When I go to Thailand, I tend to do a lot more drinking and cavorting than I do at home. After all I am on vacation (or at least I’m on a working vacation). Truth be told when I’m at home, I’m a virtual teetotaler. In Bangkok, sometimes after having a dinner, I like to stop at one of the outdoor bars along the Sukhumvit or near Washington Square and have a drink or two before I head back to my hotel. I’m not much of a beer drinker, although I do admit that Singha beer is pretty good as far as beers go, Leo goes down smooth and Chang has somewhat of malty taste, and with it’s higher alcoholic content has quite a kick. In fact if I want to go to sleep, drinking one large bottle of Chang definitely will knock me out. More effective than a sleeping pill, that’s for sure.
Like I said, as I’m not really a beer drinker, I usually will opt for something simple like a ‘rum and coke’ as my nightcap. Sometimes it can get very frustrating going to a Thai bar and trying to order this traditional mixed drink as most of the bartendresses have difficulty understanding what I’m talking about. On many occasions, the cocktail waitress will bring me just a bottle of coke and glass with ice and I will end up shaking my head in frustration, looking into the puzzled girl’s face and asking her ‘but where’s the rum?” Obviously, there’s language barrier at work here as rum and coke does not compute in their language. Now, if I were to say Ba Car Dee coke with the emphasis on the 2nd syllable in Bacardi, that usually does the trick; then the bartendress or cocktail waitress knows exactly what I want. If push comes to shove, I point to the bottle of Bacardi behind the bar. This little scenario usually results in laughs and smiles on both sides.
Now, rum and coke at a decent outdoor bar along the Sukhumvit will cost about 100 baht (2.50USD). I remember on one occasion, I went out for drinks (and to sample some local color) on a hot sweltering night in Bangkok at about 12 midnight. Stopping at an outdoor bar along the Sukhumvit, I was immediately greeted by a bevy of lovely young Isaan bargirls smiling at me. Taking a seat at one of the tables, I looked up at the chalkboard behind the bar and saw that they were running a special for Mekong Cola for only 40 baht. For those of don’t know, Mekong is a very powerful local Thai whiskey. Doing some quick arithmetic in my head - the Mekong cola at 40 baht was 6o baht cheaper than rum and coke, so I said to myself why not play the role of frugal tourist tonite? One of the gals proceeded to join me at the table plopping herself on my lap and I proceeded to order a Mekong cola for me and my newfound friend. Drinking a Mekong cola with Morlam music blaring in the background and a beautiful Thai lady on my lap, I was having a wonderful time. I was thinking to myself, the Mekong Cola did not taste that much different than rum and coke (must be the coke). Finishing my cocktail, I ordered another round. After downing my second dose , as it was getting past the witching hour, I decided to head back to my hotel to get some shuteye much to the chagrin of the young bargirl who obviously liked my company.
Next morning, I woke you with a headache that wouldn’t quit. It felt like someone had kicked me in the head. It wasn’t until later in the day after I ran my customary 5 miles and worked out in the gym, did the headache go away. Well, I definitely learned my lesson from the prior night’s escapade. No more Mekong Cola for me!. Local Thai whiskey is some toxic stuff! From now on, I would pay an extra 60 baht to have my customary rum and coke, excuse me Ba Car Dee coke. One night in Bangkok, will definitely make a poor man humble especially if you’ve been drinking Mekong Cola!