Pattaya, city of broken dreams; thousands of men arrive every month and are greeted by tens of thousands of welcoming sex workers. To many of the new arrivals it was paradise on earth, so many willing women and it was so easy to convince themselves that the money that changed hands was a small token of appreciation and not payment to prostitutes. After all the girls enjoyed themselves, welcoming being taken for meals before going to the hotel, it was just like a date but you never missed out at the end. No quick kiss goodnight and heading off with an unsatisfied erection here. And the girls were young, men in their sixties who had cast lustful surreptitious glances at girls in shopping malls at home now found themselves in bed with hard breasted, taut buttocked women in their early twenties. And the girls were cheerful and willing, they would show the guy what they enjoyed in bed and usually had no hesitation in doing what ever first timers shyly suggested.
The wowsers and do-gooders hated Pattaya. They would preach on street corners and enter the bars to talk to the girls, trying to persuade them to give up their wicked lives and accept Jesus. Few did, the bottom line was that the family needed the money at home; there was usually a child to support, the product of a village affair in their early teens with the Thai boy friend fleeing the scene as soon as responsibility reared it’s ugly head. Plus it was a fun life, raised with an easy attitude to casual sex their lives were one long party. Their peers at home worked in the rice fields, aging prematurely, worn out with child bearing and matrimonial abuse. Then there was a chance of the ultimate reward- a rich Farang husband who would take them back to their home and build a big house, there would be jobs for all, sisters cleaning, brothers gardening and Mair and Pour would be honoured with regular gifts of money until they were the envy of the village. She would achieve the most improbable position dreamed of in Thailand, a younger daughter who was the head of the family. No wonder they pranced and squealed in the street out side their bars every night attracting passing tourists in to sample their charms.
Like all paradises though, serpents lurk in the long grass for the unwary. Many tourists stayed, mesmerised by the promiscuous life style or falling in love with small brown girls less than half their age. Some could afford it and lived like potentates of old; big houses for a fraction of the cost in England or Germany, a pension of several hundred Euros a week went a long way in Thailand and there were many other expats to spend the days and evenings with. Winter was nonexistent and if it rained, as it often did, the rain was warm and cleansed and cooled the air for a few hours. However many who remained could not afford the lifestyle. Furious wives extracted large percentages of the joint assets, superannuation funds were plundered by greedy lawyers and often guilt rode on their shoulders like a fifth horseman. As the money ran out they leapt from hotel balconies into the streets below that had seemed paved in gold a short time before. Others attempted to supplement their incomes in various ways, legitimate enterprises floundered and sank in seas of Thai dishonesty and corruption and forays into the murky underworld world of Pattaya often resulted in more suicides, some managing to tie their ankles together and their hands behind their back before placing a plastic bag over their head and leaping to their death. Others died in the road from the traditional Thai execution method, a bullet fired by a motorbike passenger into the back of the head. Murders and suicides were only investigated if the police received heavy pressure from overseas but few governments or families cared about the black sheep who had thrown everything away for the sleazy joys of Pattaya.
The girls too had their problems. Alcoholism and drug abuse were rife, some hated the life and the sexual humiliation they considered came with it. Disease was their constant companion, gonorrhoea, syphilis and herpes a regular problem with the black spectre of Aides hanging constantly over them. Self mutilation was common and many girls covered their beautiful bodies in tattoos. They were preyed upon by their own kind- for Thai men Pattaya was heaven too, particularly if you could get a couple of attractive bargirls to fall in love with you. The prospect of the slim young bodies of their own countrymen was often too hard for the girls to resist. Thai men scorned condoms and spread STD’s with impunity, they preyed on the Farangs with various techniques ranging from scams to outright robbery and murder. Pattaya definitely wasn’t a game for young players.
Max and Harry selected a hotel in South Pattaya, there was no word from Louie so they decided to lay up inconspicuously until he was ready to pick them up. Max generally avoided Pattaya, he’d been there three or four times, twice with Da, the first time being her first trip out of Laos. She sat on the beach for a long time looking at the sea when they got there, then refused to get out of bed for the rest of the trip. Max was a learner then too but realising she was disappointed with the bus trip got the shuttle to Bangkok and flew back north. She threw up constantly on the way home.
The second trip was with Harry and they flew in from the Philippines. He rang Da with instructions to meet him and she arrived on the bus, disliking Harry on sight but forming an alliance with his Philipina girlfriend. Harry got off the plane with the flu and stayed in bed for most of the trip. Max escorted the girls around and spent most of the day around the large hotel pool. An incident there confirmed his thoughts about Pattaya, a group of about a dozen English lads in their twenties arrived, straight off the plane, and took to the pool early in the day. Around five in the afternoon they were brick red from sunburn, drunk and singing football songs. Max, who hadn’t seen any of them leave the pool all day, regardless of their alcohol intake, escorted his ladies back to their rooms to a despairing cry of “Hey, are you Chelsea or fucking wot?” If you wanted to get pissed and sit in a pool all day you could do it closer to England than here he thought, all that flight money spent and then sleep through the readily available crumpet every night.
“Everybody knows where you go
when the sun goes down,
they say you only live for
the lights of town”
sang Johnny Cash, lines that could have been written about both Max and Harry; good intentions discarded they showered and headed for the bars. Max had spent a few days of his wild post divorce party there on his last trip a few years previously, a party that had lasted a year and disposed of most of his financial settlement from his divorce. The girls from Walking Street and the Sois off of Beach Road would have long forgotten him but he was prepared to make new acquaintances on the strength of Harry’s money. Pattaya girls didn’t stay long in the same spot, moving from bar to bar as the fancy took them, others heading off with customers who thought they were boyfriends and settling down for a couple of years. A quick beer in the notorious Dogs Bollocks on Harry’s insistence culminated when a surely bar owner played a song mainly consisting of a the chorus, “You fat bastard” so they moved on to a lady-boy bar across the road. Harry liked these bars, Max remembered a night in Nana Plaza when he had half the bar stripped to the waist along with his Philipina girl friend, resplendent with a recent Australian boob job, and Harry with a surgically enhanced male tit in each hand crying, “Max, have a feel of these, they’re just like real ones!” Glory days.
They moved down the street after a few drinks to one of the many Italian restaurants, ordering minestrone and freshly baked bread, followed by the pasta of the day- Spaghetti Marinara, fresh seafood in a creamy garlic sauce with more crusty bread. Max ordered red wine by the glass but Harry was back on Sprite and ice. Wiping his plate he looked up to see Louie enter the restaurant with two large men following. Fucking Russians, and not nice ones either.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union some of the former citizens with any money began to avail themselves of the delights of world travel. A few of the men graduated to Thailand and took back stories of the tens of thousands of women in places like Bangkok and Pattaya who were fleecing the tourists of millions and were almost totally unorganised. These stories reached the ears of the flourishing organised crime bosses who were busily running the docile Eastern European girls into the western world and their greedy eyes turned eastward. These men had run Russia in the past, a few were ex-politicians but the majority were former secret policemen. They came from the ranks of the KGB and military intelligence and had used their brutal talents to set up a crime network that was starting to make the Mafia look small time. A squad was set up and sent to Thailand where they were instructed to recruit local criminals to do the legwork and get the girls organised. The Russians would then scoop the cream off the top of the lucrative industry. Little difficulty was expected, the smiling, gentle Thais would be easy meat for the Cold War veterans, a few executions and maimings would bring them into line and then the good times would commence.
It soon became apparent that the Thais were not as obliging as the Russians had expected. The girls had no ties to the bars and their families were in some unpronounceable village and were virtually untraceable. Their names were impossible, and the first hint of a threat would put them on the next bus south to Hat Yai or north to Chiang Mai. The business was the same and there was always someone there from the village next to home, or someone’s cousin to show you around. The Thai criminals were even less obliging, first they supplied unreliable translators and promised assistance that never eventuated. When the Russians got nasty they reacted with a ferocity that left even these veteran executioners stunned. Russian dead were found in the streets on a daily basis, others just disappeared- legend had it that the ringleader was taken twenty kilometres out to sea off Pattaya in a tour boat and thrown over the side by Thai policemen. Pleading that he couldn’t swim that far back to land he was informed that he misunderstood, he was being deported and had to swim in the other direction, several hundred kilometres to Vietnam or Cambodia.
Badly hurt the Russians began changing their tactics, fire bombing the Thai owned bars at night and retreating to secured apartments during the day, the war of attrition finally ending in a wary truce with the new comers getting concessions in certain areas and being allowed to bring European and Siberian girls in to service the tourists who didn’t fancy the small brown women.
Louie let out a cry of joy when he saw Max, hugging him and planting a kiss on his cheek; like Jerry the Finn he thought that Max was as hard a man as himself. This happy misapprehension came about a decade before when Max was on remand in the old Adelaide Watch House police cells when Louie witnessed a Greek weight lifter running along the cell block corridor to explain to Max who ran the floor at the same time that worthy gentleman opened a steel barred cell door. The resulting fractured skull kept the Greek rapist out of court for several years finally having him declared unfit to stand trial. The totally undeserved reputation kept Max in free beer in the less reputable pubs for quite a while afterwards.
Barely acknowledging Harry, the bosses and officers were a necessary evil while the real men did the work, he introduced Max to the Russians. “Meet Mick and Hans” he said, “We were in Yugoslavia together after Tito died”. Mick and Hans? “Don’t worry about that, we all have new names now, come we drink, my friends’ bar is most exclusive. Many young girls and real Vodka, not the American shit.” They followed the Russian thugs down the street, moving along several minor sois before arriving at a bar who’s clientele looked like arraignment day in the Hague War Crimes Court. Harry looked at his watch and Louie beckoned over a couple of flaxen haired Moldavian girls who had possibly lifted weights for the USSR in the great steroid days. A ducking and weaving Harry was quickly escorted back to the bar by these ladies both at least six inches taller than him and placed on a bar stool between them. Max knew there would be no business discussed that night so settled down to drink and check out the scene. Vodka was brought along with a platter of smoked sausage and ham and another of pickled fish. Icy cold the spirit was obviously straight from the freezer and he acknowledged the toast to friendship and tipped the freezing burning liquid down his throat. A slice of ham followed and he indicated to the barmaid to bring glasses of water. Louie order beers all round as well and then crossed the room to commandeer the pool table. Scarred veterans of a dozen small wars and drug conflicts gave way in respect, here were Louie the Legbreaker and Mad Max who had killed the Greek who had been disrespectful. (The story had improved, like good wine, with age). Pool was played with little regard to the result and women and old times discussed. Louie had grown dope and collected bad debts, in both careers the business skills of Australia’s southern European community had left him with little profit to show, finally turning to door work in nightclubs for the easy women and the ample opportunities to teach loud mouth punks a little respect. Glory days.
Leaning on his cue stick, the game forgotten Louie placed an affectionate arm around Max’s shoulders. When this nonsense with Harry was finished he had men’s work for him; the Americans were looking for security contractors for Iraq. Age was not an issue as long as they could fight and were not afraid of the sight of a little blood. More than a hundred thousand US a year was offered per man, more for supervisors. Money for teaching a few Muslims respect, he would have done it for nothing as he had shown the Fascists during the Balkan wars and his father had taught the German Nazis before him. Max was unsure about Louie’s politics suspecting that he had changed sides when ever it was expedient. The big Yugoslav poked Max’s stomach in a friendly manner, when they were ready there would be a months hard training at a former Khmer Rouge camp picked out in Cambodia. They would run everyday, no booze or women and get themselves into shape. They would practice with the new weapons and take to Iraq a platoon that was a force to be reckoned with. Max tried to make enthusiastic noises, his experience with firearms was limited to slaughtering a few rabbits with a .22 as a teenager. He hadn’t avoided Vietnam but it had not come his way, the birthday marbles dropping either side of his.
Deciding to leave Harry to his fate Max gave Louie a friendly punch on the shoulder and said he was keeping some ladies waiting, it was well after midnight by this stage and the Russians were arguing loudly with a group who looked like Poles. Leaving a protesting Louie who was too drunk to get off his barstool by this stage he hit the street, walking back to Beach Road where the action was really at it’s peak. Freelance prostitutes, most of them male, clutched at him as he walked by. Laughing them off and making sure that no hands strayed to his pockets he finally reached the safety of Walking Street where safely organised sex was available at nearly every door. The bass of a hundred amplifiers pounded his ears and the shrill cries of door girls rang over the top of the noise. Touts plucked at his sleeve, girls at his groin and finally he entered Regina’s, one of Asia’s great nightclubs. Naked girls danced on every table; on the stage that divided the floor fifty girls danced, who for the sake of a couple of inches in height and a different economic background could have been in demand as models and movie stars anywhere else in the world. Some only wore garters in which eager hands pushed one hundred baht notes, others, baby faced, were clad in short high school tunics, minus knickers. Stern girls in leather underwear lifted proud chins in disdain. Something for every one here thought Max; the drooling customer’s eyes would really fall out if they saw the bars where the rich Thais go, only the second team here. Well, the third, second best worked the Jap bars in Bangkok; rule of four reigned there, four inches, four minutes and four thousand baht. Who would want to prop up a drunk hundred kilogram German for an hour here when you could get the easy life there?
Max felt like sex, approaching sixty he fervently believed that if you went with out too long at his age it was the beginning of the end. He had pulled his dick regularly in Australia and saved the spare dollars for a regular visit to an Asian brothel. Terrible to forget the touch of warm brown skin. He remembered laying in bed with a Thai girl once while the Madam pounded on the door, crying that his time was up. Amazed that he could speak Thai and knew her home town of Surat Thani the girl had laughed and begged him to meet her after work. Her sister’s marriage was breaking up in Queensland and Max was just the guy to settle down with her, they would head off tomorrow. There was just a small matter of the Vietnamese brothel owners wanting back the weekends takings, the three thousand dollars she had done at the casino on the way to the bank for them.
It was always surprising how once they realised you were from home that they tried really hard for a genuine orgasm; Max recognised the difference between the natural convulsions of the vaginal walls over the false sighs, pussy clenching and head thrashing. Sometimes money wasn’t everything he thought, considering the greed factor again. He left and finally settled for a beer bar, pounding music made conversation unnecessary and a round of drinks for three or four girls settled things down so he could watch the street. He had had enough surprises for that night. “Where was he from?” the girls asked, eyeing him dubiously, he was too easy with the surroundings for just of the plane. “How long was he here for?” Max just smiled, letting them sweat a little, then one spotted the Buddha on the string around his neck and the pressure was off. He beckoned to one of the older girls, his back and neck were stiff from the car ride and the lack of sleep. He had driven several hundred kilometres while Harry and the Thai driver slept. A deal negotiated they headed for the hotel, Max comfortable that the drugs were safely stashed in the baggage store in case a curious Louie and his Russian mates had decided to check the room out.
No way were they getting any of that.
© Julian. All rights reserved by the author.