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Winging it “All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” - Martin Buber, Philosopher

Dentists and ping pong

THAILAND | Wednesday, 18 November 2009 | Views [726]

Beer at a streetside restaurant - my table was on the road with cars zooming by.

Beer at a streetside restaurant - my table was on the road with cars zooming by.

Dental holiday...ok, this does not sound like it is going to be a great adventure, but never fear - I wont go into details (unless you want to know of my pleasant experiences, then feel free to PM me).

The last time I was in Thailand was maybe 25 years ago and boy has it changed! I remember going on the river and cringing when I was splashed with water because a dead dog had just twirled past the boat, bumping at the side. Now it is SOOOO clean and easy to get around! I spent the first day negotiating the public transport system, including the awesomely efficient sky rail and ferry system. I also took to the streets to see if I could get where I needed on foot. I have been impressed by how lovely and friendly people on the streets are. One guy saw me trying to figure out where I was, he stopped to have a chat and give me directions before telling me about some sights I should see and that the tuktuks were govt regulated so that one hour would cost 20 baht. 'Cool' I thought and jumped in a tuktuk to see the reclining buddah and some wats around the city. 20 minutes later after seeing one temple, I asked to go to another place and my driver said, 'oh no, that is too far' and refused to take me, even though the distance was less than we had just travelled. I tried to get him to take me to about 3 different places and the answer was the same each time. Finally I said, 'Ok, how about to the river' which was OK by him, even though it was further than the place I originally wanted to go. I felt totally ripped off and even though only 30 mins had passed, I paid him the full amount and thought 'that was shit, mate' and avoided tuktuks for the rest of the week.

Anyway, the following day after a morning of way too much oral attention of the not so good kind, I celebrate my success at navigating public transport with maps of the city and head to China town. I have a 'walking tour' map which I try to follow but my eye keeps getting caught by bright things and my mind by mysterious alleys and I am lost again. I find myself in 'Little India'; Ganesha and Saris, Incense and plastic furniture. A handsome young Indian lad smiles at me and tells me I am a lucky lady and although I don't know why he thinks so, I do agree. Somewhat surprisingly I keep finding my way to the recommended sites, including the revolving restaurant on the 25th floor at the Grand China Princess Hotel. I indulge myself in a rather expensive and highly alcoholic cocktail which has my head spinning and I have an LSD moment as I watch the world turn slowly below. I eavesdrop on the other patrons in the restaurant - an English couple in their 50's with her parents. They are eating steak and chips while enjoying the exotic location, remarking what a change it is from home. Their plans include watching a movie in the hotel and going to the pool tomorrow. The woman tells her mother off for not eating her chips and complains that she has not eaten anything all week. 

The sun is setting and I head back to the street, stumbling a little in my inebriated state. At the end of a walking market, there are numerous food stalls, each with a fascinating array of live creatures in the glass displays. Restaurants advertising shark fin and birdsnest display a sickening pile of dried shark fin at the front entrance. I am a little grossed out by this. I am hungry though (not for shark fin) and on one corner is a street cafe doing a cracking trade. A guy in a pink shirt jumps out and asks me to sit  and I find myself sitting at a table placed on the road with cars zooming past at speed. Ice cold beer, glass frosting in the humidity, the chef cooking up a storm in the burners and an amazing selection of fresh seafood on offer -My prawns are as big as crayfish- oh yum - this is heaven.

It has been a long day walking and the thought of a Thai massage is in the fore front of my mind. I am in Patpong and somehow think that the testicle massage is not what I am after. Someone offers me a menu for a bar with 'no cover charge', number one on the menu is 'pussy pingpong'. I think 'how cute, kitties batting at a ping pong ball' and wonder if I can get Princess Sparkle and Cookie to learn this trick. My hotel is in an area densely populated with Middle Eastern and Muslim people. I have to walk a few blocks from Nana station and past a very ritzy hotel with some quite obviously wealthy Middle Eastern people. It was about 10ish as I made my way home and had to cut my way through maybe 150 prostitutes waiting outside - mostly women, all stunning. 

I am reading a book at the moment about a Melbourne lass from a loving family with a good education who gets caught up with heroin and ends up as a desperate trashbag street hooker to fund her habit.It kind of seem bizarre to contrast this with the business of sex over here. I think a lot about my feelings toward this industry and am a little appalled by the predatory nature of men coming for a sex holiday. And what of the women? Are they victims of an exploitative industry or merely trading a valuable commodity?

But then I see a foreign fat/old/ugly/pleasant/whatever guy who wants to spend time with a lovely woman and have her fuss over him, a pretend relationship -some fantasy he may be unable to achieve at home. He is with a girl he clearly adores and enjoys looking after and she looks like she likes being taken care of, matching the fantasy.

*sigh* I don't know, and after all, who am I to pass judgement?

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