Bangkok day 12

Ade & Jos adventure day 12 : Prick

Saturday! No work for Jo…

A bit of a lay in this morning, Jo made breakfast instead of us going down to the bistro for a buffet breakfast like normal… Bacon sandwiches… Or what turned out to be “thinly cut pork” sandwiches… Still nice tho.

After breakfast and an hour playing Playstaion for Jo we ventured off to the Terminal 21 mall in Asok so Jo could buy some new trainers, so she can get back to going to the gym while we’re in Thailand.

Terminal 21 is a massive place, it’s quite high end there, it’s not the most expensive mall we’ve seen so far (Emporio) gets that award.. But it’s not cheap either… It’s set on multiple floors with each floor having a theme based on cities of the world (London apparently is nothing more than big red buses and soldiers), Jo found some nice trainers which weren’t too expensive.. Not expensive at all really at less than £40.. She then bought me some too.. Guess who’s going to the gym on Sunday!

We had some food at a place called “Jeffers” It’s like a fast food style restaurant but where they serve properly cooked food… Jo had shrimp and pork steak, and I had Beef steak, peppered pork steak served with mashed potato and peppercorn sauce… Absolutely delicious! Then… Off to our second cinema trip here in Bangkok.. There are a number of cinema groups here in Bangkok, Majorplex and SF are the big ones I think (there may be more but for reasons i’ll come to later i’m a little “wooly”) this is our first time at the SF cinema here at Terminal 21 (All the malls have their own cinema).. So we got tickets for the new Fantastic beasts film… Note for you all here.. Not all film titles translate well into Thai…. Bohemian Rhapsody became “Bohemian Rapids”… Fantastic beasts 2 became “Wonderful animal Crime of the Grindelwald”.. And my personal favourite A star is born became “Astoria Eastbourne” I kid you not.

So tickets for film bought, we had a few minutes to spare so had a quick look around a mobile phone place looking for a TV set top box that will allow to watch Game of thrones here in Thailand, No such luck but we were pleased to find a google chromecast (Now, please keep this google chromecast related bit in your memories for later… All will be revealed)…Then, off to the film! Again the cinema is really nicely decorated, lovely comfortable seats, crystal clear screen.. The Thai’s really do take cinema seriously, again as always here in Thailand you have to stand before the movie as they play the national anthem in honour of the King… There’s no law saying you have to.. But the Thai’s really don’t like it if you don’t.

Another thing about the Thai’s when they go to the cinema, if they find a line in a film funny they will laugh out loud, as in, the theater will erupt in laughter.. Really adds a feeling of “heart” when you see a movie in Thailand… Oh.. The theaters are all air conditioned and bloody freezing tho… When we go again i’m taking a hoody with me.

After the movie (and despite Jo wanting us to go to the roller derby tonight) Jo decided that being as were close we’d venture down to Bangkoks notorious “Soi Cowboy”… A place well known for it’s bars, prostitutes (both female and ladyboy), gogo bars.. and pathetic western middle aged/old men paying money to young attractive Thai women for sex. We walked through really quite early in the evening, just as the place was “waking up”.. So didn’t see much this time… Then, back to the hotel for a quick change of clothes before heading off to the rollerderby!

Bangkok rollerderby is a team made up of British, American, Canadian, Australian, French and Thai women who all love Rollerderby, The team are based at the Emporio shopping malls roller dome and (Jo found out) the team is sponsored by the owner of the Emporio shopping complex.. The bout it’self differed form British Rollerderby in a number of ways, some good, some not so good… No Music/DJ… There was minimal announcing… Not enough NSO’s (none skating officials).. No Paramedic team…. But, there was a real heart to the game, it was fast aggresive fun, there was a large (capacity?) audience watching and enjoying the game.. I’ve not missed rollerderby since stepping away from it about a year ago.. But tonight I felt a little bit of nostalgia…. I wonder if Bangkok rollerderby need a DJ?

Jo loved watching the game, just looking at her you could tell she was in her element, she was chatting to people and repeatedly telling me she wants to skate (I however, say no.. she can’t afford to get inured.. Since when as Jo ever listened to me?) Jo will be going along to the teams next practice.. I wonder where this will lead?

Remember the Google chromecast bit, back at Terminal21? (pay attention people) well, my phone just randomly informed me Ebay have a special deal on Google Chromecast. Don’t tell me our smart phones don’t listen and log every word we say.. It’s tinfoil hat wearing time people.. Big brother IS watching us.

After roller derby (and despite me saying tonight was going to be booze free) Jo wanted to go back to “Soi Cowboy”….

So we approach Soi Cowboy, it’s loud, it’s noisy, it’s busy..It’s basically one long street lined with bars and clubs….All neon and loud music…. At the entrance to the street are a number of working girls (well.. Working WOMEN) plying for trade round by the taxi’s and food stalls, as we enter Soi Cowboy it all becomes a bit of a senses overload.. People every where.. Girls dressed in bikinis (of varying sizes and coverages) everywhere, waving at, grabbing at, smiling at any unaccompanied (by a wife/ girlfriend) man that walks by… Calling folks into bars and shows… It is a complete change to the Bangkok i’ve gotten accustomed to… We had a pint of beer at a bar called “The old dutch” an odd place that felt out of place here in Soi Cowboy.. No half naked girls, no loud music.. But a cold beer.

Jo decided we’d have a drink closer to the center of Soi Cowboy so off we ventured to another bar, sitting outside the main building we drank a couple of drinks and did some people watching.

Human trafficking aside, I have no problem with prostitutes or prostitution. It’s a part of the culture here, if a girl/woman of her own free will wants to use her sexuality to make money,then let her.. It’s her body afterall. I do however have a major problem with the men here.

Most of the girls here are beautiful.. And young… Some (because of the height and body types of some Thai women) look suspiciously young. The men here fall into a number of types.. Young lad walking through with his mates, Middle aged men just having a look… And scum.

There are men here in their fifties walking hand in hand with girls that look about 16, there are men here just groping and pawing at the girls, yes I know they’re prostitutes but surely these men should show them a little respect? There is a man in the bar we are sat at, he’s in his late 30’s perhaps… A middle Eastern looking man.. Bald head.. really full of himself… In the bar are girls who are working” they’re wearing a variety of outfits, bikinis, ultra short skirts with there underwear on display.. But there’s also girls here who are just working the bar, a couple are wearing jeans and a bar logo T-shirt, one is a smartly dressed young lady with braces on her teeth, I’m not sure why the braces caught my eye.. Maybe it was just a brief glimpse of “normality” in this mad place… So Mr Middle East is in the bar, grabbing the arse of one of the girls in jeans, she’s laughing it off, i’m getting angry, Jo explains that the girls here are used to it.. I’m not happy at all.. Then he grabs braces” girl.. again his hands are all over her treating her like a piece of meat.. At this point I decide I want to leave.

I get that this is afterall a meat market. I’m guessing that each bar/club has people on hand to deal with these men if they over step the mark (I’ve no idea where the mark is).. And yes I know that a large number of the girls here (if not all) for an amount of money will go back to your hotel with you and be your play thing. But, I struggled with the lack of respect. They are still people after all.

So we leave the bar. I call Mr Middle East a prick as we pass him. I’m guessing he doesn’t speak English.

From Soi cowboy to a German bar called “The penalty spot”.. A bar full of Germans drinking German beer, listening to a live band.. While being hunted by prostitutes… Again the place is full of them, but here it’s different.. The girls have the power.

Middle aged German at the bar who’s all over the young attractive Thai woman at the bar… But she holds the cards… He’ll pay for her drinks all night, he will probably end up paying her for sex… But she ultimately is in power.. She can walk away at any time.. She’s not being groped by any bloke that passes by in this bar… I’m happier here. No pricks just business.

After a drink we move on, the plan is to find food. We are both by now pretty drunk. Then we hear it. I’d know that guitar riff anywhere. There’s a bar with a band covering Ozzy Osbournes “Crazy train”. A death defying journey across the road into a small bar called “Ottobar”.. Rock posters on the walls, a live band on a stage… A rock bar!… With prostitutes.

The band is great (despite the singer not actualy knowing all the words… He belted out the choruses tho) AC/DC (shook me all night long) Deep purple (Highway star) Iron Maiden (Run to the hills) Black Sabbath (Paranoid).. the bar is filled with people of all nationalities enjoying music, having fun, drinking too much.. Oh yeah.. And prostitutes.

By now me and Jo are pretty drunk… Time for food… We find a burger place up the road, the plan was to eat food and go back to the bar.. But after food I think we both knew it was game over for us… So we hailed a tuk tuk (our first proper one in Thailand) and went back to the hotel….

I’m typing this at 9:40 on Sunday morning… Amazingly I have no hangover… How did that happen?

Oh yeah, all men are pricks.

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Ade Cox

A working-class man from The Black Country, plucked from the factory and now living the best life in Bangkok