So I successfully completed three nights of being a promotions girl for Reggae bar. While it was nice to get the small income (can’t complain when you’re getting free alcohol all night plus 300Baht and you’re only paying 200Baht for your bed…) I really enjoyed the chance to get to meet so many different people. Holding a pack of flyers in your hand is a great excuse to talk to complete strangers. The Tiger Bar and Reggae Bar promoters were a great group of people, almost exclusively Brits interestingly enough, and we definitely knew how to have fun. I got to watch the sunrise after my first night of work and then sit on the curbside commiserating with other over tired staff the next day. Then I got to see what influence the Thai mafia/police (same thing…) have around here on my second night, then on my last night I was reminded that my job was actually illegal. Technically.
On most/all of the Thai islands, the place is controlled by the Thai mafia. The only reason bars, especially on the beach, party until the sun comes up is because they pay off the police enough to keep them from shutting down the music. Unfortunately, sometimes things don’t go to plan. Someone doesn’t get their money, or someone elses causes a problem and people get angry. A few days before my first day of work a stabbing occurred at one of the beach bars. The story differs, some people say the guy survived, some insist he’s dead, some say it was a fight between two white guys, others say a Thai bar staff member was involved. Either way, the police were not happy about it. After a few days of uncooperation, the police decided they were going to starve out the information that they apparently think is being kept by some barstaff. So on my second night, all the bars on the island got the call that they had to shut down at 1am or there woul be trouble. Most Thai people don’t like trouble, in fact they really go out of their way to avoid it, so by 1am the island went dark despite the many many angry football fans who were waiting to watch the semi final game at 1:30am. It was a nil-nil game anyway; at least they didn’t have to miss any epic history making match. After walking to the beach just to briefly observe the shocked tourists standing around still trying to order alcohol, I headed home for a proper nights sleep.
Our third night out, the same call went out – 1am shut down. We started work at 7pm – an hour earlier than usual, however Claudia and I showed up at 7:20, unaware of the time change, grabbed our flyers then ran off to sit down for dinner… Very good work ethic, I know. After a yummy green curry we set out to actually start promoting, only to be quickly shut down. A strange looking Thai man had come around taking photos of the white promotion staff, then shortly after that our manager came around taking away our flyers and saying “Immigration police, go go go, come back in one hour.” So we walked off around the corner, found the Tiger Bar staff and joined them at their bar to wait it out and share travel stories.
After our hour waiting period I wandered back to find the immigration police had decided that Reggae Bar wasn’t such a bad place and they would in fact be spending the whole night there. Hmm.. I walked up to the bar, was very generously still given my full wages, then told to hang around outside the bar and discreetly ‘promote’ Reggae Bar without the flyers for awhile. That didnt have to last very long since a curfew was already set. This time it seems the cops relented and allowed one of the beach bars to keep their big screens running without sound so as not to upset the football hooligans two nights in a row. After watching what seemed like the longest game ever with some fellow staff at the beach, I made it home in time to sleep for about three hours before an early wake up and a boat ride to the mainland.
Claudia and I made the ferry, then got into a minivan to drive down to Hat Yai where we hired a private taxi to drive us down aross the Malaysian border and back again. Got to love those visa runs. So now we have one night in Hat Yai before heading to Koh Pha Ngan once again for full moon number three. Hey why not, right?
Then, my very big news is that I may be headed Down Under after all! Will keep you updated…