Here I am folks, back to blogging after my week’s hiatus, although in truth, I never stop writing, as I still have my ‘sponsor’s thread’ on the Thai Visa expat forum, which I generally update on a daily basis.
My blog and the Thai Visa forum are the main outlets to promote and publicise “Mobi’s – the bar” and they have been extremely effective in drawing new customers to my bar.
To those who read both of these ‘media mouthpieces’, you have probably noticed that I have started to expand on reports that I originally write in Thai Visa and then publish extended versions in ‘Mobi-Babble’ or ‘Tales from a Barfly’ in my blog.
I apologise for the duplication, but as I am sure you will agree, there are only so many stories and events that I can write each week, and my priority is to generate interest in the bar, which is now more or less my sole source of income.
Police raid at Mobi’s
Bar takings the week leading up to the compulsory two-day shut down for the commencement of Khao Phansa (Buddhist Lent) had taken a downward dive and as if things weren’t bad enough, we suffered the indignity of being raided by the cops one evening.
On 9th July, at around 8 pm, a posse of plain clothes cops descended in two vehicles, entered Mobi’s and told us to turn off the music. There must have been 8 – 10 cops, all told.
They inspected all our myriad operating licences in minute detail and then lined up all the staff (including Noo) and made them give two urine samples.
They inspected all the girls’ ID’s and checked to see if we had any ‘short time’ rooms – which we don’t.
(Such rooms are only permitted in ‘designated entertainment zones and even there, the proprietors have to pay large sums in ‘tea money’ to the cops to run them, for after all, prostitution is illegal in Thailand….)
Out here by the lake, ‘short time’ rooms are a major crime and we could have been shut down and the owners/managers locked up until we were able to come up with very large sums of money to secure their release.
The cops stayed about 45 minutes.
All the drug tests proved negative, all the staff were of legal age and all our paperwork was in order, and they finally left without us having to pay them a single baht.
Out of the literally dozens of bars scattered around the lake, to my knowledge, Mobi’s was the only one that was raided, and in particular, the two bars alongside Mobi’s were left untouched.
It seems that someone may have got it in for us….
This isn’t the first time that someone has tried to put the cops onto us – on a previous occasion, it was an ‘undercover’ farang, (yes, believe it or not, they do exist, and are the scum of the earth),who came by one evening and stayed for hours trying to find some ‘transgression’ that he could pass on to the cops who were waiting somewhere nearby. On that occasion, we were tipped off in advance.
You might think there are more important things to worry about in Thailand right now than trying to extort a bar that is struggling to break even, that gainfully employs 9 Thais, (all of whom have kids and/or family back home who they help to take care of), and provides a bit of drinking pleasure for a few local residents.
Of course, the net result of all that was that we had our worse night of trading since the bar opened. I guess the word had spread fast and nobody wanted to drink at a cop-targeted bar….
So after several very bad trading days, we had a surprisingly busy night on the Thursday, 10th, (Khao Phansa Eve), before we were obliged to shut up shop for two days.
On this final night before our ‘holiday’, two expat couples occupied one table, another table had an expat and his Thai wife, a third with a couple of male drinkers surrounded by some of Mobi’s girls and yet another table by two German gentlemen, one of whom I had known for many years.
It may not sound like much, but it was a considerable improvement on the extremely quiet nights we had been having of late.
What was even more gratifying was the fact that just about everyone stayed for the entire evening –up to and past closing time – so we must have been doing something right.
Indeed, I tried my best to play an interesting, eclectic mix of mainly old-ish pop music, and it seemed to generate considerable interest as many of the customers were avidly watching the music videos on the large screens. On more than one occasion, a customer came over to enquire who the current vocalist was.
If the stories I have heard about many of the bars in Pattaya and Naklua being bereft of even a single customer, then I suppose we should have been thankful for small mercies.
There followed the two day holiday and it was a bit eerie how quickly Noo and I slipped into our pre-bar routine. We rose earlier, Noo did some long neglected gardening; we took the dogs for a walk and then sat down in the early evening to watch a bit of TV. Just like old times – and very happy at that – but only for two days, and then back to the bar grindstone….
The first day back started extremely slowly, then, in mid-evening, out of the blue, a dozen or more customers suddenly descended upon us and took over the bar.
It turned out to be the management, staff and friends from the next bar along, (not the one next door on our left but the next bar going northwards, about 500 meters away), which for some reason had closed early and evening and the owner, who had just sold the business, was celebrating. Mobi’s became the lucky beneficiary of a right royal piss-up.
Some very loud dancing music, (no hip hop), was the order of the night by our somewhat inebriated clientèle and any tracks that we didn’t have to hand were soon conjured up from You-Tube.
The party went on into the small hours and was a very welcome turn around in our business fortunes.
I hope that one day I will be in a position to return the favour.
As this past week has progressed, business at Mobi’s has continued to excite and surprise me, starting from the resumption of activities after the 2-day Buddhist holiday, last Sunday, right through to Friday night.
Last Sunday, (the impromptu party night), was one of our best nights since we opened and seemd to trigger a bit of a floodgate as every day since we have been doing consistently good business, including Friday night when the customers kept coming, despite the fact that there was at least one bar party offering free food further around the lake.
I guess Mobi’s must be doing something right.
Our mix of good quality music, on a more than acceptable sound system, an extremely welcoming and friendly service, (whether or not the customers desire the company of one or more of Mobi’s ladies), and our ever expanding menu of bar snacks and some ‘proper’ food seems to click with many, who show their approval by returning time and time again.
On the food front, an increasing number of our regulars are ordering a chicken curry to take away with them for a late night meal at home. The curries contains large, tender chunks of chicken and a large bowl of top quality Thai rice; and at 120 baht they are a real bargain.
Our latest menu item – Spring rolls – 6 large rolls for 80 baht, cut in half to provide 12 pieces – is also proving very popular.
This improvement in business is particularly gratifying considering the fact they we are well into the ‘low season’, and most bars are struggling to attract a single customer.
Now for some good news for all the single guys out there – and some married ones as well…. Mobi’s are happy to report that our female staff numbers will be swelled by several new arrivals over the coming days. So to those of you who are in Thailand or are planning a visit, come on over and give Mobi’s a try – I guarantee a warm welcome.
On the personal front, it is now three weeks since I have been back on anti-depressant medication and I am pleased to report that it seems to be working.
When I first started taking the pills again, I had trouble waking up in the morning and even when I finally did awake, my mood hadn’t appreciably improved; but for the past few days, presumably as my body adjusts to these powerful meds, I am feeling far less ‘groggy’ and there is no doubt that I am feel much happier and positive about things.
I really hate taking anti-depressants, not least because they are bloody expensive, but my moods had been growing increasingly dark and desperate of late, so I felt I had to do something about it . I hope that I made the correct decision.
I also hope that I can wean myself back off the meds in a few months’ time; but I know these things can’t be hurried, and before I do so, I will have to feel really confident that I can handle all my personal issues and setbacks in my life without the help of medication.
Next week I will write about ‘Crazy Saturday’ – what a night we had last night!…..
If you can’t wait, a brief account will be in today’s Thai Visa thread which can be found at: