Bangkok, July 2008

After June

July 1-7, 2008

Tuesday, July 1, 2008 (Pre-Journal)

Here are the Leo girls for July.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Next courses ... Peking Duck and Crab.

Oh, the server with the expression packed face is Bee.

PS: This is a REAL fucking tragedy:

Geoffrey Arnold, president of the Nevada Brothel Owners' Association, said truckers account for up to 75 percent of business at the state's rural brothels along Interstate 80 and U.S. Highway 95.

He said business is down about 19 percent at his two northern Nevada brothels along I-80: Donna's Ranch in Wells and Donna's Battle Mountain Ranch.

"We're being affected by the economy like everybody else," Arnold said. "Times are tougher ... and truckers have less money to spend. They're not high-rollers anymore."

Truckers account for up to 75 percent of business at Nevada's rural brothels, according to one expert. Here, the Chicken Ranch brothel is seen in Pahrump, Nev.

Diesel fuel costs roughly $4.70 a gallon, up 67.5 percent from a year ago, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Of Nevada's 28 legal brothels, 16 are located in rural areas that are being hurt by truckers' higher diesel costs, Arnold said. Brothels closer to Reno and Las Vegas, which rely more on tourists and conventioneers, say business is up this year.

In response to a 5 percent drop in business, the Shady Lady Ranch along U.S. 95 about 150 miles north of Las Vegas plans to offer $50 gas cards to clients who spend $300 and $100 gas cards to those who spend $500.

The brothel also offers special monthly discounts, including an offer of 45 minutes of services for $175 instead of the usual rate of $200.

"Anything that has to do with discretionary income is down," owner Bobbi Davis said. "Instead of spending $500 out here, they might only spend $300. I see it every time they raise gas prices."

Under a promotion under way at the Moonlite BunnyRanch near Carson City, the first 100 customers who arrive with government stimulus checks receive twice the services for the same regular price.

"We're calling it double your stimulus," said BunnyRanch owner Dennis Hof. "The brothel industry is having to get more creative just like all consumer products in America. Everybody has got to deal, and we're doing the same thing."

Sue's Fantasy Club in Elko doesn't need to extend any promotions because it doesn't rely on truckers, said the brothel's manager, who would identify herself only as Victoria.

Business is up from last year because of a booming local economy driven by mining and rising gold prices, she said.

"We would be hurting, too, if we had to depend on truckers," she said.

Hardest hit are independent truckers, who must pay for their own fuel, said George Flint, a lobbyist for the brothel owners' association.

"So there goes your disposable income to have a little fun," Flint told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Since January, the number of long-haul trucks based in Nevada has dropped by 4,100, or 12 percent, said Paul Eons of the Nevada Motor Transport Association.

Arnold predicted the industry would weather the slowdown.

"The customers won't be spending as much, but the brothels will still be there," he said. "After food, the most important activity, at least for men, is sex. Sex is not going away."

The downturn also has affected brothels by leading to an increase in the number of women seeking jobs as legal prostitutes, Arnold added.

As business for escort services and strip clubs goes flat, "more women are interested in joining the (brothel) industry," he said.

Nevada is the nation's only state that allows brothels. Prostitution is legal in 10 of Nevada's 17 counties, but it's illegal in the Reno and Las Vegas metropolitan areas.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008 (Pre-journal)

Though Nevada might be hurting, Sydney (thanks to God) will be reaping.

Sydney brothels say Pope's visit will give business a leg-up

SYDNEY (AFP) — As Sydney prepares for a visit by Pope Benedict XVI and hundreds of thousands of Catholics, the city's brothels are readying themselves for an expected surge in demand for sex.

Any time Australia's biggest city hosts a major event -- from the 2003 Rugby World Cup to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit last year -- it is boomtime for the sex industry, insiders say.

And with 225,000 foreign and Australian pilgrims expected in Sydney for six-days of events celebrating the Catholic faith from July 15-20, they expect World Youth Day to be no different.

Sydney brothel Xclusive is putting on extra workers to provide sexual favours to lonely tourists and Sydneysiders during event.

"We will get a lot of tourists, pilgrims and we will still get the curious," a spokeswoman for the Bondi Junction bordello told AFP.

"The World Council of Churches, when they had their congress in Canberra back in the 1990s, that was the best business period ever.

"Obviously we're not promoting it at your traditional Catholic community and it's unlikely we will get priests through. But there'll be lots of tourists in town and there'll be lots of people in town."

Xclusive's manager, a 30-something blonde who would only give her name as Catherine, said she was rostering extra girls and would probably take on another receptionist to handle the increased demand.

The purpose-built bordello, which has luxurious rooms complete with double showers, spas, custom-made beds and panic buttons for the sex workers, is expecting a 150-200 percent hike in business during World Youth Day.

"Donald Trump used this tile in Trump Tower in New York," Catherine said as she showed off the spa area in one of the rooms in the 1.2 million dollar (1.1 million US) development.

"They had a bit of quantity left over... so we got the rest of it."

Catherine believes the brothel's proximity to some of the major events, including the Pope's final mass which is expected to draw up to 500,000 people to nearby Randwick Racecourse on July 20, could bring customers to her door.

Visitors need not worry about breaking the law as brothels are legal, and they could be made to feel at home by sex workers speaking a range of languages including Spanish, Greek, Mandarin, French, Thai, Arabic, Korean, Nepalese and Italian.

Based on her experience of working in a massage parlour during APEC, Xclusive staff member Emma is expecting a number of first-timers, both to sex and to the industry, during the Catholic youth festival.

"APEC was probably the best time in Sydney for this industry," the 23-year-old university student told AFP.

"They had to fly working girls from interstate to Sydney because of demand.

"I think World Youth Day will be very busy. I think there will be a lot of newbies (new customers), a lot of businessmen."

The Eros Association, Australia's adult industry group, said sex shops and brothels across Sydney are expecting "huge turnover" during World Youth Day.

"We know the kind of people who visit prostitutes and adult shops, many of them do it because of their own personal repression," Eros spokesman Robbie Swan told AFP. "And often it's because of religion."

"Our industry is the forbidden fruit industry."

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The pool area at the Athenee Residence looks complete. As does the lobby.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

We visited Wat Hua Lamphon at the corner of Si Praya and Rama IV. Paul will remember this place as it is also a coffin maker for the poor.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Even if Thailand treated the Fourth of July as a date worthy enough for fireworks today's wild and woolly thunderstorms would have drowned them out.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

All of you are familiar with THOCBDC's beach bunnies of Florida. Maybe I should start a new series: Bar Bunnies of Bangkok.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

OMG! How did I wind up all alone in this down-market hotel room in Suphanburi, more than 120 kilometers away from Bangkok? I can't even cook in the room or iron my clothes here. Plus my favorite fruit ... durian ... is also a big no no. Oddly enough, apparently all of the room's furnishings are for sale ... though the only things I fancy are the thermostat (600 baht) and the telephone (500 baht).

Maybe I'll take advantage of the in-room massage services.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Yesterday's encounter with room 516 at Khum Suphan Hotel in Suphanburi was fleeting; less than four hours in length.

This is what happened.

Yesterday morning Watcharee and I took Rung and her daughter ("Name")"[*] and Rung's sister ("Kak") to Suphanburi for lunch"[**] and a long shopping spree in a local food market. I opted in for the lunch but opted out of the market.

Full disclosure: the TV in my room had the English language Star Movies channel. I did not suffer by having to forego eating durian or ironing my clothes.

[*] Yes, "Name" is her name.

[**] We were the only guests in the hotel dining room. Yet, we still had a singer on stage.

PS: I guess that kids will always have more fun than their parents. But, that is what it should be.

Next: Part II

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