Still struggling from the night before, I lost most of the day to sleep, only rousing myself in the afternoon to visit the beach where I fell asleep on the cushioned porch of a tea shop. That night an English girl who had dreadlocks sewed into her in Bangkok arrived to our room in the hostel. When I asked all the occupants in the room if there was anyone who wanted to come with us to a ladyboy cabaret show, she was the only one who was excited to see it as we were. You see, Thailand has many things to boast about, the historic expanse of its northern mountains, the breathtaking beauty of its islands in the south and, last but not least, its unique tolerance if not outright support of transexuals, more popularly known as ladyboys. It is not uncommon to be walking down the street and see a seemingly beautiful women with a large adam’s apple on her neck and an ominous bulge in the crotch of her go-go shorts, depending on the stage transformation. I have heard more than a few stories of eager men who went to bed drunk with a beautiful woman in the evening and awoke in the morning to discover in the light of sobriety that there was more to their lady-friend than they knew. The internet is littered with guides for men visiting Thailand advising them on how to avoid making this very mistake, but whether you attribute it to the transformative magic of womenfolk and their makeup or to the ability of alcohol to render the most intelligent of men powerless to the inebriated persuasion of fleshly lust, these incidents will forever continue.
Well that evening on the island of Ko Tao we came across a group of sirens on a street corner dressed in the full regalia one would expect from women of their trade in the days of yore. However as these women slid up next to the men walking by, they whispered sweet nothings to them in low, husky voices that made the toughest men on the island blush and quicken their step. After I ran that gauntlet and scurried away I laughed about it with Isabel and we decided to attend the show that evening, if for no other reason than that the entry fee included a free beer.
So the Brit and a few others from the hostel joined us and we took our seats at the start of the evening show. For the next hour beautiful women in extravagant dress sang and danced before a crowd of pale skinned foreigners. Many of them would have been indiscernible from anything other than what they appeared to be while there were others who still had the roughness of appearance and movement that only the lesser sex are born with. The final act of the evening was when a handful of the performers grabbed a man from the crowd who was forced up to the stage when his own girlfriend pulled his seat right out from under him. The women sat him on a chair and danced around and on him while he in turn did his best to keep his composure. By the time it was over his face had turned a deep red. Any who have visited Ko Tao and have not seen this show have missed out on one of the most memorable experiences to be had on the island, because, damn it, where else are you going to get the chance to say you’ve seen a ladyboy cabaret show? I’d caution against going to one in Bangkok or Phuket where the finale is most likely to end with a shower of ping pong balls raining on the crowd from the performers on stage.