Monday, March 25, 2013


Ordinarily, I camp out at one location for around a month, but in March I’ve hopped around a lot—first Koh Samui for two weeks, then Ranong for four days, then back to Bangkok for three days, then to Pattaya for three days, and finally back to Bangkok again.  When I wake up in the morning, it takes me a moment to remember where I am!

Last weekend, I took a bus from Bangkok to visit my friend Scott in Pattaya, a beach resort about 165 kilometers southeast of Bangkok with a population of around 100,000.   Pattaya has a pretty seedy reputation for its bar scene where middle-aged men, many from Australia and the U.K., cruise for young Thai girls.  I didn’t witness this personally, but I saw more than the usual number of older white guys with younger Thai women.  Scott would prefer to live in Bangkok, but his job with GM brought him here.

Pattaya has its own Hollywood-like sign.

There was a music festival in Pattaya all weekend, so the city was pretty crowded.  On Saturday, Scott, his girlfriend Gun, and I had a delicious brunch at a French café and then went to a movie to escape the heat of the afternoon.  We saw Jack the Giant Slayer, which isn’t a movie I’d have chosen but would definitely recommend it.  

Afterward, we lounged at an outdoor restaurant bar to have a cool drink and watch the sun set.

There were several music stages, and the main beach road was blocked off for about two miles.  Both sides of the road were lined with vendors selling food, clothing, jewelry, hats, purses—everything you’d expect to see at the typical night market in Thailand—as well as a few county-fair-like games of skill and chance.   It was very crowded and very hot.  

A real bonus was having Gun available to answer all my questions about the street food being sold.  There are so many different types of fruit and vegetables here, as well as some very strange looking sweet things (like a cubed black jelly) and lots meat on sticks. 

       Grilled squid.

            Meat on a stick.

More meat and some veggies on a stick.  Also a good example of fairly typical Thai mistranslation of English.  That's supposed to be "pork", not "pock".  

     A little chotsky.

        A little dancing.

I haven’t eaten street food here, with one exception--mango with sticky rice and coconut milk, which is my favorite Thai dessert.   It’s risky to eat street food unless you have a stomach that’s become accustomed to the food bacteria here.  I’ve spent enough time being sick with the ordinary flu and colds….don’t need to add food poisoning.

I’m back in Bangkok now for my last two days in southeast Asia.  I’ll be spending my last evening having dinner with my friend Dolly and her husband Donald and staying in their lovely 32nd floor condo for the night.  I have almost two days of travel to Florence, my first stop back in bella Italia, so there will be plenty of time to reflect on my time here and all the wonderful experiences I’ve enjoyed.   

Sawasdee ka from Thailand!

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