As chance would have it, the day that I arrived in Bangkok was my 27th birthday. After a busy past couple of months working, I needed a vacation and the timing was perfect. Not only was my goal to start off my birthday with a trip, I wanted to have a good time. For me, that means going out, being random, libations, and exploring.
Our second night in Bangkok was the first night we were actually able to go out, and technically it was still my birthday so I wanted to hang. All of us were exhausted from our boat tour and shopping, but my travel buddies kindly went along with me. We tried and failed to go to our hotel bar and couldn’t find much else in the area. Just when hope was lost I remembered seeing a bar on our way back to our hotel. It was on the same street, and from my memory, it wasn’t very far away. It seemed walkable. Key word, seemed.
We started walking down a low lit street and quickly realized it was not as close as I remember (my bad y’all!). Once we reached the bar, it looked like everyone inside was having a family dinner.
After about a minute of laughing at ourselves and being frustrated that we came that far, a girl inside the bar waved us in. Obviously we were hesitant to walk in, because Bangkok. Despite our hesitance, we walked up to the girl.
Introducing Cher Ry
“You’re three pretty girls. It’s not safe.”
That’s was all I understood and heard. This came from a petite girl with blonde tips and super cute white romper.
“Everyone is not nice. I can take you somewhere or you can come in here and drink, but it’s not safe”
I gave my crew a look of apology. From her summoning hand I could see the same gold, sparkly polish I had on. She looked much safer than walking back down the dark street.
“This is my bar, but we aren’t opened yet. The grand opening is the 18th. You can come in for one drink for free”
Our group didn’t exchange words, we just kind of looked at each other and gave that ‘why not’ shoulder shrug. So, here we were intruding on a family dinner and thanking Cher Ry for saving us from whatever was on that street.
As soon as we sat down glasses were filled and were not empty until we walked out nearly 4 hours later. One free drink turned into full blown fellowship. By the time we left we were Facebook friends and promised to come back in a few days for her grand opening. We learned about them and they learned about us. Of course there were language barriers, but we discovered that some things are universal. Drinking games, Beyoncé, The Walking Dead, and twerkin’. All universal.
After emptying a few bottles of Singha, and talking about everyone’s disdain for Trump we were comfortable and members of the group.
“I am Beyoncé!”
That was Cher Ry when we asked her if she knew about Beyoncé. Next was, “Do y’all twerk out here?”, one of us asked. The confused looked on their faces told us they didn’t know what we were talking about. So, one of us demonstrated. The look of confusion turned to awe.
“Teach me!” That was Cher Ry.
And she learned. Well, she tried to learned but didn’t think her butt could move like that. While the lessons were going, one of the guys in the group grabbed our attention and pointed to his phone. Sure enough, it was a video of a girl twerkin’ on him.
“Where is that?!” That was us.
He was at a club on Khao San Road, and we made plans to go the next day.
The following day we went to Khao San Road. We found nothing like we saw on the video. Yes, there were plenty of vibes, but they didn’t match what we were looking for. After walking the entire stretched of the road, we posted in Burger King.
“Google – hip hop clubs in Bangkok”
I was convinced they existed. A couple of minutes later I found a club near our hotel and we were calling Uncle Daddy to come pick us up. It was Wednesday and that meant ladies night and hip hop night. Double win.
Cars and taxis were everywhere when we pulled up and before we reached the front door it looked more promising than Khao San Road. We made our way to the elevator and took it up to the top floor. As soon as the doors opened, we heard Jezzy. It was lit.
If I didn’t look around at anyone else, I would have thought we were in America. There was even the resident drunk girl spilling alcohol everywhere and the arrogant guy that didn’t know how to say excuse me. We drank, we danced, we played find a Black guy, and we laughed. Despite feeling like home, our Black girl tribe stuck out like a sore thumb. Eventually someone walked to us and asked, “Where are y’all from?”
Introducing DJ Phife and Jay
We turned to find one of the only Black guys in the club.
“Detroit!” In the most Detroit way possible.
His name was DJ Phife and he was from Dallas. Just like us, he recently arrived in Bangkok and was happy to see other Black folk. After pleasantries were exchanged, we headed to the bar for more libations and salutations. Soon, a White guy with a red beard joined the group.
“Y’all from Detroit? Everybody I know from Detroit is crazy”. That was Jay. Jay was in Thailand for a fight he was participating in. But, we eventually learned that Jay was a choreographer and invented The Wobble.Yes, “wobble baby, wobble baby”.
“I caught a case about a week agooooooo”
Schmoney dances were all around and we got to know each other a little better and compared Bangkok adventures. Somehow it came up that we should go to another club. The guys were actually a group of three, and their other friend (who’s name I don’t know but I’m sure we followed each other on IG) was another DJ who did sets at both clubs. Being buzzed and carefree, we followed them out of the club and into one of the taxis.
Once we made it to Sugar Club, it was set in stone that Phife was the plug. It was lit. The entrance was lined with pictures of Ludacris, Nicki Minaj, Jay Z, and a bunch of other rappers. It was prime showcase of cultural appreciation and not appropriation.
More libations and salutations.
The DJ at the club was dope. There were go-go dancers, a stage, overly aggressive bouncers, and good vibes everywhere. And yes, there was a lot of twerkin’. The turn up was in full effect and again it felt like I was home. I couldn’t believe I was in Bangkok.
It must have been ladies’ night everywhere because they opened up the stage. One poor guy kept getting kicked off because he was dancing with all the girls. He settled on backing it up on every girl he could find. I’m convinced he was a Black girl in a former life.
This went on until the wee hours of the morning. We stayed until they cleared the place out and then stood outside and kicked it with Phife and Jay until Uncle Daddy came. The vibes were so good, we created a group chat. You know it’s real when you create a group chat.
On our third night we peeled back another layer of Bangkok that we didn’t know existed. We partied like locals and even made some new friends. We lived. We danced until our shoes fell apart. We learned that Black culture is universal. We felt like people were happy we were around. The land of a thousand smiles was good to us and so was the night life.