Weekly report from Pattaya, Nov. 14, 1999
Weekly reports on Pattaya activities
Nov 14, 1999
- Anniversary Party for BBB December 6; Miss Krartong Contest Nov. 21
- Splash Bar’s Opening is Definite — Dec. 11
- Happyness Pub Scene of Non-Happpiness; Partners Split up Assets
- Mike Williams, “Welcome to My Thailand” site author, visits
- City Boys A Go Go Bar Has Special Show Monday Night
- Octopus Boys Club Offers “Man of Octopus” Contest Nov. 21
- Top Man Advertises as “Number One Bar in Sunee Plaza”
- New Concept in Bars Planned for Bar in Pattaya “Soon”
- New Construction in Gay Beach Area is Public Toilet: Report
- Sunday Parties in Pattaya — Samsara Lifestyle
- Bangkok Gay Festival and Parade Report
- RICE — Magazine on Asian Men and those who like them
- Ambiance Group Planning Video on Various Shows at its venues
- Crazy Pub’s Website Up and Running
- Immigration Now Running Additional Investigations on Foreigners
- Tourist Site of the Week: Nong Nooch
ANNIVERSARY PARTY FOR BBB ON DECEMBER 6; “MISS KRARTONG CONTEST” ON NOVEMBER 21
BoyzBoyzBoyz is planning an anniversary party (no indication of which anniversary, but it has been at least a little more than 10 years, as best we can determine). The party will include special effects out in the street ….probably the effects I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. In addition, they are now circulating a flyer about their special “Miss Krartong Contest” (sic), apparently in recognition of Loy Krathong Day Nov. 22, the date on which Thais send small boats adrift into waterways (pools will do, when no natural waterway is available) for good luck. The “Miss Krartong Contest” will include a special program from 11 p.m., and the photo on the ad leaves no doubt they are talking about drag. Incidentally, their website is operating, at least in part, with some pretty “flashy” effects — lightning strikes, etc. It is at www.boyzboyzboyz.com No specific e-mail address; I am advised that one should use Ambiance Hotel’s e-mail address to contact BBB. firstname.lastname@example.org
SPLASH BAR’S OPENING IS NOW DEFINITE: DECEMBER 11
I am advised that it is now definite that Splash Bar will have its grand opening on December 11, a Saturday night, and that an announcement to that effect should be on their website (www.splash-pattaya.com) soon. The site is still “under construction” as I write this. Presumably the opening will be with some kind of a big “bash”, and, coming at the start of the busiest season of the year in Pattaya, it should be a welcome addition to the Boyztown area … it certainly has been “long awaited.”
HAPPYNESS PUB SCENE OF NON-HAPPINESS; PARTNERS SPLIT UP ASSETS
Officers of the Pattaya police presided over an impromptu “splitting up” of the partnership that was running Happyness Pub this week. Those observers “on the scene” advised that the police had been called in to keep the peace, and to oversee a fair “splitting up” of the various assets of the bar, as the partners ceased being partners. Each had a separate pick up truck to take that partner’s share of the assets. “one bottle here, one bottle there” as one observer remarked. The bar appears to be at least temporarily closed. We will keep an eye open and report on further developments. The small go-go bar area on the second floor had been a familiar and pleasant stop for many patrons who just enjoyed a peaceful, laid-back style go-go bar, usually with just six to eight go go dancers and a two or three man staff serving the customers. The downstairs area had been a casual drinking area open to the street, where one could watch all the goings-on on Pattayaland Soi 3.
MIKE WILLIAMS, “WELCOME TO MY THAILAND” SITE AUTHOR, VISITS
Mike Williams of Texas arrived Saturday, and stayed at Ambiance Hotel. He was accompanied to Pattaya by his friend, Paul, an owner of TopMan Bar in Bangkok, for whom Mike has a page on his own web pages, serving as the official “TopMan” of Bangkok page. Mike emphasizes that the Bangkok bar has no relationship to the TopMan Nightclub in Pattaya, and the web site contains a disclaimer of any such ties. The web site has recently changed its URL to www.travel.to/chaidee , “Welcome to My Thailand“. Mike advises that, because he found the greatly changed “Khun” bar, now “Khun Sweet Cigar”, in Bangkok, so fascinating, he is going to add a page on that bar to his site, as well, which will also include fully dressed photos of many of the great looking young men on the staff at Khun Sweet Cigar. (Maybe even of the fabulous young manager?)
CITY BOYS A GO GO BAR HAS SPECIAL SHOW MONDAY NIGHT
In a flyer indicating “To mark a special occasion we invite you to join with us as we celebrate His Majesty’s 72nd Birthday with a special show to be held tomorrow (Monday, 15th November). ” The flyer continues, “At l1:30 p.m. we will be presenting a spectacular dance show featuring traditional dancing from North and South Thailand, Isaan and Bangkok, with the dancers attired in traditional Thai costumes for each of the areas. From 9 to 11 p.m. we will be serving food (free to everybody).” They also offer a special drawing at midnight with one ticket for each drink purchased.
OCTOPUS BOYS CLUB OFFERS “MAN OF OCTOPUS” CONTEST NOV. 21
Octopus Boys Club, the beautiful facility on Pratumnak Road just past the Third Road overpass with its glass view of the guys swimming in a pool located on the floor above, is inviting guests to join them for their “Man of Octopus” contest next Sunday night, from 9 p.m. till late, “WITH 40,000 Bht PRICE (presumably prize) MONEY”. I am advised that they are also planning to open up the area on the other side of the pool, and the downstairs level, for additional seating. It is possible that by now they have also reopened access to the upper level, where customers could sit around the pool and watch the boys swim, but it had been closed off (with a curtain) when last I visited there. It would sure be great to see some kind of a successful operation going out there, with such beautiful facilities that seem to be so grossly underused and wasted.
TOP MAN ADVERTISES AS “NUMBER ONE BAR IN SUNEE PLAZA”
In a card passed out at Jomtien over the weekend, Top Man Nightclub & Male Go Go Bar is now advertising itself as “Number One Bar in Sunee Plaza.” The bar, including one partner who had been an owner of the Cockpit Bar in the BoyzTown area prior to its closing almost two years ago, is in a beautiful new building, and has a very nice staff and welcomes visitors warmly. It offers “A new experience.” and “The Club with a difference!” It is located at the corner of Soi V.C. and Sunee Plaza.
NEW CONCEPT IN BARS PLANNED FOR BAR IN PATTAYA “SOON”
In a message from the guy setting up a new bar in Pattaya, I am advised that a bar will open “soon” with an entirely different concept than any previously used by any bar in Thailand, and none I am aware of except perhaps in the “South of Market” area of San Francisco of the early 1980s. The concept has been explained, and its proposed name given, and its location confirmed, but I am not yet at liberty to reveal more details about that. However, it seems almost certain the new bar, with the totally new concept (for Thailand, at least), will be open well before the Christmas–New Year’s–“Millenium” period, and should be a significant new drawing card for bars in that particular area. I think you will find the concept fascinating when it is revealed, and it seems to offer incredible possibilities for “interplay” between the dancers and other staff and the customers, with highly distinctive costumes assured.
NEW CONSTRUCTION IN GAY BEACH AREA IS PUBLIC TOILET: REPORT
With speculation rife as to the purpose of the construction in the middle of the driving area in the vicinity of the “gay beach” area at Jomtien Beach, it is now reported that the structure now being built will indeed be a public toilet, badly needed in the entire Jomtien Beach area. With rising complaints getting publicity in the local press about men urinating publicly along the new sidewalk, it appears that a toilet facility of some fairly limited size, but still “something”, will be opened, perhaps by late December. Here’s hoping it will set the standard for other public toilets elsewhere in the Pattaya area.
On a slightly different note, the City has now installed distinctive style streetlights along the sidewalk at Jomtien Beach, running from the entrance off Jomtien Beach Road to the Water Park some distance beyond the gay beach area. If those prove to be an attraction, maybe some of the concessionaires might want to extend their hours into the evenings, on special occasions. (Some already have done so in the past, when there is sufficient moonlight or other natural lighting available, but the street lights along the walkway could be an additional incentive.)
SUNDAY PARTIES IN PATTAYA –REPORT FROM DRAGONCASTLE-ASIA
“Pattaya – Nov 4 – This beachside resort town sees a new series of Sunday parties to be held at the Samsara Restaurant on Beach Road corner of Soi Post Office. The first ‘Wild Pink Night’ kicks off on Sunday Nov 7 at 9pm with a promise of strippers, prizes for wild costumes, shows and games. There’s a cheap pre-party dinner at 7pm and 20% discount on drinks. Get your drag, leather, g-strings and boas out and troll down to Samsara for a crazy night out ! Other parties are planned for Nov 28, Dec 19, Jan 16 & Feb 20. Don’t miss them ! ” Report from www.dragoncastle.net
Meantime, in addition to the Pink Nights Parties described above and mentioned in last week’s columns, Samsara is again offering its “WILD LADIES NIGHTS” every Wednesday from 9 p.m. “Wild Ladies Specials” will include free welcome shooters, free snacks, all cocktails on the basis of buy one, get one free; 50% discount on bottles of Johnnie Walker Black Label for Wild Ladies only, live dance music from 10:30 p.m., MISS WILD LADY contest with prizes, special dance and club music till late at night, and surprise acts. “Anything goes at Samsara Lifestyle”
Meantime, I have received confirmation from Richard, one of the owners of Samsara Lifestyle, that the information published last week was basically correct; gay and lesbian friendly, but not exclusively gay or lesbian. I did stop by one afternoon, and found the place very pleasant, well designed, and the food very nice and the service quick and friendly. At that time of the day, there was no indication of any gay or lesbian “presence” except the inclusion of the “Wild Ladies Night” brochure with my change when I paid my bill. Samsara apparently only part-time Lesbian / Gay special events only; otherwise, basically straight.
Proprietor Richard acknowledges that it is a “gay friendly” place, where everyone is welcome, and where “anything goes@Samsara Lifestyle”. He writes:
“Your information about Samsara has been quite accurate.
“We are not a real gay place, but certainly gay friendly. We encourage to welcome a mixed crowd, as ‘anything goes at Samsara’ ” .
BANGKOK GAY FESTIVAL GAYS SWAMP CITY CENTER FOR PARADE
Rather than copy the extensive coverage of Bangkok Gay Festival and Parade information carried on the Bangkok Gay Festival pages, I copy here DRAGONCASTLE – ASIA’s report on the event:
Bangkok – Oct 31 – Thousands of gay men, hundreds in drag or other outrageous costumes, brought traffic in central Bangkok to a standstill as the first ever Bangkok Gay Festival Parade swept through the streets. The biggest ever event of its kind in Asia, the parade featured colorful floats and hundreds of marchers from gay bars and clubs, as well as contingents from Hong Kong and Taiwan and the participation of a number of local ‘straight’ establishments. Notable by their absence from the parade was one of Bangkok’s most popular gay pubs, Telephone. The partying later filled Silom to overflowing and went on well into the small hours at Factory and other discos. Lots of pictures of the parade can be found on our egroup site . www.dragoncastle.net “
End of Dragoncastle-Asia’s report on the festival and parade.
For another thorough report on the Bangkok Gay Festival and Parade, see the Pink Page for November, www.geocities.com/WestHollywood/5752/
RICE! A BOOK ON ASIAN MEN AND THOSE WHO LIKE THEM
Bangkok – Oct 22 – The first limited edition of “Rice“, the gay Asian lifestyle magazine, is now available from various outlets around Bangkok. This first edition is intended as a collectors item and, once sold out, no further copies of the first edition will be available. So get your copy from Balcony, Obelisks, V Club or the news stands on Suriwong Road before they’re gone. Check out their web site at www.riceasia.com The next edition is likely to appear around February 2000. “Rice” can also be found in small quantities in Singapore, Canada and the USA.”
The foregoing report is from Dragoncastle-Asia, www.dragoncastle.net
I checked out the Rice site, and find that it appears to be a high quality magazine with little or no nudity, but apparently very nice photography. It may be something of the style of OG Magazine (Oriental Guys), which has been around for many years, but continues to produce on a highly irregular schedule. I didn’t find any subscription information or prices on the Rice website, but assume had I looked more closely, it might have been there. I would like to see an issue on a newsstand before I subscribed, but apparently they are available only in very select and limited locations.
AMBIANCE GROUP PLANNING VIDEO ON VARIOUS SHOWS AT ITS VENUES, BBB, THROB, SPLASH! SHOULD BE GREAT SELLER.
The Ambiance Group, which runs the Ambiance Hotel and the BoyzBoyzBoyz, Throb and Splash Bars, and The Body Club fitness center, is planning to produce and offer for sale a video on the various shows at BBB, Throb and Splash. The video, not yet fully produced, will apparently be offered for sale next year. Knowing how much I was struck by a totally non-professional video taken by George at the original Memory Bar almost ten years ago now, I would think the market for such a professionally produced video could be quite substantial, and would add greatly to publicizing the Pattaya area. More on this as information becomes available.
CRAZY PUB’S WEBSITE IS NOW UP AND RUNNING! NICE SITE.
The Crazy Pub is now “on line” with its own website, www.khsnet.com/crazypub It is well worth checking out. It has a few pictures of the club scene and some outside views of the staff in front of the facility. Incidentally, Peter of Crazy Pub has advised that we have been using an old, long discontinued phone number for Crazy Pub. Their correct phone number is 713-190; their website is as stated above, and their e-mail address is email@example.com (I also notified Floating Lotus Communications Co., publisher of the book, The Men of Thailand, 7th Edition, and they have kindly acknowledged the new number and will include it in their on line additions/corrections to the book, and in any future book.)
IMMIGRATION NOW RUNNING ADDITIONAL INVESTIGATIONS OF ALL FOREIGNERS STAYING MORE THAN NINETY DAYS?
A friend wrote: “I found the following article at www.thaivisa.com If this action is directed at the criminal element…GREAT. But it sounds like it could become another hassle for expats and longtime tourists.
“PHUKET: In a move reminiscent of the darker passages of a Kafka novel, Immigration Police in the province are visiting foreignersí homes and demanding to see passports and visas.
“They say they plan to check up on every foreignerís residential and work address every 90 days. The visits, which have raised the specter of a police state, have outraged a number of foreigners who have received the knock on the door. “One foreigner in Kathu, who asked to remain anonymous, said, “It was frightening, especially for my [Thai] wife, when they knocked on my door. “They wanted me to give them copies of my passport in color ñ not black and white, color! ñ plus a color photo. Can you imagine asking for this from a person who already has a visa? “Itís clearly a step backwardsÖ hopeless for a country which says it wants foreign investment.”
“An American entrepreneur who brought 24 million baht into the country to start a business several years ago, agreed. “Had I known then what I know nowÖ the collapse of the banking system, the determination of interest rates based on ëThai/non-ThaiíÖ the silliness over visasÖ the call to raise work permit renewal fees to 10,000 baht a timeÖ police knocking on my doorÖ no, I never would have invested here,” he said.
“Another long term foreign resident, a German, observed, “The best thing to do is to keep a low profile. Donít get a long-term visa. Donít invest and donít work! Just behave yourself and live quietly on a tourist visa. That way, youíre out of the system and the police wonít come knocking on your door.”
“Pol Col Phirojana Paresakul, Superintendent of Phuket Immigration, told the Gazette that the visits are part of a national drive to “inspect” foreign residents in order to update information on aliens and to track down foreign criminals. The number of crimes caused by foreigners in Thailand has increased, he said, and has raised concerns about people staying illegally on the island.
“We donít want Phuket to end up like Pattaya, with large gangs of foreign criminals,” he explained.
” ‘Three Immigration Police officers from the Phuket Town office are now based in Patong and will be inspecting all foreigners in their homes or in their workplaces ñoffices, hotels, restaurants, shops, etc. We decided to start in Kathu District because the majority of aliens are registered as living there, and many foreign criminals are reported in Patong,’ said Pol Col Phirojana.
“The officers have instructions to be in uniform at all times when visiting foreigners, and to present their identity cards before asking any questions.
“Asked what criteria the officers are using when they decide which homes to visit, Pol Col Phirojana said, “First, it is based on information given in the arrival cards by the foreigners themselves when they land in Phuket. He explained that if the officers found a concentration of foreigners in the same neighborhood, they would visit all of them.
” ‘In some cases we are making visits because we have been informed by foreign residents themselves about their neighborsí illegal activities, or possible illicit behavior such as drug smuggling, prostitution, etc.’ Foreign residents, he explained, will be asked to show their passport and visa, and, if they hold a non-immigrant ëBí visa, their work permit.
“They will also be required to fill in a form with the somewhat ominous title (in translation) of: “Official Report Form Regarding Those To Be Kept Under Observation”. “The form requires information on a personís aliases, distinguishing marks and scars, “character”, financial status, known associates, and “behavior/conduct”.
“Pol Col Phirojana said the form was also used to check whether a foreignerís address had changed from that given in the initial arrival card (which may have been filled out as recently as a few days prior to the knock on the door); to see what kind of business the foreigner is engaged in; and to determine whether the foreignerís work location had changed.
“Based on this information, he said, his officers will then continue to visit each foreigner every 90 days for further inspection.
“Asked why a color copy of the passport was required, he explained, ‘We need the color copies for investigation and to keep as a record of each individual. Itís hard to tell from a black and white copy whether the passport or the visas are forged. In color, the lines and printing can be examined to compare differences, especially on the visa page.’ He added that his officers would only arrest those found to be “obviously guilty”, such as those who have overstayed their visas or are working without a work permit. He stressed that every foreign resident has the right to ask for the officersí ID before presenting any documents.
“‘I look forward,’ he added, ‘to good cooperation from every foreign resident in Phuket. It is our responsibility to prevent foreigners from committing crimes and to reduce the number of people staying illegally on the island.’
” ‘Anyone who hears or knows of any illegal activity by foreigners, can report to the Immigration Office or contact me direct on 01-4720399. If you are worried that the person you are reporting may be dangerous, I can assure you that your report will be treated in the strictest confidence,’ he said.”
Frightening! This sure doesn’t sound like the Thailand we all love! There has been nothing reported on this yet in Pattaya, but if Phuket is doing it, I would suspect it must be national policy.
TOURIST SITE OF THE WEEK:
Another friend provided this article about his recent visit to Nong Nooch:
I thought I would write a little to you about my very enjoyable visit recently to Nong Nooch Gardens south of Pattaya. I arranged for a trip there through a tour company on Pattayaland Soi 1, and I was accompanied by two young friends from Bangkok.
As you know it is a short drive south to the Nong Nooch turn off, and even shorter to the property itself. The first stop is at their orchid gardens; however, this is very different from what it was only six months ago. Now there are animals at the entrance to the gardens, and one can have pictures taken with them. The first is an enormous tiger resting on a rock. They look big when they are in a cage, but when you are sitting next to them and you realize that your entire head would fit in their jaws, their size looms even larger.
There were also leopards, a chimpanzee full of tricks, gibbons, and even a small elephant wearing a skirt. You could ride the elephant, and it would stand on its hind legs for the tourists. It was like a circus, and it was quite fun. And free!
Beyond that is the entrance to the orchid gardens themselves. These are in two principal sections and would cover a lot the size of a basketball court or larger. The varieties of orchids are changed with the seasons, and they do some serious agriculture here. But the effect that the tourist sees is garlands of orchids cascading down stone faces within which a person may stand for photos. And fountains and statuary, all set just right for photos. And photos aplenty were taken. There is no charge for this orchid garden, although one pays a small amount to have a picture taken with an animal.
From there our guide took us on a walk through extensive and beautiful formal gardens: English gardens, French and Italian, and more. The gardens covered about 80 acres and had been completed only the day before, according to our guide. They looked magnificent to me. Crews of people were still working all over the area providing finishing touches. The gardens extended well beyond our goal, the auditorium in which the cultural show was to be held.
On our way we found an older building constructed of teak and in the old Thai style. It is a free museum of Nong Nooch, founder of the site. It is filled with interesting artifacts including a letter from Dr. Sun Yat Sen, founder of modern China. There is also a large picture of the widow of Nong Nooch, a lady who lives today nearby. Beyond this area are some small shops for souvenirs and beyond that are stone gardens of great size, the elephant paddock, and a new free zoo.
We entered the auditorium along with half the population of Japan and found seats in the rear where it is cool. Good advice is to not get too close to the stage because it is hot and you can’t really see it all. The program included historical sketches involving war between Burma and Thailand, dances from the various ethnic groups in the nation, and a pretty good Thai boxing match. The staging is done in a way that permits many good camera angles. It is a colorful show and my two companions assured me it is also quite accurate. Of course the Thai boxing was their favorite.
At the conclusion of the formal cultural show one then walks outside to the rear of the stage where the elephants put on a big show of their own. By my count there were over 30 elephants involved and they were of all sizes. They played soccer, chased tourists who bought bananas for them, did tricks including one which rode a motorized tricycle, chased tourists who bought bananas for them, demonstrated many of the skills the trainers had to master to work the elephants, and chased tourists who bought bananas for them. At one point tourists were invited onto the large field and told to lay down for an elephant massage. They were covered by a mat and then the pachyderm came up and rather thumped them all over with its trunk . . . particularly managing to thump some pretty sensitive areas and producing groans from the hapless tourist. Nothing worse than a smart ass elephant.
Following the formal show the tourists flooded the arena and were lifted up in the air (for a price, of course) by the elephants or they rode the elephants or they bought bananas to feed the beasts and were then chased up into the stands until they gave the elephant his due. Chasing the tourists appealed greatly to both the elephants and the tourists! All done in fun.
The formal part of the visit over, one can wander the grounds to enjoy the extensive gardens or one can visit the elephants even more or the free zoo or just enjoy a cool tea in the shade of the trees. It is a much improved site from even what it was last May, and I’d go again at the drop of a banana for an elephant.
That’s it for this week, guys