Thailand Nightlife Roundup

Welcome to my website.  Unlike the universe, this site 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).

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Do all the contestants in the Miss America contest look alike to you too?  I'm not sure if each state has the same idea of beauty or if it is the same use of makeup that makes them all seem alike but watching these women in the contest is a bit scary; like watching a science fiction movie with clones.

A friend of mine overstayed his visa and went to the airport to fly out.  He was taken into that little room which I like to refer to as "Naughty Boy's Corner" after a well-known Soi Cowboy bar.  Anyway, the Chief Immigration Woman added it up and wrote it down and handed him a piece of paper which said: 21,000 baht (200 baht per day).  He said he didn't have that amount on him so he couldn't pay it at that time.  So he didn't fly out but (incredibly!) went back into Bangkok.  So in other words the Immigration Dept. knew he was now in fact an Illegal Immigrant but allowed him to leave and come back into the country.  Am I missing something here or is this a case of TIT (This is Thailand)?

It is a fact: Only the finest people read books written by Dean Barrett.  Be among the "in" crowd.  In a DB book there is something for everyone.  Lek the Ladyboy, taking time out from her busy schedule, says: "I looove Dean Barrett book too much.  They are so sweeeet!  They make me excited.  Except for GRS (Gender Reassignment Surgery) I never been so happy."  Are you tired of books with intelligent plots, well crafted characters, interesting themes, proper pacing and all that kind of useless shit?  If so, buy a Dean Barrett book today.   

Duh.  French police found the skeletal remains of a woman in her 30's and spent two years trying to determine who she was and how she might be linked to current missing persons.  Then somebody got the bright idea of using radiocarbon dating.  Which they did.  Which showed that the woman died sometime between the years 1401 and 1453.  Duh.

Bar Conversations: I met a guy named Doc in the Texas Lone Star Saloon the other day.  He had been the leader of jolly green helicopter units during the Vietnam War and was on his way to Udorn to jump from planes:

 

Me:  I don't like heights.

Him: We don't either.

Me:  Really?

Him: Really.  That's why we wear parachutes.

Me:  Oh.

 

I was sitting with PJ at Lucky Lukes the other night and we noticed the guy selling maps or rather trying to.  I have seen him for years.

 

Me:  Who at Nana Plaza would buy maps and what for?

PJ:  So you can tell where in Bangkok it's OK to wear cowboy hats.

Me:  Oh.

 

 

Customs vary and I am not one to criticize another person's method of trying to win over his ladylove.  But when I'm trying to eat my granola and I come across this: "A lovelorn Bangladeshi chopped off one of his fingertips, wrapped it in gift paper and gave it to the girl he wanted to marry as a token of his love," then I think it may be time to stop reading the newspaper while I'm eating.

 

And then there is the item about the village in India that has a policy to deal with married men who get drunk all the time.  The man is forced to stand in front of the villagers while getting his face slapped five times with his wife's slipper.  Is it just me, or does that seem more than a bit kinky?  And what about bachelors who drink too much?  Do they get to have their face slapped with the slipper of the local Entertainment Provider?  Sounds like a really cool village.  "Far out!" as we used to say in the late '60s.

 

The genial manager of Big Dogs at Nana spied a young Thai lady sitting at his establishment and informed her that she would have to finish her drink and leave (as, quite sensibly, unescorted girls are not allowed to give competition to those who work there).  The girl went over to her friend and the friend informed Walter that she was one of the new girls working there.  Yes, Walter's face was red.  But it's not his fault, really.  He has so many women, some quite attractive, that it's only natural to forget a face or two.

 

And can you believe that the escalator in Nana Plaza was actually working the other night?  Wow.  The Big Mango must be doing well as they have a new manager, Jonas, from Sweden, and have increased the number of main dish pages in their menu from one to two.  Various bars have various activities planned for St. Patrick's Day but it is not true that P.J. of Lucky Luke's will be doing Irish jigs on top of the tables.  In case you missed my late addition to my last column, let me repeat the news: bars in Nana now have the option to stay open until 2am.  The cost for this extra hour to each bar is 10,000 Baht per month.  Bars also have the option to not pay the 10,000 baht but if they want to stay open on a given night they can then pay 200-300 Baht.  This is good news for punters and for bar owners as well.  Between one and two in the morning is when a good part of the bar owner's profit is made.  And punters won't have to go home to bed quite so early.

 

If you thought there was a problem with the American educational system, here is the proof:  A teenager in Utah called the police when his marijuana was stolen from his home.  The police caught a guy and the teenager went to the police station and identified the drugs as those that were stolen.  And so he was promptly arrested.  As the police lieutenant said in the case: "Even the dumb criminals are generally smarter than this."

 

Two beautiful Thai ladies.  Joy on the left used to be a waitress at the Londoner Pub, soi 33.  Mam on the right used to be the Beefeater Girl greeting people at the door AKA Door Goddess.  Believe me, they are missed!  As is the case with all Thai women they are madly in love with me but have yet to realize it.

 

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It is strange when Electric Blue Pattaya, one of the best go go bars, has to close and move to smaller premises but some of the 50 odd others survive.  Of course Electric Blue in Patpong has given new energy to the area but the one in Pattaya - especially the upstairs section - was a lot of fun and frolic.  Angelwitch Pattaya is indeed a very large space and I wish them luck in filling it during the slow season.  They do have sexy dancers sliding down poles from somewhere up in the Stratosphere and the usual excellent shows.  I am only puzzled because while other go go bars have pretty girls standing on the streets with signs to encourage people to come to their bar Angelwitch Pattaya has boys standing on the street with signs encouraging people to come to Angelwitch.  Not meaning to break anybody's ricebowl but what's up with that?

 

I mentioned in a previous column that the firehouses in America are fazing out their fire house poles because too many guys get hurt sliding down them.  So why not send some of the Angelwitch Pattaya go go dancers to America to teach the firemen how to slide down the poles properly.  I am sure Thai go go dancers would go down well in America.  Oops, bad choice of words, methinks.

 

Pattaya was fun as it always is and the scene of Walking Street late on a Saturday night pretty much blew away my friend from L.A.  He did say that he'd love to stay a week on Jomtien Beach as it is quieter and has a bit more class and a better beach.  And Walking Street is just a songtaew ride away.

 

My friend wanted to go to the European Girls Only Club and, although I had my doubts, in we went.  I remembered the cabaret with the mainly Russian girls which had once existed in a lane across the street and thought this might be similar; but something about the place even from the outside with the chick dancing and posing in the window gave me the feeling it was one of those places in which it is easy to lose money fast.

 

Inside, it looked more like a combination of the old Russian Tea Room in Manhattan, a dimly lit Bulgarian brothel and a seedy Ch'ing Dynasty opium den somewhere on the back streets of Nanking.  Men and women sat around a long rectangular room while the girls offered a "dance" etc.  The girl next to me said they are on three-month visas and most are from Ukraine, Russia and Estonia.  I declined her offer of a dance and off she scampered to some guy sitting across the room.  If they only have three months to make lots of money for themselves and for their sponsors, I can understand why they have to hustle.

 

My friend ordered a coke at 90 baht and I ordered a beer for 200 baht.  When the bill came there were two drinks both at 200 baht apiece.  I have also heard the dances are expensive and it costs at least ten thousand baht to take the girls out.  I have to say there were some real dogs there and there were some gorgeous girls there.  But paying for dances and paying Western prices for women and drinks is not something I care to participate in.  And I didn't come to Thailand to seek out Western women so after about ten minutes off we went to a nearby go go bar.   

 

 

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Speaking of go go dancers (and when don't I?) when The Go Go Dancer who Stole My Viagra & other Poetic Tragedies of Thailand came out, I figured people into traditional poetry might not like it.  But, then, comparing some of the titles of my poems to the titles of classic poems reveals that the themes are surprisingly alike or at least that the titles are close enough to in some cases be combined.  For example, Longfellow has a poem titled, "The Children's Hour."  I have a poem in my book titled "The Girl in 7-11."  Not that far off, right?  Here are a few other examples.  First I list their title then a title from my book:

 

Longfellow: The Village Blacksmith

Me: Buffalo Him Die, Send Money

 

Longfellow: The Courtship of Miles Standish

Me: The silly old man with the young thai girl in the texas lone star saloon

 

Keats: The Mermaid Tavern

Me: On Closing the Bars Early

 

Robert Herrick: To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time

Me: The Night Bubba got it for free

 

Shelley: Ode to the West Wind

Me: The farang who fell from his apartment balcony in Pattaya

 

Elizabeth Barrett Browning: How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways

Me: No I am not in love with the maid, so put the knife down now

 

Tennyson: The Charge of the Light Brigade

Me: Moving to Bangkok

 

Longfellow: My Lost Youth

Me: The Go Go Dancer who Stole My Viagra

 

Oscar Wilde: The Harlot’s House

Me: I Never Pay for it!

 

Danielle Gabriel Rossetti: The Ballad of Dead Ladies of Francois Villon

Me: Noy of the Horny Toad

 

Robert Frost: Stopping by woods on a snowy evening

Me: Beneath condom-grey skies

 

Wordsworth: Nuns Fret Not at their Convent’s Narrow Room

Me: A bargirl’s Lament: Nobody wants to boom boom anymore

 

Wordsworth: Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey


Well, OK, Wordsworth has got me on that last title; can't match it.  But, still, some of these titles could be combined beautifully such as "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening beneath Condom-grey Skies."  I know Bob Frost would have loved that one.  My favorite all-time title for a poem, however, is Wordsworth's "Nuns Fret Not at their Convent's Narrow Room."  And, as you can see, that flows perfectly into "Nobody wants to Boom Boom Anymore." 

 

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In the picture at left we see one of the pretty Bus Stop girls on Soi Nana.  Bus Stop is now a proud two-story structure and continues to serve up delicious Singapore noodles.

 

A Japanese nurse was in charge of six female patients who could not move because of strokes and such.  She tore off their fingernails and toenails supposedly to relieve the stress she was under from "extra work forced on her by her supervisors."  So why didn't the stupid cow tear their nails off?

"Breakthrough art always has trouble arranging its start-up financing." Ethan Mordden - The New York Times

"Everything that is worth doing artistically is scary." Craig Lucas - International Herald Tribune

Skoob, a new bookshop recently opened up on Thonglor 16 is now buying used books. You can sell them books you don’t need for cash or trade those books for other titles in the shop.

Buying days are every Friday and Sunday from 11 am to 8 pm.  For more info, call Kiwi (who also owns Dasa Book Cafe with Don Gilliland) at 01 852 0918 or email him at skoob.bkk@hotmail.com.  Skoob is located on the 2nd floor of a new complex across the street from J Avenue called Penny’s Balcony.

 

By the way, you probably know this, but I'll tell you anyway.  On March 15th the fines for overstaying your visa went up from 200 baht a day to 500 baht a day, but the ceiling limit remains at 20,000 baht.  True, if you make it to the airport, you just pay the fine and leave.  But if you are caught inside the country, you might well end up at immigration prison which you don't want to do.  The time period in jail would only be about two or three weeks provided you or someone who cares about you can pay the fine.  If not, better get used to your new home.  Even if you do make it to the airport, the official will write a notation in Thai in your passport about how you overstayed so when you apply for a visa somewhere like in Hong Kong, Singapore, etc., they may be a bit suspicious of you.  So the moral is: Don't overstay your visa.

 

"For me, there's only one rule of playwriting: don't bore the audience. Whether you're writing drama or comedy, you simply must be compelling." David Ives - Dramatists Guild's The Dramatist

Happy to announce that The Big Mango bar at Nana Plaza has joined with the other sponsors of our contest so the first prize for the first correct answer is now 3,000 baht worth of food and drink, 500 baht each from six establishments.  And of course to use this prize you must live in Bangkok or be on your way here shortly.

I did something incredible the other night: I climbed the stairs at Nana and made it all the way to the third floor.  And I wasn't even heading for a short-time hotel.  It was time to check out the Hollywood bars.  There has been so much controversy about these bars that I was sick to death of hearing who bought what and who fired whom and who got ripped off, etc., etc.  So it was time to check things out for myself.  In the first bar, Hollywood Strip (quite large, but the smaller of the two), there were a few very good looking women dancing, such as Poppy and Cat.  And I give the bar full credit for trying to do something different. 

Alas, the parts of the show I saw were, to be kind, not something that would keep any sober punter in the bar longer than five minutes.  Which may be why there were so few customers.  One of the dance stages was roped off for a female Muay Thai boxing match.  Yeah, I know, I know, we all salivate at the thought of cute females in a ring in sexy shorts going at it, right?  Well, there were two fat ladies pretending to box and laughing and the whole thing was embarrassing.  But I sat through that to see what was next.  What was next was worse: Three overweight girls sitting on stools lighting cigarettes.  A sexy one came up on stage apparently with her own cigarette but I left before anything else happened.  Yes, I know, there are men with a fetish who get turned on by women smoking cigarettes if that was what that was but I doubt many are punters in Bangkok.

Like I said, I do give the bar credit for trying, but what I saw was amateurish and embarrassing.  Sometimes I think I should be a bar manager and design shows.  Although how much or how little freedom and power an owner gives the manager to innovate and to change things may be part of the problem.

Going next door to the much larger Hollywood Carousel was a much different experience.  Lots of good looking women, interesting shows, shower show, soapy suds show, etc., etc.  No, they weren't quite on the level with the shows at Angelwitch with whips and such but definitely worth seeing and while the bar wasn't packed with customers it certainly wasn't empty either.  If these bars are owned by the same owner why oh why are they so different when it comes to the level of professionalism of the shows?

My friend, Leigh, spends a good deal of time at Nana Plaza, and he said something the other night which cannot be disputed; a rare example of a universal truth.  The dancers have basically three personalities: The one they display while on stage dancing; the one they display while sitting with you; and the one they display once you get them back home or back to your hotel room.  I think the punters who fall madly in love with a dancer usually does it before he has a chance to see all three personalities.

Larry's Dive is offering ten per cent discounts on all food and drinks during its renovation period.  Get one of their new cards and you can continue getting the ten percent discounts even after the renovation period.  You can also advertise your product or service for two weeks for free on their bulletin board.  They will not accept ads for "massage parlors, tailors and MLM."  (What is MLM, I wonder?)  They also offer free pool and free wi-fi.  Stop by and see Chris or else e-mail him to register for your card at www.Chris@larrysdive.com.

NY Times:  Flushing, NY:  "Ms. Kim told the undercover detective that on the day the brothel opened, May 18, 2005, she had 20 customers who each paid $200 — earning $4,000 that single day."   So now you know.  American men pay 8,000 baht for a shorttime!

As of this writing the Sin Bar on Sukhumvit soi 4 is still closed but the rooftop bar is open.  When I asked when the establishment's once popular club on the second floor would reopen, I was told to ask the police.  Right.  Same old story.  The affable Thai bartender, Joe, made me a Mohito, a drink I'd never had before but which he said Halle Berry had taken in a James Bond film.  It was rum and brown sugar and mint leaves and lemon.  And just one gave me the kick of about six black russians in a row.  Wow!     

"There is no success where there is no possibility of failure, no art without the resistance of the medium." Raymond Chandler - Playback

Birthday party for Khun Mint at the Rawhide Bar, Soi Cowboy

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As the final installment attempting to aid writers who wish to write on Thailand or those living in Thailand who wish to become writers it's time to deal with the inevitable:

Book Distribution in Thailand

Or

Why can’t I find the book I want?

Or

Maybe I Should Read this before I Write the Great Bangkok Novel

 

Distribution of any product in any field is crucial, as is display of the product, but in the field of books, in just about every country you can name, it is always a nightmare.  Alas, Thailand is no exception to the rule.  There are pitfalls for publishers who supply the books, i.e., “suppliers,” and for book buyers browsing in stores as well.  I’ll try to look at the situation from both points of view. 

First and foremost, there is Kinokuniya.  This is a group of three stores in Bangkok, the largest English language bookstores in Thailand.  And, thanks to ample space to display books, one has to say these stores are the best.  The last of the three opened recently at Siam Paragon but my favorite is still the one in the Emporium.  There are (not too comfortable) benches to sit on while browsing through the Marquis De Sade or Bukowski or Chandler.  The store comes closest to what we expect from a Barnes and Noble or a great independent bookstore in the United States and other countries.  And until we do get a great independent bookstore or a branch of B&N or Books-a-Million, this store will have to do.  So for selection of books, these stores are best.  Their prices seem in line with the others, possibly even cheaper as their space allows them to offer different imprints of the same title, each of which has a different price. 

From the point of view of a publisher, the store also pays its bills and pays them on time.  Unfortunately, orders are small as there are only three stores.  The people in the store do not have the love of and knowledge of books you will find in Tattered Cover Bookstore or one of the other great independents in the West, but they are polite and helpful. 

Next there is Asia Books. This chain of bookstores has been around for over a quarter of a century and probably a lot longer because I first started dealing with them in 1980 when The Girls of Thailand photobook appeared.   The stores were started by Khun Vinai Suttharoj and over the years became quite successful.  For a long time all suppliers had a wonderful relationship with Asia Books but (and you probably figured there would be a but in this sentence) then about five years ago Asia Books began publishing its own books and, when it came to display, gradually the stores’ center shelves devoted to books on Thailand were given over to those books AB published, giving other books on Thailand less than a fair playing field.  Much less.

Publishers have had problems with Asia Books in having them supply bookstores the number of books the stores ask for.  In the case of Skytrain to Murder, for example, I know of stores which ordered 50 books and were given ten, and stores which ordered ten books and were given two.   The then Kinokuniya manager at the Emporium told me she had had an open order for the title for six months which AB had not fulfilled.   Needless to say, I now supply Kinokuniya myself. 

I once received a phonecall from someone at AB insisting they had faxed me an order at a time when I had no fax machine.  And, after having seriously damaged sales of Skytrain to Murder by not delivering the number of books the stores were asking for, an AB girl told me “I think the book stopped selling when your friends stopped buying it.”  That was the dumbest statement anyone ever said to me in my 35 years of publishing and the closest I ever came to killing someone.  It was also an example of that oldtime religion foreigners sometimes come across in Thailand:  DRBTF (Deny Reality Blame The Farang). 

Asia Books has most of the book-selling spaces at the airport, has hundreds of Asia Books racks around the country and supplies books to the racks in hotel stores.  And guess which local books are most likely to appear on those racks?  You win the prize: AB-published books.  So, with that advantage, guess which novels on Thailand have an advantage in sales?  You win again!  But – and, please, would-be novelists on Thailand, pay attention:  Asia Books has now stopped publishing fiction.  One assumes there is more profit and less hassle in non-fiction and that is why.  (In fact, generally speaking, there is more profit in non-fiction and less hassle everywhere else too.)  But the point is if Asia Books with its own stores and racks and catalogue and display advantages and advertising advantages cannot make a decent profit with a novel on Thailand, how do you expect your Great Novel on Thailand to do? 

From a bookbuyer’s point of view, some of the Asia Books stores have lots to offer in the Thailand field and are certainly worth visiting, such as the one on Sukhumvit near soi 17.  Shane, the Thai manager there, is one of the nicest guys in the business.  Whether AB books are more expensive or less expensive than other stores probably depends on the book.      

In general, people in Asia Books stores are very nice although my idea of how to sell a book often differs from theirs.  For example, I know several people who have gone to the Emporium Asia Books branch and asked for one or another of my titles and been told they are sold out but it is in such-and-such Asia Books branch.  Do they really think people are going to dash out in Bangkok traffic and rush to another Asia Books branch to buy the book when Kinokuniya is on the same floor as AB, just down the hall?  That AB store has lost more sales to Kinokuniya than I can count.  And last time I walked into another of their stores, of all my books on Thailand, they had one copy of Memoirs of a Bangkok Warrior.  No Kingdom of Make-Believe, no Go Go Dancer who Stole My Viagra, no Murder at the Horny Toad Bar, etc., etc.  But plenty copies of books published by Asia Books.  Get the picture?

So, then, Asia Books comes across rather negatively, no?  But wait!  Why is Asia Books spoken well of by so many publishers?  Simple: because Asia Books not only pays their suppliers (publishers), and pays them on time, but often notifies them by e-mail that the money has been deposited in their bank account.  If there are any heroes in the Thailand book business they reside in the accounting department in Asia Books.  Over a 25-year-period, I have never had to chase them to pay a bill.  And that ain’t shabby.  If this chain ever distributed my books as professionally as they pay for them, I could spend a lot more time and money on Soi Cowboy. 

Finally, there is the chain of Bookazine stores started by Richard Murray, a Canadian (who has now retired and sold the chain to wealthy investors).  This chain (owned by Distri-Thai) now boasts more stores than Asia Books but, in truth, some of their “stores” are about as big as a walk-in closet on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.  (Check out the one in Samitivej Hospital on Sukhumvit, soi 49, for example.)   And it is Asia Books whose racks appear across Thailand, not Bookazine. 

When Bookazine began to grow, many publishers hoped it would give Asia Books some much needed competition; alas, to say that it hasn't lived up to expectations would be an understatement.  For example, the Bookazine store in Phuket was wiped out by the tsunami (no one hurt, thank the gods) and the stock ruined.  Publishers received letters asking them to "help Bookazine out" by writing off the amount of stock they had lost.  So here we have a very profitable company owned by multi-millionaire investors asking small publishers to write off their losses. 

I cannot print some of the responses of publishers and writers but a few were:  “The books must have been insured and if not why weren’t they!” and “If my books I keep in storage were damaged by flood, would Bookazine be ‘helping me out’?”  It was the greatest public relations disaster since the Charge of the Light Brigade.   

As far as payment is concerned, as of this writing, this chain still hasn’t paid me for some books I left with them nearly two years ago, but it is the lack of communication which this company is known for.  For example, I know of one person who offered to place a free ad for Bookazine on a website (not mine) and never received the courtesy of a reply.  Not receiving a response is par for the course when dealing with this company.  And, other than opening new stores, the company simply seems to have no plan in place whatever to advertise, promote and cement relations with local publishers, let alone run circles around Asia Books.

As far as selection goes, the only store in Bangkok with some depth is the one on Sukhumvit Road near soi 5.  But competition has come to the area as, a two-minute walk away, there is a new independent bookstore (Bangkok Book House) in the Nana Plaza mall on the corner of Sukhumvit and soi 3.  The Bangkok Book House is also small but it specializes in books on Thailand.   

The people working in Bookazine stores are always friendly and fun to chat with; and will do what they can to locate a book for you but, alas, many of their stores are simply too small with too little stock to be of interest.  Another strange quirk of this chain is their penchant for shrinkwrapping books.  When I used to have a publisher’s stand at the Frankfurt Bookfair I remember other publishers and distributors (including Khun Vinai) saying that the best way to not sell a book is to shrinkwrap it.  And yet at Bookazine several categories from novels to art books are all wrapped up tight like Victorian Age virgins so potential buyers cannot see inside. 

One used book store owner, who also loved to shrinkwrap books, once told me that, if people asked, he would unwrap it for them.  I explained that most people won’t ask because they then feel obligated to buy the book.  He disagreed.  The store went out of business.  Anyone who thinks paperback novels need to be shrinkwrapped needs a shrink.  (Exceptions are in beach resorts such as Pattaya where the sun and sand might get at the books.)    

And, so, for both bookbuyers and publishers of books, the Thailand book scene is a mixed bag.  Not great, but it could be worse.  There are also some stores of DK books around including two in Pattaya, and a few other chains but most of them specialize in Thai language books or in textbooks.  And, yes, Chiang Mai is known for having some good used bookstores and there are a few used bookstores in Bangkok with decent selections.  Another thought: the discounts Amazon.com give usually more than make up for shipping costs so internet shopping for books on Thailand is yet another option.  As for he who wishes to write the Great Thailand Novel, remember that writing the book is the easy part.  And remember what lies ahead. 

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From the Mail Bag

Hi Dean,

Did you read the story of Madonna's response to her daughter's query as to whether the public kiss with Britney Spears indicated that she was gay?  M said she wasn't, but that as a 'mummy singer' she was using this technique to pass on energy to BS as a 'baby singer'.  Now we all know how to become entertainers. :-)  

Re Thai girls' backward-bending arms mentioned in your last column, the girls are painfully taught how to do this when they have their Thai dance lessons as children.  Ditto the graceful backward-curving finger movement.   Peter T.

Thanks, Peter.  I guess I do have a bias for lithe, lovely, erotic Thai women, because BS and M always reminded me of katoeys.  Yes, the little sweethearts practice the backward-bending arms and fingers from childhood the way Chinese girls once had their feet bound.  Come to think of it, I would pay extra for a woman who can do that with her hands and feet.

Hi Dean,

I've noticed an annoying little hypocrisy that I would like to share about what the police allow to stay open in Bangkok after 1:00 am. I'm talking mostly about the "erect-a-bars" that spring up along Sukhumvit from Soi 4 down to Soi 23.  They have always been open and I thought unfairly so when licensed bars have to close at 1:00 (except for some licensed bars like Country Road on soi 11 and Stardust on Silom, etc. who seem blessed by the powers that be to inconsistently stay open past 1 am).

Well, the erect-a-bar hypocrisy has reached a new high. The other night around 3:30 am my friend and I stopped at one of these erect-a-bar's along Asok by Soi Cowboy and, get this, they now have girls and mamasans and charge a whopping 500 baht bar fine for the girls. I was in shock. The Police in this city should be ashamed. A legit beer bar with licenses, rent payments, and tax payments can't stay open past 1 am but you can put a box on Sukhumvit without licenses, tax, etc. and pay the Police something like 500 baht a night to continue to operate. Oy.

Anyway, just an observation that bugs the heck out of me. ;) 

A Bar Owner

An obviously pissed-off bar owner.  Thanks for the insight.  This is the kind of thing that makes me pleased not to be a bar owner.  (I think it's safe to assume you and your friend did not barfine the girls.)

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Links You Might Enjoy

A video of a five-minute walk down Soi Cowboy.  Click here and then click "preview videos."

http://www.pbar.info/videos.html

 

Like satire on Thailand?  Try

http://www.farangaffairs.com.

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:

http://www.bangkokjungle.com.

 

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.

 

www.monsoon-country.org

 

 

 

A bit of black leather never hurts.  But she does.

 

Our Lady in Black

 

 

 

Like to learn a bit about retiring in Asia?

 

http://www.retiredexpat.com

 

Links You Might Not Enjoy

T-Shirt Hell: for lovers of very black humor only. 

http://www.tshirthell.com.

 

Politically incorrect rants and raves.

http://www.fredoneverything.net

 

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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 at deanbarr@loxinfo.co.th.

 

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Last week's answer was the Susie Pub just off Khao San Road in the arcade.  There were two winners so this week's prize, for the one who gets it right first, is 3,000 baht worth of food and drink.  Second prize is one of my books.  Let's drop the photograph this time and try a question instead:  What mineral would you associate with the illuminating diary of a professional lady? 

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: deanbarr@loxinfo.co.th

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