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balance (2): nightlife

Sunday, October 24, 2004

nightlife

last night was rather strange for me. the phuket of yore has changed quite a bit- none of the entertainment venues or restaurants i once patronized here exist any longer. i felt a bit disoriented and a little jumpy at the buzz of a (relatively) big city again. the first thing i did was run for the rasta bar, thinking that the people there at least would likely be mellow. to get there you have to walk down a whole soi (sidestreet) of go go bars and open air bars filled with girls in hot pants and high heels who accost you. not to mention several ladyboys, who are not known for their reticence. i made it successfully past all the "oooh, come sit sexy lady"s to the far corner. there was a young thai girl and her older sister at the rasta bar, and they both looked thoroughly uninterested in me. i sat at the bamboo bar (painted with flourescent paint) and ordered a singha beer. quickly realized neither of them spoke the least bit of english. sat very very uncomfortably for at least half an hour in silence as we all three stared at each other, before i finally whipped out some thai words. they brightened up considerably then. the older sister dragged out a notebook of scribbled english phrases that she was trying to learn, and i spent the next hour or so teaching them english and playing sporadic games of jenga.



later on i was feeling a little tipsy, and just wandered around patong beach. it is crammed with shops, stalls, restaurants, bars, and go gos from one end to the other. there are a lot of the stereotypical fat older white men here trying to pick up their young girls for the night. there are also several young couples and groups of college guys roaming for presumably the same reason. i was not on the hunt for a girl however i did end up at a combination go go/ beer bar, simply because the bartender at least was male and there was a tv overhead. i ordered another singha and settled back to pretend i had some interest in the football game overhead (which i did not). all around me were very young girls dancing in very short plaid skirts and very high heeled boots. one by one they came over to suss out what i was there for. one of the older girls decided i was a lesbian and tried sitting in my lap.... i quickly dissuaded her. she must have lost face because i saw little of her for the rest of the evening. later on a girl came running over and asked if she could hide behind me because she did not want to go home with some older guy who was trying to snag her. i smiled and bought her a drink. we ended up talking for the next 6 hours. her name is may and she's from isaan. she has several concurrent boyfriends running at any given time, all of whom think that in their absence she is being a good girl at home taking care of the buffalo. two of the men send her money regularly every month- she makes about 35,000 baht from them combined which keeps her living well, so she mostly works for fun. she had just aborted her first baby 2 weeks ago... she is not ready for the responsibility... and this is partly why she did not want to go with a man this night, though her boss expected her to work as normal. she doesn't like to lie but she works for money and thinks the men are stupid for believing otherwise. she could not be happy at home on a farm, in a quiet village. she tried to quit for 5 months but ended up missing the fast pace, the music, dancing, lights, drinks, and fun with friends. she doesn't particularly like sex, but does prefer older and fatter men than the younger ones. she says the younger ones will only "butterfly"
(which means they pick different girls every night) whereas an older man might actually become interested in her and would be a far less selfish lover. she worries about how she looks, has fierce competitions with other girls in the bar, but makes quite good money and is fairly good natured overall. sometimes western men are too big for her or too aggressive, and she will either just "smoke" them or she will outright leave, but she is a tough girl and is capable of setting her limits......in other words, she is a very typical thai bar girl. she had a faint vulnerability about her though, almost like this whole thing was a facade and she really just wanted to find someone nice to take care of her. she really wanted me to stick around and be her friend. she invited me to come stay at her house and she would take me around etc. she was very sweet. but i left when the bar closed at 1 am to go sleep and i am sure i will never see her again.

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