Bump & Grind - Hua Hin
July 2003©Nigel Spiers

Here we are on a train to Hua Hin Ė 4 hours of rocking and rolling south from Bangkok. The jungle is so lush you can feel the growth and hear it clawing at the sides of our carriage like a hungry Audrey II.

Hua Hin became popular early last century when the Thai royal family established a summer palace to avoid the heat and smog of Bangkok. The King & Queen of Thailand now spend most of the year here.

The luxurious bungalows at the Central Resort are set in lush gardens with massive Flame trees and trailing Lianas. The old retainer, dressed in silk pantaloons like something out of the British Raj manages just one of our suitcases before coming to a wheezing and expectant standstill. After ten minutes of sweating over the familyís luggage I went over and gently told him to f... off.

We rush down to the sea only to be met by a voracious phalanx of hawkers lying in wait at the top of the beach. The smell of crab entrails from 50 beach barbecue stalls is overpowering. We canít understand why nobody is swimming but Oliver races over the dazzling white hot sand for the waves howling in pain and then complains of heatstroke in the 38 degree midday sun. We all retire to the shade and tranquillity of the resort pool.

Next day we are gently swaying through the hills above Hua Hin two-up on large black elephants. Even Roz doesnít dare complain about the slow and lumpy progress lest the elephant throws itself over the ledge and into the eternal peace of the valley below.

Back in Bangkok towering anvils of brilliant white surging clouds march into the city during the late afternoon. Lightening flickers between the glass-sided skyscrapers and the thunder roars down the shopping canyons - this is the start of the wet season.

My colleague and I finish work and gratefully sink into a couple of barstools only to be greeted by the local house band. They launch into a series of "Carpainters" numbers. The singer has a nasty little lisp and he struggles through "Clothes To You" and "Mathquerade" unerringly missing every high note. The after-work crowd is barely listening but intuitively fall silent as he attempts the last line of the beautiful Beatles number "Here, There and Everywhere". He misses the last note by a mile and immediately develops a coughing fit to mask his embarrassment.

Itís time to take my first look at Patpong Road - wow! this really is the home of bump and grind. Stalls galore selling Tee Shirts to Tempura with fierce determination and humour. My favourite shirt is "Take Me Drunk Iím Home".
However this street is rightly famous for the dozens of strip clubs and the hundreds of gorgeous raven haired young women who have made Pole Dancing an art-form.

The greasy salesmen on the pavement is absolutely insistant that it is in our best interest to take a closer look inside his club and who are we to refuse his kind invitation.

We are truly delighted - there's none of the usual seediness or bored looking aged hookers listlessly leaning against a couple of poles. No - here there are dozens of sensational looking women all dancing energetically and amazingly they have a light in their clear young eyes and are laughing and clearly having a great time.

This is Thailand where the bodies are heavenly and the heads are in paradise.

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