Friday, May 02, 2003

Bangkok Weekend

V and I came back from a great weekend in Bangkok. We stayed at the Grand President Hotel, which was cheap, central and adequate. We spent a good deal of time at the pool, woke up one morning before dawn to catch the floating market 140 kms outside of Bangkok, ate some great food and some not-so-great food. We were at a riverside restaurant (the Yok Yor Restaurant, I believe) that had great views, mediocre food and a godawful sound system that crackled out more static than music. Throughout the meal we were subjected to entertainment. I use the word loosely. After the inevitable "traditional" Thai dance, the girls on stage whipped off their long robes to reveal black leather shorts and halters with riding crops in their hands for added effect. They had no talent whatsoever. When they finally exited the stage, I breathed a sigh of relief. The calm of the evening was soon broken, because five minutes after the girls left the stage, they started belting out Karaoke hits. The singers were all half-drunk Taiwanese men who somehow thought we really wanted to hear their renditions of off-key Taiwan love songs. For the record, I hope God has a special place in hell for the inventors of Karaoke. I had such a sour face that Vanessa wisely hustled me out of there before I became violent. We went to a quiet Starbucks where a latte brought me back to my good spirits.

We had some great food also. It seems that whenever I go to Thailand, the best meals I have are also the cheapest. Hmmm.

One night we went by the Nana Entertainment complex - a three story Sodom and Gomorrah chock-a-block with go-go bars. Feeling naughty, we went into one. A bunch of bored girls on a stage shuffling their feet listlessly to hard rock from the seventies - the music that most of their target clientele grew up with. I hadn't heard so much Steppenwolf, Blue Oyster Cult, Uriah Heep and whatnot in a looooong time. (That's been a good thing.)

We also went out to a lounge/bar called Q-Bar. What a fantastic place! Great music (old school hip-hop, and funk from the 70's to the present), great crowd (non-tourist expats and local scenesters). There were a lot of beautiful people there that night. Thai women can be stunning... Right next to our hotel there was another funky bar/lounge called the Bed Supper Club - definitely have to check it out next time......

Kind of funny, but EVERYONE assumed Vanessa was Thai. Whenever we went somewhere, the taxi drivers/shopkeepers/waiters/door staff would speak to Vanessa in Thai. And the first night the security guard headed her off at the elevator because he thought she was a ~ahem~ "lady of the evening". I was walking a few steps behind and set the guard straight pretty quickly. It bothered Vanessa a little because she suddenly realized that most people in Thailand woiuld make certain assumptions about her nationality and the nature of our relationship - assumptions that she herself was making about the fat white businessmen there with a young Thai girl on each arm. It's a sleazy world.

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