(Published back in the late 1990s)
Hot off the press comes the new summary of British newspaper cuttings about Pattaya in the last twelve months. Surprise, surprise. The majority of the stories are designed to titillate UK palates as they plough wearily through diet cornflakes and reduced calorie baked beans on a Sunday morning.
“Fred the ped found dead in bed,” screamed a Sunday tabloid, whilst another described Pattaya as a ‘tropical oasis paradise with sex at five pounds a throw.” Clearly, the reporters did not stay at my block of flats which overlooks the oil terminals at Sriracha as well as half-completed-motorway spaghetti junctions to vie with anything Birmingham has to offer. And they certainly know some bars the rest of us haven’t found yet.
In spite of the fact that Pattaya has more Mercedes cars than Liverpool, old images remain stuck in the print. One newspaper described Jomtien beach as a ‘Haven for sex perverts’, hyped up by references to elderly gentlemen with pot bellies and thick glasses eyeing youngster smoking illicit substances. Really? On my last trip, there was nothing more interesting than rows of bald heads doing the Pattaya Mail crossword, whilst a city hall policeman ordered a weary sales girl to move her sandwich tray ten yards to the rear.
And how about Pattaya pier at night? Apparently, it is filled with lonely tourists “searching for illicit sex with downcast eyes.”
Personally, I think they are more likely to be dodging the broken boards which beckon you to a midnight swim. The same piece noted that “transvestite prostitutes display their wares outside a seedy club,” a somewhat quaint reference to the staff at the excellent Simon Cabaret trying to recruit people to see the show.
There was a sad story about a retired teacher from Bedford who fell in love with a bar girl with a heart of gold dust. One night, in the heat of passion, she offered to sell him the bar for 100,000 Baht in return for the authentic deeds. Evidently, he couldn’t wait to get his trousers back on to cash his traveller’s cheques and he departed to England courtesy of Thai airways, a happy and contented man. Somewhere over India, a kindly stewardess explained that what he had actually bought were two overdue electricity bills and a copy of the British Embassy’s instruction sheet to Thais wishing to enter the United Kingdom. Not only that, for it was his birthday, he turned to the gaily wrapped pink package which the bar girl had given him. It was inscribed “to my darling on his sixtieth birthday” and contained a copy of Old Moore’s Almanac for 1975 and a pile of questions from the Pattaya trivial pursuits quiz league.
A speciality of the British press has always been its headlines. There was “Disgraced vicar on drug charges flies to Penang.” Although whether by aircraft or hallucinatory substance is not certified. Not to mention, “Bolton grandmother recovers purse and leaves Pattaya on a high” which, for pure triviality, competes with the 1912 headline “Manchester man breaks arm in Titanic sea accident.” Other recent Pattaya oriented stories were “Overstay sex tourist spanked by Pattaya police” and the businessman who came to Thailand for a sex change operation and ran out of money before the second breast had been implanted.
Must be another case of TIT. (This is Thailand.)