• Tara B. Vasi

Day 27: Chiang Khong to Change Mai, Thailand. Exploration, Lady Boy Show, Swiss Sex Scandal

Brace yourself ... this is a long one... 💜

Our alarms go off at 5am and we wake up before the roosters. HA! Beat ya, punks!

I start the kettle and prepare an instant coffee with a packet that I nicked from a hotel a few hotels ago. I am a little tardy and when I get to the van and open the door and WELL, WELL, WELL all the OG’s in one van. We arrived to Chiang Khong in the dark and exit in the dark. I hear we didnt miss much.

The roads are windy and the driver whips around the turns like an amateur race car driver. There are many stray dogs on the street and I see what looks like a black lab, though he is so incredibly well fed, he looks more like a medium sized black bear.

We make a pit stop at Cabbage and Condoms, where there motto is, “Our food won’t make you pregnant.” I appreciate how much they don’t want me to get pregnant, too. So supportive.

I really wanted a mint, but hey, I guess I’ll take a condom, in the event my cold dead heart warms to the idea of letting that kind of love in again. I should have checked the expiration date…

We arrive in Chiang Mai around 1pm. Bryony and I escape and head to lunch. We find a little cafe and sit outside. I get lame healthy food and she gets delicious looking chicken fingers and cheese balls and like a good friend should, she shares her cheese balls with me.

We both get mango smoothies and enjoy the wifi in our jungle like nook on the outside patio. Bryony is in need of some washing so heads back to the hotel and I head out into Chiang Mai on my own to explore. I start by getting a SIM card, and then walking in the direction of the F45 Night Bazaar. I am so interested to check out an F45 in Thailand!

I get there and it is closed. Its Saturday afternoon after all, but the place looks great! I check the schedule and there is a session the following day, but do I want to spend $22 on a drop in for Angry Birds?

I look up yoga studios in the area and knowing damn well they will be closed, walk to them anyway, just to see what they look like from the outside. I love checking out different yoga studios around the world, whether I go inside or not. On the way I walk by plenty of fruit smoothie stands, cafes, hole in the wall restaurants, and even a big big mall. I chuckle at the KFC, McDonalds, and Starbucks that are so very familiar to my world. One of the yoga studios is tucked back in an alley way. Its called Freedom Yoga and the entrance is surrounded with handing brush and bright pink flowers. I think, I could work here. Haha How could I make that a reality? Could I live in Chiang Mai?

I walk through the Old City. There is a narrow mote around the city, or what remains of it.

There is a combination of ruins and souviner shops and I am remind of the time I rented a moped in Rome and chuckled as I rode around, passing the Coliseum on one side and a Mcdonalds on the other.

My phones about to die and its like I am trying to find a gas station while my gas light is on. I don’t know if I will make it back to the hotel with such little juice and without my phone I won’t know where to go. Oooh the excitement of potentially crashing and burning at any moment. (I didn’t bring my charger...)

I win petrol roullette (as Bryony calls it) and make it back to the hotel. I relax for a while. Shower. We put a small amount of effort into our appearances and get ready for the night. Bryony braids my hair in two inside out french braids and I look like an adorable middle school child with an attitude. We are night market bound. We love a good night market.

The market is insane. Probably the largest night market I have ever been to. There is ready to eat food, jewelry, paintings, chop sticks, clothes, purses, bathing suits, you name it, they got it. The prices aren’t cheap and the people will not haggle, which is no fun for me.

My mother collects magnets, so I buy her a cute elephant magnet that says Thailand. We sort through cute boy shirts for our nephews and I realize that I have no idea what size my three little boys would wear. I think my little Bailey may be the biggest of the nephews and he is the youngest. I have no clue. I air hug and say to Bryony, “about this feels right.” Mediums all around. I look at parachute pants, but cannot commit to looking like a parachute. I can feel my blood sugar plummeting and my fuse shortening and my social anxiety kicking in full throttle. I need food.

We meet the group for dinner, but its like, I can’t even (lol), so I sit on the end barely committing to being a part of the group. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Ali is trying to balance coke bottles on top of each other and I shake my head at him judgmentally. He is extremely happy today, though, and he’s shaved... and I think I see a love connection forming between him and sweet Olivia. Good for them. Love is grand. Until it isn’t. Just kidding…. Love it ok.

I order pasta with pesto, shrimp, and broccoli like I am in Italy or something and most certainly have pesto stuck in my teeth for the remainder of the evening.

While waiting for our bills to be split (servers nightmare) I call my Dad back on Facebook messenger. Like the start of most conversations, we discuss who’s camera is not working and whether we can hear each other properly. We chat for a while and discuss my previous post. He seems unaware of so much, and I wish sometimes that I could be more unaware and how much easier life would be. I make jokes and he doesn’t laugh which is typical of our conversations. I am pretty sure he just can’t hear me. That must be it. He rests the phone facing up on his table, so the majority of the time I cannot see his face, just the top of his bald Italian head and I find it adorable. I am pretty sure he is playing video games while we talk, but I cannot be sure. We have always done a good job of staying in touch and connected no matter how far away we are from each other. He’s happy for me.

The group heads to a Lady Boy show. 350 baht and a free drink. I indulge and order a sprite. The show is Cabaret, so we are expecting singing and dancing and elaborate costumes. We are not disappointed! The lady boys are beautiful, tall and slender and done up to a T including head pieces, fish nets, and stilettos. The lip-syncing is absolutely horrible and I wonder if they do it on purpose because its actually quite entertaining. They sing Rihanna and Moulan Rouge and it is quite the show.

I cant help but wonder where they actually put their bits because there is absolutely no bulge. I am just waiting for a d- slip, but no d’s make an obvious appearance. I get nervous each time they step into the crowd, terrified they might pull me onto the stage. Some of our group is up front and get openly harassed by the entertainers. Sam gets his face smashed in between one woman breasts and Owen is asked for a kiss on the cheek but last minute the woman turns his face and kisses him on the mouth.

One man is pulled on to stage and placed in a chair. I think it may be his birthday or something because his group was pointing to him and cheered ferociously when he was selected. The lady boys sit on him and take off his shirt. They get pretty down and dirty with him, licking his neck and his nipples. I can barely look and my cheeks turn bright red. At one point the lady does a handstand facing the audience and lowers her crotch right in the mans face. The guy loves it!

Bryony and I head back to the hotel right after the show and the rest of the group heads out to the bars. Our heads are pounding from the loud music and we continue to bond over our lameness. I get a Nutella ice cream cone and Bryony finds a purse to give to her cousin for Christmas as we walk back through the market. An ice cream a day keeps the doctor away. Right?

We walk three quarters of the way back and see Sochea crouched in the middle of an alley and ask him what is going on. He found a fanny pack on the ground and it is full of money, a mans Swiss ID, credit cards, a hotel card, etc. I see a wrist watch on the ground and the wrist band a few feet from it and it definitely looks like there has been a struggle and these items were ripped from someone’s body. But if it were a robbery why wouldn’t they have taken the pack? A lady approaches us trying to take the pack from us, but we resist because we don’t know if she will do the right thing with it.

We want to return the pack to the owner. I facebook the boy and find him in two clicks. I message him that his pack is safe and is he? And how can we return it to him? We are approached by another man, a bystander, that said the boy didnt pay his bill and was chased by the bars security team. He says the police have already been called. What the hell is going on? I suggest we go back to the hotel with the pack and the guy leads us there anyway, because apparently that is where the Swiss guy found refuge when being chased by the men. We enter the hotel and see the young man. He has huge holes in his black t-shirt. He is completely terrified and even though I am pretty naive, I can tell it is not an act. We give him back his pack and he begs us not to leave him alone with the police and with the men, so we stay with him. The guy that was chasing him was in the hotel lobby too and the police were trying to negotiate a payment, but it was hard to tell if they were involved in the scam or not. Apparently this is quite a popular scam in South East Asia.

The story goes something like this. The young Swiss lad was by himself and entered what he thought was a strip club. He was lead into a room and two women came into the room and asked him for juice. For fucking juice, I swear that’s what he said. So, he ordered three orange juices. They drank the orange juices and a half hour later, one of the lady’s started yelling bloody murder that he was touching them inappropriately. The security came and blocked his way out of the room. Everyone was screaming in Thai and he decided it would be better to bail, so he starts trying to squeeze passed the men. The men say he can’t go anywhere, that he owes money 8,000 baht for the drinks, the room, and the sex. The lad insists he didnt have any sex and didnt know the room was charged and that he only bought three orange juices… blah blah blah he runs and screams for help on the street but no one on the street comes to his aid. The men chase him and one of them have a knife. He runs into the hotel and begs the reception to help him and the situation diffuses slightly at this point and the cops arrive ten or so minutes later.

The cops take photos of us which freaks me out, so I took a photo of them.

They end up negotiating the boys freedom for 1000 baht, but he doesn’t have enough cash so needs to go to the ATM. He is terrified to go outside alone, so Bryony, myself, Sochea, and one of the police officers escort him to the ATM. I talk to him on the way and tell him to just pay the guy for his freedom and this will all be over soon.

Once he has cash he hands over 1000 baht. The cop gives the money to the bar security and everyone dispersed. We walk with the Swiss lad back to the hotel and Sochea calls him a Grab, which is just like an UBER. We tell him to go back to his hotel and chill and rest and eat food. The guy thanks us up and down for not leaving him alone and helping him through whatever the hell kind of scam that was. We are friends on facebook now, so that’s means we are pretty much friends forever. William Brees you unlucky fucker.

We get back to the room around 12:30am and both look at each other, like, well, that Swiss sex scandal certainly added to an already interesting night…. Maybe Chiang m


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