Thursday, November 13, 2008

scammed in patpong

the mere mention of bangkok conjures up images of grand shopping centers, majestic temples and palaces, and, well, girly bars.

and being my first time in bangkok, i wasn't going to miss out on that must-see. thankfully, ayeen, her friend jody, and jody's mom, were all game to check out the shows as well. sarah, on the other hand, got too comfy under my duvet and decided to doze off.

patpong was just a short distance away from take a nap, but we decided to take a detour to check out this street full of boy shows. we regretted this detour the moment we stepped on the street. all of a sudden, a mass of male GROs were pulling us and leading us to different bars, trying to convince us to watch the show in their bar. "show starting now, miss!" "come here, miss!" "i love you!"

this went on throughout the entire stretch of the street. i just kept walking and avoided eye contact, while ayeen swatted the men away from her. we heaved a huge sigh of relief when we reached the end of the street. but because of the detour, we got turned around and couldn't figure out where patpong was.

a couple of thai women finally led us to patpong 2, where there was a line of stalls filled with clothes and accessories. we walk warily, the memories at "boys street" still fresh in our minds. then this old man came up to us, and he held up a card that said "pingpong show, girly show, smoking, darts..." and all the other tricks you're supposed to see in patpong.

"100 baht for all, plus one drink," he said. we were hooked.

he led us into the bar, where there was a long stage in the middle, with three or four poles, and each pole had a scantily-clad woman standing beside it. the show hadn't started yet, so we took our seats, ordered our drinks, and waited.

a tiny woman came up on stage holding a lit candle, then proceeded to drop wax all over her body. strange, i thought, but kept watching. after a few minutes, a younger woman went up on stage, put a whistle to her vagina, and made it trill.

when the third "act" was up--the tiny woman from the first act was pulling a really long, neon-colored ribbon out of her special place--we noticed a couple of big-boned women in blazers standing by our table. we didn't know who they were, but thought nothing of it.

it was after the darts exhibition when we discovered what the blazered women were there for. a woman shot all the balloons with the dart from her vagi-sumpit. pretty good, i thought. but really, is anyone turned on by this? my musings were interrupted. all of a sudden, there were four blazered women trying to bully us into paying a bill of THB 3,200.

of course, we didn't relent. not only did we not have that amount, but we knew exactly what this was. taga-pinas 'to, 'no, 'di kami magpapaloko. one of the ladies kept saying that since we stayed to watch a lot of the shows, we had to pay that much. we retorted that our "deal" with the man outside was THB 100 for all the shows, plus one drink.

"NO, NO, NO!" the captain of blazered women insisted. "you watch, you pay!" they tried to look menacing, but they never made a move to touch us. we held our ground.

finally, she realized she wasn't going to get the THB 3,200 from us. she decided to go for the usual: "okay. THB 300, but you leave now." of course, that wasn't the deal, too, but at this point, we've had enough. the show wasn't even that impressive, so it wasn't worth the trouble. we paid the THB 300 and left through the back door.

out on the street, we come out of the shock, and laughed the experience off. "that's bangkok for you!" jody said. and to an extent, i have to agree. the bangkok and the patpong experience just isn't complete if you don't get scammed.

so if you're ever in bangkok, and thinking of checking out the girly shows at patpong, be careful, and be ready to pay more than what was agreed upon. even with this experience, checking out this "wild" side of the thai capital is still something i would recommend. it's not something you can easily find elsewhere, you know.

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