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Friday, January 08, 2010

Déjà Brothel View

Just as happened when E@L first came to Singapore in 1983, the Sanur taxi-driver overestimated the level of debauchery they were seeking as he took E@L and his buddy into pathways dim, where a small hotel had been converted into something more and yet, something less.

E@L and friend were actually looking for a bar where they could chat to girls, play a game of pool or two and drink a few beers. Something similar to the bars of Thailand.

This was exactly what E@L and a Dutch acquaintance from bar of the same hotel (The Cockpit) were looking for in pre-4FoW Singapore all those years ago.

And, as at that time, after walking through a small gate, they were confronted by a display of melancholy girls seated around a table. Here in Bali, there were about 20 girls each with a large button on their clothes showing a number. E@L ventured to ask who was from Bali but none of the girls put up their hands. They were from Java, one offered.

In Singapore, when the girls were trooped in for a viewing, there was no-one looking happy he recalled. E@L was all for running away immediately, but the Dutch guy wanted to ask the price. He converted it to Guilder and was shocked. "So expensive. In Amsterdam only xxx Guilder!" E@L was shocked at the price of the beer they were offered - $7. They left immediately and the taxi-driver apologetically, and perhaps pissed at not getting his finder's fee, took them to a disco in a car-park where beer cost the same.

In Sanur, it was the same. No-one smiled. Trafficked in from the adjacent large island, maybe from Jakarta or perhaps the small stone-age villages of the jungles where poverty and desperation were rife, these sex-slaves had given up so much. Dignity, freedom, their passports. Perhaps they still owed the snake-heads money for the privilege of being taken down to this level of degradation...

E@L and friend moved out quickly. The taxi-driver, apologetic and perhaps upset at not getting his finder's fee, took them instead to a Spa where they received normal Balinese massage, no Plus.

E@L

11 comments:

Indiana said...

There are some "good" pubs on the main strip in Sanur, these bieng of the play pool, drink beer...but as for the chat to girls (like Thailand) not so much. :-(

Carl Parkes said...

I'm no expert at this Sanur stuff, but according to my friend, Bill D., it's all in the south of Sanur. There's a street.

scott said...

I had the same experience in Cambodia, when after a day hiking through the jungle and hills I felt like a massage. I had read that the locals had a tradition in massage, so I thought I should support the local economy. My Tuk Tuk driver took me down the same dark lanes and I found myself in a split room with one side a type of (Un)grandstand, with little girls lined up to be selected by the European men around me who sense immediately I was in teh wrong place as they turned away to hide their own dignity as I turned to walk out. I couldn't help but think of my own very young daughter in the hands of those males. As I left and also explained that I wanted most of my body massaged and not just that part.

On another note the massage I eventually got was very thorough, she beat the hell out of me!

expat@large said...

Carl: our taxi driver said "not safe" as we drove through a bar type area, which I infer meant he didn't get a finder's fee there.

Scott: probably the old Vietnamese refugee camp k11 out of Phnom Penh. Famous for its age bandwidth. Then there are the orange sellers who fuck if you buy their citrus profferings, and there is another street downtown with allegedly small curtain-separated rooms. Although I have been to PP I missed all these delights, but I read about them in a book called "Off The Rails in Phnom Penh"

expat@large said...

More on the "orange sellers"of PP here - http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/eo20020108a1.html - I may have mixed the two groups up.

Istvanski said...

A bunk up with vitamin c thrown in?
Well I never...

Skippy-san said...

Pre 4FoW Singapore?

No wonder I don't remember it when my ship pulled in their in 1981. And here I thought for all these years it was just because of all the booze we drank.

We did have some "old hands" take us to Gelang-home of the silent pleasures though. And Bugis was definitely NOT a shopping street!

expat@large said...

Skip: In those days, yes Bugis. (Read "Singapore Girl" by James Eckhart or "Saint Jack" by Paul Theroux or see the Bogdanovich movie.)

Top 10 (now Top 5) was a cinema until at least mid-late 80s. Not sure if the other bars were there then. But it was not a place the taxi-drivers would automatically take drunken foreigners to anyway, unlike what they do nowadays.

Paula said...

If there is a Hell, maybe that's what it was designed for - those who traffic in and thrive on the sexual abuse and slavery of defenceless children...

When in Bali (many years ago) I remember a Dutch tourist relaying to me his shock at a local man liaising with him for sex with his son (a small child)!! OMG

Just a suggestion: What about going to a normal bar/club, and socialising (okay chatting up) the local/or otherwise girls/women - without the money stuff? You might even meet a masseuse!

Skippy-san said...

What about going to a normal bar/club, and socialising (okay chatting up) the local/or otherwise girls/women - without the money stuff?

What about it? Aside from the language issue, ( How many Gweilos speak Bahasra?) the simple truth is that there are a whole differnet set of values in play here. Chat up western girls? Kind of defeats the point in coming doesn't it?

Paula said...

Not sure if I'd call them "values" Skippy-san!?!

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