7 PM Dinner in Pattaya
The Fat Lizard was having a fabulous time; his two friends from Isaan had come down to Bangkok to join him for 2 weeks of fun in the sun. They went out for dinner to places old hands like Mega and BrokenMan (not so broken after all) had recommended. The Sky Bar was stunning, except for the vertigo and the Hangovertini, which tasted awful. The $20 price tag didn’t help either. Hemingway’s was unique, Oskar’s was good, although Lizard couldn’t help thinking these places could be anywhere on the planet. Not the “real” Bangkok he remembered from past trips. He longed for the days when the maître d’ would hover nervously over the “two scrubbers” (as BrokenMan artfully described them) he brought years ago to the Oriental for breakfast. Now the only stares they got were when older sister did her party trick and opened all 6 bottles in the beer bucket at the Hemingway’s bar with her teeth. The sad old farangs sitting at the next table with no dates were open-mouthed. Maybe they had never seen Thai girls in Hemingway’s before? The only curious thing Lizard noticed was the higher end restaurants did not have menus written in Thai. His friends were not fluent in English and had to ask the waitress / waiter for help choosing food. Lizard helped choose the food they were not used to, reminding himself not to order two fillets at $60 a shot if not liked too much.
He even cut up the food for them, showing them how to crack a lobster and which pieces to eat. A real pleasure helping them discover new delights and everyone was having a great time in Bangkok. Then off to Pattaya, first time for the Lizard and the posse, he usually goes to Samui after Bangkok. He was a little apprehensive, after reading the reports from various sites about how the place can be a little crazy. Arriving at the Empress after a fun taxi ride, he couldn’t get a word in edgewise since his posse were yacking away to the taxi driver the whole trip, laughing and joking, possibly at his expense (no pun intended).
It seemed as if Pattaya had once been a pleasant escape to the beach, a small town experience. But now it was a mega-opolis, shopping malls, bumper to bumper traffic – to cross Beach Road you took your life in your hands. The Lizard settled down into a lazy routine, breakfast, shopping with posse, siesta in the afternoon since the humidity in December was unbearable for him, cocktails and dinner at night. Tried a couple of places on 2nd Ave, Patrick’s Belgian, a seafood place behind the Hilton, all good. The only thing that really irritated him (besides submitters who hypocritically call the readers of Stick’s column losers and dregs when they are appealing to the same audience for attention) were the Indian suit touts and watch sellers. It was too much when eating at the open air seafood restaurant a box of watches was thrust in his face. The international language of GO AWAY was employed to good use.
Walking Street was fun to eat and gape at the tourist hordes; unlike some the Lizard was not offended at seeing Chinese tourists, heavens, walking about! Do the Chinese tourists appear in the local newspaper, PattayaOne, committing acts of indecency or other criminal offenses? No, it’s always the Euro trash / Ozzie contingent in the news. OK, maybe a Ruskie or three. Do the Chinese act arrogantly? Maybe, give them a few years; they have only just started venturing outside their borders. The Lizard saw a lot of Russian tourists behaving like they owned the place, not unlike Brits of yesteryear. The Lizard did notice an Ozzie couple at the next table talking to family back home; it seemed like the wife did not need a phone, she was talking so loud and totally unaware of her surroundings. Small things, it did not spoil the mood since the Lizard was so happy with his company. The sisters enjoyed themselves immensely, the look on their faces for small gifts given was priceless. The fake LV bags on the street the Lizard ignores in his hometown? Like gold for some. Since the Lizard has a high opinion of himself and his negotiating skills honed in Mexico, he spent some time talking down the price, since he had to buy two of everything. He wasn’t sure he got a great deal, but there was price the shop guy wouldn’t go below, so the deal was done. That was regular purses. Then it was little cutie backpacks that seem to be in fashion. OK, he surrendered and everyone was happy. No victims here. No one forced to do anything they didn’t want to.
After a few drinks in different western bars, the sisters found a real, live, Thai music venue (at the entrance to WS on the right). The singers and band were absolutely astounding in their energy and quality. The sisters were in their element, dancing to Isaan music and slinging back Johnnie Walker Red and beer. The Lizard tried to keep up and failed. The best part was when one of the singers stumbled and fell off the stage, he was so into it. The Lizard felt so happy for his posse, they lit up when they played their local music. I think BrokenMan had mentioned the same experience in one of his hundred posts previously.
The Lizard kept thinking, there must be something wrong here. Other submissions to Stick’s column were the complete opposite of what he was experiencing; happy people, no one forced to do anything they didn’t want to. The Lizard had had a good life, he wasn’t getting any younger, the wrong side of 60, but had worked hard in a professional capacity and thought he deserved a getaway trip once in a while.
Sure, there was a girl he lost 40 years ago, it hurt but he didn’t dwell on it or continually mope about it. He never thought, “I wonder whose keeeesing her now”? He never wrote pity-pat letters to the world saying how he really missed her. Or how his first wife broke up with him. No, he moved on, like real men do and took it like a man. The Lizard moved on, worked hard and played hard. He never said “I used to be a big shot, but now I am a trailer trash loser” to the world. Not the Lizard.
Is something wrong to be happy?
PS. Mega, you were a no-show at Oskars. The Lizard asked everyone in the bar “Is your name Mega?”