Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The first hesitant steps


Sunday 15th September.

I arrive at Bangkok International Airport on time at 13 30 local. ( 0730 UK ). My campaign plan will be to stay a couple of nights in Bangkok, to get acclimatised, and organise some wheels. Then I shall head south and see what fortune brings. The clock cum thermometer on the concourse reads 32ºc, but outside it is overcast and quite muggy. I join the queue and take a meter taxi to the Hotel Dynasty in Central Bangkok, on Nana Tai, off Sukhumvit Rd, one of the main thoroughfares of this bustling metropolis. At the hotel I am allotted a double room with air conditioning and sat.TV for 800baht. For readers wishing to make comparisons, 1 pound Sterling = 68 Thai baht ( at the time of writing ) Therefore 500b is under 8 pounds, and 1000b slightly less than 15. I shower and take a long nap to recover from the 10 hour, overnight flight from Europe.
Up and out by 7pm, I stroll along to the Golden Bar, next to the Nana Hotel, where one can sit overlooking the street and savour the atmosphere. Here I enjoy the first ice-cold beers of what will prove to be many. Just across Sukhumvit Rd I discover a smart German-run restaurant which is advertising Formula One motor racing on the box. Over a tasty plate of leberkäse with home-fries I watch the Imola G.P. Replete, I wander back to Nana Tai and walk into the Nana Entertainment Plaza, which is a very up-market name for a very down-market bunch of bars and clip-joints. I am tempted, nay dragged, into Argel Witch, a tatty go-go palace in which, among other things, the price of ale rises sharply, and where I witness a reasonably erotic floorshow.

From there I move on to the Fantasia, similar, but much better appointed, which boasts some very pretty dancers. After a couple of beers I choose a sweet little thing from among the showgirls and she joins me at the end of her stint on the stage. Her name is Noc ( as in knocking shop ) and she is mine for tonight. I pay 600b bar fine, this is what punters must fork out to take a dancer away from the club, and we leave. Her own fee we will negotiate over breakfast in the morning. We have a nightcap on the way to the Dynasty. This is a most satisfactory end to my first day in Thailand, and I drift off to sleep with a contented smile on my face.

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