about Thailand, written last autumn (2016)


Well, October 2016 is rolling by and I heard from a friend in the UK that Bangkok is full of fighting fighters, that all the bars are closed in Pattaya, and that the Isaan folk have returned to the Isaan to be with their extended families, their rice and their white beakers of evening whiskey. Why? Because the King has died.

Although it is quiet and the country mourns and the television has many shows and pieces on Thailand’s legendary king, it is not true that everything is closed, that you can’t buy booze and, though I haven’t checked it out personally, I just don’t think that Bangkok is awash with fighting fighters and their inevitable blood-spill. Mourning is likely to continue for a month or even three but that doesn’t stop business from happening.

However, it is quiet here and Pattaya especially is not heaving but neither is it sleeping.

Bad Guy / So High

Pattaya will always give you a bad name (even posthumously!)

I went to Walking Street last night just for a walk and while I was walking I cogitated on the good guys and the bad guys and the inbetween guys. At a certain point I got so fed up with walking that I decided sitting might be better. So picture this bad guy sitting in an a go go bar just off the main thoroughfare and watching a foreigner taking off her trousers and T-shirt and jumping into the suds and soaps, getting her high with the real bad girls. She was indeed so high that she looked at this bad guy, ME, and smiled. Well, Pattaya does that to you sometimes. I immediately told her to take off her bra and panties but she gesticulated the “verbotenness” of my request. She then fell backside over bosom and was carted off to be cleaned up amidst shrieks of sanuk.

Good Guys Go To Heaven Bad Guys Go To Pattaya     

This morning I am feeling OK but I still can’t decide about the good guys, the bad guys and the inbetween guys. So, is it really true that good guys go to heaven and bad guys go to Pattaya, or, like the mass media over in the UK that paints a strange picture of mourning Thailand, is every simplification far more complex? Is Pattaya really – by implication – that other heaven, close to hell, which the bad guys inhabit?

Evil Lurks & Evil Jerks

I give up because it’s a devilish question and I must still be a bit tipsy from the elephant beer I drank last night. Yes, I was bad. I did drink some. That beer is rumoured to have so much preservative in it it can “freeze” anything suspended in it for a century. All the Isaan buffaloes for a start! Anyway, I’m now tired of thinking, too, so I’m off to look for a cheap ticket to Chiang Mai or Phuket. I might even consider the periphery of Bangkok having always liked biffing the odd  mourner or three I will find surely find there. But again, Mukdahan or Uttaradit might be more interesting. The first has a dirty-sounding ring to it and the second seems almost European. But why, you may ask, are you so interested in travelling away from Pattaya? Once I leave here I will  be a good guy again like all the untroubled souls who live over there (Europe, America, Australia, New Zealand) and are at this very moment eyeing my article with the bemused and democratic expression so typical of the developed world where no evil lurks.

Hua Hin — place to go to avoid a bad name!

But, please, come to Thailand. You won’t be disappointed. 

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