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Patpong Sisters

Cleo Odzer, a young American anthropologist, spent three years studying Bangkok's red-light district, Patpong, an area of a few blocks teeming with bars and explicit sex shows. Patpong is now world-famous for its available and extremely attractive young women and men, who cater mainly to farangs - foreigners, most of them men but some women, who come from Europe, Australia, America, and Japan. Odzer got to know the bar girls, the bar boys, and their varied entourages. She gained their confidence, interviewed them at length, lived among them, and accompanied some of them home to visit their families - whom they often supported - in the isolated countryside, where they were idolized. She also got to know their customers - usually men who had traveled for thousands of miles to immerse themselves in the sensual world of Patpong - some of them falling in love with, even marrying, their newfound Thai companions. At times these liaisons, complicated by language and culture barriers, are truly hilarious, but they can be poignant, touching on the tragic. Odzer herself gained a deeper sympathy for these relationships when she became romantically involved with one of her male subjects. Her affair with him, mirroring the involvements in which many farangs found themselves with the bar girls, imparts to her book a very personal meaning. Her people are not simply dry statistics but real human beings.
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