From Plato to Nato
All the drinking dens and chrome pole clubs in Soi Chaiyapoon, better known as Pothole Street, are still firmly closed. So the center of the universe there is Pattaya’s last second-hand book exchange and British expat hangout cafe: Canterbury Tales. Hosted by Dave, who has lived here for over 17 years, it’s the only place in Thailand where you might find the translated works of philosophers from Plato to Nato.
Marketing a go-go business
It’s estimated that there are 20,000 for sale and for rent notices plastered all over Pattaya city right now. The gurus say that 80 percent of entertainment palaces will never reopen as the pandemic simply hastened the long decline of the European night-owl market. We tried phoning the number given for this advertisement, but nobody bothered to pick up the phone. There’s no point of course.
Annie breaks a record
The busiest place in town is probably the Jomtien immigration bureau where expats and visa extenders must turn up more regularly than you might think. Annie has been serving coffee and soft drinks in her booth just outside the main gate for 15 years. She told us she has just served her 100,000th cup of coffee to a discerning customer who wanted Expresso Plus.
Pop art pops up
With so many disused buildings, Pattaya’s renowned street artists have taken to brightening up the urban landscape. Pop art usually takes an ironic look at contemporary life and problems. Here Popeye the Sailor, who is well-known in Thailand as a cartoon character, sports a heavy beard instead of a mask, thus risking a 20,000 baht fine.
Discounts with Covid
Surviving businesses in Pattaya invariably have a local or expat market to exploit. Here, a printing business turns the pandemic into a marketing plus by promising a special price. When we enquired what that might be, the sales guy said he wasn’t sure as we were the first people to ask.
The Pattaya tradition of being informal, wherever possible, took a step forward after a convenience store customer decided to use wheels to help him choose dinner. To be fair, the bike was brand new and hadn’t received any petrol yet.