Nana Plaza, Bangkok
The new law in Bangkok is that all bars and clubs close around 1am. However, there seem to be a few places that stay open past this curfew. One of these is the nightclub on the first floor of the Nana Hotel. At 2am, it was still packed with men and women of all ages! The music most mostly modern western dance hits. A great time!
i didn't really go inside any go-go boy venues or hostess bars, which seem to proliferate this area. It was pleasant to just sit and people watch. although there were a lot of embarrassed, drunk foreigners stumbling around with thai hostesses dressed to kill, it wasn't as crowded and touristy as the other tourist nightclub district (the name escapes me at the moment). pa? there are a lot of prostitutes, male and female, walking up and down the strip, and creative bars in the area. a very interesting place to people-watch!
Nana Plaza is another experience. It is two floors of different bars full of live entertainment and hardly clothed to topless (if not less) working girls. They take their turns on stage, holding on to poles, doing mindnumbingly monotonous body palpitations, and if you think it is boring to look at, have a look at their faces - they are bored silly, but it brings them money. When they are not on stage they are trolling the bar for guys and girls who are looking like they will buy them a drink or take them home. It is pretty full contact at times for workers and their clients in the bar although management generally discourages this.
At Nana, there are lots of losers who get an ego boost by thinking these women are attracted to them physically. Hard Lesson #1 – if you have a big nose and white skin, you have money. That is the attraction.
I should mention that many of the bars-businesses in Nana are Australian owned – nice that they make money off the skin of other cultures.
Also, not all the girls are over 18, the legal age Thai women may have consensual sexual relations. Some lie to get the job.
Now, I am under no delusion that some of these women don’t take advantage of the cold-cocked bedazzled fat-walletted men that can’t believe someone so beautiful came and sat beside them out of a crowd of men, but for the most part, it is the women that are being taken advantage of in this situation. They are not there because they want to be, but they have to work somewhere. They don’t get a lot for doing this – 6000-8000 baht a month with long hours, but it is something they can do with little to no education. Plus whatever they get if they are taken out of the bar for more action in private (this might include necessary medical attention when some lout roughs her up).
To take them from the bar, you pay the manager 500 baht or so to compensate him/her for the lost income of not having her indoors swinging from the fire poles.
Dress Code: Usually coming from a poor northeastern province without a lot of opportunity, the women don’t have much choice. Often bars employ scouts to go to villages and entice the young women. So you hear stories of a girl’s cousin from her own village convincing her and her friends to come work at this great restaurant in Bangkok, and when she gets there, THIS is what she meant?
Unfortunately, another reason Thai women work here is in hopes of meeting a foreign guy that might take them back to their country, in which life is of course better than here in Thailand. We have all seen or heard of the movie “Pretty Woman”, right? Again, love has nothing to do with this – it is about survival, escape, and misconceptions of an easier life. Foreign men for some reason have the reputation of being kind husbands. This error in judgement can often lead to abusive relationships where the Thai woman is far from home and helpless.
I have seen and talked to too many of these people, before and after having arrived in Bangkok, having worked on the social development side, trying to change conditions that force women to have to go work in these exploitative jobs.
Keep in mind that at any of these bars the sweetie sidling up to you with the big smile and buxom bod might be a man. A good way to check is the Adam’s apple – prominent on males, but surgery is making it harder to see this. A scarf of some sort around the neck is a give-away.
Well, I am rambling. I don’t suggest that you go and become a purveyor of these “Thai goods”, but it is interesting to go a see what these places are like. Some argue that at least this employs people. If you do not agree with this subjugation of Thai women, don’t spend any money. If you can, sit and have a talk with one of the workers that speaks English, and listen to her story. It will leave you walking away with an empty feeling. These are some of the ill effects of tourism in Thailand.