Evening in Patpong
March 26, 2004
I'm planning to post many web log entries from Thailand during my trip over there in the next two weeks. There is only one problem with that. Every time someone looks at pictures or wants to talk about my last trip there, they get hung up on one particular story.
It was actually Heather who was pretty insistent on getting to see the filthy side of Bangkok. We packed in a lot of activity, and I can honestly say that we could not have experienced more cultural oddities than we did in such a short time. Thai smut is just one piece of the big puzzle.
Heather, Sarah, Dad, and I took the sky train from dinner to Patpong. Patpong is the district for all of the adult activities. The street was like a Turkish bazaar -- zillions of booths selling anything imaginable. The sides are lined with one nudie bar after another. People stand outside to try to get you in; the funniest thing was that they have menus of things to expect inside. Those are written in English, of course.
We chose to patronize a nice establishment, whose sign you see pictured.
There is no actual stripping going on in these places. Naked women get on a stage, spread out, but in a line. They dance poorly and joylessly while working their way to the front of the line. They really just sort of bounce up and down like they are bored. When they finally get to the front of the line, they do a little trick with their vaginas.
We saw them put rings around the necks of bottles and blow out candles. One woman had a take on the magic tricks with the scarves: she pulled out yards and yards or ribbon. She was kind of funny, because it took a long time to get all of that ribbon out of her nether regions, and she was clearly bored with the wait.
The best trick was the dart throwing. The woman uses a chair to prop herself upside down. Then, darts shoot out from between her legs, popping balloons hung up high but near the edge of the stage. If a dart would miss, it would go sailing into the spectators. You really have to keep your head up in that place.
The funniest part was how the women on stage made no effort to engage the crowd or seem erotic. No one even smiled.
That might have been so that they didn't distract you too much from hookers who would approach you every few seconds. And I was there with my wife and sister. They were a real pain in the ass, asking for money constantly. Women without good English skills carried buckets with writing on them: "Give money for Pussy Show!!!!!!"
I don't think we ended up staying much longer than half an hour. That really was enough. Although I doubt I will go back, it is an activity that every visitor to Bangkok should plan to experience. There's nothing like it back here, I can assure you.