Dee from Canada
Oh yeah! Being a greenhorn I rang a few bar bells and I found out really quickly when to ring it and when not to ring it. The very first time I was in this bar on the beach front road, can't remember the name. It was close to the Marine Bar and a fair sized place. So I am all jacked up on testosterone and looking at all the sweet ladies in this new candy factory I discovered.
I walk up to the bar and the bar girl asks what I want. I order a Mekong and coke and see this bell. I tell her nice bell and I like bells. Unfortunately I am too caught up with the action and gorgeous faces all smiling and wanting to talk to me to see the little sign in broken english about the bell. I am in sweet ladies heaven, nothing matters and out of the blue I reach over and yank on the chain.
The bell rings about 3 times and I instantly hear this roar and cheers so I look around and all the expats and women are clapping cheering and talking in their language. Patrons and all the girls are raising their drinks and beer in salute to me and I am grinning like a Cheshire cat just lapping all of this up. So what do I do? Still ignorant of the financial surprise that is now coming my way I reach over and give the chain one more good pull while whooping and cheering back. Oh now they are all patting me on the back and some of the girls are giving me kisses on the cheek and I am just completely overwhelmed. I am thinking to myself this is cool and I will have to do this again.
Then I see dozens of Tiger and Kloster beer, draught beer along with mixed drinks and juice and more beer and drinks piling up on the bar counter. The girls are handing them out as fast as they are being poured and opened. I am thinking what a great party atmosphere. Then I look over and this dude and the one bar girl are scribbling all this stuff on pieces of paper. I lean up against the bar all suave and casual scoping out the two legged beauties thinking which one I would have the pleasure of her company when I feel this tap on my shoulder. I turn around and this little bar girl is holding up this piece of paper with the figures 2870 on it. Still oblivious to what is happening I blurt out, "what is this?" She points to the bell and the little sign and says 3 words… "you ling bell" I then looked at the sign and read it and realised what I had just done. I was standing there dumb founded but did not want to lose face so I kept on smiling and trying to laugh whole heartedly but inside I was thinking.....you idiot.
Just then this older gentleman walked passed me to leave the bar and says with a big grin on his face, "Pay up son. You rung the bell" and carried on shaking his head. Lucky for me I had just changed $200 US to baht and had just over 5200 on me. I pulled out this wad of cash from my pocket and all the girls eyes are just glued to me. Talk about an ego shattering moment and now I know why I was the star attraction for about 20 minutes or so. I gave this little gal 3000 and motioned her to keep the change. I was into my 3rd or 4th drink and I downed it, put the glass down on the bar and walked out like a wounded little puppy with my tail between my legs.
Greenhorn rule number one... read signs first, count the number of people in the bar, do the math and then ring the bell. Just one of the many experiences I encountered on my first time to Thailand and the wonderful Pattaya Beach Road. I laugh about it now but I sure wasn't laughing back then. A tough financial lesson learned.
Editorial Response: My own drinking buddy stitched me up with this gag on my first trip, oh how we (okay, he) laughed! It's one the Pattaya rites of passage I guess.
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