Readers' Submissions

Positive Pattaya – The Return of the Sex Tourists

  • Written by Anonymous
  • April 22nd, 2006
  • 40 min read


Black Pagoda Patpong Bangkok

By Tigger

So, after holidaying in Pattaya with a friend the previous year, what’s your first priority – Yes, getting back to Pattaya!

Frankly I have little of cultural or literary merit to share with the good readers of Stickman, and I certainly don’t want to fall foul of Stick’s prohibition on boring detailed bar girl encounters, but I still find descriptions of someone else’s holiday interesting, particularly if you can prove that you went to Thailand, didn’t fall in love, didn’t get ripped off and wasn’t seriously dead of natural causes before you’d got half way through your break. (Falling from a balcony is natural causes in Thailand, right? Certainly you’re generally dead afterwards!)

I also have to say that the submissions of late have been a little, well, angsty. I think we could do with a good old fashioned ”I’ve had a great holiday and I want to share it” story!

Your first trip to Thailand does teach you a few things, like booking a hotel on the Internet, is easy, cheaper than using travel agents and perfectly safe if you don’t leave credit card details. You also have a better idea of where to stay. It was the good old Pig & Whistle on Soi 7 for us. That meant no more guest fees and a free breakfast! The place has in-room safes, air conditioning and excellent rooms. No swimming pool but, and let’s be honest here, the chances of swimming were pretty remote. Being up in the light best of two out of three was the most I could hope for!

Heathrow Terminal 4 is definitely an airline terminal. That’s almost all that needs to be said. All the aspirational products you can shake a stick at together with newsagents, booksellers and restaurants. There is definitely a cartel in the pricing of travel electrical plug adaptors. How else could they all come up with the same price? Someone should investigate! My partner in crime bought himself a watch (he thought his original one might make him a target for thieves). Certainly the one he bought was unlikely to mark him out as a man of means, and only a visually challenged mugger would desire the new timepiece.

You can get cheapish flights, if you know when you’re travelling. BA/Qantas from Heathrow in steerage was fine. No outside toilet and TVs in the seat backs passed the time nicely. Frankly I made myself sleep most of the flight because I wanted to be there!

For the second time we made great time through customs, they actually opened more checkpoints when they saw queues building. Our bags made it through (always a sigh of relief) and we headed through the arrivals door. We’d booked a driver for our arrival (again courtesy of ‘local’ knowledge from a well known Pattaya message board) and I must confess, seeing my name on one of those boards held up by a nice lady gave me a buzz. We headed out to get in the car (actually a Toyota twin cab Hilux with air conditioning and a cover for the back) in the car park.

Then we had the two first real ‘welcome to Thailand’ moments, first of all – the heat. If you’re coming over from Britain you cannot prepare for how hot it is! I’d changed into a T-Shirt on the ‘plane, it doesn’t really matter, just prepare to send everything you’re wearing straight to the laundry. Secondly, the car park. Rather foolishly I’ve always assumed that those markings on the floor are to indicate where you should park your car. Around Don Muang they don’t even qualify as a guideline! To be fair the first to arrive do seem to park in spaces, but the next wave simply blocks them in. It seems that the perceived best practice is to leave those blocking cars open to allow them to be pushed out of the way as required, but it didn’t look like that good a system to me.

Anyway, all this double parking also makes leaving the car park a bit tricky for those going around the parked cars, and it seemed the longest part of the journey was exiting the car park. To be fair there seemed to be a blockage up ahead and a Thai official did go up to it, blow a whistle and point at things, so that was OK! Still, what did I care, we had a cold drink, some entertaining stuff to watch and the prospect of Pattaya ahead.

Eventually we got onto the open road, through Bangkok, the scenery from the motorway always (get me, Thailand veteran) makes me feel like an extra from Bladerunner. The city was left behind us and we hit a massive tropical storm. Forked lightning, buckets of water and people still driving like it was clear and bright. Still, we made it. Driving to the back of the hotel via Soi 7, past all the bars (which apparently have started employing girls) really does provide the definitive welcome to Pattaya.

After checking in we were shown up to the rooms. This is always a slightly worrying moment if you’ve not stayed in a place before, but there was no need for any concern. The rooms were spotless, well appointed and ideal for their purpose. The accommodation was right up to the standard of a good budget hotel in the UK, with the bonus of having a top notch bar and restaurant downstairs and being on Soi 7 in Pattaya. We arrived at the hotel at about 7pm local time, so naturally a quiet night in to get over the jet lag and prepare for the cultural visits to the temple? Not likely! Get down to Walking St for beer and bar girls!

So after a shower and freshen up, and a Thai meal in Rosie O’Grady’s – the Pig was full when we went downstairs -we headed down to Beach Rd and started the trek to Walking St. We probably should have just jumped on a Baht Bus, but sometimes it’s nice to walk past the various stalls, be accosted by tailors and generally get the feel for being back in Pattaya. At this stage my friend’s knee was already slightly the worse for wear, but he manfully struggled to our goal. After a bit of a wander around the street, taking in the sights and sounds and smells we settled on Simons Beer Bar complex. We’d actually been in there last year with some girls and had scoped it out as a decent place to visit. It was remarkably quiet, and, to be fair, I wasn’t that surprised. Walking past it didn’t look too special, and it was less than obvious that it went quite as far back or that there were quite as many bars with quite as many attractive ladies.

Our general plan is, and remains, to pick out a bar with a number of girls you wouldn’t object to. That gives them an opportunity to pick out someone they at least don’t find repulsive. Yes, I know ‘money number one’, and that you can have pretty much who or what you want for a price, but the experience is definitely better with the illusion of chemistry. So, whilst this doesn’t guarantee a good night, it definitely shortens the odds. I was quickly approached by a Thai girl, more curvy than most, but she had a nice smile and manner (and surprisingly large breasts – natural) and pretty soon we were playing Connect 4. She gave her name as Bellana, obviously (and I checked) a nickname bestowed by a Farang boyfriend. Any Star Trek geeks (I confess) will know exactly whom she looked like (without the Klingon make up), and if you’ve watched enough of the various series you’ll know what Klingons are and her performance later! If you haven’t been to Thailand that the first thing that will surprise you (no boring details, honest) is the fact that a lot of the time the girls actually enjoy what they do. I was going to write, “seem to” in the previous sentence, but that would be overly cautious and not expressing my real feelings. I have a lot of respect for the acting talents of the female population, but, frankly, nobody is that good. I suspect that Bellana hadn’t been bar fined for a while. My friend apparently had an evening every bit as good with An from the bar.

I suppose a short word on morality is in order here. No, I lied, it isn’t. Bottom line is we are not doing ourselves any mental or, with appropriate precautions, physical harm. Certainly the girls don’t appear to be oppressed and victimised. Whilst both of us is in the first flush of youth, we have had success with ladies and continue to do so, but, being on holiday in Pattaya is the only time you’ll ever really feel like a rock star. More than enough money to do what you want, pretty girls wanting to be with you and nothing to do but enjoy yourself. Maybe long term the lifestyle may do you harm, but getting away once a year does me a massive amount of good. But, you’ll say, it’s only because of the money. Well, duh!

After kicking out the girls, and you almost have to, kick them out, that is, we had a leisurely inclusive breakfast. Next remarkable fact – we’d spent a lot of time in the Pig last year, and we were amazed when “our” waitress recognised us and remembered our names! The throughput of people that must happen in a place like that, and she knew our names from a year ago! My mate, clever sod, remembered her name, but I got in first and I used it to her and won immense numbers of brownie points. We discussed what to do next over our breakfast, and it was agreed that a bit of a rest was in order, then go out and look at some nearby shops and get provisions from the Supermarket across the road later in the afternoon. After that Herculean effort, we had a further rest then wandered downstairs for some food.

Now, the Pig does what looks like incredible Western food. Someone somewhere has convinced the kitchen staff that the defining characteristic of Western food is that it comes in enormous quantities. They don’t use plates. They use platters. They have a mixed grill where you get a free drink if you finish it. This is in addition to, presumably, the free ride in the ambulance for the open-heart surgery. We ate Thai food, which always causes a slight consternation amongst the Thai staff, particularly if you ask for the chilli sauce! Clearly the Thai food is for the guy’s ladies, not the tourists! Once they get used to the idea it does seem to attract approval, however.

After some nice food, and some Singha we wandered along 2nd Road, in the opposite direction to the previous night. We settled on the little complex up some steps opposite the big shopping complex. I met Dao, who seemed a little shy and my friend was with Ming. Supposedly Dao had been at the bar for two days. I tend to use the ‘supposed’ modifier because nothing is as it seems in Thailand. (I know that I contradicted that earlier. That’s Thailand for you). However, she was truly woeful at Connect 4 and didn’t seem to know how to play the dice game, and had no English, so who knows? Teaching a bar girl to play the dice game is a new experience! Certainly she was fun to talk to in sign language, and was definitely OK later.

The following day was again a triumph of relaxation. I did make it over to the Supermarket to get some booze for the room in case a girl developed an uncontrollable thirst. It really is sometimes embarrassing being a foreigner with the help of all the other ambassadors for our country. The guy in front of me was a complete pain, topping his complaints and moans off with the repeated pronouncement that the Thai money was “Toy town Money” and placing large quantities of it in front of the cashier to sort out. At one point I caught her eye and raised an eyebrow in apology. When it came top my turn to be served the bottles were wrapped and I was presented with a free glass. This was of no use to me at all, but it was a nice gesture. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

We also found the laundry – not a great stretch since it was directly opposite the back door of the hotel. The prices are amazing to Westerners brought up on laundries in a high pay economy, and the quality generally means that the clothes come back looking better than they did when you bought them new! If I could carry all the stuff I’d bring it all over to have it cleaned and pressed, and I think it would still be cheaper than doing it yourself at home. On your visit, however, you will become acquainted with the laundry since nothing can manage more than one wearing in the Pattaya heat.

After our normal drink and meal in the Pig (and a nice chat with our waitress, who was now on days, so had to make a big play of telling the evening staff that they had to look after us – yes, I know it’s about looking for a tip, I don’t care) we headed back to Walking St. After a bit of a reconnoitre we decided to favour the FLB Bar with our custom, I’m proud to say at my behest. This bar is well known in Pattaya, and possibly better known on the Internet, being sponsor of one of the better known message boards, hotel review, etc sites. We’d been in the previous year, with some enjoyment, but the ownership and management has changed in the interim, and often no one likes change, so there had been comment around the Web. As with all things, take the advice of others, but have a look yourself and draw your own conclusions.

I have to say the night was great! We sat down and got a drink, and were spoken to by Keith, the new manager. Nicely done ‘mine host’ bit, not overbearing but friendly and approachable, chatting about the changes, welcoming us and generally making himself available. After a decent interval two ladies approached us to chat. Frankly I was pretty happy to buy them a drink straight away! Mine was Bang, my friend’s Cat. During a lull in proceedings I asked my mate if he was pleased with my choice of venue. He gestured towards Cat and said, “I’ve rarely looked forward to anything as much!” Truthfully he is not a guy who is easily impressed, but this was definitely a score. Bang, as my friend said, was a girl who had “really mastered the doe eyed thing”. If she wasn’t a ten she was somewhere in the high eights. We played the dice game with the girls, Mamasans, red badge service staff, bought drinks and had a great time. The trawling for drinks thing for the staff wasn’t over the top, and we had an absolutely terrific time for a sum of money that, when translated into pound sterling was laughable.

On leaving, to the sad farewells of the staff (yes, we’re on holiday and spend some money) Keith popped out to thank us for our custom and to compliment us on our way with the staff – yes; I know that means we spent some money, it was still a nice touch.

We still had time to head over to the Blues Factory. The house band is really good, but Lam Morrison is a total star. Between us we’ve seen most of the guitar rock gods of the last few decades, but he is right up there. The whole band is precise, tight and exceptionally good. If you haven’t been to Pattaya go to the Blues Factory when you do. Sadly finding CDs is not easy, and the Bar inexplicably doesn’t stock them.

One thing I struggled with was the number of groups of blokes wandering about, into and out of bars, apparently on holiday with what appeared to be little interest in the girls. I know, I’m lacking in the morality department, and maybe they were wandering evangelists out for a drink, but I reckon even without inside knowledge from Stickman and the like I’d have lasted about twenty minutes without a girl! Maybe they were Bar Inspectors; right we’ve popped in, polystyrene sleeves on beer bottles – check; Connect 4 games – check; Bar Girls – check. Right everything’s in order here, we’ll be moving on now.

I promised no boring details, but I really did have a great time after we returned to the Hotel. Interestingly a debate about Bang developed on another forum since our return, some suggesting ‘Starfish’ tendencies, others raving about performance, to the degree that it was being suggested that there are two ladies using the nickname at the same establishment. I actually suspect it’s more down to the endearing qualities of Thai working girls, most will do whatever they have to in order to earn money, but they will also enjoy it more or less and it shows.

Same, same routine the next day. Look, I know it’s predictable but we know what we like to do, and doing it was our holiday. One of our friends once made the point to his girlfriend that we were obsessive personalities, always on time (no, actually always ten minutes early), always knew what the plan was, route to be taken and so on. She said that’s probably why we’d done so well! This was an obvious cause of hilarity for us, but I think she may have had a point. If you want to do something there is a lot of sense in doing it well and thoroughly. Goodness knows, Thailand is one place that you don’t have to feel under pressure to do anything you don’t want to do. So don’t!

The other thing that was pleasing was the way the rest cure appeared to have cured my friend’s knee. He had no use for ‘the appliance’, as I quickly christened it, and seemed to make excellent progress around the somewhat uneven streets of Pattaya. Chalk up another miracle cure!

One interesting development was the morning chat with “our” waitress, who we’d done the joke to every morning about coming to Pattaya to see the temples. “So” she said shyly to me “my day off tomorrow, you like come with me to see a Temple?” Mmmm, tough one, but you couldn’t turn her down flat, although I was quite happy to go see the Temple, not for anything extra-curricular. I’ve read too much about relationships with either a ‘possible’ good girl (I know, not likely that a good girl would be asking a Farang out on her day off) or a relationship with someone who you saw on a daily basis in your accommodation. It was arranged that I’d see her outside the Pharmacy round the corner the next day at 2pm.

Later that day we ventured out to buy some DVDs. Headed off towards Walking St and made some purchases. All worked well on my return and at around 100 Baht a bargain. I’ve found it best to avoid DVDs that have only had a cinematic release, because they will probably be a ropy copy of the film from the cinema. The rest are fine.

That evening we headed up to Second Rd and made our way to the Honey Bar near to Soi 10. I hardly ever notice the names of the bars; it was just that I happened to be sitting right under the sign. People will ask, before they go to Pattaya, on the Internet – “Which is the best bar?” and “Where do you find pretty girls?” and “What’s this itching sensation? (I made the last one up). The answer to the first two is, wherever you happen to be! If you started on Walking St, working along, carrying on up Second Rd and tried to have a drink in every bar on the way, you’d still be in Pattaya the same time next year, and all of the bars you’d been in would have changed beyond recognition, and you’d have to start again.

Apple joined me, whom her friend (my friend me) with my mate said was fairly new to the bar. No English, bad at Connect 4, you do the math. An excellent night ensued, sitting at the table, joking around, and having fun. Apple was very eager to please. I’ve rarely seen, and been rubbed down by, so many cold towels. We had an excellent time afterwards too.

After the usual moving on of the ladies we went down for breakfast. That morning we had the added entertainment of the big screen TV having broken and cabaret of the removal of the device from its cubbyhole in the wall. These things are heavy, so the potential for comedy accident was great.

I had a date to keep, so after a trip over to the Supermarket for provisions, I went and had a rest. As arranged I waited at the appointed rendezvous, respectfully dressed and with a camera. Nothing! , Although quite a lot to watch because I found a café on the opposite corner and had a drink whilst sitting and watching the world go by. I gave it an hour and a half – after all, I had read Stickman, and knew Thai time keeping, but she was definitely a no show. This was not a problem for me, although I had quite looked forward to seeing the Temple with a local. My biggest worry was that I’d gone to the wrong place and that she would be upset the next day. Yes, she was a sweet girl. There was absolutely no point in worrying about it, whilst I might have an obsessive personality I can be surprisingly unworried about everything when I’m on holiday. Certainly I wasn’t going to be concerned about this.

That night we wandered up to the Beach Rd end of Soi 7 and happened upon the Buffalo Bar. It was an interesting (in a good way) night. I was joined by Duean, who was pretty, with short hair and a nice manner. She claimed to be 28 years old, as you will have read before, Thai girl’s age very well. We didn’t get the Connect 4 that night, which was nice for a change, but lots of fun in broken English and sign language.

A number of things stood out.

At one stage the girls fancied a snack from a street vendor so naturally we gave them some money, and off they went to get some assorted deep-fried bugs. I could almost see me managing the locusts, if you took their legs and assorted protuberances off you could almost imagine they were some sort of potato snack food. What I couldn’t handle were the Cockroach type things. They could be nothing other than a cockroach type thing whatever way you looked at them. I know they’re low in fat, high in protein and generally good for you – not on my menu!

Then we had the evidence of the growth of proper holidaymakers in Pattaya. A middle-aged couple arrived and took a seat on the opposite corner of the bar from us. The old guy was clearly enjoying a beer, but if the old lady’s looks could have killed then both my friend and I would have been carried out in a body bag. I’m sure she could imagine the scenes of debauchery as the poor Thai girls cowered in a corner of the ‘hotel room of shame’ as the evil foreigners took advantage of them. It’s difficult to imagine anything less like what actually tends to happen. By the end of the holiday I’m almost at the stage where I could do with a rest (I did say almost), but the work ethic or whatever of the girls really doesn’t let that happen.

Towards the end of the night a wedding party arrived in the bar after walking down Soi 7. Full Thai formal gear for both partners, the lady from the bar (I asked) and the guy (I think) German. They and their friends sat at the table at the front of the bar and proceeded to have their wedding party. We both shook the gentleman’s hand and wished him luck when we left. I meant it sincerely, since, and my cynicism is showing here, goodness knows he would need it!

So, breakfast the next morning and facing the lady I am now going to refer to as my waitress. She came over to the table and apologised because she had had to go the Bangkok to sort out documents. This didn’t surprise me; I had read Stickman and digested what appeared to be the relaxed attitude to appointments exhibited by some Thai’s. No problem.

Now, when I return to my room to catch up on my sleep I like to have some background noise, so I leave the TV on. If any Stickman readers should be fortunate enough to holiday to Pattaya I would like to recommend the excellent Pattaya People channel, hosted by the ever-present Nils. The channel is a triumph of paid for “news items” together with a few newsy things of the sort of interest to locals that you might find in a small town local newspaper. It has gone past the place where it is awful and amateurish, to that of brilliant postmodern irony. This channel has to be broadcast to a wider audience! The obviously commercially placed “documentaries” are a true marvel in their ineptitude. In one a bar in Jomtien – the Hideaway – was featured. Its big selling point was that it is for couples (actually very few bars have anything other than couples within about two minutes of a single man walking in). An individual called Billy was featured at one stage, who, apparently harboured a desire to be a bar manager one day. He did have cooking in his repertoire, because if you caught him on a good day he might be persuaded to do you a curry. In spite of this tempting prospect, in the background behind Nils there appeared to be very few couples, and frankly, a clientele that would mean you would be unlikely to run over there with your best girl in order to sample the delights of even Billy’s curry.

That evening we crossed over Second Rd to the complex opposite Soi 8. We sat at the first bar in on the left. On sitting down we were approached by Tip, who indicated that she intended to marry me! She was a very entertaining lady with very good English and a good line in patter. I wasn’t about to sleep with her, though! We stuck with it for a bit and she admitted that she was seeing if we were nice, we were then invited to choose a girl each to talk to. I ended up talking to Nim, pretty girl who had worked in a massage parlour in Bangkok, but was new to the bar. The complex had a not bad band and a nice atmosphere. Tip continued to play mine host and was a funny diversion.

As always the street sellers circulated around trying to sell wristbands, DVDs, tazers, snakes and so on. The best was a watch seller who, quite rightly could not believe that my friend was happy with the watch, the “thief repeller” that he had obtained at Heathrow. Well, it made me laugh; the rest of you can make your own arrangements. One of the guys selling wrist bands actually went away and got made or obtained somehow wrist bands for our local side, a fairly obscure (in Thai terms) championship team. We bought the girls Liverpool wristbands because that’s what they wanted.

The next day dawned bright and warm, with our normal routine now in place we had a bit of a walk around and up Second Road, checked some stuff on the Internet in an Internet Café and bought drinks and so on in the Supermarket. Internet is really cheap at around 10 Baht for ten minutes, to the extent that I logged on most days to check my emails and revel in the fact that I didn’t have to worry about them.

With thanks to Pattaya Mail and Pattaya City News channels the local TV seemed to indicate that Farangs were suffering enormous casualties in the war to survive Pattaya. The first report detailed the problems of a dead Russian who, according to his friends, had suffered from convulsions and died as a result. I would have found this story a little more credible if the cameraman hadn’t entered the building at the same time as the police, with camera running, (yes, they do that in Thailand) where we could see the “convulsing” Russian lying flat out and peaceful (and very dead) on his bed, as though he had passed away in his sleep. Now, I’m no Sherlock Holmes, but that story looked to lack a little veracity to me. Luckily we were reassured that the Police decided that there were no suspicious circumstances.

In another apartment an Englishman was found dead with various bottles around the bed, and the Police concluded this had caused his death. Again, there were considered to be no suspicious circumstances.

I reckon the moral of these news items is “do not get killed in Pattaya” unless you want your murderer to get away Scot-free. Alternatively, if you’re impatient and that way inclined Pattaya is the place to take your rich Uncle who’s left you his estate in the will.

That night we walked down Soi 8 past the Dream Bar, where an enterprising soul had dressed the girls in a skimpy ‘oriental schoolgirl’ outfit, complete with plaid skirts. Given that I’d already taken to suggesting to my friend that various girls should try out this look we had to stop by. What a great night! I picked up (was picked up by) Deng, and my friend accompanied her older sister. I think they probably were sisters, although I know they often say this – they did look alike, small, cute, brown and wearing plaid skirts (OK so everyone in the bar aside from me and my friend could have been sisters). The girls seemed quite keen to be barfined and get out of the bar. Probably they felt a bit daft in the outfits. So, we grabbed a Baht Bus and hit Walking St and the Blues Factory again. This was when I ascertained that they didn’t have CDs of Lam.

All had a good night. In the mornings, I have to confess that I had been sending the girls on their way to find their own way out. It transpired that some innate nobility in my friend meant that he had been escorting his lady du nuit down and out of the door. So after he rang to find out if my girl was ready because her sister wanted her to go with her, he took them both down to the door. He was delighted by the looks of disapproval from the waitresses as he escorted two Thai girls out of the exit. As he said, he really needed a sign that said “…and they’re sisters!” (Naturally I kept my reputation as a good man, with an interest in Temples, and the spiritual things generally, intact).

We grabbed a Baht Bus down to Walking St and walked back, just to see what we could see. On the way back we stopped off in Mike’s Shopping Centre for an air conditioning break. What a depressingly Western place. It’s strange how quickly that sort of sanitised, same as everywhere else premise goes to the back of your mind, only to be forcibly moved to the front when you’re in it.

You could see the preparations beginning down on Beach Rd for the Pattaya Music Festival, so that area was to be avoided for the next few days. Essentially it just means thousands of people milling about and in my way!

This was St Patrick’s Day, so every Thai place, girl, snake, was decked out in green. The waitresses in the Pig had Guinness T Shirts and dubious Guinness Top Hats were circulating around the staff (with everyone making a serious attempt not to wear the hats, which looked awful and were probably uncomfortable on top of the incipient fashion disaster they represented). This meant that when that evening we went downstairs as usual for a few drinks and a meal it was even more fun than usual. When it came time to eat the lady who appeared to run the night shift came over and suggested that we tried some Thai dishes that weren’t on the menu, hence we were introduced to Penang Chicken, and our food being chosen for us became the norm after that. It was really, really good food, too!

Given the chaos going on down Beach Rd we decided to once more mine the productive shores of Soi 7. Having already been down to the Beach Rd end we hit somewhere in the middle. I was bowled over by Mia – Genuinely and literally! This was a fat Thai girl, not usually my type, but she was so energetic and insistent I figured what the Hell! Tongue down my throat, hand down my trousers, pole dancing for me on the bar, what can you do? Frankly I didn’t see much of my mate, I was swamped!

I bought one of the service girls (‘my friend me’ of Mia) a drink and was rewarded with one of those knitted coasters that all the bars have. This was a nice touch.

As we walked back to the hotel we passed a Karaoke stage. Mia announced that Karaoke was one of the things she liked to do. Somehow I was not in the slightest bit surprised. I don’t think that moderation or embarrassment was in this girl’s make up. I think I am qualified to confirm that this was the case after having a great night!

Yet more relaxation during the day, generally chatting, resting and doing nothing except enjoy ourselves in our own time and at our own pace. That evening we decided to head up to the top of Soi 8 (after an abortive attempt to see what was happening at the music festival). Our first instinct to avoid Beach Rd was definitely the right one. There was nowhere to walk and far too many people, all of them in my way! We cut back up Soi 6 to enable us to say we’d been there. It really doesn’t look much different from all the other Sois in spite of its sleazy reputation. Anyway, we ended up at the top of Soi 8 and decided that we would patronise the Dennis the Menace Bar.

Two ladies quickly joined us. Now, at this point I have to admit that I thought (hoped) that mine was the Mamasan. It transpired however that she wasn’t. Whilst I am always keen to try something new, I did not want to become a supporter of help the aged!

My friend grudgingly pointed out that, last night aside; I’d tended to end up with the younger, arguably prettier, innocent looking one, whilst he’d got the more upfront confident girl. That night’s experience soon knocked that trend on the head. Whilst I would love to think that was because I was such a handsome man (and, after all, those Thai girls can’t all be wrong) I actually think it’s because the girls read customers well and give them what they want. I like pretty girls and my friend likes skanky hoes!

Anyway, I eventually explained to her that, whilst she was nice, she reminded me of someone, so I wondered if she might have a friend. (What I didn’t tell her was that it was Auntie Vi she reminded me of, but there’s no sense in making anyone lose face). Up to me, no offence admitted, so she brought over her friend Lek, who was nice. She admitted to having three babies, but you’d never have known. She was amazingly sweet later, insisting on giving me a massage, and even more insistent that we had to do everything at least once!

After breakfast, internet and supermarket it was back for a sleep. Luckily Pattaya People and Nils were still going strong with a groundbreaking report from outside a new club in Jomtien. Chic @ Halo allegedly has a high tech sound and lights system, and it was definitely going to be the place to be. Sadly this report was broadcast from the rather dingy street outside the undoubtedly magnificent (see Tony below) club, so the adage that a picture paints a thousand words had clearly been lost on the production staff. Mind you, Nils interviewed the promoter, Tony, whose muscle mass rendered him wider than he was tall, and he wasn’t a short man, I was converted. If Tony had told me to go into the club I would definitely not argue. Mind you, I did think that he might want to cut out the middleman and go back to the more simple life of demanding money with menaces.

That night after drinks and food we wandered up to Second Rd, having already worked out that there was no point or enjoyment to be had near Beach Rd. My friend will no doubt tell you I had a bit of an awkward head on that night We walked up to the complex near Crocodiles up on Second Rd, where first of all we stopped at a place where no one seemed to interested, and frankly I pretty much reciprocated. I spoke to a girl named Mao, but there just wasn’t a spark. We headed back a little to another bar, where initially things seemed good. We were escorted with due ceremony to get some food from a buffet by the bar, and things were progressing well. Clearly they were trying, but they had a pretty insurmountable problem for a bar in Pattaya – No girls! Whilst the serving girl, Nom, was nice once she had a drink bought her by another client I rapidly lost interest, when she had third on the go it became funny! Always remember it’s a buyers market. We left and headed back to Soi 8 nearer the top and on the opposite side from previous visits. There I met Yah, who was nice, clearly been working for a while but was still willing to have fun and enjoy herself.

The next day at breakfast my waitress asked us to go to meet her at her friends bar on Soi 7. She told us the name and that it had a tree at the front so we agreed to try to turn up. I have to say we did less than usual that day. I can’t tell you how nice it is not to have to find things to do, to be happy just relaxing, not having to be on show or feign interest in anything other than the things that really interest you. I could equally wax lyrical about the lack of time wasting morons on the telephone, and the ability just to do nothing.

After our usual relax in the oasis like atmosphere of the Pig we set out. After walking up and down Soi 7, then Soi 8 just in case we’d got the street wrong we admitted defeat on the hot waitress front. I’ve already admitted some ambivalence, so it certainly wasn’t a problem. We ended up at the Nana Bar just opposite the Sunbeam Hotel (where we’d stayed the previous year) and very close to our accommodation this year. I made the acquaintance of Tip, who was a little taller than most Thai girls (but still short, and with no Adam’s apple and with small hands, it’s not going to turn into one of those stories!) She was 21, shy and really nice to be with. It was a really nice last night to have.

I hate last days of the holidays. Our waitress was a bit miffed by our non-appearance last night (in spite of the fact that I’d been completely stood up during the day the previous week). That’s good old Thai double standards! We booked a late check out for the rooms so we were able to relax, take our time and generally chill during the heat of the day.

We again wandered along Beach Rd and I bought some fake CDs, getting back to the rooms was a relief because it seemed hotter than ever. Luckily neither if us burns easily in the sun, although we do tan easily, which can be a bad thing if your family think you’re touring Eastern Europe.

After another shower I was able to have a last look at the local TV stations, where a Thai youth had hurled himself off a fourth storey balcony, since, apparently that’s what teenagers do. A bit of a mess and it seems unlikely that you would have got the same footage on British TV. (Thankfully the Police decided, and this may come as a surprise to you, that there were no suspicious circumstances).

Meanwhile a Farang called Robert Alexander had been arrested for doing things to underage boys. Again a bit of a culture shock for Westerners to see the close up video feed of Mr. Alexander in the waiting room whilst the voice over described the accusations against him. Not likely to happen any time soon in England.

We went down for our early evening meal and our waitress had clearly forgiven us. She suggested that I meet her for a drink at the bar we had missed last night, so I agreed. At the appointed time I wandered out and waited for her at her friends bar. She turned up on her motor scooter pretty much on time and he had a chat and I bought a few drinks. Her friend suggested that to make up I needed to bar fine all the girls in the bar, but I said I would probably only be able to manage four of them – cue much hilarity all round. I gave my waitress a decent tip and she said that she would see me next year. (Certainly I’ll be there whether she is or not). This whole thing was interesting. I go to Pattaya for one main reason, as you’ll have realised, and I would be very pleased to sample the delights, were they on offer, from my waitress. Her familiarity with at least one bar and her forwardness with at least one customer (me) indicate some knowledge of the money for services aspect of the town. At the same time I don’t go to Thailand for the dramas and complications that other Stickman contributors seem to find and relate in their submissions, and that a longer term entanglement almost certainly engender. Also, I wouldn’t want to mislead her as to my intentions, I’m not that bad a man.

Then again…her legs in that uniform…and over her motor scooter… We’ll see.

It’s probably all change next year, so the question won’t arise.

Anyway, I made my way the short walk back to the hotel and got my bag together. The taxi lady was on time, and we made excellent time back to the airport. When we arrived we were picked out to have our luggage searched by Thai customs. This did not cause us any great concern, on the basis that we weren’t stupid, and had no desire to spend time in Thai jail. The customs guys looked at my friends fake DVDs and told him they were good ones!

Having got through that particular hoop we went to check in. Don’t forget your 500 Baht exit tax! It all went relatively smoothly, except for the fact that our ‘plane had a six hour delay. No sense in worrying, we just took a leisurely look around the duty free shops (much more expensive than anything outside). We then had a snack at the Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise; I’ll bet none of the Thai’s eat there. One fascinating thing – all the meals come with a little ‘ice cream pot’ of mashed potato and gravy. WTF!? It’s no nicer than it sounds so don’t eat it.

We then wandered to the gate that our delayed flight was due to leave from. To our amazement in the interim the delay had all but disappeared. It was another flight that was delayed, or time had been made up in cleaning and maintenance or they’d just plain found another aeroplane. Whatever way we weren’t destined to sit bored rigid in the airport overnight.

The flight back went relatively quickly since I was genuinely asleep most of the way. We got seats in the row in front of the bulkhead so actually had some legroom, which did help in sleeping, although I was pretty tired in any case. The couple next to me might have kept me awake in other circumstances. Neither of them seemed to enjoy the experience of flying much. In fact they were tenser than a very tense thing throughout.

We got in to Heathrow virtually on time, and got off the ‘plane. Going through customs I was surprised that the customs lady asked me if I’d had a good time when I told her where I’d come in from. I think I must have still been smiling from my holiday.

We collected the bags and headed off to our respective trains. Same time next year!


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