Before going to sleep the night before Lindsay and I had pulled the window curtains in our room, and they were so thick that we both woke up independently of one another around nine am and went back to sleep thinking we had woken up in the middle of the night because it was so dark in our room. By the time we actually got out of bed, unable to lie there trying to sleep anymore we had no idea what time it was because there was no alarm clock in our room. We fumbled around in the dark looking for some sort of clock and then opened up the window curtains to be greeted with a blindingly sunny morning. We both had a good disbelieving chuckle and once we found a clock found out it was past ten am and not four in the morning like we both thought it was. Since we had mistakenly slept through the hours during which breakfast was being served we leisurely got ready for the day and munched on some fruit from the complimentary fruit basket in our room. We had a few hours to kill before we needed to meet the speed boats again, so we went and purchased stamps in one of the small postcard shops in town and then sat in the hotel lobby writing postcards to our friends and family.
Around noon we loaded onto the speed boats once more for a thirty minute ride to another coral reef where we then got to snorkel for another hour. Many of the people in our group were still hungover from the night before, and this coupled with the sunburn that had acquired over the last few days made them very grumpy. I have never been hungover and on a speedboat in the midday sun, but judging by the faces of some of the heavier party-ers in our group I am guessing its not all that enjoyable of an experience. This was day eight of a ten day trip and it seemed like everyone was starting to drag a bit. Even Lindsay, Anneka, Danielle and I who had been diligent about going to bed early and hadn’t really gone out drinking, were beginning to feel a bit worn down. The snorkeling turned into more of a floating and hanging out, and after an hour of that we all piled back into the boats and sped off towards a small island where a picnic lunch was waiting for us on the beach. We were also treated to wine spritzers and spent a good two hours resting on the beach and chowing down. Everyone seemed to have already had their fill of the sun at this point because almost all the girls who had been slathering on tanning oil and taking naps by the pool in the midday blaze were now hiding under towels and beach umbrellas.
Once we had eaten our fill and rested a bit we loaded back up into the boats and sped off towards out final destination for the trip: Phuket. Once we had settled into our hotel, been reunited with our checked luggage, showered, and changed, me and my three favorite Thai travel companions set out in search of somewhere to eat for dinner. We ended up eating at the Banana cafe, which was an inexpensive thai/american restaurant along the main strip of the commercial district.
After dinner we spent some time walking around the various shops and vendor stalls, but most of the stuff we were seeing was no different from what we had already seen in Phi Phi and Chiang Mai, but here things were a bit more expensive since this was a very heavily touristy area and the vendors knew they could get western tourists to pay exorbitant prices and not haggle for them. Lindsay wanted to get a cocktail, and in search of a place to fulfill that desire we stumbled across this cute little VW van that had been refurbished to be a portable party bar. It had a sweet sound system with massive subwoofers blasting dance music, so while we stopped to have a little dance party on the street Lindsay ordered a bucket of pineapple rum for 300 baht (about $10). While we sat on the curb singing along to the music we met this really friendly asian girl who started talking to us and then asked if she could take a picture with us. We ended up hanging out at the VW bar for about forty five minutes and then around 9:30 headed back to the hotel lobby to meet our group leader Christian and most of the rest of the group for what Christian had been hyping all week as an “optional cultural experience.”
*****SOME OF THE INFORMATION IN THIS POST IS GRAPHIC AND DISTURBING, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED*****
Ever since our first night in Chiang Mai Christian had been talking about this “cultural experience” that we simply had to have called a Ping Pong show. Christian had been mum on the details of this initially, but as the week progressed we had gotten little snippets of what this would be like. He described it as being a weird strip show type of event where women pulled odd things our of their….well….vaginas. Judging by the name of the event I assumed that there would be some sort of spectacle made out of ping pong balls being birthed vaginally, but I honestly had no idea what to expect. This was a purely optional event, but he had put to the group that he would be going and that anyone else who thought they were brave enough was welcome to come along.
Anneka opted out, but Danielle and Lindsay both had their curiosities peaked, and I figured when in Rome, play ping pong with the Romans! While there were a few people who didn’t go, there was a group of easily 30 or so of us that did. Christian led us away from the hotel down a boulevard that was lined with high end bars and strip clubs with dozens of people standing in the streets trying to pass out fliers and pictures in hopes of luring customers into their various dens of inequity. Among the strip bars along this street some of them were inside with tinted glass doors so that you couldn’t see anything from the street, but many of them were open air bars where you could plainly see Asian girls devoid of any curves dancing on poles in skimpy underwear.
We arrived at a small establishment called “Playschool A- Go Go” and I wondered what in the hell I had gotten myself into. Lindsay, Danielle and I took seats close to the back, but Lindsay was a bit tipsy from before and as soon as she saw that there were open seats right on the edge of the stage that no one was sitting in she dragged us down there. There is no cover charge for the club, but they will not start the show until everyone has purchased a drink, and since it was the end of the trip and I was trying to go home with some money in my pocket I went for the cheapest item on the menu, which was a beer for 100 baht (about $3). I have never purchased a beer for myself before, nor have I ever liked any American beers that I have tried, but the Thai beer that I had, a Singha, which was recommended to me by some girls in the program who had said it was their favorite, wasn’t all that bad. While everyone was ordering their drinks there were three or four girls up on the stage which was in the middle of the room. The girls looked very young and somewhat disinterested in being there. They weren’t stripping they were just apathetically dancing around each other and around the two poles on the stage to American club hits.
Once everyone had their drinks in hand the show began. To call what we saw a ‘show’ would be up playing it up a bit. It was really more of one older woman showing off a very odd skill, like a peculiar circus act. A woman came out wearing nothing but a teddy lingerie top and proceeded to do all manner of odd and peculiar things with her baby maker. The first thing she did was to pull out a string of fake flowers out of her vag and then drape it across all the boys sitting in the front row of the audience. That was the most tame thing to happen all evening. After the flowers came a whistle that she played by putting it up to her lady parts and pushing air through it. I think she may have even been attempting a tune, but it was hard to tell admist all the awkward laughing and giggling.
With every passing minute the items to come out from under this woman got stranger and more alarming. The next item that was brought onto stage was a fishbowl with water in it. O no. I almost didn’t want to see what was going to end up swimming in there. The woman squatted over the bowl and squeezed out two small eels. Next a small cage was brought out onto stage. I tried to look away. She squatted over the cage and birthed a small terrified looking brown hamster into the cage. In between each inter-species birthing the woman went offstage and the dancers took over for a few minutes, I assume so she could reload with the next critter. She also had a bottle of lubricant off stage so thank goodness for that. Someone needs to alert PETA because this is animal cruelty if I have ever seen it. The next critter to be forcibly birthed out of this woman was a small bird with clipped wings, and then two small turtles and two fish joined the eels in the fishbowl. After escaping from this womans lady parts they crawled around and tried to escape from this hell pit of freakish fantasies, so I am sure they were real animals. As if pulling enough critters out of her vag to fill a small pet store wasn’t disturbing enough she then proceeded to light a cigarette and blow smoke through it out of her hoo ha. She also loaded two ping pong balls into her cha cha and popped them out sending them across the room. One of the more alarming props to emerge from the depths of her coochie was a string of razor blades, which she proved were razors by slicing up a plastic straw into tiny pieces after she had removed them. For the grand finale she put a blow gun loaded with two darts into her coochie and sent the darts flying through the air to pop balloons that were taped to the ceiling.
This whole ordeal lasted about thirty minutes and the faces of all the kids in our group who were there were priceless. I can’t say I really enjoyed the experience, it would be more accurate to say that I was oddly horrified, but watching the reactions of everyone in the room almost made the trip worth it.
The feeling I was left with post show is similar to what I imagine boys feel when they witness another boy get kicked in the balls and they shrink back in horror due to the imagined pain. This is how I felt. I was shrinking in horror imagining the pain that would come from putting small rodents and sea creatures and RAZORS into a place where they most CERTAINLY do not belong.
While some of the other kids went out to party on the town for our last night in Thailand, Lindsay, Danielle and I were too emotionally disturbed and exhausted to do anything else, so we headed back to the hotel to get a good nights sleep since the next night we would spend trying to sleep on a ten hour flight back to Sydney.