As much as the country may wish it was otherwise, Thailand has a well-deserved reputation for being a haven for sex tourists. Men – and women – from all over the globe fly off to The Land of Smiles to put a smile on their face. Thai brides (otherwise known as gogo bar girls past their prime) are a popular choice among lonely Western men who prefer claiming the problem is with Western women and not with themselves, and with same-sex marriage becoming the law of the land you can expect mail-order husbands to soon become a popular Thai export too for those who want their Asian sex toy without the inconvenience of travel.
Packing a Thai national onto a plane to fly off to some far-flung land to satisfy the sexual urges of a horny farang is business as usual in Thailand. Packing a Thai national onto a plane to satisfy his or her own itch is, however, the stuff that headlines were made for. And so it was this weekend when hundreds of locals showed up at the airport for a bon voyage party, with another 200 boarding the plane in support of one of Thailand’s most beloved celebrities as she headed for China to find a stiffy that would do her proud. That she’s only four years old hardly made a blip on anyone’s radar.
Ahh, how quickly they grow up . . .
It was only four years ago that I spent two hours standing in line for a five minute window affording the opportunity of catching a glimpse of Linping, Chiang Mai Zoo’s latest addition to its menagerie and Thailand’s newest heart throb. Which just goes to show you what I’ll put up with when madly in lust with a hot Thai muscle-boy. Noom, waited happily in breathless anticipation for his chance to see Linping in person, a fortuitous event he was just as proud of being able to experience as he was of the joy he’d get back in Bangkok when he could brag of his extreme good luck to his bar mates, who like the rest of the country had to make do with being glued to the 24-hour television channel that covered her birth and which has remained a popular viewing choice in the Kingdom over the last four years.
Forced to wear mandatory face masks to ensure we didn’t pass on any deadly germs, we were finally ushered into the viewing area where we could gaze wistfully through a thick pane of glass in hopes of catching a glimpse of the newborn only to A) be disappointed on my part, and B) thrilled on Noom’s part to spot a small bit of what might have been black and white fur bundled up and hidden behind a tree branch at the back of the enclosure. 790 baht (600 baht zoo admission, 100 baht special panda-viewing admission, 60 baht to rid the tram to get to the panda-viewing enclosure, 30 baht for face masks) and five minutes later – which must be a record for both cost and brevity of experience even for a short-time off – we were unceremoniously dumped into the zoo’s gift shop where we spent another 30 minutes and another 1,200 baht while Noom picked out all of the panda souvenirs he just couldn’t live without. (Okay, so seeing him naked except for his fuzzy panda slippers later that night made every baht spent worth the price.) Even today all it takes is the mention of Linping’s name and Noom gets all misty eyed. And now they are shipping the bitch off to service China’s bears.
Linping, who has drawn around 2.5 million people to Chiang Mai zoo since she was born in 2009, was flown from the northern Thai city to Chengdu where she will meet six male giant pandas within her age range, a feat Sunee bar boys could only dream of. “She will be in China for one year to select her mate,” said Tanapattara Pongpamorn, director of Chiang Mai’s zoo.
Although born in Thailand, the beloved bear ‘officially’ is on loan by China to the Kingdom and under the deal Linping will return to Thailand next year with her mate – if she finds one – says Pongpamorn. “She must like her mate too otherwise they will hurt each other,” he added. Like we haven’t all already heard what unhappily mated Thai women are capable of.
Giant pandas, notorious for their low sex drive in captivity, are considered endangered; about 1,600 pandas are believed to survive in the wild in China. Zoo veterinarians assume Linping will only need to try on about half a dozen for size before finding the rich old bear who will ‘take care’ of her for life.
With the exception of bar boys working Sunee Plaza, there is perhaps no mammal that is less often in the mood for sex than the female giant panda. Each spring, female pandas go into heat for only 24 to 72 hours. If male pandas do not make their move during that brief window, they miss their chance to mate. Much like the average punter must make his move during the five hours gogo bars are open nightly or risk spending his night – and wasting the effects of the little blue pill he popped – alone. Unlike bar boys, however, Linping won’t be facing a mighty horde of sex-crazed bears willing to do the dirty 24/7 12 months of the year – from the summer through the fall, male pandas are not interested in sex at all. But each winter and early spring, sex hormones flood the males’ bodies, plump up their testes, and fire up their sperm . . . and I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that the same period is ‘high season’ in Thailand.
Linping boarded what has been dubbed her “Flight of Love” on Saturday, accompanied by a veterinarian who will play mamasan during her stay in China, and who will make sure the fury sexball will not want for favorite foods like bamboo and fruit, nor fun in the form of such toys as plastic balls and rubber tires. And assumedly ping pong balls. Conceived through artificial insemination by Chuang Chuang and Lin Hui – two pandas provided by Beijing to Thailand in 2003 for a period of 10 years at a fee of $250,000 – Linping’s act has been responsible for collecting more than $7.30 million through ticket sales to see the pandas at the Chiang Mai Zoo. Thailand will pay the Chinese government $1 million a year for the panda that Linping falls for when the happy couple returns to the Kingdom to raise their family.
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