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).
Warning! This column has a photograph of the horrible way children are being treated in Washington Square, Sukhumvit Soi 22. If this will in any way offend you, do not scroll down. You have been warned.
I’m not quite sure why I don’t see the Witch’s Tavern on Sukhumvit, soi 55, as a place to hang out. Despite its high ceiling, I feel a bit claustrophobic in there. I sit at the bar and look up and see the balustrades of the mezzanine above where people are playing pool and decide the setting would be perfect for a Wyatt Earp/Doc Holiday type saloon. I could see heavily painted women with loose morals in flounced crinolines and kidskin boots leaning over the railing giving me the eye and a cowpoke next to me laughing me down and me thinking again what my mother said, “Leave your guns at home son, don’t take your guns to town.” Wednesday nights are bingo nights, a good night to avoid, as I greatly fear I may one day end up playing bingo in a retirement community and do not want to hasten the day. But as it is also the night when ladies drinks are free, I am told by those who know that it is a good night to go there as there are lots of ladies. On a Friday or Saturday night I was given two beers for happy hour although it must have been after ten at night. The music was loud, too loud by my tastes, and then the band came on and did a pretty good job except when one of them sang “New York, New York.” Having lived in New York and having heard that sung by the best it was just a bit painful. Nevertheless, there is nothing wrong with the Witch’s Tavern; it is just a question of personal taste. Maybe if somebody had called me “hansum man” I would have liked it more.
"Men's memories are uncertain and the past that was differs little from the past that was not." - Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy
What can one say about the beggars who hang out on and near the stairs of the Emporium. They are supposedly Burmese or Cambodians or poor Thais who are dropped off there by organized gangs (how come I never read about “disorganized” gangs?). It is said no one should give them money because the gangs who pick them up get it all at the end of the day. And there is a worse case, the legless guy who can be seen pushing his cup as he crawls along Sukhumvit Road. But although I no longer regularly give money to the beggars I do give them a big smile and say hello to the kids. The kids’ faces light up when a farang waves and says hello, so that is at least something. There was one little girl so adorably cute maybe about four or five that had I been heading into the Emporium rather than away from it I would have bought her a stuffed animal. But as a friend pointed out the animal might well have been taken away from her and, anyway, for a single farang guy to stand and talk with a little girl might look bad, especially with all the pedophile nutcases around (if one can believe the press) so I guess there isn’t much I can do except continue smiling and waving. And by the way when I spoke to some of the women with their children sitting on the sidewalks begging in Pattaya they spoke no Thai and said they were "Kamen" so they all seem to be from Cambodia.
Signs of Progress
1940, teachers were asked what they regarded as the three major problems in
American schools. They identified the three major problems as: Littering, noise,
and chewing gum. Teachers last year were asked what the three major problems in
American schools were, and they defined them as: Rape, assault, and suicide."
William Bennett (1993)
I was talking with bar owners on Soi Cowboy recently and learned that they were closing about 1:30 but sometimes close to two in the morning and that those on Nana Plaza were closing around 2:00. They also mentioned that more and more Boys in Brown seem to have their hands out for money. Now it seems to be getting down to even corporals who think they deserve a couple thousand baht a month. Bacarra Bar on Soi Cowboy was doing OK downstairs but empty upstairs at 9:11 on a Saturday night. By 9:30 there were 16 Japanese guys up there. I suspect they know when the dancers will shed their tops. And, yes, Bacarra is on various Japanese websites, hence its popularity with those from the Land of the Rising Yen. Rawhide, it is said, was closed for a night over some dispute about a young Thai man trying to get in who may or may not have been a cop. Rawhide has a lot of dancers and some wear boas and boots and some wear very little indeed. Deja Vu and Sheba's are both doing well and both have some very pretty ladies.
When I was recently in a top Hong Kong hotel, I went to the men's room and at the urinal saw the sign that it was self-flushing, no need to touch. I went to the sink and found that the taps did not need to be touched, I just had to put my hands under them and the water came out. The soap dispenser was also the same, the first I had seen in which it didn't need to be touched. The hand drier was hot air and it too did not need to be touched. I have nightmares about having a beautiful woman in my bed and just getting my hands near her and she starts having orgasm.
Feminists in the Military (or, Thank God I was Army)
"But at Haditha Dam, the marines have the Purrfect Angelz, as the dancers are known. Their tours, which organizers say are paid for by the military, have occasionally stirred some controversy. During the group’s 2005 visit to Baghdad, a female Air Force officer complained that the dancers’ wardrobes and routines encouraged insensitive attitudes toward women in the military." - NY Times
Do Thai girls lie just for the fun of it? I know many guys have said this over and over. Especially when they catch their girlfriend in a lie, especially a needless lie. I never bought into this, not one hundred percent, but now two friends have told me tales and I begin to wonder. In neither case was the girl in question a bargirl.
In the first case, a farang was after a waitress and although he gave her gifts and flowers and did just about all a fellah could do, the girl said she had never had a boyfriend before and she didn’t like the idea of somebody grabbing her like she had seen some foreigners do, and, well, if he would be patient and maybe wait until the end of the year, she would go out with him. As it turns out, another Thai lady set the fellow straight: the girl had a Thai boyfriend and had had one for a long time.
In the second case, a Thai woman chatted with a farang guy over a period of a few months. He told her she was pretty and must have a lot of boyfriends. She said she didn’t have any because in the past a Thai guy had broken her heart. As time passed they became more friendly so my friend asked for her phone number and said they could go to a movie or something. She said, yes, just wait, I will give it to you. He figured maybe she was shy about giving it to him in front of his friends. One day the lady disappeared from where she worked and a Thai guy informed him she had just got married.
Does this behavior seem a little strange to you? Why make up a story about a broken heart when she was getting married? And why not mention that she was engaged? And in the first case why not simply say she already had a boyfriend? If I keep hearing stories like these I may begin to believe there is some truth to the claim that Thai ladies lie even when it’s not necessary. A friend says they often lie to make a guy feel good; that telling him they are not available would make him feel bad. Maybe, yes, there is definitely some Thai logic in there but, whatever the case, Be careful out there.
From time to time I have admonished readers to avoid fights with Thais. There will usually be more of them than you and, besides, with a smile and a bit of finesse it is relatively easy to defuse a situation. But I must confess there was a time many years ago when I actually went looking for a fight with a Thai.
It was in the days of the old Trocadero Hotel, when it was a fun place to stay. One of the girls working there was quite charming so I told her I would like to photograph her waiing the spirit house in front of a company near the Oriental Hotel. So we went there and while I was taking pictures of her near the spirit shrine, some young Thai guy came out of the office (the company was inside a beautiful old house) and began berating the girl for what she was doing and saying something about how she would have bad luck, etc., etc. Problem was my Thai wasn’t so hot then so I didn’t understand the problem. Anyway, the girl got flustered and we walked back to the Trocadero. There she told me what the asshole had said. I am one of those types who is slow to anger but once my blood boils it boils. So the next morning I practically ran there and demanded from the old guard (who had been there the day before) where the asshole was. He gestured that I should go inside the office which I did. I started demanding to see the guy but as it turned out he wasn’t there but his manager was. He spoke good English so I explained to him that this asshole had frightened the girl for no reason and should have minded his own business. Anyway, the guy calmed me down and said when the salesman got back he would have a talk with him. Well, I doubt he got fired over it, but Thais don’t like confrontational situations so at least his boss might have given him a scolding, and his colleagues might have seen him in a slightly different light. Anyway, that is the one time I went looking for a fight in Thailand. But do not go looking for fights in Thailand. Do like I say, not like I do.
Did you know that the owners of Playskool a go go and Sheba’s and Old Dutch Corner and Lucky Luke’s, etc., are going to open a restaurant on Sukhumvit soi 33? And it will have great steaks and fine wines. (No floorshows or women in sexy outfits, unfortunately.) The Lucky Luke’s cowboy character will be transformed into a chef’s character. P.J. will be running that along with the Old Dutch. So that should keep him busy and out of trouble. Anyway, should be interesting. Figure the opening in about six weeks.
Can’t think of what to send a friend for a birthday? How about a copy of the book CHINESE EUNUCHS: The Structure of Intimate Politics by Taisuke Mitamura translated by Charles A. Pomeroy. And pay particular attention to the chapter on Hsien T'ien Tan Ch'ion ("The menstrual discharges of beautiful maidens, thirteen or fourteen years old, gathered in gold and silver vessels and transferred to a mortar, where a compote of smoked half-ripe plums was added, then all was dried seven times and finally heated after adding powdered milk, cinnabar, imported pine resin and dried and powdered human waste.") Anybody who can make that brew, please contact me. And now you see the benefit of reading weird books, i.e. you learn lots of practical things.
Speaking of beautiful maidens, the 1st anniversary party of The Big Mango bar at Nana Plaza was a lot of fun. It was crowded with lots of guys and some pretty ladies in sexy dresses as you can see in the pictures. Nick and Michael were also serving shots of mango and vodka that tasted purely like mango but wow did they creep up on a fellow! After that party I mossied over to Angelwitch and watched the whole show. Really great fun. Without question the best show in Bangkok and, compared with what you pay in Las Vegas to see something like that, dirt cheap. And they have Lao beer. And they have Noy and the twins. Everyone has their own priorities in life and I would be the last to suggest anyone should follow my lifestyle but if you haven't yet seen the show at Angelwitch you're probably a little bit stupid.
Apology to Fox News
I wish to issue an apology to Fox News. One of their reporters said that in downtown Bangkok, in a place called Washington Square, in the “painters” bars, there were lots of hungry children being duped into the slave and sex trades and even beaten if they refused to participate. I said some rather nasty things about Fox News and sent those thoughts to them which I now regret. Because, although the reporter mixed up the painter bars with Washington Square and made other geographical mistakes, I have learned to my horror that not only are children in Washington Square being duped into the slave and sex trades, as was accurately reported, but, it is far worse than that.
I was tipped off to what is happening there by one of the young women vendors outside a Washington Square bar known as The Feminist Nightmare. She was selling bamboo worms and beetles deep fried in oil from her cart. She is actually a Muslim with beautiful dark brothel-brown skin and was wearing a T-shirt with the face of Osama Bin-laden on it. She was also wearing no bra so that her lovely budding nipples caused Bin-laden’s eyes to protrude outward like Hezbollah missiles about to be launched. But I digress.
She told me go into some of the restaurants, say that I was a friend of Good Pork Betty’s and ask for the “special kids” menu. I was a bit perplexed but I did this and never in my wildest dreams had I thought it would come to this. The children of Thailand are not only being sold as sex objects by merciless foreigners, but some of them, those thought to be too unsightly or too old for that trade, are actually being – Sweeny Todd style – murdered, and then prepared in the kitchens of Washington Square, and served to customers!
A typical dish is Phet Pla dek dam Issarn Pom Pui Khao Niu (Pudgy dark child from Northeast Thailand with spicy fish and sticky rice). As most Thais prefer light skin to dark, this dish is for those on a low budget. Besides the fish and child, the dish consists of several standard Thai ingredients including lemon grass stalks, wild lime leaves, basil leaves to taste, chopped green onions, chopped ginger, and a pinch of coriander. (Despite the danger if I was caught, I managed to get a shot of this dish in preparation as you can see at right. Just click on the shocking photo to enlarge. Are there no depths to which these horrid foreigners will not stoop?)
Other dishes on the menu included:
Dek on kahnom jeep gung het (baby dumplings with shrimp and mushrooms)
Mee grob dek ying nom soey (crispy Thai noodles with beautiful breast of female child)
Dek Chai Phet nung song kuop manao (Spicy steamed two-year-old male child with lime juice)
Bah mee pla muk dek on uon ping moo dang (Squid and baby fat grilled with yellow noodles with red roast pork)
Gaeng poo talay dek niu khem (crab curry with salted child fingers)
Som tam kha aloy dek ying dek chai (spicy papaya and shrimp salad with delicious legs of both female and male children)
Ma muang khao nieo tap dek chin (mango and sticky rice with child liver slices)
Kluay nakrian burisut buat chee (bananas and virginal students in coconut milk)
Khanom chan isakrem samong dek Khamen suey (layer cake and ice cream with attractive Cambodian child’s brains)
Dek niew ponlamai a la Washington Square (Chewy strings of young children in rocky road ice cream with fruit of the season, chocolate sauce, whipped cream and cherries).
Rudyard Kipling said “You’ll know what my riddle means when you’ve eaten mangosteens.” Well, have I got a riddle for Rudyard: “You’ll know what my meaning is when you’ve eaten child brains hers and his.”
While I have to admit that prices were very reasonable and service was excellent, I think at last this horrendous practice on the part of unscrupulous foreigners is now being brought into the light of day and I would like to applaud Fox News for their fair and accurate reporting of the unspeakable events taking place in Bangkok’s Washington Square.
In the USA there have been so many cases of a guy pointing a gun at cops, even knowing it was suicidal to do so, that the expression came into being: “Death by cop.” If you wanted to check out but didn’t really want to do it yourself, you did something weird, got yourself surrounded by cops and then pulled out a gun (real or toy wouldn’t matter because they would assume real) and then pointed it at them and they would take care of the rest. And you could rest in peace.
The reason I mention this is because I was sitting in a go go bar the other day and the ladies dancing had no clothes on except boots and I was thinking of pulling out my digital camera and taking a few shots. I figure the Thai bouncers would be on me in less than a New York minute. I think that would be called, “Death by Bouncer.” If I get drunk enough I might try it. Actually, I have heard tales lately from bar managers about guys visiting Bangkok and taking photos of the dancers and then refusing to give over the camera and because they were shooting film, they lost the whole role with their vacation stuff on it. They didn’t see the No Photo signs?
Muslim fanatics in southern Thailand exploded bombs in about 22 banks. So far they have left bars and brothels alone. Thank the Lord for tender mercies.
Lots of news about visas in Thailand these days as the Immigration Department has decided to end the deal where guys could indefinitely leave Thailand every 30 days and come right back in. The details are not clear and probably not final so there is no point in going into what is now known; but if you are affected by visa changes be sure to keep an eye on your local newspapers which so far have done a good job in reporting the issue.
There will be a dance contest in Hollywood Rock (floor 1) of Nana Plaza on Thursday, 28 September. This news comes direct from Nana's own Dave the Rave so it must be accurate.
"He had a great relish for feminine beauty; he was addicted to observing and analyzing it..." Sounds like a friend talking about me but in fact it is from Daisy Miller by Henry James.
Did you see where the Finish government has found that more and more Finns have HIV Positive and they now blame Thailand because some of the men are going there. I wonder if they were checked before they arrived in Thailand? But what the hell blame Thailand for everything; everybody else does.
More and more Thai bouncers are being hired in Macau by the casinos. Lots of them. It seems they smile a lot but are tough when they have to be. Can't ask more of a bouncer than that. I suppose it had to happen: not only is there a www.StickmanBangkok.com but now there is also a www.NotStickmanBangkok.com. I wonder if someday there will be a Not DeanBarrettThailand.com.
I have read a lot of Paul Theroux but I’ve never read the Patagonia Express. A friend is reading it now and she said Paul was intrigued with a beautiful girl but then lost his ardor when he saw that she was reading a comic book. I e-mailed back to the friend that if every man in Thailand lost his ardor because the girl he fancied was reading a comic book, there wouldn’t be much ardor in Thailand.
Although I lived in Hong Kong for 17 years when it was a British colony, I only get back there once a year at most, and then for a few days only. This time I went back and it was as it was two years ago. Wanchai’s streets flooded with lovely Filipinas and some Thais as well and a few ladyboys and some Chinese girls from the Mainland. The Filipina bar girls are cute and sit out in front of the bars along with the Chinese mamasans who try to drag you inside but do not go into the bars as they are too expensive, prices are like those of New York or wherever, but it is easy to meet girls on the streets at night or in computer cafes or in pubs, etc. And they are friendly. Of course, the city never stops building and its hustle and bustle never stops. But Wanchai has lots of fine restaurants, pubs, cafes, and clubs. The picture at left was taken from the Peak on a misty, rainy day. The other two are signs in Wanchai.
Reminder: It is the 20th anniversary of Bourbon Street Cafe at Washington Square on 15 and 16 September. From 5 pm on until late there will be an all you can eat buffet with over 25 items for 220 baht per person plus tax and vat. Bourbon Street is known for its Cajun food and Mexican buffets, etc., so this should be good.
Dear Dean, I got in touch with Paul about the (Thai ghost) film "P" and here's
the reply, I did notice a few people asking about it in your mailbag section so
here's the good news.
Regards, Steve Powell
Dear Paul, Is there any news on the release date in the UK for your film "P" yet?
I've been in touch with Anchorbay films but no news of a release yet.
Regards, Steve Powell,
Dear Steve, The latest news I have is that their contract requires them to release before March next year, otherwise the film will go to a different distributor. The film will be released soon in the U.S. - probably before the end of the year, so if you're impatient, take a look every now and again at amazon.com.
Thanks for your continuing interest. Best wishes, Paul
The Thai government has been forced to send in tanks to quell riots in northern Thailand which began when book lovers learned that Dean Barrett's detective novel, Skytrain to Murder, was sold out.
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.
Girlfriends looking for Taliban boyfriends.
Taliban Singles Dating Page
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.
New contest is for 3,000 baht first prize in food and drink vouchers. You must be the first with the answer and you must live in Bangkok or be about to arrive. Second prize is one of my books. Third prize is Diddly-Squat. Easy one this time. Just tell me where this picture was taken (at left). Last week's painting at the Midnite Bar on Soi Cowboy was an easy one. Only two folks got it. Good to know I have at least some hi-so readers who never go to Soi Cowboy. Or perhaps they do but they were too drunk to remember the painting.
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. And the more people I meet the more bullets I need.
Dean Barrett can be flamed at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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