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Published: November 11th 2007
New volunteer houseKris
at the elephant camp
After a brief stopover in Bangkok to pick up on visas for Vietnam (2,500 baht each, 35 quid, ouch!), we hopped on a bus to Pattaya for a 4 day stay with our mates at the elephant camp before flying to Hanoi.
We arrived in the evening to find Arnon watching TV with his mum and agreed to go to the camp the next day to check out what changes had happened.
And alot of changes there have been. The camp is bigger and there are more elephants and mahouts so alot of new faces around. Plus, while we were there a 4 bedroom volunteer house was under construction for budding western elephant mahouts to stay in overnight. Previously this had been done in vacant mahout houses but what with the place fully occupied more accomodation was needed. Anyway, the house has a great location at the camp, facing the buddha immage on the cliff face opposite. Luckily, as Arnon has previously experienced our utter uselessness in the construction of bamboo houses he didn't allocate us a building job. Instead we spent the day taking photos and chattig with people - largely teaching them English and
Arnon working hard
building the new house. Note that we are taking pictures and not helping.
telling them how much things cost in England. They were aghast. Though when I explained how expensive Thai restaurants are in the UK (specifically Thai Edge in Leeds), Arnon decided he was coming to open one himself. So watch out for a DIY authentic Thai bamboo hut restaurant opening near you and laying on expensive Thai cuisine smothered in chillis and fish sauce.
By the way, I have noticed that Arnon has taken to reading our blogs as he keeps making references to them - in partcular he frequenty laughed and shouted "Scary Pattaya!", during our stay (the title of one of ou blogs during our stay here). So if you are reading this Arnon, I hope you like the pictures of the volunteer house and you working very hard!!
Kate and Kris's rambling guide to Pattaya
On Saturday we didn't go to the camp so we went for a wander. Me and Kate have a habit of walking miles when we are not doing anything in particular and we have our specific routes in Pattaya from when we lived here. They usually involve a pint at the end of them, just like a walk in
the electricity bill must be huge
the Dales. But Pattaya isnt much like the Yorkshire Dales.
Our usual stroll involves a wander down Jomtien beach - through the shady leafy trees of Dongtan beach (otherwise known as gay beach - yes, there is really a gay bach with lots of aged western blokes being massaged by small Thai men) and onto the broadest part of the sand. Its a lovely spot to grab a beer from a stall and plonk down to watch the sunset. The one problem I face in Pattaya is that if I'm on the beach and shirtless I'm consistently barrassed by henna tattoo artists who try to draw on me to joinup my existing tattoos. As much as I refuse you can guarantee the bloke will jus suddenly start writing on me! This is pretty annoying and usually results in me having to be abit rude. Which is very unlike me.
Anyway on this particuarly Saturday I suggested we went into Central Pattaya for a change. This is actually quite a long walk, but when you get there you're greeted with some of the best people watching in the World. Sat on a wall by the beach you can watch
tasteless and grammatically incorrect all in one.
various western men on the wrong side of 50 waddle past in the most ridiculously tight Speedos, or in some awful cases, thongs (the British kind, not the American kind). Naturally accompanied by a 6 stone Thai woman who clearly told him he suited those trunks. You can also watch the tailors over the road herd people into their shops and deflect frequent offers of drugs from people passing by. If you're lucky there'll also be a group of Thai blokes on the beach giving each other tattoos with shards of pointed bamboo. A frequent hobby of ours here is 'guess the nationality' and we're getting pretty good at it. Spotting English blokes doesn't count though as they're usually wearing clothing with ENGLAND emblazoned on it. A dead giveaway.
So there we were doing our usual 7-11 and Family Mart crawl (a bit like a pub crawl for hobos - buying a can of beer in each corner hop and drinking it on the beach). Then we noticed that the bar over the road had happy hour and it was as cheap as the offy. So in we strolled. It was a Pattaya 'beer bar' or 'bar beer' depending
on what you read. This basically means its a pub except all the staff are female and most of the punters are men. At this particular place there was live music and we were given a bizarre dance display by an old bloke. Having suddenly got a taste for it, we decided to stroll up to Walking Street. This is the main bar and club scene in Pattaya and is where many of the go-go bars are. Despite living in Pattaya for 3 months we never ventured there of an evening, so we went seeking happy hours.
We stopped at the delightfully named Honey Bar and ordered drinks from the grinning staff. At which point the bar manager (we assumed, older than the other girls) immediately produced a Connect 4 set from under the bar and commenced a game with me. I was rubbish and she won every time. It was an odd experience. I actually had no wish to play Connect 4, but she looking very serious and I felt I had to. Then, at the end of it all we discovered the beer wasn’t at happy hour prices, the low price only applied when you were in
It has windows!!
Arnon, Ao and Kris trying out the windows
the attached go-go bar (or palace of the chrome pole molester as they term it in the local press). Sheesh. We did managed to take some interesting pictures though.
Next stop, Hanoi
We stored a bag of stuff with our kind friends in Pattaya and made for the airport early Monday morning. The Socialist Republic of Vietnam here we come!
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