I would like to tell of the recent, unlawful imprisonment our our current scooter, Blue Betty. It was just another Tuesday night with one small difference. I was feeling particularly brave so Ryan and I decided to scoot over to Patong to experience Bangla Road, located just off Patong Beach.
Bangla Road is well known for being the center of the night life scene in Phuket. As soon as the sun sets, the road is closed off to vehicle traffic and transformed into a lively walking street lined with clubs and bars blasting loud music and selling overpriced beer and cocktails. For those interested, it is also a good place to see a “ping pong” show. These are only some of the reasons that I’d been avoiding it since we arrived. While we had no intention of wandering into any of the shows, I figured we could at least walk down the road and see what we saw.
I hate to admit it, but I was relieved that we didn’t see much. We walked down the length of the road several times and all I really saw were some go-go girls standing around their poles in booty shorts and belly shirts. It was no big deal. Still, as I was continually approached by people trying to sell us marijuana or tickets to the ping pongs shows (many of them looking like respectable mothers of small–or not so small children), I couldn’t help but feel like I was just asking for trouble simply by being there. Clearly it was not my scene and after a couple of drinks at one of the less intimidating bars, we decided to be on our way.
This was easier said than done. When we returned to our scooter, we found that Blue Betty, along with all the other scooters along that section of the road, had been chained together. There was a bogus parking ticket stuffed into her rack claiming that she had been parked illegally (which was not the case). The ticket stated that a fine of 1000 THB (or roughly $33 USD) had to be paid before she could be liberated. So, rather than coming to an uneventful close, it appeared that our night was just beginning.
Had I been there by myself, I would have said, “Ooops, sorry! I did’t know.” I would have paid the fine and been done with it, happy and relieved to be on my way. However, I was there with my husband who makes a point to stay informed enough to know that the maximum fine for a parking ticket in Puket is 200 THB (just over $6 USD). He took pictures of the “crime scene,” intending to call the tourist police if we couldn’t get the issue resolved at the local police station.
Luckily it never came to this. While we were out looking for the local police station (on foot), someone either cut the chain, or the perpetrators unlocked it themselves. When we returned, we found that Blue Betty was free at last! We got out of there as fast as we could and we didn’t look back. It wasn’t an especially pleasant scene, but no harm was done. Still, we’ll probably think twice before returning to Bangla Road.