WARNING: The easily offended should perhaps not read on. This note my contain ideas and acts that may upset certain people.
You have been warned.
So, today it is Dan's birthday, so last night we decided to go out an celebrate - Bangkok style.
This meant a couple of beers, a spot of dinner, and then gratuitously watching bikini clad Thai girls dancing - more accurately standing - on stage, enveloping poles with their hands/thighs/tongues, in the vein hope you might buy them a drink, or better still for the ladies, buy them.
Before I go on, allow me to describe what these places are like, to those of you who may never have seen it. The area that we visited last night was a popular spot for these type of places. Despite peoples image of Bangkok, the clubs like these are not everywhere, instead confined to a handful of streets full of them. This does mean that it gets very competitive, and once you set out down that road, until you leave or enter a club you will be hollered at, grabbed, bribed and accosted to enter one. But which one to choice - Supergirls, Cowgirls, Madame's, or the P***y Palace? We went where the beer was cheapest, but I struggle to recall its name.
Once you get in you are shown to your seat, the view you have is of mirrored walls, a central stage dotted with greased up poles, and at least 15 girls trying their best to look sexy in their underwear, and a badge with a number clipped to their strap. The purpose of the number is quite obvious - if you like the look of one, you ask one of the waitresses to get here to come over and sit with you. However, we were not in the club two minutes before our waitress - apparently called Porno, but I have my doubts - called over a girl each for Dan and I. Before long we were joined by a couple more and we had ourselves a sort of impromptu Birthday gathering.
The way they make money from you - apart from the obvious - is by getting you to buy a 'lady drink' ie one for whoever may be with you. The problem with this is that the more girls that join you, the more you seem to buy, and before long Dan had inadvertently agreed to about 6 extra drinks - so we were slightly ripped off! We finished our drinks and left in a hurry because the whole thing made me feel grossly uncomfortable.
Four years ago these nights were the highlight of my trip. I have fond memories of being nearly hit in the head with a projectile banana - I'm sure you can imagine where it was launched from - and dancing on the stage in one club, being stripped to my underwear by a group of ladies. But this time was different - this time I didn't really enjoy it at all. Maybe because last time we were in a bigger group and so it was funnier and you could escape the ladies easier. With just two of us it felt seedier - like we were there for an immoral purpose. Perhaps in the intervening four years I have changed so much that I just can't enjoy it anymore. Dan certainly did not feel as strongly as I did against it, still enjoying the spectacle and the novelty of the whole thing.
I am not trying to take the moral high-ground and damn anybody that enjoys this sort of thing to a lifetime in the fiery pits of hell. I am merely saying that it was not for me - this time. Maybe my opinion will change back when I'm middle aged, unmarried and desperate for some young lady, but for the tiome being I would much rather have my beer in a regular club where I can dance and take pictures of my friends without fear of being over charged or molested by the person sitting next to me.
Bangkok certainly seems to test your moral fibres, and last night mine were pulled from two directions. Thankfully though I did not allow them to snap.
Tonight Dan and I have visitors coming to visit, and we are all going to go out together - but not back there. Instead a nice meal, a few beers and a dance.
But I will be the one dancing - not number 34.