Soi Cowboy is a tiny lane off Sukhumvit in Bangkok, probably around 80 metres in length, crammed with go-go bars catering almost exclusively to foreign customers.
At night it becomes a loud, screeching, crowded place pounding with music, grotesquely drenched in coloured lights. But it is also a focus for much economic activity – and not just the sex trade.
Food vendors do brisk business from their carts. Others sell roses. Some sell fake watches and handicrafts.
On Monday evening – Valentine’s Day – I turned up at Soi Cowboy to meet UNAIDS executive director Michel Sidibé, who is in Bangkok to meet with Thai government officials on a mission to get Thailand to spend more on prevention of HIV-AIDS.
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