Pattaya proved again why it does Valentine’s Day like no nowhere else, offering both wedding rings and condoms to the city’s lovers.
From north to south, Pattaya was decorated in red and pink, celebrating its legacy as Thailand’s city of love. Reaffirming that were 100 couples who lined up from 5 a.m. Feb. 14 to file marriage registrations.
Banglamung District Chief Amnart Charoenchasri and Assistant Chief Amporn Deebua split the day overseeing the marriages, staying after normal working hours to accommodate all the brides and grooms.
First in line was Bancha Pokprasert, 63 and Anong Meebuth, 58. The couple said they’ve been together for 20 years, but never actually tied the knot. This year they decided they’d make it official.
The key to their two decades of partnership? Caring for each other in good or bad times, they said.
The couple, along with the nine in line behind them, received half-satang-weight gold wedding bands from the Central Marina shopping mall and the district office.
In Naklua, public-health workers distributed a different kind of ring entirely. To fulfill Pattaya’s designation of Valentine’s Day as Sexually Transmitted Diseases Day, they handed out information about STDs, AIDS prevention, drug rehabilitation and condoms from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Romantics looking for something in between those two extremes found it in Pattaya gift and flower shops.
Red teddy bears costing 200-3,000 baht and heart-shaped pillows costing up to 500 baht were the most popular gifts this Valentine’s Day.
Roses, sporting exorbitant prices of up to 30,000 baht an arrangement, were less so.
Florists reported brisk trade, but admitted that prices were much higher than last year – allegedly due to “cold weather” and not greed.
Sellers at the Wat Chaimongkol Market said prices reached 15-baht per rose, up from 10 baht last year, a 50 percent increase. Before Feb. 14, those same vendors estimated prices on Valentine’s Day itself could be three times normal.
Elsewhere, sellers said prices averaged about 20 percent more than last year due to supply shortages.
The flowers were free, however, for the winner of the Miss Valentine’s pageant at Central Marina, where the audience also was treated to a concert.