Posted by: twistsoffeet | June 13, 2010

The Best Guides

I have a unique way of obtaining the best guides anywhere.

I came upon this method of contracting guides accidentally.

I was in a bar in Bangkok and really wanted to see the parts of the city that non-residents are usually unable to see.

If you have ever been in a dive bar in Bangkok, then you know about the onslaught of solicitations from bar girls, otherwise known as prostitutes.  Now, I don’t care what their occupation is, so I would frequently talk to these girls and even buy them a drink sometimes.  These girls just couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to take advantage of their services.

The first reason is that it is just not my thing, but even if it was, the fear of sexually transmitted diseases– especially AIDS– is enough to scare me away.  Also, I had enough “good girls” who were desperately searching for a way out of poverty who were always trying to get to know me, and had I pushed it, opportunities would always available.

While sitting in this bar, speaking to one girl, a couple of other girls to whom I had also spoken came in. They all began speaking to each other with a little obvious jealousy.  It was beginning to get a little contentious– not much, just a little– but this was very out of character in Thailand.

Finally, a thought came to me and I made a move to defuse the situation.  I hired all four girls for the night.

While I would like to believe I am Superman, it is just not in the cards for me to be with four women at a time.  Instead, what I proposed to them is that I would take them all out to dinner and I would pay them their going rate of about $15.00 each, and they would guide me around Bangkok for the night.

I could have hired just one or two, but this would have left two or three angry and the ones I hired would have tried to seduce me.  But, by hiring all four, they knew that wasn’t going to happen.

One of the benefits of doing this was that the girls actually became friends of mine and were happy that I wasn’t pawing them.  This made them want to protect me.  On more than one occasion, I would start down some soi and they would stop me and say it was too dangerous.

Also, these girls would almost always stop at some point and give part of their earnings to a monk.

By doing this, I was given a tour of the city that took me to places no tourists ever see; I was able to eat street food that is truly what the locals eat and I was able to meet people who had very possibly never had contact with a westerner before meeting me.

Hopefully I was a good ambassador.

I have since used this technique in a dozen cities in SE Asia, and always successfully.  Yes, I have to be very cautious and use discretion in whom I choose as my guides.  Also, in some cities this probably would be very dangerous; case in point: Rio, although I haven’t been there.  Also, Hong Kong– or more correctly, Kowloon– because the sex trade is most certainly all Triad-controlled and I have already had my run in with those boys.


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