In normal times, 28-year-old Marisa could always count on her Canadian “boyfriend” to visit Thailand during high season. He’s not coming this year.
Nicknamed “Nang,” the heavily tattooed bargirl has worked in a Jomtien Beach drinking joint since she came to Pattaya at age 20. She said she landed Canadian “Morgan” as a sponsor in a previous high season and, despite being unable to return to Thailand, he continues to send her money each month.
With customers few and far between, Marisa said she depends on that money to survive.
Many of her former co-workers and friends, such as a Walking Street go-go dancer named Mo, who began a relationship with Morgan’s American pal “George,” have given up on Pattaya and gone back to the countryside.
Around Jomtien, massage parlors have closed and both masseuses and beer bar workers have returned to Issan. Marisa remains, but says she has never seen the city so quiet.
She said she’s praying the government will reopen the borders to mass tourism so she and others can make a living.