Stickman Readers' Submissions January 8th, 2004

Ramblings Of A Wanderer

I have been reading this column now for about three years and have finally decided to place my rambling thoughts and opinions in print. I will be going to the LOS this January for the fifth time in my life. I’m 36, single, never been married or engaged and my longest relationship was 3 months.

My first trip to Thailand was a 3 week holiday, last minute flight, to the island of Samui in Jan 1999. I remember arriving at the airport in Koh Samui, seeing the Disneyland wagons (you’ll know them if you’ve been there) and the palm decked arrivals & departures buildings and thinking THIS IS PARADISE, and right at that time a junkie was born, partying till sunset, (no 2:00 AM law) the full moon party, the beaches and of course the bar girls. I had a holiday of a lifetime.

He Clinic Bangkok

The next year I booked for 28 days and took a friend with me. In short, he found a steady bargirl for the whole 4 weeks I butterflied, we found a favourite bar.

2001-2003 the only things that changed were that the holidays got longer – 7 weeks and this year 9 weeks. At our local bar we’re treated almost as family and the bars close at 2 AM, my mate is still with the same girl (in spite of a lot of rows) he even went by train last year to meet her family in northern Thailand.

This year is going to be a little different though, this year we are a group of 3 guys my mate is going straight to Samui but I’m spending 1 day in Bangkok then 2 weeks in Pattaya then 7 wks Samui.

CBD bangkok

I’m changing, evolving, growing, mutating my skin is thickening getting harder with every story I read in this group and in others that I read. And to be perfectly honest I don’t like what I’m becoming but once begun there’s no reversing this process.

Even you Stick will probably have to admit you’re not as trusting of people as when you first arrived in Thailand, to survive in a land of innocents, we must first sacrifice our innocence.

Whether it takes the form of standing at the exchange counter and counting your money twice, never trusting a Thai who says that they know where something is when you want to go anywhere in particular, always wondering if their brother is really their brother or their sister is really their sister and is that water buffalo really sick. Because even if a lot of the lies we’re told are small lies, their still lies and then the big lie becomes easier to tell.

Oh the country is changing but only on the surface, Samui has built a lot of hotels, beer bars and restaurants in the last two years but you STILL have to put your toilet paper in a bin by the side, the roads still flood when it rains, a farang still cannot own the land that he builds his house on and (however much people try to deny it) without the sex tourists the country would go down the pan.

wonderland clinic

Let me explain my last statement (oh I know there are many of you that say we don’t need or want sex tourists), there are three main "tourist" groups that go to Thailand.
1) Backpacker
2) Sex tourists
3) Normal e.g. married couples

The backpacker mostly stays in their own area Koh Phangnan, Chiang Mai & central Thailand, usually stays 4 weeks or more, biggest outlay ­ flight.
WE NEED THESE PEOPLE. These people find the interesting, beautiful places in Thailand which through word of mouth get more popular then better roads are built for the increase in traffic thus improving the land.

The sex tourists MOSTLY stay in their own areas – Phuket, Pattaya, Samui and usually stay 2 – 3 weeks, once or twice a year. We are the scum of the universe, the dirt under your shoes to be looked down on and abused. WE NEED THESE PEOPLE. In this group there is no single biggest outlay as they spend the most throughout the spectrum, flights, bars and independent restaurants and whores.

The normal tourist always stay in their own area Phuket and Samui. Their biggest outlay PACKAGE HOLIDAY 2 – 3 weeks once a year, mostly eating at the hotel in which they stay as other places are dirty. WE NEED THESE PEOPLE but not so much as they need us.

Conclusion WE ALL NEED EACH OTHER, the backpacker to find new places, the sex tourist to build up the infrastructure and to regulate enough business to warrant more flights and bring the price of the flight down and the normal tourists to get pressure put on for better hotels and roads.

But WATCHOUT it’s a delicate balance!!

No sex tourists means less flights which in turn means less flights, which means more expensive flights, which means less backpackers which in turn means less flights and more expensive which in turn would increase the price of a package tour and that in turn would deter the normal tourists: Less tourists of every class, empty hotels, empty restaurants, empty shops.

Be careful what you wish for Taskin as your wish may just be granted.

Stickman says:

A very simplistic way of looking at things. I’m sorry to tell you Gareth that, like it or lump it, tourists like YOU are the type of people the Thai government wishes to discourage. But yeah, if they succeed, they might find themselves in a bit of bother…

nana plaza