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Bangkok, Thailand

I didn't have high expectations for Bangkok which is probably just as well. The heat is ridiculous and keeps you in a constant state of sticky discomfort while the city itself seems to have very little to get excited about. Until night falls... After dark Bangkok gives birth to seedy clusters of bars and shows which seem to cater mainly for bizarre sexual deviances (Cosmo - they didn't have any shows involving amputees, I checked. Soz.).

More exciting but in a very different way was the arrival of Kalleem Kalleem and Seapa D! Our group was now strong enough to take on even the most heavyhanded of ladyboys and so after another swelteringly hot day we decided to venture into the murky depths of the Bangkok scene. We drank a load of Chang beers (which say that they are 6.4% but apparently vary between 6-11%) and after wandering around being pestered by greasy little characters holding cards reading "sex show" and listing the various oral accomplishments of the girls inside their bars (some involved writing letters, some mentioned opening bottles...) we ventured up a staircase and into one of the infamous shows.

I'd had a naive idea that you bought a ticket and an audience would be sitting watching a little performance - kind of like the circus but funnier and slightly more disturbing. The reality was much more sinister and immediately it felt like we were going to be scammed from every angle. We sat down and ordered a couple of beers; In the meantime a girl had positioned herself on stage in front of us next to a basket of ping pong balls. For some reason (maybe I look like a pervert) I was given a bat... This took me completely by surprise - I had no idea there would be a bat! I assumed she would be firing them into a little basketball hoop or something. Before I had any time to consider where I was expected to be hitting these balls, she aimed and fired!

My natural response to this ridiculous attack was one of self-defence - I hit the balls straight back. At the girl. Now, I used to play table tennis as a kid but I never considered myself to be particularly gifted. Maybe it was the Chang or maybe it was just good luck but I returned each of the three balls fired with unusually devastating precision- all three hitting her in the head! Obviously we were all wetting ourselves at this amazing scene and it only got better when, fuming, she grabbed handfuls of pingpong balls from the basket and started throwing them at me! At this point our drinks arrived so I decided this was the perfect time, and excuse, to leave.

The night ended with us being invited back to the stupidly expensive penthouse apartment of some American girls who had a collection of bongs and Thai weed. They had videos of thai guys getting their names tattooed on their chests which was a bit weird but they were really funny and I left with the promise that I would get one too. I'll probably get a tribal design all over my back or an elephant on my foot or something. Not really mum.

Bored of Bangkok, the next day just felt like a repeat (although I thought I would quit while I was ahead in the ping pong)... we walked around talking in rhyme and investigating propositions with strange and confusing questions. Every bar and club just seems the same after a while and even Kao San Road (where all the travellers go) didn't really have much going on beyond a few buckets and a load of white people with dreadlocks and shell necklaces who look like they could do with going home. The best thing about Bangkok is the food- I am loving all the spicy curries and stir fries. My digestive system doesn't seem to agree but fuck you digestive system - get used to it! Finally on the overnight train down South, I was excited to be going somewhere a bit less intense.

permalink written by  steve_stamp on April 26, 2009 from Bangkok, Thailand
from the travel blog: The art of being lost
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omg steve, I laughed so much and the ping-pong saga....wonder if it would go down at the Brewers????

permalink written by  Janey on April 26, 2009

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