Take a tour with me?
Let’s go to Walking Street.
Stepping onto Walking Street is like entering an entirely different world. A darker world. On Walking Street, vice is screaming out. Evil doesn’t lurk in the corners; it blatantly accosts you. Perversion has no shame. It’s in the screaming music blaring from the bars, it’s in the blinding neon signs lighting up the street – signs advertising establishments like Lucifer’s Disco and No Rules Bar.
Girls and ladyboys line the street, scantily dressed. The girls are young. Some younger than I am. Many of them have numbers pinned to their clothes, because that’s all they are here. A number, a price to pay for a night’s services. Bought and sold as business transactions.
As we walk, people outside the bars and brothels push papers under our eyes. They look like menus. But these are no restaurants we’re walking past. The papers are listings of sexual services.
A few of the bars are advertising European girls. These lighter-skinned beauties fetch a higher price than their Asian counterparts. I look up and see a blonde-haired girl dressed like a ballerina, her lithe limbs twirling gracefully around a pole. Her eyes are glazed over and her face is expressionless. She is probably drugged. She is closed off from the world in a little glass room overlooking Walking Street, and a crowd of onlookers is gawking from below, taking pictures of this graceful, spinning, trafficked ballerina.
Most of the bars are open to the street, but a few of them are closed off by curtains or doors. “You really need to see what’s inside, Dana,” my friend says. We walk up to one of them, and a woman pulls back the curtain to let us in. The scene inside was like nothing I had ever seen before, or desire to ever see again.
As we continue walking, it’s as if a heavy, oppressive darkness is weighing down upon my chest, pressing against me on every side. We are walking through a thick shroud of darkness, a physical cloud of evil and oppression. You can feel it. If you don’t believe in spiritual warfare, then come to Pattaya.
When I exit the bar- and brothel-lined street, there is some relief for my eyes and ears, but not for my mind. It’s almost midnight and I should really get home, but instead I walk for awhile, needing to clear my head. I am blinking back tears. The images I saw are seared into my mind. When I close my eyes, all I can see are faces like that of the expressionless, pale-faced girl, twirling around in her glass cage like the ballerinas in the music boxes I had as a little girl. Did she ever get to be a little girl?
Sleeping was a futile effort that night. Instead, my heart was breaking for the brokenness all around me.