Covid-19 was still unknown and the cash registers were ringing merrily throughout the resort. It was reported that sewage pumps had again broken down in Jomtien and that black ooze was deterring beach lovers. Officials blamed holes in the contracts.
For the first time in ages, no part of Pattaya’s Beach Road was actually being dug up for several weeks. But local authority contractors said that normal service would soon be restored as much work still remained to bury electric cables, prevent flooding and improve the beachfront.
Covid-19 closed Pattaya schools, stadiums, movie theatres, bars and entertainment venues. The general expectation was that the lockdown would last no more than a couple of weeks. Some reports claimed the virus would die in the hot weather now fast approaching.
To the delight of many and the fury of others, Pattaya Songkran was cancelled. A correspondent wrote to ask how he could answer his daughter’s question why someone eating bat soup in China resulted in a toilet paper shortage in Liverpool. Nobody answered him.
The Thai Chana (Thailand Wins) application was launched with the notion that everyone visiting a public place would record his or her presence for posterity. After an initial flurry of activity, most people seemed to prefer to add their name and phone number on a sheet of paper.
Thai immigration announced that only selected foreigners would be allowed to travel to Thailand. But there was confusion about what the expression “permanent resident” actually meant: in fact only farang with a red police book and not one year visa holders.
Bars and clubs were allowed to reopen at the beginning of the month, but many of the mass entertainment venues knew the truth and remained closed. Hotels began to offer discounts to encourage domestic tourism.
We first heard about travel bubbles which would enable countries with low infection rates to exchange tourists without the need for quarantine. Nothing happened and alternative schemes involving snowbirds and special tourist visas were added to the mix.
Pattaya Beach Road tried out a new system of allowing car parking in certain areas. But drivers returned from splashing in the water to discover the wheels of their vehicle had been locked and a fine notice posted on the window. Apparently, the police had not been updated.
Pattaya was hit with the worst flooding of the rainy season, turning newly-built Pattaya Beach into a version of the Grand Canyon. Apologists said that the problem was that the wrong sort of sand had been used, though others relied on the act of God defence.
A police raid on a Naklua joint resulted in one lady dancer prosecuted for appearing before the public in a nude state. But she pleaded not guilty and pointed out that she was wearing a top hat as well as earrings and a hairnet. Better luck next time Florrie.
Stores reported a sales run on yellow ducks after the rubber or vinyl plastic birds played a major role in the anti-government demonstrations in Bangkok. The larger versions are said to offer modest protection against water jets.