Troubles in paradise...
Trip Start Jan 16, 2012
92Trip End Jan 01, 2014
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Firstly, for the narrative. On Saturday Shelley and I headed into central Pattaya for the first step in the re-branding of young Nicholas. So it was that I found myself sat in the comfortable chair in a small office at Rinrada cosmetic surgery clinic on Second Road in Pattaya. As a lady boy comforted me, the kindly female doctor in her immaculate white lab coat pierced my forehead about 12 times with a needle, each time gently introducing a small amount of botox into my hitherto furrowed brow. I realise it is very non-Hollywood to talk of such procedures but - as I am far from the world of celebrity - am happy to reveal that I now have a forehead incapable of releasing sweat or from expressing any emotion save for indifference. The drug only takes full effect 96 hours post procedure - on the fourth day God created apathy? Actually this is not entirely true, as there are still deep creases in my forehead - the product of seven years of practising (an amusing concept) and two years of studying law - which I am assured will disappear when I have my treatment topped up in two weeks
regressing mentally, I may as well physically appear like I am returning towards the womb. Anyway, I can only blame the influence of Pattaya and it’s countless lady boys, walking advertisements for the miraculous powers of non-surgical, and surgical, procedures, for leading me down this one way path to shallow physical improvement…
We returned to Luton Town Village on Saturday evening for a barbeque on Shelley’s parents’ veranda which ended up being attended by most of the curious residents of this small community. A Thai barbeque is a slightly more involved process than the UK affair of under cooked sausages and burgers and involved hot coals being placed under a conical metal dish which sits in a large flat metal bowl. Any meat/fish is cooked on the steep sides of the cone, whilst the surrounding “moat” is filled with soup, noodles and vegetables. It was all very delicious but the more interesting part was learning more about some of these people into whose soap opera worthy lives we have stumbled as temporary extras…
The fairly loathsome Brit/Thai couple next door have been replaced by a much more ‘normal’ couple, Again, the man is a Brit - a Geordie who works out here in engineering - and his Thai wife. Normality here is a relative concept - as it is anywhere in the world - and I have never previously met a Geordie who can only handle three beers and who goes to bed at 7pm every night but he is a good bloke. His Thai wife works in the local laundry and the obvious attraction of securing a falang husband is clear when one considers that she earns a mere 20 pounds for a 40 hour working week, whereas the average falang sponsorship of a full-time Thai partner is between 300 and 500 pounds per month (based on my knowledge)
Making up our pantomime cast were Bristolians Mark (of whom I have written before - Dick Dastardly) and his friend, Bob, who it transpires owns one of the houses on the estate and who could be an extra in almost any elf-related movie/panto without recourse to any special effects or make-up. He is a diminutive chap with ears worthy of Noddy/the FA Cup, rosy red cheeks and a sick wispy moustache (must be a West country thing, as Mark also boasts a ‘tache)
Sunday - Shelley’s mum and dad’s penultimate in Thailand (or so we thought) - started out with perfect sunshine and tranquillity and we all enjoyed the best of Thailand’s weather until around 3pm. It was at this point that a call from Shelley’s sister-in-law, Sue, prompted chaos to be unleashed. Shelley’s mum and dad had made an error with dates and it turned out that they needed to be in Bangkok later that night - rather than the following as they had understood - for their homebound flights. Six hours of running around and goodbyes, which would have dazed a headless chicken, followed before we waved goodbye - with some tears - to the senior Burtons at 9pm. This flustered conclusion to their stay should have come as no surprise to neither Garry nor Davina, as it is an annual event and we learnt for the first time that the biggest miscalculation resulted in them arriving for their flight 12 hours EARLY one year. Such is the nature of these loveable but crazy people that the obvious solution was to return to Pattaya and spend the night at a friend’s bar, rather than seeking accommodation in Bangkok. Truly remarkable.
Now for the violin segment…
Shelley and I spent a quiet first day alone in paradise, soaking up the sun, reading and swimming - the life of a retired gangster in Spain (ignoring the reading)
The weather today was, as usual, within the 40’s (centigrade obviously) and it was the first time I felt any nostalgia for the feel of cool rain on my skin (especially as I had been slightly burnt - very British - on the beach the previous day). I soon pulled myself together and reminded myself of ex-pat clowns I have met in beautiful foreign climes bemoaning the “lack of seasons”. Utter shite - after two days back into the stark reality of a British winter (or summer, for that matter), such people would soon change their tiresome tune. In any event, I was soon given my wish of rain. Unfortunately it arrived when we were out on the scooter and was so sudden and ferocious that it very nearly took us clean off the bike (despite my expertise on the machine).
The need for violins above was an ironic one, and I do truly appreciate every day here in paradise, even if my face is slowly losing the ability to reflect such (or any) emotion…