Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Thailand or: how I learned to stop worrying and embrace awesome

You know those vacations where you have ups and downs. There are more fun times. There are less fun times. There are boring times. Times of not awesomeness.....Now I think those vacations are bullshit. You heard me. They're not Thailand. Thailand is non-stop amazing. All day - every day. Before I went, there were all these other places I wanted to visit: China, Japan, South America (I know that that one is a continent), other stupid places. Now, they all sound inferior. Inferior to the great Thailand. If I one day find a nice girl and settle down, I'm definitely not taking her to Thailand, but until then, Thailand has this.....


And that was just the first day.

Imagine a place where every single girl (and half girl) chases after you. I know......you're saying, "Matt. I'm not a great looking guy. Why would every girl be interested in me?" Well, you're white and rich (in comparison at least). And pretty much every girl would marry you on the spot. The gender roles are completely reversed (from any place I have been) and the girls chase after the guys (at least the young decent looking white guys....which I apparently meet the criteria for).

And yes, many girls are for "sale".  This seems pretty ingrained in their culture actually. And its important to remember that I am not saying that I engaged in any seedy activities in Thailand. Nor am I saying that I enjoy or endorse them. I am but a simple observer.......other than the things that I engaged in, endorse and enjoyed the hell out of (but I'm not telling you which things).

Here's an important glossary of terms to remember for your Thailand adventures
  • Bar fine - Money one pays to a bar/club/establishment in order to take an employee with them from the bar. This is usually around $10.
  • Mama-san - An older woman acting as somewhat of a pimp for a bar/club/establishment. She'll collect the bar fine and sometimes negotiates prices for additional services for the girls
  • Go-Go Bars - An establishment where 6-8 girls stand around on stage in bikinis or similar with numbers pinned on them waiting to be selected. There's no stripping, no show, just....that. There are seats setup around the stage where people drink. These bars were EVERYWHERE
  • Hotel Check - I made this phrase up....but when 'one' brings a Thai girl back to their hotel, the girl needs to leave their id at the front desk. If the girl tries to leave without their 'host', the front desk will call up to their room and ask if its ok for the girl to leave.....what a country.
  • Ping Pong Show - Use your imagination
Here are some of the people encountered in my travels and others I heard stories about from locals...

Girls working at Go-Go bars (or other girls openly/directly/obviously looking for money for sex) usually they are on stage and at seedy rooms where taxi drivers will take one. Even though this is a more obvious/direct transaction, these girls will go party with a purchaser for the night....not just a straight sex exchange.

Bar employees....apparently almost all employees at bars can be 'bar fined' to leave with someone. This includes waitresses and bar tenders, but usually a bar will have a number of 'normal' girls hanging out that technically work there and are waiting to be paid to leave with someone. Careful with this or else that connection you made with someone may end up being all a ploy for money 😱

There are other girls hanging out and having fun, but don't work at the bar and still ask for money to go with someone.

Many other non-working girls apparently will expect some money at some point if they are taken home. This seems to be almost a custom? It's not paying for sex. It really just seems to come down to the fact that you are rich and they are not, and they have no choice but to collect money like this. It doesn't feel like they are out to get money, but if they meet a nice rich guy who can afford to take care of them, then they expect him to pay for things and give them some cash.

Nice girls to bring home to mom can be found on Thai dating sites (ThaiCupid). They're looking for a real relationship and marriage. Apparently they still have the dowery system in place and you have throw their family a one time fee of $15000. Also, the classic story goes, they will ask you to bring their poor brother to America with them. Turns out, he's really her husband and they both disappear once you pay for them to get here.

I realize I sound like an asshole and this can be degrading and sad. I'm in no way endorsing it, these are just observations and what I was told.

Now, lets talk about LadyBoys for a hot second. They are quite prevalent in Thailand. Its just engrained in the culture. Apparently families often encourage their children to take on this lifestyle. Often, they will take hormones from a very young age and get that magical operation and essentially retain very little physical evidence of being a man. There are certain tell signs to recognize a ladyboy, but even by the end of our trip, there was still no way we could be sure. Many of the ladyboys are actually some of the most beautiful people you have ever seen in your life, so to help you out, here are a couple tells for recognizing your ladyboys....
  • Tall(er) and skinny (Thai women are very short in general)
  • Solo (or in a group of 2) away from the main action (usually waiting for you by their motorbike at the end of a street)
  • Aggressive (Both in terms of offering sex and following you and getting angry at you) (if you are gonna get robbed in Thailand....its gonna be a ladyboy)
But I offer this thought to you.....if they're one of the most beautiful people you have ever seen....and they talk, act, and perform like a woman.....whats the difference? Does it matter at this point? As the old story goes....if a man has a sex change operation in the woods, was she really ever a man? What?

Now that we got the sex out of the way, lets cuddle up and I will tell you about how the other 5% of my time was spent (I kid...it was at least 10%).


A country you think about so little, you didn't realize that that's not Thailand (credit: John Oliver)


I went with my brother (half brother if you're counting) (brother from another mother if you're into rhyming)

 <-- Sam

Sam -->


We had 10 days (not nearly long enough) broken down like so...

3 days - Bangkok

4 days - Ko Samui

2 days - Pattaya Beach

1 day - Bangkok

We left New York City at 1:00PM on a Thursday. After a 13 hour flight to Beijing and a then a 5 hour flight from there to Bangkok, we somehow got there at 2 AM on Friday night. Clearly, we needed a drink immediately. So we ran to the nearest watering hole which happened to be some fancy club that made us wear pants. PANTS! It was like 100 degrees and they're gonna make us wear pants? But it turned out alright, cause within 5 minutes (and literally the first girl I talked to), I had found me a nice little Thai girlfriend.


Now, I bet you're wondering which category she fits into, aren't you? Don't worry, she was one of the good ones (and I'm like 75% sure, not a lady boy).

We spent the next 3 days doing all sorts of touristy and drunken activities.

We got lost in the weekend market (where you could pretty much buy anything you would ever need...or not need)

Visited Soi Cowboy. A street full of bright lights, Go-Go Bars, Ping Pong Shows and other family friendly activities

(technically this last one was not on Soi Cowboy, but on Patpong....but its equally as seedy obviously and its a great picture)

A boat trip down the Chao Phraya River

We got some sweet hats (they're actually Vietnamese....but don't tell anyone)

A trip to the Skybar at the top of Lebua tower. Do you recognize it? Do you? It's the building from Hangover 2. It basically exists now for the purpose of saying it was in the Hangover 2 and charging $20 a drink.

Over to Khao San road where the backpacking foreigners hang out.....and they eat scorpions and tarantulas (did not partake).

And our favorite mode of transportation was of course, the tuk-tuk.

And after all that.....we came away with only minor injuries and mostly non-permanent diseases. We knew we had to double down on our party efforts if we were going to make America proud. 

With a quick 1 hour plane ride we arrived in Ko Samui. An island in the Gulf of Thailand.

Sam was quick to copy my efforts and find himself a Thai girlfriend here within 5 minutes of arriving (she was a masseuse working by the hotel).


Now, I've done some partying in my day. And I've done it in some pretty cool places.....Amsterdam, Ibiza, Acton Massachusetts, Burning Man, Bangkok, NYC, Las Vegas, and a number of really great Bar Mitzvahs. Other than Burning Man (and possibly a couple Bar Mitzvahs), Ko Samui has the most partying per square foot (in the main area called Chaweng) that I have seen.

There's the beach which had its parties.....although mostly white people (or caucasians as Sam prefers me to say).

Oh yeah.....They had these bucket drinks. Pick an alcohol. Pick a mixer. Get a whole fucking bucket of them mixed together

Then there is this semi-circle road coming off the beach that is just non-stop huge outdoor, multi floor night clubs holding thousands of people each. Of course you can drink on the street so its like one huge party. Consistent great music too.

Those are the names of shots...you sicko

Every night around 11pm (after quality nap time), we would put on our best suit and thai and hit the town.

We actually mostly hung out with Thai's. It could have been the abundance of Thai women, but the Thai people are just friendlier. It is known as the land of smiles.........because people smile a lot.  And man did it suck coming back to America after, which we've named the land of frowns.

And in Ko Samui, the lady boys were quite aggressive. They'd basically be lined up at the end of the main streets just waiting for you to walk by on your way home. I would get propositioned by at least ten of them on my walks home at night. Sometimes they would follow me on their motorcycles, continually stopping to grab me and offer all kinds of interesting things. But I stayed strong and only took home four or five a night....kidding.

But let me tell you, Ko Samui was more than just the night life....

They also had some motherfuckin tigers, yo

Ohhhhhhh look at how cute he is (and the tiger isn't bad either.....ba-zing). Aw look, he's got his tongue sticking out. It's cause he's thinking about eating us.

This is the only animal park we went to, but they had one for elephants and crocodiles and snakes and humans and monkeys. It seems to be a very common perception that the tourist animals are treated very poorly and its probably true unfortunately. The only reason this monster of an eating machine didn't devour us is cause it was drugged up. I feel bad...I do, but its so hard to find a tiger to take a picture with in New York. Usually, the tiger sanctuary actually has a baby tiger that you can feed a bottle to, but he was sleeping apparently, so we had to go with the one that could destroy us.

The one thing that was very, very disappointing about Ko Samui was its complete lack of picturesque views.  Absolutely nothing!

We rented motorbikes and drove around the island (they are quite aggressive drivers and drive on the left.....so I feel lucky I didn't die). We went to a pool on top of a mountain.

We took a ferry to a a national park island

 I am the captain now

Sam got his Bungee on

And of course we had to get two massages every single day. They're ten dollars. TEN DOLLARS. And they'll even do aloe massages on your sunburned back! If you know how white I am (which you do cause there's pictures of me here), this was one of the highlights of my life.

For me, Ko Samui was the highlight of the trip, so it was tough to say good bye. But it made it a little easier knowing that Pattaya Beach was up next, which is considered the seedy place in Thailand (unlike these other tame destinations). People referred to it as the Vegas of Thailand. Be afraid.

The main street in Pattaya, Walking Street, is just go-go bar after go-go bar after ping pong show with an occasional bar and night club thrown in. You can't walk five feet on this street without bumping into a girl trying to proposition you.

Does that look like a guy having fun?

The other big news out of Pattaya is that I bungee jumped. This is not something that I can recommend. It's as scary as it looks. I still have the image seared into my mind of standing up on top of the tower and looking off the edge and my brain being like, "This makes no sense. Does not compute". But.....here we go.

After Pattaya, we had a day back in Bangkok and then flew out at 1AM and somehow arrived back in New York at 10AM the same day.

I think I covered all the topics I wanted to, but if you have questions, comments or criticisms please leave them in the comments section.

Like I said, I previously had a whole bunch of places that I wanted to visit. Now....I just want to go back to Thailand every single time.

Oh...I also ate some pad thai