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).
I went to the USA July 4th celebrations this year. It was so far out of central Bangkok (wherever the hell "central Bangkok" is) I thought the bus was heading for Pattaya. Speaking of which, Walking Street Pattaya wouldn't be a bad venue for this celebration because, as it is, the affair is very, very, very heavily oriented toward Americans with kids. But what about us bachelors? Aren't we Americans too? Shouldn't there be something there for us? Why not a beautiful Thai movie star in a booth and tickets sold for charity? The winner gets to have all-expense paid dinner with her. Or something like that. It just seems to me that little kids getting their faces painted and folks tossing eggs shouldn't be the most exciting things at something like this. Anyway, the company was good and the beer was cold. Here are a couple of pictures. The duck-your-head, egg-tossing event and a cute magician who seems to be cleverly scamming some little kid out of her life savings.
I forgot to close my cellphone and it rang this morning at 9:20. Nine-twenty for those of us on bargirl hours is the middle of the *&%#@ night! Who was it? AIS, of course. Some idiot ad in Thai, and, anyway, I don't read Thai. Doesn't Taksin own AIS? If so, he owes me an apology.
World Cup is over, thank God, and that should help go go bars pick up business because during some of these rainy nights during this slooow season, except for the sounds of music, some of the bars are quiet as a tomb. Where have all the customers gone, long time passing...
OK, I don't mean to come across like the Ancient Mariner but listen to my tale, anyway. Three tales, actually. When I got back from Cambodia my computer no longer "found" my modem. So I called a friend who knows computers and he went through it with me over the phone and said it seems to be gone but as he was heading for Fortune IT (on his way back from a massage parlor) he would pick up a modem for me, come over, and install it. Apparently, when I had been in Cambodia one of the storms sent some lightning to my area and that took care of my modem. Which was stupid of me because in the closet I had a UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) pack or kit or whatever it is called but had been too lazy to install it. Anyway, my friend hooked that up and, sure enough, a few days later, lightning struck nearby knocking out all electricity in the area for awhile and my UPS started making sounds like an Issarn girl whose had far too much somtam. But as long as it beeped, it did its job, and my modem was saved. So wherever you live, if you don't have UPS hooked up, get it! It's cheap, it's easy to connect, it's not a luxury item.
Second warning: Three times in the last two months, I have found bugs in my cereal (although not quite as large as the ones in the picture). No, no, don't get paranoid, I'm not talking about electronic bugs but the other kind. The first time I figured they crawled in from my shelf. But the last time I carefully opened a sealed package of Kellogg's Muslix and looked carefully before consuming and sure enough brown bugs about the color of the cereal were there. How bugs survive in sealed containers I know not, but do check your cereal very carefully. Especially living in hot and humid climates. Or, of course, you could give up cereal. And come to think of it this being Thailand maybe the bugs were meant to be there.
Third and last tale. Do you remember the scene in the Sting with Robert Redford? The ole Brown Bag sting? Well, this sting is alive and well in Bangkok and several Thai women have fallen for it. It goes something like this: You are minding your own business inside a shopping maul, for example, and somebody asks if you saw a bag she lost, because it had lots of gold, etc., inside it. You haven't. That somebody disappears and suddenly someone who has in fact found the bag appears and says they found this bag, is it yours, nope, so they have to turn it in. But someone else appears suggesting you all split it but by showing good faith you all have to contribute valuables, money, etc., to one another, or something like that. So as with most scams they prey on your greed. So a friend of mind handed over her watch, money, card, etc., and was literally left holding the bag. A heavy bag with sparkling gold on top of what appeared to be gold below. The weight came from worthless coins and the women, the scammers, were nowhere to be found. Now you may think this could never happen to your Thai wife or girlfriend but believe me according to the Thai police it is happening now inside Robinsons, Emporium and many other places. So warn them about this scam! Police say they are very clever and even though seen on some store videos the police have yet to catch them.
There was a young girl in my glass
Who had a most curvaceous ass
I couldn't help but think
To put a girl in my drink
Showed the bar had a great deal of class.
A 32-year-old New Zealand English teacher was stabbed to death at his own Bangkok apartment recently by a 29-year-old Thai friend of his 19-year-old Thai girlfriend. The three were drinking together waiting for a World Cup match. Apparently the Thai wanted to sleep with his girlfriend so the teacher asked him to leave. The drunken Thai dragged the girl outside the room and the men fought and the Thai guy stabbed the teacher. Needless to say, the Thai "fled the scene." Watch yourself in Thailand, lads, especially when Thai men are in their cups. An amiable atmosphere can turn suddenly violent and there seems to be a gun or knife always available. My advice: If you must watch sports with your girlfriend, don't invite other men of any race to join you. And what about the Canadian chick who pumped three .38 slugs into her husband? Here in Thailand! Where did she get the .38? As for farang guys jumping off balconies in Pattaya, it would be faster to list the ones who didn't jump (or were pushed) than the ones who did.
Rumor-Control Headquarters says that Asia Books has closed down its publishing operations entirely. Some time ago, they stopped publishing fiction, now it is said they will stop non-fiction as well. That will leave them with retail stores and distribution. As they used to be.
When I was writing Skytrain to Murder I interviewed Warren Olson, a Kiwi detective in Thailand. He was very helpful in answering questions, describing ways of getting information, etc. He is now back in Kiwiland but Stephen Leather has written up some of Warren's cases he had in Thailand in a soon-to-hit-the-market book: Confessions of a Bangkok Private Eye. I recognize all three on the cover which may mean I have been in this town too long.
I see the Catholic Church is threatening to excommunicate folks who engage in stem cell research involving embryos. As I said in The Go Go Dancer who Stole My Viagra, if stem cell research - embryonic or otherwise - will in any way help me maintain an erection in old age then as far as I'm concerned they can experiment on children up to the age of 12. Life begins at puberty! I am tired of religious fanatics, Muslims, Christians, etc., feminazis, healthnazis, word police, thought police, puritan nut cases, etc., etc. As Whore House Charlie used to say: "The more people I meet, the more bullets I need."
Happy staff at the Londoner Pub wearing new uniforms. I love the red crosses on the shoulders. I feel like I'm surrounded by nurses.
Overheard in a Bangkok bar: "If all the bargirls from Nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy were laid end to end - it wouldn't surprise me a bit."
Ah, chat rooms: where men are men, women are men, and children are FBI agents.
"...And the end of the flight; is a tombstone white; with the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear: A fool lies here; who tried to hustle the East." Rudyard Kipling
Can you believe what little faith bar owner's have in my ability to handle go go dancers whom I might barfine? They apparently worry that a man of my age might not be able to do the nasty without having a heart attack or something. Here's the quickly scribbled note from the owner of Playschool a go go who noticed I was sitting with a dancer and worried about what would happen if I were to take her out: "Dean, I won't be responsible if you hurt yourself." Ah, ye of little faith; besides, as everyone knows, writers never indulge in the sensistic impressions of the phenomenal world.
The Facility. OK, now remember, you heard this here first. Shocking but here it is: A friend of mine has a prostrate problem and he went to Bumrungrad Hospital. The doctor needed to have a semen sample so they gave my friend a vial and sent him to the third floor way down the hall next to the delivery room. A hospital worker gestured for him to enter, giggled, and disappeared. Inside the room was a battered Playboy magazine, a European porn movie on the video, and a sexy painting on the wall. Yes, folks, this is how modern medicine goes after a sample of your semen. And, according to my friend, when he got the bill for tests, etc., there was a charge of baht 110 for "the Facility." So now you know: if you don't have enough money for the Eden Club or the Nataree massage parlor, you can just stop by Bumrungrad Hospital and head for The Facility.
From time to time I am asked by frustrated language learners if I can explain the tonal system in Thai. It does seem to baffle people so let me try to explain it: There are five tones in Thai. Which tone you use depends on the time of year as well as the time of day. For example, you might use a rising tone on a word at nine in the morning during the rainy season, but that same word would require a falling tone at five in the afternoon during the dry season. Of course, which tone you use would also depend on the sex of the speaker (for purposes of language, ladyboys are male or female depending on whether or not they have had the operation, so it is easier to address them correctly if you know). I hope this helps.
Police in Australia have their hands full trying to contain rioting when Aussie readers learned that Murder at the Horny Toad Bar was sold out.
From the Mail Bag
On Friday I started the night at “Midnite Bar” and I have to agree with you that I have NEVER seen a fatter and less attractive group of “dancers” on a Go-Go stage. It’s as if the management has made a concerted effort to search out and employ the most hideous women in the country. I quickly retreated to Nana and used the voucher you gave me and ordered the burger at “The Big Mango”. The burger was one of the best I’ve had in Thailand (Thanks again for the voucher). Met the owners, they appear to be good guys. I hope it works out for them. Finished the evening off at “Rainbow 1” which had an unending parade of small, beautiful and fun girls. “Midnite Bar” immediately became a distant memory and all was right in the world again.
Been looking about on your website - and see that you know Bangkok nightlife inside out! Mad question for
you and I realise that you are probably not the person I should be asking, but anyway - don't really know where
else to find this out! I'm from London and recently visited
Bangkok for a week - on my last night
got up close and personal with a bar girl from Lookie bar (not the twin of the one you talk about in your
articles!) - anyway. Ended up receiving unprotected oral from her - and now worried sick that that was a stupid
thing to do and have risked catching HIV etc. etc.
Not being a gogo bar - what is the chances of picking something nasty up from a bar like Lookie? Are the girls
all really as great as they seem - i'd really appeciate your thoughts! (name withheld obviously)
Dear Name Withheld Obviously,
Oh, God, I hope it wasn't the one with long black hair, light brown skin, high cheekbones
and a dazzling smile. Because that is the one I have been warning everyone about. But
not to worry, just go to a bookstore, buy two of my books and call me in the morning.
Thanks, Sean. The film "P" (Ghost) has been on in several countries around the world but is not yet on in Thailand because the distributors have offered very little to the producer in hopes of getting it cheap. I'll put up notice in this column if it is being released in Thailand. I may not be a great actor but I sure made a great corpse.
Dean: Picture from the past: I remember. From the January 1971
Bangkok telephone book:
Bacchus Restaurant, 64-6 Patpong Road
Crystal Palace, 10 Patpong Road
Duke's Coffee Shop, 5 Patpong Road
Derby King Cocktail Lounge, 74 Patpong Road
Gaslight Cocktail Lounge, 34 Patpong Road
Max's Place, 42 Patpong Road
Mizu's Kitchen, 32 Patpong Road
Napoleon Cocktail Lounge, 76 Patpong Road
Patpong Cafe, 60 Patpong Road
Red Door, 40 Patpong Road
Steve, You and me both! And thanks for the shot of Patpong in the Old Days with the Memphis Queen, Grand Prix, etc.
I saw the headline: Crack Found in Foam of Space Shuttle. And I thought, Jesus Christ, these guys are about to go into outer space and apparently that isn't high enough for them so they gotta smoke dope along the way. Then somebody explained it was a crack, not crack. What can I say? For a moment there, I thought I was back at San Francisco State College during the weed-infested riots: On strike! Shut it down! Power to the People!
Muslims are at it again, this time in Turkey, where prosecutors are attempting to imprison a novelist for what one of her characters said in the novel, The Bastard of Istanbul. Under Turkish law anyone in the country can be prosecuted for speaking out against the government.
Yes, business is slow around the bars and the two days of Buddhist holidays in which the bars were closed didn't do much for business either. Nor is the rain helping. It is the sloow season and you just may find you are treated a bit better than in the busy season when the bars were full of customers and when you weren't especially needed. And, alas, the government has closed Soi Zero (formerly Buckskin Joe's Village) once and for all. Club A has opened next to the Londoner Pub on Sukhumvit soi 33. What was a bowling alley is now a bowling alley and karaoke club, with a fancy front. If this club makes it to Christmas I'll be surprised. A couple of bars in the Khao San Road area are also closing but not to worry, the restaurants are still full of backpackers and, as I mentioned before, the area - including many of the streets nearby - is becoming an interesting place to visit (see picture). The photograph at left shows the lovely Bam, a waitress at Larry's Dive, Sukhumvit, soi 22. Larry's Dive has been renovating for some time but still offer great ribs. It has closed out the dive shop and may be renamed Larry's in the near future.
This just in: Is Hooters coming to Nana Plaza?! Not exactly, but close. Stay tuned to this column.
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.
to last week's contest: "The photo is from Bayon in Angkor Thom near Siam
Reap (Cambodia). It is the face of a bodhisattva named Lokesvara." Wow, the winner not only got the temple right but named the face as well! Those temples near Siam Reap really are incredible. If you haven't visited them, go! Lots of folks guessed Angkor Wat. Nope. Today's photo: Be the first to tell me where this shot was taken. You must live in Bangkok to claim a prize. 3,000 baht first prize, free book second prize, special diddly-squat nada third prize.
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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