Welcome to my website. Unlike the universe, this website has a purpose: 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 vouchers worth at least 3,000 baht in food and drink, i.e., 500 baht each, from Larry's Dive, The Londoner, The Old Dutch, Electric Blue, The Big Mango 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. Second prize is one of my books or else a 500-baht book gift voucher from Dasa Books.
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).
As you know, the flagfall of a Bangkok taxi is 35 baht, under one US dollar. In New York City where I lived for 14 years it is US$2.50 and as the taxi moves or as the taxi is stuck in traffic the fare goes up very quickly. There is also a charge at night of US$.50 and a charge of US$1 during 4-8 p.m. weekdays, I think it is. Getting across Manhattan by cab is increasing an activity for the well off or for the inebriated. So remember to be grateful for cheap transportation here in Bangkok. Truth to tell, I don't know how some of these guys in Thailand can still make a living without increasing the price of a ride.
I mentioned before that the Nataree Massage Parlor on Rajadapiset has some lovely ladies. Of course you probably have your own favorite for having a rubdown but this massage parlor is a good one, especially if you like sweethearts such as the lovely one at left. Her mom called while I was in the room and the girl didn't take the call so I said don't mind me go right ahead but she said the TV was on and her mom would hear it so I said well honey chile turn off the TV but she said then it would be too quiet because her mom thinks she works in a restaurant and there should be lots of noise around so I was going to offer to make some noise but then I thought well OK whatever. The girls here are 2,000 baht for two hours but the superstars (as in the picture) make 2,300 baht. Which puts them at a higher price than those at Chao Phraya II on Sri Ayudhya Road where they are 1,900 or 2,000. But I would say it was worth it. Oh, yeah. And I also asked her if there had been any accidents of customers slipping on the wet floor when they get out of the tub and she said, sure. She also had two minor slips herself. So, again, verily I say unto thee: When thoust exit from thine bath, be careful! If you end up in Bumrungrad Hospital all the nurses will giggle whenever they see you because they'll know you slipped and hurt yourself in a massage parlor.
The other night I had a lovely Entertainment Provider in for the evening. All went well until I noticed of the three pillows on the bed she had taken mine, which is larger and fluffier. She also rolled over enough during the night that she had most of the covers. Then after she left in the morning I heard a crash from the bathroom and saw that she had hung her large wet bath towel on the door hook. That hook is not meant for anything heavy; only for light garments such as bras and panties. I probably should have put up a sign. Anyway, taking my pillow, taking my blanket, and messing up my hook irritated me at first but then I started chuckling. I mean, if I lived in middle America or in middle England or some such lugubrious place I would have crawled on broken beer bottles for a chick like that. And here I am pissed off because she used my pillow, wrapped herself in my blanket and made me take a minute to put up the hook again. Are we who are smart enough to live in Asia spoiled or what? ;-)
David Novak, owner of Erotica and Erotica VIP (AKA Students a go go), now owns both the upstairs and the downstairs of that often-in-the-news bar. David originally rented the upstairs from a Thai but when the upstairs had far more customers than downstairs there was trouble. So David wisely bought both upstairs and downstairs. The upstairs girls are a younger crowd than the "older" downstairs girls, although the downstairs girls are about in their early 20's. There are some cute young women at this bar and also more than a few ladyboys. I said before I dislike hetero bars which employ ladyboys, and I still do, but at least in this bar the policy is to tell the customer before he barfines the ladyboy to ensure that he knows what he is doing; so that seems fair enough to me except that if a customer didn't know, then he has wasted his time and money and might feel a wee bit embarrassed. In fact, David mentioned that at least three Japanese customers asked if he had any ladyboys. He suggested they try the ladyboy bars but the Japanese wanted "cut" ladyboys. As a result, he employed a few cut ladyboys and all is well with his Japanese clients. Although why anyone would want a cut man rather than a real woman seems strange to me but no doubt my tastes would seem strange to the fat-wallet fellows from the Land of the Rising Yen. During the last Japanese holiday, bars such as Baccara and Erotica VIP, that is, those who have girls dressed as students, were absolutely packed.
From the "I thought I was weird department": There is a fellow who has spent his life tracking down the graves of baseball players and has the slogan: "The Deadball Era: Where every player is safe at home." He has a book out and a website. Check this out: http://www.thedeadballera.com. I was thinking of doing a cemetery book on mamasans who have passed on but inasmuch as Buddhists cremate, it might be difficult.
Of course it had to happen: During the Songgran festival foreigners objected sometimes violently to having buckets of water thrown on them. My opinion: In general, if foreigners are not smart enough to leave the country they may as well resign themselves to getting drenched because that is how it is. However, in a case in Pattaya a British man was carrying a child so he asked a Norwegian guy and his girlfriend not to throw the water but they did so the guy hit the Norwegian guy in the face and the Norwegian guy called the cops and wants charges pressed. It sounds to me like charges should be pressed against the Norwegian guy for showing lack of manners and common sense.
Here is the lovely "Golf" working hard at the Londoner Pub, sukhumvit, soi 33. At first I thought she said her name was "Gop" (frog) but, no, it is Golf, although I don't know why and I don't know if she plays golf or not. But don't you love it when a 22-year-old looks several years younger?
In its review of The Da Vinci Code movie, the New York Times critic referred to the film as "the adaption of Dan Brown's best-selling primer on how not to write an English sentence." Don't you love it when critics are clever and spot on?
And if you live in Thailand you will be aware that Christian fanatics, claiming to represent far more Christians than they did, almost got the movie censored in Thai cinemas. They actually got the censorship board to approve cutting the last ten minutes of the film, to change subtitles, to add some scriptures, and to place a "fiction" notice at the beginning and end. Then, perhaps waking up to the growing anger of film fans in a Buddhist country, by a vote of 6 to 5 the censorship board decided not to cut anything but to insert the fiction notices, to change some Thai subtitles, and to pass out leaflets in theaters. As usual, people who want to censor what others can see and read claimed that we might be "confused" and, when that doesn't work, they claim to be "hurt" by whatever it is they are trying to ban. Apparently they aren't bright enough to know that they have simply given more publicity to what they claim to hate. And any work of art that doesn't "hurt" someone might not be worth its weight in used condoms; art is not created to make people feel good, but to challenge cherished beliefs. Not that this book or film is a work of art. Anyway, I sent this letter to the two English language newspapers.
I am outraged that Christian fanatics in Thailand have managed to get The DaVinci Code censored. If people wish to believe in tribal myths and fairy tales, that is their prerogative, but they have no right to stop others from reading and viewing what we like. No one is forced to watch a film they don't like; they could simply stay away. Taking ten minutes from the film is ridiculous and we will simply watch it on uncut DVD's instead of in a theater. How would these fanatics like it if we cut ten pages from the Bible and label all Bibles as fiction?
Of course the obvious hypocrisy here is that when religious fanatics are censored, as in China, they raise holy hell, but if they don't like something and they have the power to censor it, they do so. I'm sure there is an appropriate Latin phrase for this idea but as I skipped Latin classes we'll have to let that go. I've seen the movie at Sukhumvit, soi 61. Boooooooring.
Can you believe that while I was in Manhattan recently, guys were handing out these cards, and apparently thought that I was one of those types who would go into such an establishment. (How did they know?) But, not to worry, I resisted. Had I not been on my way to see a play and had I wanted to waste a lot of money and got nothing for it I might have succumbed. But I knew in less than 96 hours I would be back in Thailand so NY Dolls and Private Eyes will just have to find some other sucker.
About a quarter of a century ago, possibly a bit longer, there was a club called the New Flora Club. As I am gradually cleaning out my storage space in Long Island City, NY, I am finding relics from the 60's and 70's in Thailand. Click here to see these.
Is this a sensual beauty from Nakorn Sakorn or Udorn or Surat Thani? Answer: None of the above. This is Bruna, the Little Surfer Girl, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, a 21-year-old demimondaine whose blog has become a cultural phenomenon and who now has a best selling book out about her life as a "program girl," as high-class ladies of the night are known in that country. She came from a middle-class family and, as in many countries, got into prostitution for money and independence, not because she was poor. Well, she can afford lots of Nokias and Blackberrys now.
I recently ventured upstairs again at Baccara Bar on Soi Cowboy. You know, the one with the, um, schoolgirls, so to speak? My two friends and I were the only Caucasians there. The place was literally packed with Japanese. And this was on a Monday night! I guess Japanese men are drawn to schoolgirls the way moths are drawn to a flame. But while business on Soi Cowboy was not bad, it was very bad at Queen's Plaza bars on soi 22. Some of these bars are enclosed with air-conditioning, some are enclosed without air-conditioning and some are open-air. It is impossible to walk past one without one of the ladies asking you in. The bars are fun to stop in, have a drink, shoot some pool, and chat with the girls. Too bad business seems way down in that area.
Did you know there is an expression in Thai jak mon or "distribute pillows." It is used in the sense of "boring" as in: the movie Da Vinci Code was a distribute-pillow movie. Let's hope the lovely ladies of Nana and Soi Cowboy don't refer to our sexual prowess as "distribute-pillow sessions."
Ever since gas in Thailand hit 30 baht per litre the four-wheelers (Daihatsu, Subaru) I use have been running out of gas. It has happened twice in the last week. In one case the driver immediately got out and stopped a motorcycle rider and asked him to take the bottle he had to the gas station and have it filled. He gave him 20 or 40 baht. Fifteen minutes later the stranger did in fact come back with the bottle full of gas. The driver then proceeded to place a rubber hose into the tank and the other end into the bottle and through a small crack in the bottle he blew the gas into the tank. In the second incident the driver had extra gas in a bottle and used a bit of heavy paper to funnel the gas into the tank. If I'm not mistaken, in the States you have to have a special red can to get gas or else it is illegal, not to mention dangerous. I know sooner or later horrible things may happen the Thai way, but it is nice not to be in the States where everyone is overprotected and everything is overregulated. Not to mention over-litigated.
Speaking of regulations, when I watched the VCD of Memoirs of a Geisha, every time someone lit a pipe, there had been some attempt to filter the pipe out. Of course, the smoke could be seen and the pipe as well. The blurring just looked stupid. In other VCDs I have seen cigarette smoking blurred over the cigarettes. Who is doing this? Where? In Thailand? Some puritanical Thai bureaucrat with too much time on his hands? Apparently so. And it is done to the drinking of alcohol as well.
Here is the lovely Min at the Lookie Lookie bar, Sukhumvit, soi 33. You may recall that her twin sister, Mot, works at the CK Sports Bar, formerly known as the Shamrock. Mot means "ant" and Min doesn't seem to have an English translation.
Isn't there any kind of end to the soccer season? I mean in American football and baseball and basketball there are periods of the year when they aren't playing. But whenever I go into a Bangkok pub or bar, whatever time of year, up on the screens and TVs are the usual hideously overpaid half-men half-children with IQs of dying breadfruit trees attempting to kick balls into nets. Isn't there a period of year when those of us who prefer women to sports can enter a pub or bar with a soccer-free environment? If I had some money, I would open the first soccer-free pub in Thailand. And what happened to Hooters? I thought they were opening in Bangkok. They are opening or did open in Shanghai, but apparently dropped their insistence on large mammary glands; you know, the kind that proceed the lady who owns them by about 15 minutes.
Another thing on sports. When I was a lad with an automobile, my understanding was that an automobile was created not for fast driving, but rather was something one coaxed a young lady into. That was the true purpose of a car, not how fast it could go. So when I see racing cars going around a race track again and again and again - I don't get it. How do guys like Shumacher expect to pick up a woman if they keep driving around that fast? How could she get in? Somebody should tell him to slow down.
Rumor-Control Headquarters insists "Lek & the Lion" is part of the new show at Angelwitch, Nana Plaza. Yet to be confirmed. Click on the picture and decide for yourself.
I've had some discussions recently with folks about the old question of paying Thai women a certain amount each month when they come to live with us. On the one side, there are guys who say, no way, I wouldn't do that in the States with an American woman so why should I do that here? I'll pay the rent and even give her money for clothes, etc., but I won't pay her to stay with me. On the other side, folks remind us that in the West women have more opportunity to be in a decent paying job, and that if a go go dancer gives up her salary and barfines and payments from casual stays, etc., then it is only fair to pay her each month so she won't be totally dependant on the guy she is living with.
And so it goes. I know guys who pay ten thousand baht a month and guys who spend fifty thousand baht a month. Some who paid only before marriage, some who continue to pay even after marriage. There is no right or wrong here. It just depends on what works for the two of you.
Have you ever noticed one of the quirks of middle-class Westerners around the world is this: It seems if you have been married and divorced then you are considered OK, part of the norm; but if you have never been married, then you are suspect; if not of being gay, at least in being a bit weird. Of course, fifty years ago to be divorced was often enough to place a person in obloquy. Hot damn! I always wanted to use the word obloquy in a sentence. Now I can say been there, done that. Anyway, I've been married and divorced so when I go back to the States, I'm OK. Each society has its quirks and cliches, I guess.
The picture shows some of the many people who attended the funeral of Lt. Colonel Frank Olcott (1926 - 2006) ("Frank" of Frank's Corner, Londoner Pub). Unfortunately, I was in Florida at the time and couldn't attend. Frank's Corner continues but it's not quite the same without ex-Marine Frank sitting at the bar reading a book on World War II by the light of his small lamp and calling the waitresses "Honey," "lovely girl," and, with raised glass, saying "Happy, happy." Picture was taken 5 April 2006 at the Buddhist Wat Ta Thong at soi 63, Sukhumvit Road. Little Frankie is in the white shirt foreground. Behind him, His wife Khun Supap holds the American funeral flag.
What can one say about the Texas Lone Star Saloon in Bangkok's Washington Square? Quite a lot, actually. True, the bars of Washington Square are an acquired taste. And there is some truth in the saying that the area is more part of America than part of Thailand. But there is a lot more to it than that and if this were a shopping center I would say the Texas Lone Star Saloon would be called the "anchor store." Once located on Patpong and known as the Texxan, the Lone Star attracts those who like fun times and fun women. And those who don't mind a brawl or two.
The other night when I walked in there were just two other guys and only four women. But soon the liquor and ladies drinks and bullshit were flowing, the music changed abruptly from Charlie Daniels's The Devil went Down to Georgia to Morlam northeast Thailand music, girls started dancing, girls started stripping and well, despite the small gathering, it was a very lively evening. Truth to tell, there seemed to be a debate among the girls over whether or not the music should be called Laotian or Issan and, again, truth to tell, the "girls" in the Lone Star are a mite older than the girls at Nana or Soi Cowboy.
But what I like is the way we BS one another. Because the men and women in there have seen quite a bit of life and they take nothing and no one seriously. One special moment to remember: One of the girls kept saying she was a "shy girl" and covering her face with the lower part of her dress. But in order to do that she of course had to lift up her dress and reveal not a little. Ah, yes, the Lone Star....
One of the things I've learned in life is this: when there is a holiday and the bars are closed do not answer the phone. Because when the bars are closed some of the dancers head back home upcountry while the rest are stuck in Bangkok. And of course those stuck in Bangkok would like to make a bit of money over the holidays and so, scraping the bottom of the barrel, they give me a call asking if they can come over. Well, sir, my mama didn't raise no fool. I know that if I say yes, sooner or later, there'll be some goin's-on in the bedroom and I'll have to deal with a passionate, hot-to-trot woman and I'll most likely have to...uh, remind me again: why don't I answer the phone?
From the Mail Bag
from a German feminazi's readers letter to a Pattaya publication: "What do our men see in these women, except their constant willingness to copulate"? Thought you might enjoy that one! Regards, Alfons
Alfons, many thanks, but surely you don't imagine for a moment that I am small enough as an individual to revel in the discomfort of a German feminazi? ;-) The poor dear probably doesn't understand that when a man's female companion has constant headaches in bed precluding her participation in nocturnal events, then said man might seek out "these women"? The idea that there could be a lot more to it than that has also escaped her notice and no doubt will forever escape her notice so let her be happy in her unhappiness.
Did you know that prostitution is legal in Singapore but the prostitutes must come from abroad; never Singaporean. Did you know in Germany it is exactly the opposite? Prostitution is legal but the Entertainment Providers must be German. If I were a smarter fellow I could write a thesis on what this says about how each society sees itself.
What gives the Old Dutch Corner at Soi Cowboy such atmosphere? Sure, it is dimly lit, and lots of wood, and lots of old pictures on the wall, etc. But what I really like about the place are the subdued conversations all around me. Foreign men several years older than their Thai female companion are speaking in low voices and leaning toward each other. I suppose the conversations are about the usual love/money subjects, but sometimes when I hear all those intimate whisperings around me, I think I am in some kind of spy movie.
I am happy to say P.J., manager of Lucky Lukes, is out of the hospital and looking well. And as anxious as ever to get on with it. I spotted him at Lucky Lukes sitting next to none other than the notorious, legendary Farangman of Nanapong.com (to P.J.'s left). Farangman has been instrumental in bringing go go contests to the Bangkok bars. Three cheers for the cheerful fellow. Alas, he is so busy now there are no new go go contests scheduled. Any takers?
I have a notice from Democrats in Bangkok that some chick who traveled with and for Hillary Clinton will be appearing at some get together and among other subjects will be talking about "women's empowerment." So, in other words, you can vote democratic and vote for a party in which white, heterosexual males are often seen as an enemy, or you can vote for the frat boy, religiously inclined, George Bush, who probably couldn't find Cambodia on a map even with his daddy's help. Some choice. We need a new political party.
What I dislike about feminists and feminazis is that even when women have equal or more than equal rights or power in any field, they never admit it. For example, of the college entries in the USA, 58 per cent are female. But feminists act as though it is still tilted against them. And last time I saw the statistics, eight times more money was being spent on trying to find a cure for breast cancer than for prostate cancer, even though almost the same numbers of men and women die of their respective diseases. I would just like for once to hear a woman say, yes, women have more than their fare share in (name the field) and perhaps it is time to pay more attention to (or give more research money to) men.
How about these downpours? I was caught on soi 23 at a nice Thai restaurant quite a hike or rather wade from Soi Cowboy. By the time I made it to Cowboy my trouser cuffs and shoes were soaked. Soi Cowboy itself didn't do too badly; just some water at the top end near the Old Dutch Corner to wade through. And this is just the beginning of the rainy season. Aiiyaaah!
Links You Might Enjoy
A video of a five-minute walk down Soi Cowboy. Click here and then click "preview videos."
Like satire on Thailand? Try
Like to know what music is playing where in Bangkok each week? Try http://www.bangkokgigguide.com.
Like to know more in depth about what music is playing where in Bangkok each week? Try this great site:
Tired of shoveling snow? Check out Bangkok's sunshine.
Bangkok's weather report.
A great site for listening to Thai Morlan music and other folk music of Southeast Asia.
A bit of black leather never hurts. But she does.
Our Lady in Black
Like to learn a bit about retiring in Asia?
Maps of all the provinces of Thailand
Links You Might Not Enjoy
T-Shirt Hell: for lovers of very black humor only.
Politically incorrect rants and raves from Uncle Fred.
Do you have a product or service you would like to advertise on this website? You can, you know. In fact, you don’t have to have a product or service at all; you can just send me money. Or perhaps you would like me to plug a product or service that you are involved in? Sure, just send me cash. Be sure, however, to mark the outside envelope:
“Birthday money for Dean Barrett –
Absolutely No Bribe Enclosed”
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.
Answer to last week's contest: Paco's Story by Larry Heinemann, National Book Award winner and a great novel. He also wrote Close Quarters, one of the best books on the Vietnam War. No one got the answer so first to guess this column's question will receive 6,000 baht worth of vouchers in food, drink, wine, women and song. Second prize gets 500-baht worth of books at Dasa Cafe. Third prize winner gets the special Nada-zip prize. Start your engines. Where was this picture taken?
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!" And, remember: nothing says goodbye like a bullet.
Dean Barrett can be flamed at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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