my street is lined with brothels

My street in Bangkok is lined with brothels for Thai men.

They look nothing like the in-yer-face entertainment areas aimed at foreigners: Nana, Soi Cowboy, Patpong — from the outside you see only neon, maybe some hearts, and always some form of karaoke is advertised. Sometimes a pretty girl, her beauty drooping in the heat, sits in front to attract customers.

I’ve been warned to stay away (as if I would go!) from the one right in front of our gate. Last year a Japanese diplomat died there, a dispute about prices. The morning after, the street was crowded with cars from the Japanese embassy, carrying away the body, investigating.

In the early hours of the evening, when the city readies itself for night, a mamasan lights incense on the red-and-gold Buddhist altar that stand next to the entrance of the brothel. Her eyes are closed in concentration as she bows, her forehead almost to the ground.

2 Responses to “my street is lined with brothels”

  1. 1 Chicago blogger December 22, 2007 at 11:42 am

    Similar in Chicago where you hardly notice until they raid it and it’s all over. That’s probably where the similarities end.

  2. 2 kousu December 23, 2007 at 7:50 am

    A Japanese diplomat dying in a brother over prices… what can I add to that? It’s just such an image, the sort that we in the sheltered media bubble of the west don’t think can actually happen.


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A blog about culture and technology in South-East Asia.

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