Sunday, January 06, 2008

The part you're really interested in

(photos by Cisco)

Thailand's tourism is built around sex and so there was no way I was missing out on seeing it for myself no matter now much the boys complained that it was inappropriate to take your mother to a red light district. Cisco was especially constrained going with both his mother and his fiance.

On Christmas Eve we visited Cowboy Soi and then later in the trip Patpong, two especially sleazy areas known for being wide open and crazy, especially during a holiday season. Most of the girls were in red fur teddies or skimpy elf wear. Clara and I traded comments on the numerous oddly matched couples that included one young, barely covered Thai girl and one middle-aged, usually fat and tipsy western guy. Ugh. The show girls were pathetic -- paunchy, scarred and razor burned from what we could see -- a lot -- and
dressed in ragged thongs and old stockings full of runs. There was no mistaking this for Las Vegas.

It was impossible not to be intrigued by the ping pong show although I did hear the voices of my Jaws colleagues in my head admonishing me. Clara and I kept trying to figure out the anatomy and dynamics of it. A young and not especially in-shape naked girl got on her back on the stage, wrapped one leg around the bar and inserted a ping pong ball. This came firing back out at us -- specifically at surrogate son Bryan who did not have to answer to a mother or future-wife. He bravely took up a paddle and whacked the ball back. "This," he announced, "is the dirtiest thing I've ever done." He hit the ball once right into the chorus line sending the other girls shrieking in all directions. She fired a sting of balls. I mean, forget Kegel exercises. Apparently other women fire out darts, insert broom sticks and smoke and blow out smoke rings using this unexpectedly versatile orifice. Who knew?

Of all the exploitative and vile things we toured none was so bad as the baby elephant we nearly walked into at the end of Cowboy Soi. Its handlers worked the crowd to pay for pieces of sugar cane to feed it, but the poor beast was swaying back and forth, its eyes dilated, plainly drugged and enslaved. I am still having nightmares about it.

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