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Swasdee Pattaya

Long Time No See, Love you Long Time

sunny 32 °C

Frasers arranged a car to drive us to Pattaya straight from Bangkok Airport. I had been to Pattaya once in my younger days in the 1980s.

After a 1.5 hours, the various shops' signages told me that we were in Pattaya. My first impressive was....holy cow!!! My vague memory of the trip that I took with Darren 25 or so years ago told me that Pattaya was a sleepy fishing town with rustic cottages that was invaded by a red-light district, and a small scatterings of 3 to 4 stars hotels fringed along the beach that made up of Pattaya.

Either my memories played tricks on me or Pattaya's growth have exploded in the last 25 years. I think it's a bit of both, with the latter being playing a larger part.

I guess things do change a lot in 25 years, but Pattaya is now resembling more like a bustling town (or even city) than a red-light district next to a beach. There was not a trace of what I can recall left (I meant the fishing cottages, not the sex industry. That grew in size (let's get our mind out of the gutter)). The fishing cottages are replaced by mega malls. I think the fishermen who were here still here, but instead of catching fishes, they now catch tourist dollars. Upwardly mobile. Pattaya has become so big that the ASEAN Summit will be held there next week with leaders from countries like China and Japan will be there. It's no longer just a red-light district, but a tourist destination for the whole family, and you do see them here.

I told David, an Aussie expat who worked in Pattaya, how heavy was the censorship on Thai TV. It was quite funny to watch with the constant guessing what was being blurred on the screen. It turned out to be anything from a cigarette to a knife. I told him that the censorship is in line with Thailand being a traditional Buddhist society.

After hearing that, David commented what a schizophrenic society Thailand is. I understand where he came from considering that he was working in a red-light district that would make Amsterdam's counterpart blushed. The contrast between Pattaya and what I said pretty extreme.

I told him that Pattaya was no more weird than Kings Cross. He looked at me with the incredulous expression like I just told him that Aussies came from Mars. For those who don't know, Kings Cross is Sydney's red-light district. I didn't mean Kings Cross is a stark contrast with Australian culture, just its geographical surrounding.

Why else is there a red-light district in Kings Cross, which is smacked bang in the middle of surrounding dandy neighbours of Potts Points and Elizabeth Bay? The whole area around Kings Cross are upmarket, upper middle income eastern bay areas. You don't usually see a red-light district in such suburb. For one thing, the rents in these areas are typically high.

USS Kitty Hawk docked at Woolloomooloo wharf, Sydney in 2007
USS Kitty Hawk docked at Woolloomooloo wharf, Sydney in July 2007
Kingscross is only a walking distance from Woollomoloo Wharf where the US navy docked its aircraft carrier while its crew cruises down to King's Cross for some red hot R&R. Like The Village People (not the Pattaya villagers. Ok, maybe) would sing, "you can't stop the sailors..." Oops music...(Yeah I suspect Village People is popular in Pattaya).

All this was created by the US navy during the Vietnam...Read the rest of the article here

Posted by FrancisQ 07:37 Archived in Thailand

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