Being a work conference we are with a bunch of people whom are all, but one, younger than us, and whom we don’t know very well. Gilbert and I are fairly sedate, while some are leering up every night. Down Bangla Rd bars till morning, and most of them looking like death at a late breakfast.
Two of them arrived a couple of days early and hit the bars. They warn us of the scams. The barmen play games and it’s probably very cleverly rigged so you win some, you lose some. When you win, you get free shots and there’s a lot of fun in sculling the drinks as the victors are urged on. When you lose, its added to your tab. When you finish a drink, as soon as you put the glass down, warns Aaron, they replace it with a full one. If you touch the glass, you have to pay for it. If you don’t, you don’t have to. Of course most will pick the glass up…and the bar staff very kindly keep a bar tab. It was 20,000 baht in no time, getting up to $1000 NZ, explains Aaron, which is bullshit, but by then you’re legless and in no state to argue. Given the drinks are cheap here, it’s unlikely they have drunk that much, or lost that much. You would think that warning would suffice, but no. It’s like all the men turned into brainless morons.
Two other men go down a few nights later and they tell us the next morning, with quaking voices, a very similar story, only they refuse to pay at first. They argue with the bar staff. It couldn’t be 20,000 bah!. The barman’s friendly disposition changes. He summons someone over and says they refuse to pay. The slightly aggressive man who comes over, lifts his lapel and shows the men his badge. He’s a police man, but is he? And do you really want to question that? He threatens them with a taser. One of the men took one look and ran, actually ran to the ATM and duly handed the 20,000 baht over. They breathed a sigh of relief, told us who knows what they were putting in our drinks. Could have been spiked. They considered themselves lucky and headed back, arriving at the hotel at 4.15am. We listen to their voices and serious faces and as I retell the story back in the room to Gilbert, we are shaking our head and chuckling. Oh, could have been worse. Could have been Bangla lock up!
We have seen enough of the Bangla Roads of this world to know it is a heaving cesspit, where the locals lighten the tourists load. Not a nice place to be and we are not interested at all.
From where we have our final dinner in an open air restaurant overlooking Patong Beach. The sunsets reflection on the water through the Palms is absolutely stunning. We can see the light pollution over the streets. It appears above one area almost like a halo but its throbbing makes me think an electrical storm is hitting the area. The guy across the table leans back to take a look and tells me “no, that’s Bangla Rd”.
We ready ourselves for a banquet