The monsoon season has arrived late this year. Perhaps to atone for its tardiness, it dumped a record amount of rain up in the north part of the country — water that is now rampaging south, swamping towns and villages along the way and threatening Bangkok.
The impending deluge hasn’t caused me much concern, partly because I live on the second floor of my apartment building and have stocked up on non perishables. As for the plight of the locals, after a year of living here my attitude towards them has become ambivalent at best. Nowhere was this more in evidence than when my friend, Tod, tried to explain to me the potential devastation some of them are facing.
“Look, Monte, if the water breaches the levees protecting the business district, Sukhumvit Road will be completely submerged.”
“You mean those price-gouging tuk-tuk drivers will have to stay home? If that is the case, they should have floods here every weekend.”
“It’s worse than that; people might lose their businesses.”
“Meaning what, I am not going to be accosted anymore by those Indians trying to sell me suits? Something tells me I can live with that.”
“The water may even inundate the go-gos.”
“Oh my god, not the go-gos! Tod, I don’t know how you feel, but we’ve got to help these poor girls, err, people! Let’s get down there pronto and see if we can lend a hand. (A quick glance at my watch.) It should still be Happy Hour.”
When we arrived, the scene in front of Tilac Go-Go — my favorite hangout — was not at all encouraging. Half a dozen grim-faced workers were busy erecting a barricade out front using whatever materials they could find, in this case boxes containing bottles of San Miguel Beer. Lite beer, for crying out loud. The girls wouldn’t stand a chance.
To determine what the evacuation plans — if anything — might be, Tod used his proficient Thai to interrogate one of the men. The talk between them grew somber, which only increased my anxiety. When it finished, I practically tore my friend’s t-shirt off.
“What’d he say? What’d he say?”
“He says that if too much water comes, many of the dancers will not be able to make it back home.”
“You mean that if this go-go gets flooded, there could be over twenty sexy women stranded here with no place to spend the night?”
“That’s right. I wonder where they could stay?”
“Hmm, let me think…”
Then an inspiration hit. Just a couple blocks from the go-go is the Playful Prince Hotel, which offers cheap, short-term accomodations for Western men and streetwalkers who have suddenly found love. Better yet, the hotel’s Business Center (also called the Romper Room) could be reserved on short notice, with over a dozen beds supplied by management.
My room will be right next door. It’s important for the girls to know that someone is there for them.
Let it rain!