From Red Light District to Cat Sanctuary: Patpong 2021

Well, it’s another Sunday in Purgatory, reader. Seriously, I’m beginning to think we all died in the first month of the scamdemic and we’ve been languishing in the mythical state of Limbo for the past year and a half. Or, maybe I’m in a coma and I’m having really, really weird dreams.

Because I visited Patpong last week and was astounded to find it had been inadvertently converted (incandvertedly for short, copyright BKK7) into a stray cat sanctuary. The felines were positively everywhere, and outnumbered the people by 5 to 1, and so from here on I plan to refer to my former favorite part of Bangkok as Catpong.

Initially I’d swung into the Pong to visit XXX Lounge and chat with the manager. And by chance, a couple of gogo dancer friends were there as well. Poo and Earn were meeting with the mamasan, I assume to talk about the potential for reopening in the next month or two. I’ve heard from a few other gogo friends that they recently received messages from their various bar managers to “be ready to go back to work in November.” And while that’s really good news for us mongers going through red-light withdrawal, it’s just a rumor at this stage. So let’s move forward with cautious optimism.

Anyway, as I hung out with the XXX girls, I suddenly became aware of an inordinate number of cats milling around us and lounging languidly on various roofs and curbs like a tiny lion pride. “…What’s with all the cats?” I asked the girls. “They’re everywhere,” was the reply. Out of curiosity, I took a stroll around Soi 2 and was surprised to discover a cat or two in literally every nook and cranny. From BarBar to French Kiss—merely one quarter of the Pong, I counted 14 of them. It seems that when the mongers are away, the cats will play. Call it natural selection. Patpong’s just exchanged one gang of pussies for another.

Are the rumors to be believed? Will the red-lights make a comeback before the end of the year? Most locals think not, but we can dream, can’t we? I mean, since we’re all already trapped in this Purgatory, what choice do we have but to dream? A dream within a dream, as Poe might say, and it’s fitting, since the fun ban has become macabre. More like a nightmare within a coma, and we can’t wake up.

But look, it doesn’t do any good to wallow. None of us need reminding about the sad state of things. Instead, let’s remember that—despite the rampant corruption at all levels of authority and the inane, brain-dead stupidity that seemingly infects everyone with decision-making power—Thailand is still the greatest country on Earth and we’re lucky to be here. Especially now, as Western countries slowly transform into a horrific amalgamation of Orwell/Huxley dystopias, we are at least for the time being free to live our lives, however hindered, and still hold out hope that things will eventually return to normal. Thank Buddha Thailand’s economy hinges on tourism, otherwise this Hell would likely be permanent.

So let’s all be positive. Let’s launder our going-out cargo shorts and dust off our fancy flip-flops in preparation for a future date when, as the sun sets on BKK, we barflies and gogo hounds will once again take to the neon-lit byways of Nana, Cowboy, and Patpong to sit stage-side and ogle our favorite pole kitties. And if I have to share Patpong with a hundred stray cats, so be it.  I’m still gonna rock that red-light inside out.

Keep calm and carry on, fellow monger. Grab a cold one from the fridge, find a mirror, and raise a toast to yourself. You made it through another week in Limbo. It ain’t heaven, but it ain’t hell, either. Until next week, keep your beer cold, your balls warm, and keep the faith. We will get through this. Peace.

PS: There are six cats in the photo above. Can you spot them? Oh, and here are more photos of Poo and Earn goofing around…