Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales is well known in the Western world as a classic story of medieval times. Pattaya has its own Canterbury Tales, but it is a well-known Cafe & Bookshop/Exchange. Dave Collier described how he and his wife decided to open their business to the Pattaya City Expats Club (PCEC) at their Wednesday, December 23 meeting.
Dave began by saying he came to Thailand in 2000 for a Holiday and then returned for a longer visit in 2003. He originally located in Bangkok where he did some voluntary teaching in a local government school, which he thought was great fun, but better yet, it led to his meeting another teacher whom he married. He decided he didn’t like Bangkok, especially the traffic, which was the reason they chose to come to Pattaya to open a business in 2004.
They chose to open a cafe in a small shop, but then when a nearby larger space became available, they moved there to open a cafe and guesthouse. A far cry from his background as a gamekeeper in the UK. There were several used books lying about which, at first, they thought about throwing away. But with a little research, they decided to offer books to their customers as well as food and lodging. They obtained more books by purchasing some and Dave’s wife visiting many hotels to buy any used books they may have gathered up. Now they are a well-known source for expats and others to obtain some great books to read.
They have many in all categories, crime, biography, travel, adventure, etc. They offer many used books, in good condition, for substantially less than the cost of a new one. And even their low price is even lower if you bring it back for exchange or to purchase a new one as they buy back books they have sold for 50% of the price paid.
Although business had been thriving prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown to prevent its spread, his like many others have suffered a loss of business with the lack of foreign tourists. However, they do have enough business to get by as their location is popular among local expats. They come not only for a good book, but to sit, relax, and observe the antics on the street (being located in a soi with many bars and something always going on).
Dave said due to a rare illness, he doesn’t devote as much time and relies on his staff. But he still goes in a few days a week and does what he can. Dave then described the rare illness, Myositis, that now has him confined to a wheelchair. He was diagnosed as having the disease in 2013. He first noticed a problem in being weak and having difficulty standing up. He noted that it is very rare in Asia. Further, the medical profession doesn’t really know how you get it and there is no treatment or cure. The disease results in very slow muscle wastage, which he finds very frustrating. But he goes on with his life and will not let it get him down.
In response to an audience question, Dave described some of his experiences in being a gamekeeper and how he came to be in that profession.
After the presentation, MC Les Edmonds brought everyone up to date on latest events followed by Brian Maxey conducting the Open Forum, where attendees can make comments or ask questions about Expat living in Thailand, especially Pattaya. For more information visit the PCEC’s website at https://pcec.club/
To view a video of the presentation, visit: https://youtu.be/na-ClD1dLjY