Hooker Street

Disclaimer: No hookers were harmed in the making of this blog post

We tuk tuk it back through rural Phnom Penh, bandannas up. This guy is the current leader for most canisters of gas you can fit on one scooter

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We get back from the Killing Fields around dinner time. A few rounds of beers and our post-KF depression starts to lift. This is aided by a hipster looking Cambodian server with thick-rimmed glasses who keeps singing all of the terrible top 40 hits they’re playing at the top of her lungs. We switch things up with some Belgian beers that they have and it’s such a nice change of pace from Chang or Tiger

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A few rounds of Belgians and we wrap things up. We decide to go up to the Aussie Frat party known as the upstairs Sunset bar at Mad Monkey. It’s relatively the same scene as the other night. I think that’s just what this place is: the most obnoxious white-folk hangout in the city.

But this time around we aren’t travel weary and sick so our moods are more suiting to the atmosphere. And fuck the Americans, we can’t let them be ahead of us on the Bazuka board! We get a round for our country and surpass them in the international shots competition.

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This girl sang every word to Eminem’s ‘Lose Yourself’ while pouring out shots for the entire bar.

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Things were turning up a notch. We come to the conclusion that more Bazuka shots were needed. This is how things took a turn for the stupid…

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We realize it might be a good idea to hit some more local-type joints here in the city, get some real detective work in. We go outside and are approached by a tuk tuk driver. We tell him to take us to the waterfront. There has to be some cool places overlooking the waterfront.

The driver let’s us off at a crosswalk and points to the street across the way as if to say “This is what you are looking for”. This is how we stumbled upon Hooker Street.

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We take an initial walk down the street. It’s lined with bars. Most of these bars have tables of gussied up hookers sitting at them. They wave to us as we walk by, “Halloooo, hallooooo!!”. Some even run out to the street and grab my arm or hold my hand, trying to seduce me into the bar with Khmer-styled sweet nothings. The places are called things like Club 69, Erotic Bar, Xanadu Bar, and our favorite, Mr Butterfly Happy House.

We get to the end of the row and are slightly overwhelmed. We stop to have a detective pow wow. “Alright boys, looks like we’re in the LTZ (Lady Tip Zone)”, “Yep, all these places are hooker bars”, “They’re going to try and swindle us for sure”, “Don’t let yourself get hustled”, “Nope we can’t get hustled”.

At this point our detective huddle is broken up by a tuk tuk driver who strolls up and offers McBurger weed, coke, and/or a lady fuck. When he says nah the guy slaps him on the arm “AhhhhhhhhhhhH!”.

We walk back through the LTZ determined not to land in a hooker bar but still find a place for drinks. We find just what we’re looking for in a bar called Oustro. There is a duo playing tunes from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s with a drum machine and guitar. They’re decent. They’re playing smooth lounge versions of songs like YMCA and Waiting for tonight. We sit down and grab some cocktails.

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It’s funny that these guys are playing cruise boat tunes, wholesome for the whole family, on hooker street. Oh wait, there’s someone walking a baby. And there’s another baby selling cigarettes. And just a parade of hookers in mini skirts going down the street avoiding babies in their high heels.

Our server is pretty funny. Her name is Yunta. She slaps Jamie on the wrist for moving his drink off his coaster. Two minutes later and it’s another slap. “Where you from?”, “Canada”, she goes in for the fist bump but pulls out at the last minute with a clown like thumb on the nose, wiggly fingers, tongue out, “Pfffffffff!!”

Apparently Jamie looks like her English teacher. She starts calling him Teacher #1. Drisdelle is well passed his ability to maintain at this point. He’s got the shifty eyes, the attention span of a 4 year old, and the dexterity of two penguins in a three-legged race. So her taunts are making him increasingly uncomfortable and soon he’s standing up, unable to fathom sitting here any longer. MacKay and I take the opportunity to throw a few easy jabs in, “Hey Teacher #1, chill out, man”, “Yeah, what’s the rush? They’re playing Toto and we haven’t even finished our drinks.” The pacing begins. Ok, we’ll finish our drinks.

At this point we’re pretty much out of Ameribucks so MacKay hits up an ATM. Of course it only gives him 100 dollar bills. “I don’t think you wanna be carrying big bills in the LTZ, bro. This is probably pickpocket heaven”, “Well we could just get a Tiger and break it up.” Ironically there is a bar called Tiger directly across the street, “Well, that was easy”.

On our way into the bar a group of Brits walk out through the Tiger’s meat flaps. “Ohhhh they are gonna love you boys in there”, one says. “Ohhhhh yeah, they’re gonna scream when you come in.” Ahhhh, ok. “After that glowing recommendation how could we not go in?”

We push our way through the meat flaps and the place opens into a dimly let, narrow bar. Everything is tiger striped. Including the stripper pole off to the side. There are a half dozen girls in the place and when they see us come in they going fucking bonkers. They run over to us and start rubbing the guys arms and feeling my hair, “Ohhh it’s like noodle!”

Drisdelle has his hands on his head, “I dunno man, I don’t think so, nope, I dunno”, “Fuck it, let’s just get a drink. Would you relax?”, “It’s all hooker bars, homie. Just don’t get hustled!” And with that we order up a round of GnTs, mainly because it’s making Drisdelle insanely uncomfortable which in turn is hilarious for us.

A little stripper girl comes out and hits the pole. The lights dim and the music kicks up to 11. The other girls flock around us looking for “Lady Drinks”, I guess we pretty much knew this would happen. One grabs Drisdelle’s arm and his hands are back up in his hair.

“We gotta go guys! We gotta get outta here!” – Jamie Drisdelle

MacKay and I are laughing so hard at this. I guess he’s just too wasted or something. He really can’t process what’s happening. “How come no one is hanging off of you?”, “I dunno, maybe I’m too big?”, “Lady drinks?”, “Fuck it, lady drinks”. Drisdelles hands are in his hair again, he’s freaking out.

“What?! Guys! We gotta gooooo! What are we doing here! We gotta get out of here!!” – Jamie Drisdelle

This of course only spurs MacKay and I to get yet another round of drinks. The Lady Drinks come out and they’re only 1 dollar beers. That’s a relief, the hustle is not strong at the Tiger Bar.

Drisdelle still can’t believe that there is no girl hanging off me at this place yet so he guides the next one that passes by straight at me. This is the frailest little Cambodian girl and I’m going to say she’s about 15. Hmmmmmm, now I’m thinking we may be taking things a bit too far. “Lady Drink?”, ahhh screw it, “Lady Drink!”

Drisdelle just can’t believe it, he’s wringing his hair so much with his hands that he looks like a sweaty mad scientist, like Christopher Loyd with extra googly eyes.

“Oh my God, guys! What are we doing here?! Why are we still here?! What are we even doing?! We’ve got to go. We’ve got to go. We’ve got to gooooooo!” – Jamie Drisdelle

Ok mad scientist Drisdelle, this is getting a bit silly. We thank the girls, settle up and leave them to their lady drinks. We go outside and Drisdelle is pacing about in the street, “Ok this place is ridiculous, we’ve got to go.” But MacKay and I aren’t nearly on the same level as Drisdelle and we decide that a night cap on a patio somewhere might be a good idea.

We truck a few bars over and find ourselves on a patio to a place called The Helicopter Bar. I make a break for the bathroom. Aaaaaaand yup, this is definitely just another hooker bar. There are some hooker kids in the bar too playing with toys and a lady boy in the corner playing pool. I come back from the bathroom and the guys are sitting inside at a table with beers. Ah Fuck. Drisdelle is just shaking his head back and forth over and over.

So how these hooker bars actually work is you sit down and then a girl sits next to you. She’ll rub your arm and basically play stop or go with your thigh all the while complimenting you and trying to convince you to have sex with her. When that doesn’t happen quickly enough they’ll jump on the Lady Drinks train to make the bar some cash in that way. In my past experience (a story for another time), this can crank the bill up something extraordinary pretty quick. Here however, the drinks are only a buck or two. So even if you buy the whole bar Lady Drinks it’s still about the same price as a single cocktail in California.

Girls continue to cruise by our table with the flirty eyes and whatnot. The older one next to me is asking, “You like her? How about her?” Drisdelle’s hands are back in his hair.

“Guys! What the fuck are we doing? Let’s go! We’ve got to go, we’ve just got to go” – Jamie Drisdelle

When one of the new girls walks by, and she is all dolled up, and stops at our table things have finally gone too far. This girl, in a pretty blue dress and bright red lipstick, I’m guessing she is only 12 years old or so. “You like her? You like her don’t you?” says the girl on the couch next to me. What the fuck?! Cambodia, you are crazy.

“Ok guys, we’re getting the fuck out of here right now. Let’s go. Now MacKay!” – Jonathan Murphy

We settle up and bail out of The Helicopter Bar. Get back to the waterfront and hail a tuk tuk back to Mad Monkey. But we’re not quite done with Drisdelle yet. “Club Love?”, “Yep”, “Fuck you guys”, “Let’s go!”, and we’re zig-zagging down the street towards a nearby dance club.

Turns out Club Love is kind of lame. It’s really just a square room pumping all the top 40 dance hits that we’ve been hearing everywhere. The AC was blasting though so that was nice. There isn’t much time left before close so we just nab a round and wind things down.

Ohhh shit, there’s another girl accosting mad scientist Drisdelle. She’s just tiny. She’s pulled him out to the dance floor against his will. Aaaaaand he’s freaking out again. I go over to fix the situation.

“Why did we come here? Holy fuck man, let’s just go. We’ve gotta go, we’ve gotta goooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!” – Jamie Drisdelle

It’s surprising that Drisdelle even has any hair left at this point, he’s been pulling on it all night. I break up the dance scene smoothly with a “Just go to the bathroom man, we’ll meet you outside”. And he takes off. I give MacKay the nod and he’s on board with the new plan too.

But this little girl is persistent. I can’t hear a word she’s saying so I have to bend over half my height to get into ear shot, “I don’t want money, I just want sex, you know?”, “Ahhhh yeah ok, well that’s not going to happen tonight, sorry”, “I don’t understand, I’m not asking for money, I don’t see your girlfriends, why don’t we just go to my place and have sex?” And so the conversation went round and round like this for a little while until the place was closing and everyone was exiting.

We go outside and the guys are already ordering up some pizza from an awesome little oven stationed on the back of a tuk tuk. We sit and wait for it to come out and the little girl spots Drisdelle again. He has the same circular conversation with her that I just had. Apparently this concept just doesn’t make any sense to her, why would we not go have free sex?

There’s another girl in tight black clothes at the table with us for pizza too. She jumps on the fuck train and now both of them are basically just heckling us for sex. Seeing this all going down the bouncer from Club Love comes over and shoo shoos them up into a tuk tuk. “We just want to fuck? Why are we not fucking?” and the bouncer takes a fake swing at them and motions for the driver to leave. He zooms off while the girls in the back are showing their tits and ass and still yelling to us to come have sex with them.

Wow. After the bouncer chased of them hookers our pizza came out. It was damned good. And just what we needed at the end of a long and sloppy evening filled with hookers. We stumble back to the Mad Monkey a little bewildered. The Killing Fields and Hooker Street, what a day.

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