Saturday, September 07, 2013

Travelogue: Philosophical time in Sin City

We finally reached the place at about 11am; we hoped it was sufficient time to complete all that we wanted to do. Coming by cab turned out to be good because we didn’t know where the hotel was and had to search quite a bit. Our hotel, run by an Indian, was situated in a narrow street. Massage parlors are quite famous in Thailand – even in Bangkok we saw many places, even really small shops like barber shops all over the city. In fact there was one even opposite our hotel in Bangkok which our veggie friend visited on the first day night to check out his swollen ankle.

Sin City

Anyway, back to Pattaya – the street was cramped but it looked more like 6am than 11am; hardly anyone outside! We walked into the hotel and met the receptionist; she was the owner’s wife and there was a sweet little kid watching a hindi program on TV. Our veggie friend was probably delighted because he knew he could get some typical North India veg food here! Over three cups of tea and a glass of beer we sat at the dining table and chatted with the owner. He took an instant liking to our expert (and who wouldn’t!). He shared his story with us – was working in UK, quit, bought a building and converted it to a hotel and was now full time into the business. We learnt that many westerners actually spend a significant amount of time in Pattaya to avoid the harsh winters in their home country; cost of living is pretty cheap and life is relaxed – just like Vegas there is a certain amount of vice in this city; temptations galore everywhere. Thailand has tried to clean up the image of a city but links to the past still remain. And like Vegas this is also referred to as a sin city.

I’ll leave it up to you to read the history about Pattaya but you should have got the picture by now. He told us stories of how some Indian guys got mugged, how some got cornered and came to him for help, how some people got deceived by looks and got in trouble – you might think this is a bad city but point to be noted is that in all the incidents the tourists were the ones who invited trouble. Some people say that the devil in life is just temptation – temptation is what leads one down the wrong road. Ah well, whatever – it was fun talking to him and some incidents that he mentioned can’t be shared in this forum. This might sound strange but I became a little philosophical during the 2 days that we spent in Pattaya – more about this as we go along. The picture on the left is also something that added to my thoughts.

Anyway, the bad news for day 1 in Pattaya was that our plan of parasailing and sea walking were washed away.

“You need to start early in the morning by 8; afternoon time they return from the sea,” the hotel owner said.

And so we had to come up with an alternative and he gave us a list of items that we could do.