this morning i moved out of sawasdee inn in khao san road for the more affluent and modern downtown bangkok area. the place i'm staying at is the white lodge (weird name, i'll have to ask the owner what it means), conveniently located next to the skytrain station and within the shadows of bangkok's shopping megapolis, multi-storied malls connected by skywalks spanning the busy streets below. the room that they gave me is sort of detached from the rest of the guesthouse, kind of like an afterthought, or maybe a former toolshed converted to an extra room. it's big enough (with AC) but there's no tv and the walls, like many guesthouses in thailand, are filthy.

i had lunch at one of the many food stalls on my street, then went to a travel agency to change my date of departure one more time, to sunday morning instead of saturday morning (i felt like i needed one more extra day of bangkok, get everything out of my system).

white lodge

where i live is close to the jim thompson house so i paid it a visit. he used to a be famous american exporter of thai silk but mysteriously vanished into the jungle of indonesia (or was it malaysia?) one day while on vacation. he's got a nice house (it helps that in a former life he was an architect), like a walk-through version of the lifestyle of the rich and famous.

jim thompson's house



i then went around the commercial district trying to find a post office without any success, and by the time i sort of had an idea where one was, it was already closing time for the thai postal service (around 3PM), so i spent the day in the malls, having an early dinner of shanghai shiao long bao, visiting the apple store to see the new OS X (tiger), and browsing a bookstore for southeast asian nature guides. the malls are awesome, air-conditioned, modern architecture, every single store you could ever imagine, and populated with some of the most beautiful people in bangkok (unfortunately there's no photography in the malls, the places are closely watched by security forces in light of the recent bombing attacks in thailand).

patpong at night

in the evening i went back to the infamous patpong red light district. i wanted to see for myself what kind of nightly debauchery happens there. so of course i found the most innocuous open-aired bar, filled with "waitresses" who weren't the prettiest (the really pretty ones are mostly lady boys anyway), hardly any customers, but with a good view of the street so i could check out the action. immediately a lady sat down next to me and started up a conversation. i asked her a bunch of questions, like how much she charges (1500 baht for a quickie, 2500 baht for overnight). i also found out she has a 7 year old daughter, and besides supporting her only child, she also has to take care of her parents and her sisters and their children. she seemed happy though, and found nothing wrong with the kind of work she does. as the evening drag on, she went around the bar and took out...CONNECT FOUR!

if somebody was to tell me that one day i'd be playing connect four with a thai prostitute in the infamous patpong red light district, i'd say "no way," but that's exactly what happened.

connect four with thai prostitute

i played connect four with the thai prostitute until the madame started to get mad because i wasn't ordering anymore coke. finally i paid my bill (180 baht for 3 cokes) and left patpong, but not before getting roped into catching a glimpse of a p*ssy show and accidently stumbling through the gay section of patpong district.