New Year '84

Bangkok Travel Blog

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'Dave the Australian' arrived in the late afternoon. I had known him since 1980 when Scott, a friend from Michigan, and I were on a two week safari in Kenya. Dave had been to the States several times since and remained one of the few people I had kept in contact with. He was hanging out at my dad's place in California when I left the day before.


That night, Dave and I rang in New Year 1984 at the Lucky Strike bar on Pat Pong Road. Pat Pong was a short street lined with bars, massage parlors, sex shows, and prostitutes. It became famous during the Vietnam War as an R & R center and continued to flourish with low-budget party-goers from all over the world.


Cool, green bottles of Amarit Beer stood on our table while warm, pretty Thai girls sat on our laps purring, "How ah yoooou? ... what you naaame? ... you buy me drink?"


Their 'drink' would be a small glass of Coca Cola, costing four times more than a bottle of beer, and three-quarters of that would go to the bar. "Maybe later…" They knew that meant no, "Ohhh, may-bee lay-taaah ... may-bee lay-taaah...." then they would move on to another table, "How ah yoooou ...?"


When the bikini-clad bar girls were not hustling drinks, they danced to popular rock-and-roll in front of mirrors behind the bar and around brass poles scattered throughout the smoke- and chatter-filled establishment. They wore red numbered badges, pinned to their tops, and could be taken for the night, but like with the drinks, the bar took the biggest share of the money. The girls, usually in their late teens, came from all over Thailand to earn money unattainable in their own towns or villages. That night, the

owner poured free champaigne while greeting each patron, "Happeee New Yeeaah!"


Like the night-life, the beer was potent and after just a few, Dave and I rode a tuk tuk back to the hotel. The driver refused to let either of us drive. We should have asked him before leaning hard, attempting to tilt the machine onto two wheels as we entered Sukumwit Road.

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photo by: halilee