Grapevine: November 06, 2020

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Another Pattaya first

Oldtimers here say they cannot remember any previous political crisis in Thailand when rival groups, pro and anti-government, assembled in Pattaya to hold mass rallies. Not even during the 2014 mayhem on Bangkok streets which preceded the coup. Preferred locations have been outside City Hall, Bali Hai and the carpark at Sukhumvit’s Tesco Lotus.




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Soap sets you free

Something a bit odd about the story of the two Turks last month who rubbed soap into the bars on their cell window in Mae Sot to escape. It now transpires that the cement holding the deterrent security in place had crumbled somewhat over the years meaning that the strength of Samson was no longer required to pull the bars apart. Have they been recaptured? Of course not.

 

Air business no longer classy

Wealthier travellers, clutching their mandatory Certificate of Entry and returning to Thailand, are complaining that business class isn’t what it was. No glass of champagne prior to departure, food served on plastic trays a la economy class and very little sign of the once-caring stewardesses who now resemble space people. Covid-19 has had many unexpected consequences.

 

Flights to nowhere

In an attempt to raise revenue, airlines in many countries (including Thailand) are offering flights to nowhere meaning you set off and land at the same airport. Qantas airline says that their trips over Australia’s Outback and Great Barrier Reef, and back in time for tea, are a sell-out. An alternative is that you can sit on a grounded plane and enjoy the airline food without becoming airborne at all.





Unlucky gamblers in Pattaya

A nefarious group has been arrested for running an illegal online casino from a condominium unit in Pattaya. After arrest, the ringleader said they had started in a small way and had then invested their profits in the condominium unit to live comfortably. Police said the purchase paperwork had been faked by the seller and the property did not belong to the criminal gang anyway.




Christmas is here already

Long before October expired, Pattaya supermarkets were promoting their seasonal fare. Heading the field at Villa is a selection of Cole’s brandy Christmas puddings. Luxurious and delicious if you are not on the financial breadline. Special offer in the UK is two for the price of one. Sorry, that doesn’t apply in Thailand. But hurry on over, they’re selling like hot cakes.

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Water water everywhere

The October downpours helped to fill up the local Pattaya reservoirs, although they are still far from full to the brim. Rationing was in force during the summer months, even though the local population is only a fraction of what it would have been in a normal year with millions of overseas tourists. Anyway we can forget about water shortages now. Until next year.




Few queues at immigration

Reports from Jomtien immigration say that, apart from a bit of a rush between 8.30 and 9.00 in the mornings, the office is very quiet and even deserted on occasion. Certainly no need to request a queue number remotely online as was recommended last year prior to the pandemic. Officers say the biggest groups of customers these days are doing their 90 days report or confirming they still have 800,000 baht in the bank three months after receiving their retirement extension of stay.

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Highspeed trains by 2026

Consultants say that the 220-kilometer-long route linking the East with the two principal Bangkok airports could be functioning in as little as six years from now. But you will be able to buy a ticket only between Hua Lamphong station in Bangkok as far as Phlu Ta Luang railway station in Chonburi. In other words, Pattaya will have to wait longer to become a smart city of the future.