I read Ms. Patti Dern’s recent submission about Pattaya with interest and appreciated her prerogative. As a constructive criticism, I do feel she painted with too broad a brush and the name calling was a bit over the top. That said,
I did find it refreshing to read a submission from a western lady.
Please allow me to share my own reflections on Pattaya. I’ve only been to Pattaya twice, I did not monger and I can’t see myself going back. I do not think less of mongerers for I too was a bit of a rascal at one time, but that
was years ago when I was deep in the throes of a mid life crisis. Today I no longer allow the wrong part of my anatomy to make decisions for me. Yes, I guess I am one of those obnoxious reformed types. Anyway…
The first time I went to Pattaya was with my Thai fiancée (who I did not meet in a bar or on a street corner). I was new to LOS and did not know Pattaya was the sex capital of the world. I chose to go to Pattaya solely because it was
a beach town convenient to Bangkok. When we stayed in Bangkok I routinely took morning walks alone for exercise since she refused to join me. She never could understand why a farang would find walking enjoyable. When I returned to her after my
walks she always seemed a bit suspicious, half wondering if I hooked up with a lady boy in an alley or something. I honestly just enjoy walking. Anyway…
In Pattaya we stayed at the Dusit Hotel on the beach. At dawn the first morning I set out for my walk, which is my practice. She chose not to go, as is her practice. I exited the rear of the hotel through the pool area and departed the back
gate that opens onto Beach Road. I wanted to get my walk in early before it got too hot. I turned right and began my stroll up the Beach Road (also referred to as the “Coconut Bar”) taking in the sights and sounds. It was a clear
Wednesday morning in May and already too hot. The beach sweeper ladies, sporting their straw hats with brooms in hand, were stoically clearing the rubble from the day before. In the days that followed I came to admire how well they did their job.
They seemed quite content in their own inner world as they silently toiled. Moving along I listened to the sounds, not of the waves, but of the two stroke motorbikes whizzing by and the occasional honk of a horn. These sounds would continue to
build to an irritating crescendo as the day developed and the traffic would be such you genuinely risked your life attempting to cross the street. I couldn’t help thinking how much nicer Pattaya could really be only if. Anyway…
Seeing the sunrise over the Bay of Siam was kind of Zen. I passed a few of the ubiquitous freelancers. At that time in the morning the beach was not yet totally obstructed by the great wall beach chairs and umbrellas running right down to
the water’s edge. God forbid the beach be uncluttered allowing people to walk along the surf. I noticed the recurring sight of empty whiskey bottles in the sand under the palm trees and the small groups of Thais nearby who ingested the
contents. They must have worked the late shift that evening and hadn’t made it home yet. A sadder sight greeted me as I came across Thai ladies sleeping on the concrete benches. They appeared to have been there all night not having a place
to go home to. I’ve lived in the developing world before, but I’m still not comfortable with such sights. There but for the grace of God go I. Anyway…
Taking brisk strides I eventually arrived at the top of Beach Road by the pier. I wasn’t ready to turn around so I followed the road as I bent away from the beach and discovered Walking Street. I vaguely remembered reading something
about Walking Street and understood it to be a naughty nightlife area. It was only 6:30 AM so I thought it would be a nice quiet time to do some exploring. I found the physical appearance of the place to be an amusing set of contradictions. Walking
Street is a pedestrian mall with nice decorative paving, but it is an architectural eyesore, a narrow alley of a road, crowed with signage and low dangling power lines in front of the buildings' facades. It just seemed odd to see serious
restaurants periodically wedged between rows of gogo bars. I could just imagine a first time family tourist taking his wife and kids out to a recommended Italian restaurant on Walking Street not knowing anything about the locale. The kids would
love it, but not the Mrs.. Going further up the alley I was surprised to find gogo bars open at that time of morning and sure enough there were a few farangs sitting just inside with a cigarette in one hand, a Singha in the other and an attentive
lady by his side. I’m not a prude, but don’t these people ever sleep? I could see first-hand just how LOS could devour a man’s health and finances. There but for the grace of God go I. Anyway…
There were freelancers about on Walking Street even then. I encountered a group of three rather tallish gals (maybe they were ladies?) freelancing directly in front of me. Their eyes fixed on me and the tallest one said “Hello”.
I smiled politely, nodded, looked away and stepped to the side. She (or he? or I don’t know?) shifted over into my path of travel making it clear we had to interact whether I wanted to or not. At this I point I decided my curiosity regarding
Walking Street had been satisfied. I turned on my heels and walked back down the alley to Beach Road. From there I thought I’d explore Second Road on my way back to the hotel. As I walked I reflected on Pattaya thinking it could easily
be a much more pleasant place for vanilla tourists to encounter if the city fathers made just a few changes, while still accommodating the naughty nightlife crowd. Changes like blocking off traffic on Beach Road making it a pedestrian mall, reigning
in the beach chair vendors, summarily executed the jet ski scammers, giving the beach sweeper ladies a raise and just having some basic zoning enforcement to tone down the freelancers a little. Anyway…
After walking for a good bit on Second Road I found it unbearably boring. So I located a soi to cut through to get back to Beach Road. I did not know it at the time, but the soi I randomly chose was the infamous soi 6. As I turned down the
soi I noticed it too had the same flavor as Walking Street. A few of the gogo bars were also already open. As I passed some to the ladies seated outside the bars playfully said “Hello hansum man”. I just smiled and kept walking.
I then encountered a freelancer standing squarely in the road in front of me. She said “Hello, what your name?” I replied “Mi chi Khup khoon khap” and attempted to side step her, but she would not have any of it. She
again physically blocked my way. I brushed by her determined to get to Beach Road. She grabbed my arm. I forcibly shrugged off her grasp. I was then served a hail of insults. I was now very agitated. Here I was just out for a walk at dawn, minding
my own business and this is the shit I had to tolerate. Was Pattaya just one big whore house open 24/7? I arrived back at the hotel soaked with sweat. So much for walking before it got too hot. In the elevator up to the room I wondered how my
Thai girl would greet me. When I entered our room:
My fiancée: ”You gone a long time, what happen? What you do?”
Me: “Oh nothing my love. It was a boring walk. Anyway…”
Yes, it is prostitution that Pattaya is most famous for and in the Beach Road area it's kind of hard to avoid.
Soi 6 open that early in the morning *really* doesn't sound right…