An Afternoon of Earthly Delights: The Dark Side, or East Pattaya as it is in a geographical sense, has grown in terms of the bar scene, to such an extent it could probably command an updated journal all of its own. New places seem to spring up almost weekly, with most concentrated along Soi Siam Country Club, Soi Ngern Plub Wan, Soi Kow Noi and Soi Khao Talo.
One of the longest running places is the French-owned Dao Café, off Soi Kow Noi. At first glance this place looks like just an ordinary nosh pit complete with a nice swimming pool and guest accommodation. Go out the back, past a wall that has been painted with the kind of deep purple that can only have been dreamt up by a Frenchman enduring a really bad acid trip, and through a rear door into a nicely appointed and suitably dimly-lit air-conditioned bar. On my most recent exploratory excursion there were about 10 ladies of varying ages, looks and demeanour ready to help customers relieve themselves of any pent-up emotion. Drinks are reasonably priced and vary between 50 baht for lolly water and only 70 baht for lady drinks.
The Noi’s Sierra Tango boozer on Soi Kow Noi is definitely a poorer place following the untimely and tragic death of Lee Mansfield, the English owner, in a motor vehicle accident a few months back. The quality of the knob twirlers is nowhere near what it used to be and those who are there seem fairly disinterested, at least in the early part of the afternoon. It may improve once the sun goes down but I hear rumours the female operator is in hock up to her eyeballs and may soon be compelled to hand over the keys of the bar to a nearby competitor.
This is most certainly not the case with the Paradise dine-and-dash boozer further up the road. Dimly lit as these places usually are, there is a pool table, with games free for customers. Naturally, most punters aren’t interested in the quality of the pool table, as the 10-12 strong team of wallet emptiers are quite adept at using their jaw muscles for more than just idle chat. From what occurs in almost open view inside the bar I would be amazed if some of the young ladies are able to put anything more than a basic sentence together after a jaw-boner of a conversation with a tumescent customer. Not altogether sure what happens with the money shot, although the phrase ‘the Swallows have come to Capistrano early this year" does stick in my mind.
Change for the Good, the Bad, and the Impecunious: I’ve had a lot of comments about my piece on the failure of staff at a Sierra Tango boozer in Soi 6 to at least offer a friend of mine his 15 baht change. I’m not going to mention the name of the offending boozer again as that isn’t central to the story. The comments I am receiving basically follow the same theme. That is, all respondents get upset at serving staff who do not bring back change. Certainly, in most cases the customers will leave the change as a tip anyway, but they don’t appreciate being given a fait accompli.
Running a nightlife entertainment is a tough assignment for anyone and it’s always the so-called little things that stick in a customers mind. I happen to think this is a minor and possibly sub-conscious reason why the operators of the Happy, Peppermint, Beach Club, Baccara and The Cavern do better than most. I have never yet seen the serving staff in any of the aforementioned places take it upon themselves to keep the change. No matter how miniscule the amount, it is always proffered to the customer.
Short and Sharp: Playing pool in the Gulliver’s lounge lizard libation room on Beach Road, an expat was a little discombobulated when the cleavage of his female opponent came loose and an aberrant breast flopped somewhat unceremoniously onto the pristine felt. "Never mind," piped up a nearby lady. "That breast is past its use-by date."
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