Why Thailand?
A Guide For An Outrageous Vacation

Face and the Newbie - A True Tale

From the Mailbag:

Hi Steve,

The book was interesting but sometimes hard to really believe. Until I went to Thailand, that is.

I was staying in Pattaya at the Sunbeam Hotel near soi 7. As soon as you leave the hotel, there are bars all the way down the street. My friend, who is no stranger to Thailand, and I sat down at one of them.

For me at home, a bar is somewhere to sit, relax, and talk to friends, but what happened there was way different. We ordered beers and I was quickly joined by a rather pretty young lady who began stroking my leg. I tried to remember what I had read in the Why Thailand Guide but was having a tough time trying to concentrate.

My friend knew the score, of course, but held back on much of the details so I could experience them firsthand myself. He looked at me, smirked, and in our own language (Welsh) said, "If she asks for more than 1,000 baht, she doesn't like you and it won't be very good. Choose another." I said, "What are you talking about?" He replied, "Everything you read in that book is true, so get with the program."

The girl, Lek, showed great interest in the language we were speaking and asked where it was from. I said, "Wales." She replied, "I know Wales." At first I thought she was bullshitting, but she pointed to a tailor shop across the road that had a Welsh flag hanging in the window. I was impressed. I was also impressed with the ongoing stroking and soon capitulated with, "How much?" Lek answered, "1,000 baht."

I remember reading in your book about it not being wise to take girls from near your hotel, and most certainly not the same girl every night. Well, so much for being wise. I liked Lek so I kept her for four nights, letting her go in the mornings.

On the fifth day I walked by Lek's bar. She was sitting with another customer and I thought she must be taken. So I decided to investigate Soi Yamoto later that evening and entered a gogo bar. Now, I'm a shy guy, but in Thailand I found that to be a blessing. The girls love it. Anyway, this one girl approached me. She was cute and after the usual small talk and lady drink, I barfined her.

We ended up at Lucifer's disco in Walking Street and partied until 1 am. OK, time to go back to the hotel for boomsing. While walking back to my hotel, the girls in Lek's bar shouted out my name and said Hello. Lek was not in because she finished work at 6 pm. I figured she was with a punter.

The following day rolls around. My friend knocks on my door and says he has just seen Lek. He tells me she is pissed off because I was seen with another girl. In fact, he told me she said she was going to kill me.

I laughed it off and said, "What's her problem? She gets paid for sex and she was with a guy."

Night time came. I went out, but didn't take a girl from anywhere, and returned to Lek's bar. I had a few drinks and laughs with the girls and the mamasan. Time went by and before I knew it, it was 6:40 am. Who comes into work at that time? Well. the girl that was angry with me does.

Lek sees me, storms past and starts throwing things about. At first I thought, "Is this for real?" It's just plain madness. Then she stopped, came over to me and angrily asked how I was. I asked her, "What's up?" She told me she knew about the girl I was with and accused me of being a butterfly. I told Lek that I was going to barfine her, but she was with another man. She replied that she was not with him.

Part of Lek's work is to get customers into the bar and that I had misread the situation. Another thing she said was that she only goes short time with men, but because she liked me so much she went long time with me. The mamasan backed up her story.

I apologized to her. Then Lek asked whether we could go to my hotel room. I agreed.

After we had sex, I asked if she wanted to go long time. She replied, "No, I go back work." I asked, "How much do I owe you?" She said, "No want. I boomsing because I want show I like you. I never want see you again."

I was stunned by this reply and even more by the mentality behind it.

I have come to believe that even bar girls have true feelings.

- Ryan W., Cardigan, UK

Editor's note:

Yes, the girls have true feelings. But determining when it's real, when it's not, and why things are the way they are is not easy.

Face is a fascinating subject and the better you understand how to play the game, the better your time will be in Thailand. Face, emotion, and illusion are all intertwined with one another. They can't be separated.