Taking Coals to Newcastle

Let’s start this month’s column with quick poll: How many of you are aware that Thailand has something of a naughty reputation? Hands up? Hmm, it’s just as I thought … all of you knew that already.

It’s no big secret. If you should casually mention to your office-mates back wherever your home town is that you are thinking of going to Thailand for your next vacation, they’ll unanimously accuse you of planning a nonstop orgy of kinky sex with winsome babes half your age. Which of course is exactly what you’re planning, but you’ll still deny it vigorously … after all, it’s important to keep up appearances.

Given that world-wide reputation, who would be the last person you would want to bring along to Thailand with you? If your answer was your wife (or your girlfriend), you’re right again. Who in his right mind would want to bring his “significant other” to the world’s premier sex destination and thereby ensure that he could not partake in that most bounteous of buffets?

That would seem to make no sense at all. And yet, that’s exactly what many guys do … in both Bangkok and Pattaya, you’ll see many angry-looking Western women ambling through the entertainment districts with their usually sullen mates following behind wearing a hang-dog expression. What were they thinking???

It’s far more common than you might think. My best guess is that the guy really wanted to go to Thailand and his better half said “No way in Hell!” … unless she gets to go also, that is. So he figured half a loaf is better than none and reluctantly brought her along. Who knows … with luck, maybe he’ll even be able to slip away for some meaningful social interaction without getting caught.

In other words, it may not be the ideal arrangement but it’s also true that “some is better than none.” Since you might find yourself in just such a predicament one day, we’ll focus this month on how to come to Bangkok with your “one and only” without her actually ending up being your one and only while you’re here.

Here are “Uncle Hannibal’s Handy Hints”:

Where Not to Stay. If you’re bringing your “sweet petunia” with you to the Land of Smiles, under no circumstances should you take her to Pattaya. That’s just asking for trouble. But even in Bangkok, you’d be very wise to avoid staying in any hotel in the Sukhumvit corridor.

If you do go to Pattaya or stay in Bangkok near Sukhumvit, then your wife/girlfriend/warden will be treated to a non-stop parade of portly older gents (i.e. guys your size and age) who will have delicious young trollops (i.e. babes who are only about half of your wife’s size and age) hanging onto their arms. And those guys will be looking pretty damn happy about it, too.

That will put your own mate into a full defensive mode. It will not take a rocket scientist to figure out that she ought to keep you on a very short leash during your entire time in Thailand. And that is just what will happen: she won’t let you out of her sight.

Yes, lads … then you will be just another PDB (“poor dumb bastard”) sullenly following his scowling bride around the streets of Bangkok. It isn’t even fun to watch those guys, let alone to actually be one.

Better Places to Stay. You’re far better off avoiding the Sukhumvit area if you’re with the little woman. You may still see an occasional compatriot with his little slice of Heaven in tow, but it’ll be far less “in your face” than around Sukhumvit. That will help to keep your choke chain a bit looser so that you might be able to arrange to get a bit of unsupervised time here and there.

What alternatives are better? If you’ve got the bucks, some guys find the nicer places along the river to be good choices. These places are upscale and classy, which means that the men staying there will look less like reprobates and the hotels will keep bar-girls out (for purposes of image). The end result is that, if you’re lucky, your wife or girlfriend might decide that Bangkok’s reputation as a “Sin City” is far overrated (in much the same way as New Orleans).

If you’re on a tighter budget and the places along the river are beyond your spending limit, the other good choices would be any of the hotels in the Siam Square to Mahboonkrong (MBK) corridor. Siam Square and MBK are two shopping centers that are only about 400 meters apart.

There are dozens of acceptable hotels in that immediate area and any of those would be a decent choice. But there are two that I’d especially recommend if you’ve got a chaperone in tow. My first choice would be the Pathumwan Princess Hotel, which is located right at MBK (that’s an especially good thing, for reasons we’ll explore in a moment).

[The URL for Pathumwan Princess is: http://www.pprincess.com/]

If your budget is more snug, another good choice that’s less costly would be the Asia Hotel. That one is located one Sky Train stop up from Siam Square in the other direction (at the “Ratchethewi” stop) and there is direct access via a walkway from that Sky Train stop to the Asia Hotel. The place has several excellent restaurants and is only a Sky Train stop or two away from Siam Square and from MBK. All in all, it’s a very good alternative if Pathumwan Princess causes you a bit too much sticker shock.

[The URL for Asia Hotel is: http://www.asiahotel.co.th/bangkok.htm]

Timing is Critical. Problem #1 if you’re in Bangkok with your mate is how to keep your mate in the dark as to how much temptation there is in Bangkok for a man under ninety. That’s why you’d avoid taking her to the Sukhumvit area. Once you solve that problem, the next trick is to actually get some time apart from her (so you can avail yourself to those proverbial pleasures of the flesh).

And in that quest, the time of day is an important variable. If you slip away from ten in the evening until one in the morning, you’re going to have some serious explaining to do … and she won’t believe a word you say anyway. After all, she knows that men are skunks (because the daytime talk shows tell her so) and she will know that any town’s temptations come out in full bloom at night. After all, that’s why they call it night-life.

And it’s true … Bangkok kicks into high gear after dark. But it’s also true that Bangkok kicks into low gear after lunch, so there are many options for the eager monger during the afternoon. If you’ve got your mate in tow, that’ll be your easiest time for straying because she won’t realize that temptations also abound (albeit more discretely so) in the afternoons.

The Ultimate Baby-Sitter. Women are natural born detectives, so her suspicions will immediately be aroused if you seem too eager to disappear for a while. It’s a much better strategy to have her want to disappear for a while, since that way, you can be magnanimous about it and yet still end up with what you had been hoping to get all along (which is time apart from her).

Here’s the magic word: “shopping”. Women love to shop. It is their passion in life. Every year, USA Today does a poll on the favorite pastimes of men and women. For men, “sex” usually tops the list of favorite pastimes. But for women, “sex” is usually down around #6 on the list … their favorite pastime is always “shopping”. But if you have ever been married, you knew that already from your own experience.

But here you’re in luck … not only is Bangkok the world’s premier sex destination, it’s also very high on the list of top shopping destinations. And so you’ve got the perfect baby-sitter to keep your mate busy (so you can roam) … endless shopping and low prices. To a woman, that’s an irresistible combination.

Siam Square is fairly upscale and pricey … in other words, not all that much different from the malls back home. But MBK is different … it’s got endless stalls and kiosks carrying endless varieties of inexpensive stuff. More than you could imagine. Your mate could literally spend days wandering around the MBK complex looking at everything. And that is exactly my point. If you do stay at Pathumwan Princess Hotel, she need only walk through the door and she’ll already be inside MBK. She need never set foot out-of-doors and into the elements.

MBK also has many restaurants with a variety of exotic cuisines and it also has a food court with at least two hundred different food vendors to pick from … you can find just about anything to eat here other than “Twinkies”. Just take your mate there for lunch, have a leisurely meal, act like the heat must be getting to you and let her suggest that you go back and take a nap while she does a little shopping. Fact is, once she sees the place, there’s no way she will be able to resist spending hour after hour thumbing through everything. It’s Darwinian.

Not being quite so upscale, MBK is a bit warmer inside than is Siam Square, so it’s easy to fake weariness and heat exhaustion if you do get dragged along shopping. And since it’ll be in the afternoon, she’ll not realize the chance she’s taking when she suggests that you head back to stretch out and “watch a little TV”. And don’t worry, she won’t be back anytime soon. So you can head out for some quality time with some of the local lasses.

If you do get back and she is already back, just tell her you couldn’t sleep well because your muscles were feeling a bit stiff from all that walking and so you popped into a traditional massage place and got kneaded. Tell her that they really do a good job there and that she should give it a try also. That should allay any suspicions on her part since, if those places are dicey, you’d not risk inviting her to go along the next time.

And in a way, you’d be telling the truth … you really were feeling stiff (in one muscle, at least) from wandering around MBK. After all, it’s right next door to a major university and those co-eds in their school uniforms like to shop at MBK also when they’re between classes. Even your old Uncle Hannibal can wander around for an hour through MBK in a state of perpetual tumescence.

It’s the perfect crime. And now that you know how to escape the leash for a few hours in the afternoons, we’ll tell you in next month’s column about some of the places you can go for some afternoon delights. That way, you can then indulge in your favorite pastime while your mate is indulging in her favorite pastime. How great is that?

Stay tuned.

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