Pattaya - Thai Beach Time
Trip Start Jan 13, 2009
70Trip End May 17, 2009
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Where I stayed
Why Pattaya for me, knowing what it was all about? Well, as I wind down, I am getting lazy about the travel and I wanted the beach for my last few days before Bangkok as I need also to escape the heat. I lucked out, and with about 10 hours of Internet research, found a pretty good hotel in a great location, considering the choices here. I am staying in Jomtein - an upscale part of Pattaya: Pattaya is a really big City as well. This particular beach prides itself on being less 'sex trade' as the others so I gave it a go. Pattaya/Jomtein is only a couple of hour outside of Bangkok so it was easy to get to - no more boat trips for me this trip - and easy to get back into the City.
The Hotel I chose is primarily Thai, very few Westerners stay here and that is good: It is across from the beach and also has a nice pool, is a trade up to what I am used to so the reintegration back to amenities begins. It has been very quiet through the first few days and now really busy on the weekend. The interesting thing about Thais and water is, like most Asians, they don't know how to swim and they do know how to bring huge amounts of picnic stuff to the beach. Also, like most Asians, they do not wear bathing suits. No, not nude or semi nude like the Europeans, they wear all their clothes. Yup - women wear tshirts and jeans or shorts and men wear jeans or shorts and often their shirts. I remember how weird that was a few months ago but now it almost seems normal. More here than anywhere else, I think because of the wealth, women who don't wear their street clothes wear these horrible bathing outfits. They range from wet suit types of getup's, made from that Lycra fabric, but not tight obviously to long sleeve knee length dresses with long pants underneath made from the same nylon Lycra. Speedo even has a whole line in all the stores. I do remember the first time in Egypt seeing whole families at the beach, women in full burkas, some wading or attempting not to drown, others sitting in the intense heat with their husbands who were in swim trunks. I think here another reason for no bathing suits is the obsessive desire to be whiter than you were born. Every second advertisement is for whitening cremes or surgical bleaching of skin ala Micheal Jackson. Whiter means prettier in Asia.
So here I am, frolicking in my bikini, attracting probably not the nicest looks but at least I am not buying their sons or daughters. The kids love me and think I am a superhero because I can swim. Yesterday I tried to teach a family of two little girls and their brother (who is in the Military - first year, about 18 years old)
to swim in the ocean. The boy had some English and loved to chat and the girls loved learning to float. As always, Mom and Auntie wanted to know a) where was my husband, b) where were my children and c) how old I was. These are the standard questions that come up within 5 minutes of being around any Asian women. It is so foreign to be on one's own as a woman. Obviously, looking at all the sex tourists, Thais and Japanese and Chinese included, it is not odd for your husband to take his vacation and leave you with the kids...... hmmmm, guess it is not something open for discussion.
The water is actually too warm to be very refreshing. It is a very shallow beach so the water stays at hot bathtub water temperature and I could not even swim far enough out to find cool currents. Ahh the stressors!
So next stop, last stop, Bangkok. Truly back into the noise and the traffic and the pollution and the heat. I plan to shop and relax and rest up for the long journey home.
If any of you want something brought home, movies, games, Gucci bags, Rolexes, etc, let me know - I am going to buy another bag and fill it up so I should have room for small stuff.