Fighting our way through the crowds of merry tourists and local street sellers of Khao San Road we were greeted by a man making a ‘ping pong’ noise by putting his finger into the inside of his cheek and pulling it out. ‘Ping pong show (ping, pong),cheap cheap, ping pong show, free tuk tuk’ He shouted as he approached us.
Having felt I had missed out on the ‘ping pong’ experience last time I was in Thailand, I told my friends that it was ‘must see’ and so we negotiated a price and began heading towards the main road where we would board the tuk tuk. Having been in the country only a matter of minutes, and within that time managing to consume several Chang beers, we were in high spirits and ready for this new experience.
On route to the tuk tuk the driver was very friendly and chatty and thinking we would all get the joke, he laughed as he asked if we would like a ‘happy ending’. Naturally, I laughed too, this is a common joke associated with Thailand that I had heard time and time again. My friends however, were less educated on the topic. Not knowing the meaning of a ‘happy ending’ my friends then proceeded to waffle on about how they ‘love’ happy endings and how they would be really happy to have a happy ending… etc etc. It was soooo funny!
I strolled down the street in hysterics, the girls nonethewiser.
They won’t make that mistake again.
After speeding along the night-lit streets of Bangkok, swerving around corners at speeds that could easily tip a small tuk tuk onto its’ side and a few funny photo’s later we arrived at our destination looking rather windswept. The venue was a dark and dingy building, with sleezy looking men and a few women with horrified looks on their faces. Where were we?!
We entered the show and were given a pitifully small ‘free drink’ (although in effect we had actually paid for it in the entrance price) and took a seat. The atmosphere was cold and eerie. Nobody spoke, everybody just watched what was happening on stage in amazement, and some in disgust.
The looks on the women who worked there’s faces were so sad. They were not happy to be there. This was entirely created for the tourist trade, which I thought was a very sad reality. How any man can find this type of show, where the women are clearly miserable appealing, I can only wonder. There were no happy endings for the staff in this establishment.
So what did the show consist of you’re probably wondering? Well I didn’t think it was pretty, but then again I do still feel that it is a right of passage when visiting Thailand, as much of an ordeal as it did turn out to be. So here we go…
There were a number of acts throughout the show, which lasted an hour in duration before beginning all over again. God knows how many times these women would repeat these acts during one night. There was a stage in the middle of the room with two poles on it and plastic chairs surrounding the stage for the tourists. Between each act one of the girls would come out with a towel and clean the floor…now that’s glamour for you…!
So it began with a women on stage pulling a long string with coloured flags on it out of herself. The string appeared to go on forever. Then a woman came on stage with a Coke bottle filled with clear liquid (water I assume). She filled herself up with the clear liquid and then re-filled the bottle with a dark liquid- as gross as this was, it was actually quite impressive! Another act consisted of lesbian action on stage and climbing erotically on the poles, there was a woman ‘throwing’ eggs across the room into a glass and then the finale was an extremely disturbing real life sex show on stage with a Thai woman and a western man. And when I say real life, I mean real life- if you need position inspiration this is the place to come!
Watching this show, there was no romance, no sensual behavior, no emotions. It was cold and routine. The people did not seem to want to be there, they didn’t want to be doing this. It was very sad. I thought that it would be a giggle, that, yes, it might be a bit gross at times (I am a girl after all!), but that it was something we should see once in our lives and that we would have a laugh. Instead, I did not come out laughing. I came out feeling sad. Sad for the women who worked there. Sad for the women that had to do their acts time and time again because men kept throwing money at them. Sad that they are clearly forced to live a life that they do not want to lead.
So from here we proceeded to head back to Khao San road. Jetlagged and somewhat deflated after the show we decided to grab some street food and one last Chang before heading to bed ready to start the rest of our trip. It was an experience to say the least, but I’m not sure it was quite the ‘happy ending’ my friends had initially anticipated!
Hearing the ‘ping pong’ noises in the street after that had a completely different meaning…
Ping pong shows…what are your experiences?