One thing I neglected to mention about Swan Inn is that although it’s very centrally located, it also happens to be on one of the sleaziest streets in all of Bangkok: Sukhumvit Soi 4. All along Soi 4 it seems like every third person is a prostitute. Including many of, erhm, “questionable gender.” Walking to or from the guesthouse invariably results in countless hoots and hollers, sometimes associated with an unsolicited nipple-pinch or two. Even on my very first night, as I huffed my way in with all my luggage on my back, I was accosted by several “sole proprietors” offering their one and only product: boom-boom.
Man, I have to say, I’ve heard that Thailand has a problem with prostitution – but this is just ridiculous!
I suppose I should’ve expected, then, that Nana Liquid – the nightclub just down the road from our hotel – would probably be more of the same. Not only was the male/female ratio way out of control (think 4-5 girls to every guy), but many of the men were old, bald, and/or fat – with women a quarter their age. Not exactly my scene, but hey, an interesting eye-opener to one of the darker sides of the enigma that is Thai culture.
(…Especially when you consider the fact that I’d barely even been on the ground for an hour. You know what they say: sometimes it’s best to hit the ground running.)
And despite the somewhat off-putting knowledge of what was going on in that particular club, it was a more-or-less enjoyable (and very unexpected) night out. Not to mention a chance to meet one of Stefan’s friends who I’d been hearing about for some time: Bangkok’s social butterfly, Evan.
The four of us stayed at Nana Liquid until closing, then had a quick round of beers at a street cart just down the road before grabbing breakfast at FoodLand, a small eatery inside a conveniently-located supermarket.
Note: I love Thai food. Spectacular shrimp Pad Thai for less than $2.