Halal Muslim Beer in an Arabic Discoteque in Thailand?

Bangkok Travel Blog

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Silom in front of Robinson's Department store

In the city of (str)angels, I've been working far more than playing. Work somehow has eaten up my entire time but I've become quite adept at the nuances of Bangkok. Having hotel hopped around, I finally found room at the Grace Hotel for 1400 Baht. Sure the other places were half the price but I can easily justify it because they have a CLEAN BATHTUB---ahhh, to soak in a CLEAN BATHTUB and relaxxxxx! There�s nothing like it! Wall to wall carpet, everything was CLEAN and it could not be any more secure! I was on the 7th of something like 14 floors. I liked my new home! This place is completely safe with double security (you cannot enter or exit any part of the hotel without being checked twice for identity and necessity of being where you are- all of this is seamless, though and not intrusive in the slightest.

Silom in front of Robinson's Department store
After being in some of the nastiest places, left so-so places, there's nothing in the world like wall to wall carpet, an air conditioned room with dry air (for some reason the a/c in some of these places feels either frigid or stuffy-humid; nothing in between, each with their own odor or dirt problem). I recommend your first night at the Grace hotel to compare other hotels to it (I bet you'd return).

This place is in the Arabic quarter I think on Soi 4. I have no issue with Muslims, Arabs (our government does but I donâ��t). Since making the connections with everyone and getting business stuff straightened out, they've been treating me out to eat at some of their favorite Arabic places to eat (Thailand eating Arabic food- who'd a thought?).  OK, warning- I don't mean to offend so in general, I tend to just call life as I see it not meaning to hurt or degrade anyone (come on, I'm an American-the trouble making hypocrites from the armpit of the world)!

After checking in, finishing my bath, I joined my business friends downstairs. OK, so in the US, the Muslims are strict- no drinking, dancing or smoking and all eat Halal food (kosher equivalent). No variations at all (I've never seen a Muslim drink or smoke-ever). We go into the lower part of the grand lobby where I'm staying and wind down to the lower lobby where it sounds like a camel trainer singing on crack!  It was an Arabic disco! We walk in, pay a small cover with a free drink coupon (I'm a tea toter) given and get our hands stamped--down the shiny black hallway with purple reflections and strobes. Inside, my friends light up cigarettes and pop a few beers. I begin laughing (they wear white robes-superduper Islamic, taking breaks for praying in the back room of their store). I ask them, "Hey, is this Muslim brand beer with Halal cigarettes? They almost fell out of their chairs laughing off and on for about a half hour! (I always thought Muslims were crazy and would practically kill another of their kind if caught with such vices). What do I know? An un-cultured, sheltered American pigdog (isn't that what Germans call us)  :o) We had the best time and my stomach is sore from laughing so much-poking fun of each other any chance possible. I was watching a few people, thinking of dancing but didnâ��t have the nerve. I was watching the Uzbek women laugh with their friends much of the evening taking in this culture clash menagerie.

�The music is going with anice sound system (Bangkok has some of the most over the top places if you know where to look). This place is medum sized (I'm sure you Europeans have far better Discos-but by American standards, this was great). This place was fascinating while strange and surreal walking room-only packed with people�wall to wall looking like a United Nations dancefest. The subwoofers are thumping so my chest is going Boom, Boom- and the most exotic, strange music I've heard--it sounded to me like a call to prayer in a song. "Lallaaahaaalajiiiihamilllahoooaaaaaaa lllallaaachammadilshamankilaaaaaaa" and everyone there would be shouting "Ya'aal'chama'kkshiknabhulanaaaaayaaaaaa" then do that crazy yelling (sounds like the native americans do for their war call sounding like "LiiiLLIIILIIILIIILIIIII" (You know, the noise they make before beheading an American or burning and effigy of our president) OK, to be honest, that Llilililili sound had me shaken for a second! LOL!

The tunes were jamming the most musical voice inflections in  the songs-it was pretty cool surreal. Picture these dudes in Jesus suits dancing with a bunch of goth looking girls from Uzbekistan-jewels in their jet black hair and huge earrings, studded clothes, some with beads here and there, some wearing glittered, heavy eye liner that sparkled more than I've seen before-everyone so shiny and---exotic. It was completely hilarious, entrancing, fun and I had a great time. Every single friggin Islamic country is here- some with sheik head dresses, other wearing picnic tablecloths on their heads, others with the desert turbine, others dressed like anyone else, some in Jesus suits, some women wearing the goblin sheets floating around like ghosts, and the Russian contingent-pretty normal looking and whatever--Istan (Afghan, Uzbek, Turkmen, Kajik, etc) contingent jet black hair all of them looking identical to Elvira that just got out of a goth rock show! Great fun! And this was what I was afterâ��something completely different than my country!

After a couple hours, my friends are tired and we get ready to go take a cab. I couldn't help but staring at this one beautiful woman out of the corner of my eye. I figured Iâ��d at least speak with her maybe tomorrow if sheâ��s still here to see if sheâ��s single or would like to go out for a bite to eat. I admit my soul being in a bruised state so I was not my normal self. I keep thinking of getting the nerve to speak to her (with a side thought of holding hands walking down the beach in some exotic location completely in love, gently touching her cheek as we touch lipsâ�¦the waves crashing beside us as I look into her eyes , kids running around) OH! back to reality (sorry about that)!  So my buddies see me (trying not to) stare at this woman and they grab my arm and we walk up to her! I tried to tell them I wasnâ��t in the mood (my radar was telling me somethingâ�¦) they say, to her Hello, and then they start speaking gibberish. I have no clue what they're saying, so I hold out my hand to her and politely introduce myself. Iâ��m looking into her eyes and sheâ��s stunning. I kept thinking if life was different and I skipped a year ahead again, maybeâ�¦.maybeâ�¦..    So she's talking to the other guys while making small talk in English with me. Then I heard numbers and money being discussed. I suddenly had the overwhelming feeling my little fantasy was going awry. OK I admit I'm Naive only comparing Ameican life (often missing the unimaginable in front of my nose, with an over optimistic view at times). I suddenly realize these guys are trying to purchase this woman for me! I said, "Wait, wait, wait...!" I felt like apologizing to this beautiful woman (not overly dressed; just casual black jeans and a sparkly topâ��she looked like a tourist!).....I wanted to apologize for my friends mistaking she was a "lady of the night" but I realized by her reaction that SHE WAS! I tried not to offend her while politely declining their offer (my mind spinning thinking what just happened? My future â��true loveâ�� turned into a hooker)? â�¦The humanity! LOL! I JUST realized why all these women were hereâ��I JUST lost another piece of naivety! I felt let downâ�¦ended up speaking to her daily in the lobby over tea but declined any â��businessâ�� transactions. This world is so tainted (or was I sheltered)?. Life is full of let downs and this was one of themâ�¦.but at least you understand how some guyâ��s minds work!  So, yet again, nothing is as it seems in Thailand (either that or I'm incredibly naive or both)!

This is one of the moments I wish I had a nice soul mate, confidante and love by my side to enjoy the foods, the people and not some twisted purchased girlfriend. I guess that's a common thread with other sole travelers--wanting companionship, a snuggle-buddy and someone to joke with and laugh with. I'm beat. Time to go to my comparatively posh hotel room for another warm bath... :o) I admit I have a pit in my stomach about this human sales thing.

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Silom in front of Robinsons Depar…
Silom in front of Robinson's Depa…
Silom in front of Robinsons Depar…
Silom in front of Robinson's Depa…
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photo by: Deats