Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Gambling in Bangkok

After 3 weeks in adventurer mode through Ethiopia, a dramatic reversal of lifestyle seemed appropriate.
Addis Ababa -> Bahrain, Bahrain -> Uneventful
Bahrain, Bahrain -> Bangkok : Secured the "ghetto upgrade" (you are on a giant aircraft and the flight is so empty you can claim and entire central isle) :

The elusive ghetto upgrade
Coca-cola in Arabic
List of things I learned between Bahrain and Bangkok :

  • Coca-cola is still identifiable as Coca-cola by westerners when written in Arabic
  • The average Greek sexpat to Thailand doesn't believe that Greece is at fault in the Eurozone crisis
  • The average German ecotourist is profoundly upset with Greece
  • Walking out of a plane in Bahrain, three temperatures - normal plane temp,  followed inside-a-steel-walkway-in-the-desert-heat, and finally ICE FRIGGIN COLD air-conned airport luxury overload does not help with jetlag
  • Most taxis in Bangkok are hot pink. Very hot.

Bangkok for me consisted mostly of having an upset stomach and moving up in pad-thai spice-level. Also, I found a pool scene. 

What Jim looks like when he's 2 ahead in a race to 5 for 1,000
Pool in Bangkok is mostly drunk farangs trying to impress Thai prostitutes for reasons that escape me. Redeemingly, for this young but storied city, it's winner stays on (read carefully you silly Frenchmen, you are the only nation in which I've never see a winner-stays-on table!). This means you can put your name up on the board, and wait till your turn to dispatch, one by one, a legion of drunk bangers. Each rack, the loser pays about $0.50 after losing and the winner breaks the next rack. Rules alternate between British style 2-shots-on-foul and  the less insane "ball in hand" rules more familiar to American players, but either way, the rules are enforced by a neutral cohort of bar-employed racker girls who actually know their job well.
I was in one of these bars, winning hard, when Jim came along and played some instantly recognizable "serious pool". After he beat me he asked if I would gamble, for minimum 1,000 Baht. So we went to a nearby and more serious pool hall that I had previously scouted out. I played some of the most fun big table 8-ball in my life and came out exactly even after about 4 hours of play. 

After Bangkok, it was time to find the famed island paradise of Koh Chang - for next post!


  1. hi this is jim aka mike. it was great playing with you that day.

    my fb

  2. Hi Michael!
    I used Jim as an alias to protect your action haha. Anyway, good to hear from you, and yes that really was a fun time. Looks like we missed each other in California, I was there until about a week ago :/

    Hopefully play you again sometime, somewhere!