Just have to say that those were the best articles I’ve read in a long time in any magazine, bodybuilding or otherwise. Part one and two were like reading a good novel. All were entertaning, interesting and really made you think. Nice work Shugs!
Ditto. Chris has me wanting to test out the whole ‘exploration of self’ thing. And to play with the bar gils of course!
I too enjoyed the Thialand Trilogy articles. I would like to see more pictures. I have a couple questions for Chris: Did you ever travel alone? How are the locals attitudes towards Americans? What is the crime rate like? Did you ever have any concerns for your personal safety? Nice work on the articles.
Thanks, guys, glad you liked the series.
Justin - I have a lot more pics; I wish I could’ve fit them all in. Some of the more interesting ones are of the food carts that you find every three feet in Thailand. They serve everything. I ate fruits I’d never seen before and meat on a stick that I don’t even want to know what it was. The insect carts were amazing. Every insect you can think of cooked up and for sale. I didn’t try these because I was warned I could be on the toilet for three days straight if I ate the wrong bug. I would have liked to try them, but I didn’t want to ruin half the trip if I got sick.
Also, most go-go bars wouldn’t allow pics to be taken inside. That’s why most of the bar-girl pics are outside in the streets. I wish I could’ve sneaked off a shot a two inside. Some of these places were tiny, the size of a GNC in a mall, yet had 40 girls on stage and running around in bikinis, lingerie or costumes.
I traveled alone for three days of the trip. My buddy Chuck and I separated and he went to Chang Mai and I went to Pattaya. Later I took him back to Pattaya. I switched hotels four times in nine days. Chuck had been to Thailand a few times before, but it was my first trip. It was the best thing I’ve ever done separating from him. You catch yourself depending on the experienced traveler and missing out on the adventure. You have to solo it to really catch a righteous buzz.
Someone once said that being lost and alone in a city at night where you don’t speak the language is like being dead - like you cease to exist. Not true. It’s the most alive you’ll ever be. You just sit back and think, “I’m in Thailand, it’s 3AM and I’m on the back of a motorcycle taxi speeding through Bangkok…” Makes your regular life back home seem pretty dull.
As for the locals attitudes towards Americans, well, it’s mixed. You’re looked upon as rich and important my some, but there’s probably some resentment as well. Like Mexico, some see you as a mark, a dumb tourist with too much money to throw around. But their economy depends a lot on tourists so most treat you like a king. Part of that is cultural as well. Thais have a way of making you feel comfortable. They’re very friendly. Every time we went into a restaurant, someone would run to get a cool cloth and come wipe us off (it was damned humid there.) You just always felt really important. Like I said, part cultural, part because you’re a “rich farang”. I really liked the Thais myself. Very easy going and quick to smile, some of that stemming from being Buddhists. I really dug the spiritual vibe.
Speaking of service, I don’t think I wrote about the bathrooms in the articles, did I? Well, I’m taking up too much space here, but if anyone wants to hear the bathroom story, bump this thread and tell me.
Crime - I got mixed signals here. Most expats said they have no fear of walking the city at night. Others told me my watch was “too nice” to walk the city alone wearing. (It was an old Timex Ironman!) I don’t have any official crime stats, but they’re pretty strict over there in some areas and no one wants to go to the “monkeyhouse” as they call it (jail). I never felt threatened my whole trip, but I was very careful with my wallet in the touristy areas. I think it’s safer in Bangkok at night than Mexico, maybe even some US cities. Heck, I’ve felt more on guard in San Antonio. I’m told the Thai cops will “fine” you if you’re not careful, (like Mexico) but they’re trying to clean that up now.
Any more Q’s, just fire away. I could’ve written a dozen articles about the trip.
Keep going Chris,we’re listening.Anything else really crazy stand out in your mind?Did Dennis James let you see his Flex Training Manual?Man,you should have interviewed him,that would have been sooooo interesting. . . . .(kidding)
Chris, Go ahead. Tell us the bathroom stories.
Yep i would like to hear the bathroom story as well.
As a bodybuilder, we gotta know about the bathrooms. Do tell…
chris…just wanted to throw in my congrats on an awesome article…i’m sure i speak for everyone else when i say…whatever you can remember, we’d love to hear it.
I just re-read all the articles again. I have to say that may be the most entertaining articles in T-Mag history. I really enjoyed them. I can understand how you start to feel a sense of compassion for the “bar girls.” because I got it just from reading the articles. Is your degree in journalism? Your talent shows in the articles. Mexico, Thailand…Where you going next?
They don’t put this stuff in the guidebooks but they really should. Maybe under “Bathroom Behavior Around the World.”
I’m at a club in Pattaya with the “chocolate man” mentioned in one of the published articles and a couple of nice virginal Thai girls who begged to bask in our presence. (Okay, okay, we paid them.) This nightclub featured a Las Vegas style singing/dancing/comedy show every hour or so. You’d dance around your table, then watch the show, then dance some more to Thai techno and wait on the next show. Pretty cool.
I knew Thais had some odd bathroom behaviors before I came so I was prepared. First off, there’s not much privacy. In American there are laws concerning bathroom construction. When the door is opened to go in people standing outside shouldn’t be able to see people pissing; that’s why many US bathrooms use double doors, little maze-like walls etc. Not in Thailand. In fact, in some beer bars, there may not be a door and you essentially pee in public. If you’re at a beer bar you’re probably drinking, so this isn’t much of a concern given a combination of jet lag and Singha beer. You may also have to pay a few baht to use the bathroom. That’s just a few pennies in US funds so it’s no biggie. But then you may have to buy toilet paper. Everyone steals toilet paper in Thailand. I never really figured out why. Even the 5 star hotel I stayed at only gave you a quarter of a roll per day so you didn’t get greedy. Weird.
Oh, and in some places, it’s quite common for a woman to walk in and use the mirror while you’re standing there going. In one place, you used the bathroom in the go-go dancers’ dressing room. No one seemed to think this was weird so I played along. I asked myself, WWTCD - what would TC do? So then I started not going until I knew women were in there in homage to TC.
So, at the club (ExZite I think it was called) I needed to use the toilet. (No one knows what a bathroom is in Thailand, you always say “toilet”.) I walk in and there are at least a dozen Thai guys there with uniforms on. Attendants, I think, no big deal, just like at the finer Dairy Queens back in Texas (not). Two of them grab me up and lead me to a urinal as if I couldn’t find one for myself. They start making small talk and then, about the time I get the flow going, start massaging me. I knew some places did this so I wasn’t surprised. One worked on my shoulders and the other worked up and down my back. Then one rubbed my temples and talked about how big I was. (I’m still not sure EXACTLY what he was referring to.) It was getting a little difficult to concentrate with all the massaging and I was glad I’d gotten things started before all the massaging began, otherwise I might have gotten Shy Bladder Syndrome.
I finished up and they led me to the sink and started to wash my hands for me. Another one offers me a cool cloth on a platter then won’t let me wipe my own sweaty brow and does it himself. Finally they dry me off. Then it’s time for chiropractor stuff. One guy grabs either side of my head and cracks my neck in both directions. I can’t even do this to myself so it was a bit of a surprise. Then another lifts me off my feet and cracks my back, which felt pretty good but probably looked like he was giving me the Deliverance treatment. Finally, it’s over and they ask for a 100 baht tip for each guy who’d worked on me. I hate to be asked for a tip, so I give them all twenty, which is still higher than any Thai would give them. (Remember, farangs are walking ATM machines to many Thais.) They wai (bow) to me and lead me to the door.
I head back to our table refreshed and tell my friend to go to the bathroom. “I don’t need to go,” he says.
“Just go, man.”
“Um, okay, if you say so.”
He comes back in 20 seconds. “What’s wrong?” I ask.
“Chris, I walked in and saw that the attendants were holding other guys’ dicks while they peed!”
I was shocked. “What? They didn’t hold mine!”
Then I got a little upset. Why didn’t I get the full treatment? Did they think an American couldn’t handle the full Thai potty experience? Heck, I could take it! I’d had my hand down a katoey’s bikini after all! (See part II of article series). I had the thousand yard stare! I can handle the culture shock! Heck, I was shock proof by then!
Now, remember the jet lag mixed with beer thing? I wasn’t drunk, but I wasn’t in my normal state of mind. Luckily I realized that I would not prefer to be helped in that manner anyway and was no longer upset about my unfair treatment in the bathroom. My friend simply didn’t go the rest of the night and was looking a little strained by 4AM. I was also left wondering what would’ve happened if I’d needed to take a dump instead of just a leak. Shudder
Nice story, Shugs!
If you’re going to be jet-setting around the world for T-mag from now on, I’ll send you a copy of the anti-jet-lag diet article that I wrote. TC said he didn’t think it would fit into T-mag’s format too well, but it’s got good info if you’re crossing multiple time zones. Just let me know if you want it.
As for all you guys on the thread who’ve never experienced Asia: all I can say is I pity you. The only men I know who don’t like Asia (not just Thailand) are the ones who haven’t been here. Do yourselves a favor, save up some money and take a trip out. A good percentage of you will end up like me - not coming back!
I to also enjoyed your articles on the LOS,
I live here now and have to say you did a good job on your research. But I must tell you there is alot more to Thailand than meets the eye, try spending a few months here and you will see it in a whole new light. Theres no place easier than here to be a rock star and not even play in a band.
Also if you ever make it out here again look me up and I will show some true debacle.
Not that missed much but just a different angle.
The Ol’ Kid - Yep, your sarcasm is on target. I went to that gym planning to ask James for an interview, but he sounded like such a lunkhead I just didn’t bother.
Justin- I don’t have a degree in journalism, but I taught it for a few years as a high school teacher. (Smaller schools always stick the English teacher with journalism, degree or no degree. I also taught speech, psychology, sociology, writing, and a half dozen other subjects.) I had a few things published in newspapers as a teen and college student and again as a teacher, but no, no degree. I have degrees in English, psychology, and education.
Where am I going next? No plans yet. It’s really up to T-mag. If such “off topic” articles are well-received I’m sure I’ll be going somewhere else in the future. Amsterdam? Spain to run with the bulls? Who knows? Can’t wait though. I may go to Vegas to the Olympia or Canada to SWIS later this year. Not sure. I’m sure Toronto is just as wild as Bangkok!
Char-dawg - I think I have that article; I just forgot to read it before I left. The jet lag was pretty bad, but that’s half the fun. I wrote a good part of the articles after popping awake at 4AM with nothing better to do. By the end of the week, I was staying up until 4AM. Wish I had a reason to come out to Japan, BTW. I’ve always wanted to visit there. Side note: The first thing I ever had published in the fitness field was in a Japanese powerlifting mag. It was about how a Swiss ball can be used short term to boost powerlifting PR’s with beginners. I have a copy of it, but the only thing in English is my name.
Brown Cloud - I’m sure I missed a lot being there only about a week and probably got a few details wrong. It would be like someone from Asia coming to the US, only experiencing New York nightlife and judging the whole country by it. Hopefully I didn’t do that too much, but I admit my experience was limited in scope. But as TC said, I wasn’t sent there to focus on the whole country, just the “T” stuff. If I ever come back, I’ll look you up. (The mod gave me your e-mail address.)
I’ve received only a few angry letters about the articles. TC posted a couple in Reader Mail. The only really nasty criticism I got came from a friend of a friend who has married a bar girl. His friends tell me I nailed the bar girl persona and the angry guy is angry because the truth hurts. (He’s had a rough time with his young wife I hear.) I think I was fair when talking about the girls though. It’s easy to pity them, many deserve pity, but that doesn’t mean they still won’t take your soul!
They were interesting articles Chris S, as for the letter saying you slagged off the bar girls - what a sad, sad, man that guy must have been for marrying a prostitute
Hey I am getting ready to start a cycle of Tribex, M, and Methoxy-7,and T2 pro. I live and In Thailand , and the only thing you can get here, is creatine and steriods. I know that epehdra is banned here, but what about the other supplments can they be shipped here? I just had my friend bring it over on his flight here. If you can help fill me in.
Brown Cloud- I think you can get just about anything you want under the personal use law. I friend of mine in Bangkok orders his stuff, it gets opened, but it always gets in because it’s for personal use. He even orders “evil” protein powder. I’m not sure if Biotest ships straight through, but I think they do. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org and they’ll help you out. You can also try netrition.com.
Chris, if you ever head to Toronto (again), let me know. I’m sure I could get you arrested.
Quick note: If you liked these articles and would like to read more about this type of thing, check out the e-book Private Dancer. You can download it for free at www.stephenleather.com or follow the link at www.stickmanbangkok.com/interview1.html. It’s fiction (and needs a little editing) but really captures the bar girl scene.
Demo: It ain’t a party 'til the cops arrive, as they say. Or is that, it ain’t a party 'til two girls start dancing naked on a table touching each other. Whichever.
You got them both wrong. It ain’t a party until two female cops start strip-dancing together. Chocolate syrup is optional, depending on the season.
I'm going to go crawl in bed and convince the vixen that it's a handcuff night. ;0