Pattaya-The Extreme City

October 2, 2008 - Pattaya, Thailand

Pattaya bills itself as “the Extreme City”, which is probably appropriate on several levels…our guidebook compares it to the "dazzle of Vegas mixed with the sizzle of Amsterdam and a pinch of the frazzle of Rio do Janeiro."

We decided to go to Pattaya despite the warnings and discouragement of Sue, our lovely hostess at Naga Bungalows, and in the face of the disturbing stories we’d been told by the crew on Ko Samet who had stopped through on their way to the island. The funny thing is that we ended up staying there for three days rather than the one night we’d planned.

After being dropped off in north Pattaya by the mini-bus that we’d hired to bring us up from Ban Phe, we started off on foot with our bags to find a place to stay. After walking about a mile through the stifling heat (and constant honks of passing tuk-tuks) we finally stumbled across Prima Villa Resort. We took a look at the room which seemed luxurious due to the A/C unit hanging from the ceiling and haggled them down to 600 baht a night. That A/C unit and the beautiful pool right outside the back door of our room were the prime reasons we stayed longer than expected- definitely not the town itself. That might sound a bit…wussy…but until you’ve experienced 100% humidity every day and night and 95+ degrees, well, let’s just say that the A/C was deservedly welcomed and felt luxurious beyond belief. Not to mention a TV with at least 3-4 English language channels. We actually got to catch up on the USA’s financial disaster during our time there while watching a little BBC world news. Wow-we were really livin’ the high life!

Most of what we’d heard about the city of Pattaya is true. It’s hard to believe this if you haven’t seen it, but there actually were at least 10 prostitutes for every dude in this town. Walking down the various main strips at night you’d pass countless open air bars (called go-go bars, cafes, massage parlors, or any other number of euphemistic names) and each would have 5-10 young women standing near the entrance calling out to passers-by. "Hey there sexy guy, come inside” “You- sexy lady, come here” “I make you feel gooooooood…”

Thankfully, with Lis at my side I didn’t experience what Paddy did- unrelenting nipple pinching from every ladyboy on the street… Lucky for Andy, it was pretty clear that they could tell that we weren’t buying and that Lis already had dibs on this white guy. But we were careful not to make much eye contact because the second either of us did, the ladies would immediately attempt to cajole each of us into the club.

We spent the first night walking down the beach road to see the scene. We found a Mexican restaurant and filled our craving for rice and beans before we caught a songtheaw back to our neighborhood. Surprisingly, the Mexican cuisine was fairly Mexican tasting! We were stoked and slept well that night in A/C and full bellies. The next day we wandered around town and found ourselves in a big box store/mall where we wandered around in the blessed air conditioned atmosphere for a few hours. This place was bizarre. I mean, very very different than anything we’re used to. Maybe close to the chaos of a video game center, with so many sounds and bells ringing and music playing out of every little shop. Sort of like our malls but they sell strange little gelatinous sweets, piles of noodles, all kinds of dried fish, and very small clothing to boot!

Later that night we went to the Alcazar, a Vegas-styled all transvestite show with lots of sequins and Chinese tourists who didn’t know how to applaud. This was definitely one of our highlights of Pattaya!

Our last day we’d hoped to go to a crocodile park and farm but when it started raining we bagged that trip and instead found ourselves at the local bowling alley where we threw some rocks and got somewhat drunk on jugs of Heineken before going back to the room to lay in bed in the cool air watching cable TV being lazy Americans before packing up to get the hell out of “the Extreme City” in the morning. Good times!


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