Q. When is a Karaoke bar NOT a Karaoke bar?

Scene 1: tiny Thai fishing village at night (ext.)

Yanks: Hay y’all! Y’all wawna dooo surme Karrieohkaaaay?

Me: I cannot believe there is a karaoke bar here.

Yanks: Naah gurralfreeynd! Its just down thayt streeyt theyre!

Me: Hey ho! Let’s go!

Scene 2: Very shady back alley at night (ext.)

Thai waitress: karaoke? You come here!

Yanks and me: Sawadee [trans: ‘hello’]! Great! Thanks!

Cue ‘uh-oh something’s weird here’ music…something ingongrous. It should be menacing-sounding, with a bass that like you feel in your stomach and it sort of makes you want to chuck up. I’m going to go with this: http://soundcloud.com/liar_avicenna/06-radiohead-pulk-pull Let me know what you think of my choice.

Int. A concrete cell. Three plastic picnic tables. At one of the tables are more Thai waitresses and the creepiest guy you’ve ever seen in your life.

OK, this is a digression from the scene, obviously, but you have to know how creepy the creepy guy was. WHOA he was gross. I already recognised him because he had been on my plane here from Copenhagen. He had in fact been a major point of interest for me when I arrived off the plane and made my way through immigration. Which is a joke in this country, by the way. They basically pack about a thousand people into a huge hall with no signs or instructions on what to do or where to go. The concept of queuing has absolutely zero cultural currency here so everyone just tussles their way through the throng. Welcome to the Land of Smiles, everyone! It takes about two hours….Snoozefest. So I had to invent a nice little game to keep me el occupado: Spot the Sex Tourist. You play by looking out for the following characteristics: A man. Old. Socks with sandals. Sweating profusely. Thick glasses. Chest rug poking out of his shirt. Frequent flyer card. Skin like a reptile. Comb-over. Five or more of these and you are defo in Thailand for sex tourism. Bleuurch. And the creep in the karaoke bar? BINGO! But back to our scene…

In the corner of the room there is a huge karaoke machine that looks like it hasn’t worked for at least 15 years. The dust on it is encrusted. No-one is singing. There isn’t even any music. Upon closer inspection, the Thai waitresses are in fact ladyboys. One of whom shows me her boob. So when is a karaoke bar not a karaoke bar? When it’s a brothel.

Brilliant. David Lynch would have loved it.

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Americans=BANGkok
British=bangKOK
USA-Biggest gun ownership the world over
UK-Highest teen pregnancy in Europe.

Coincidence?

Hello world!

So here I am in Ban Phe in Thailand.

Some cultural observations:

  1. Dogs. They are bloody everywhere. They look more like hyenas; snarly and evil. My advice? Give them a very wide berth…walk on the road if necessary.
  2. Walking on roads. Deathwish?
  3. Toilet paper. Not used here! I wish someone would have told me… instead they have what can only be described as a “BUM GUN”. It is NOT a bidet. It’s handheld for a start. It’s basically a supersoaker for your ‘arris. Not pleasant.
  4. Mozzies. My blood must be well tasty because I am being eaten alive. My feet have swollen up in protest. Now, the home-medic in me says “elevate ’em!” …God I’d love to put my feet up on the table. However, apparently one of the rudest things you can do in this country is show the underside of your feet. The only faux pas worse is touching a Thai on the head or speaking ill of the King.

On the plus side though, Thailand has a really cool vibe about it. On Saturday I am going on a speedboat to the local island, called Ko Samet. Apparently this place is ‘party island’; white sandy beaches, postcard-blue sea and beach-hut bars dotted all along the coastline. I will take pictures for y’all to see!

We had a beach party on Sunday on our island and one of the locals told us that if we decided on a whim we wanted to go join the shenanigans on Ko Samet, we just need to call the ‘speedboat taxi’ (W.O.W!) and they’d have us there in 10 minutes for 200 Baht (about a fiver)! This country is coooooool…..

It’s rainy season at the moment but actually the wet has held off for most of the time I’ve been here. It’s raining pretty heavily right now, but I woke two days ago to the sound of tropical storm. The thunder was wild and the lightning orange! See? It’s cooooool here.

Oh – and I went to the nearest big city (Rayong) and they have a Tesco! Glad I brought my Clubcard….

I hope you are all well at home and elsewhere! Leave me a comment below, why dontcha?

Muchos love,

Hales

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