I would suggest those of a politically correct nature look away now. One of my all time favourite quotes was when the great footballer George Best was asked what he did with all his money he replied:
"I've spent most of it on fast cars, booze and women - the rest I squandered"
In Bangkok it's easy to do that, except for the cars of course. Who would really want a car in Bangkok, especially a sleek fast convertible?
Nine tenths of the time the hood would be up to keep away from the black exhaust fumes, the rain or the baking heat - or a combination of all three if you are here in August.
So let's forget about the cars for now. Let's get onto the bars.
There are a seriously high number of bars in Bangkok, and if we add Pattaya then it runs into thousands. Everyone has their favourite, based either on location, bar staff, customers or the boss.
Often, it's the boss, and if I were to name any one bar in my favourites list, top would probably be Popeye Bar in Queens Plaza, on Soi 22 Sukhumvit. Why? Because the owner NIck, and his wife Ying helped me settle in this madhouse of a city when I first arrived.
I feel comfortable there, and even though there have been very occasional excursions with the staff, I don't feel under any pressure.
Most people have this kind of bar on their list, be it for personal reasons or it's just a good place to go. Many, many, times if you ask someone why they go to a certain bar and chat to the owner they cannot remember.
Then a few minutes will pass and the most obscure reasons surface; "Oh he's an Arsenal fan", "I met him on the plane coming over", "he's a mate of a mate back home", or "he's just a good bloke who I can talk to". The reasons are endless.
For me, I enjoy the league pool in the associated bar, Olive Oyl. We are probably one the worst teams in the Bangkok Pool League, but that's the fun of it. If we win, it's a major celebration, but it only happened once last year, so don't wait for an invite to the party.
The bars just keeping rolling along, as they do in nearby Washington Square and over the road in Soi 33. Down on Soi 4 Nana, there are more places to drink and be merry than most cities. In Cowboy, its yet another list of go go bars and drinking dens.
And then there's Patpong, SIlom and heaven knows where else. In Pattaya lets just say the entire town is made up of bars, with a few shops in between. The mystery is how all these bars make any money and the owners survive?
Then in the third part of our trilogy are the glorious bar staff who entice us into the bars to spend our hard earned cash.
Again we have our favourites but there is a noticeable difference, with far less loyalty to one bar when it comes to our liaisons with the local female (and male if that's your fancy) population.
I may be typical in that I like to have a few options, not stay in one vicinity.
I like the idea of moving around and on some nights I will deliberately go somewhere I don't know, and am not known. Variety is the spice of life, as is often said, and you don't get much spicier than Bangkok. For those who have lived here a while, they know the chat.
The whole performance is and acted out every night in every bar with every girl.
But for those who are new to the bar girl chat, it usually starts with " How are you?" Then : Where you from" then "You holiday or work here" After that conversation can get a bit tricky, and if the answer to the last question is " I work here' then the interest lessens as there is less chance of the customer becoming a long term friend, that is for one night, long time.. One friend of mine says he is sick, tired and bored with the whole "Where you from" discussion.
OK, I don't think we are going to discuss Albanian politics over breakfast, but some semblance of interest in other things may be useful.
I asked one girl last week how many pairs of shoes she had. She was delighted that I took such an interest, so there is life behind the beautiful figure and drop dead gorgeous eyes.
The various ways in which our friendly bar girls try to entice a customer into spending his cash on a bar fine vary and here we see some degree of creativity. Most of the time it's a straight:
"You pay bar". Not a question, more like an order.
Then there's the slightly more subtle " I want go with you" often accompanied by a chance brush against the nether regions with a hand, just in case you may not get the message.
Then there's the desperate "Don't leave me here, I so lonely" and a flood of tears. This has happened to me twice, but in the same bar, so I guess that's part of the training.
One thing I've yet to master is the ability to sit with one bottle of beer on my own, watch a football match and not buy the attractive girl in the seat next to me a drink. I see this as just plain rude.
I know she gets 20 Baht for getting me to buy a drink but are we farangs so desperately short of money that we cannot offer a small token of our appreciation.? Let's face it, the girls (mostly) don't sit with fat ugly foreigners every night just for fun.
The difficulties many have faced in their personal lives would shock many a tabloid press journalist. So, come on lads, buy the girl a drink and enjoy yourself. Its not going to break the bank.
Cars Bars and Girls...Love all three, but in no particular order