Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Veni, Vidi, no Vici

A view of Patpong at sunsetImage via Wikipedia
As I write this I am seated on a patio, looking out at Sukumwit Road, home to the notorious Bangkok sex trade. I really did not want to come here, but it is sort of like going to Paris and not looking at The Eiffel Tower.

While explaining to the Tuk Tuk driver that I wanted to come here, I suddenly feel like a fourteen year old kid, trying to buy a Penthouse from the drug store.

"You want girl?", he asks. "You should go to Patpong, much better. I try to explain that I am going to look, not buy, and from what I've been told, Patpong is a place where I could buy the services of an underage girl. He is forceful, but I am resolute. I want to go to Sukumwit, not Patpong.

I don't go to strip clubs in Toronto, nor do I avail myself of the services of prostitutes at home, so why would I do it here?

I am no prude, and if two consenting adults care to make a business arrangement among themselves, then that is their business. It is simply not my cup of tea.

As I walk the sidestreets of Sukumwit, I am deluged by touts, entreating me to take a massage, or come in for a drink. The girls are hanging out front, like so many ducks in a Chinese restaurant window.

All of this makes me feel sad. Sad that these decent people are reduced to this, and even sadder that there is no shortage of customers.

I find a faux Irish bar, devoid of bargirls, and begin bearing witness. I'm pretty sure that my lack of patronage will not be missed, as an endless stream of punters walk past my patio perch.

Gentlemen, you may include me out, ladies please accept my bow.