Tag Archives: Pattaya

The Walking Russian Dead of Pattaya

The Russians are taking over the city of Pattaya, clogging up the streets, zombie like, walking three and four breast, multiplying, fearless of the traffic.

I am sorry to say that I cannot embed this file as embedding has been disabled on the Jack Corbett Channel for this video due to “Third Party Content Violation”. This is due to the fact that this video contains bit and pieces of the first two episodes of the Walking Dead, season 1. Each snippet is only a few seconds in length. Nevertheless I have copied from “The Walking Dead” and have interspersed these Walking Dead snippets with real video footage I got of Russians walking down the street here in Pattaya. Well, we will see what will happen with those copied snippets. Personally I think no harm is done. It would be one thing if I’d copy an entire episode then distributed it to the public. My purpose is altogether different, that is to satirize Russians who walk three and four abreast down the street as if the street were a sidewalk. But I’ve also taken a few shots at how such streets are mismanaged by the authorities here. So who’s responsible for the creation of these Russian Walking Dead? Watch the video and make up your own mind.

Oldie but goodie Sexy Pattaya Drinking Street Bar Video

Now with sound, Drinking Street Gang of Seven beer bar dancers, sizzling Kwan, Pulsating Mam, return to continue the action started in my four books books, “Death on the Wild Side”, “Welcome to the Fun House, “Dick Fitswell”, and “Extreme Guns and Babes” available at Amazon.com”>

I have put this video up on you tube many months ago when I was first getting to know Kwann and Mam when they were both dancing at the Frog Bar on Pattaya’s Drinking Street. However I recently learned that I had been red-flagged for possible copyright violation resulting in You Tube’s striking the entire audio track for the whole video. Without sound this video was ruined. I don’t think I ever violated anyone’s copyright for the audio in my video as the audio was only the background music being played throughout the Drinking Street Beer Bar complex. Certainly the quality of this background music was not up to original source material due to its being picked up in the small LX-5 camera’s tiny microphone. Therefore it’s not commercially viable, and I wasn’t selling the video anyway. I finally decided to delete the existing video from the You Tube server and to replace it with a drastically reworked version of the old video. It’s only about 6 and a half minutes long now and the background music that triggered you tube’s censurers has now been chopped in little bits and pieces.

I have also plugged four of my books in this video. I’ve got close to 1.4 million views on You Tube for my videos. Many of them are well liked so why not? If someone likes the video, there’s an excellent chance he might enjoy reading one of my books and I really don’t think the connection has been made that the producer of all these videos is also a published writer.

Food Poisoning and Pattaya Go-Go Dancers

Who gave me food poisoning?

That’s right. I must ferret out the villain here or I will keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again. Obviously I ate at the wrong place so I will need to never go there again. I ate nothing but Thai food for twenty-four hours preceding the time I was struck down. The first possibility is the restaurant across the street. Although I have never had any problems here I nearly always ate Western food there, but this time I ordered up a plate of Cow Pat, which is fried rice with a little chicken put in, which I laced with a few peppers and fish sauce to give it the right amount of spiciness. I wouldn’t even put this restaurant on my list of suspects, but my girlfriend insisted it was a possibility. My second possible suspect is the Thai noodle stand near our condo building where my girlfriend often gets her food. The day before we went to the zoo my girlfriend had gotten us each a bowl of Noodle soup. My third possible suspect is the zoo itself. We had driven there in my car, arriving at 11 a.m. where we immediately searched for a spot to have an early lunch-late breakfast. After walking several hundred meters we came to one of the main restaurants. It’s a little bit high dollar inside where it’s air conditioned but outside there’s the typical Thai vendor that serves up cheap Thai dishes. I opted for the Katapowel, which is a spicy ground beef dish that is nearly always served up on rice. It came to 45 baht which is $1.50 in U.S. money with my total bill for both us including a bottle of water coming out to $3.40.

Within two hours I started to feel very tired and couldn’t wait to get home. Arriving at the condo around 1:30 p.m. I immediately collapsed in my lazy boy where I slept on and off for the next four hours. I very rarely sleep during the afternoons. By 6 p.m. I was shitting like a Mongoose. I was also having alternating fever and chills and a splitting headache between my eyes. My joints and bones ached. That night I slept 8 hours. Normally I’m lucky to get 5.5 to 6 hours which seems to be about all the sleep I need. I will now spare everyone the gory details about how often I’d shit, how much my ass hurt when I did, what color my excrement was, but even though I was feeling better by the second day I was still running a temperature a degree above normal, my eyes looked like a raccoon’s and I was still defecating like a fire hydrant. All of which was of no real importance. The critical thing was, who did this to me?

Today I went to the restaurant across the street where I talked with one of the owners who happens to be a friend of mine. He’s got a sidekick of sorts, a Thai woman who used to waitress for him, who will often accompany him when he goes out to shop for food for the restaurant. The woman’s spent a lot of time in Europe. They had just come back in a car which had a trunk full of food. I pointed the noodle stand out to both of them. Straight off the Thai woman told me that it had to have been the Zoo that had poisoned me. The outdoor food vendor just outside the air conditioned restaurant bought its food from everywhere, the woman told me. And when I asked her, “It doesn’t cook up any of the food it sells?” she told me, “No.” All of which meant that no one was responsible.

My mind had already been churning up this vendor as my number one suspect. After all, why should this vendor care or not who it poisoned? After all, it would never see anyone again since nearly all the people eating there would be tourists from all across the world. The noodle stand next to my condo was another story and so was the restaurant across the street. Both depended on a lot of repeat business. If my girlfriend would get sick at the noodle stand she’d tell everyone else at my condo. Since most of its customers were Thais either living or working in my neighborhood the word would soon get out that everyone should avoid the place and that would be the end of the Noodle Stand. This would be equally true of my restaurant owner friend. As for the tourists, they are a dime a dozen. One tourist replaces another so if a lot of them get sick, who cares.

Walking Street Go-Go Girl

Walking Street is also for tourists. Real expats who live here all the time know better to go there unless it’s a once in awhile kind of thing or if they have friends visiting they feel have to be entertained. For the most part go-go girls prey on the tourists who don’t know they have far better options when it comes to the opposite sex. The game plan for most go-go girls is to go short time with a customer paying her bar fine, and as for short time, the shorter the better. After breaking free of her ball and chain, she is now free to go back to her go-go bar to look for her next short time victim. Or she might go to Lucifer’s, Insomnia, Misty’s, Tony’s or some other disco to hunt for a new customer she can go with. Chances are 80 percent she’s got a Thai boyfriend (versus 50 % for your average beer bar girl) so she might just want to go home or go drinking with him and his friends. But whichever way she works it you can be sure that her short time customer is the very last on her list of people she wants to spend the rest of the evening with. But the worse scenario is one where a customer overpays her and then she goes out to a Thai Karioke bar where she hires a Thai guy to have sex with her on the money the overpaying customer just gave her. Believe it or not, there’s Male prostitutes who specialize in overpaid go-go girls and this is a lot more prevalent than you’d ever think.

To get such treatment the customer pays her bar fine, which several years ago ran 600 baht (around $20.00), but which will now range upwards to 1500 baht. Thanks to the insidious infusion of Coyote dancers, the 1000 to 1500 baht bar fine is now getting to be the norm. The way this works is a go-go bar will often contract with a company that provides the Coyote girls for which it is willing to pay top dollar. The Coyote girl in turn gets a high salary while the go-go bar owner is assured of getting a reliable supply of attractive dancers. So far so good, everyone’s happy except the customer gets screwed. But the customers are so ignorant that they don’t even have a clue how badly they are being screwed. That’s because they are tourists, meaning, ignorant rather than stupid due to being completely oblivious of the game that’s being played against them. But what’s really bad is when a man is no longer a tourist and he’s been here long enough to know better, yet he still persists in going after go-go dancers.

Take the other night when one of my American friends spied a cute girl strutting off her sexy little body in front of the Wind Mill Club. He paid her bar fine, all 1500 baht of it and then he took her back to his condo where she immediately complained of feeling tired, of having to work too hard, the neighbors keeping her awake all night, the dog puking on her couch and so on. So the poor thing immediately went comatose on him, and then when she woke up two hours later, she immediately wanted to go home. To my friend’s credit he didn’t pay her a thing, but the average tourist probably would have after being taken in by her charade. Nevertheless out of the 1500 baht bar fine he paid she probably got at least 200 baht of that as her cut.

The truth is most go-go girls are spoiled little girls who learn very quickly how easily tourists can get taken advantage of. The key thing to remember here is like the outside food vendor at the Zoo repeat business is of no interest to such go-go girls. But a beer bar girl, now that’s an entirely different story. Her game plan is the complete opposite from your typical go-go dancer’s. First off, she’s much more likely to want to go long time with you, which means spending the entire night with you at your condo or hotel room. This should run 300 baht for the bar fine which entitles her to leave the bar with you, and then it’s between the two of you. Pay no more than 1000 baht for her though. That’s the going rate and don’t let anyone tell you differently. The reason she will probably want to spend the night with you is she will probably want to spend tomorrow night with you as well. Better yet is to spend the week with you, month or whatever unless you have the personality of a Marquis de Sade and the face of the Headless Horseman. An arrangement that goes for month after month at a mutually agreed upon monthly stipend will oftentimes be even more desirable for her, and if she’s real lucky, possibly even marriage.

And of course there are more options than beer bar girls and go-go dancers. There’s Soi Six girls, girls with regular jobs, massage girls, etc. Just keep in mind that out of all the options your worse option is the tourist option. Just as I got food poisoning from a vendor who didn’t care about repeat business because her customers are primarily tourists so it is with the go-go dancer who finds a non-ending supply of fools to prey on.

Dirty Chinese at Thailand Five Star Hotel Spa

From my 1979 scrapbook Peoples Republc China...All Chinese dressed like this then.  A lot’s changed since I took this picture in 1979 the first year the Peoples Republic of China opened its doors to Americans. Everyone wore peasants garb in blue or green then and there was hardly a car to be found, and one could have any color of bicycle one wanted so long as it was black after a half a year wait. When our bus would roll into town, people would flock over as if we were aliens from outer space.

But Thirty-four years later (last night) I wrote

The spa is magnificent, so much so that I feel very lucky to be here. And so are the pretty massage girls, but I’ve got just 10 free massages and they are expensive or at least compared to what I can get practically everywhere else. There’s a large Jacuzzi and a cold pool next to it, a sauna and steam room. The place would do a Roman Senator proud, except as terrific as those old Roman bath houses were, there’s no way they could ever top this. Unfortunately, marring the beauty of this place are the despoilers, the defilers, who make about everything they touch worse for everyone else. These are the polluters who throw their towels, and used massage garments all about the place giving it a ghettoish trashy look that is absolutely undeserved. A friend of mine thought it was the Russians trashing the place up, but I told him, “no way”. First, there’s not a lot of Russians who use the spa and when they do I don’t see all the liter left behind after they’ve left. Asians now, that’s another story. But unless I ask, I oftentimes don’t know where they are from. At first I thought it was rich Thais, but the girls at the desk keep telling me they are Chinese. Turns out they are right.

The Spa dressing room

In the men’s side of the spa there are fourteen lockers in a room that’s around 20 feet wide and at either end of these lockers there’s a bin where hotel guests using the spa are instructed to throw their used towels, massage robes and other paraphernalia which the hotel leaves in each locker for their guests. The instructions are on a little plaque just above the opening of each bin. For me, it was pretty obvious what these bins are used for, but I must admit that the text on each plaque is in one shade of brown and the actual plaque itself is in another shade which gives these instructions a subdued appearance that’s in good taste, but which is not as noticeable as it should be. Each time a man puts in for a massage he is escorted into the spa by one of the spa’s female employees who then instructs him to wait until his masseuse arrives to take him over to the area he’s to receive his massage. The female employee shows him the massage clothing he is expected to wear as she explains the whole procedure to him. She also gives him other instructions such as where he’s supposed to put used towels and the massage clothing once his massage is over.

I had just arrived in the locker room when one of the girls from the desk arrived with a new hotel guest, who was obviously Asian. The man never greeted me which was typical of most Asian guests, but I often talked with the desk girl who like most of the hotel’s employees goes out of her way to be friendly to the customers. I listened to her give the guest the usual instructions, but the man could obviously speak virtually no English at all, nor could he speak a lick of Thai. So the woman delivered most of her instruction by gestures and pantomime. When it came to where he should put his used towels and massage gear she reached into the man’s locker, pulled out a massage robe and then she carried it over to the bin. I thought she had done a terrific job and told her afterwards. In the meantime she asked me, “Help me with him. He speaks no English.” So after she left I grabbed a towel and shoved it towards the bin to make it 100 clear where he needed to put his towels and used massage gear.

I then went over to the fitness center where I exercised for one hour and relaxed with my girlfriend on a couch from which we both we conversed with a couple of other members we both knew and a couple of the hotel employees. When I reentered the spa I found that the beautiful small dressing room had just been turned into a pig pen. My thoughts immediately turned to the Chinese man who by this time had just finished getting his massage. But surely he couldn’t have done this much havoc all by himself? I asked myself. Certainly he had to have gotten some assistance from several of his Chinese friends at despoiling the place?

Well, we will see about that. If you and your fellow countrymen should persist in trashing up everything around here that’s beautiful, then the least I can do is to give all of you a bad name for your rudeness, inconsiderate behavior, and your polluting the planet the rest of us live on. But I had to be fair. I had to be 100 percent certain the man was guilty. There were at least four used towels and massage robes that had been strewn all over the place, several on the bench the rest of us had to sit on while changing clothes, the rest on the floor. In the next room another towel had been carelessly cast off next to one of the ornate wash basins. To ascertain whether this particular Asian was guilty or not I went over to the towel bin next to the man’s locker, looked inside the little closet and saw that there were a number of used towels inside but not one single massage robe so obviously he had thrown everything around and might have even gotten a few extra towels and massage robes for good measure just to establish who was the boss. I then looked into the towel bin next to my locker where I found that no one had disposed of his massage gear there as well. Which meant that I was 95 percent certain that this Ex Red Chinese was one human pig indeed.

The pollution in our beloved dressing room had almost devastated me. So much so that I had to show what this derelict had done to the friendly desk girl. I didn’t walk to the spa’s desk. I ran. Only to find the ex Red Chinese man fully dressed sitting in a chair near the desk girl no doubt waiting for his wife to come out of the woman’s section of the spa. The first thing I asked the desk girl was whether or not the ex Red Chinese man had gotten a massage or not. So when she assured me that he certainly had, I immediately told her in Thai that the man was a pig, that he had desecrated the spa and that she should see for herself what havoc he had wrought. When she asked me if I knew for sure who had done it, I immediately looked over at the man, pointed at him and told her once again in Thai that he was one big pig.

The problem was, and it is especially true about Five Star hotels, is that the customer is always right. This man in front of me was the most miserable excuse for a human being that I had ever laid eyes on. But he undoubtedly had a lot of money; otherwise he wouldn’t be staying at so expensive of a hotel in the first place. And the desk girl couldn’t say anything to him because if she did she would probably find herself very severely disciplined by her superiors. Later a couple of other employees could go into the dressing room and clean up after the ex Red Chinese. Well, she couldn’t do anything, but I sure as hell could. So I walked over to him and pantomimed someone throwing things into a trash bin. So even though the man’s command of English amounted to just about zero he’d clearly understand that I knew what he had done and that I didn’t think much of him. Well, I don’t know exactly what the man said, but it was very clear to me from the way he said it along with his facial expression that he meant, “So what! I refuse to clean up after myself. That is up to lesser mortals than myself because I can do whatever I want to anybody that I choose.” If he had tried to pull this in the United States, especially when I was forty-five or younger I would have knocked him out of his chair on the spot, even if it meant risking his getting his Chinese mafia after me.

But never mind. I’d get my revenge. It’d simply redouble my efforts to avoid buying Chinese whenever it was possible. Unfortunately too often there’s no choice in the matter at all, even here in Thailand where people make only a couple of hundred dollars a month or so at construction and factory jobs. The problem is that the Chinese are only paying a hundred dollars or even less, and oftentimes when they do work in factories they are required to live on the very premises upon which the factory is located where they must pay the landlord-factory owners rent which effectively cuts way back on their take home pay. Chairman Mao would be convulsing in his grave if he could only see what’s come of his beloved Communist society. And that’s why I kept referring to this polluter as an ex Red Chinese. He is the living embodiment of what all true Communists despised and what they tried to rid their country of and for whom millions died.

I had just gotten back from Macao and Hong Kong where I had recently seen rich Chinese by the thousands gambling and shopping away their ill begotten wealth. That was just two weeks ago and even then I thought about Chairman Mao and Zhou Enlai and all those devout Communists who had gone on the Long March and fought so hard to get the Japanese out of China and then rid their country of Chiang Kai Shek and all his gangsters. The whole social experiment had turned into a complete travesty.

Actually Chairman Mao wasn’t exactly a saint. Not hardly. But he did have his little red book in which he exhorted all good Chinese to do things for the good of others along with other instructions pertaining to a whole host of subjects. He also had all his reeducation camps where he’d send Chinese he found to be especially offensive such as the turd I had just encountered in the five star spa.

I must admit I’ve gotten to be quite disappointed over all that’s happened in China since my first, and last visit back in 1979, the first year that it was opened to Americans. Some of the first Chinese students sent over to the United States actually came over to visit my farm. My mother was then heading a special voluntary English section for foreign students at Washington University in St. Louis. They came from everywhere, Taiwan, Japan, Germany, Romania, and Mainland China–students who could polish their English language skills free of charge outside their normal college curriculum where they could learn from my mother and the teachers working under her donating their time for free. One of my best friends would come out of Japan, an engineering student getting his masters who would remain in the U.S. for three or four years. Meanwhile I was living on a farm in central Illinois, alone and both my parents would keep bringing my mother’s students down to the farm, sometimes for an entire weekend. There was one Taiwanese group in particular who came to visit me several times, so if anyone thinks I have it in for the Chinese, don’t even go there. There was one man in particular who was then in his thirties, a college professor who I put to work helping me to put a new cedar shake single roof on an outhouse I had in my backyard and then I had him help me build shelves in my machine shed. The man was from the People’s Republic then known as Red China and in his earlier days he had been sent to Chairman Mao’s reeducation camps during the Cultural Revolution where he was put to work cleaning out toilets and doing other repugnant tasks to teach him his place.

Back then I had much higher hopes for China, then called the Sleeping Giant which was given fifty years to catch up with the rest of the world. Immediately upon returning from China in 1979 I subscribed to a Red Chinese newspaper which I received monthly by snail mail all the way from China to my farm. But now so much has changed and my whole perspective has become so much more negative. I think of a restaurant owner friend of mine telling me that his worse customers by far all come from the Chinese mainland. To my complete disbelief he once told me how a group of them can come into his restaurant and that even a pack of dogs could not come in, eat off his tables and leave his place in such a disgusting mess as the Chinese can. “Not the Hong Kong Chinese or the Taiwanese,” he kept telling me, “but the Mainland Chinese”. I am unfortunately starting to agree with him. In the exercise room, they will often shout across the room at each other, they speak in loud voices in the spa where a Japanese would recoil at such an abomination in a place that had been created for tranquility and calm meditation. And then there’s all that pushing an shoving in the lines I’ve encountered in my recent travels.

Thankfully, I did encounter some very nice helpful Chinese in our recent trip to Macau and Hong Kong. But in general I see a lot of problems developing here in Thailand, particularly in Pattaya due to the huge explosion of Chinese tourism from the mainland. I have some very concrete solutions for how many of these problems can be minimized, but hey, I’m just a visitor here so what does my opinion count? But that’s another subject that if my advice were to be taken would bring in a better class of Chinese tourist while actually providing a more pleasant overall Thailand experience for the Mainland Chinese visitor. But I’ll just have to bring that up here at a future date, but when I bring it up I hope that a lot of prospective Chinese travelers read it. As to the ex Red Chinese who got his massage last night, hey buddy, I do owe you one.

Trapped by unrelenting rain inside Naklua’s Pen Bar with out of control Thai bar girls

Who says you have to go to Pattaya’s Go Go Bars for a great time? Real expats such as Peter claim Walking Street’s only for tourists who don’t know any better. The action in this video occurred just two nights ago at the Pen Bar on Naklua Soi 18. Peter (his name is Per in Norwegian) is out for just another typical night by his lonesome. My girlfriend is sitting just to my right, which is pretty good reason for my repeatedly telling one of the bar girls to stop what she’s doing. But my girlfriend’s presence doesn’t phase her one bit. Outside the bar no one’s going anywhere. We will be completely drenched before we get 100 meters down the road on our motorbikes so we are stuck here for the duration. This has been absolutely one of our favorite neighborhood bars going on something like 7 years now. England has its neighborhood pubs, and the United States has its neighborhood taverns for the locals to hang out at. We are eternally grateful to have places like this close by to our condos where the women are plentiful, the weather never turns too cold, we can ride our motorbikes year round, drink as much as we want and never have to worry about the police giving us a DWI.

Want to see what a 124 million baht condo looks like?

Top floor, 1,200 square meters 9 bedrooms, with breathtaking views of Pattaya below it

Want to know what a 4 million dollar, 13,000 square foot beach front condo looks like here in Pattaya Thailand? Comprising 9 bedrooms, 9 plus bathrooms, with its own helicopter pad I just happened to wander into the place with my Nikon D-300. It’s the penthouse at Saranchou condominiums on Wongamat Beach. Out of my price range for sure, and I’m absolutely not involved in real estate sales or rentals, but if anyone is interested in checking this place out you can go to http://www.bigmangoproperties.com/. Needless to say the place is immense. For example a wall of one of the living rooms is plastered but behind the plaster is a sliding door. The original owner contemplated selling these two units separately. It would not take long to remove the plaster thus exposing the sliding door which can then be opened to transform two separate rooms into one.

For more pictures click here

Shangrila Now

I’m in Seattle now, looking out from the Days Inn parking lot at the nearby hotels all of them close to the airport and onto the street. It’s night time and I see all around me an emptiness in sterile surroundings compared to where I’ve just come from, and thankfully where I’ve been living for the past eight years. In contrast, the streets in Pattaya are alive being full of people from all over the world. There are restaurants everywhere. Thai restaurants, German restaurants, Russian restaurants, Swiss, French. You name it and Pattaya’s got it. And so many so closely packed together, and this is not to even mention as the bars, and all the street vendors peddling their goods up and down the street and into the bars, from women’s clothing, shoes, watches, street food, friend grasshoppers and other insects, street food, and gadgets of all kinds. Some of the vendors carry their goods on foot while others carry their small shops side car style mounted on small motorbikes. There’s Atms everywhere, and Family Marts and Seven Elevens, sometimes up to half a dozen of them all within two blocks of each other. I will enjoy renting a car here in Seattle and being able to drive in Washington and Oregon’s beautiful mountains, but I can’t wait to get back, and I’ve only been away for twenty-four hours. Who wouldn’t want to get back if they were already living in Shangrila?

Two nights ago I watched the movie Lost Horizon for the first time. Shot in 1937 this classic was about a small group of Westerners who are barely able to escape from a mob of Chinese bandits in Shanghai. Luckily the group is able to barely escape with their lives by getting on the only available passenger plane at the airport. Unknown to the small group of passengers, the plane’s pilot is overpowered by its new pilot who succeeds in hijacking the plane and kidnaps its passengers who he flies to a mysterious valley in the Himalayas. But he doesn’t quite make it. The plane crash lands in the mountains and the kidnapper is killed during the crash landing. Facing starvation with no hope of escaping the small group of passengers are rescued by an expedition of Tibetan porters who escort them through the hazardous narrow mountain passes to a beautiful city where the sun always seems to shine called Shangrila. At Shangrila the passengers find there’s more than enough gold for everyone living there. Shangrila has a mild climate, there’s no war, crime or envy there because there’s more than enough of everything because of the endless supply of gold that can be traded for whatever is needed from the outside world. The passengers soon learn that the residents of Shangrila live to be hundreds of years old, so long as they remain in Shangrila. One of the group is a terminally ill prostitute who’s been given less than a year to live. She will recover, however due to the miraculous life extending capacity of Shangrila. Meanwhile, two brothers fall in love with two of Shangrila’s female residents. Unfortunately, the younger brother falls for a woman who is possibly Shangrila’s only disgruntled resident, a beautiful Russian woman who appears to be still in her twenties but who is actually well up in her sixties. The Russian woman is able to convince first the younger brother, and then the older brother, that the leaders of the Shangrila community have lied to everyone, and that Shangrila’s ability to extend the human lifetime is a complete sham. Meanwhile the other passengers become so content with Shangrila that the two brothers are unable to convince them to leave. The Russian woman and the two brothers set out through the hazardous passes in the mountains with a group of sherpas they’ve hired to take them back to civilization. But the sherpas are all killed in an avalanche, and the Russian woman reverts to her true age. Without the strength to climb the high passes of the Himilayans she dies of exposure, and the younger brother commits suicide now that he’s learned the real truth about Shangrila. The older brother is barely able to get out of the mountains alive after being rescued by a group of Chinese, and eventually he is repatriated in England. For weeks he is unable to remember anything about what has happened but eventually when his memory returns he disappears. At the end of the movie there’s a lot of speculation that he went on a quest to once again find his Shangrila, and that eventually after a couple of years he finally found his way back again through the mountains. The men discussing his disappearance ask the man who’s just returned from a two year search looking for him, “Do you really believe in such a place as Shangrila?” to which the storyteller replies, “I believe it because I really want such a place to really exist. And for all of us, we must all forever hope that for each of us that such a place really exists.”

So what does this movie have to do with Pattaya and my having lived there for eight years? For one thing, right now I’m sitting here at 7:00 a.m. at a hotel near the Seattle about ready to get on my next flight, and I’m thinking how much I’d rather be living there than anywhere else. I also cannot think of many Westerners who’s lived there for very long who would trade it for anything. All those American, English, German, and other European expats dread the thought of ever having to move back to their home countries. I will admit, however to having one American friend who’d much rather be in the Philippines rather than in Thailand where he owns a condo. And I know of one Swiss, one Spaniard, and one Englishman who have either moved to Malaysia or who are hoping to go there in search of greener pastures. All of them, I think, are deluded.

The fountain of youth really exists in Pattaya although in a different way than most of us think of the fountain of youth or the way it exists in the Shangila movie, Lost Horizon. Last week while swimming in our condo swimming pool I encountered a young Russian man who at 29 had just gotten married last month and who had brought his wife to Thailand for their honeymoon. The man told me, “We Russians have thought it so strange to be seeing all these old European and other Western men all walking down the street holding hands with these very young Thai women and how the Thai woman oftentimes wind up living with all those old men. And then the more I thought about it, I thought, “Those old men back in their own countries are only just old men. They sit there doing practically nothing only being old men. And then they come here and suddenly all these young beautiful Thai women keep telling themselves that they are attractive, so what happens is all those old men actually start behaving a lot younger than they are, and they are having fun, and enjoying themselves.”

And of course, I’ve had many men in their fifties, sixties and even seventies tell me, “Look, back home you can’t get such women to even look at you, and if you try to have anything to do with them, they see you only as being dirty old men.” But what happens is all of those incurably old men come here and suddenly they start to feel as if they are twenty again. “Have sex with twenty year olds? No problem. Have a twenty or thirty year old girlfriend stay with you for years, again, no problem. Want to have another child only this time with a woman who’s twenty, thirty or even forty years younger than you? No problem at all. The woman’s all for it. So after all that once an older man starts to feel attractive and virile again, he actually starts to become the man he’s now thinking he’s become. His mind starts to operate a lot quicker now, his sex drive is completely restored, his step suddenly becomes more youthful and his confidence is brought up from rock bottom to what he had when he was just 18 before all the best looking women got snatched up and started having babies with other men.

If I were to say that for every attractive Western woman there’s a hundred good looking Thai women, I’d be lying. I’d be lying because the ratio is more like 200 or even 500 to one. And it’s not only that, most of them, or at least the ones we are likely to meet in such places as Pattaya are available to all of those “Old Men”. There’s massage places everywhere, and it only costs six bucks for a one hour full body massage. And trust me, there’s nothing like a one hour or two hour Thai massage or oil massage where one gets a woman’s full 100 percent attention.

One can drive a motorbike everyday of the year here. Even if it rains and one gets wet on a motorbike one usually dries out in a hurry. And if a man wants to stay dry he can always carry along a light weight rain suit. Although many of us have cars as well, nearly all of us expats drive small motorbikes, and believe me, there’s nothing like driving small motorbikes to make a man feel like a little kid again.

Pattaya’s got great infrastructure. There’s an eight line highway all the way to the main Bangkok airport, a drive which usually take just an hour and fifteen minutes or so. There’s a lot of great shopping here and the place even has some excellent bookstores. It’s got great hospitals and in general health are that’s just a fraction of what it costs in the U.S. and it’s so much more efficient.

In the U.S. and in most of Europe if you go to a bar about all you have to look forward to is getting a DWI which involves spending a lot of money and probably having to spend at least one night in jail. Who needs that? Last week I put away god knows how many beers, and when I looked at my watch it was three minutes until 2 which his my curfew. After all, I do have a girlfriend and she expects me back at 2, so believe it or not I got home on my motorbike in just two minutes driving perhaps 4 kilometers. At that late hour the traffic was nearly non existent. The last thing I was worried about was cops because I have never seen a Thai policeman ever pull anyone over because he was drinking and driving. Now don’t get me wrong, I never drink and drive my car here because I feel it’s too risky. But on my motorbike the only person I think I’m possibly going to kill is myself and with the traffic so non-existent at the late hours I’m likely to be going home, I can drive that bike of mine as if it’s on rails with both of my eyes closed.

I’ve got a beach 150 yards from me and a great health club to exercise in. If the climate ever seemed too hot for me, I think I’ve pretty well acclimized myself by now. I’m flying to St. Louis in a few hours and I can practically guarantee you that St. Louis on August 1st is going to be hot and a lot more uncomfortable than it is for me in Pattaya. I’d say that if the year round climate where I live averaged just 3 degrees cooler that it would be just about perfect.

As it was for the people of Shangrila money really is no real object for me here. It simply goes a lot further than it does in the United States which enables me to have an even more comfortable lifestyle with access to infinitely more women, with far more night life and bars around me, and I’m still able to save a lot more money than I ever was before.

Is Pattaya perfect? No way. There’s hardly any sidewalks to be found, the place is awfully corrupt, and the ocean is a bit too polluted. But the corruption hardly ever affects me, and it’s still a beautiful ocean. If I want to swim in it all I have to do is take a 40 minute ferry ride to Koh Larn. As for the lack of sidewalks and all those amenities. Well…one could say it just makes life more interesting.

Tie Guys–Sexy Thai Drinking Street bar girl Video

The video’s from a bar we picked at Random on Drinking Street two nights ago. It all started when I gathered a small group of my friends together for dinner at Greg’s Kitchen on Drinking Street. Greg’s been a friend of mine for years. The friendship started while I was staying at the Skytop Guesthouse several times totaling 11 months while waiting for my condo to be finished. Greg’s Kitchen was just two doors from my lodging. Pete, an Australian, owned Skytop, and Pete loved to play pool. And so did Greg and Pete had a pool table just outside the Skytop front entrance so I saw a lot of Greg, and of course I often ate at his restaurant. But when Greg realized I had a very impressive professional camera, a Nikon D-1 X he wanted me to shoot all his food dishes for his menu. So every few days Greg would come over to Skytop to ask me to take pictures of several new dishes for his menu until I had taken pictures of every single dish he offered. I wound up eating a lot of Greg’s dishes for payment since Greg wanted to offer me at least something for all that work I was doing for him. The result was this large menu just outside his restaurant that passers by could read. Later when I started doing a web site for Skytop, Greg asked me to do a web site for him even though he already had a web site. And I’m still doing Greg’s web site. Then a couple of years ago, Pete died, and last January, his widow, Wan, closed Skytop down when the landlord jacked the rent up too much on her. Meanwhile Greg moved his restaurant to Drinking Street when his landlord started charging too much also. So now, Greg’s my only friend left from the “old days”.

If it had not been for Pete and Greg I would never have moved to Thailand so there’s a lot of nostalgia associated with Skytop and Greg’s, but Skytops no longer there. So two nights ago there must have been about ten of us altogether, eating at Greg’s and afterwards most of us hit the bars next door at Drinking Street. Our two German dinner companions were the first to leave as Ludwig was not feeling well, and Wolfgang wanted to look after him. And Lenny’s friend, “the Doctor” didn’t stick with us for long. The doctor found a young hottie right away and it must have been less than a half hour later that he bar fined her 1500 baht for a short time and we watched him disappear on his motorbike rental with the girl seated behind him. Big John had to do some work on his computer for his company so he left us early on. That left Billy Bob, Lenny, my girlfriend May May, and I over in the Drinking Street bars.

There wasn’t a lot going on at our second bar. But we saw a couple pretty girls dancing on the stage at another bar close by. Luckily I had brought my Panasonic LX-5 camera with me and I resolved to shoot some good video, and it sure wasn’t happening at the bar we were already at. So Billy Bob, Lenny and I went to next bar so I could get some good dancing video. And, what you see here is what we came up with. It’s not a good a quality as my camera can get but the lighting here at Drinking Street is horrendous and both the pictures and video wound up with a very pronounced red cast so I had to edit all that red out in my video editing program.

So who are the Tie Guys and why am I introducing them in the first place? It all started when Big Tom and Billy Bob wanted to differentiate our group of friends from all the other guys who are now flooding Walking Street, most of them, tourists. So Big Tom and Billy Bob started buying all these colorful ties which they’d then hand out to the members of our small group. Or maybe it was Big John who played a huge part in our all wearing these very noticeable ties as we caroused our way from one Walking Street go go to the next. Anyway I had nothing to do with the Ties, and when the guys would give me a tie to wear, the next time I joined them on Walking Street, I’d forget to wear my tie so one of the guys would simply offer me another Tie. I now have three ties that I got from the other Tie guys in my small bedroom.

Big John now lives in Pattaya something like 8 months out of 12 whereas Big Tom visits Pattaya for periods of two to three weeks several times a year. Billy Bob and I live here full time. Both of us are retired and both of us have been professional photographers back in the U.S. As for Big John, although he’s never been a professional photographer, he’s been a fan of digital cameras ever since they first came onto the market . That was over fifteen years ago. He’s the computer guru of the group, he’s a top notch computer programmer, and he even has a PHD in Computer Science. When it comes to computers, just call him God. Moreover he applies all his technical expertise with his cameras.

Big Tom’s almost the complete opposite of Big John. He’s over six feet six so he towers over practically everyone who is around him, and when he’s walking up the street with his Thai girlfriend he she barely comes up to his waist. The youngest in the group, Big Tom’s the biggest monger of the Tie Guys. I think he even keeps score of all the Thai girls he has sex with and he will often have a couple girls the same day. Meanwhile he will tell his Thai girlfriend, “Sorry, you cannot come with us, it’s a guy’s night out.” Big Tom’s a gun lover whereas Big John hates guns, but the one thing both men share is a huge love for beautiful sexy women.

As for Billy Bob, Big Tom often calls him, “Our Bait”. He’s the oldest guy in the group but he looks a lot younger than his chronological age, and much of the time he acts like he’s only sixteen. The Thai girls love him. That’s because most of the Thai girls we encounter are in their twenties, but they act more like they are thirteen or fourteen. So they view Billy Bob much the way a bunch of groupies will view a rock star. It’s as if he was Mick Jagger, who is by no means a young guy anymore, but Mick’s still got that certain panache. The reality, however, is that Mick Jagger’s got a certain coolness about him whereas Billy Bob is the antithesis of cool. Sometimes he can be almost a cartoon in human form. But back in a past life Billy Bob used to be a professional photographer who worked for magazines which often sent him to Europe on fully paid assignments.

Altogether, it’s a pretty talented group of guys, so from now on I want to clearly differentiate the “Tie Guys” from all those other guys shooting their pictures and videos as they drink and monger their way through Pattaya’s many bars and go go’s.

But back to Drinking Street. Billy Bob wanted to either go home or go elsewhere, and he lives in Central Pattaya not that far from Big John. I live in Naklua which is just north of Pattaya. Whereas Drinking Street is a bar complex that has a majority of Englishmen as customers, most of the bars near me in Naklua cater more to the German customer. So on the way back to my condo my girlfriend and I stop in at the TJ Bar. This bar is owned by a German and his Thai wife, and there are two things that distinguish it from most other bars. The first thing is that if you ever encounter a pretty lady at the T.J. Bar she’s bound to not be a lady. She will be a ladyboy who are Thai men who look like and act like women. Many of them have silicon breast jobs and a few of them have even had sex change operations. So there’s a few good looking lady boys at T.J’s which already proves that I have been here to long because here I’m saying that some males are really very sexy. Believe me, though, most expats get to be this way, and even men who have never remotely believed they were homosexuals before wind up actually prefering lady boys to Thai women. The other thing that distinguishes T.J’s from most other bars is its music. They play a huge assortment of American and English oldies here. Ironically it’s the Germans who enjoy all those oldies from England and America the most. The English don’t seem to care all that much about what’s playing and if you don’t believe me just listen to some of that godawful music they are playing at Drinking Street in this video.

After having a couple of beers here at the T.J. bar my girlfriend and I move over to the next bar, the Pen bar. Pen’s the owner of the bar which she’s had for over six years now. She’ s Thai, and we both like her a lot. But I’m not even half way done with my first beer when I hear a lot of commotion behind me. “It’s Per and two of his Norwegian buddies.” It’s already well past 1 a.m. The appearance of the three Norwegians causes my girlfriend and I to stay at the bar until after 3 a.m.

These guys are the descendents of the Vikings who used to rape, kill, and pillage their way through Europe during the Dark Ages. Per owns a condo exactly like mine three floors above me in my condo building and we’ve been friends for over seven years now. Rumor has it that Per has bar fined and taken every single one of Pen’s bar girls home with him at one time or the other. He’s a wild man who loves to drink and party and I will now freely admit that it’s Per who was the inspiration for Mickel “The Menace of the North” in my novel Welcome to the Fun House.

The second Norwegian has the same job as Per which is as an inspector for the Norwegian government of the fishing around the North Sea and the Arctic Circle. Both men spend three months on small Norwegian ships that investigate the fishing conditions in this sector of the oceans that are largely looked after by the Norwegian government. For them iti’s three months on, and three months off. So Per oftentimes spends three months at a time here in Pattaya before he must go back to Norway to resume his job responsibilities for his government.

Jonas is the third Norwegian and he’s the youngest. Per and the other man are in their upper forties now whereas Jonas is only thirty or so. All three of them love to drink. In fact, all of Per’s friends seem to value drinking above all else. Norway since it has found oil has the highest living standard in all of Europe if not the world, but alcohol is ungodly expensive there. I think it costs over ten dollars a bottle in the bars so that must be the reason why these modern day Vikings love to drink so much.

But they are so much fun to be with as well as being so warm and friendly. And of course all of them speak English very well. Still, Tie Guys they aren’t. They are here to drink, party and to sample Thailands beautiful women above all else whereas the Tie Guys like to leave permanent records of all their depredations for the rest of the world to see, such as this video. Expect to see more like it as time goes on as we continue to sample Pattaya’s unparalleled night life.

Celebrating Songkran, insane Thai water festival in Pattaya

cute Thaigirl blessing Billy Bob at Sonkran

The You Tube video presents 2 ways of celebrating Songkran in Pattaya, Thailand by two groups of expats. The first is my way, which is one of complete avoidance at the Centara 5 star hotel. The second is Billy Bob (Billy Bob does the Walking Street go go Bar reviews with Uncle Bufford in the Looking Glass Magazine at Alpha Productions) and Big John’s tactic of “damn the torpedoes. We are going to get wasted, take off our shirts, and join in with the hundreds of thousands who have congregated here to serve their water god. This high quality HD video is actually two videos in one. That is it is of two events occurring roughly 3 miles from each other at the same time. Let me explain. I took my video while wading completely around one of the swimming pools at the Centara Grande Mirage five star resort. This swimming pool is just one of a number of swimming pools in the Centara’s magnificent “Lost World” theme park. The pool is nearly a quarter mile in length. It meanders throughout the theme park, resembling a small river in an Amazon rainforest. There’s nothing like it anywhere. Hotel guests do miniature float trips here as they lazily ride down the shallow man made river on plastic inner tube like floats. Now a quarter mile stretch just to make the circumference of the River might sound like great exercise but it isn’t. This is because there’s a man made current which propels swimmers up to a mile an hour or so downstream without his having to move a muscle. So that’s what I’m doing. I’m wading chest deep the entire circumference of “The River” shooting my video with my Panasonic LX-5 camera. Meanwhile Big John’s got his Panasonic LX-5 over in Central Pattaya where he’s shooting his own videos with his teammate, Billy Bob. So there’s really two videos, one celebrating the complete insanity of Pattaya gone beserk celebrating this completely out of control Thai New Year’s Holiday while I’m over at the Centara enjoying the tranquility that is being experienced by all those very wealthy people who I don’t normally associate with.

Even before you watch the You Tube video you might want to get a little History on Songkran and how it has developed (I prefer the word regressed) into what it is today. It celebrates the Thai New Year that occurs in the first half of April, and which ends here in Pattaya on April 19th. In the past and even to a large extent today, Thais will sprinkle a small amount of water or dab a little mud concoction on anyone they enounter during the holiday. The key words here are “small” and “little”. Another key word that I’ll add will be “gently”. Today in most Thai cities the Songkran Holiday is celebrated for one or two days, and then it’s over. Sadly this is not the case with Pattaya, a city that has a huge expat population, and which has nightlife that even outstrips Bangkok, Thailand’s capital, a city of over twelve million. Compared to practically anywhere else in the world Pattaya is a city on steroids. It is a city that gives practically anyone complete license to do almost anything.

To give you just a single example of this, I have never, not once, seen a police officer stop a motorist for running a red light or driving against the flow of traffic. I’d say nearly half the Thais here in Pattaya will drive their motorbikes through a red light whenever they want, and that one way lines of traffic mean nothing to them. So whenever I driving my motorbike down the street I’m always meeting other motorcyclists driving right at me. Keeping in mind this is but one example of how people do whatever they want to do with their motorbikes and cars, you can fully appreciate how dangerous it is to drive here, particularly on a motorbike.

This year during the first three days of Songkran over 180 deaths were reported on Thailand’s motorways and streets. There would still be four days to come, and those would be the most celebrated days. During Songkran it is considered good fun to take an entire bucket of water and to splash the driver of a motorbike full in the face and chest. There’s no question that Sonkran kills a lot of people. However, the Thais did not plan it this way. What happened is groups of Eurotrash started to come here in ever greater numbers. These are that special class of Europeans called the Hooligans. To be even more specific, I will call these hooligans the soccer hooligans. Most of them are British. For years these hooligans have participated in British football (soccer matches) with the express purpose not of watching, but of participating “hoolignn style”, causing riots and a lot of blood shed. These people are troublemakers and they love to fight. To get a sense of how they go about their “football shenanigans”, watch a movie called “The Football Factory” and you will see why Spain eventually decided to clamp down on these Eurotrash once they had gone too far towards exporting their troublemaking style to Spain.

Pattaya represents fertile pastures to such hooligans, particularly during Songkran by offering them the opportunity to assault anyone they choose with impunity so long as they confine their assaulting with water. Keep in mind that the biggest day for Songkran in Pattaya is on April 19th and these hooligans start their pilgrimage on April 11th when they start throwing water all over anyone near Soi 6’s, 7, and 8 on Beach and 2nd Roads, and you can fully appreciate how completely out of control this holiday has gotten. This means among other things that anyone driving a motorbike down these two major roads that pierce Central Pattaya stand a good chance of getting wet and of having an accident. Meanwhile such hooligans have their numbers swollen by many bar girls working the bars on Soi Six, Seven, and Eight, who either don’t know any better or could care less even if they did. Even responsible Thais don’t appreciate getting doused with water for nine days straight and having their roads made unsafe for such long periods of time.

When you see this video you will notice that most of the Thais gently dab a little paste on the cheeks and foreheads of those they encounter on the street. Although many Thais have adopted the Hooligan style of completely dousing anyone within range with as much water as possible most of them haven’t emulated the Hooligan style of filling their high powered squirt guns with urine and ice.

So what has happened is that the Hooligans have been allowed to have a large amount of control over what goes on here. And no one’s about to try to stop them. So now that you have a little background about how Songkran is being celebrated in Pattaya today, I’ll explain how I’ve tried to avoid it.

My girlfriend and I both have one year memberships to the Centara Hotel’s Physical Fitness Center and Theme Park. It costs a great deal of money to join but for me, it’s worth it. I take advantage of the Fitness room an average of 5.5 days a week. The machines here are state of the art with some of them costing over $10,000 each. We can use the tennis courts for free at least during the say and these courts are second to none. Then there’s that magnificent theme park wtih Centara’s many swimming areas, and above all there’s that fantastic almost unbelievably surreal Amazon rain forest like river that you will be seeing a lot of in my video. Last year I decided to try to avoid Songkran by driving my girlfriend and I to Koh Chang which is Thailand’s second largest island. We went on the 13th of April only to find out that about half of Bangkok had also decided to drive to Koh Chang the same time we did. So what would have been at the most a five hour trip including the ferry ride to the island wound up taking us over nine hours. The Thais were celebrating Songkan all up and down our route. So while one municipality we’d be driving through was not celebrating Songkran on that particular day, the next one would and there would be all these pickup trucks along the way with their beds full of 55 gallon barrels of water and squirt gun armed riders squirting everything in sight. The traffic got so bad that it took us two hours just to get the last seven hundred meters to the ferry we eventually offloaded my Honda Civic. Then when we finally made it onto the island the sun had already set and we had to negotiate Koh Chang’s impossibly narrow mountain roads in the dark. To make matters worse every few kilometers of our last 26 kilometers on the island there would be groups of people running out into the middle of the road dousing all the cars. Once we finally got to our destination on the southern tip of Koh Chang we were home free and done with Songkran but it was a perilous journey getting there.

This time, I’d use the Centara Hotel to idle a lot of my time away for 2013’s Songkran. When I’d go out to dinner or breakfast I’d either have my girlfriend prepare my food for me in the condo or we’d go to a restaurant that was close-by as in next door. And when I’d go to the Centara I’d walk. There would be not one person trying to douse me with water on the beach. After all it’s far more fun to try to cause an accident to someone on a motorbike than to get someone wet who’s already wearing swimming trunks. It would take me less than ten minutes to walk to the hotel anyway, and if I drove a motorbike there along Soi Wongmat I’d be sure to get wet just about every time.

Meanwhile my two pals, Billy Bob and Big John decided to take their cameras right into the vortex of the action. If I were still a single guy I probably would have joined them–on the 19th, that is, during that last day of complete chaos. There was probably something up to half a million people celebrating that day, and I must admit that it’s a perfect opportunity for meeting lots of women one might never encounter again. One just strips down to his swim trunk. I’d never wear anything else, but I would oftentimes take a towel along, which would immediately get soaking wet but as the afternoon becomes evening and the air starts to get a little chill in it even a wet towel provides some measure of warmth.

So here it is…..two Songkrans, with each of them experienced in completely different environments. Which one would you prefer?

183 deaths in first 3 days of Songkran water Inanity

This is the infamous new year Thai Holiday celebrated throughout Thailand, but for most places it lasts for only a day or two. But for Pattaya, it will be going on for nine days. Most of the deaths are caused by people throwing or squirting water into the faces of motorcyclists going down the street. If this happened in the U.S. with a population of five times Thailand’s we’d have 900 deaths already. So far over 1200 have been injured for a comparable total of 6000 in the U.S. if Americans put up with such insanity. The Germans won’t, the French won’t and the same goes for all Western countries. As for me, I’m avoiding it like the plague. So I’m playing a little game. Its object is to not allow anyone to get me wet until it’s over after April 19th. On April 11th there already was large pools of water on Beach Road which is one of the major streets in this city. What’s happened is the Eurotrash have long ago taken over this traditional Thai holiday and abominized it. Typical of such Eurotrash are the soccer hooligans, many of whom are English. These are the same criminals who frequent soccer matches all over England intending to get into fights and to spill as much blood as possible. They come to Thailand for this holiday with one thing in mind only and that is to cause as much trouble as possible. And there’s a lot of Thais who join into this mindless water throwing thinking it’s so much fun. Meanwhile a good American friend of mine is staying in Central Pattaya, the hub of this mindlessness. I’ll show some of his pictures and video here later on. In the meantime, I’m staying well clear.

Tonight rather than going very far out on my motorbike for dinner I invited a German friend of mine to dinner at a French-Swiss restaurant across from my condo. Then it was time for a few more beers so we went to the Boonmee restaurant where I haven’t been for years although it’s just 200 meters from my condo. The music is good here and most of the crowd is Russian. I’m into my second beer when two beefy Russian women ask is they can sit with us. All the tables have been taken. They speak like most Russians virtually no English and no Thai.

When a table close to ours becomes available the two women leave Ludwig and me to ourselves. I call Ludwig, Beethoven at times. He’s a retired architect and he’s the artist whose pictures are in one of my books, Welcome to the Fun House. He can’t hear worth a lick and he’s a great artist in my opinion so oh well, Beethoven was a great composer of classical music and both have Ludwig for their first names. After an hour or so it rains, and it rains very hard for the next two hours. The power goes out after an hour and the restaurant staff sets little candles at all the tables and in the restroom. Around 11:15 p.m. the power finally comes back on and Ludwig and I leave. Ludwig’s got a few serious health issues so he’s only drinking soda tonight so we call it a night.

I will have to give the restaurant a visit or two in the near future. For one thing, it’s got a lot of Russian food on the menu and I want to try some of that. The place is directly across the street from the Long Beach Hotel whose customers are now nearly all from Russia. Meanwhile I’ll continue to stay close at home until Songkran is over. I want to stay way clear of the hooligans over in Central Pattaya, and I’m in no mood to support in any way this infernal holiday. I’m sure my opinion will make no difference to the powers that be in this country. However, if a lot more people took such a stand of complete non support for Songkran by the end of this week I figure over six hundred lives would have been saved.