CHALLENGING WEEK FOR DAVE THE RAVE
This passed week has been very hectic. Unfortunately, my wife’s Grandmother (Yai in Thai) passed away. She was a very sweet old lady of 84 years old (RIP Yai). My wife was told to return home quickly and at least she was able to see Yai before she passed away. I could not go to pay my respects to Yai, because I had to take care of things in Bangkok. I have been busy being both dog sitter and housekeeper! Also, I had to run Angelwitch every night because Matt was in Germany visiting his family. This week’s “Thailand Night Fever” might be a bit shorter than usual. So, if it’s short and sweet, I hope you find it an interesting read…
SOI COWBOY – A WALK ON THE WILD WEST SIDE (PART ONE)
Last Friday night I went to Sukhumvit, Soi 23 to meet some friends for a bite to eat. One friend suggested that we meet at the Australian owned Down Under Bistro at 6:30pm. I arrived outside Down Under literally seconds before my Kiwi mate stood in front of me. We shook hands and exchanged a smile like excited students meeting after school has ended. Inside Down Under, I was greeted by an American friend. I wasn’t quite sure if we were similar to the Three Musketeers, or the Three Stooges! Shortly afterwards, another American friend joined us, so we paired off. I sat next to my friend from New Zealand, leaving the two Americans paired off together. So, we had two Yanks, a Kiwi and a Pom. By the way, the term “Pom” is Aussie and Kiwi slang for an Englishman. I thought it appropriate to use on this occasion, because we were on Aussie turf. Also, I was invited “Down Under” by a Kiwi. I could lie and say we were just four average guys. However, we range from slightly enigmatic to extremely eccentric, depending on which one of us you are referring to at the time.
VENUE REVIEW – DOWN UNDER BISTRO
Down Under is a combination of a sports bar, a social club, and a bistro with an international menu. All served up with loads of laidback hospitality. Without question, Down Under Bistro is an ideal place to get fuelled up for a night in Soi Cowboy. My kiwi mate is an avid rugby fan and he was pleased to see his favourite team playing on the LCD screen in front of us. Down Under has a good variety of food on their menu, and I particularly like the look of Aussie homemade meat pies with chips and gravy. An Aussie pie, chips and gravy is a snip for just 120 Baht. I enjoyed the delicious garlic bread, which was 30 Baht. A bottle of water cost me a mere 40 Baht. I discovered that Beer Lao was a reasonable price at 95 Baht.
It was time to stoke up the engine. Three of us ordered the Chicken Parmesan & Potato Bake. It comprises of a chicken schnitzel, covered with a tomato and basil sauce, which is accompanied by the potato bake with Virginia ham. The dish also includes a salad with a tangy dressing. We finished every morsel, because it was simply delicious. I thought it was excellent value-for-money at 200 Baht. We briefly spoke to the friendly owner and thanked him for an excellent meal. We all said that we would return to Down Under Bistro. In fact, we are talking about meeting there for dinner again very soon.
SOI COWBOY — MOTORBIKE MADNESS
After a good feed (as the Aussies say), we wanted to have “A Walk On The Wild West Side,” so we took the short stroll to Soi Cowboy. Immediately upon arrival, we alerted ourselves to motorbikes, which were recklessly speeding up and down Soi Cowboy. As most of you know, Soi Cowboy consists of a short, narrow lane. Well, the tiny soi suddenly became quite dangerous, as motorbikes whizzed by us in both directions. Please note that Soi Cowboy is particularly hazardous from late afternoon until early in the evening.
This leads me to believe that many people would like to see Soi Cowboy become a walking street. But, currently this appears to be nothing more than an unrealistic pipe dream. Perhaps this might be able to happen in the near future, and then again, perhaps *Dave The Rave* will become the next President of America! By that statement, you can see that I am not holding my breath. The bar owners could discuss the matter and present the idea to the local authorities. It would be fantastic to see the whole of Soi Cowboy become a walking street. Nana Plaza may have its faults, but there are no motorbikes whizzing around inside Nana Plaza. Also, there are no elephants inside either. Mind you, I have spotted some enormous farangs, but that does not qualify!
One of my American friends is a 101% supporter of Soi Cowboy and constantly tells me how great the place is. That is fair enough, I like Soi Cowboy as well. In fact, I have been visiting Soi Cowboy for 20 years and I continue to enjoy Cowboy. However, my friend can be blinded by the neon lights at times. Early one evening in Cowboy, I had to stop him from being hit by speeding motorbikes coming in two directions. Shortly after that, I had to warn him again, because an elephant was about to step on his foot. It is obvious that my friend loves Cowboy Country, but it is best enjoyed if you are mobile! I had visions of visiting my friend, as I sat at his bedside in Bumrungrad Hospital.
When walking around Soi Cowboy, you cannot afford to be in a daydream; you do have to remain alert. Those elephants can suddenly move and inadvertently kick you, or crush your foot. My advice is to be careful, especially when the street becomes crowded. Let us hope that we never see an elephant go stir crazy on Bangkok’s busy streets. Elephants are generally very passive creatures, but they are animals nonetheless. If they can stop the speeding motorbikes, it will become very pleasant whilst taking a leisurely stroll down Soi Cowboy. Furthermore, Soi Cowboy will seem a lot less like the Wild West!
WATCHING THE WORLD GO BY
One thing that I really like about the new look Soi Cowboy is the effort that the bar owners have made. The outside seating areas provided by the bars, is a lovely touch. As my friend Sanook Shaun said, “You can watch the world go by and I find it very relaxing.” I have to agree with Sanook Shaun it really is quite pleasant. You can feel your pulse slow down and the city stress just floats away. This is one advantage that Soi Cowboy has over Nana Plaza. Being one continuous lane of two rows of bars, it makes it easy to create outside seating areas. Nana Plaza is a three-storey atrium and therefore it makes this concept impossible.
When we walked into Soi Cowboy, it was fairly early in the evening. Most of the bars were very quiet. There were not many girls dancing in some of the go-go bars, and most bars just had a few customers scattered around. Later on in the evening, most of the go-go bars remained surprisingly quiet. But, larger crowds of people started to gather around the outside seating areas. Khun Leigh said, “There are more customers outside most of the go-go bars than inside.” And, at that time, Leigh was right. Last Friday night, the only go-go bars that were very busy (that we visited) were Long Gun and Tilac Bar. However, I must say that Shark Go-Go Bar was reasonably busy. This just goes to show that the outside seating areas are a very good idea. While the monsoon season is hopefully still several months away, we can all enjoy watching the world go by.
(“Soi Cowboy — A Walk On The Wild West Side” continues next week in Part Two. Stay tuned folks!)
FORMER PRIME MINISTER THAKSIN RETURNS TO THAILAND
In the national news this week, they announce the return of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to Bangkok. It will be interesting to see what unfolds. Already PM Thaksin’s influence is in motion — Bangkok policemen are again setting up late night checkpoints for motorists. I don’t think this is such a bad thing, because in some Western countries, the police constantly stop and check motorists. It’s just bloody frustrating if you keep getting stopped repeatedly. Furthermore, if there is a car full, you have to wait until everybody is searched and all of the ID cards are checked. In 20 years, I had never been stopped by a Thai policeman to have my ID checked and to be searched until last year. This past year I have been stopped by the same policeman so many times, I feel I know him personally! We will soon be talking about how many goals Ronaldo has scored for Manchester United this season. Recently I was in a taxi turning into Soi Nana with Sanook Shaun and the same policeman stepped up to the taxi to say hello. He’s probably thinking, “That’s the farang I check every week.” At times, living in Bangkok really is quite remarkable!
WHAT A GOOD ID-EA
Under the current government policy of police checkpoints in Bangkok, I suggest that you carry ID when you are out and about. What I have done is photocopied the two important parts of my passport. I then cut them down to a smaller size and laminated them back-to-back. My homemade ID card stays permanently in my wallet. By the way, my wallet is very distinct; it has both a padlock and a combination lock. The only problem is there is never anything of much value in the bloody thing!
PATTAYA — PLEASURE PLAYGROUND
Yet again, due to the Thai Elections, the bars in Pattaya were forced to close last Saturday night. I have to say that I think the bars and nightspots in Pattaya are getting a rough deal from the authorities. For example, there were bars in Bangkok quite openly selling alcohol during the Thai Elections. Yet, in the tourist resort of Pattaya, every bar was ordered to close. For a place that relies upon tourism, this is a big blow and no doubt, it has upset a number of Westerners. As one farang said to me, “I came to Pattaya for a short break and for several days, all of the bars were closed. It has definitely put me off visiting Pattaya.” This is a perfect example of how things can vary enormously throughout different parts of Thailand. It can be very frustrating for customers and a downright disaster for bar owners, but we have to learn to live with it. Fortunately, during last weekend only Saturday night was affected. I think visitors to Thailand should study the Thai calendar and endeavour to avoid Thai Elections and other such events.
I am pleased to announce that the Thai Elections are now out of the way and life can return to normal. Well, that is of course, as normal as life can be in Thailand. In this wacky world we live in, I wonder what we will be ordered to do next. What will follow “NO ALCOHOL” and “NO SMOKING?” Will we be told not to eat meat and ordered to attend church prayers regularly? Even in my wildest dreams, I cannot see the Pattaya farang hardcore becoming vegetarian tree huggers, who attend church regularly. Now that would be absurdly bizarre!
COYOTEES GO-GO BAR HOST ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL DANCE CONTEST
On a brighter note, the Dance Contest at Coyotees Go-Go Bar on February 24th was a success. This was despite the fact that the bars in Pattaya were closed the night before. Unfortunately, not all of the nine proposed go-go bars managed to enter, but Coyotees were very pleased that the Dance Contest could go ahead as planned. Coyotees co-owner TJ said, “We were fortunate that the Dance Contest was held on the Sunday, or the event would have been cancelled.” This time around, the calendar was kind to them, and the capacity crowd were very pleased that it was.
BIRTHDAY BASH IN COYOTEES GO-GO BAR
This Sunday, March 9th it is TJ’s Birthday Bash! Crafty TJ is not revealing his age, but he is throwing a party. TJ was asked what he wanted for his birthday by his mates. You will be pleased to know TJ wants the biggest ever Lez Showdown. The fun and frolics starts at 11:00pm and just before the Lez Showdown Grand Finale, dolly birds dressed in socks will serve pizza to all of the customers. This sounds like it will be a fantastic night. Just one question about the Lez Showdown… Who is Lez?
NOTE THE QUOTE
“Here in Thailand you can break the law, just don’t break their rules.” (Expat Proverb).
JOKEBOX JIVE — LIFE’S A FUNNY OLD GAME
“My first date with a traditional Thai woman was fast and furious. I was too fast and she was furious!”
“It’s a funny old world — a man’s lucky if he can get out alive.” (W.C. Fields).
EMAIL DAVE THE RAVE — email@example.com
DON’T BE A FOOL PROTECT YOUR TOOL
In the meantime, if you cannot be good be careful… Safe sex saves lives!
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