Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic

Monday night, Tuesday

After a nap I took myself to a real Thai restaurant and ordered three of my favorite dishes, Dom Kha Gai (chicken in coconut milk soup) Kung Man Thot (fried shrimp cakes) and Kay Yat Sai (omelet with assorted vegies and minced meat). The first Fail was when all three items arrived at the same time. I pushed the other two dishes aside and went for the soup. It was an obstacle course. This particular soup is supposed to have a couple of pieces of the non-edible wood-like spice galangal, a cousin of ginger root. This one had the whole tree. There was also a whole onion, and lots of thai chili depth charges which have no business being in dom kha. And another tree's worth of uncooked bamboo shoots, better meant for fingernail torture. After excavating as much of the chicken as I could, I moved onto the shrimp cakes. Horrible. Fried in some non-cholesterol oil, I only had one. It tasted like bad onion rings. The omelet was pretty good, though.

After dinner I hopped the skytrain to Patpong Road, walked through the night market which is strategically placed in the roadway between the girlie bars. You can't walk through the market without being set upon by touts of all ages and genders, some of them with photos of massage parlors, other with menus of drinks prices, yet others promising a pretty girl (or boy) for the night. One thing about the touts is you don't have to actually go into those places to know the drill: go into the bar, be led to a seat by a hostess or host, be surrounded by girls, boys or "ladyboys" wearing buttons with a number, and not much else. Choose one, buy her/him a drink, get propositioned, lather rinse repeat. One interesting difference is the drinks are a lot cheaper in the girl bars. About $2 a beer, compared to $6 at the boy bars. Most places the dancers wear uniforms. One bar has the women dressed as Catholic schoolgirls. Another has a faux B&D theme. Rainbow Bar they are in rainbow bikinis. And so on.

I stayed past midnight, which meant I needed to take a cab back to the hotel, and even though his meter would probably have gotten him more, he offered a flat rate. Since I was spending the night exploring, I went across the street from the hotel and checked out Nana Entertainment Plaza, three floors of bars. The vast majority of the people there are from the NorthEast, which is a little sad because one would want more variety. True fact - the most beautiful women I saw were ladyboys. And the least avaricious.

While I was shopping in Patpong, I asked a fellow who is about my age who was selling music CDs if he had anything from the 70's. He told me the name of a section of Chinatown where I'm bound to find something. He mentioned a street called Tong Pim. I looked it up on my Eee map, decided it could be reached by transferring from skytrain to underground and then taking a tuk-tuk. And made that my plan for Tuesday.

After breakfast I did the Skytrain-underground trip, getting off by the main Bangkok train station. I described where I was going to the tuk-tuk driver, he said he understood, but it was clear he didn't. He got the Chinatown bit, but not the name of the street. I figured that was close enough. I figured wrong. With his thick NE accent, he thought I wanted to go to the Chinatown newspaper office. "Pim" is Thai for "print". He dropped me off in front of a building where a Chinese newspaper is posted, in its entirety, on the outside wall. It took a LOT of walking, and I never found the right street, but I did find a music shop which had cassettes on display, which meant old music.

This was fun. Three women i their 40's are the staff there, and I described the first song, it's from a movie called "woman the world forgot" and I sang the first few bars. One of them lit up and said she knew it, and found it on a 2-disk set of some 70's singer's greatest hits. That was so easy I went for a second tune. It's also from a movie, which was called "Sweet 16" in English but something entirely different in Thai, and I didn't know the Thai name of the movie or the song. I sang the first verse:

The face of Love
When you are near
Sweets, sweet dreams
Like the heart of you

Halfway through one of the women laughed and said "Where's the toilet?"

Which meant BINGO, because that's the punch line from the comic relief song from the same movie. They found both songs on another greatest hits collection. Quite a bargain, too. 3 CDs for $5.

Since I was in Chinatown, I thought I'd have dim sum for lunch. Strange but true, there are mostly Thai food places in Chinatown. Finally found one six blocks away, and had some good Ha Gow, and superb crab sui mai.

Taxi back to the train station, picked up a fare schedule/timetable, undeground and skytrain to the hotel, went for a swim in the nice big outdoor pool, and am off to dinner and more adventures.

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