. The weather was perfect. The food was delicious. The cigar was first class. The beer was cold, tasted great, and a lot cheaper than the watery American swill that cost me $5 a pop deep in the north-eastern US rust belt. The people were friendly and interesting. I had taken the precaution of having a bank officer leave a digital note in my account that any activity on my card from overseas was me and to not cut my card off, so I had no money access problems this time out. The sex was simply 100%! And I was going back to the World that had an economy that was, arguably, getting better. I decided there and then that this a MUCH better thunder run through Thailand than the last one had been. Life was good!
POSTSCRIPT April 16th – It was 0-dark something or other in the morning. I was standing in front of the bank window at Swan-boom getting the last of my Baht converted back to US Dollars. I wasn’t much paying attention to how much I had left, just that I wanted to convert Baht to Dollars to avoid having to do so back in the States (I was landing at JFK in New York, but my connecting flight was in Newark, New Jersey [thus the reason for the heavy discount on my airfare], so I needed to get as much out of the way as possible before I hit the States, in case there was a balls-up with ground transportation). As the lady behind the glass handed over the bills, I noticed that the LED display on the cash counter read ‘$200’. To be sure, I counted out the bills to verify the display.
“Hmm,” I murmured to myself, “200 even.” I wondered if it was a sign, an omen, a cosmic invitation to not stop now. Could it be that the night gods wanted me to push my luck, and my score up to 200? Could it be that this isn’t the END of my mongering adventures, but only the end of the BEGINNING?