Stickman Readers' Submissions October 20th, 2007

Thai Thoughts and Anecdotes Part 198


He Clinic Bangkok

Dateline: 1959

Season: Summer

Place: back steps of 536 High Rock Street; Needham, Mass–USA

Ten year old's whine to mother–"There's nothing to do . . . ".

Dateline Update: 2007

Season: Tourist

Place: Beer bar anywhere in Pattaya.

Adult tourist's or expat's whine to anyone–"There's nothing to do in Pattaya in the daytime".

There is nothing to do in Pattaya in the daytime? Really? That's not just the stupid beer talking? That's an idea you think you have and that you believe others would benefit from hearing? Well, Mr. World Weary Jet Set Man my girlfriend and I were shooting guns in the basement of the Tiffany's tranny show building this morning at 9:30. That's 9:30 a.m. in case you need to be reminded of pre-noon time. At nine in the morning we clattered down the steps of the AA Hotel and walked up to 2nd road where we got a baht bus to Tiffany's. Into the basement of the huge spookily quiet show palace where they have a shooting range. Oh . . . you didn't know that Tiffany's had a shooting range? Well they do. You choose the guns you want to shoot and the bullets are handed over in a straw basket. The young attractive Thai woman who hands out the guns and the bullets doesn't know anything about anything. So don't bother asking her any handgun, or ballistics, or performance, or bullet questions. She just points to the guns on the wall behind her and says "how many bullets?" You are still in Thailand. Anyway, a fun (and slightly weird) way to start the day. First you bonk a woman more beautiful than you deserve, then you go to a tranny showplace and shoot handguns. Honk if you love Thailand. Your girlfriend will close her eyes and scream every time she squeezes (jerks wildly) the trigger. And every time she turns her head to say something to you her gun hand will turn towards you too (yes, you can both stand in the same booth–Thailand). Be careful. Nothing like a near death experience with a beautiful Thai woman to start the day.

CBD bangkok

Sometimes I do this without the girlfriend. Just pay her off after the early morning bonk and shower at the foot of the steps to the hotel (you don't pay women to have sex with them, you pay them to leave) and go to the gun range myself. By 11:00 or thereabouts I am ambling down the soi next to Tiffany's on the way to the beach boulevard that runs along Beach Road. And I know with the certainty of gravity that the boulevard will be full of sunny smiley women anxious to see me, and anxious to spend time with me. Let's see: it is not even noon and I have already bonked and showered and smiled and laughed with a beautiful woman, shot 100 rounds out of a 45 caliber handgun, and now the sun is on my face and on my shoulders as I head for more beautiful women. Yup, you're right–there is nothing to do in Pattaya in the daytime. But of course it is hard for you to know this if you are face down on the mattress with a head that hurts. Poor baby.

Let's see. I wonder what else you do not know about that you can do in Pattaya in the daytime. Have you been to:

1. The other fun shooting range out of town. The one you see advertised in the tourist brochures they hand out on the airplanes? Too snobbish to shoot guns? Ever tried it? Think it is easy to shoot handguns? You won't even hit the target the first time. Your gun will jam. You will need help. You'll forget what they told you about how to load the bullets. You won't know how to aim. The thing will scare you as if you are playing with a cobra. And the next morning you will be back.

2. The new aquarium (Underwater World). Third world aquariums are often overstocked and often have sub-standard filtration systems but they are still worth checking out. The time I went to Underwater World it was really fabulous. By the way, this is all great date stuff. Take your teeruk to one of these places or activities you think is beneath you. She will love you for it. I told a woman named Min years ago that we were going to go to one of these standard tourist things and she started screaming, and jumping around, and hugging me. She had never done any of these things.

wonderland clinic

3. Nong Nooch Gardens (with cultural and elephant show). A huge place of gardens, zoo, architecture, orchid house, aviary, bonsai, restaurants, shows, etc. First class in every way. The place is so huge and has so much to see that you can not possibly see it all the first time. I have been three times and still not seen it all. Last time I was there Thai women were using one of the lawns to practice traditional dance. You wouldn't want to see that. Beautiful Thai women in traditional dress practicing the arts of Siam on a beautiful day in a botanical garden. Naw, too boring. Pattaya is boring during the daytime.

4. Million Year's Stone Park (and crocodile farm). Gardens and zoo. Really great. Google it up and look at the pictures. Check out all the animals. When you are there check out the tiger cage with the open top and ask yourself why the tigers do not climb over the top. Scares me every time I see it. Fun tree furniture. This is another really first class place that you can not see all of the first time. Many people miss seeing a lot of the animals so keep alert. I love this place, and photographers love this place, and your girlfriend will love this place. But you have to shut your mouth, and put your beer down, and get off your ass. If you tell yourself you are bored while touring this place then you are brain dead–just go home.

5. Beach north of Soi Srina Kom at low tide. A beach paradise at low tide for adults, or kids, or expats and families, or tourists and girlfriends. Virtually deserted, no Thai family activity, and clean. I go every time I am in Pattaya. Never seen you. A long clean shallow beach that seems to go on forever at low tide. Do all the kid things. Wade about, and pick up rocks and shells, and look at boats, and just lay in the water and let the waves and the sun remind you that it is good to be alive.

6. Bali Hai pier to walk around and look at boats. I had a fisherman family invite me to lunch. Lousy food–nice people. I knew three different ways to say "I don't speak Thai." They thought it was hysterical. Some of the food had so much spice you could have used it to take rust off of bolts. Nearly died. They thought it was hysterical. Had a hard time eating with my hands and no napkin. They thought it was hysterical. Tried to be the good tourist and learn and say the kids names. They laughed so hard I thought some of them were going to have heart attacks.

7. Maritime park and hillside steps up the hill where from the top you get a wonderful view of the condo development and the ocean. Stare down at nice condo development geography and architecture and pretend you live there. I do this almost every time I go to Pattaya. I guess standing on the top of the hill and looking down at the beautiful condo development, and landscaping, and ocean views is part of my 'I wish I lived in Pattaya' dream. It's good to dream. It's a vacation.

8. Revolving restaurant (Pattaya Park Tower-53rd floor) and water park on the Jomtien/Pattaya border. Never been to the water park? Never taken your girl to the fifty story high restaurant? Never taken the gondola or wire ride down to the ground? Ok, amaze me–what have you done? You took your girl to a bar and she works in a bar? You are brainless.

9. Bowling–oh, I see–you are too grown up to go bowling. Bullshit.

10. Touring the Royal Gardens department store on Beach Road–you're a tourist, stop pretending–take a tour. Oh, I know you have already been there but that is not what I am talking about. The next time you go in go into every store. You'll learn in the shoe store that Thai shoes are not sold in widths, and you'll learn in the tailor shop at lunchtime that you can sit with the family and have lunch too (yes I have), and . . . but you got to get off that barstool jackass.

11. Visit to Jomtien in the 10 baht bus. Ask at the V.C. Hotel on 2nd Road the best place to pick up the bus (this is important). Long beautiful beach for a beach walk. Oh I forget, you are too hip for beach walks. If you like seeing topless white women they are on the beach. I consider this pollution but some guys like looking at fat whales.

12. Trip to Ko Larn island by using the Bali Hai pier 20 baht public ferry. That's right, you read that right–it only costs 20 baht to go to Ko Larn island where you (or you and your girlfriend) can spend the day zooming around the beautiful island on motorbikes and going to the beaches. There is nothing to see by walking north or south on the shore road when you get off the ferry–just do what everyone else does and rent a motorbike. The Thais and the Japanese know about this fun daytime bargain–not many daytime farangs though. Too busy hanging out like ten year olds complaining to Momma that there is nothing to do I guess. I go to Ko Larn every single time I am in Pattaya and never tire of it. I don't know if they still have it but there used to be a place inland where you could shoot automatic weapons. Oh, you don't think shooting automatic weapons is really your style? Ever tried it?

13. Tailor shops. You are in a 3rd world country and you are not having beautiful clothes made at a bargain price? Jerk. I go into tailor shops (I fear nothing) just to see if they have any special materials or specialties. You get surprised. In fact you get surprised a lot. Some tailors are friendly and some tailors are not friendly. Mohammed who runs the tailor shop opposite the Nana Hotel in Bangkok had no interest in my business. Apparently, I did not come up to his low standards. And by the way, his sleeves on his custom made French cuff white shirt were too long. The tailor shop around the corner next to the Landmark hotel had no interest in my business. "We don't tailor synthetics." The word synthetic hadn't come out of my mouth. A very well known tailor shop on the corner of Soi 11 had no interest in my business–the owner refused to look up from his noon meal. The shop was empty and I had a sample in my bag and a wallet full of money but he was eating. I guess timing is everything when you are a tourist.

It is a sometimes weird world once you leave Thailand behind and enter India or Pakistan or Iran. However, I have a closet full of beautiful clothes. None were sold in bars. On my last trip I had an Iranian tailor in South Pattaya pull out a six foot roll of cloth that looked like spun gold and silk with elephants on it. I blurted out "Make me a shirt". I now have the most beautiful shirt in Boston.

A hint on tailor shops: you do not ever want to be measured. Take in a shirt or a pair of pants or whatever that has already been tailored and fits perfectly. Say the word COPY. Don't let anyone near you with a tape. Never a problem. Measuring? A crap shoot.

14. Try this for a daytime activity. Get on the back of your girlfriends motorbike (a crotch rocket is best–actually, that applies to the girlfriend too) and ask her to take you to anyplace that includes 2nd Road or 3rd Road and KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN AND LOOK STRAIGHT AHEAD OVER HER SHOULDER–you will get the shit scared out of you . . . there is something you can do in the daytime. You won't do this twice.

15. Have you been to the water skiing park, or the Go Kart place (Bira International Circuit), or taken one of the microlight planes up for a daytime excursion? No, not you . . . there is nothing to do in the daytime in Pattaya except sit around in bars and say there is nothing to do in Pattaya. Bullshit.

Actually, my dad was a pilot and I grew up with piles of flying magazines on the floor in the bathroom. I know a lot about airplanes and flying and stuff. There is no way I would take one of these microflight excursions unless I had a parachute strapped on my back and a parachute strapped on my front. And I don't want them to be people parachutes either. I want those parachutes they use to deliver tanks to the front. And I want the entire 'microflight-whatever-it-is' surrounded with strap-on mattresses. But hey, that's just me. I recommend this activity for you.

16. Do you read the Pattaya Mail everyday and mark the things that are going on that you could attend? Events for kids, and philanthropic stuff, and sports, gallery (art stuff nimrod) events, and celebrities, and . . . all you have to do is what I do. I take the article in to my front desk staff at the hotel and they write down in Thai the location and the time for the mototaxi guys outside. Then I'm off. Boy that was hard.

17. Have you gone up Pattaya Hill Road at the southern end of town to Wat Pra Yai with its Big Buddha statue? No . . . not you; there is nothing to do in Pattaya during the daytime. Pattaya only exists at night. Everyone knows that. Bullshit again you fool. The reason Pattaya does not exist during the daytime for you is not because Pattaya is not interesting during the daytime, but because you are not interesting during the daytime. All you can do is sit on your Mommy back steps like a ten year old and complain that you are bored. Wrong. You are boring. Pattaya is not boring during the daytime; you are boring during the daytime.

18. Have you visited the Royal Varuna Yacht Club? Just to visit something scenic that you do not know very much about? No, not you . . . you are sure that is boring too. Sure . . . club activities, and enthusiastic club members, and maritime sports in paradise, and probably free boat rides, and things you could volunteer for or participate in every day of your vacation . . . you're right–boring.

19. Every relationship is an adventure and every woman is unique but I never see you on the boardwalk in the daytime (starting at 7:30 a.m.) talking to the girls. What is next? Are you going to tell me that is boring? You are full of shit. Pattaya is not boring during the daytime–you are boring during the daytime.

20. Do you read the Pattaya Mail newspaper when you are at home and actually take notes on up-and- coming city events and plan your vacations accordingly? Say coming on your vacation during the music festival? No you don't. Because that would take work, and planning, and an active mind, and that is what is missing. Pattaya is not boring during the daytime–you are boring during the daytime.

21. How about taking your girlfriend to one of the nice restaurants that has been in a restaurant review in the newspaper for lunch. No . . . too much planning involved, besides Pattaya is boring during the daytime–everyone knows that. Everyone does not know that. I do not know that. I hit the boardwalk at 7:30 every morning and never once have I been bored.

22. Have you walked on down to the Pattaya International Hospital on Soi 4, or gone to the Pattaya Memorial Hospital on 2nd Road and asked if you can be a part of a 'hold babies' program. Every hospital has abandoned babies that need human contact. Maybe you need some human contact too. Take my word for this. If you locate one of these programs and take your girlfriend the next day to hold babies she will think you are a farang god. The night of the day I did this with Da she said 'no condoms ok'. Want to hold babies now?

23. Have you done some Internet research before landing in Pattaya and visited as a guest the various Expat clubs at club breakfasts or lunches or dinners? All you have to do is contact them and you will get an invite. You may be an asshole but they will take a chance on you. How many people in your own country will take a chance on you? Interesting guys, and interesting stories, and valuable information, and . . . no, too boring. Besides for an expat breakfast at Henry J. Beans you would have to get up early. "Fxxxing no way I'm doing that in this boring town–honey, I'll have another beer."

24. Have you gotten in touch with the Pattaya Sports Club (PSC) and asked what you can do to help them with their philanthropic activities? The living legend there that coordinates all of these good community deeds is charity chairman Bernie Tuppin. Ever met him? No not you.

"No . . . that would take, well I'm not really the salesman type; I was never one to push myself on others."

Bullshit, you are just a complaining, low spark, uninteresting loser twelve thousand miles from home. No one in your home town knows you have left town, and no one in Pattaya knows you are in town. Pattaya is boring during the daytime? Look in the mirror. That is what is boring in Pattaya during the daytime. You.

25. Have you been to Mini Siam, or the crocodile village, or the Elephant Krall (Pattaya Elephant Village), or the Tiger Zoo? I'm not sure all of these are still open but I have already been to these daytime fun things once or twice. Have you even checked them out? Oh, excuse me . . . that would mean putting your beer down.

When I went to the Sriracha Tiger Zoo it was really great. One hundred acres of tourist pleasure.

26. How about King Rama IX Park, or Wat Bunkanjanaram in Jomtien? Don't know what these places or activities are? Well, look them up jerkwad.

27. Did you know there was an outside swimming pool at Big Mikes Department Store on Beach Road with a view of Pattaya Bay? Expats hang out there. You might meet someone interesting.

More on pools. Did you know that you can often swim in hotel pools where you are not a guest just by tipping the guy who hands out the towels? There is a wonderful new pool and waterfall and hot tub with jets on the fourth floor of the Nana Hotel in Bangkok. If I am not staying at the hotel I still use the pool. All it takes is a tip. Honk if you love corruption. So do this in Pattaya. Go to the top of the tallest hotel in the middle of Beach Road–it is the Pattaya Centre Hotel on Soi 12. A dumb name but a great hotel and an exceptional location for people with more money than me. Now once you are out of the elevator on the top floor go to the end of the hall on the eastern end and look out the window down on all of the other hotels in town. Note the buildings and the pools. Have a map and take notes. Now go around and try to use all of those pools on your vacation. People make a fun vacation game of this in Las Vegas in the States. They have hotel-pool vacations where they make a game of visiting all the hotel pools in the resort city. You can do the same thing in Pattaya. Bye-the-way, this hotel has a great pool with a fantastic view of the ocean and of Pattaya and it is never crowded.

Did you know that you can stroll (you want to be well dressed for this) straight through the Marriott Hotel lobby on 2nd Road and out back to the pool and garden area? This space is a botanical and water wonderland and one of the best examples of hotel outside architecture you will see. Of course no one knows about it because it is for the rich guests of the hotel only. Coolest place in Pattaya during the hot season. A life saver. If you see me don't wave. Keep this quiet. And no teeruks.

28. Did you know that you do not have to be a diver to go out on a dive boat? I've done it. It is amazing what you can do if you just show people money. Same for sport fishing trips. I don't dive and I don't fish but a day on one of these boats is great. Fun. You get to take a boat trip, and help the divers and fishermen, and steer the boat, and make new friends, and pick up some sun and some new experiences, and . . . ah forget it; not special enough for you. Boring probably. You are just waiting six hours for a soccer game to come on. Saved your money all year and bragged to your friends all year and you are waiting for a soccer game to come on.

29. Ten miles south of Pattaya is Wat Yan Sangwararam. Have you been there? The Chinese museum is worth the trip. But you won't go because you know that if you continue to just sit and drink beer in the open air bar that the most beautiful woman in the world will walk up to you, and smile at you, and say hello to you, and your whole life will change.

No she won't. Of course you might meet that woman while touring the Chinese museum at Wat Yan Sangwaranram but that would take planning, and gumption, and an alert mind, and follow through. Why even bother? There is nothing to do in this shit hole Pattaya in the daytime. Nothing that your high standards anyway. Bullshit. Your shoes squish when you walk.

30. Ok, I'm getting winded and my point should be made so I am just going to buzz through some more ideas: the Thai Handicrafts Market on 2nd Road during certain days of the week, the bird guy on South Pattaya Road about fifty yards up from the start of Walking Street (great stories and frightening teeth), or volunteering at the local Catholic orphanage. I once volunteered at lunchtimes for a couple of days. It was a good experience. Wat Khao Phraya and Wat Chaimongkon ("All Wats are the same."–no, all Wats are different but you have to put down the beer), the Chinese Temple and Naval Broadcasting Station–best views of Pattaya and a wonderful day date with your girlfriend, bodybuilding Gyms, and the movies.

Back to the Chinese Temple and Naval Broadcasting station on top of the hill in South Pattaya. Outstanding views. A lot of fun. Really a must experience. Buy some overpriced (50 baht) 'good luck' birds from the woman on the steps; walk to the edge of the cliff, make a wish (don't ask your teeruk what her wish is), open the cages and smile as you release them. Your girlfriend will love it, you will love it, the birds will love it, and the bird woman will love it. When is the last time you made that many people happy?

Ah Jesus, another one I almost forgot–a real photo opportunity. Go to the entrance to Walking Street where the arch sign has been replaced with a fifty foot high statue of Dana with his legs bestride the street like a monger colossus. Stand under him and look up his shorts. "I'll meet you under Dana's balls."

31. Another fun daytime thing to do is to pick a geographic area and go into every single hotel and ask questions. The questions are just an excuse to be in the hotel and tour the grounds. You learn a lot, and you see a lot of new things, and you have fun. I did this one day at every hotel between Beach Road and 2nd Road from Soi 1 to Soi 13/4. I learned a lot, and I saw a lot, and I ended up with hotel cards with notes on them in case I needed a plan B some day. I don't make reservations at hotels in Pattaya in advance (because most of them do not honor reservations) so I have ended up staying in about ten different hotels. It helps to have some information. Later on in Detroit United States Immigration wanted to know why I had so many hotel cards. Try to have a good answer for this. It is amazing how stupid you can look trying to answer a simple question. Last time I was going through United States Immigration in Detroit I misspelled my own name. Do not do this. I repeat: do not misspell your own name. But I digress.

32. I have an expat friend (well I hope he is my friend) that is an expert balloon chaser. New bar openings, or bar events always include food and drinks and fun and often balloons outside to highlight and show and draw attention to the event. Many times the food or drink is reduced price (and sometimes free). He scours the net, and the local papers, and is ever on the alert for balloons outside an establishment. Hey, it's not mooching–it is opportunity seeking. He is also an expert on the locations of clean bathrooms. Live and learn.

33. I know of an expat named Peter in Washington Square in Bangkok who has fine tuned meeting girls by going to the same massage place every day. It is all about building relationships. The cost is no more than a couple of beers and the investment can really pay off. I haven't got the patience for it but it is a daytime activity that works for him. Another friend of mine in Pattaya does the same thing only it is manicures. Again, not for me; but works for him. I went to meet another expat named Gary once at a manicure/massage place in Pattaya on Soi 13/3 in the daytime. He was surrounded by girls (hands and feet–get it?). Made me think I can tell you.

34. Here is something I have done and no one else does or thinks about. Get the 10 baht bus to Jomtien and walk down to the beach. Now instead of walking south, turn right and walk north. Few do this. Walk and walk and walk all the way around the peninsula to the Maritime Park lighthouse in South Pattaya. Lots of walking and sand and sea and sun. Lots of fun. Cost? 10 baht. Hint: don't take your dark-skinned girlfriend from the Northeast plateau–Isaan women aren't sun worshippers or walkers. And no that remark does not mean I hate Thailand . . . ah, forget it.

35. I am not a golfer so I am not going to say anything about all of the golf courses in Pattaya because golfers are kinda tough on non-golfers if you say something wrong. But I will say that once a year I like to go to a driving range and hit balls. Hey, who doesn't love to whack their balls for a couple of hours? So I wrap my knees and my elbows and my wrists and my ankles with ace bandages and supports and braces and go to the Diana Golf Centre and Driving Range off Pattaya Sai 3rd Road. Or I used to. Don't know if it is still there. You're on vacation, and you are getting some sun, and you are whacking your balls–who says there is nothing to do in Pattaya during the daytime? Take your girlfriend. She'll love to whack your balls.

Oops–almost forget: there is a fun miniature golf course on Beach Road down near the Soi 5 (?) area. If you can not have fun playing miniature golf during the daytime with your girlfriend than she is not your girlfriend. When I was about eleven and my idiot sister was six we used to go to miniature golf courses on family vacations. My sister who did not have the brains of a beagle would get holes-in-one. I have never forgiven her for this. That may have been the beginning of my atheism. No God in heaven would allow this kind of nonsense. But I digress. Try some daytime miniature golf. I know of a guy who leaves his hotel up around Soi 13 and starts walking north on the boardwalk. He picks up a likely looking specimen and takes her to the miniature golf place. The girls are so relieved not to be paying the bills on their knees that their smiles make them look like peds dispensers. It's a fun thing–in the daytime.

36. Here is something to do in Pattaya during the daytime that intrigues me and that I have never seen one tourist or expat doing. Get an expensive pair of binoculars with a tiny tripod or a small telescope with a tiny tripod and go to Starbucks on Beach Road or to the Royal Palm on Beach Road. At Starbucks set up on the outside terrace and at the Royal Palm set up on the outside terrace on the top floor where the food court is. Now just look at stuff.

Bye-the-way: according to the Feminazi dictionary–if you are a non-Thai male with a telescope or a binoculars you are a tourist. If you are using them with a tripod you are a voyeur. And if you have a camera attached you are a pervert. You might want to consider camo clothes and wrapping the apparatus in burlap.

37. A few more: (A)–There is a bottle museum; never been there. (B)–Check out the daily fish market opposite the ferry building at the end of Walking Street. (C)–I haven't mentioned photography because I am not a picture taker but if you are a picture taker . . . well, you get the point.

–Speaking of picture taking: I have a friend who takes pictures and then gets them developed and tapes or glues them onto postcards. He makes custom postcards to send his friends. Clever. I do the same thing only I do not have any friends to send custom made postcards to so I send them to myself with messages like:

"Having a great time. Wish you were here."

"Met a wonderful woman named Yoghurt. Wait 'till I tell you all about her."

"There is no Third World pricing for Viagra here. Send money."

When I get home the cards are waiting for me.

–I know another guy who takes lots and lots of photos of his steady girlfriend and has them developed. Then he buys a little scrapbook or photo album and puts together a gift. The gift is always a surprise and always a hit.

–If you can locate a laminating business: take photos of your girlfriend or of the two of you to the laminating business with some new T-shirts. Have her picture laminated onto a T-shirt and show up at the bar that night wearing the shirt. She will scream. You're a hit. I have done this. Trust me. You will be a hit.

38. And finally, what review of things to do in the daytime in Pattaya would be complete without mentioning that there are bathhouses you can go to where the girls are very friendly. More friendly than your ex-wife. More friendly than your present wife. More friendly than your ex-girlfriend. More friendly than your current girlfriend. So what are you waiting for? Put down the beer Mr. There's Nothing To Do In Pattaya In The Daytime and get a mototaxi. Oh oh, Sweet Jesus On A Cracker you put your beer down and you are sliding off the seat with that look in your eyes that Teddy Roosevelt had when charging up San Juan Hill. Ok, as a prize I am going to give you one more idea that always works and always amuses me.

Around 4 p.m. make the rounds of several open air beer bars and leave your hotel card with your room number and 11 p.m. written on it with likely looking prospects. That night make sure you are in your room around 11 p.m. so that you can take the calls from the front desk. You have no idea who is going to show. And the phone always rings.

There is nothing to do? There is nothing to do in Pattaya in the daytime? Wrong. Almost every vacation spot I have been to in the 3rd world that has a lot of night time 'entertainment zone' activity gets this jackass moniker pinned on it. Boring people reaching inaccurate conclusions that are a reflection of themselves, not a reflection on the place that they are visiting. Life is what you make it; but to make it fun and interesting you have to do some planning, and some list making, and maybe get some other people involved, and take some risks (maybe this new thing won't be fun), and be open minded, and be aggressively interested in getting the most out of your life that you can. And get over your self. People one town over do not know your name. You are not that special. You are probably not qualified to make a judgement about whether a place is interesting or not. Just go with it. Sign on for the ride. The ride of life. I have visited other peoples' relatives on my vacations–"Dana, while you are in Nassau could you look up my uncle Freddy?" Was it always a success? No. But then everything in life is not always supposed to be a success. Was the afternoon that you spent drinking one more beer a success?

Every place is interesting during the daytime but you have to be interesting. I like Pattaya. I was walking down Soi Tropicana one afternoon and I got to chatting with the hedge clipper guy who worked for the landscaping crew. It turned out his hobby was collecting and mounting butterflies. On to his motorbike and out to his house. Horrible house, and dispiriting surroundings; but beautiful butterflies mounted like works of art and giving the house (hovel) dignity and interest.

I like Pattaya during the night time. Who wouldn't? But I also like Pattaya during the daytime. I like being a part of the early morning sun, and the early morning activities, and the normal Pattayaites going about their normal lives. Smiles for me. There is plenty to do in Pattaya during the daytime because Pattaya is full of people, and where there are people there are always stories and activities that you can connect with.

What activity would I recommend for some one who wants to turn themselves around on this? Go to the AA Hotel on the corner of Beach Road and Soi 13/0 and have Anna the Activities Director sign you up for the beach and boating trip to Ko Larn island. This is different than going over on your own on the 20 baht public ferry at Bali Hai pier. This is a structured all day beach and boating tour for tourists. Four different boat trips, plus parasailing, plus lunch served on the beach, plus swimming, plus sunning in the deck chairs, plus other tourist activities, etc. 600 baht. Around 4:30 you will be dumped back on the beach near Soi Yodsak and start the wonderful walk down the boardwalk to your hotel. Sunburned, tired, well fed, happy, sand in your pants, and . . . Sweet Jesus On A Cracker–it is about this time that the girls start infesting the boardwalk again . . . there is one, and another, another . . .

There is nothing to do in Pattaya during the daytime? Are you kidding?

Oh, and one more. I get up early every morning and go up to the Internet place near Soi 10. The walk down the sidewalk is wonderful and the waves from girls on the boardwalk across the street is fun. The receptionist is cute, the place is clean and well run, there is a bathroom, and you can get a drink. It is my daily ritual and a reliable oasis. Out after reading and emailing I stop into the Mini-Mart next door. There I buy a bag of juice cartons (guava juice–what's that?) and snacks and strange Thai treats. A big bag of food and drinks. Then I cross over to the boardwalk and start the early morning stroll back to the AA Hotel. And I hand out drinks and breakfast items to every early morning smiler I meet. Beautiful boardwalk that the city of Pattaya has spent money on with new palms and plantings, beautiful blue early morning sky, calm ocean to the horizon, early morning sun on my shoulders and arms and face, and sitting and chatting with women. Wonderful women.

Many of these women are poor earners, and many of these women are poor planners. And not all of their troubles are of their own making. Their hearts beat the same as anyone else's and they dream the same dreams as everyone else. Some of them are hungry. There is nothing to do in the daytime in Pattaya? You never had this much fun. Many of the girls know me or spot me coming. Big smiles. They know I am not going to make this a sex commerce thing. No tension. No fear. No hopes dashed on the rocks of disappointment again. Just human contact and smiling and free food. Sitting with one or two or a group of wonderful women and having breakfast. Sun on my face and neck and shoulders. Hip to hip. Shoulder to shoulder. You never had this much fun.

So in conclusion: there are lots of fun and interesting things to do in Pattaya in the daytime for families and kids and couples and single people whether you are Thai or farang or tourist or expat. I hope you get to do everything on this list. You'll lose some weight, and get some sun, and drink less alcohol, and stop a lifestyle of complaining, and maybe make some friends in wonderful Thailand. The only thing I did not mention is renting motorbikes or motorcycles. As the teeruks say–"Up to you." I think about it a lot but so far I have not done it. For the short time tourist I believe it is too dangerous. Anyway, good luck and I'll see you around–in the daytime.


Addenda: This essay and many others are available in my latest book available in Bookazine on Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok. Not on the shelves with other authors like Steven Leather, and Dean Barrett, and Chuckwoww, and Andrew Hicks, and Christopher Moore, and Jake Needham, and Col. Ken Oathe, and David Young, and Nicolas Merriweather but in the back. The back? Yes nimrod, my books are in the back of the store. Well, they are not actually in the back of the store, but more like in the back of the building on the other side of the door that says Employees Only.

Some of my books are used to wedge open the door on the alley so that a breeze can come in the back of the building, some of the books are used to level out the coffee pot because the table is kinda crooked, some of the books are used to soak up a leak in the bathroom, and some of the books are used as packing material when books by other authors are being mailed to collectors worldwide. Some books by authors are treasured and marked with underlinings, and margin notes, and yellow highlighter pens. Some books by authors are treasured as first editions, or presented at book signings for author inscriptions, or passed down in the family as treasured heirlooms and parts of the financial estate. My books are torn to pieces and used for packing material. It's my niche.

Example: If Bookazine gets a 50,000 book order from the Uzbekistan National Library and Plowshare Sharpening Association for the latest novel by Dean Barrett my books go with the order–as packing material. I and he. Or he and me. Or I and him. Ok, I'm not some limp wristed slack assed grammarian guy. The point is I'm playing with the big boys now. The Deanster and the Danaster.

Sure a lot of attention is fawned on the authors who have books displayed at eye level in the main store on shiny stainless steel racks under nuclear flash lighting and with publishers discount coupons on display as well as stand-up cardboard cutouts of the author smoking his pipe or firing his AK-47: but why always do the easy thing? How many of these authors have books being used to soak up urine leaks around the toilet? The important thing is that my books are in a bookstore. So go over to the Bookazine and ask to use the bathroom.

Stickman's thoughts:

I get the feeling you really enjoyed writing this piece!

A nice round up of things to do, that's for sure. Very nice.

nana plaza