Pattaya: The Last Seven Days

Chonburi immigration headquarters at Jomtien looks very different these days.

֎ Whatever happened to immigration?
Thanks to government money, the transformation of the car park at Jomtien immigration bureau is almost complete. Two large glass houses with air conditioning will seat the waiting public as well as providing several services, such as address registration and maybe simple extensions, without the need to queue up to go inside. The atmosphere in the immigration building itself is already much improved and should get even better. It’s all in time for the high season. I’m one of those staggered by the improvements already made and the quicker turn-a-round time.

In other national immigration news, vacationing nationals from China and Kazakhstan will be able to get their 15 days free and without paperwork (visa on arrival) for a trial period of six months. The extent to which this move will boost numbers is debatable. Meanwhile, a new app has just become available for hotels, landlords and condominium owners to report the coming of their guests under the TM30 rules. Don’t forget, if they fail to oblige, then the responsibility falls to the foreign new arrival. Tourists need the immigration receipt of the TM30 form to get a visa extension or a certificate of residence to open a bank account or apply for a driving permit.

֎ Fish and chips.
I think many of us are becoming more than a little bored by the fish and chips obsession on Pattaya social media, Facebook in particular. Perhaps we need to replace “Thank Cod it’s Friday” with “Thank Goodness it’s Saturday.” Sharples’ fish and chips branches, in Pattaya and Jomtien, are rightly popular and a third restaurant is scheduled to open soon near Mabprachan lake. A great achievement by Shaun Sharples in less than two years! But we don’t need to be reminded virtually every day about the huge portion of chips, the quality of the fish, texture of the curry sauce or the reasons for the absence of HP sauce.

The argument, of course, is that nasty keyboard warriors keep attacking Sharples out of jealousy. Some of these so-called attacks look to me suspiciously like trolls or even false flag operations. Sometimes silence is a sensible policy. Pattaya locals who like fish and chips are going to order them in several restaurants over time whatever the propaganda on Facebook says. Eaters are more than capable of making up their own minds about what’s “best” in a highly competitive market.

֎ The Rayong lesson.
Move Forward won the Rayong by-election with a handsome majority, nearly 60 percent, on a modest turnout. Forced out of the opportunity to rule nationally by hostility in the Senate and rulings by the constitutional court, the best plan for MF now is to perform its duties assiduously in Parliament and wait patiently for the next election in 2027, or even earlier if the shaky coalition of Pheu Thai and the ex-military parties start falling out. As regards another military putsch, it’s a banned discussion subject even in the barracks.

֎ Toyota’s new service center.
Located just after what was the Floating Market, Toyota’s new premises for servicing, repairs and so on are good. Tried it this week. Maybe the customer care isn’t quite as good as the alternative center located after Naklua and less English seems to be spoken here, but the work is professional and the staff properly trained. Bear in mind all the neighboring road works or you may be caught in lengthy traffic queues on the way home to Pattaya.