Three hundred dollars – No. Two hundred – No. Come on, one hundred -No, sixty, look what ever you’ve got in your wallet is fine. “Come on, come on” she repeated pawing at my arm as my increasingly brisk pace began to pick up to a slow canter. “No, no, NO!” I repeated slapping her grasping hands away in a frantic if semi-comical manner as she trotted alongside me. Sixty dollars Hong Kong! I though to myself, thats like six euro, this girl must be desperate.
Any solitary male traveling alone in Asia sooner or later, most probably sooner is going to encounter that hard truth about the asian south east, that sex is a commodity as openly sold as fake rolexes and fresh young coconuts, there is simply no avoiding it.
Over time I’d built up a repertoire of crude rules of thumb, rough and possibly offensive stereotypes forged in the fleshy pits beneath the fifteenth parallel which had managed to keep me out of trouble, by the time I’d reached Macau however I was still but a babe in the woods.
The first was tattoos, nice asian girls dont have tattoos, having one implies that you are either a) gang affiliated b) a hooker c) a ladyboy d) all the of the above.
The second was smoking, nice asian girls dont smoke, or drink for that matter. In Singapore following an especially odd series of event I had become friends with a local woman. Walking through the central bar district she suddenly doubled over in a paroxysm of laughter, I thought her appendix had suddenly burst. When I asked her what she was laughing at, she pointed over at a group of people, expats and local girls sitting around a table, I couldn’t see anything especially unusual about the scene, let alone something side splitting hilarious. “Whats so funny?” I asked, “ha ha ha the girl” she replied, “what about her?” “ha ha ha shes smoking ha ha ha…..” Earlier we’d encountered a troop of ladyboys in a shop, “those were men werent they?” I asked “yes” she replied matter of factly suggesting it had barely impacted on her senses.
The third was the fact that there were in a bar at all. I’d lost count of the number of times I’d been sitting alone in a bar having a quiet drink when a local girl would teeter over wobbling on her high heels and ask if she may join you for a while. At first I didnt know what to say, “no, I think you’re a prostitute” seemed blunt and unfairly presumptive, what if she’s just friendly or want to improve her english? I thought at first. Several months later “no, I think you’re a prostitute” seemed just fine.
In fact now that I come to think of it Im almost tempted to add a fourth axiom: shes actually talking to you.
Well back to the story, I’d first noticed Candy at the traffic lights on the way to the casino area. A tall, statuesque impossibly lean figure, she was talking to a creepy looking bald white guy who bore an uncanny resemblance to the pervert psychiatrist from Requiem for a Dream. She handed him what looked like a note, he nodded his head and walked off, I noticed a curling dragon tattoo peeping out from under the arm of her ultra tight clinging tshirt. “Uh oh” I thought to myself giving her a wide berth.
I spent some time wandering around the casinos observing the madness at the poker tables and cursing that I couldn’t afford to risk losing anymore money. On my way back I approached the traffic light area with caution peering over a small wall, no sign of her I sighed with relief. Suddenly I hear a throaty “hellooooooo” right behind me! “Christ Almighty!” I almost leapt out onto the road in shock. “how are you, where are you from?”, “Im ….. Im fine” I stammered, “where are you from?” “Im from the Philippines” she replied. “Ok, very nice” I replied beginning to walk away. “Would you like a massage?” she asked, “no, Im ok thanks” This is where the start of this post finds me.
She followed me for what was probably five minutes but seemed like half an hour. As she followed me up the street pleading begging and mouthing obscene offerings I realized that I couldnt go back to the hotel, she’d probably try to follow me inside, I had to get rid of her. Batting away her hands as she tried to grab at me, she pulled back, just as I thought she’d finally given up she made a second lunge, grabbing her by the wrists to stop her groping me I suddenly noticed how strong they were, wiry muscular without a trace of fat or fleshiness. “Christ, you’re a bloke!” I shouted. “No. no Im not” she replied pouting and feigning woundedness, “look, Im only doing this for a year to get some money” she replied, picking up a discarded bank receipt off the ground, “Candy” she wrote on it followed by a phone number, “if you get lonely” she said handing it to me and finally walking away. I waited till she was around the corner and out of sight before chucking it in the bin wondering if that bald guy was in for a big and unwelcome surprise tonight. On my way back to my hotel, the squared areas of Macau, beautiful and picturesque by day took on a seedy sodium lit horror by night, crawling with carnal offerings . “Looking for a girlfriend, honey?” one lady sitting on a fountain asks as I hurry by. I’ve had enough of Macau, tomorrow I’d collect my passport with my new Chinese visa and make my way back into China and onwards to the famous Yangshou.