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Four Indians Walk into a Go-Go Bar


Four Indians Walk into a Go-Go Bar



I don’t know any people from India. I’ve seen them all over the place in Thailand, especially in tourist zones. But I have no idea how they think or what they act like. Other than stereotypes I hear from other expats and some Thai people, I am clueless.

So, when I was waiting to meet my friend at a go-go bar on Soi Cowboy and I saw four young Indian guys come in, I immediately switched on my “voyeur mode”. “This will be good” I thought to myself. These guys were all fairly clean-cut and in their late twenties or early thirties. Jeans, T-shirts and sneakers was apparently the uniform of the day.

The first thing I noticed is that they were very difficult to get seated. A waitress/hostess attempted to station them in several different open tables. At each one they would have an intense discussion and the leader of the pack would voice their disapproval and they’d move on to the next selection. In the end they chose a spot where a girl would be dancing directly above them and right in front of a blaring speaker. I guess they were going for maximum stimulus.

The next thing that was rather peculiar was the rigmarole that ensured over drink selection. As in most bars and restaurants in Thailand, a drink menu is always on display or handed out to patrons. I’ll be honest here, I usually know what I want to drink before I get handed a menu so I’ve rarely even looked at one other than to determine it is not the food menu. But not our Indian lads … oh no. They were handed one menu between them and each of them scoured each side individually. Then another heated discussion took place and after about ten minutes the leader ordered two draft beers to share between the four young men.

The foursome chatted amongst themselves, pushing the beer aside and hardly touching it. When the half-naked young Thai lady arrived on their “stage”, all conversation stopped. In fact, it appeared that all breathing stopped. All four of these young Indians sat rigidly still staring a hole through the dancer. They didn’t even blink. They smiled, they stared, but they didn’t move a muscle. This went on for three, four and five songs. Between dancers they sat quietly barely looking at each other. When a new entertainer appeared they resumed their granite-faced staring. It was ultra-creepy.

No one else approached them. Dancers who regularly fish for drinks didn’t even come to their side of the bar. The waitress also acted like they weren’t even there. I felt like I was left out on some big secret.

They sat for an hour, paid for the two beers they didn’t drink and left like a small school of fish, each right on the tailfin of the other. I’m not sure what emotion I should have felt, but what came up was anger. I just spent an hour of my life keenly observing a good sampling of what should have been an informative activity. Instead I got nothing, nada, zip! I knew no more than I did before.

So that’s the story this picture tells. Four Indians walk into a go-go bar … and nothing happened. I am open to outside interpretations of this encounter. Anybody?

Orlando Barton

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