Hello net surfer. Bangkok Seven here, with another testimonial from deep inside the dark nether regions of the red-light district. Since escaping quarantine earlier this month, I’ve been haunting the dim, dismal streets of Patpong nightly, and reported on the state of things in two previous Sunday blogs. And just when I think I’ve said all there is to say, and there’s nothing new to enlighten you with, Patpong goes and outdoes itself, providing more fodder for posting on the interweb. And the previous week was no different, so here again is all the Pong that’s fit to print:
Let me start by saying that I think I’ve figured out why the old regular expat mongers haven’t come back to the red-light. The tourists are an economic buffer between them and the girls. They (the tourists) bear the brunt of the hard-sell dancers pumping for drinks. A local can no longer lurk anonymously in a dark corner, watching from afar unmolested. There’s a goddess in every golden cloister and they all have a drink quota. After hitting the Pong 3 weeks in a row and getting rinsed by desperate pole kitties every time, I’m stunned at the pittance left over in my bank account. This can’t go on. I’m not capable of financing an entire RLD for fuck’s sake. At any rate, on to the report…
Glamour and Bada Bing have begun closing their doors on Sundays and Mondays. This seems prudent, given the sparse number of expat regulars who venture out on those nights. Thigh Bar looks to close just on Sundays. The Strip remains defiantly open 7 days a week, and have even hired on a handful of new girls. Talk about optimism!
As Bangkok suffers from a Guinness draught, those lucky punters who frequent Shenanigan’s and/or Paddy Field are feeling no pain as the owners make sure to have the black stuff on tap in at least one of their locations at all times. Speaking of, Shenz has a 2-for-1 deal on Wednesdays, and Paddy has the same deal running Monday to Wednesday. It’s a nice little shoulder-rub for your wallet.
Le Bouchon has an August special in honor of Mother’s Day. Appetizer: foie gras and poached pear, then either roasted fish fillet with mousseline sauce or veal tenderloin with mushroom cream sauce and finishing with tiramisu—1,250b. I got the veal, and paired my dinner with a splendid Bordeaux. The foie gras was divine. I struggled not to gulp it down, taking sips of wine in between bites. The veal was out of this world, and complemented the wine perfectly. The two together were a fantastical delirium of palate pleasure. By the time I got to the tiramisu, I was drunk. I scarfed it down in under 10 seconds. How are the French so much better than everyone else at making food? I don’t get it. Also on the plate was some mix of vegetables pressed into a cube that tasted better than any vegetable I’ve ever eaten. Is it magic? Voodoo? How did the tiny baked potato pack so much punch? I’m at a loss. Speaking of, I need to curb my dining at Bouchon if I hope to lose any weight.
Last Sunday, the night market re-emerged—or I should say, its skeleton was erected—with no actual stalls or wares. Slowly, day by day throughout the week, a few vendors returned, but then left again, so that by Friday the market was mostly-torn down with only a smattering of folks selling bags and t-shirts. The shops on the corner of Soi 2 and Silom Road now close in the evenings but remain open during the day. I did my part by purchasing a new backpack from them, even though their prices are a bit higher than MBK.
On Tuesday I swung into Shenanigan’s for a mushroom burger and caught some of Dom’s acoustic set. She’s the singer from the band Tiny Moon and does an unplugged set there every week. I was pleasantly surprised at some of her song choices, eg. “Closer” by Travis, and “Chocolate” by Snow Patrol. As an Indie/Britpop fan, that was a real treat (as was the burger).
On Wednesday, Bar-Bar—the BDSM fetish club above The Strip on Soi 2—was paid a visit by traveling dominatrix Mistress “Hunter.” I didn’t catch the show but I heard her antics were eye-popping, to say the least. My friends over at BKKNites were there to take some promotional photos and they sent me a couple. Mistress H is the one in red.
Saturday morning, a bratwurst truck appeared on Silom Road across from Patpong Soi 1 called Bratbox, offering single takeaway meals for 150b and family-style sausage sets. The menu is in Thai, so these folks are not aiming for a farang customer base. I got an original brat in a bun. It was pretty tasty, but I did find the round burger-style bun a little confusing.
On a side note, I wasn’t exclusively onPong this week. Sunday morning, I swung in to Stumble Inn for a full English. It was a real treat. Everything on the plate was pure joy. What wasn’t was seeing how dead Soi 4 has become. The freelancers that used to lounge around the Nana Hotel car park are gone. Hooter’s is closed. Half of the Hillary’s didn’t open till 1:00 pm.
The long-and-short of this report is, the RLD’s are adapting to find an equilibrium with a customer base comprised of tightwad expats eyeing each other sideways from opposite sides of the gogo. Over the course of the week, more local lounge lizards have slipped languidly into stageside seats, to the glee of Bangkok pole dancers. But it won’t be enough to sustain these girls and the bars indefinitely. In a spate of baseless optimism, owners and dancers alike mentioned to me this week that they think the flight ban on tourists will be lifted soon. I disagree. The junta are enjoying a ‘successful’ run of days without new Covid cases and prefer to ignore the dire financial plight of the Thai citizenry. On Thursday, the emergency decree was extended through September, so at minimum the gogos will have to tighten their belts and survive another month with the customer tank on Empty. Let’s hope they all make it.
And cheers to us whoremongers who have also survived another week in what is still the greatest country in the world despite a pandemic and a heartless, soulless government that turned its back on its people. Drink ‘em if you got ‘em, folks.