Friday, June 11, 2010

Night Photos, Part 2: Double Duty On Soi Twilight (1)

It was a lovely warm early evening, and after getting a manicure and pedicure from my beautician-become-friend in Sala Daeng I walked from Silom along what I’ve come to call Soi Yipun to Suriwong Road, surprisingly with only one street tout following along for a short while to pester me. I stood curbside, debating whether or not to do the suicide trot across to the other side and finally did when the traffic came to more or less of a stop.

Passing the sushi and teppanyaki places along the North side of Suriwong I headed West towards Soi Pratuchai – AKA Soi Twilight – and made a right turn into the nightlife that was j-u-s-t yawning itself awake at 7:00pm. With the clubs still an hour away from opening the restaurants had only a sprinkling of farang, and the massage guys sat in groups in front of their establishments.

One of the guys at Bangkok was taking his turn standing with a handful of flyers, peering down towards Suriwong and looking for possible customers. He held one out to me, and for a change I accepted it as I stepped up onto the outside dining area at Maxi’s, across the soi from Bangkok Massage and X-Boys. Nobody had been outside to wave me in to a table, so I selected one myself on the second tier, giving me a good view of the ebb and flow of the soi, although as normal for 7:00 it was pretty darned slow. Slow enough that I had the entire outside terrace to myself for most of my meal time there.

The young man who’d handed me the flyer (I’ll call him Noi) kept trying to make eye contact – probably because I was the only possible customer within half a football field – and when I looked up from the flyer at him and lines of sight connected he went into the well-practiced “business flirt”: smiling, waving me over to have a massage, winking – everything but calling out “How you?” across the soi.

A waiter finally came out and rescued me. I ordered my meal and soda and Noi gave up momentarily, going inside for a few minutes. I looked up and down the soi from my perch, watching the slow parade of tourists and workers wandering up and down the way and noticing how pleasant a place it was to just sit in the calm before the storm, so to speak.

Noi arrived back outside shortly after my dinner was delivered, and a couple of minutes later he walked over and stood by my table. “No customers?” I asked. “No, so bad!” he replied, pulling out a chair and sitting down. I was surprised, but as I normally don’t care to eat alone I went back to my dinner while he began talking. He was pleasant enough company and I had the opportunity to get a mini-interview begun without paying for his time, so he chatted while I ate and took some notes on the back of the flyer.

He said Bangkok Massage and X-Boys were under the same management and since business was slim he worked at Bangkok doing massage until 8:30 and then went next door to X-Boys and worked there until closing. “You come see me at X-Boys?” he asked, several times. Our clumsy chat had been nice enough that I assured him I would, but that I was going back to my room early and alone. I’m sure he figured he’d cross that bridge when he came to it, smiled a goodbye as he got up and went back to his spot on the other side of the soi, flyers still in hand, back on the prowl.

The front door of X-Boys was open and there was what seemed to be a lot of activity inside having to do with large amounts of flowers, but I finished my meal and headed down towards Rama IV without going over to look inside. Noi waved goodbye, reminding me to come see him later. I wandered off for a walk, but made a mental note to stop in on my way back to my room.

To be continued...


Anonymous said...

This is where we should meet khun BaoBao. It sounds like the perfect spot!!
I too love those places much more before they get super busy.
I'll be in Bangkok end of September.

Hope to meet you then.
aka khun Nam

Kind occasion said...

So glad you're experimenting with night photography. These shots are so evocative, returning me to those streets, the voices and din of traffic in that humid air. Well done!