Grapevine: October 23, 2020


Too many schemes

So many ideas floated in different government departments about bringing back tourism to Thailand. They include tourist bubbles, Snowbirds, Special Tourist Visa, etc. They disappear soon after being announced or get altered beyond recognition. A good idea would be for just one person to announce these initiatives after they have been agreed by the Cabinet. Assuming they ever are. The current system is a recipe for international confusion and ongoing dismay.

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Two different retirement visas

Retirees stuck abroad can return to Thailand. But they will need an O/A annual visa issued by the Thai embassy in their country. Documentation includes medical insurance and paying for your own quarantine. Once you apply for an annual extension of stay at Thai immigration the following year you will still need insurance – it is an ongoing requirement. For ever. The O type annual extension for retirement, issued by Thai immigration, has no such requirement but is not available abroad.

Trink in Pattaya

Although columnist Bernard Trink, RIP, was based in Bangkok, he made regular trips to Pattaya and often commented on the bar and club scene here too. This point was missed by most of the obituaries on the internet. His favourite watering hole was the Poteen Still cafe in Soi Yamoto, and long gone, where he picked up the local gossip. Bernard was the founder of several expressions still in use today, such as T.I.T. (This is Thailand), Nuff Said, Mosey on Over and HuMAN NatURE. Love him or hate him, Trink was a one-off.

Bridge players needed

Pattaya still maintains two bridge clubs in several locations. The Dutch Club (contact Jan 0912281648) plays Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. The Jomtien bridge club (contact Jeremy 0858182172) meets Monday and Wednesday afternoons. Both are willing to teach beginners by the way and both welcome all nationalities and ages. If you can already play, they’ll fix you up with a partner. The collapse of the international tourist industry in Pattaya means that bridge in the city needs more local recruits.


Sign of the times

Quite a number of pubs and shops in the resort are now on reduced hours opening in an attempt to make ends meet during the pandemic. We noticed several tailor shops open only in the evenings and several nightclubs offering cabaret are down to two or three nights a week. Still, the big show palaces such as Kaan, Colosseum, 79, Tiffany and Alcazar are locked up entirely pending the arrival of the Chinese. That won’t be any time soon. In fact, nobody’s guessing when the sun might shine again on the night venues.

Expat discounts and bonuses?

Last month we heard a great deal about how expats in Thailand were keeping the hospitality and hotel business sector alive. Expats were promised – just like the Thais – all sorts of perks such as reduced rate hotel bookings and subsidized shopping and entrance fees to be funded by the government. There was even an exhibition in Bangkok to promote these goodies. Since then, nothing has been heard. Never mind. As Trink would say, T.I.T.

Here’s a lucky farang

Overheard in a pub. A farang was telling his mate that Pattaya had not really changed in the 30 years he had been a visitor here. “In 1990 I walked down Beach Road and all the ladies said I was a handsome man. I walk down there today and they still say I’m a handsome man. That goes to show that I’m as good looking now as I was 30 years ago.” Grammar specialists have a phrase for that logic – argumentum ad absurdum – or two thoughts strung together which don’t mean a hill of beans.


Dug-up Pattaya

It’s quite a sensible idea to have major repairs such as road widening, burying cables and installing big water drainage pipes underground whilst traffic is relatively light thanks to the absence of tour buses clogging up the main thoroughfares. But the unusually heavy downpours in recent weeks have delayed progress on many projects. We hear that the major work now happening on Third Road, with one way lanes in operation, may not be finished by the end of December as advertised. Which December was that anyway?