The Bar Mafia

Nestled away in dingy first floor room in the Patpong district of Bankgok you will find a peculiar institution – one with women on a stage with stripper poles and no panties.

While this may seem like a really cool ‘bottomless party’ (Harold and Kumar reference – YouTube it!), it is in fact what you think it is… a god damn ping pong show.

If you ever are in Bangkok and go to any tourist area, literally any of them, you will be approached by at least one Thai guy with a worn out, laminated piece of paper that reads ‘ping pong show pussy pussy pussy’. You usually avoid him and laugh at the kind of tourist that falls that.

But that night, we actually went looking for the guy…

Didn’t take us long; 5 steps into the main street, and we had our man. A little bargaining and we quickly arrived at a price that worked for all parties. THB 100 per person to catch the show (we were 8). He led us through what seemed like a legit night club entrance, all the way up to the first floor, which suddenly seemed nothing like a night club. The place was dimly lit, had the stripper poles and bottomless women I mentioned above, and reeked of scam. A quick glance to the table near the entrance, and who do I see? Good old Indian men enjoying the show! Woo!

Anyway.

Once we got to our table(s) – the seats were all along the perimeter of the place, so that everyone gets a good view of the stage – we are asked to order a drink each. It’s not acceptable not to. It’s a business, I get it – we order a beer each for another THB 100. That’s THB 200 each – so far so good.

The show begins…

Avoiding the specifics because it’s unbelievable gross, the lovely ladies:

(1) accurately shot darts towards some balloons;

(2) lit the candles of a plastic birthday cake and skilfully blew them out;

(3) shot ping pong balls towards us (they left us some paddles on the table to get into the game); and

(4) smoked a whole cigarette!

Now, in case you think this is no major feat for a woman, they did all of this with their vaginas! I have not seen, or heard (god, the sounds), anything like what I witnessed that night. I would even say I am somewhat scarred by what I witnessed.

Noticing we had had enough, the bar owner / manager lady comes to us with our bill. THB 12,800 (~US$ 400 for those wondering). That’s THB 1600 per person!

Obviously, we refused to pay that ungodly sum for the ungodly acts we had just witnessed, but she was firm in her demands. She even produced a whole different laminated piece of paper that, instead of saying ‘ping pong show pussy pussy pussy’ like we were expecting, said ‘ping pong show – 1300′. The additional 300 was for the originally agreed 100 for entry, 100 for the beer, and 100 for tip! The gall.

Anyway, arguments ensued. We told her we had agreed to 100 for the show with the man downstairs. She said she owned the bar, and not him, and this was the price. Fair point, but when she realised we weren’t going to pay the full amount, she quickly dropped to 800 per person. We stuck firm on the 200, some of us even tried to bargain for 150. And this is when the owner / manager lost it.

You see, I referred to her as the owner / manager, because as we would soon find out, she actually had a boss as well. So I’m not completely sure if she was the owner or the manager. Off she goes, and comes back with her iPhone, threatening to dial her boss’ number. We call her bluff, she dials – making it a point for us to see that she is in fact dialling the BAR MAFIA!

She did this a few times. Either Mr. Bar Mafia was really busy, or he was just avoiding her calls. Can’t blame him though.

The asking price slowly drops to 600 per head, then 400, then 300, and then an acceptable 250. We pay her, one of us smashes a beer bottle to make a point, we exchange a few ‘fuck yous’ with the bar people, and we were out.

Having escaped the dreaded Bar Mafia’s clutches, we go to an actual, 100% legit bar this time, drink a few more beers, and dance away the night.

And with that, I have successfully encountered, tackled, and survived my first Thailand scam.

Final verdict: To anyone still considering checking this out. I do not recommend this experience. To anyone. Ever. Never ever ever.

I wish I had pictures, but the Bar Mafia was watching. 😉

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