Column #17 Bangkok, Thailand
August 1, 1996
I couldn’t have been more amused when sometime back I read how horrified the British Darts Organization was when it learned that topless women were throwing darts on the beaches in Australia. “Demeaning to the sport” they hollered, as if such activity isn’t the least bit demeaning to women!
It seems to me that the BDO needs to smack the head of whomever it is that handles their press. And then what they need to do is send this unenlighted soul to Bangkok, Thailand. I’d be fascinated at their reaction to what I discovered here last night. “Demeaning to the sport or demeaning to women” — that is the question. And Bangkok has the answer.
The World Meteorological Organization officially recognizes this Asian capital as the world’s hottest city. And they’re right — in more ways than one. Bangkok’s a beautiful and exciting metropolis, rich with all forms of the exotic — golden temple spires, palm-shaded canals, safron-robed monks chanting sutras in the early mornings. It’s everything, and more, than all the evocative images that look out from post cards and picture books.
But Bangkok also has a reputation as a “man’s kinda town” and this is not a reference to the rich variety of afternoon pastimes that are to be found here. It’s the distractions and enticements of the evening that have labled this city. And whatever one’s feelings about the legitimacy of what in truth is an industry that exploits young women it is simply an undisputable fact that the Bangkok nightlife is quite unlike that found anywhere else in the world.
Under an overpass in the center of town and just a brief tuk-tuk (sort of a three wheeled taxi-like contraption) ride from Nana Plaza and the American Embassy is a little outdoor pub called Sexy Night/Det 5 (586/2 Ploenchit Road). In all of my travels I have never — and I mean never — come across a place quite like this. Without question the joint is aptly named.
The Sexy Night (who’s business cards sport the theme “No Money, No Honey” and a graphic of a nude girl in a martini glass) is a small, sort of reed hut. It couldn’t hold fifty people on a good night. Fans blast from the ceiling to help cut the almost unbearable Thai humidity. The bar is situated smack in the center of the room. Scantily clad hookers are absolutely everywhere.
But the focal point of the Sexy Night — as unbelievable as it seems — is immediately to the left of the door. And yep, it’s a dart board. It consistently gets more action than the girls.
They play just one game here, called “Det 5”, named after a former military intelligence detachment that frequented the pub so regularly it earned a piece of the name (I guess they really liked darts!). Cricket and ’01 are strictly forbidden. Det 5 is actually just a long form of Cricket. Scoring though is also forbidden because the girls chalk and none of them can add or subtract. You close. You win. Seems simple.
But it’s not. Fans blow directly above the oche. The local beer (Singha) goes down particularly well in the heat. The board — though top quality and well lit — is hung two inches too low. And then there’s the girls… dancing and gyrating to the music.
Sexy Night is an amazing little place. A one-of-a-kind experience that is certain to drive the BDO completely over the edge.
My next stop… Australia!
From the Field,
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