Welcome to my website. In case you're new, you might care to know that the purpose of this site is to offer rants, tirades, opinions and discussion about books on Thailand, give an overview of nightlife in Thailand and, yes, to provide a few news items which might not appear elsewhere. And to have some fun.
Bar, club and restaurant owners who would like to send material on their special events, birthday bashes, anniversary parties, etc., are welcome to do so but please remember men in Thailand are a bit jaded so if you’re just going to offer the usual free gourmet food and free full band entertainment and free beautiful and eager-to-please women, well, the lads have been there, done that. So do try to offer potential patrons something special. ;-)
There is a contest every two weeks when this column appears and the first to answer the question correctly or identify a photograph correctly will receive a free book written by myself and other prizes such as free food and drink from Larry's Dive, The Londoner, The Old Dutch and Bourbon Street Cafe. The prizes will build up in case anyone doesn't win it immediately so the bonanza for the eventual winner could get quite interesting.
I will also add information to a column as I receive it or report on nightlife as I encounter it so check back now and again as there may be much new even within a week or ten days. And please remember a part of all money received from the sale of my books goes to needy Thais (in the form of payment to go go dancers, waitresses and hostesses).
Now here is a woman who tells you right up front what's up. No need to waste time trying. This is how go go dancers used to dress in the 1970's. In those days they actually had enough material to have slogans on their bikini bottoms. These days...well, times have changed. In some bars, you might have to look for awhile before you can find a bikini bottom.
Photo from: The Girls of Thailand (pub. 1980)
I mentioned before that Taffy, owner of Washington Square's New Square One bar, has another bar called the Corner Bar on soi 11 and the Green Route near the Q Bar. I wondered if it was too remote a location and might not make it. Quite the contrary, the business in the area is moving out that way, and in fact couples from local hotels often have a drink in the bar and shoot pool. So the clientele is very different from the one he has in Washington Square. That also means he doesn't need to have more than a few girls on hand. So now I learn that he has had not one but two offers to buy the bar even though he hasn't had it for very long. Next life I hope I am born a (successful) businessman, especially one in the bar trade.
But although I cannot buy a bar, I can play the role of happy punter, which I first played in Thailand in 1966, so at that, at least, I have a great deal of experience. I love buying a handful of ping pong balls in a bar and then simply handing them to a pretty dancer - all of them - and watch the expression of genuine delight on her face. Her friends know she is much admired by whichever customer is doing that for her and the recipient beams a biiig smile. Sweet they are these girls. So how come I tend to go for the less sweet ones? Must be something in my genes (or jeans). The sign at left is of course on Soi Cowboy.
You may have noticed that although I have some sponsors for a nice prize (should anybody be bright enough to win the contests which appear regularly), I do not have any advertisers. This may be because I haven't tried to get any but I wasn't sure. So I asked a friend who knows about these kinds of things and he thought it just might be that advertisers are hesitant to advertise their goods or services on a website that can only be entered by clicking on the picture of a dominatrix.
I can't understand that. I mean, for example, there are lots of ghosts around but nobody is afraid of Casper, the Friendly Ghost. Well, my opening page has Mistress Than, the Friendly Dom. So why should anybody be afraid to advertise by clicking on a friendly dom? People are strange. Maybe I should write a fairy tale for kids, something like DAO, THE FRIENDLY DOM or THE LEGEND OF THE MUKDAHAN MISTRESS or THE LITTLE MISTRESS THAT COULD.
Time, I think, for a Patpong roundup. I seldom get down there these days as I don't like the Night Market, the touts, the tourist-infested bars and the congestion. I'm also never sure which upstairs bars are the ripoff bars and which downstairs bars are the katoey bars. Having said that, Patpong can still be fun.
Starting the evening with a beer in the Madrid is always relaxing. The Madrid, known also for its pizza, began operations in 1969, the year after I left Thailand the first time. It's a quiet place that gets a few tourists but has a lot of locals. Some of the "spooks" have passed away but it is still a gathering place for a lot of Vietnam-War era warriors.
Le Bouchon, the French restaurant on Patpong II, wasn't open until 7 and a friend said that was the place to try. So I didn't have the Madrid pizza and instead walked about the streets like a man in search of a free beer. Finally, it was after 7 and I had a meal at Le Bouchon. The food was good but the white house wine (whatever it was) was really light, not heavy and acidic like most house wines. Excellent. The girls working there are cute. They look like good girls who could be naughty - the best kind of girls. I think they should wear berets. I was the first customer at 7:05 but by 7:35 the place - all seven tables - had filled up. Serge, the owner, takes his food very seriously. He also had an opportunity to expand but refused to do so as he is happy with his restaurant and his life the way it is. A happy man serving excellent food.
I ambled into one of my favorite spots, the Pink Panther. Eight girls dancing on stage. No stunners. I waited for the changeover and eight more girls got up on stage. No stunners. Not much enthusiasm. But I figured, it was a bit after 8 so too early for a bar to be jumpin and jivin, right? Wrong. Because then I ambled into Electric Blue which was really jumpin and jivin. Suddenly, I had been transported from the world of sleepy Patpong into the world of rambunctious, energetic Pattaya South. Some very attractive girls on stage, double the amount of the Pink Panther; I saw none overweight. Noy, no. 36, was hot to trot. Only complaint might be that the mamasan and girls are a bit pushy for drinks but considering the atmosphere and quality of ladies I think I can tolerate that. I believe some of the girls travel between Electric Blue in Pattaya and Electric Blue in Bangkok. Kind of like on sabbaticals. The one in Pattaya has over 90 girls on stage every night. Andy's new club in Pattaya, Beaver's, features table top dancing.
The Crown Royal next door was of course a quiet drinking spot for older gentlemen as it has been for some time. Except with the music from Electric Blue booming through the wall, it wasn't perfectly quiet. Business seemed pretty good.
Needless to say, I had to try the Kangaroo Bar where I hadn't been for nearly five years. I think the first time I went there was about when they opened 30-odd years ago. I walked up the stairs and was amazed and pleased to see absolutely nothing had changed. The blue movie was still on, several girls made suggestions which I declined but not without buying them drinks, and then I left.
Another place that never changes is Goldfinger's Bar with its unusual phallic symbol on the bar, it "Rock and Roll will Never Die" slogan, and its less than pulchritudinous maidens dancing. This too is an old one.
I skipped the King's Castle/Queen's Castle/whatever castle for another night. I remember some good looking women in some of the bars from my last visit but they were also pushy for drinks. There are also some katoey bars in the group and until I figure out which is which I'll keep clear.
I finished the night off saying hello to Frankie over on what might be called soi 3. It seems to be mainly a gay dead-end lane now, but Frankie is running Noriega's at the end of the lane and it is definitely for heterosexuals as well as folks of other persuasions. He had a live singer and a cute girl named Gip chatted me up at the bar. There seem to be very few restaurants in Bangkok Gip has not worked in or been taken to. A very knowledgeable young lady. Frankie, of course, has been a fixture on Patpong for years having run a Patpong 1 bar in Patpong Road's heyday. And then of course there is always Bobby's Arms, a real old-timer.
So, yeah, Patpong Road can still be an enjoyable night out. But if there were more bars like Electric Blue I might go more often.
Have you ever worried about what happens after you die? Well, I have. I don't mean I'm afraid of death. What I am deathly afraid of is when I die exactly how much detail is incorporated into the notice sent to my parents by the American Embassy in Bangkok. From my lifestyle, it is quite obvious that I will most likely die in bed; and that one or more go go dancers will be in close proximity. And if the American Embassy simply sends notification to my parents announcing something like "We regret to inform you that your son passed away peacefully..." Well, that would be OK. But in my nightmares, I have seen messages from the embassy far more detailed than that. Here from one of those nightmares is the notification of the embassy to my parents in the USA:
Dear Mr. & Mrs. Barrett,
We regret to inform you that on such and such a date your son passed away inside a short time hotel in a notorious bar area of Bangkok. Although we realize this news will come as a terrible shock to you, you may take comfort in knowing that your son did not die alone but was comforted by those he loved.(Please see enclosed invoice from Lek and Noy.)
We are assured by those who knew him that he was well regarded, if not by the entire Bangkok community, certainly by many who knew him inside Nana Plaza and whose bar bills he had settled prior to his decease; and we know you would wish to honor his memory by paying off the four enclosed invoices in full.
The first invoice is for 4,000 baht, that is, 2,000 baht apiece from the two aforementioned young entertainment providers of Nana Plaza, Lek from the Erotica Bar and Noy from Playskool a go go.
The second is for certain items which your son is believed to have rented for the occasion from a club known as Demonia, formerly known as Cave Bar, Sukhumvit Road, soi 33. These items include one leather flogger, one pair of handcuffs and assorted restraints, one braided kangaroo leather whip with horsehair tips, two pairs of leather lace-up bustiers,, black leather lace-up shorts with matching black leather zip-up bras, bootcamp officer uniform including beret and campaign medals, jail bait costume including gingham plaid mini-skirt and pink hair ribbons and various schoolbooks such as Social Responsibility & Massage Parlor Management 101, wet look cleavage dress with slogan “My Sugar Daddy Reads The Big Chilli,” ruby-red ballet slippers with studded insteps and ankle straps, one battery-operated Bill Clinton cigar-shaped vibrator with repeating voice “I feel your pain,” one pair of unisexual handmade nipple clips, two “daddy’s little helper” baby doll fishnet thong teddys with ostrich feather trimming and stretched garter belts, two glow-in-the-dark G-strings, and, finally, two CDs with similar titles but with dissimilar subject matter: The first is Anna and her Sisters. The second is Anna does her sisters. The total amount of this invoice is 9,660 baht. And twelve satang.
Third, there is the invoice for 380 baht from the hotel itself as your son apparently did not pay in advance. According to our sources, your son was allowed to settle his bill after his stays as he was a regular and welcome client at that establishment. The first part of this invoice, that is, 300 baht, is a special frequent guest price for the Gigolo Room, complete with wall and ceiling mirrors, vibrating bed, bag ladies in bondage wallpaper, and short-time shower with rubber hose. The remaining 80 baht charge is for your son’s purchase of four silky smooth, natural rubber, lubricated, deep-ribbed, ultra-sensitive, flare-shaped, latex condoms with reservoir ends, electronically textured for mutual pleasure.
Finally, we include the invoice passed on to us from the Royal Thai Police Force. We regret to mention that the Thai police found that one of the girl’s ID cards was false and she actually was jail bait, that is to say, the girl in question was under legal age according to the laws of Thailand. Your son is therefore being sued posthumously for having had sex with a minor but we are told off the record that if you pay the enclosed invoice of 40,000 baht promptly no further action will be taken.
On a happier note, we are pleased to enclose a gift certificate to the Chao Phraya II Massage Parlor which was found among your son’s possessions. We realize it would now be of little use to your son but perhaps you know of someone planning a trip to Thailand and you could pass it along.
You are no doubt aware that your son left written instructions to the effect that in the event of his passing he should be cremated, and, as this was prepaid, this has been carried out according to his wishes. Unfortunately, the prepaid amount was not quite enough to have your son’s ashes placed within the grounds of a temple, but we think you will be pleased to learn that your son’s ashes are to be auctioned off for charity at the next Nanapong.com go go contest which will be held in Nana Plaza’s Angel Witch bar in the very near future.
Again, we express our deepest sympathy for your loss and please note, regarding your remittance, the exchange rate between the baht and American dollar is now 40.3 to one US dollar.
Very sincerely yours,
Citizen Services Section, American Embassy, Bangkok
Yes, folks, the Eden Club is still there, Sukhumvit 7/1, still offering lovely ladies to fulfill your darkest fantasies. Mark is a happily married man now, remember, and so only tends to business. Speaking of dark fantasies, don't forget, Lolita's has a branch in Pattaya now (soi Diana Inn near Areca Lodge). And there is also a place in Pattaya that specializes in sexy lingerie (Boutique Sexy, soi 33, Pattaya-Naklua Road). If that isn't a sign of a mature town, a town growing up, I don't know what is. Pattaya: From Fish to Fetish. Hey, what a neat title! Far out! as we used to say in the late '60's.
I've decided I'm not a very good investigative journalist. You see, after the Tsunami struck, a German brothel owner in Dortmund at the Happy FKK Club began setting aside five euros (255 baht) of the 39-euro (2,000) baht entrance charge that clients pay for Tsunami victims. The paper said about 70,000 baht had been collected at that time.
So I began to wonder how much they had raised and if it had been delivered and delivered to whom. So I went on the internet and found the Happy FKK Club but the site is in German and I couldn't find any e-mail address. If any reader can read German send them a note and ask about it, would you? I'm just curious who they would turn the money over to and how much they made.
Sign inside the Manhattan shooting range where I used to practice with my .38 Smith & Wesson revolver: "The more people I meet, the more bullets I need."
The lady barber of a friend of mine was excited about going to Europe. Some guy was going to take her for five weeks and they would visit five countries. My friend figured she might hate it, might find it boring, and wish she were back in Thailand. But he shut up and congratulated her. Anyway, she went, came back. How did she like it? "One farang day in Europe like one month!" Yep, sure enough, she was bored to death. Another guy is taking his Thai girlfriend to England during the winter months. He said if it is cold he would buy her a coat. She confided to my friend that if it is cold she "no go outside." 'Nuff said?
"Literature is news that stays news." - Ezra Pound
Another true story: I promised the friend who told me that I wouldn't mention the name of the hotel so let's just say a Sukhumvit Road hotel. They actually have a policy of deciding on the spot whether or not they are going to charge a guest for bringing in a friend for the night. That is, if the guest looks respectable, the guest's friend is not stopped. If he looks scruffy, he is stopped by Security and told to pay a 650-baht joiners fee to allow his friend up to his room.
So the other night, this scruffy guest brought in a friend and Security stopped him and informed him of the joiners fee which the guest duly paid. About 15 minutes after they went up, the friend comes running out of the elevator and out the front door. The next time the elevator descended, the scruffy guest comes out, demanding his money back from the hotel for the joiners fee because the guest was a man not a girl. Needless to say, he did not get his joiners fee back. But he did give the staff a good laugh.
Associated Press: "Two men killed their sister and her suspected lover by slitting their throats in eastern Pakistan, while another woman was killed by a relative in a separate honour killing for refusing to marry a man chosen by her family, police said yesterday." What will it take, I wonder, to bring Muslim men into the 21st century?
Not long ago, Ingrid T, "a freelance writer based in Bangkok," complained about a Thai Channel 3 TV show in which the male presenter was presented as brilliant while the female counterpart (co-host) just said "Ka," and so on and so forth. She claimed that a former female counterpart of the male presenter was fired because she could hold her own and did more than say "chai laew ka" and so on and so forth. So why not hire a dominatrix from one of the fetish bars or houses of domination in Bangkok to be co-host? Dress her in her leather gear and whenever the male co-host tries to talk over her, she can just slam her whip against the table or slap him up side the haid. Now that is a show that would have real ratings!
This press item from the Times of India is too good to miss: "An Indian political party has declared that it will not allow wife beaters to be nominated for office as party candidates. However, the rule will not apply to women who beat up their husbands." Any comment would be superfluous.
I sometimes think I must be getting too old for this world. I have nothing against nudity but these photographers who persuade hundreds of men and women to pose nude in public seem weird to me. I mean, it isn't art and what exactly are these people getting out of taking their clothes off in public? And then you may or may not know that San Francisco has an annual "masturbate-a-thon" in which organizers say they take the event "from the sheets to the streets."
Men and women mingled at a local performing arts center and then "to the strains of soothing new-age music, the men and women, a number of them couples, were shown into rooms for men, women or both. A professor from (where else?) the University of California at Berkeley (who wrote a book called Solitary Sex: A Cultural History of Masturbation) says that "This is an effort to counter centuries of censure, to make masturbation more fun and to make it more accessible."
But wouldn't a psychiatrist point out that masturbation may be more fun precisely because of the censure and the need to keep it hidden? Is it true that everything is more fun if it is carried out in public? Not to worry, these people were "raising money to support the work of a local sex therapy center." Does that mean each masturbator had a sponsor? Somehow I can't see American Express or Microsoft sponsoring people in this. But, hey, whatever floats your boat, right? Someday this kind of thing will no doubt come to Soi Cowboy or Nana Plaza. But with any luck I'll be long gone before that happens.
Contest for this week: As everyone knows, I am a very conservative fellow. As I am from Connecticut (where my former teacher, Ralph Nader, is from) I am easily shocked and outraged. Hence, like everyone else I was simply appalled by the pictures which appeared in the Thai press and the descriptions of some of the hazing activities which were going on. And the fact that I wasn't there. So the contest this week is to be the first to guess which of the following is most likely the fate of the female students in this picture (which of course enlarges when you click on it) and why you think so. Then you win 2,000 baht in prizes and one of my books.
1. They have been transferred to inactive posts.
2. They now do very well indeed working in Chuwit's massage parlors.
3. They now work in the PR office of a well known political party in Thailand.
4. They have found satisfying jobs in the bar scene and now sit in front of soi Cowboy bars holding signs such as "48 Gorgeous Girls & Two Ugly Ones" and "More Girls than You Can Handle."
5. They landed editorial jobs at The Big Chilli magazine.
The answer to the last column's question was Soi Cowboy. Lots of people got it so in the future the contest will have to be a bit tougher.
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Got feedback to this column? Got information on Thailand you would like to share? Happy as a dung beetle to be living in Paradise? Been ripped off? Just write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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That's all for this fortnightly column. Drop by again. Explore the rest of the website. Meanwhile, as the girls used to tell me during the 1960's: "I no lie you, GI, you number one!"
Dean Barrett can be flamed at: email@example.com
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