Posted Monday, October 20th, 2003
Practicing Asia: Patpong Ping-Pong
Have you ever heard the words "Pussy Ping Pong?" If you have, then I know where you've been. I know the small streets (soi) you walked down, with your defenses in high gear. I know the bright, blaring lights advertising Western beer, Mekong whiskey and Thai girlfriends. And when you paused for a moment in the sea of hustlers and street vendors, you said to yourself, "Am I sober? Am I here? Am I in Bangkok, Thailand in the most famous sex show neighborhood in the world?" Yes, then you really stood on that sidewalk next to a man making popping sounds to imitate the sound of a ping-pong springing out of a woman's vagina.
Here is the voice of a swindler listing of all the gynecological feats offered in Patpong: "You like Pussy shoot balloon? Lookey lookey, you like Pussy Magic Razor Blade for only one dollar? You like Pussy Writes a Letter (to my parents)? You like Girl on Girl Lesbian? We give to you good price. Where you from? You like sexy Thai girl show?"
What did we do there? Well, my travel companion, Nick, and I stepped slyly into this bar, appropriately named The King's Club. A Thai cover band was playing a cover of "The Sultans of Swing."
I evaluated my surroundings. In every dark corner was a forty-something white man and at least two Thai women in short skirts, giggling and sipping on Singha as they fawned over him. We sat discreetly in the middle of the room and ordered two beers from a pouting woman wearing the number 14. She was dressed in a schoolgirl outfit and stood quietly on the sidelines, making sure her number was visible to the crowd. I told Nick that I had read in Culture Shock Thailand that Thai people don't respond to pointers. Rather than extending your index finger in the air and declaring, "That one", you should discreetly tell the manager "Number fourteen please, the one with the bobby-socks." And then I assume the sad, sick looking woman will follow you upstairs and have sex with you.
When the band finished their set of Top 40 hits from the 70's, an invisible DJ started spinning Snoop Dogg and Eminem. Nick and I mouthed the words. We fell silent when we were politely interrupted. A young Thai woman in a denim mini-skirt and her midriff exposed stood in front of us, gestured with her hands and said, "Sorry, I'm sorry." She excused herself first to Nick, then to me with an earnest look. Then she mounted the chair in front of us and danced around our table's metal pole. Her ass wiggled in all directions directly in my face. Wouldn't Eminem and Snoop Dogg love to see the far-reaching inspiration of their music?
Nick and I looked at each other and stood up to leave. After wrestling our way out of the crowd, we stepped out again onto the humid soi. Hardly a moment had passed before another man grabbed my arm and yelled in my ear, "Pussy Ping-Pong!" I elbowed his greasy hand away, grabbed Nick and headed into another maze of outdoor stalls selling t-shirts that said "Bush: Wanted for Crimes Against Humanity," and "Starfucks: Capitalism".
The Patpong Night Market, a one-stop shop for watches, fake Levi's, and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to see vaginal wonders, is being silenced next week for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference in Bangkok, where world leaders will convene to discuss international trade (the Untied States included--maybe they'll bring ping-pong shows to America?). In order to "save face", the Thai government will ban all protests and late night sex shows during the conference. So, if you want to see the Go-go Boytoy shows, you'll have to wait until next week. Sorry to disappoint y'all.
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Posted by jocelyn johnson on Monday, October 20th, 2003 at 10:49 AM
I went once to Bangkok, and remember the watches, the fake levis, the humidity. But I must have passed by the many King's clubs of the city, distracted by something shiny in the street, catching the light. Thankyou for taking me there, lela.
Posted by talia delone on Monday, October 20th, 2003 at 9:38 PM
great writing, lela! I look forward to following you and Nick through Asia. Talia
Posted by nina gerzon on Saturday, October 25th, 2003 at 5:09 PM
Wow Lela! That was amazing! You are definitely a writer. I had no idea that sex was offered even remotely in the ways you desribed(and sold like that on the streets)....YUCK, and poor Thai girls! Oh well, you are doing a good thing, observing more than your average traveler. Can't wait to read more! Will we hear from Nick? I'm glad you two are together on this journey. Love to you both!!