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A red night out with Thailand’s ping pong girls


Hello friends!  ahhh, so good to be sitting paying for email and sending group letters  again!  The keyboard is fine, it’s mostly my jetlagged coffee tremored hands which are giving me trouble this fine first morning in Bangkok!

So after a mind, leg and butt numbing 20 hours to get here… please, an aside… WHY CAN’T SOMEONE DESIGN A COMFORTABLE PLANE???  I mean really, couldn’t it be like a train with berths?  or hammocks?  is it really necessary to cram us in like that?  and what is up with this “class” system?  I say out with it and the rest of the kings, queens and dictators!

Anyway, arrived without incident, in fact, just as advertised, this is one of the easiest places I have ever been for traveling.  Smooth as Thai silk.  The people are lovely, patient and helpful.  Of course they start with double the price for everything (Denise, go downstairs in the airport to get the metered taxis to town, about 200 Baht versus the 900 they try to get you for upstairs).  The hotel (Siam 2) is clean and quiet and the pool refreshing.  I have found that the people speak much less English than I expected, which is fine of course as I can completely butcher the simplest of languages, and this one is not simple.  It is important to have your destination on paper in the Thai language not just in our letters.

I arrived in the afternoon and determined to stay up until the night so as to switch my body clock.  My first victims of brain picking were a French Canadian couple who have traveled here yearly for many years and were a great resource.  I wandered around locally a bit, this area is the backpacker haven and you see more foreigners than locals.  The streets are full of food stalls, clothes, chinese crap and massage
parlors.  But everything is pretty clean and peaceful and no one hassles you too much.  I was so tired that I determined to just sit around in the lobby of my hotel and drink the local beer… not so tasty, but “when in Rome…” as they say.  And Lo!  along comes “Claire”.  Claire is a feisty young Scottish girl fresh from working in Australia.  Big buxom (is that spelled right?) and brash.  We determined of all the things to see and do here in Bangkok, the vagina shooting ping pong ball show was the most bizarrely attractive.  So we recruited “Tom” from Italy as our chaperone and self proclaimed Patpong ping pong tour guide.  We stopped at the Saum Lam night Bazaar, an enormous shopping area touted as the cheapest place and where “the locals shop”.  There were mostly locals in fact, and the prices, as with everything here are ridiculously cheap.  Mostly it is just ordinary things like clothes and shoes and handbags… not much in arts or crafts.  But my companions shopped like mad for all the latest knock off fashions… they are young and into all that… me, I was just looking for meditation pillows:)

We made a quick stop off at one of the gazillions of food stalls for some reasonably yummy, healthy 50 cent noodles/rice/strips of miscellaneous animal flesh…. then off to the ping pong show! Now really folks, this place is about everything I hate in humanity, but I tried to go with an open mind and heart.  The streets are lined with neon signs and my favorite was simply “Super Pussy”.  I have to admit that I appreciate unapologetic “sin”.  Like ice hockey… it’s just violent, period… and if you don’t like it, leave.  Or the Republican party… open, honest, in your face greed… no glossing it over.  In the face of this blatant expression one finds themselves questioning their self righteous judgement and tries to figure out the other side of the story.  I had to see this, like a train wreck, I was just grossly curious.

These places try to get you to pay more so you have to stand firm and not allow any extra massages, lap dances, tips, etc.  We got in with drink included for a whopping $5.  Now, let’s see if I can describe this experience adequately.  It is dark and smokey with black lights so everyones eyes and teeth glow eerily.  There is a stage with what appear to be 15 year old little girls in thongs, pasties and knee high black leather boots.  They wriggle a bit around the silver poles and as far as I could tell were completely bored.  They visit amongst themselves like teenage girls would do in the hallways of any high school.  Then, there is the one doing the “show”.  Let’s see, we had the real skinny one bending over sticking lit cigarettes inside of her actually smoking!  the one who can by god pop the top off of a fizzy drink bottle!  the never ending glow in the dark tape that just keeps coming out and out and out!  my personal favorite, the flying banana replete with disgusting customer catching it (I noted that the “mamasan”, matron of our fine establishment would rather touch a writhing cobra than that banana that inadvertantly flew too far), the flying dart popping large balloons held by yet more middle aged lonely losers, and finally… yes indeedy… the ping pong balls.  I have to say, that one was actually the most boring.  The chubby girl would kind of stick it in there then stand over a glass and plop it rather unceremoniously out and down her legs into the glass.  Often she missed, would giggle, pick it up off the filthy floor and start over. I wanted to laugh, cry and vomit all at the same time.

The most noticable thing about the whole experience was the audience. There were a few couples, like us I’m sure, sickly curious… but then, there were all these men… even some Thai men… all rather homely, balding, guts, wedding rings… or drunk frat boy types… who were more than willing to have little girls bounce on their laps, hold
balloons like particular body parts (on stage no less), catch flying things or stick bananas (clumsily) up these poor girls not so private privates.  It was all so utterly mesmerizing and yet… strangely… dull. These little girls seemed to just be playing around, giggling, a little bored, a little vacant… kind of like we all get at our jobs after lunch.  And that was that.  No big deal, and yawning, we waved cheerio, see ya later, thanks, came home and went to bed.

Today, sight seeing to all the temples… wonder what those monks can do with ping pong balls?

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