Ask anyone you know who has visited Phuket where to go for a party and the first place they will direct you to is Patong’s famous Bangla Road. Even on a quiet night, Bangla is a bustle with thousands of tourists throwing their names away at Hollywood, Seduction, Tiger, Suzy Wongs or any one of the other hundreds of bars lining Phuket’s sinful street. It promises to be a big night out followed by an even bigger hangover the next day.
It’s another story however, after being in Phuket for four months. You’re ashes over Bangla’s high prices. You’ve seen your fair share of ladyboys and quite frankly are over the entire experience as well as the crammed tuk tuk ride there and Bangla’s weary pop soundtrack.
Another thing you start to get pretty emo about, is that it’s REALLY hard making friends in a place where the majority of the peeps you meet are only here for 2 weeks before they return back to their glam city lives.
You start reminiscing about being ‘scene’ in Jozi Town with it’s intimately debaucherous social circle, and a night life ‘heat’ magazine would be proud of. You had your homies and you had your routine: Margherita Mondays, Tequila Tuesdays, Wednesday night was chill night so you could partly recover from Monday and Tuesday, but also to brace yourself for the long haul from Thirsty Thursday through to Hangover Hell Friday – where ‘hair of the dog’ is the only way to survive and then the epic arrival of Sinful Saturday. For some reason – Johannesburg locals subconsciously seem to suspect that the world is going to end every Sunday and that Saturday night is to be spent as though it were your last night on earth.
Needless to say – sitting on the opposite end of the social scale, is VERY frustrating. For starters – I’ve been spending FAR TOO MUCH energy trying to convince a bunch of Korean wakeboarders to come out with me. They’re here for at least the next five months. Which would mean -if they ever actually agree to hang out – that I’ll be able to spend Friday nights interacting with some people who I share a common interest with – despite the fact that they can’t speak English, instead of sitting in my single serving apartment by myself watching Gossip Girl and shuving yet another jumbo can of cheddar Pringles down my pie hole.
It’s like us western girls in Thailand are wearing a cloak of invisibility. The only thing the western guys see is fluttering thai eyelashes with money magnets built into their underwear! They’re fine! They’re fulfilling their adolescent fantasies of petit beauties with long flowing dark hair and a fiery passion burning from deep within those big brown eyes.
Then there is the Thai mans opinion of the Farang woman living in Thailand… what follows should leave your jaw hanging on the floor:
According to a Thai newspaper writer up in Bangkok “single white women… experience a precipitous plunge in self-esteem” after moving to Thailand because attempting to compensate for our “inability to interest farang men by engaging in humiliating episodes of attention-seeking, such as drunkenly removing her shirt and clambering onto the stage of a go-go bar to arrhythmically shift her heavy frame among the stable of bored-but-still-sexy bar girls” is “typical of the female farang experience.“ After all: “how can she not be sickened by her blotchy face and hairy forearms when everyday she must witness the smooth, faultless skin of the local women that all her male friends date?” This – of course, encourages us to hunt “unsuspecting male tourists in the backpacker districts for intoxicated, careless and regret-laden intercourse.”
Said newspaper writer continued to write “It’s almost inconceivable that she can remain totally unaffected by how poorly her sweaty, hulking figure compares to those of the much more slender and lithe Thai women who surround her,” and furthermore “It may be that she is unconsciously suppressing her anguish, which could eventually explode and result in a series of self-destructive acts, such as throwing herself from an upper-story window of an RCA nightclub in front of all her friends.”
It’s like we have leprosy!
The last time I experienced a social oppression of such epic status crushing proportion was when my mom caught me smoking spliff in high school back in the 90′s and she grounded me for a year!
All I can say is THANK GOD (and my blogging boss) for giving me the assignment of going to hunt out the best spots to stay in Phuket! As fate would have it – while I was trawling the backpacking district for some hip digs in the budget accomodation category – I found Bodega – a flashpackers in Patong that I will write about in my next post.
After interviewing the owner Robin, myself and a friend decided to hangout because the joint was pretty cool. WAY cooler than the generic dives along Bangla Road…. but again – more details about Bodega in the next post…
Over the course of the evening I meet a girl – a Farang girl named Ashley – who is also teaching English here in Phuket. Ashley’s been here for two years and has herself an awesome Thai guy for a boyfriend. Ashley and I get speaking about the difficulties of being a white girl on this island and she brings up www.chickynet.com
A social networking site for farang women in Phuket!
I don’t remember ordering this wish from my genie – but apparently he thought my silent longing for some girl friends was his command….
So I punch in the address, sign up and wait to be confirmed. About an hour later I have access to the five month old chickynetphuket network of over 300 potential female friends who meet up regularly for various events.
A SOCIAL LIFE ON THE HORIZON!!!!
The Northern chicky’s – meet up for brunch once a month;
The ‘Yummy Mummy’s’ – is a social circle for moms with children over 4 years of age;
The ‘Kamala chicky’s’ - who clearly live in…. well…. Kamala;
The ‘Green chicky’s’ - for all those who love nothing more than spending time in the garden;
The ‘Party chicks’ – need I say more?
The ‘Dancing girls’ – Salsa, belly dancing, jazz, ballroom dancing lessons, etc…
‘Chicky Book Club’ – meeting on the last weekend of each month – this month they are discussing Eat, Pray, Love…
‘Southern chicky’s’ – from the South end of the island meeting up monthly too;
‘Teenz’ – for mums with bored teens;
‘Chicky Dinner Club’ – dinner at a different restaurant each month – boyfriends welcome;
‘Sporty girls’ – for the aspiring athletes out there – muay thai,yoga, golf, sailing, running, etc…
‘Charity fundraising’ chicky’s - are busy organising Christmas dinner for some orphans on the island;
‘Ladies tennis club’ – speaks for itself;
‘Andawomen Players’ – for those interested in the performing arts;
‘Meditation and tai chi’ – Aaaaaaaauuuuuuummmmmmm……..
‘Doggy walking club’ – so you have company next time you’re out excercising Rover;
‘Farang girls with Thai guys’ – you might be surprised about what you hear in this group;
‘Desperate Hotelwives’ – for those married to men who are married to their hotels;
and then ‘Grace Division’ – a group I started yesterday in hopes of finding more girls to wakeboard with….
From what I can tell from taking a sneak peek at some of the members profiles – is that these girls genuinely have become friends and help each other out when they can – whether it’s a lady looking for a decent hairdresser or a good ol’ western style wax – because God knows how impossible it is finding those here, someone wanting to swap something, advice on finding work or other services and secrets about the island – the ladies do what they can to help solve the problem and have fun while they do it.
Another cool element of the Chicky network is that there is the Chicky Privilege card which you can use at selected places for AWESOME discounts in and around the island.
The network is PURE GENIOUS!
I have no idea WHY nobody’s thought of it before…. It may have saved us white girls from public disgrace a long time ago….
The girl who created it deserves a nobel peace prize!