Welcome to my website. In case you're new, you might care to know that the purpose of this site is to offer rants, tirades, opinions and discussion about books on Thailand, give an overview of nightlife in Thailand and, yes, to provide a few news items which might not appear elsewhere. And to have some fun.
Bar, club and restaurant owners who would like to send material on their special events, birthday bashes, anniversary parties, etc., are welcome to do so but please remember men in Thailand are a bit jaded so if you’re just going to offer the usual free gourmet food and free full band entertainment and free beautiful and eager-to-please women, well, the lads have been there, done that. So do try to offer potential patrons something special. ;-)
There is a contest every two weeks when this column appears and the first to answer the question correctly or identify a photograph correctly will receive a free book written by myself and other prizes such as free food and drink from Larry's Dive, The Londoner, The Old Dutch, Electric Blue and Bourbon Street Cafe. The prizes will build up in case anyone doesn't win it immediately so the bonanza for the eventual winner could get quite interesting.
I will also add information to a column as I receive it or report on nightlife as I encounter it so check back now and again as there may be much new even within a week or ten days. And please remember a part of all money received from the sale of my books goes to needy Thais (in the form of payment to go go dancers, waitresses and hostesses).
The Piano Lesson. One more great story to report, and a true one. An English friend of mine met a Thai musician in a band in a Bangkok pub. The Englishman asked the Thai guy if he would be interested in teaching him piano. The musician said yes and wrote his name and phone number down on a napkin and gave it to the Englishman. A few days later the Englishman was sitting at the pub when his very upset Thai lady stormed in waving the very same napkin and demanding answers. Unfortunately, the Thai had one of those names that could be male or female. It gets better. She had called the number and got a female (actually, the Thai fellow’s wife) and demanded to know who she was and how she knew her boyfriend. The woman said she had met him in the pub. Which the Englishman’s girlfriend took the wrong way because the Thai wife had only meant she’d met him when there with her husband.
But this phone call now set off alarm bells in the mind of the Thai wife as well and she went after the husband demanding to know who this woman was who called. To make a long saga short, to this day, if my English friend waves a napkin at the Thai fellow as he plays in the band, the Thai man shivers and waves for him to go away. And, no, my friend never did get his piano lessons.
Al Eberhardt claims this is a true story: Three students from a language school were having lunch after a course and one woman said how much she liked the teachers, another was pleased that she seemed to be learning so much Thai so fast. The third student was a black guy who said he didn't think he'd ever get used to Thais calling him coon (khun). And speaking of Al, who says the Londoner doesn't give great service? Anybody need a back rub?
Speaking of which, I was having dinner in the Bourbon Street Cafe in Washington Square when a guy walked in, looked over at four black guys sitting around a table and said, "You guys look like trumpet players ready to go on in a Church of Christ. You came all the way here to have rice and beans?" Of course the speaker was a black guy also, who obviously knew the other guys. Interesting, though, because I hadn't heard conversation like that since I left Manhattan over five years ago to return to the Land of Smiles. Yep, sometimes this jiveass honky does miss the Big Apple.
Here it is! You've demanded it, you've been wanting it, and so now you get it: The Taliban Singles Service on line! Click here.
I learned once again that I have to be careful around Thais especially those I think won't understand me. I was with Nick and his girlfriend in the Londoner and the young ladies working behind the bar were playing a bit and one of my favorites slapped the other on the shoulder. Nick said, "Look, she hit her." I said, "Yeah, she'll hit her but she won't hit me; what did I do wrong?" Oops, his girlfriend looked at me and suggested in Thai that I was something opposite of a clean, young man.
I seldom say negative things about go go bars, etc. I mean, what is there to say negative about an establishment that has dozens of attractive, available women go go dancing plus cold beer at reasonable prices? Well, I do have to say that the ladies in the Midnight Bar definitely could go on a diet as could some in the Deja Vu bar. I can't speak for others but I don't like sitting down in a bar and immediately having some overweight chick push up beside me and 30 seconds later what is almost her twin sister push up from the other side. I think the manager/owner of Deja Vu should tell his staff to ease off and tell those in need of diets to shape up or ship out. Above left are a couple of lovelies from Lucky Lukes enjoying, well, enjoying being young, I guess.
There was a letter in a local English language paper by some farang wimp complaining that local papers referred to Thai women as "girls." You would think only feminazis would worry about such arcane matters but of course there are some real losers out there, both male and female from abroad, who think they have the right to impose their word police/thought police/politically correct ideas on the Thais. Cultural imperialism I would call it. Someone wrote in reply putting the guy down and saying it is fine to respect them but don't try to tell others what to call them. Well said.
I was sitting with a go go dancer outside Old Dutch Corner on Soi Cowboy and she noticed some guy going by and said he only likes to suck toes; nothing else. So of course I replied that everybody has to have a hobby. But she went on to tell me about some of the sexual proclivities of other customers and I suddenly realized that I am not so kinky at all. In fact, by comparison, I seem to be almost (sob) normal. Where did I go wrong?
The colorful banner is from another website on Thailand which has just started up. The column on the site is written by Dave the Rave, he who can often be found in Nana's Angelwitch in close proximity of the twin dancers (not the twins I sometimes write about on soi 33; it's confusing I know but for whatever reason Thailand is full of lovely twins). http://www.Thailand-nightlife.net. Dave has heard and seen so much in the nightlife scene that he's decided to share some of it (at least that which won't get him sued) and promises rants and insights and information and (pay attention here) pictures of pretty girls. I suspect Dave's website will become popular faster than a punter in Sheba's with a thousand-baht bill stuck to his forehead. Dave has generously supplied lots of information to other sites in the past and is a nice fellow. Now if he would just introduce me to his twins I would introduce him to mine. Anyway, here are "my" twins.
Mark this date: 26 February. Dance Contest for charity. Go Go girls in the wildest finals yet. Sheba's at Soi Cowboy. Starts about 8:30. 15 January contest at Suzie Wong was incredible. I'll write it up next time.
Muslims are at it again. Death threats forced Miss England (a Muslim) to wear a sarong during the swimsuit contest and in Afghanistan an Afghan journalist, editor of "Women's Rights" magazine, was jailed because he wrote that "abandoning the Muslim faith was not a crime and should not be punished by death and that adulterers should not be flogged." I thought Americans went into Afghanistan to get rid of Islamic fanatical crap like jailing people for speaking and writing freely. I must have been mistaken.
I got several comments on my comments on guys who "pass through" the stage of going to go go bars but later on have nothing good to say about the bars or about guys who frequent them. What I meant was simply this: I have been married (to a Chinese lady for five years) and divorced, single with a steady girlfriend, single without a steady girlfriend. And I don't regard any of those states as above the other. If going to go go bars is what you like at this stage of your life, so be it. I have seen comments such as how the bar scene is "ultimately sad," etc., but, believe me, a marriage going bad, especially one with kids, is a lot sadder. So I don't really buy into these guys who look back on their bar scene days and on others who go to bars with disdain. It seems to me that they must have kept their innate Western puritanical natures intact while they were having fun, and those natures emerged or rather resurfaced once they'd got a steady girlfriend/wife/family. Whatever happened to "Don't judge me and I won't judge you."
I lived in Manhattan for 12 years, 14 years in New York City altogether. I do love New York, especially the greeting you get when you arrive. And even if you live there people are really friendly. Always ready to assist anybody who looks like he needs it. For example, this picture is from a post card I sent somebody in the '90's. Welcome to New York. Click on it, of course.
From time to time I run into bar owners or else (Will wonders never cease!) they actually send me some news about their establishments. But as far as change in personnel is concerned I don't think too many readers are all that interested. For example, I knew Bill, manager for Playskool a go go, etc., had had his employment reduced to one day a week and now I hear he is not there at all. Ricky at Diamond a go go in Pattaya has been let go, apparently another manager who built up the business and was then ousted. But unless something radical changes in the bar I have no intention of mentioning every personnel change. I think the interest in go go bars is first, the beauty and friendliness of the ladies; second, is there any interesting choreography or something else that makes that bar special; and third, how much are drinks and barfines. The way I see it personnel changes are a distant fourth.
You probably never heard of the TLCB (Thailand, Laos, Cambodia Brotherhood) but it is an organization of great guys who were stationed in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War, but mainly outside of Vietnam. In other words, guys like me. In the TLCB magazine, Mekong Express Mail, Vern Wagner (Ubon 68-69, Nha Trang 70) wrote a short but very real article and I think all readers of this column can relate to it:
WHY I HAVE NEVER RETURNED TO UBON
Like thousands of other GIs, I found myself defenseless against the charms of Thai maidens. One week after arriving at Ubon, I fell for a lovely dark-eyed beauty. In a matter of days I was paying her rent (US$30/month), and playing the role of a father to her three-year-old Amerasian son.
I had never known such happiness. I often looked up at the palm trees outside our bungalow, and wished for time to stand still. DEROS finally arrived, and I had to return to CONUS (continental United States) where I was miserable. I had rented a Thai P.O. box for her before leaving where I sent money orders for her expenses, and gifts for her son. We wrote often, and I assured her that I would come back someday.
After the mandatory six months, I volunteered for Southeast Asian duty again, and was shipped out to Nha Trang Airbase, Vietnam. I was attached to a Special Ops Squadron that flew to Laos and Thailand on a daily basis. At the first opportunity, I joined a crew headed for Ubon. She was not at "our" house, so I asked neighbors, and eventually found her at another house. Her "Sah-wat-dee" performance seemed genuine, and I presumed she was happy to see me.
Later, I questioned her about the Stars & Stripes newspapers beside the bed, the XL flip-flops in the shower, and the Budweiser in the refrigerator. Her reply, "My brother's stuff." Regardless of my doubts, I flew to Ubon twice a month to visit, and to pay her expenses.
One fine day in Nha Trang, I received a letter from an NCO at Ubon who told me he was engaged to my girl, and wanted to be a father for her son. He said my visits were ruining his love life, and included a love letter she had sent to him. I took out the last love letter I had received from her: same letter, different name.
I took my copy, stapled it to his, and put them in an envelope with a note. I told him to review both letters, and if he still wanted her, he could have her!
I flew to Thailand, and put the letter in his PSC box at Ubon before going to see her. One look at my face and she knew that I knew. She mumbled something about not believing I would return, and that she did not want to hurt me, etc. I explained that what she was doing was unfair to all of us. I turned and walked away as she begged me to come back again.
Back at Nha Trang I destroyed her photos, but I have often regretted destroying them. Such beauty should have been preserved. Her darling face and dimples are only memories that remain locked in my heart with the tears. If living, she would be a 63-year-old senior citizen by now. I have flown to Thailand dozens of times, but have never returned to Ubon. Going back can be painful.
© Vern Wagner 2005 (Vern served as a flight surgeon in the Air Force and today is a medical doctor.) That is a great (and I think, moving) tale and what makes it even more poignant is that the lady in question was duplicating love letters long before the internet was invented. It's like coming across some genius who was ahead of her time. She may have been one of the first to duplicate love letters but from what I see in the internet cafes around Bangkok she wasn't the last.
Proof of God's Existence!
When you actually stop to think about it, it's something close to a miracle. I mean the way everything came together just at the right time. Take, for example, these poor little brown-skinned beauties farming the rice fields in the impoverished northeast section of the country. They had no hope of ever getting their family out of debt, and the local lad they married would probably piss away what money they had on gambling and presents for other women. And if she got pregnant, he might just find himself another village to cavort in. Most Thai men aren't particularly interested in marrying divorced women, especially divorced women with a kid or two. And in Thailand you can forget about alimony and support. And Thais love lighter skin but look down on brown and dark brown skin as it suggests someone who has to labor in the sun for a living. So this woman would most likely have to gravitate to Bangkok and work in a factory somewhere, leaving the kids with their grandparents up in the northeast.
And then you take another piece of the jigsaw puzzle: the older, divorced guy in a Western Country whose just lost his house and lots of money to his ex-wife in the divorce settlement. He's too old for singles bars and younger women aren't interested in him. He faces a life of loneliness and despair.
But God obviously felt sorry for these two groups of people so he introduced the third piece of the puzzle: the internet. The older, divorced Western guy sees pictures of beautiful young Thai women who are looking for older Western guys. And whereas Thai men look down on dark skin, these Western guys think its beautiful. And pretty soon girls were showing up back in their villages draped in gold chains and lovely clothes and telling tales of foreign men and foreign lands where there was something called alimony and support. And how well most of these men treated their women. And so it began.
Everything was set to go, it seemed, God had seen to it that Thai rice farmers with lovely smiles and dark brown skin and attitudes would be very attractive to foreign men; the men and their attitude and incomes would be very attractive to the Thai women. And the two of them could communicate through the internet and eventually the Western man would visit Thailand and meet his lovely.
Ah, but God had one further ace up his sleeve: As the men were older he had
to provide a way for them to please their women as best they could. And so it
came to pass at Pfizer Chemical in Groton, Connecticut, that Viagra would
be discovered. God said: Let their be erections! And so it was. And so the puzzle was complete:
Internet provides communication between Thai village girl and overseas man;
selfless, warmhearted Thai bar owner in Bangkok encouraged by selfless,
warmhearted police officials opens go go bar; Thai village
girl travels to Bangkok to become go go dancer; Western man
travels to Thailand and enters bar to meet the go go dancer; Viagra allows them to consummate their
love. How, in the light of the above, could anyone deny the existence of a
I was at the American Embassy the other day and I noticed they have an opening for a "Protocol Officer." Among other qualifications, the person "must have a thorough knowledge of the important people in RTG and Thai society."
OK, I'm still trying to work out what the hell "RTG" is so, if anybody knows, please let me know. Possibly they mean "RPG" as in "Rocket Propelled Grenade?" Anyway, I think I can say I have a thorough knowledge of many important people in Thai society, if by that they mean mama-sans, bars owners, and the best go go dancers. Oh, yes, they also said the person must be able to perform a "wide variety of duties simultaneously." I think the EP's (Entertainment Providers) at the Eden Club will vouch for me on that score.
I try to avoid going to places like the American Embassy, anyway, because mentally undressing beautiful Thai girls waiting in line makes me tired. Whereas in more and more go go bars the job has already been done for me. Alas, the fine art of mentally undressing a woman is neither appreciated nor profitable. No wonder it's dying out. There was one funny incident when a very cute Thai girl approached an American guy waiting in line and in very broken English asked something about marriage and the American misunderstood and said, "You want to marry me?" She said "No, No," and fled back to the other room.
Dasa Books is having a ten percent off sale until the end of the month. They have some interesting books there and I even got some cult fiction titles last time I went, so, as Trink would say, check it out.
A local Bangkok paper mentioned a Confucian concept: "If you want three hours of happiness, eat. If you want three days of happiness, travel. If you want three months of happiness, buy new clothes. If you want three years of happiness, marry. But if you want a lifetime of happiness, plant trees."
Hmmm. OK, so when I get a chance I'll plant some trees. But, um, when I get horny during the night, won't it be awkward for me to go outside and shag a tree?
Sitting at the Shark Bar on Soi Cowboy recently. Not a bad bar but it is one of those establishments in which when you buy a girl a drink the girl tries to get you to buy her friend a drink as well. A policy which sucks in my opinion. The owner is said to be a Brit so maybe somebody could whisper in his ear that that is a sure way to lose customers.
Here is one of the twins playing pool inside the Londoner Pub. Not sure if it is Mot from the Shamrock or her twin sister Min from the Lookie Lookie. But is it any wonder why I lose? Who can concentrate on the game? Look at that form! Click on the picture and Look at the lovely skin! Look at that lovely hair! I mean, Jesus H. Christ! Oh, no. Oh, God.
Sitting upstairs in the Bacarra Bar on Soi Cowboy recently. Downstairs the dancers seem a bit, um, soggy. So everybody is sitting downstairs looking at the young girls in school girl outfits dancing on the glass ceiling. Especially because the girls forget to wear undies, I suppose. But I kind of prefer to watch them dance and interact with one another and maybe just call one over. So I like to sit upstairs. One of the cute girls came over and I bought her a drink and then after a chat a Tequila as well. Last of the Big Spenders, that's me. Anyway, she said she is 22 years old and makes a salary of 12,000 baht a month. (I'm about 12,000 years old and make a salary of about 22 baht a month.)
I said that is quite good and she said the total with "off" (going out with men) per month is 60,000 baht! Wow! Not bad for a 22-year-old. She said short time two hours is 2,000 baht and long time is 4,000 baht, although I know of another girl there who charges 5,000 baht long time. This girl admitted that the Japanese pay well. But she said they only buy one drink and don't take them to expensive restaurants, but they do give 500 baht taxi money. It seems the farang guys buy lots of drinks and go to nice restaurants but don't offer much taxi money.
But if we do the math, she makes 12,000 baht salary a month; that leaves 48,000 in going out with guys. Or 24 short times a month or 12 long times or some combination thereof. Wow! Talk about busy little beavers.
I just finished Stephen Leather's Hard Landing. A really fine blockbuster set in England, mainly in a prison. Great plotting and certainly amazing research. Give it a try: you won't be disappointed.
Here is a picture of Khun Kung. You may recall she was in a previous photo in this column when she worked at the Londoner as a dishwasher. Now she is a waitress in the Tenderloin Grill up the street. She's cute as a button. She's secretly in love with me but, unfortunately, it's a secret even to her. If you see her, tell her Uncle Dean said hello.
Was in Taffy's New Square One bar in Washington Square just the other night. Sign on the door written in some kind of dripping red-orange chalk: "What Happens Here Stays Here." That's good to know, Taffy. I wouldn't want anyone to know that some of your girls can beat me at pool. Taffy also has a sign: "We Speak Hairy Pie." Ah, yes. 'Nuff said. Across the street I'm afraid there wasn't much business in the Queen's Plaza group of beer bars. At least I did something right in my life by not investing in a beer bar.
I knew you'd love this one. When you click on it you will see it says: "This a free ticket. It's not good for anything. It's just free." The world needs more tickets like this one.
“A stiff prick has no conscience.” - Anonymous
“What holds the world together, as I have learned from bitter experience, is sexual intercourse.” - Henry Miller, Tropic of Capricorn
“The information highway runs through a Thai pussy.” - Anonymous
You definitely want to click below on Khun Panida. If there is a just god in heaven, he will send me one like her in the New Year.
Did you ever read the book Platform by Michel Houellebecq? A lot of it is set in Thailand. Not a bad read. Here is part of a conversation he has with his French main squeeze: "It's very rare now to find a woman who feels pleasure and who wants to give pleasure. On the whole, seducing a woman you don't know, fucking her, has become a source of irritations and problems. When you think of all the tedious conversations you have to put up with to get a girl into bed, only to find out that she's a second-rate lover who bores you to fuck with her problems, goes on at you about her exes - incidentally giving you the impression that you're not exactly up to scratch - and with whom you absolutely must spend the rest of the night at the very least, it's easy to see why men might prefer to save themselves the trouble by paying a small fee. As soon as they're a bit older or a bit more experienced, men prefer to steer clear of love; they find it easier just to go and find a whore. Actually, not a Western whore, they're not worth the effort, they're real human debris, and in any case, most of the year the men haven't got time, they've got too much work. So most of them do nothing; and some of them from time to time treat themselves to a little sex tourism. And that's the best possible scenario: at least there's still a little human contact in going to visit a whore..."
Nice controversial stuff. I liked a lot of the book. Problem for me came in the last page where he says "Unlike other Asian peoples, the Thais don't believe in ghosts..." Oh? Don't tell that to the girls on Soi Cowboy or Soi 33 or, well, to just about any Thai. Where do Western writers get that stuff? If I had written that I would have been dumped on and rightly so. But his book is a best seller and is acclaimed as "a stunning achievement." Ah, well...
You might want to click HERE to see how charades is played Bangkok Style
According to the Thai Hotel Association, at least 30 hotels will be opening in the near future in Bangkok, including properties managed by Hilton, Holiday Inn and Regent. The Big Chilli magazine reports that the THA has "expressed concern that the additional supply will force down room rates." Right. I lie awake at night worrying about that possibility myself. Room rates going down, barfines going down, beer prices going down. The folks at THA might want to see things from another perspective.
Also, according to The Big Chilli a fire has destroyed the entire personal library of President Bush. Both of his books have been lost. Presidential Spokesman Ari Fleischer reported that the president was devastated, as he had not finished coloring in the second one.
Here is a picture of my Danish friend Jannik with the Door Goddess, Mam, at the Londoner. Of course, he shall pay for putting his hand on her lovely, lickable shoulder. But I do have some bad news here. The lovely Mam, after working at the Londoner Pub on Soi 33 for two or three years, has left to take some time off. I do think it will be impossible to replace her. And what a great Santa she was! Jannik is so taken with Bangkok that he is trying to figure a way to get fired so he can get back here. Apparently Denmark is so liberal it's hard to do anything that people notice. Well, let's wish Jannik lots of luck in getting fired. Meanwhile, although there are no Danes about there are a few Swedes like Matz and Daniel hanging about the Londoner bar but they don't talk in that stereotypical Swedish lilt we all like to hear. Maybe they're Danish spies pretending to be Swedes? Yah?
I met an interesting fellow the other night. Seamus McKenna is into Thailand's Northeast Morlan music in a big way and his site has some excellent links. You can click on the traditional music of four Southeast Asian countries and immediately hear the sounds. And he has videos. Listening to the Cambodian music made me think I was almost in New Orleans listening to Zydeco. His site opens with this:
Welcome to Monsoon-Country, a non-commercial showcase for the country-roots music of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. This is not classical or court music but innovative, contemporary music rooted in folk and traditional forms. We think you're going to be very surprised by the sounds you are about to hear. www.monsoon-country.org
Links you might like
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
OK, so all you have to do is tell me where in Bangkok you have seen this painting. It's outside in the open and I'm sure you have seen it. Be the first to send in the answer and win 5,000 baht in food and drink, 1,000 baht each, at the above five establishments. From now on, since the main prize is quite substantial, the second prize winner will win a book(s) of mine (instead of the first prize winner.) That way the second prize winner doesn't walk away empty-handed.
Last column's prize was won by someone who guessed the quote was from Roxanne in Cyrano de Bergerac, the great romantic play by Edmund Rostand. But he was from abroad and as we all know the winner has to be in Bangkok or about to come here. Therefore, no one won. And no one got the other question about the character in a play who likes fog but not foghorns. It was Mary in Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night. The play was set in his family's summer home in New London, Connecticut. Across the river in Groton they make submarines and Pfizer is also in Groton and they make Viagra although of course none of you reading this column need Viagra nor do you (or I) even know what color that pill is.
That's all for this fortnightly column. Drop by again. Explore the rest of the website. Meanwhile, as the girls used to tell me during the 1960's: "I no lie you, GI, you number one!"
Dean Barrett can be flamed at: email@example.com
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