Thursday, January 31, 2008

What happens in Bangkok

A cool thing about Thailand is that you can haggle for almost everything. You get quoted a crazy high price because you're foreign and have no idea how much their monopoly money is worth, but you can talk them down at least a few dollars on something that costs no more than a few dollars in the first place. You get better at it the more you do it, too. I started out getting three dollars off a linen shirt, upgraded to a pair of diesel jeans for $30 from $37, and finally as the jewel in my haggling crown talked a guy down $20 per ticket on the ping pong show.

It started by asking the gentleman at the door if he could bring the price of 800 Baht down a bit, then taking his offer and pushing it a bit more with a "I was hoping more like this price" and punching numbers on his calculator. He gave a final offer of 1200 Baht for two people including a drink ticket. We weren't drinking and asked if he could let it go for a thousand, which he couldn't. I apologized for wasting his time and turned around to leave, and after two steps back towards the tuk tuks he acquiesced. Ping pong show for roughly $14 each. Awesome.

I was a little disappointed at first as there was just a girl dancing around on a stage with black undies and bra on, and though it got a little more interesting as she took them off, nothing more happened for a minute. Just as I was wondering if I'd been had, the girl reached down and pulled 30 feet of fluorescent ribbon out of her hoo-ha, waved it around like an olympic ribbon dancer, and then tied a cat's cradle on the five poles she was supplied with while the end of the ribbon still hidden somewhere inside her.

After this came the coke bottle colonic, starting with water and coming back out roughly the color of coca cola, appropriately enough, back in to the bottle from whence the formerly clear liquid came. As she exited the stage she gave one of the guys a cheers and clinked her bottle against his beer. Then came a lady extracting a daisy chain of jingle bells from her secret spot, the one pulling out a string of razor blades and then cutting stuff with them to show that they were still sharp after their journey into the unknown.

All the girls started out like the first one, dancing around in underwear which was eventually removed and tossed to the stage. The ping pong lady was by far the best actual dancer, even after she fit 7 of them inside her before squirting them back out one by one, cradling them between her knees, and then dropping them back in the jar like an endangered sea turtle shitting its eggs into a lovingly prepared nest. She dropped a couple of them on the floor, picked one up and popped it right back in before dropping it again as she danced around the stage a bit. 7 was the maximum number she had in at any point, but even though she had more available I can't imagine that she could get much more since they all came out pretty dented from the crowding of her womb.

The quief artists were impressive. There was one who did some kind of reverse one to smoke cigarettes (side note - cigarette boxes in Thailand accompany their surgeon general's warning with actual pictures of blackened lungs and rotting teeth printed on the boxes, but don't show a single cancerous womb). The best one was definitely the banana lady. With an audible pop, this lady fired a banana five feet into the air, caught it, and then reloaded twice before one shot went astray and her banana went too far for her to catch it and it bounced off the stage. She tried to get the audience people to hand it back up to her but nobody seemed to want to touch it.

I see that I'm leaving out the brief lesbian act (to the tune of "I will always love you") where they mimed every position from behind I had ever heard of and a few that I never thought of, and the time when they calmed the soundtrack down from DJ Sammy's version of "heaven" to that James Blunt song "You're Beatiful" for an actual-insertion love scene between an underweight hexagenerian man and a 20-something lady. I'm leaving out that the crowd was about half couples and young folks clearly there for the spectacle and half skeezy businessmen who seemed genuinely in to it. I'm leaving out that my trip to Thailand was a lot more about raft-hotels, spicy curry, cave temples, swimming with elephants, and petting tigers (not a euphemism) with orange-robed monks. All of this was amazing, and all of it will stay in my memory forever, but the thing that will stand out for me is when I became for one moment Charlie, Master Bargainer, witnessed firsthand how many amazing things the vulva is capable of, and discovered how easy it is to wipe all other memories you have attached to a song with the fabled shows in Bangkok's Pat Pong.