On Christmas day I took the 3 p.m. ferry from Tawaen (Koh Larn) to Pattaya. I put my lifejacket on and choose a place on the wooden platform rather than the rows of seats. 3 Thai men were already lying down there, so I found myself a place and fell asleep. Some time later I am awakened by 3 loud bangs next to my head: the captain bangs his hand on the platform, waives me to get up and says, “You sleep home.” As I notice that some passengers are smoking (forbidden) and that many don’t wear the compulsory lifejacket, I get up and tell the captain but he just shrugs and walks away. The 3 Thai passengers are still sleeping.
I have always wondered why Thailand is called the Land of Smiles. People don’t seem very smiling if you except the sycophantic grin Thai men have whey they try to sell you something. But in this case I have to admit that the scene of an elderly (I am 65) farang being harassed and humiliated brought genuine smiles to the faces of the Thai passengers.
I had unfortunately prepaid my hotel so I stayed in Thailand. I never went back to Koh Larn, so I stayed at my hotel swimming-pool with a couple of good books but this is the last time I come to Thailand and when I retire in 3 years’ time it will be anywhere but Thailand.