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01 June 2004
William R. Morledge
Phone Sex - 2004
Thai Sex Slaves
Rumor Of The Month
June's Follies in review
An Arab Bar?  Oh, YES !

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         There would be no conceivable way to give an accurate accounting of Bangkok's Night Entertainment Scene without the inclusion of the elephant.   As MIDNITE HOUR's sole raison d'κtre is the recording of the ongoing history of Bangkok's Nightlife Arena, we would be entirely remiss in not paying this mighty beast it's due.

         We admit we also felt some sense of urgency in preparing this story, as the nightly Nightspot visits by these popular pachyderms could come to a halt at any time.   Those of us who have been here 'too long' tend to forget that nowhere else in the world can one go bar-hopping whilst rubbing shoulders with elephants.   With the Autocratic regime's authoritarian attitudes becoming more so all the time, this free-for-all night-circus could quickly go the way of the Bangkok tram lines and the eating of grilled squid in our Capitol's cinemas.   Were that to happen, MIDNITE HOUR would not be able to forgive itself for failing to record a first-person account of one of Planet Earth's truly unique Night Entertainment experiences.

      An elephant cadges sugar cane from tourists on Bangkok's Soi Cowboy.   Humans almost universally have a fascination for, and an affinity to these gentle giants, and the gentle giants have an affinity for sugar cane.   Win-win.    The authorities have tried numerous times to ban these creatures from the streets of Bangkok - the elephants, at least so far, have always found their way back.

         One of the first things making itself evident in our investigation into the "plight" of the elephant was a nearly universal reaction of pity by the local population.   "Songsarn !" is the almost instantaneous response.   Part of their pity stems from seeing such a large animal out of its natural environment.   Another very real source of their pity derives from an almost hereditary belief that the elephant is a regal animal, and should not have to beg for a living.   This has, of course, a legitimate historical basis - in former times the only people who kept elephants were kings and their generals.   It goes without saying that they were the only ones who could afford to.

         Likewise, most visiting and resident Farang express concern over the harsh life these leviathans are forced to lead in the city.   More than this, the newly arrived foreign population tend to inject their country-of-origin bias into the question of Thailand's elephants begging on Bangkok's city streets.   Comments such as, "Don't touch them, they're dirty," or, "They make a mess," or, "They could get hit by cars," or, "What if one goes berserk!?" are often heard.   Those who have been here longer become imbued with a visceral sense of 'animal abuse' - the elephants having been made to live under "these conditions".   They soon begin to conjure up ecologico-environmental theories of what is "right" and "wrong" for the elephant.   Bangkok's Farang population have proven themselves a constant source of these 'solutions', usually hair-brained, on how to handle the elephant 'problem'.   These 'more environmentally aware' Farang have even more solutions for the disposition of the city's elephant population than they do for solving the problem of our subsiding sidewalks.   (A good many of them becoming quite emotional in their defense of these wing-nut "cures".)   The 'common denominator' platitude of these solution-oriented Farang seems to be, "Don't feed them, you'll only encourage them,"   In practice however, these well-meaning sentiments are ignored by the bulk of excitement-seeking tourists, many of whom have never come face to face with an elephant before, let alone touched one, or fed one, or had one's picture taken next to one.

     A curious hand reaches out to touch the pachyderm.   'Pachyderm', by the way, means "thick skin", and also includes rhinos and hippos, but for these purposes, we are referring only to elephants.

         But what is the real story?    Is the 'elephant problem' a problem for the elephants? Is it a problem for the residents of Bangkok?   Having long observed Bangkok's elephant phenomenon from the middle distance, MIDNITE HOUR decided it was time to get into Bangkok's Neon Sois and talk with the mahouts, the handlers and their touts - and observe these obviously intelligent animals nose-to-nose.

         While waiting for the Jumbos to arrive on Soi Cowboy a few nights ago, MIDNITE HOUR interviewed a Farang bar owner who had been at that same location for the last 20 years.   He mentioned in passing that since Thonglor's Finest no longer have someone full time on the soi, the elephants have returned in force.   It was his (shared) opinion that the elephants were not a nuisance in any way, they were only a supplement to the normal entertainment.   It was his belief that there was not much the police could do about the elephants in any case, other than tell the mahouts to leave when they saw them there.   He said, "What are they going to do, arrest them?   What would they do with the elephants, take them down to the police station?   Are they going to fine them?   Do they think the mahouts could pay fines?"   

         On the reappearance of the great grey beasts at the mouth of the soi, we went out to greet them, buy them some sugar cane and to speak to the mahouts.   We learned a lot.   Firstly, the elephants eat well (a large part of their diet consists of unmarketably ripe bananas), and that the mahouts make a surprising amount of money each night.   It seems that they seldom bring the mature bulls into town as they are from time to time, harder to handle and are potentially more dangerous.   We learned that as they work at night, they do not suffer from the heat, either directly or from hot pavements.   We observed that the young elephants appeared healthy and in high spirits, often showing-off by 'dancing', or swaying back and forth, and trumpeting to get attention.   We did not observe any harsh handling by the mahouts or handlers (the young elephants are not ridden by mahouts).   The elephants usually 'work' from between 8:00 PM to 1:00 AM, which to them is equivalent to foraging, and while their nightly rounds are not exclusively in the Night Entertainment Areas, they are centered in these locations because this is where business is best.   The elephants rest overnight wherever they can, usually in a vacant lot where adequate drinking water is available, but not their usual bathing water (the only real drawback we observed).   Elephants currently plying the Sukhumvit Road area 'overnight' in vacant piece of land just off Soi Asoke.

         One of the first items of concern to those directly involved in the elephants' welfare in Bangkok in particular, is the number of injuries, many of those being road accidents.   What they fail to mention is these statistic, compiled at the elephant 'hospital' facilities, are the country-wide statistics -- not to mention that it is highly likely such incidences as illegal logging accidents are reported as 'road accidents' as well.   Likewise, the mahouts' accounts of 'almost no road accidents in Bangkok' sound too much like denial, and are equally unverifiable.   At the very kindest, we can only say these statistical and hearsay accounts are very unrealistically and inexactly applied to accidents involving Bangkok's elephant populations.   The jury is, as they say, still out, with the truth likely lying somewhere between.   Accidents, while they do happen, do not appear to be disproportionate in the Bangkok area.

         One relevant and highly interesting observation by the world's scientific community is that many species of both plants and animals have resisted extinction, not in spite of human habits, but because of them.   There are numerous examples of animal species that have been able to not only survive, but thrive alongside and in human populations.   Many cases of both co-existence and 'domestication' exist today, from the rat to the cat to the pigeon to the sheep to the dog; the list goes on.   What is harder for the 'Westerner' to grasp on an intellectual level is the same thing has happened with the elephant.   It often comes as a surprise that, at least as far as the Asian elephant is concerned, the domesticated population exceeds those living in the wild - for which we can thank long term rapid deforestation, in the main.   
       The MIDNITE HOUR was originally misinformed on the relative number of Asian elephants in captivity and in the wild.   The WWF advises that there are between 15,000 - 16,000 elephants in captivity, and between 35,000 - 50,000 still in the wild - worldwide - the largest number being in India.

         The first known instances of domestication were for purposes of fighting wars and to work in the timber and other heavy local industries - the elephant and man are old friends.   But both warfare and logging practices have changed over the last two hundred years, leaving a large population of domesticated, continually breeding elephants which would either have to be assimilated into the human population in other ways or be returned to the wild.   However, returning these giant critters back to the wild would not work today for the obvious reasons.   First, "the wild" is shrinking at a calculated rate of square kilometers per minute - and we are not making that up.   Secondly, the remaining "wilds" in Southeast Asia already have existent elephant populations - the remaining forested areas can't support additional elephant populations (because the additional elephant foraging would denude those very forests).   Lastly, the domesticated elephant certainly doesn't mind foraging in the wild, but they feel equally at home with man - there is little to do about keeping them in the wild, once they have their minds set to "come to town".   Or come to someone's plantation, for that matter, as a recent news article mentioned, where hundreds of thousands of baht worth of produce was joyfully eaten and/or destroyed by the grateful herd.


         Elephants, as we have seen, have been 'in captivity' for centuries and have found many niches along the way, so how does Bangkok's Behemoth Beggar Brigade fare with other 'captive' elephant populations, past and present?   Are they better off than those elephants kept in zoos?   Or how about circus elephants?   Or how about Thailand's 'elephant show' elephants, such as those found in Ayuthaya and the Rose Garden, etc.   

        At the top of the list for health and welfare of the elephant MIDNITE HOUR lists:
  • 1.  Elephants kept for 'shows' at permanent, established facilities.

    Followed in order by: -
  • 2.  Zoo Elephants  (Excessive confinement, but good care.)
  • 3.  Bangkok's Street Elephants
  • 4.  Polo Elephants  (Excessive travel.)
  • 5.  Circus /Carnival Elephants  (Excessive travel, confinement.)
  • 6.  Logging Elephants  (Excessive work, amphetamine abuse,           injuries.)
  • 7.  Former War Elephants  (Often war casualties.)

             So then, what to do with Bangkok's large elephant population?   Send them back to Surin Province (from whence most of them came)?    The annual Surin Elephant Roundup has become a major tourist attraction, and helps a little in terms of bringing in some desperately needed cash to maintain and feed some of the animals, but falls far short of maintaining the elephants for the entire year.   The Government has tried such schemes as sending all of Bangkok's panhandling elephants to Ayuthaya to perform in 'historic' shows, to parade around, and to give rides to tourists.   While it was better than nothing, it just didn't provide adequate livings for the mahouts, handlers and keepers.   Albiet, the elephants were well fed.   (Unless we are talking about confining the elephants in a zoo, equal or greater consideration must be given to the livelihoods of the mahouts and handlers.)

             The thought that seems to have escaped everyone is that the best solution would be, and should be, to do nothing.   It has been MIDNITE HOUR's observation that we had been too ready to accept that something was 'wrong' with elephants coursing through Bangkok's traffic-laden streets.   After having observed them and walked with them through the sois and boulevards over this last month, we were unable to see anything 'broken'.   And if it ain't broken, don't fix it.

          Two elephants arrive for the grand opening of the Spice Girls.

             So in spite of what the 'ecologically enlightened' conservationists in our midst are saying, Bangkok's Night-Scene pachyderms are healthy, well fed, well treated, have companionship of other elephants, have extremely light work schedules (working -foraging- less hours per day than I do), and as far as possible to know, appear to enjoy their work.   We here at MIDNITE HOUR would like to take this opportunity to lend our support to this marvellous and unique form of Night Entertainment, and we would like to say in advance that we will not be subsequently offering an apology for, or a retraction to this article, no matter how many of those 'ecologically enlightened' folk out there think we should.   

    Crackdown-Related Stories:

    Thai sex slaves
    Forced prostitution continues

             Thailand continues to be a hub of Southeast Asia's flesh trade, and was officially quoted yet again this May as being "the origin, transit and destination point" of human trafficking.   Dusadee Chanthapa of MIRICRH also stated that attempts to solve this trading in human beings will fail if the Thai Government fails to acknowledge this fact.   Does this shock you?   Well, it doesn't seem to shock Thai authorities or, for that matter, the general public.   

             This revelation only managed two columns on page 4 in the Bangkok Post last month.   The article itself gives the reason for this magnificent outpouring of apathy - "The police have a negative attitude towards victims of (human) trafficking rackets," said Ms Chanthapa.   For those of you not familiar with traditional Thai views on forced prostitution, you might want to view Bangkok's local newspaper archives - where you will find a long, shameful history of photographs of young, rescued sex slaves covering their eyes, having been accused by the police (and abetted by a compliant Press) of "prostitution".   If any of these 'prostitutes' are foreigners, they are immediately deported.   That's how it was done before, and that's how it's done now.   

             Ms Sudarat Seerewat of CFACE also stated that police are reluctant to pursue the trafficking networks, once they had already 'caught' the so-called 'prostitutes'.   It doesn't sound like this has changed from times past, either.   Of course, it goes without saying that this significant influx of young women with no travel documents could only have entered Thailand from Burma, Laos and China with police complicity.   Nor could these young women be exiting again for Malaysia and points East & West without similar police complicity.   Somehow, as long as these particular foxes guard those particular hen houses MIDNITE HOUR doesn't anticipate too many positive results.

            One supposes that the Thai Government would be interested in knowing that when someone is forcefully relocated, or deceived into relocating, and held captive at their point of destination, the international community defines this as "kidnapping".   The Thai Government may be interested to know that when a human being's captors force that person to work - in any capacity - and the profits from that endeavor go into the pockets of the captors, that is called "slavery".   It might also be interesting to local authorities that if someone is forced to have sex against their will, this is called "rape".   In case anyone's listening, that's how these things are viewed under international law, as well.   And for the record, there are no caveats or loopholes, where these things can be conveniently called something else.   

            When it is said that Thailand is "the origin, transit and destination point" for human trafficking, we mean, "slavery", "kidnapping" and "rape", just like in the dictionary, gentlemen.   No intelligent, enlightened human being would mistake these grave acts for 'prostitution', any more than they would attempt to call these victims the perpetrators.   It doesn't get any more twisted than this.   We repeat, it does not get any more twisted than this.

            If the Government truly had any intention whatsoever to implement a meaningful Social Order Crusade they would save a thousandfold times more "face", both at home and abroad, by pursuing these criminals, than by going out trying to make themselves look good by limiting the times and places that tourists may imbibe alcoholic beverages.

    Phone sex 2004
    It's not what you think

             It's not what you think, but, yes, it is sex.   Senator Wallop Tangkhananurak went to Patpong for an "official" Government study for the Committee on Children, Women and the Elderly.   He was able to discover through interviews with "experts and sex workers" that sex workers would NOT like to be registered as "Prostitutes" by the Government.   In other words, the results have not changed since all the other surveys and discussions on the matter.   We presume the "experts" were not going to be required by the Government to register as experts either, I mean, what would they show as credentials?   

            But we digress...   It is however, time for Senator Wallop's wake-up call.   We feel the Good Senator acted in good faith; he actually believed he was going to get a very significant sampling by interviewing experts and sex workers on Patpong, however this notion would, by any measure, be ludicrous and entirely unrepresentative.   By his Committee's own report, there are between 150,000 to 200,000 prostitutes in Thailand, 30,000 of them under the age of eighteen.   Segue back to Patpong, oh, and Patpong 2, and Soi Cowboy and Nana Plaza and the total one dozen large and medium sized Expat Night Entertainment Areas in Bangkok, the total high-side estimate for Night Venue employees is, by our statistical count, a high season maximum of 10,280.   We estimate that many again for Pattaya and almost that many for Phu Khet.   If we add in Expat Night Entertainment for Chieng Mai and Hua Hin and smaller resorts, the total Expat-oriented Night Entertainment workforce is 40,000, tops.   The remaining 110,000 to 160,000 being sex workers providing for local sexual needs.   Patpong 1, itself has no more than 800 girls working there - which, to put it in perspective, is equivalent to the number of employees at two or three of Vice-Czar Chuwit's massage parlors in their heyday.   It becomes immediately clear that any such survey of sex workers from any Expat-oriented Night Entertainment Area would be the least representative sampling possible.

             Incredulously, the Good Senator presented his findings only days after Thailand was once again branded as "the origin, transit and destination point" for forced prostitution in the region.   Senator Wallop's state of oblivion could only have been attained while attired in full clown regalia, and we congratulate him on his sustained and selective schizophrenia.   (See our article immediately above.)   We feel it would have been statistically more meaningful, and one hell of a lot more interesting if he had asked some of Thailand's sex slaves if they thought they should be registered as "Prostitutes", and if they might like to be included in the Government's 30 baht health plan...   

             However, it was Senator Wallop's parting comment that was the real kicker - he said, "I have found that some (teenage girls) enter the prostitution trade in order to earn just 16,000 baht to buy a cell phone."   It was as if this were a revelation of some magnitude - we wonder where he has been for the last five years?   What he didn't say was they stay in the trade to pay for the exorbitant cell phone 'promotions' & refills, as can be attested to by the many such comments received here at MIDNITE HOUR.   'Phone sex' at least in this new sense, has never been more profitable.   

            Hmmm, now, which mega-rich cell phone service provider was it that was responsible for the bulk of the ad campaigns aimed at teenagers, and which tried to convince them to buy cell phones they couldn't really afford?   Phone sex, indeed, Mr T.

    "Rumor Of The Month"

    Where there's  

          "Rumor" is defined as "no-fault confabulation, chain-reaction speculation...."    Nevertheless MIDNITE HOUR again presents the most outrageous / prevalent rumor to cross our desks this past month:

           "The closing of Cowboy Annex has been moved up to coincide with the opening of the adjacent subway station in August 2004. "

    MIDNITE HOUR includes as part of our Rumor Of The Month an ongoing evaluation as to the accuracy of said rumors since the inception of the award.

    As of 01 June 2004, the Rumor Accuracy Quotient remains at -

    See our Archived Rumors at their worst : click HERE.

    June's Follies
    begin here

          MIDNITE HOUR presents the NEWS on the Bangkok Night Scene; - the 'history-in-the-making' for all major Night Entertainment Areas  - for the month ending  1 JUNE, 2004 :

      • PATPONG  I • .
               Lipstick Pub has just thrown open the doors and rolled out the red carpet.   They occupy the old upstairs Lipstick digs (closed since December 2002).   But don't expect the old crew to greet you on your trek up the stairway.   Still legally the Lipstick, the English language sign at street level tells the tale.   This is a pub you would go to if you were a man looking to meet a boy or vice-versa.   Welcome to the fracas.     • PATPONG I • 

               Not that anyone will notice, but the SuperStar is now legally the "SuperStar" and not P.P. Super as it has been, legally, up until just recently - and so says their Thai language sign.   So next time Bang Rak's Finest come a-gangbusting for those miscreant name-gamers, the SuperStar won't have to tape a temporary sign over their neon...     • PATPONG I • 

      • PATPONG  II • .
               As mentioned in earlier issues of MIDNITE HOUR, Electric Blue were closed down two months ago when they tried to play the name-game and open as CLUB Electric Blue.    According to sources on the ground here, they were going to reopen on 5 May, then again on 25 May.   We decided to put an end to the hearsay, so we stuck our heads in the door and spoke to someone who (should) know.   They will be "on again" starting 12 June, says the manageress.   Provided the evil ghost of the Rififi doesn't meddle yet again, we should see the A-Go-Go return full-tilt.     • PATPONG II • 

               They opened in December of 2003 as the Topless 2 Pool Bar, but even before they could get their permanent sign up, they switched to Tavern 3 Saloon.   By February of this year, having been caught-out by The Authorities for playing the name-game, they changed yet again to Top Light 1 - the legal name.   But we could see that something was in the wind, as all the Top Light 1 signs were felt pen on cardboard and unceremoniously taped over the old sign.   Last month (May) they pulled down the cardboard signs and became Tavern 3 Saloon once again.   We welcome you back to the ratpack, whoever you really are...   • PATPONG II • 

               The "Thai Traditional Massage" has decided to pull the plug.   Located on the 4th floor of the Cosmo's stairwell, there was just not enough business to keep them going.   Their digs now being used as the Bua Luang group offices.   • PATPONG II • 

      • NANA  PLAZA • .
               Back in the game on 8 May, fire damage now repaired, the Playskool A-Go-Go looks better than ever.   And that includes the outside bar beer area, which got a sprucing up as well.   By the way, if the girls there ask you for a tip, don't tell them not to play with matches - we've used that line already.   • NANA PLAZA • 

               Cascade, on the 3rd floor was caught-out by Lumpini's Finest for not having their legal (Thai) sign up.   The problem was immediately corrected by - are you ready for this? - writing the Thai name on a piece of paper and taping it over their neon.   As Farang customers now couldn't see that it was in fact the Cascade, they wrote the word "Cascade" in English on another piece of paper, and taped it up over the remaining part of the neon sign.   I'm sure this is logical, it's just not our logic.   Hey, shake it, don't break it, guys, you know how The Authorities are on this name-game issue   We know it now means paying the 50 thou for the new name, but it's still better than being shut down for a month or two, and then paying the 50 thou.   • NANA PLAZA • 

               As sign problems seem to be haunting the entire civilized world as we know it, we thought we might mention that Lucky Lukes is not now really called "Lucky Ukes".   There is a simple explanation -- their sign fell apart.   They will be repairing it just as soon as the curse of the signs lifts from the Bangkok Night Scene.   • NANA PLAZA • 

      • SOI  COWBOY • .
                Would you like to "Boom now"?   Well, so would we, and this is exactly what the brand new @ Corner bar beer offered up on their timely opening on 13 May.   Their hand-out leaflets, reminiscent of grammar found on menus of old nevertheless conveyed the message.   We mentioned to our wag historian, Boge Hartman, that this bar would be opening up in one of the last areas not yet containing a Nightspot on Soi Cowboy.   And he said, "Whoa, not so fast there, son...(...cont'd below)

    ... and started tunnelling through the labyrinthine mountains of paper on and around his desk.   It seems that according to the Zootramp Publications database, there was a bar there as early as 1975, mostly -but not exclusively- for Thai clientele called Chitra.   This was not the Chitra's Bar in the late '70's, says Hartman, in fact this original Chitra preceded Cowboy's opening of the Cowboy Bar by more than two years - back when the soi was still called Soi Gold Label.   Be that as it may, we wish the @ Corner luck in these precarious times.   • SOI COWBOY • 

                The Spice Girls opened as scheduled on 4 May, covered in balloons, streamers and party treats.   The mirrored walls give the impression of a much larger bar.   Upstairs has a single pool table and an 'overflow' bar.   A-Go-Go is the prime agendum.   Nevertheless, we couldn't help wonder how they would fare the next time the Crackdown Squads start checking for legal, registered names - isn't Spice Girls taken?   Nevertheless, we wish them prosperity as they cast their fate to the rain swept nightwinds.   • SOI COWBOY • 

                Cowboy One A-Go-Go mysteriously closed (vibrato organ music here) - only later did we find out they were doing a quick renovation, to include a big, brand new neon sign, just like their sister bar, Cowboy Two.   They plan to reopen on 3 June - the day after tomorrow.   • SOI COWBOY • 

                The New Crazy Cats have some door art worthy of mention - and the reason we mention it now is the door is as ancient as the art - and will surely fall to the ravages of Time in the not-too-distant future.   The door and it's "hippy art" are probably the last their kind on the Bangkok Night Entertainment Scene.   Have a look before it goes the way of the dodo.
           If, as they say, good fences make good neighbors, then good doors make better ones.   The New Crazy Cats' door is probably more properly a 'Sign Of The Times' from the previous 'flower-power' generation.   Having survived a name change, the door remains virtually unseen at night as they keep it open inward - thereby unnoticed by passers-by and customers alike.    

      • SOI COWBOY • 

                The Apache have recently sat out two weeks of arbitrary penalty time courtesy of the local arbiters of nighttime street-justice (Thonglor's Finest).   All that behind them now, they have hit the soi running, and have once again pumped up the volume on the rock-n-roll like there was no tomorrow.   Welcome back to the sharkpool.   • SOI COWBOY • 


    Elvis live at the Country Road !

       Well, OK, this doesn't quite count as an Elvis sighting, or even an Elvisoot* sighting, but Elvis Nan now performs at Soi Cowboy's Country Road entertainment complex.   That "the King's" popularity has lasted in this far-flung corner of the world for almost half a century is as curious as it is noteworthy.   Perhaps this would be more a "Sign Of All Times".

    * Elvisoot - a popular local Elvis Presley imitator from the 70's & 80's
      • SOI COWBOY • 

      • COWBOY  ANNEX • .
                From the We-Knew-This-Was-Going-To-Happen Department.    The first Arab bar to open in Bangkok in an Expat Night Entertainment Area is the Latifah Bar.   It opened on the newly re-floored digs of the now-defunct Richiy Bar.   Last Friday night, the owner was there alone, playing extremely loud Arabic music ΰ la the Pattaya Arab bar scene, and having himself a not-so-quiet game of pool.   We wonder if he saw any correlation between the volume of the music and the volume of business he was doing.   Bar beer - Pool Bar is the format.   We nevertheless (think we) wish them luck, and (think we) welcome them to the nightscene.   • COWBOY ANNEX • 


           The open-sided Tuk-Tuk Bar in the 4-Pak will close its doors, figuratively, tonight at midnight after a little more than a month in operation.   Dozens of joss-sticks, alight at the four corners are pouring forth, mingling their aromatic smokes.   Tuk is busily engaged in lighting even more tup for another small altar which she only a moment ago placed on the bare earth in front of her bar.   As she places the tiny cups of tea and the bananas next to the miniature Deities and animals on the several altars, she will wai the proper count once again.   She speaks to me through the thick mai jan-scented haze, saying she hopes she will be luckier at her next place, but that she hasn't yet been able to find anywhere she can afford.   (Certainly the local divinities wouldn't ignore elaborate offerings such as these, would they?)   Only a Pollyannaish optimism would have allowed her to open in this derelict, soon to be demolished bar area in the first place - the Darwinian nature of this shark-eat-shark nightworld doesn't provide for entrepreneurial innocents like Tuk.   Greener pastures, Khun Tuk - anywhere would be greener than right here.   • COWBOY ANNEX • 

                The C.J. bar beer now calls itself the Friendly Bar.   Their new sign, almost too small to notice, has been nailed up out in front to advertise the fact.   Status-quo-ante.   Rock on while the rockin's good, gang.   • COWBOY ANNEX • 

                Gone but not gone, the Fantacy (sic) has relocated from the 4-Pak out back, and is trying their luck once again, after a one-month hiatus.   These new digs, not much bigger than their sign, are easy to miss but they make up for their lack of size by their enthusiasm.   Keep on keeping on.   • COWBOY ANNEX • 

                The Richiy Bar Pool, (which was, of course, owned by Richiy) is no more.   The ongoing renovations we noted last month were for an office-like structure, now almost completed.   • COWBOY ANNEX • 

                Spanky's Bar 3, after threatening to do so for the last couple of months, has finally put up a sign saying who they are, so now you will know it's not part of the Monza Bar next door...      • COWBOY ANNEX • 

      • SOI  DEAD  ARTISTS  (Soi 33) • .
                The Timbevati Boutique Lodge & Steak House is the latest entertainment facility to pop up, virtually overnight, on Soi 33.   We showed up quite by accident on opening night last week and were given the Cook's Tour.   Almost out of sight from passing foot traffic, one needs to turn down and walk back from the Oliver reed's Club.   You will be surprised - this is a huge facility - in African motif (although the customers that night were all European).   Although it is mostly 'restaurant', they have a bar, and more under development.   On top of all this, they have 20 rooms for rent at the rear, along with a large swimming pool, which was still filling when we visited.   Taking my not-too-serious question very seriously, my lovely guide wasn't sure if restaurant guests were going to be allowed to swim or not - which would be an interesting turn of events, if that were the case.   • SOI DEAD ARTISTS • 

                While we are on the subject of very large Night Entertainment Facilities, double shifts are hard at work bringing the two super-sized units next door to Mojo's to completion before the end of the month (June).   They are telling us the two units will be combined to become a very elaborate karaoke lounge - orientation Oriental.   If they have a name picked out for it they were very inscrutably not telling...   • SOI DEAD ARTISTS • 

                For those of you who have Statistical Historian genes in your makeup, here is an interesting factoid concerning Soi Dead Artists (Soi 33) for your consumption.   Since reaching "critical mass" in November of 1999, this Night Entertainment Area has tripled in size.   It has gone from 17 Night Entertainment Venues to this month's total of 51 - all in less than 5 years.   And it's still growing.   • SOI DEAD ARTISTS • 

      • TOBACCO  ROAD  • .
                The Kiss Me, one of the older names on the soi, resides in abiding darkness yet again.   Having reopened only last October (2003), it must have figured it couldn't hold out to the next high season.   Let's just say 'hasta luego' on this one, as they seem to be able to keep popping up out of their coffin and starting all over again.   • TOBACCO RD  (Soi 0) • 

                Despite the fact that their brand-new neon sign reads, "Jack Daniels No. 7", they are still the Friend's Bar.   They have decided to spring for some new neon, so they took their old sign down for an overhaul.   Its replacement should be hung out to glow before the end of the month.   • TOBACCO RD  (Soi 0) • 

      • " SOI  KATOEY " • .
                Opening to the public in early May as promised, the Xantrix is a shiny new multi-storey lounge.   We misreported their name as "Xantrax" last month, because their etched glass sign had not yet been back lit - for which we offer apologies.   They wasted no time in keeping it unanimous on this soi re: the outside tables - as with virtually all the other Night Entertainment Venues, customers have the option of sitting inside and watching the crowd, or sitting outside and being part of it.        • SOI KATOEY • 

                Tapas Room Club had all the flowers and bunting out curb-side for their 10th Anniversary party last weekend.   We don't want to rain on their parade, but the Zootramp Publications database shows them, then as Tapas Cafe, opening in the old Genesys digs in April of 1995.   What do you reckon, a belated Y2K problem?     • SOI KATOEY • 

      • EASY SQUARE • .
                The nameless bar we noted here last month that was celebrating their grand opening with a wild Mekhong & Coke party now has a name.   And we expect the sign will follow soon.   Barring further changes between now and the end of the month, they will be called The Basement Bar.   They are, by the way, the sister bar (literally) to the Sport Bar in 13 Night Market.     • EASY SQUARE • 

                The newest kid on the block is the Mook Bar.   Modus operandi - bar beer.  They have opened with an enthusiasm possessed only by those who have never owned a bar before.   We hope their enthusiasm is rewarded - Easy Square, while becoming better known, hasn't really caught fire yet.     • EASY SQUARE • 

      •  QUEEN'S  PARK  PLAZA• 
                Reopening only a couple of days later than they had hoped, the No ! Bra bar beer is up and running full-tilt once again.   Their revamped street-side counter bar seems to be attracting it's usual custom - and then some.   Welcome back to the nightwars.    • QUEEN'S PARK PLAZA • 

                Since 'death by signs' seems to be our fate this month, we should briefly mention that both the Sweetheart and the Smile Bar have hung out brand-new, bigger, brighter, better shingles.   All else, including the friendly service remains unchanged.     • QUEEN'S PARK PLAZA • 

                Way in the back, The Corner is in a state of controlled annihilation - construction workers running back and forth in the middle of the night rushing to completion a rather ambitious expansion project - which they say should be completed by month's end.   They can't be sure, but they think there will be a name change in the cards.     • QUEEN'S PARK PLAZA • 

      • " 13  NIGHT  MARKET " • .
                The Grim Reaper has already pulled the black shroud over the almost-new Mic Chokedee-Bar, which opened this March.   Only shadows danced on their roller-shuttered entrances.     • 13 NIGHT MARKET • 

      • The No-News-Is Good-News Dept.• 


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