Grapevine: September 25, 2020 – October 16, 2020

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Lipstick sales drooping

Local Pattaya superstores report an almost total lack of customers for lipsticks, likely caused by the current popularity of mask-wearing which makes the whole beauty thing rather pointless. Instead, they report, the sales of eye shadow pencils are at record proportions. Presumably the report refers to female shoppers, but then again you never know these days.



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Visa continues after death

Good news for the sadly bereaved. If you are a farang and your Thai spouse drops off her perch, you will likely be surrounded by poverty-struck relatives wondering what’s in it for them. But good news on the visa front. Your one-year marriage visa is not cancelled, but continues until the renewal date. After that, you’ll need to think of something else, or hire a double.

 

Minimum wage comparison

Don’t read this if money matters bore you. The Cambodian government has just raised the minimum wage to US$192 monthly (6,000 baht) whereas the Thai equivalent is considerably higher at about 10,000 baht. There’s less unemployment in Cambodia during the coronavirus epidemic and no virtually no reliance on foreign guest workers.

 

Sign makers doing big business

Not only are Pattaya sign makers doing a roaring trade in For Rent and For Sale notices, they also report that most signs are now in the Thai language only. Very few are being designed in both languages and the old strategy of listing a phone number for English speakers has disappeared too. Sign of the times.




Much more than hummus

The Palace restaurant, fourth floor of Central Pattaya Mall beach side, is your number one choice for authentic Lebanese cuisine since 2009. There’s a good choice of Indian and Thai food too, plus genuine breads of various kinds. For vegetarians, there’s a tasty and huge Arabic salad at 495 baht which oddly appears amongst the starters. A meal in itself.

 

Chess club resumes, sort of

The small area in Central Pattaya Mall devoted to an informal chess club, opposite the Palace restaurant as it happens, has been allowed to reopen. You just roll up and see if anyone is there sitting behind a chess set. If he or she offers you to play white rather than black, then you can be confident your opponent is a better player than you.




Exchange rate blues

Several expats have complained that the conversion rates to Thai baht if you send cash from overseas are poorer than if you take pounds or dollars or euros to a money-changer window here in Pattaya. It used to be the other way round. Some say the correspondent or middleman banks are taking a larger cut than they used to do on international transfers.

 

Walking Street facilities

Modest changes are being reported on Pattaya’s most famous walkway (even though cars are now allowed one way). Several bars and clubs are now playing Thai/Isaan music rather than western pop and there are a few more stalls selling Thai street food, clothes and trinkets. But the big clubs are mostly still locked. Some say they’d like to sell to redevelopers.

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UK certificates of life

Most, if not all, Pattaya Brits have now received those regular forms which require you to say you are not yet extinct to continue to receive the paltry state pension which is frozen anyway. Given that most expats here fill in an annual tax form anyway, one wonders what is the point of this bureaucracy. Answers on a postcard please.

 

Bali Hai pier

The 2.9 billion baht project would add 15 rai to build a shopping mall, a sky walk, a second pier for boats, a cruise terminal and a station for the proposed high-speed train to and from Bangkok’s airports. Who said that the money tree doesn’t exist? Mind you, none of this will happen without the EEC (Eastern Economic Corridor) paying for it.