Pattaya Grapevine: Transvestite blues


Transvestite blues
We know Pattaya is at last getting back to normal with a crop of incidents whereby tourists have lost their cash or jewelry after being targeted by ladyboys. These offences are not common and perpetrators are not restricted to out-of-work third gender persons. Obviously, the best advice to travellers is not to wear eye-catching jewelry and to be careful who you invite back to take a shower. It’s not rocket science.

Be polite please
City police are now doing the rounds to warn baht bus drivers not to threaten foreign passengers – who can admittedly sometimes be difficult – and to point out to night club security staff that beating up customers is not on the agenda for successful marketing. Attention is concentrated on the slowly re-emerging Walking Street to which the tourist police bus and the volunteers have now returned. So far so good.

Two forms of blacklisting
Not all offending foreigners who are unwelcome back in the country receive official notification that they are banned for a specific period of time. There is a second way. Foreigners leaving Thailand may receive a notice in Thai only underneath the exit stamp. It says that, if they want to return, they must apply for a visa at their local Thai embassy. It’s another way of saying “Keep Out” as data bases are linked in these hi-tech days.

Self-insurance takes time
There has been talk lately about self-insurance becoming an option for elderly and sick farang having trouble with insurance companies. We do not currently know for sure whom exactly the government has in mind nor the details of the US$100,000 touted sum. But given that self-insurance usually requires proof of deposit in a bank many months ahead, how exactly will a new system work? Watch this space.

Pattaya’s disruptive roadworks
If you dig up most of a city’s roads and then abandon work on them for weeks on end, expect traffic chaos. Some candidates to be Pattaya mayor in the upcoming election say they will stop these disruptive projects. Sounds good, but they can only put a halt to new ones. Meanwhile the traffic queues get longer. Good job the Chinese coaches aren’t here yet to ensure an actual gridlock all over town.

The abolition of Thailand Pass
There is ongoing speculation that online pre-registration before travel – the Thailand Pass – will end for foreigners after a test run with Thais. But what exactly will be the documents you need to enter the country? Obviously, your airticket, valid passport and visa (if needed). But what kind of vaccination evidence will be required and will the US$10,000 Covid insurance clause be dropped? As usual, the devil will be in the detail.

Cannabis galore
The laws governing cannabis growing and consumption in Thailand have already been amended with more liberalizing changes coming next month. Although the rules insist that leisure use of the drug to get a high remains illegal, it is unclear for how long the distinction between enjoying yourself on the one hand and using cannabis strictly for medical use or in food on the other can be maintained. It’s a step by step approach, or so it seems.

Covid extensions expiring
Unless the government extends the deadline, which is unlikely as the land borders reopen, the last 60 days Covid extensions for “stranded” foreigners will be on May 24. The last of the “Covideers” will be gone – assuming they obtain 7 days at the end of the extension – by the beginning of August. Thailand has been more generous in this regard than her neigbours. Both Cambodia and Vietnam cancelled their discretion weeks ago.

Koh Larn up front
During the May long holiday weekend, hotels on Koh Larn reported that they were fully booked. Many day trippers had to catch the last boat back to Pattaya after failing to find accommodation on the nearby popular island. There are about 2,000 hotel rooms on the island and daily visitors were said to be reaching 10,000. The large crowds included many Thais including native vacationers from Bangkok. Koh Larn was closed during the pandemic until September last year.

Overheard in a pub
A distraught man phoned his friend and said, “I’m totally shocked after reading on a Facebook page that I have suddenly died.” The friend replied that was terrible news before adding, “So where are you phoning from now?”