Thailand is famous for its vibrant nightlife, and the red light district on the exciting Soi Nana is no exception. It is one of the most infamous areas in Bangkok. Despite the fact that, it appears to be just a narrow street located in the heart of the Sukhumvit area. It attracts thousands of people every week, both tourists and locals alike, in search of entertainment of the adult variety.
Thailand: Red Light Sectors
Thailand is famous for its red light districts, where prostitution and sex work openly advertise and practice their trade. The country has a long history of sex tourism, with many visitors coming specifically to explore the sex industry.
The Thai government has been trying to crack down on prostitution in recent years. However, it remains a significant part of the country’s economy. Estimates suggest that as many as 250,000 women work in the sex industry in Thailand. Many of them work in Bangkok’s red light districts like the exciting Soi Nana.
Thailand: Red Light Area
The exciting Soi Nana is just one of the many red light areas in Bangkok. However, it is one of the most famous, thanks to its central location and the variety of services on offer.
The street is overflowing with bars, clubs, and massage parlours, with girls standing outside to entice customers inside. While many of the establishments offer straightforward prostitution services, others specialise in more niche offerings, such as “ladyboy” shows and BDSM experiences.
Red Light Street Girls
The girls working in the exciting Soi Nana come from all over Thailand and neighbouring countries, such as Laos and Cambodia. While some work voluntarily, others are forced into the industry due to poverty and lack of economic opportunities.
Many of the girls come from rural areas and are lured to Bangkok with promises of well-paid jobs. However, once they arrive, they find themselves in debt to the bar owners and forced to work long hours to pay off their loans.
Despite the difficult circumstances, the vast majority of the girls in Soi Nana are friendly and approachable, and many customers return regularly to visit their favourite “red light street girls.”
A Red Light Girl
While prostitution is illegal in Thailand, the law is often ignored in the red light districts, and police turn a blind eye to the industry. However, a red light girl working in Soi Nana still faces many risks, including violence, abuse, and disease.
The Thai government has taken steps in recent years to improve conditions for sex workers, such as introducing mandatory health checks and offering education and job training programs. However, progress has been slow, and many a red light girl continues to work in unsafe and exploitative conditions.
Bangkok’s Nightlife Scene
Soi Nana is a fascinating and controversial part of Bangkok’s nightlife scene. While it offers a unique and exciting experience for many visitors, it is important to remember that the red light street girls working there face significant challenges and risks.
As a responsible tourist, it is essential to approach the red light districts with an open mind and a respectful attitude. By supporting safe and ethical establishments and advocating the rights of sex workers, we can help to create a more positive and sustainable future for the industry.
If you want to understand the life of a typical bar girl better, try Behind The Smile by Owen Jones
Spellbinding Pattaya Beach Road is a popular tourist destination in Thailand. It is famous for its vibrant nightlife, beautiful beaches, and friendly locals. With its impressive array of bars, restaurants, and nightclubs, Pattaya is a paradise for party-goers and adventure-seekers alike. However, it is also infamous for its Pattaya bar girls, who have become a cultural icon in the city.
Pattaya Bar Girl
A Pattaya bar girl is a woman who works in a bar or nightclub in Pattaya, entertaining customers. While the concept of bar girls is not unique to Pattaya, it has become a significant part of the city’s identity. Bar girls in Pattaya are known for their friendly and flirtatious nature, which has made them popular among foreign visitors. They are also famous for their striking looks, with many of them sporting flashy outfits and heavy makeup.
Bar Girls in Pattaya
Bar girls in Pattaya are a common sight in many of the city’s bars and nightclubs. They often play a central role in the city’s nightlife scene. Many of them work long hours, often late into the night, and rely on a commission for the drinks they sell to customers. While some bar girls in Pattaya are freelance workers, others work for specific bars or establishments.
The term “bar girl” can often carry a negative connotation, with some people seeing it as a form of exploitation. However, it is essential to note that many bar girls in Pattaya choose to work in this industry and do so willingly. For many of them, it is a way to earn a good living and support their families. Furthermore, while there may be instances of exploitation or abuse, the majority of bar girls in Pattaya are treated fairly and with respect.
A Girl in Pattaya
While Pattaya bar girls are undoubtedly a significant part of the city’s nightlife, they do not define the city entirely. Pattaya is also home to many other women who work in a variety of professions, such as hospitality, healthcare, and education. These women are just as important in shaping the city’s identity. They contribute to its culture and economy in many different ways.
If you’re looking to meet a girl in Pattaya, there are many different avenues to explore. While bars and nightclubs are a popular option, you can also meet women through online dating apps or by joining local interest groups. It is essential to keep an open mind, and be respectful of the women you meet, whether they are bar girls or not.
While the above has been written about women in Pattaya, there are also LGBT communities. Many ladyboys (gay and transexual men), toms (gay and transexual women), and straight males fulfill the same roles, although to a far lesser extent. Nevertheless, the LGBT scene is thriving in Pattaya. Check out Tiffany’s for glamour, and Soi Cowboy for bars.
Spellbinding Pattaya Beach Road
Pattaya Beach Road is a fascinating, spellbinding and dynamic destination, offering something for everyone. While the Pattaya bar girls may be the most famous aspect of the city’s nightlife, it is essential to remember that they are just one part of a larger, vibrant community. Whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, or romance, Pattaya Beach Road is the perfect place to explore.
The are reportedly tens of thousands of bar girls in Pattaya. A conservative estimate is that there are at least one thousand bars in Pattaya. I think that that’s on the low side, but let’s go with it, and there are, say, ten hostesses to a bar on average. So, we have 10,000 Bar Girls in Pattaya. It is not an inconceivable number. Many bars, even small ones, have 25-30 hostesses, a word I am using to include ladyboys.
However, Pattaya receives more than a million visitors per annum, most of whom are, or certainly used to be, Western men. So, it all stacks up to me.
Red Light Area In Thailand
There tends not to be a specific red light area in Thai cities, because hostesses have worked in the service industry (hotels, coffee shops, tea houses and bars) for ever. Certainly long before the American troops chose the quiet fishing village of Pattaya for R&R from Vietnam in the Seventies.
This is not to say that every girl in Pattaya is working in the sex tourism industry. Far from it. Even many of those who do, would deny it saying that they were just looking for a (rich) husband, which tends to mean foreign. This has led bar girls in Pattaya to get a bad reputation. Some undoubtedly deserve it, but not many. 1-5%? Something like that, I reckon. The vast majority of bar girls in Pattaya are great fun, despite some of their obnoxious clientele, and wouldn’t dream of ripping anyone off. In fact, Thailand is known the world over as The Land of Smiles.
The Story Behind The Smile
If you would like to learn more about the lives of some bar girls in Pattaya, try Daddy’s Hobby. It is the first volume in the series Behind The Smile by Owen Jones, who has lived in Pattaya and elsewhere in Thailand since 2004. Many Western expats living in Pattaya attest that it is true to life.
A few words of caution:
To those who are looking for titillation, this s not for you. However, there are a few non-graphic sex scenes – the book is set in the sex tourism industry after all.
Behind The Smile: volume one: Daddy’s Hobby – The story of Lek, a bar girl in Pattaya
by Owen Jones
First published by Megan Publishing Services.
Available in all formats, and from most bookshops, but here are three suggestions:
Soi Nana is located in the heart of what most foreign tourists would call Bangkok’s Red Light District. It has a long history.
Sukhumvit Soi 4.
This famous street is well-known as Soi Nana, but it is officially Sukhumvit Soi 4, which means that it is the fourth side-street off Sukhumvit Road. Originally, it was just an alley, a shortcut between two main roads. It is in the old Chinatown of Bangkok
It has a rich history. For example, Thailand’s first ever gin bar is located there and still open. However, Soi Nana now has scores, if not hundreds, of bars, hotels and restaurants. The variety is stunning and is the main reason for its popularity.
In fact, Nana has always been able to ‘move with the times’. The gangs that fought over the streets in Chinatown in the Fifties and Sixties probably still exist, but they have learned not to frighten the tourists. If the turf wars of that period still continue, then they are invisible to the average visitor.
The Sukhumvit Soi 4 that you see now took form during the first decade of the new millennium. Despite its new image, it is the same as any well-organised nightlife area in any major city. If you are the kind of person who causes trouble when drunk, you had better stick to country pubs, where landlords are typically more forgiving of troublemakers.
My wife, my daughter and I have stayed in Soi Nana many times, and have never witnessed any problems, but given how drunk many of the young tourists get, I am certain that this is because of the staff rather than that it does not occur. When I visit Soi Nana, I expect to have a great time, and trouble is never on my list of expectations. So, visit the area with confidence – I’m sure that you will have a lot of fun ?
Pattaya Beach Road is one of the most famous streets in Thailand. It is located on the eastern side of Pattaya Bay and The Gulf of Thailand.
Pattaya Beach Road
ป้ายบนพัทยาคมวินสตีเฟนต์ (Pattaya Beach Road in Thai) is a street in Pattaya, Chonburi Province, Thailand. The street runs along the shoreline of Pattaya Bay. It is famous for its many bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and hotels. In fact, the road has been dubbed “Pattaya’s most famous street” since it was built in the 1970s. However, Walking Street might fairly lay claim to that title too. In recent years, the area has become more popular with tourists than locals. Many people visit the area because of its golden sand and peaceful sea views, although also for its nightlife, shopping, and entertainment options.
However, some residents complain about noise pollution, litter, and crime.
The road has many nicknames, depending on where the visitor has come from. It has been known as “Pattaya’s Main Street” since it was first built. It is also called “First Road”, “The Strip”, “The Avenue”, and “The Boulevard”. Nevertheless, most people refer to it as “Pattaya Beach Road” or simply “Beach Road”. The road runs along the beach front for about 3.5 km from near The Dolphin Roundabout in the north to Walking Street in the south. This is the place where tourists come to enjoy the nightlife and shopping. There are plenty of bars, restaurants, clubs, and shops along the road. This is the area to investigate if you are looking for a hotel near a beach in Pattaya.
Why Is This Street So Popular?
Many people visit Pattaya because of its beautiful beaches. However, there are also other reasons why Beach Road is so popular. One reason is that it has a lot of entertainment options. While the area is ‘perfectly’ safe during daylight hours, the actual beach, and even the beach-side pavement is a no-go area at night. It has a reputation for male prostitution after dark and many men have experienced problems there.
Behind The Smile on Pattaya Beach Road
The Welsh author Owen Jones has written a very popular seven-part series called ‘Behind The Smile – The Story of Lek, A Bar Girl in Pattaya’, which features a bar just off Pattaya Beach Road and the girls who work in it. Many visitors praise the story for being true to life, and several Pattaya bar girls have thanked the author for portraying them honestly.
Click the link below to find out more about the series.
Tiger Lily of Bangkok – Prowling Avenger is a deadly assassin who hunts the streets looking for victims. She is looking for revenge on paedophiles!
Lily was a happy little girl, who grew up with her loving Thai parents. They owned a small village shop near the Mekong River and were of Chinese extraction. Both parents worked hard in the shop, but her mother also grew fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers in their garden both to eat and to sell. He favourite flower was the Tiger Lily, which her parents and grandparents had used as medicine. However, only an expert could use it as such, because it was one one the most deadly plants in south-east Asia, despite being one of the most beautiful.
The thought tickled Lily’s mother, and Lily too, when she was told the story. She already had known that she had been named after it. This idyllic childhood lasted until she was eleven, when a family friend, who helped out in the shop occasionally, and whom she called ‘uncle’, started to take an unhealthy interest in her.
After more than a year of tricking her into massage his penis ‘because it hurt’, and unwanted groping and fondling, Lily was at the end of her tether. She had long wanted to tell her mother, and had even tried half-hearted a few times, but she could not bring herself to talk about the child abuse. It was too painful… too embarrassing. She also feared that her mother would not believe her and the consequent loss of face.
One day in the school playground, she saw a huddle of boys laughing strangely in a tight group. She struggled to get a look, and saw a boy holding a smartphone showing pornography. When the boy spotted her pretty Elfin face, he asked, “Would you like to do that, Lily?” The woman in the fil was performing fellatio, and Lily ran away as the boys laughed. It had never crossed her mind that her uncle had boasted to anyone, but maybe he had, she thought. She thought she would die of shame
As it happened, her secret had not got out, but it didn’t seem like that to Lily.
The next time that her uncle came for a massage, Lily surprised him by taking it in her mouth. He groaned with pleasure, and then in agony as she bit it off. She never saw him again. The police exiled him from the province and sold his property as compensation for Lily.
Tiger Lily of Bangkok.
Lily had to put up with the shame and embarrassment of the whole village knowing what had happened for another six or seven years, before she was able to use the compensation money to escape to Bangkok to fulfil her dream of becoming a paediatrician – a doctor for children.
However, costs were more than she could ever have predicted from the only environment that she had known, her village. She needed help, and sought it from wealthy boyfriends. Gradually, she discovered that some of them liked her especially because she was petite. She was five feet tall, weighed less than ninety pounds, but was all in proportion, and had the most beautiful pixie face.
As it dawned on her that these men could be like her old ‘uncle’, she began to despise them. Something began to twist in Lily’s brain. She started having nightmares, and plotting revenge.
Tiger Lily of Bangkok was being born.
Tiger Lily of Bangkok – Prowling Avenger.
Lily began to play on her youthful aspect, inviting men to like her because she appeared young, but sexually active. She learned advanced make-up skills and bought young styles of clothing. She could look any age from about thirteen to twenty-eight, and she began prowling the streets to test her disguises. By day, she was sweet, but rather distant, beautiful diligent, hard-working, medical student Lily, but by night she was Tiger Lily of Bangkok – Prowling Avenger!
She killed with meat-skewers, and her calling card was a Tiger Lily.
Tiger Lily became famous throughout Thailand, but feared by all men in Bangkok!
Lily killed about a dozen men that she had found guilty of paedophilia, and feared capture several times but was never caught. Eventually, the need for revenge dissipated and she left the Prowling Avenger to sleep in perpetuity, or at least until someone woke her up again…
Sidebar: The book of this story – Tiger Lily of Bangkok – and its sequel, are available in a dozen languages. There are more details on this blog.
Daddy’s Hobby by Owen Jones is the first novel from this Welsh writer. It explores why so many girls work in Pattaya and how they fare. It is his best-selling book.
Daddy’s Hobby by Owen Jones is an insightful look at why tens of thousands of young women choose to enter the Pattaya sex tourism industry, and how many of them get on. They and other attractions bring more than a million tourists to Pattaya every year. Most of them are men with money looking for a good time.
Daddy’s Hobby by Owen Jones – Origins.
In the mid-to late Seventies, Owen Jones was working in the south Netherland’s city of s’Hertogenbosch (Den Bosch) in Noord Brabant. One day, a popular new bar opened up at the bottom of the street he lived in. It was a ‘Relax Bar’, a concept he didn’t understand, but he liked the sound of the music. One afternoon, he ventured inside. The bar was practically empty despite the fact that the landlord was very friendly and played lots of Heavy Metal, which was very popular at the time.
After a while he noticed a few scantily-clad young ladies looking at him from the darker recesses at the back of the room. When he went to the toilet, he was left in no doubt what a relax bar was. The owner/barman, whose name was Rick, I think, played the Meatloaf album ‘Like A Bat Out of Hell’ from cover to cover three or four times a day and sold marijuana, which had been decriminalised. This record more than any other brought the ‘house dancing girls’ out onto the floor.
The bar was called ‘Daddy’s Hobby’. I liked everything about it including the name, which I thought was very clever. Within a month or two, it was the busiest bar in the city. However, sadly, within a year, Rick had been murdered and his bar burned down. We all thought that it had to do with drugs.
Daddy’s Hobby by Owen Jones – Development.
In the early 2,000’s Owen Jones moved to Pattaya, and started going out with the cashier of the first bar he had a drink in. It put him in a ‘trusted position’ with ‘the girls’. Soon most of the thirty-odd girls who worked there were seeking his advice. Their favourite topic was how best to write saucy texts and emails to their ‘boyfriends’. Most of these had already returned home to their wives or girlfriends in Europe and elsewhere, but mostly the UK. That bar was a more flagrant example of Rick’s Daddy’s Hobby, but without the drugs.
After a few weeks, he had inadvertently collected many scraps of paper with translated messages on them. So, he sought the girls’ permission to write them into a book. No-one disapproved when he promised to use false names. It was funny, he said, because all the girls and most of the clients were already doing that anyway. Everybody was lying, especially the men. He recalls that he had never met so many navy SEALS, SAS, commandos, MI5 and CIA operatives in his life before. Not a one of them was a carpenter or civil servant, and they were all single, looking for a wife!!
There was no other name for the book than Daddy’s Hobby, subtitled Behind The Smile but for various reasons, it took him eight years to self-publish it.
Daddy’s Hobby by Owen Jones – Sequels.
Owen Jones used the name of Lek for his lead female character. She was also the life and soul of the bar, and didn’t mind the author using her real name. She too is sadly long dead. He used the Welsh name Craig for the main male, although there are many other dramatis personae in the novel. When he was writing the book, it was the Lek character that dictated to him in his head what he must write. He had already determined that the book should be 100,000 words long, but when he reached that level, it was clear that Lek hadn’t finished her story. So, Owen closed book one, published it, and started a sequel.
You may be wondering why it took eight years to bring Daddy’s Hobby to market, if it was being dictated.
“Well, when I looked at Craig’s character I could see too much of myself… I just was not prepared to share it at that point”, he says. “I nearly gave up several times, but Lek and I stuck with it and produced a result”.
He did not like the idea of calling the second volume Daddy’s Hobby 2, so he gave it the name of a significant chapter in volume one, An Exciting Future. It now needed a series title to bind them together and that became Behind The Smile. The books are frequently referred to as Behind The Smile.
Lek kept up the pressure for several more years until Behind The Smile consisted of seven volumes, of 720,000 words.
Daddy’s Hobby – the Future.
“Although the Lek in my head was the inspiration of the actual stories, encouragement came from elsewhere. It was also more important”, he says.
“My stepmother hated the book, and two of my three brothers have never mentioned any of my fifty-odd novels. However, one thought it was fantastic though, and asked me to write a sequel. I had also run a competition for a free copy. Coincidentally, the woman who won it was a student journalist, who wrote an encouraging review. I opened the door to Lek again, and started volume two.
“Suddenly, I started to receive encouragement from complete strangers all around the world. Unfortunately, I have still heard nothing from friends and family from my home town. It used to upset me a lot, until I learned that that was quite common in the UK. People seem to resent someone improving themselves”.
He claims to know three readers, who hadn’t read a book since leaving school – one of them being eighty-four! Two others have since written novels, and one has moved to Thailand to see it ‘for himself’! Many readers have sought him out for a drink when they are visiting Thailand, and others went to Spain and Wales to meet him.
Owen says that he hasn’t been back to Pattaya for several years. However, when he was last there tourists and expats knew of his books, and some had read them all. Its particularly affected him when a young Thai woman ran up to him, kissed him on the cheek, and said: “You’re the lovely man who writes nice things about Pattaya bar girls, aren’t you. Thank you very much”.
Every month, he sells several box sets of seven, who can only be going off reviews or recommendation.
Behind The Smile by Owen Jones – Narrations and Translations.
In these days of Covid, it has been difficult to find further inspiration for what he calls the Lek Series. Between 2016 and 2018, he and his Thai wife (that first girl, the cashier, that he met in Pattaya) lived in Andalucía, Spain. From 2018 to 2020, the tried living in Wales. However, Pritti Patel and the Tories made it too difficult for his wife to obtain a residency permit. He says that he will never forgive them for that.
However, while in Spain, Owen started to have his books translated and narrated. Principally in Spanish so that he could sell them to the local Spanish as well as the expats. He soon started to receive offers of collaboration from all over the world in fifteen languages. Since living back in Thailand, and he has been in lockdown in the village because of Covid-related travel restrictions. So, he has been concentrating on these narrations and translations. He now has more than one thousand books in thirty-eight languages registered in his name in the British Library.
“I still would prefer to be writing fresh material though”, he adds with a hint of sadness.
The strength of this blog, Megan Publishing Services, is the number of other languages that my books are in on it. At least, that’s one of the ways that I see it. I have written fifty-odd novels and about a hundred and twenty-five other books, and people I have never met from lands far and wide have wanted to translate them. This represents a colossal amount of work, effort and collaboration from people right around the globe. I live in Thailand, but I have worked with narrators from Canada to Australia, Europe and the Americas. Then there are translators living from Peru to Mongolia, and most countries in between including all the larger European languages and several Asian and African ones too from Afrikaans to Russian.
At the time of writing, there are about seven hundred translations and narrations in about thirty-five other languages on the Megan Publishing Services blog.
Today, I added books translated into eight more languages new to the blog, namely: Czech, Chinese, Hungarian, Macedonian, Slovak, Telugu, Turkish and Urdu.
And I have more to add. Off the top of my head, I can say that I need to add: Hauza, Igbo, Mongolian, Northern and Southern Soto, and Zulu.
Sadly, no one has offered to translate a book into my own language, Welsh, yet. I’m working on it though. To clarify, I come from Wales, but write in English.
When I have posted a page for all of the other languages that my books exist in, I will add links to each of the books and, possibly, the translators and narrators, so that readers and listeners can get to know the better. I hope that we can help them along in their careers.
Support Narrators and Translators
So,if you are not a native English-speaker, please, follow the link below to see whether I have anything in your language, and know that if you actually buy a book, you will be encouraging the narrators, translators and me to keep this project going.
Thanks to all who have contributed foreign translations, and to all of you who have bought them!
There is election fever in the air in our village, which often results in more than the usual amount of exuberance, drinking and spontaneous parties. I’m not sure what the election is for, and none of my falang friends is aware of any forthcoming election. However, my wife and her close friends are all interested in local politics. So if they are talking about an election, then something is going on, even if it is some way off. They are keeping me in the dark again… like a mushroom.
My wife and I were having a quiet drink together this evening. It rarely happens more than once a week, when a pickup suddenly arrived across the road.
The Spontaneous Party is on!
The doors flew open and a mind-numbing roar of music hit us.
Now, I am not opposed to loud music per se, I am an old hippy after all. However, my first reaction was to think that it was ridiculously loud for in the middle of our quiet village at 21:00.
Then, I remembered that loud music and parties are permissible until midnight, and who am I to complain about people enjoying themselves?
My focus switched to how so much noise, sorry, volume or decibels could come from a car. It is deafening even in the open space of the village centre.
Two hours later, and not one complaint!
Not only that, but we have long since decamped from the ‘quiet place” where we were sitting to the restaurant opposite where the music is :-). There is a spontaneous party in the making, and the evening has just become more interesting. My wife and her friends are talking feverishly… about elections? Could be, but they are not telling me, and I don’t really have to know anyway. It strikes me that ‘The Spontaneous Party’ would be a good name for a political party.
I was going to go home and work on my books, but then I have always been a sucker for spontaneous parties… and so has my wife :-), so I guess we’ll just stay here until midnight.
I have been on the look out for snakes in the garden since we’ve been back. I find them such fascinating, beautiful creatures. Neem has seen two garden snakes, and I was quite jealous. Then, the other evening, I saw a thing like a worm wriggling across the floor of our outdoor kitchen.
It was about four inches long, silvery black with a jet black head like a tadpole. and about the thickness of a bamboo kebab skewer. It stopped when it saw me, and just stared. I left it alone and went inside since the mosquitoes were starting to come out looking for me.
Neem was not happy to learn that we probably have a nest of deadly vipers in the garden, and gave me a tongue-lashing for not killing it. She calls them ‘Hammer Snakes’ – a translation from the Thai, because when they attack or move quickly, they seem to jump forward, like a car doing a kangaroo start. Hence the simile with the hammer striking. I can’t find the species in my book, but apparently, the babies are as deadly as their parents right from birth :-). I once saw a nine-inch specimen clear a shop full of people in seconds.
Then yesterday, I saw another garden snake, a green one, a foot long, on our wall. It resembled a length of reinforced garden hose. Having forgotten to take a photo of the black one, I rushed outside to snap it, but it jumped off the wall into next-door’s garden when it saw me approach.
Two different types of snake with completely different temperaments – but the second one wasn’t venomous.
Perhaps that’s why it fled.
The photo is of either a Paradise Snake or a Golden Tree Snake, both of which are so-called flying snakes. It is totally harmless, but still quite a shock when you find one wrapped around your front door handle first thing in the morning.
We refer to it as my village pub crawl because, about once a week, while trying to boost the number of steps I take in a seven-day period, I also stop in some of the shops along the way for a bottle of cold beer Chang. I say shops on purpose, because there are no pubs or hotels in our village.
In earlier times, I used to enjoy my stroll around the village once a week, normally on a Saturday, but what with Covid and an increased workload, that has reduced itself to at most once per month.
Today, I am especially on the look out for an electrical screwdriver. Small jobs are building up at home, and, it’s always the same, isn’t it, when you need something, you can’t find it. Actually, I suspect that it has been loaned out and not returned, which is often the way of things.
Not that I have needed a screwdriver for at least six years 🙂 I did have one though, I used to have a pretty good set of basic tools, but they have all vanished.
Hence my walk-about today, or that is my excuse anyway.
Ninety percent of the people in our village are farmers, or farm labourers. So, they are very practical people, but I don’t think that that guarantees my finding a screwdriver here. It’s funny, now that I think of it. However, but the number one item on sale in this farming community is food. They have the best fresh food in the world at their fingertips, yet they hunger after Western junk food like crisps and sandwiches. Not that I consider all sandwiches junk food. However, Thai bread is dreadfully sweet and they stuff their sandwiches with sweet, sugary fillings. Thai food is fabulous, but they generally make a pig’s ear of copying the Western junk food that they see on TV.
Anyway, I have now checked out two shops so far, but there hasn’t been a screwdriver in sight…
I will soldier on.
In the fourth shop, I strike it lucky! I find a box of six electronic, and a packet of three electrical screwdrivers for a total of £2.50. I’m happy with that, although the beer consumed on my village pub crawl came to £8.25 :-). Still, mission accomplished, although I will probably have to carry out the jobs tomorrow.
Beach Road Pattaya is by far the most famous Thai beach road and is the busiest road in the city of Pattaya as far as tourists, pedestrians and vehicles are concerned. It is also the most scenic because Beach Road in Pattaya runs literally the width of the pavement from the golden sand of the clean beach and only metres from the sparkling blue sea. This is the largest of the beaches in Pattaya.
Beach Road begins at the entrance to Walking Street in the south of the city and continues in a gentle curve for approximately 2.8 kilometres before heading east away from the beach at the Dusit Thani Hotel and continuing a few hundred metres towards the Dolphin Roundabout in the south-east.
Having expressed the dimensions of Beach Road in that way, the flow of the one-way traffic is towards Walking Street. This makes sense because the southern end is less busy, and the action tends to be at the northern, more densely populated area.
Travelling along Beach Road in Pattaya
This is far from being a problem though, because of the Baht Bus service. A Baht Bus is an open sided pickup. The majority of them are privately owned, but city licensed, and charge just ten Baht for any length journey, which means that you can travel from your isolated hotel in the south, the full length of Beach Road to Walking Street and only pay ten Baht.
When you want to return the other way, you take a side-street at right angles to the beach, walk to the end, where you will come to Second Road and the traffic flows in the opposite direction.
Beach Road and Second Road
Between Beach Road and Second Road, there run dozens of side-streets, called soi, which contain most of the bars, of which there are many and various kinds. The nightlife of this Pattaya beach is legendary the world over with all kinds of bars ranging from Starbucks and Planet Hollywood to girly bar discos. There are also fantastic restaurants, especially seafood ones, along the front mostly near the centre of Beach Road, which is around Soi 7.
If you want to get a flavour for this exciting beach in Thailand, try searching for: ‘Youtube Pattaya Beach Road’ and you will find many videos posted.
Beach Road Pattaya is a must-see for any visitor to the city, and a trip the full length of it on a Baht Bus is a must-do.
If you know any ex-pats who live in Thailand, you might sometimes hear them referring to themselves strangely as ‘mushrooms’.
It means that they feel that they are being ‘kept in the dark’… not told what is going on on a daily basis. You see, very few ex-pats in Thailand actually speak enough Thai to say more than ‘Hello’. Thai is a very difficult language, even for a linguist like me, so the average Anglo- Saxon has little chance… especially the older ones. Anglo-Saxons are renowned for not learning foreign languages, but in the case of Thai, most ‘falang’, which basically means Caucasian, struggle with the language.
By the way, I am Welsh, a Celt, and we are taught two languages from a very early age, so that makes it a bit easier for us, but it is still hard. Thai bears no relevance whatsoever to any European language.
Anyway, mushrooms… I too have experienced the mushroom effect, but most of the time welcome it, because I need time alone to be able to write my posts like this and books. However, what I really, really don’t like is being left out of things without being asked.
For example, the day that I am writing this is St. Valentine’s Day, but my wife is sitting with her friends and I am sitting alone.
This is not acceptable, but routinely passes as normal, leaving ex-pats who live in remote villages feeling lonely and ignored.
If it hadn’t been for my book-writing, I would have left the village for the city years ago, because Thai women daren’t leave their men alone, or like mushrooms in the dark there, because there are so many bars full of so many girls looking for a way out, and that usually means pairing up with a falang.
The Thai girl has the whip hand in her village, but the mushroom has it in the city.
You may have read elsewhere on this site about how a typical Thai family cook targets meals to the family’s health. However, some people do not have anyone to cook for them, or the family cook does not know the craft in detail. It is easy to understand how this can happen. Parents can die young, or perhaps didn’t know themselves because they flew to the city to earn more money, for example. Such people often rely on takeaways, as they do in the West.
Healthy Village Food
Takeaway Thai village food is usually provided by more mature ladies, who often have no other means of support. These people know their onions… the food is excellent, but it is meant for general consumption.
So, it is not targeted at any one person’s specific health problems.
How could it be?
However, that is not a big problem, when you compare bags of home-made Thai village takeaway food, as in the picture above, with boxes of Macdonald’s chicken nuggets for who knows what the poor chickens were fed on, how they lived or how they died?
Village Food is not like that, you only have to know what is best for you yourself.
I was walking around the village at five o’clock this evening and stopped at a shop for a beer. An elderly woman placed eight bags of home-made village food on the counter next to me at 50p each. She had sold the lot within 30 minutes.
£4…wow, big deal, you may be thinking, but if she does that twice a day and makes 50% profit, it is a massive supplement to her £15 a month state pension.
And what trouble is it to cook a bit extra when you are cooking for the old man anyway?
As I am was walking away, she was just delivering six more bags of barbecued meatballs for the evening diners.
Yesterday was a busy day in the scheme of the the way my retired life has panned out. Although I am still an active author, I don’t get to write much, and the the tasks that I have to perform to maintain my existence in Thailand are even fewer.
I’ll explain that a little more fully. I have written 175 books, but they have been narrated and translated into 1,000+ other books, so most of my active day is spent promoting those 1,200 books.
As far as tasks needed to be performed in order to be allowed to remain in Thailand: 1) I need a visa, which I obtained last Friday; 2) I need health insurance and 3) I need adequate protection from Covid 19. Yesterday afternoon, my wife and I had our booster injections, and last night we arranged our health insurance.
So, by our standards, yesterday was an extremely busy day.
My Koi Carp
By now, you’re probably wondering what all this has to do with Koi carp… Well, nothing really, but in between those two events my wife, a few friends and I had a meal of whitebait, pumpkin and beer, and then we went home. I sat in the garden by our new fish pond and dangled a hand in the water lazily.
I was surprised when one of the larger fish, the red one, nudged my hand. It sped off, but slowly returned and did the same again.
It repeated this action about half a dozen times, but as it completed the last touching, it flipped over on its back, gasped for air and died… all in about three minutes!
Now, what I would like to know is: was that fish asking for my help, or did something on my hand kill it?
If you have an opinion, whether you know Koi carp well or not, please leave your thoughts below.
There have been several medical side-effects of COVID-19 noted, but I want to talk about social side-effects.
There is no social security in Thailand. So basically, if you don’t work and your family or friends don’t help you, you only have three options: to innovate, to steal or to die.
Poor Thais are not prone to stealing, and they have no fear of death (because of a belief in reincarnation). However, there have been some amazing changes in our little village and the nearest town.
Side-Effects of Covid-19
Our village consists mostly of farmers and farm labourers. Covid has hit the sales of produce because of the restrictions on travel.. This means that there is a glut of food in the local vicinity.
Well, one solution has been to instigate take-away services. At least three café/restaurants have sprung up with a take-away option in our village. This is amazing! Before Covid there were no delivery services, and there were no food websites or telephone contact numbers.
I should think that there will be no going back. Covid-19 has speeded up progress in our remote, sleepy village by necessity. People are coming here from all around to buy food, since delivery is usually not available if the client live more than a kilometre away.
Other people, especially in the younger generation have started blogging and monetising their blogs, or selling products via Facebook. Some are even writing seriously for the first time ever!
Older women have always made baskets and craft items like that. However, now they are beginning to think about setting up a village or personal website. What I can really say about the Covid-19 crisis locally is that it has sharpened many people’s wits out of necessity. Nevertheless, I can’t see people going back to their old ways. Not even when the threat of death from Covid becomes just a part of life. In fact, in a way, it already is in our village. Even though we have had only two cases here and no deaths.
In my opinion, the side-effects ofCovid-19 have accelerated social change in rural Thailand, and if here, why not in similar locations worldwide?
I am hoping that our new garden fish pond will be an area of cool relaxation, tranquillity and delight for us, which will be great for writing. I could do with that as I have not written much over the last few years due a lack of stability in my life and a disappointing drop in sales, which could be the result of a culture shift brought on by Covid 19.
There has long been a movement away from reading and towards films or TV. Coincidentally or not, at the same time as the Covid 19 lockdowns, audiobook sales increased massively and from nowhere. For example, I was selling seven or eight audiobooks for each ebook. Ebook sales had fallen off a cliff! Another very unexpected change is that paperback sales have boomed. In fact, in January 2021, for the first time ever, I sold seven times more paperbacks and twelve times more audiobooks than ebooks! Admittedly, I am working off low figures, but it seems to be the trend
Those are statistics that I still find very difficult to believe.
Our Garden Fish Pond
Nevertheless, overall sales are down on previous years, and so writing new material seems next to pointless.
However, I want to keep writing, and so I am hoping that our new garden pond will be, not so much a source of the inspiration, but a quiet place to work that every writer needs. Inspiration can, and does often, come from the oddest chance occurrences… something someone says or does, whether it be live, on the screen of in print, but a writer still needs quiet moments to allow the brain to process those items and somehow come up with a story of sufficient length for the purpose required.
Garden Fish Pond
The picture shows the new garden fish pond that my wife, the builders and I have created. We have stocked it with a few Koi to see how it goes.
PS: We are currently available for international garden fish pond projects.
People who live in Thailand may chuckle at my COVID-19 vaccination experience in Thailand, whereas those who don’t may smirk. Believe me when i say that the first reaction is the one that I wish to elicit. I am very impressed with the way that my wife and I have been treated.
It all started back in about June 2021. I started asking around about vaccination against Covid 19. My wife knew nothing, and nor did our daughter. She has a good job in Bangkok, although her employer had already arranged for her to be inoculated. Neem went to see the village nurse, but there was no programme in place. A doctor in Uttaradit said that we should have had at least one dose of vaccine by then.
As far as I knew, that was the end of that. However, that doesn’t mean that nothing was going on, it is just quite normal to be kept in the dark.
My Covid-19 Vaccination Experience In Thailand
Sure enough, about a week later, at 21:00, a woman came around collecting the signatures of those who wanted a vaccination. Up until then, most people in the village had said that they did not want one.
Weeks passed by and nothing happened. Then, suddenly, Neem was told to report to a school in a town 13 km away for a Sinovacs jab the following morning. Two weeks later, I received a similar message but for 11:00 at the town hospital.
We went, but the hospital receptionist knew nothing about it. She advised us to go to the school where Neem had been, so we did that. There were about a thousand people there. Nevertheless, within about thirty minutes, we were told that foreigners were being treated in the hospital. We rushed back there, but were told that all the doses had been given out by 10:00. So, I went home a bit dejected, and unvaccinated.
About a week later, I received another urgent message. I had to be in the hospital by 08:00 the next day – in about twelve hours’ time.
There were about fifteen of us there for the Pfizer injection, and everything went very smoothly.
I was in the system. A week later, I received a message to return to the hospital in a fortnight’s time. We did that, but again the receptionist knew nothing about it. So, my wife went for a walk in the hospital grounds, presumably to calm down.
Anyway, twenty minutes later, she came back to hurry me to an area 200m away where I saw about a hundred school kids. We stood in line and were vaccinated within the hour. I was even given two Paracetamol tablets in case I had any side-effects.
Three months to the day after my second vaccination, we were again told to report to a location in town. This time we were given thirteen hours notice. Well, we don’t have a car, there is no bus service and no taxis in our village. We had to wait for someone to stop working, shower etc and come to our rescue. We arrived two hours late. Nevertheless, they processed us around four ‘stations’, each of which took or checked some data or other.
Thirty minutes later, we had both been ‘boosted’. We were on our way out with a complementary bottle of water each.
I want to stress that we live in a small, remote village. I know only two other Europeans within 15km of my house.
My wife has had Chinese Sinovacs, European AstraZeneca and American Pfizer. It seems to me to give the best protection from Covid 19 you can get! I’ve had three Pfizers.
I want to reiterate that I am very impressed with my COVID-19 vaccination experience in Thailand.