Stickman Readers' Submissions March 11th, 2011

Please Explain Why…

It’s the first week in February – not “peak peak” season, but busy enough – and I’m taking an early afternoon stroll along the Beach Road in Pattaya. The walkway (I refuse to talk Americanese) is, I think, a credit
to the place. It’s clean, shaded by swaying palms and generally devoid of the detritus of many Pattaya locations.

The beach (if you can call it that) is, by contrast, a mess. One continuous mass of umbrellas and loungers packed together like sardines in a can. As I’ve said, it’s still high season, and yet occupancy can’t exceed 20%. Sun loving
farang have to resort to moving their deckchairs into the shallows of the sea, or on to the small beach areas between each concessionaire.

A reduction by 50% of umbrellas/loungers would still provide more than ample occupancy, would provide space for those who want to enjoy the sunshine and would give the beach front a much more pleasant ambience…wouldn’t it?

Please explain why…

On my occasional trips from Samut Prakan to Pattaya, I join the Rama 2 Expressway (still got my car, Stick!), a 3-lane highway, in good condition, well maintained and, at the time of day I travel, with only moderate traffic flow. The speed limit is 90

I then join the Bang Na-Trat highway, with its potholes and klong “bridges”, its narrow lanes, its Frontage Road entrances and exits, and its ludicrously dangerous U-turns. Here I can legally
drive at 120 kph!

Please explain why…

On that same journey, the penultimate exit from Rama 2, Therapak Road, is Exit Number 10. On the return journey from Pattaya, that same exit is Number 18! (On my first trip, this led to me taking a 3 hour rush hour detour across the river!)

Please explain why…

A couple of months ago, at the time that the Governor of Phuket had announced the latest crackdown on non-usage of helmets, I was returning from golf when a motorbike turned right out of a soi on my left, into the traffic flow, forcing me into minor avoidance
mode. The male driver, a female passenger (presumably wife) and two small kids were all helmetless. By my count, at least 3 traffic offences…and the driver was one of our infamous Boys in Brown.

Please explain why…

Early one evening in a well known a Go Go bar in Pattaya, the lights are quickly flashed and the girls on stage rapidly replace bikini bits. A couple of minutes later a Thai “gentleman” enters and is shown to a table close to the stage.
The girls on stage seem to shrink away from the edge of the stage, and those girls enjoying lady drinks cuddle closer to their customers.

A drink appears. The “gentlemen” then proceeds to slowly walk twice around the stage floor before pointing out one of the ladies. She leaves the stage and the two of them disappear upstairs. 20 minutes later (or am I being generous?!) the
Thai “gentleman” reappears, finishes his drink, and casually departs. Bikini bits are removed, and normal service is resumed.

(Actually, I don’t need an explanation here; I just enjoyed the “subtlety” of the whole incident – whilst feeling VERY sorry for the poor girl selected)

Please explain why…

I’m stopped on my motorbike at the traffic lights in my village, waiting to turn left. I’d only just missed “green”, and the countdown clock told me that I had 85 seconds to wait. With 40 seconds still to go I am awakened from
my daydreaming by the sound, and then appearance of, a cement wagon. It has to be travelling at 50-60 kph and obviously has no intention of stopping at the mild inconvenience
of red lights! At the time the soi from the left was at “green”, and I shudder to think of the outcome if a motorbike had been crossing in front of us
at that moment.

Please explain why…

…that, even after the experience of 9 years living in Thailand, we can still find ourselves open to the con. (or, maybe, that’s just me!)

I’ve been living in Samut Prakan for a month now, and it is, for sure, very different from the tourist areas. In the main, though, I’ve enjoyed the genuine friendliness of the people and the excellent cost of living here

Last night, girlfriend, teacher Nok had to go to a job related party, which left me on my own, for the first time of an evening. Having dined at a local eatery, I decided to have a beer at one of the numerous, neon lit, karaoke/lounge bar establishments
that abound here. Well, I arrived much too early – 7.30, when the “show” doesn’t start until 8.00 and the place doesn’t
really get going before 10.00 – but, anyway, ordered a large (no choice) Heineken. As I say, the place was very quiet, and I was joined
by Nut, the 45 year old Mamasan, who provided amusing conversation. She brought her drink over, and I ended up ordering a second beer. She disappeared
at one point, and then reappeared with an Orange Juice.

After my second large beer I asked for the bill, which read as follows:

Service: 30 baht (WTF?)

Ice: 20 baht (Standard practice locally)

Heineken: 360 baht (180 baht each – more than twice the price in local bars and restaurants)

Lady Drink: 190 baht (!!)

Total: 600 baht

Now, like many, I’ve sat in bars in many “farang” tourist places and had requests for lady drinks. Sometimes I’ve agreed, sometimes I’ve refused. Never, though, have I had it “assumed”, especially at such
an early, “pre-show” time.

I paid up, with a wry smile, and a promise to myself not to return!

It does seem that we need to re-learn every time we find ourselves in a new situation…

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To retain one's sanity, in Thailand one should never ask why!

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