about Pattaya and Thai lifestyle (& deathstyle!)
Accidents In & Around Pattaya
"What would it take for them to wear crash helmets?"
Thus asked my son last year here in Pattaya, O Fun City! Seemingly, it would take a lot. I got out on to my local soi, Soi Siam Country Club, and did my very own statistical research. Five wore and ten woreless. That’s fifty wearing crash helmets and one hundred not wearing them.
I was bombing it along Thanon Sukhumvit, that marvellously useful road that splurges out of congested City of Angels, Bangkok, and runs amok all the way down to Cambodia, taking in Patt., Rayong, Klaeng, Chanthaburi and Trat on its long way adoon. I was only going near Sattahip, then angling off towards Sirikit Hospital but I noticed all the crème de la crème Thai students bombing it towards their places of learning. Almost none of them wore crash helmets as they made their way at 60, 70, 80, 90 and 100 kilometers an hour along one of the most dangerous roads in Thailand towards their schools. Their horses are not just racing, they are charging. Does it take much to know that the head which they are developing at school is a heavy object that follows the momentum of an accident and usually connects with a hard surface – the road? Yes, it takes too much to know this.
The “rough” statistics are appalling – about 24,000 dead Thais a year (not to mention the crippling statistic of those who survive crippled in wheelchairs) as compared to Italy’s 4,000 and Britain’s 2,000. I have to admit, swallowing pride, that despite wanting to live here in Thailand, Europe does it better, kills fewer. That is if you believe life is better than death, a worthy debate which I will leave aside for the sake of relative coherence in this blog-post-piece.
There’s this old geezer who lives in Nirun Grand Ville, Pattaya Klang, who is always posting selfies on his Facebook page. Originality from an old geez, but one time he complained that he had just seen another dead Thai in the road near Nirun and wanted them to be more responsible and stop lying dead in front of him. Well, would you disagree with that noble sentiment?
About a year ago I was waiting to do a U-turn into Thanon Sukhumvit. I heard and then saw my car being sprayed with pieces of metal. Two coaches pulled up. A woman was moaning somewhere but it was eerie like keening. I then saw a little Thai guy running alongside one of the halted coaches. It was another accident. The coaches had sped through changing traffic lights and hit a motorbike. I didn’t see the victims because one of the coaches obscured my view.
I was near Sirikit Hospital six months ago when two motorbikes crashed and one guy slid towards the undercarriage of my car. He stopped a meter or so away. My partner told me to keep moving because there had been no contact. I kept moving.
Two weeks ago a thin guy, can’t have been more than sixteen, fell off his bike alongside the car, and the big adult male who had knocked him off, stared at him grimly, waiting. The adolescent tried to pick up his motor and with someone’s help did so, then said to the aggressive causer of the accident, “Mai pen rai.” (Never mind.)
I went to a writers’ group where I penned the posts about Aldo Bassan, the dead Alsatian owner with the dead Alsatian, and Moanna Pozzi, the dead porno star. I left and swam for an hour near Ban Amphur. My skin got quickly irritated either by dirty sea or jellyfish-fallout. I had to meet Rosta, the hero of my novel “Sexy Thai Bar Girls And Me” in One Piss Stop Bar in Soi Buakhao. There was a jazz musician who never turned up, replaced by a country and western dude. It progressed into a buttock-slapping good evening with many of the bottoms asking for twenty to one hundred baht for the illicit grope. I made it early because Rosta had told me to come late, and I know him. There was free food at seven which was all gone at seven-thirty when he told me to arrive. I arrived at seven. The first person I saw was Rosta, stuffing his face. What a friend! To make it in time for the free grub, I had to leave off my swim and get into my car. At the traffic lights outside Jomtien, two kilometers from the Floating Market going towards Sattahip (but I was going away from Sattahip, of course), I waited for the red to change to green. A noisy ambulance went off left down a slip-road. The lights changed. We couldn’t accelerate because a seemingly mad Thai policeman was running through the cars on our side of the road and presumably stooping to pick up money by the grass verge. He also had his mobile to his ear. Only a few meters on, to my right I saw a group by the road on the other side. In a shallow ditch that connects the two sides of Sukhumvit a young woman was curled up in the foetal position, as motionless as can be — like a painting of a dead or dying person. She was still wearing her helmet.