Flashback: October 1992. Arrive from SFO, first time in Thailand, freshen up at the Tower Inn on Silom Road and I'm ready for action. A 15 minute walk to Patpong, I have no problem finding it, but there's nothing happening. It's too early!
Here's how the scene looks like today
Order some dinner and a few margaritas at Patty's Fiesta and snapped this one standing in front of the restaurant at the mouth of Patpong 1.
The food was awful, but Patty's is still around, and so is the MacDonalds across the street
When beer bars opened I ordered a bottle of Kloster, which I preferred over Singha, the only other option. There were a couple girls sitting at the bar, so thought I'd 'test the water' and buy one a drink. Anxious about what would happen, her English skills left much to be desired so conversation was difficult, but I was truly amazed when she reached down, grabbed by crotch and started rubbing my dick. "You like?", she asked. I had heard the stories but I couldn't believe it, this never happened at home.
I visited some GoGos and eventually King's Castle I. It looked exactly as it does today, less some cigarette burns in the upholstery. There were some very attractive girls and I was ready for my first bar fine. One of the best lookers just happened to sit next to me, maybe not so coincidently, so I bought her a drink. Her name was Yu, she was 24, from up north "near Lao".
The bar fine was 335 baht. I'd done research and knew I had to pay the girl separately, but had no idea how much to offer. There were no online forums like this in 1992, I was in the dark. Frommes and Lonely Planet didn't have this kind of information. "How much you gib me?", she asked. I thought I would start with a low initial offer and let her bargain me up, so I said 500 baht, less than I'd offer a crack whore in The Mission. She was so pretty, I feared she might slap my face for insulting her, but all she said was "OK", and we were off in a taxi. Fare had to be negotiated because there were no meters.
The next day I did some touristy stuff, visited the Royal Palace, Chinatown, and took a boat up River City. With no roads, suddenly I could breathe again. It's difficult to describe just how bad the air quality was back then.
In the evening, I went back to Patpong and met Nuen.
The next day I visited Wat Sasket since I'd read about it in some guide book. Climbing to the top was quite exhausting, and suddenly I realized there weren't other farangs around. On the way back down, I encountered a twelve year old kid. I looked down at him through my Jake & Elwood sunglasses and I'll never forget how his eyes lit up. He turned to his friends and said "Arnold Swartzenag", and they were all very excited. My Tuk-Tuk driver laughed, "He think you movie star."
I had the driver drop me at Soi Cowboy. Nana Plaza was just restaurants then, but I had read about how Soi Cowboy was named after a black ex-serviceman from Wyoming, the late T.G. "Cowboy" Edwards. Bars weren't open in the late afternoon, and as I was walking through the soi, I noticed a sign on one of the bars that read:
Crazy Perverts Party Here
If you're easily shocked or offended
KEEP THE FUCK OUT!!!
Took this shot near soi 23. Note Moonshine Joint and Suzy Wongs (girl in red dress).
This is today.
I had dinner at a fast food restaurant called Tikkiburger, an extremely spicy potato patty, like nothing I'd ever tasted, and I was blowing fire like a dragon.
I took this snap of the Asoke Intersection, down Sukhumvit towards Nana. You can see Times Square of the left and the Westin on the right. The Sheraton Grade would be built 4 years later and the Seafood Market ("If it swims we have it") has since moved to soi 24.
Can't see much from that same pedestrian overpass today.
I hadn't expected Halloween would be observed, the King's Group was having a big shindig back on Patpong.
I returned to Kings Castle I. Yu had called my hotel just a half-hour after she left, inviting me back to her bar. Guess I overpaid, ruining it for all punters henceforth. But Yu wasn't there and I met another girl that had lived in Germany a year and could speak very good English. She asked me where I was from. "San Francisco", I said. "Aren't there a lot of faggots there?", she asked. You travel half way around the world just to discover The City isn't famous for Rice A-Roni.
The next day I picked up the silk suits I'd ordered from the tailor at the Siam Shopping Center and wore one to Patpong. I had girls crawling all over me, just as I wanted. There were more girls but I've lost the film, was lucky to find this. I bought a cheap film scanner last week and this is the first time I've had these in digital form.
Here are some shots from Silom Road, and from the roof of the Tower Inn.
And that's the way it was, 21 years ago. Hope you've enjoyed reading as much as I've enjoyed reminiscing. Cheers.