WEIGHT: 58 kg
Sex services: Pole Dancing, Massage, Watersports (Giving), 'A' Levels, Slave
I'm in one of the most disgusting freelancer bars in Cambodia. Gazing out at the flotsam and jetsam of Phnom Penh's expat scene, I'm forced to agree. In one corner, a white guy in a string vest and short shorts crammed hard into his crotch works his jaw as if he's gearing up for the Cumbrian gurning championship. Smack in the middle of Phnom Penh's busy nightclub area, Walkabout is a bar and hotel that really doesn't have much going for it.
Other than the fact it's open 24 hours and is the preferred hangout for dozens of the city's methamphetamine-ravaged prostitutes—or, as Cambodians euphemistically call them, taxi girls—and the sex pests who love them. They can't afford to do autopsies in Cambodia, so that's all technically conjecture, but I'm sure it's pretty accurate. Despite my propensity for slumming, I'd probably never go to Walkabout if it weren't for one thing: the Joker Draw.
The game begins with a shuffled deck of cards being pinned face down to the wall inside a locked glass cabinet. Punters buy tickets for 60 pence 4, Cambodian riel , with half the proceeds going to the bar and the other half added to the jackpot. One ticket is drawn each week, and whoever holds the lucky ticket gets the chance to turn over one of the cards in the glass case. If they turn over the joker, they win the jackpot. But, of course, that doesn't happen too often.
The losing card is then re-pinned face up, the glass case is locked and play continues the next week. As the weeks go on, the pot gets bigger and bigger and, with ever fewer cards left to play, so does the chance of winning. Sometimes the draw only lasts a couple of weeks; in these cases the only people who bother to play are the meth-heads, sexpats, and taxi girls who would be hanging out at Walkabout anyway. But when the Joker Draw lasts for months and the jackpot grows with it, people other than the Walkabout regulars start to get interested.
The jackpot pulls in various subsets of Cambodian expat society who normally stay well clear of each other. The bar dispenses the prize in the same denominations it gets for selling the tickets, usually all one-dollar bills and thousand-riel notes.