Thursday, May 27, 2004

Dinner Conversations at Cabbages & Condoms

Dinner Conversations at Cabbages & Condoms

I had an enjoyable dinner with the 3Rs at C&C today. The 3 'R's are my ex-colleagues, Rob, Ricky and Ronny (Ricky brought along his Thai mistress); C&C is Cabbages and Condoms--a popular restaurant located at Soi 12 along Sukhomvit Road. The restaurant is founded by Thailand's condom king and ex-cabinet minister, Dr Mechai Viravaidya who also has an authorized biography about his fascinating life published.

C&C serves good Thai food and is--despite its provocative name--a very respectable establishment. The tourisy feel of the place actually kind of reminds me of Seri Melayu in KL. What attracts people, especially expatriates and tourists to this restaurant is its very unique theme--birth control. The walls are decorated with informative posters of the different varieties of contraceptives, especially condoms; there's also a set of surgeon's equipment used for vasectomy on display; plus the best thing of all, every diner is offered free condoms instead of mints or fortune cookies, after his meal.

If that's not sufficient for your after-dinner night activities, you can help yourself to more at the condom tray on the way out. And mind you, these are not the cheap brands that they normally sell on the streets of Bangkok and Jakarta but good quality Durex condoms.

When men get together for dinner, what do they talk about? Women of course.

Ronny--a black American--was raving about the beauty of Cambodian women. You often hear people talk about the charms of Thai women. But Cambodian? This is the first time. I've never been to Cambodia myself, and the mention of the country's name conjures up images of Pol Pot's skull-littered killing fields.

Ronny told me that Bangkok is just a transit point for him to go to Cambodia--that's where the real paradise is. HIs unbridled enthusiasm for Cambodia made me want to learn more about the country. I immediately entered Cambodia into my mental to-find-out-more list.

From Cambodia, our conversation shifted to America--and the women there. Ricky, who is also American, was ranting about high cost of divorce in California and how the women get all legal rights to dictate things these days. Men are getting a raw deal in America. No wonder all of them flock to the Land of Smiles. Ricky's Thai mistress, sitting quietly beside him, smiled in agreement as she lovingly unwrapped another piece of pandan chicken for her prized farang.

Rob is a Singaporean, and is among the dying breed of responsible family men who do not to fool around whenever they are on business trips. He told me that it is probably best not to stay too long in Bangkok for one is exposed to so many temptations here. His remark made me recall that old Abba song...

It was a satisfying dinner. I was still humming the Abba tune in my mind when we sauntered out of the restaurant into the warm night air, our stomachs slightly churning from the spicy tomyam, heads heady from the beer and Ronny was going on and on about this fancy condom that he brought with him from the States--one that reacts chemically upon use to emit heat...

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