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Thursday, December 23, 2004


Chaweng nightlife revisited

The "Reggae Pub" turns out to be a vast open-air barn of a place, which is located at the end of a peninsula in the lagoon. (This lagoon is just west of the main (only) street in Chaweng, so if you want a quiet night in don't choose a hotel on this side. I'm not sure there are any hotels that side of the street anyway). The peninsula is lined with endless bars so to get to the Reggae pub I had to run a sort of gender-bent Tailhook gauntlet of shrieking and grabbing bar-girls. The venue itself has big pictures of Bob Marley and other traditional reggae accoutrements, (along with the Confederate flag: wonder what Jeff Davis, or indeed Bob Marley himself) would have thought of that?

The very best thing about the reggae pub is the music, provided by a live band fronted by one of the best singers I have ever heard. I didn't get her name, but she is a little Thai girl with dyed blonde dreadlocks and an entirely magnificent voice. She covered a song by Mary J Blige and it sounded like Queen Mary herself was singing it. I was amazed to see such a powerful voice coming from such a tiny body.

One interesting thing about Chaweng is the tourists who want to be bargirls. Two nights ago I saw some white girls dancing on a bar (this was one of those wooden, open-air bars usually danced on by the Thai bargirls) and last night there were a couple of Aussie girls pitching in on grabbing duty outside another bar. I'm told by my Romanian friend Slava that there is a new craze for "agrotourism", where people from the cities can stay on working farms and get up close and personal with the livestock: I guess this is just the same idea applied to a whole 'nother industry...

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