Because my neighbor Lenny is headed back to San Diego in a couple of days we decided to meet for dinner down on Walking Street and hit a few go-go bars. For this mission for which I’d leave my girlfriend back at the condo I also needed to have my good friend Ross along as well. So we all met at the Beer Garden at 7:45 and sat at a table overlooking the Gulf of Thailand. I had the Lasagne and a couple of beers, the Lasagne running 190 baht which is $6.33 which is more than reasonable considering the terrific atmosphere of the place. The Beer Garden is owned by a New Zealander who goes by the moniker Pattaya Pete, who one of our waitresses told me has not been at the restaurant for quite awhile.
Now Pattaya Pete is an exceptional guy, not being greedy the way so many restaurant owners are who have restaurants that front directly on the Gulf. Let me give you a couple of examples of this. I belong to a health club at the Centara Hotel which is roughly half a mile down the street from my condo. The Pattaya Centara Grande is a five star hotel which is one hotel out of a chain located in Hua Hin, Bang Kok, Trat, and Krabi here in Thailand as well as in Singapore and other cities in Asia. In the front of the Centara is a theme park that has a number of swimming pools for one thing and this theme park stretches out to Centara’s beach on the Gulf of Thailand. Among other things, one of the pools is called “The River”. I once waded around the River’s entire length and paced it off and found it to be roughly 360 yards long throughout its meandering course. I believe the River is modeled from a tropical rainforest. It has a tunnel that is 90 yards long. There are cliffs along the sides of the River and there are pedestrian walk bridges overhead. I will often swim its entire length, not once but two or three times although I don’t think swimming the River is the greatest exercise in the world. This is because of the artificial current that sweeps swimmers along its entire length that give me an estimated speed of say 2 miles an hour even if I’m barely moving my arms and legs. Most of the hotel’s guests do not swim the River. Instead they float its length on clear colored plastic rafts.
My membership at the Centara Fitness Center gives me free access to Centara’s magnificent tennis courts, but its inside the health club where I spend most of my time. The health club has a wide assortment of exercise machines costing up to $15,000 each. Lately I’ve been putting my own music on a usb device which I plug into a usb receptacle on the treadmill or elliptical machine. Last night I brought in two of my USB devices one with the music on it, most of it Golden Oldies, the other with the Pimsleur Thai language course. I did lesson 10 (out of 30) while doing one hour on the elliptical before switching to the music USB. It costs over $1000 for an annual membership for two but my girlfriend and I believe its well worth it and spend a couple of hours in the health club 5 to 6 days a week. But I’m digressing here. I was talking about the Beer Garden down on Walking Street and Pattaya Pete and after that I must go on about the go go bars.
The point I’m making is Pattaya Pete is not a greedy person and his business is now paying off in spades because Pattaya Pete unlike most Thais takes good care of his customers. When you join the Centara you get a plastic card with your picture on it. Among other things you get 15 % off on all food and beverages except for during Centara’s Happy hours in its bars. My girlfriend and I used to go to one of Centara’s restaurants called the Flame for its terrific salad bar buffets. We’d order a Chilli or grilled chicken for roughly 330 baht or whatever was cheapest on the menu and that would get us the salad bar at no extra charge. But when I paid $1200 for my 1 year health club membership Centara started doing its salad buffets as stand alones but charged 450 baht for them and if you”d get say the chilli, you’d have to pay extra for the salad buffet, so my 15 % discount turned out to be worthless. Another example is another of Centara’s restaurants,the Oasis, which used to charge 160 baht $5.33 for an excellent club sandwich. It wasn’t long that the hotel restaurant upped its prices to 280 baht or $9.33 for the same sandwich while increasing its prices on nearly all its dishes for a similar amount. So it doesn’t amaze me that most of the hotel’s restaurants are practically empty most of the time. But that’s typical Thai management for you that hasn’t figured out yet about the economic principles of supply and demand. The thinking here is that if you don’t sell many meals you increase the prices of those meals thinking that’s going to get you more money. Thankfully not all Thai managers think that way, but most of them do.
There is that restaurant down on the beach next to Centara. I went there with some friends and my girlfriend where I paid 350 baht for my spaghetti and on top of that the restaurant was charging a 10 percent service charge. But here at Pattaya Pete’s Beer Garden I was having a much better meal, the spaghetti for 190 baht, and with no service charge. So I had commented to one of my waitresses, “This place seems pretty empty now that low season has hit, but I’ll still bet you have over 100 people here. And during high season, the last time I was here I’ll bet you had 150 people here.” I had even heard that Pete used to let Thai women come into his place and at a certain time he had a special happy hour for them during which they got their first drink free. So what happened is Pete wound up getting a lot of free lancers coming into his restaurant and this got a lot of men coming in who wanted prostitutes to take home with them but who were unwilling to pay the bar fines charged in the Walking Street go-go bars. So now, a man who comes to the Beer Garden not only gets the terrific atmosphere of this large open air establishment that juts right into the Gulf of Thailand, it also has great prices for food and drinks, and all these free lancers to pick from if he’s so inclined. So it’s no small wonder that there’s always a big crowd here.
Our first stop was at the Lighthouse, a go go bar that has two rows of small tables on both sides of a long narrow stage on which about 15 go go dancers were showing off their stuff. Like most go-go bars, the Lighthouse has two shifts of girls taking their turns on the stage so there’s about thirty girls working here and in the case of the Lighthouse, many of them are drop dead gorgeous. YOu will never find such an assortment of beauty in the United States, and I don’t care where you go, even if it’s the most elite, expensive strip gentlemen’s club in your city. Ross turned to me and said, “It’s all the fish heads and rice these girls have been eating that does it. I love it here. This is the best place on earth.”
Lenny’s seated to my left and Ross is on my right. The beer here is 135 baht which is getting close to five bucks a bottle. Draft beer is cheaper but it seems like every time Ross and I get down to Walking Street and order draft beer that we get sick. So we always get the bottled beer now, both of us believing that the go go bars are not washing their glasses properly. Right off Lenny spies a terrific looking girl on stage while Ross and I are commenting on another girl who is equally attractive. Ross calls out to a waitress to get the girl off the stage for him so that he can buy her a drink. A couple of minutes later the girl is sitting between Lenny and me. She looked on the tall side up on the stage. Many of them do because of the high heels they are wearing and because you are often looking upwards at them. But sitting next to me this girl appeared very petite and without an ounce of flab on her, like a Thai version of Barbie Doll. Lenny bought the girl a drink, which surprised Ross and me because normally Lenny is pretty cheap, but then again, at go go bars it’s av-requirement that you call a girl off the stage.
For a moment another very pretty girl appeared only two feet in front of the two small tables we sat at. Suddenly one of the waitresses asked us if we wanted her to sit with us. Ross was quick to tell the waitress, “My Owl Kap,” which means “No thank you.” as I gave both women a sign of disinterest.
“it’s a waste of money to buy girls drinks here,” said Ross. It’s a show club and I’ll bet that girl sitting next to Lenny will be asking 4000 baht and she won’t be doing any long times either. Well, 4000 baht is around $130 U.S. or so and that doesn’t even count the bar fine one has to pay the go go bar.
“Yep…..and as soon as the girl leaves you after you have her over for the short time she’s likely to be going to a Thai karaoke bar where she is going to give your money to some young Thai guy who she’s going to pay for sex.” Either that or she’s going to be coming back here hoping to do another short time with someone else or hitting one of the go go bars like Tony’s disco or Lucifers and do a short time with someone she meets there who’s not about to pay a barfine.
We agreed that neither of us would be throwing our money away, not even to buy a girl a single drink. Not here, anyway, and me, if I did barfine a girl where would I take her? Even if a walked her down to a nearby short time hotel someone who knew my girlfriend might see me with a go go girl in tow and she’d be very quick to tell my girlfriend as soon as she got the chance. But i also found the idea of giving my money to some Thai guy to be pretty disgusting.
Meanwhile Lenny was negotiating with the pretty girl sitting next to us. She was willing to do a short time with him she said but when he tried to explain to her that he wanted her for long time and where we lived in Naklua she acted as if she had no idea where Naklua was. Ross commented, “She doesn’t care where Lenny takes her, she only cares about getting a short time done as quickly as possible.”
On the way to the next go go bar once we were all out on the street, Lenny told us the girl was willing to do a short time for 2000 baht which Ross told him was a much more fair price than he thought she’d be charging. That’s around sixty dollars. However Lenny also told us the bar fine was now 800 baht at this go go club and that adds another $27.00 to the price so the whole thing would be about $90. But with the American dollar going down as much as it has been lately we are getting up to more like $100.00. I told Ross I’d probably be able to get the girl down to 1500 baht or even 1000 baht. Here’s the way I’d do it. First I’d not take any girl out of the Lighthouse or any other go go bar unless I was paying her a price that I was comfortable paying. I used to go to the hottest go go bar in Pattaya. I’d go there a few times without paying any of the girls but finally I offered one of the girls 1000 baht for short time back at my condo. She went for it. Later when she was out with another customer I bought another girl a drink, a girl who knew the girl I had been paying 1000 baht to and I offered to take her back to my condo for 1’000 baht, but first I told her this is what I was paying the first girl. The second girl agreed to my price and I took her back to my condo for 1000 baht plus the bar fine of 600 baht. I continued to do this until I had bar fined six different girls all at the same go go bar and each time I approached a girl I would tell her, “This is what I pay all the girls, 1000 baht.” Thing was I knew all the girls were talking to each other and they all knew I was a 1000 baht man. Meanwhile most of the customers at this club were Japanese or Korean and I can say with absolute certainly that they were paying several times as much as I was paying.
Lenny almost went back to bar fine the girl. Instead, we went to Roxy’s just up the street. Here the beers were once again 135 baht for a bottle. Ross was immediately approached by one of the prettiest girls in the place who simply followed us to the table we were being escorted to and took a seat next to him. He bought her a drink and for awhile she snuggled up next to him. But after fifteen minutes or so she was called out onto the stage and she never returned to our table, and probably because she asked him for a second drink and he had refused to buy it for her. Then Ross and Lenny noticed one of the more attractive girls sitting with several of the other girls near the stage and both commented, “She’s making signs at the other girls. I’ll bet she’s deaf.”
Ross got a waitress to ask the girl to join us at our table. He bought her a drink, and she was, as suspected, completely dead and dumb. The girl asked the waitress for a pen and then she brought out a piece of paper. On it she wrote, “I am deaf.” This started a series of paper exchanges with Ross replying to the girl and the girl in return replying to her as they passed the paper and pen between them. She was a pretty little slip of a girl with clever eyes. All three of us agreed that there were advantages to having a girlfriend who was deaf and dumb. “It would almost be like the Stefford wives,” I told Ross.
Our next stop was Spanky’s a go go bar where a lot of “Spanking” went on. The club had these clubs that looked like cut down baseball bats but they were soft and flexible so it didn’t hurt at all if you struck someone with one. But they’d make a noise that sure made it sound like one’s victim was getting a real shellacking. Before we even got in the door one of the girls took my hat off my head, told me she’d be coming back to me wearing it and then she disappeared into the dressing room. A few minutes later she took a seat next to me and I ordered a drink for her. Later she asked for a tequila and since I was already thinking about tequila and all the tequilas I had drunk with all those strippers I used to drink with back in the U.S. I ordered one for both of us, then another.
Rather than get into what was going on, suffice it to say that the girl was all over me and the more tequila she had drunk the more she lost her inhibitions. It was time to leave and go to the next place. Which was Baby Dolls.
Well let me tell you, there sure were a lot of godawful girls in there. None of them approached us although later on one girl came over from the stage and took a seat next to mine at the small table next to us. But she just sat there remote and disinterested so I let that well alone. The music was terrific at Baby Dolls however.
One thing about most go go bars is they play their music for their girls and not for their customers. So they wind up playing all this syntho music which isn’t music at all being computer created garbage and they also play a lot of what I call Da Da music. that’s music consisting of two, which is not even three beats as in “Da Da Da Da……then more quickly now, “Da da da da. The loudness of the notes either increases or decreases and so does the frequency but it’s all linear and just two beats. It’s complete crap. This is one of the reasons all my German friends won’t go go the go go bars. Germans just won’t put up with it. Their tastes are simply too refined. In fact, as it turns out, it’s Germans who are the biggest fans of old English and AMerican songs dating back to the 1960’s Which is ironical because most of my English and American friends don’t care what is playing at all. Here at Baby Dolls they were getting their music right.
But it was time to leave. I had promised my girlfriend I’d be back by 2 a.m. and we had only forty-five minutes before I’d have to catch a baht taxi back to my motorbike which I’d then drive down the backstreets back to my condo. Ross and I chose the Silver Star as our last place.
Taking seats right up against the stage, we ordered our beers and then Ross commented, “It’s getting close to closing and the girls have all turned into zombies.” Then he added…..”These girls are all the rejects from all the other clubs” But some of them were pretty good looking. It’s just that they were all acting as if we weren’t even there. But I had caught the eye of one of the girls who was sitting by herself away from the stage. By this time Lenny had long ago left us. But after a few minutes the girl who had been sitting alone who I had my back to now that I was sitting in front of the stage brushed by me a couple of times jostling me as she walked past me. I just kept jostling her back, just hard enough to make it clear that I was doing it on purpose. Then I told her in Thai, “Your hair is yellow. You are Russian.” This started even more flirting back and forth but she never came up to me to sit next to me, nor did she ask for a drink. Had it been much earlier in the evening or if I had stayed later, one way or the other she would have been sitting next to me. But as it turned out another girl, one of the most attractive girls in the whole place came up to me as I sat next to Ross. My mind now blurs thinking how it started, and really it doesn’t matter, but I started feeling the girl’s stomach which was flat as a board and then I told her she was same same me, and that I was not fat and then I had her feel my stomach as I took up from my chair.” Then she started pushing herself up against me and putting her arms around me until our bodies touched all the way up and down from our breastbones to our knees as we held each other tight.
Then she took a seat next to mine and I kept telling her how pretty she was but I had a girlfriend back waiting for me at the condo and I had to be back at 2:00. A few minutes later I left her after saying goodbye both to her and the other girl I had been flirting with.
It took just five minutes for the first baht taxi to pull away from the curb and to pull away filled with passengers and for the taxi that was next in line to back up to take the spot that had been occupied by its predecessor. A group of people who had been waiting their turn got on. In an instant this taxi was filled as well and I wound up standing on the step that had been mounted just below where the pickup truck’s bumper would normally had been. It costs just 10 baht to go anywhere up or down the line the baht taxis followed. In this case the taxis were all going as far as Naklua which meant 10 baht would be taking me all the way to the Tavern Restaurant where I had parked my motorbike. Baht taxis were converted pickup trucks which had two long bench seats facing each other in their beds. Over the heads of he passengers fiberglass roofs had been mounted to protect the occupants from the rain. On the bottom of the roof within easy reach of the passengers were three or four buzzers which looked like little doorbells. The baht taxis operated like buses traveling up and down their routes letting off each passenger when he pushed a doorbell. This is a great deal for thirty cents which would be paid by each passenger as soon as he dismounted from the pickup bed after which he’d walk over to the driver’s window and hand over a ten baht coin, or if he didn’t have the correct amount he’d hopefully receive his change. I mentioned hopefully because some unscrupulous drivers will tell a passenger that he doesn’t have any change so if the customer pays him say a twenty baht note, he will pocket the entire amount.
I’ve been pick pocketed twice on these baht buses. The modus operandi is as follows. Usually two or three individuals will get on the taxi who clearly do not belong in that particular place at that particular time. For example, there will be an attractive 15 year old girl with an older woman who’s usually downright ugly and old enough to be more than old enough to be the girl’s mother. But say it’s 1 o’clock in the morning. The older woman and the young girl clearly do not belong in that time at that place. One expects for example to see Westerner’s returning to their hotels or condos. So there might be single guys going home along or couples, even groups who have been going to the entertainment spots together. There might be a single Thai guy, or a girl wanting to go home to bed who’s been working somewhere in a bar or selling movies or clothing or whatever while going from bar to bar hawking her merchandise to the customers. There might be even two bar girls going home together or going to a disco where they can hopefully pick up customers. But an old bag of a lady with a 15 year old girl? They just don’t fit in here at 1 a.m. They certainly have not been shopping together because all the shopping centers and markets have closed down a long time ago.
And that’s exactly what happened to me one of the times I was being pick pocketed. The way it went is this young girl came over and sat right up next to me, almost against me. She had been carrying some sort of a coat or blanket and she put it up on top of her lap and then she started rubbing her hand around under the blanket. Then the old bag who was with her came over from where she had been sitting across from us and two passengers over and the old bag sat on the young girl’s lap. I even thought to myself, “they are trying to pick pocket me, and here’s how it’s working. The old bag comes over to upset my concentration. Meanwhile the girl will get her hand into my pocket.
One friend of mine, a Norwegian had been pick pocketed by a small crew of thieves. A lady boy sat across from him and engaged him in conversation as the lady man’s accomplice sat up next to my friend. My friend was distracted by his conversation with the lady man and didn’t even feel the accomplice pull his wallet from his pocket. Knowing what had happened to my friend I was now on guard, expecting to be pick pocketed, but I wanted to catch them in the act. I could sense the girl’s hand beneath the blanket near me up against my upper leg. And I kept waiting to feel her hand go down into my pocket but I never felt a thing. She was so good that even though I was waiting for it I never felt anything and suddenly my wallet was gone, the young girl and her much older companion got off the taxi with one or two people who were traveling with them and that was that.
One night I was returning back from Walking Street with two of my friends when four girls got on the taxi who once again did not fit in with coming out of nowhere in Naklua at 1 a.m. Once they boarded the taxi and took their seats my friends and I started talking about pick pockets while all of us were very careful so as not to let the girls sit anywhere near us. Within five minutes all four girls got off the taxi, but not one of them paid the driver. Later, when I paid the driver the 10 baht taxi fare I got a close look at his eyes and I knew he was a hard man with dishonest eyes. Clearly he was in on it, knowing only too well who the girls were and what they were up to.
So here I was standing on the rear step of the baht bus when Ross comes up next to us driving his motorbike. We exchange a few words and then Ross passes us on his way home. The man standing on the step next to me asks, “Do you know that man?” I tell him that Ross is an American friend of mine who’s been drinking with me all night.”
“Why does he drive a motorbike and you riding the taxi?” the man asks.
“Well most of my friends are not as smart as me,”i tell the man. I know that most of these drivers around here are complete idiots, some of the worse in the world and I’m scared to death of them. Especially at night and especially when I”m drinking. So I’ve left my motorbike up the street which I’ll pick up in a few minutes and drive once I’m out of the traffic. Actually I own a car and a motorbike.
The man agrees with me. And when I ask him where he’s from he tells me he’s Russian and he’s from Siberia where it gets awfully cold.
I know all about Siberia I tell the man. You Russians sent your famous writer, Dostoevsky to Siberia.” I then tell the man that I’ve found Siberians to be the most friendly out of all the Russians I’ve met and how I know from History how it was 25 Siberian divisions which turned the tide against the Germans during the battle for Moscow during World War II.
At this point the two Russian women are smiling a lot and making a comment or two. In no time the bus approaches the Tavern Restaurant so I have to get off the taxi and say goodbye to the Siberian and the two Russian girls.
Amazing Thailand and Pattaya’s the most exciting city in the entire country. One moment I’m cussing all the Russians who are clogging up my street who don’t have the common sense to realize they are not on a sidewalk but on a street meant for cars and that standing out in the middle of the street is not the place to be holding a conversation. And most of them can’t speak one word of Thai and no more than five words of English, those being “Me Russia. No speak English.” But that afternoon I”ve got a beautiful shapely Russian woman exercising next to me on the elliptical machine next to mine. Then after encountering one unsmiling Russian face after the other I meet someone like this Siberian, who speaks excellent English and super friendly to boot.
I get back to my condo at ten minutes to two. My girlfriend is in the large bedroom with the light on watching television waiting for me.