Monday, August 10, 2009

Taipei famous spots: The combat zone and old Asia

For one of John's last nights in Taipei - he left often and came back - we went to the combat zone.

The combat zone was an old strip of bars left over from when the American servicemen were stationed in Taipei.

As non-expat young guys we never went there, but it was interesting to see how stereotypes of Asia were alive and well.

We rarely went there because it was an odd place that reminded you of Thailand or the Philippines with its neon lights and bars with names like Malibu or California Dreaming, and girls in the entrance shouting at you to come in. You simply didn’t see this anywhere else in Taipei - of course there were hundreds of Adult KTVs and whorehouses, but the sell was always soft, passive in fact, hidden behind a door.

We went in the first place, The Bull and Parrot, and soon got a reminder of the most important reason why we didn’t go there normally: paying for sex or company was totally unnecessary in Taipei.

We ordered drinks and very soon four not so young or good-looking girls came and sat next to us. They themselves obviously didn't get out of this area very often because they should have guessed from our age and dress we weren't going to be forthcoming with the cash. They made basic conversation about where we were from, and we answered in Chinese that we were students, but it still didn't shake them off.

"You want to buy us a house drink?" asked my one.

I shouldn't have asked because I knew it would just encourage her, but i was curious: "How much?" I asked.

"400NT," she replied and I choked a little on my Taiwan beer.

"That is ok," I replied. "Just here to have a few drinks with my friends."

She continued. "I would like to talk to you," she said pushing herself up close.

"No, thanks," I replied but i was beginning to lose my patience and get stressed. "Why don't you get me a drink for the pleasure of talking to me?"

We moved to the place next door and on entering told the barmaid not to send any girls if she wanted us to stay and drink beer.

We sat down next to a group of guys from Silicon Valley who were in town for the technology show. They all had a girl next to them and kept asking us if we wanted one. We told them it was not necessary to pay for female company in Taiwan, and they just laughed incredulously.

All around the bar European or American businessmen were paying ridiculous amounts of money for the chat of some very average looking girl; and they were doing it because they believed it was necessary. It was Asia after all, and, especially if they had spent a lot of time in China and Thailand, they had picked up the impression that all girls in bars were whores and any that didn't require payment were sat at home knitting or reading Buddhist scripture. They had no idea there was a westernised middle class who were out in bars having fun.

We left after a few hours and offered to take them with us to the other bars, but they knew better - or were scared either way...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think you're being a little hard.

Not every short term visitor has the time to go to Carnegies and pick a girl up.
Most of these guys will be in Taiwan a day or two and the easiest option is to hit these kind of places.
Plus there will not be any complications with a pissed up smokey smelling girl at your hotel.

Asian businessmen do the exact same all across Asia at the venues foreigners don't frequent.

When I visit Thailand or HK I sometimes indulge in the pleasures of the flesh.

I don't always have time to hit a bar or even want to, to find a girl. So a lady of the night is suffice.

I've never tried it in Taiwan, but I may give it a go.
I hear there is some 'Gentleman's club near the new Stadium that caters for such things.

Jack Nicholson said, 'we pay them to go away'.
That's one beauty about ladies of the night.