After spending way longer in the south islands than originally planned, I hopped a bus from Chumphon port headed back towards the city of broken dreams. When on the bus, I was allocated a seat next to a mid-twenties Kiwi guy who I awkwardly ignored for the first thirty minutes or so of the journey. We were confident in our silence, both clearly happy to have a quiet moment to ourselves before arriving back into the obnoxiously loud Bangkok streets. Then just as I was about to put my fake Beats headphones on – the ultimate tactic in conversation avoidance – he piped up with, “Soooo, how many girls y’root?”
Slightly taken aback by the question – yet secretly proud of the response I was about to give – I carried on a crude conversation with the Kiwi for the vast majority of the 7 hour journey back to the Thai capital. By the time the bright lights drew closer, we had only just covered the first half of the epic saga that was the Kiwi’s sexual conquests around Asia – I’m genuinely waiting for the movie adaptation to be made!
We pulled onto the outskirts of Khao San and were unloaded onto the usual hawker crowd, grabbing at our bags and shoving leaflets for their beat-up hotels in our face. I asked the Kiwi about his sleeping arrangements for the evening (attempting to sound as heterosexual as I could) and he suggested splitting the cost of a room in a place that he had stayed before. Cutting costs by sharing with a boner-fide (yes, I know how I spelt that) casanova in the city of sleaze…I should’ve known that a quiet night with a glass of milk and a game of Scrabble was not how my night was going to end!
As we neared our home for the evening, I couldn’t help but notice how the standard of accommodation was quickly dropping in quality with every door we passed. Overcoming my hostel snobbery, we walked into a dilapidated building and requested a twin room.
We ascended the staircase, which could have easily been used as part of a horror movie – sparking lights and blood on the staircase came as standard. The door to our room was latched, with only a tiny padlock holding the corridor wanderers from pushing through into our overnight domain. The overwhelming stench of damp and murder hit me as soon as I walked into the room, with only the following sight to attempt to find solace in…
The actual size of the room…just enough for two slabs of granite covered in a duvet!
A sunburnt and less than impressed Supertramp!
In an attempt to exit the depressing environment that I feel we paid too much money for, I rushed a shower and re-secured our padlock as we left for the beginning of my reunion with the smuttier side of Thai culture.
‘Halfway Down The Road-To-Ruin’
Now, I have to stress, the following story has been pieced together by various sources and my own drunken flashbacks. I was literally so blackout drunk that the hours preceding my first drink are also a fuzzy dream sequence. I believe it happened like this:
The Kiwi and I sit down at our first bar and order two ‘surprise buckets’, this can either be a blessing or a curse in disguise in Thailand – some bars use it as a way to put minimal alcohol in, most however take the opportunity to sweep the nastiest, oldest liquor they can’t sell to anybody else and pour in mass quantity. (Un)fortunately for us, the bar we were at favoured the latter method of ‘surprise’.
At some point in the evening, we managed to pick up an American, who, in the interest of anonymity, we shall call the ‘Yank’. Anyhow, the Yank had just finished a year’s teaching in Korea and was ready to hit Bangkok’s party scene relatively hard – (un)lucky for him, he had caught me and the Kiwi halfway down the road-to-ruin.
The only existing image of me and ‘The Kiwi’
The only existing image of ‘The Yank’
The Great 7/11 Robbery
After smashing back several more kitchen-cupboard cocktails and a skinful of shots, the Kiwi threw a question to the table that I am very surprised wasn’t asked earlier, “Wanna go to a ping-pong show?”
Here is where I feel I should explain my temperament, each and every time I get slizzard – I am one of those idiotic people who become extremely impressionable, even the most incredibly ludicrous ideas suddenly become the opening act of ‘The Joey Supertramp Show’.
So of course, watching women fire ping-pong balls out of their hoo-hoo’s was the greatest idea since shirt pockets! But that just wasn’t satisfying enough, I needed something more in order to fill the void that has existed since Disneyland stopped being fun – the mischievous delinquent in me seems to only attempt an escape while under the influence.
I open my thoughts up to the group, “Anybody know the punishment for shoplifting in Thailand?”
What ensued was a shameless ransack of the nearest 7/11, grabbing beers, snacks and a pack of condoms before sprinting out the door, hailing a tuktuk, yelling ‘Ping-Pong Show’ at the bemused driver and speeding off. Know that I am not proud of these actions, as the total cost of these items was probably less than a bag of Skittles at home but it certainly did please my inner Bart Simpson, who retreated back to the depths of my self-conscious, waiting to break-free the next time he hears the words ‘Happy Hour’.
I can only assume that the following two pictures were taken during the getaway…
We rocked up to a shady-looking shed-type building, corrugated roof and all. We paid the tuktuk driver who also felt it necessary to escort us into the Texas Chainsaw-esque building that stood in front of us – at first I assumed he did this for moral support, I should have known that he obviously had some sort of connection with the patrons of this establishment.
After passing a rusty-faced old Thai woman, who looked better suited in a bingo hall than a place where women shoot sporting equipment out of their front-bums, we made it inside.
Did you ever catch that Peter Kay show Phoenix Nights? Well, watching the clip below is like taking a step back in time for me and my two foreign companions – the act, the reactions and even the shoddiness of the surroundings are a direct comparison to what we saw for the following two hours.
Throw in a girl inserting razorblades into her hoo-hah, an awkwardly uninteresting live sex-show and massively overpriced drinks and you have the description of most people’s nights when they give in to the peddlers making popping sounds down Koh San Road – except I imagine that their evening doesn’t come to an abrupt end when one of your party (me) decides to attempt some sneaky camera action during the show, only to have your camera snatched, your neck pulled at the scruff and the final words you hear from a Thai person for the night being ‘Yoo delete photo naaw, den fuck off’
Funny enough, I never heard from the Kiwi again, but I would later meet the Yank unexpectedly in Laos, where we replayed the night, shared a laugh and then swore to never speak of it again.