…And the world’s your oyster. It certainly felt like it as I started the final descent into Bangkok International Airport. A slightly younger, wide-eyed and (I think) adorably naive me couldn’t wait to immerse myself in the full Thai experience. I was due to spend 3 days exploring Bangkok on my own, before travelling to an island resort to meet up with my friends for a ten day beach holiday. It was the first time I had journeyed outside of Europe on my own and was determined to cram in as much sight-seeing as I could and meet as many locals as possible from all walks of life. Quite how I was intending to communicate with them I’m not sure.
After a nerve-wracking taxi ride into the city centre, I checked into my hotel. The receptionist clearly wondered why I was wearing so many clothes in the scorching heat of the tropics. I tried explaining via the universal language of mime, about my crazed taxi driver and his refusal to set the air-conditioning to any setting other than ‘max cool’, but I don’t think I managed to relay the finer points of the story. The baffled employee passed me my key with it’s unnecessarily large fob, and ushered me away from his desk towards the lift.
I slept for a couple of hours, took a much needed shower and headed out for an early evening explore. Although the sun was falling out of view, it was still hot and incredibly humid, and the traffic pollution made it worse. I got off the main street and into a little restaurant to eat and plan my next move. The overly jolly man who cooked my omelette spoke a little English he had learnt from tourists, and suggested I continue to a district called Nana Plaza. He said all the farang (white people) love it there!
Nana Plaza is a bombardment on the senses. Whether it’s a welcome bombardment or not depends largely on your fondness for alcohol and naked Asian girls. There are bars and street vendors on the ground floor, vying for attention with scantily dressed promo girls trying to tempt you up to the first floor Go-Go bars and strip clubs. Business was brisk, with hundreds of European and Japanese men in search of a good time. I strolled around soaking up the atmosphere, but thinking I would be immune from the hawkers’ attention because I was female was a real misjudgment.
I was soon encouraged inside Pretty Lady a-go-go. I bought a drink and sat in the corner of the club trying to be as inconspicuous as possible. I clearly failed, because within minutes I was joined by 3 of the girls, who all ordered drinks and kindly added them to my tab. The prettiest of the three spoke the best English, and when I got into conversation with her, the other girls drifted away. Garn sat opposite me as I asked her about Bangkok and her job as a go-go dancer. She wore heels, a very short pleated skirt and white cotton shirt, unbuttoned but tied shut.
Garn casually leaned back in her chair and rested one foot on the low table between us. She was naked under her skirt and wanted me to know it. I know I was caught looking, because when my gaze met hers once more, she gave me a knowing smile. My head was spinning and I was drinking quicker than usual, to calm myself and appear at ease. Garn then asked me to pay her ‘bar fine’, explaining that if I pay the manager 1000 Baht (about $30) she would be allowed to leave work and could have fun showing me around Bangkok. I agreed.
I was left alone for 5 minutes whilst Garn went backstage to get ready, she re-emerged a little more modestly dressed in jean shorts and a tight red T-shirt with no bra, her nipples begging for my attention. We got into a taxi and headed off to her favourite bar about 5 minutes away. We drank plenty as Garn told me all about her life and her dreams. Her hands wandered up and down my leg, and the more we drank, the more it was becoming obvious I wouldn’t be going back to my hotel alone.
The hotel receptionist I had baffled a few hours earlier gave me a weary smile as Garn and I tried to walk in a straight line to the lift. She was carrying her shoes, and I couldn’t wait to get the rest of her clothes off. We burst into my room and she let me strip her naked. We showered together and I explored her perfect tight body with my soapy hands. Still wet, we jumped into bed and had an amazing night of sex. Garn understood exactly what turned me on, far more than any man ever had, and I had a string of blissful orgasms. After about 3 hours, we collapsed exhausted into each others arms and slept.
I was awoken at 7 am by Garn. She was fully dressed and ready to leave. “Hey Gia, I go now, I just need my money.” I was barely conscious yet, and my hangover was starting to kick in. “3000 Baht Gia.” I was just about to give a puzzled reply, when the mists in front of my eyes cleared. In the harsh morning light, the reality of my situation had finally dawned on me. I opened my purse and passed her the money. She bowed to me, said ‘Khopkhun Kha’ and she was gone. I lay there for a few minutes trawling through the events of the previous night in my mind. I thought I was having a night out with a new friend, but I’ve ended up paying for sex.
It took me quite a while to come to terms with being a ‘Jon’. At first I thought I was different from all the rest, from all those desperate guys looking for sex in the go-go bars and the clubs of Bangkok. But I am just the same. I saw someone I was attracted to, and ultimately paid her for sex. Years on, I remember our evening together and our sex session very fondly. I simply choose not to remember the cash changing hands, just like the millions of tourists before me, and the millions that will follow.