Katoeys and Sang Som

Katoeys or Lady boys are basically pre-operative trans-sexuals and Thailand seems to have more of them then anywhere else that I have been.

Sang Som is locally distilled firewater, on the bottle it says Thai Whiskey but it’s sweet and to me tastes more like rum. The best way to make it palatable is to mix it with Coca Cola.

This is one of those stories where the end is best told first. In this case if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck but quacks like a drake you better steer clear.

It all started innocently enough with a pleasant dinner at the local Italian restaurant where the conversation eventually centered, as it always seems to do when you get a group of single men together, on wine, women and song. Dan said he had spotted a few bars around town and why not check them out. This decision was confirmed by acclamation and we headed for a place with garish signs in Thai and very loud music that looked like they would be able to serve a drink to a thirsty stranger. Well they did that, they also had a stage with a firemens pole, so a polite enquiry was shouted over the noise of the infernal sound system as to when we could expect scantily clad women to entertain us. The reply was “around midnight”, so we drunk up and left. It was at least ten minutes before my ears stopped ringing. By that time we had arrived at a place that was diametrically the opposite, sleek, sophisticated and music in the background where it belongs. This is where the Sang Som makes it’s appearance, a liter of it to be exact. The reason to buy a whole bottle at once is because it’s cheaper then by the glass, we are budget travelers after all. As the evening progresses a band comes on and does some very capable covers of Santana amongst others. We talk, listen to the band and polish of the bottle of Sang Som. At this point we have to decide, should we be sensible and go home, should we get another bottle of plonk or should we see what else is on in town on a Monday night. Of course we resolve to try our luck elsewhere. Having observed yesterday how to arrange transport we flag down the traffic in the street and within minutes someone stops and gives the five of us a ride to a club. Music even louder then in the first place we visited tonight greets us and the place is packed with Thais rocking the night away to the latest dance tunes and two DJ’s working the decks. We decide it’s party time and order another bottle of whiskey, some coke and a bucket of ice. I am starting to feel comfortably numb. Next to me is a gorgeous girl bumping and grinding the night away and really playing up to us, she surely knows how to twirl and shake booty at one stage even flashing her breasts at us. This is better then a strip show. Dan figures nothing ventured nothing gained and joins her for some cool and intimate dance moves of his own and the two really hit it off. At that point a Thai gentlemen comes over and says “Does your friend know he is dancing with a katoey?” Talk about being stung by a bee.

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