Following my own traces

20 May
Fancy room in Bangkok

Fancy room in Bangkok

I am living a big deja vue at the moment, going back the places in Thailand where I was recently (or a few years ago), doing the same things… Some of the things being just as nice as I remembered them, some startlingly different, some nicer and some a nightmare. Memory plays tricks with people.

At the iResidence in BKK I went swimming again in the rooftop swimming pool, despite the rain, mmm, so nice. But then they close the pool for maintenance exactly the days we are there. We had a complimentary minibar when I was there last, but ‘sorry sir, we have changed our policy’ – so why am I paying even more than last time for even less service? ‘But we give you 2 complimentary bottles of water, sir…’

The new swimming wear i bought

The new swimming wear i bought

And they forgot to replenish the coffee and tea, Hm, not happy. And then they locked us out of the room ‘sorry, the keycard was wrongly programmed’ – and we got a new key to the room, which didn’t work. So it turns out they had given us the key to someone else’s room – very clever staff. And on check out, they wanted me to pay for a towel that had gotten a bit dirty. Excuse me – so no more iResidence for me.

I went on purpose to Bangkok during the weekend, because in the weekend there is the Chatuchak weekend market. Last time when I went with my Belgian friend he managed to find some T-shirts, shorts and swimwear – he has good taste whereas I just got overwhelmed. So it only took me just over an hour to spend a few thousand bath on exactly the things I wanted: more of the same (as we had bought before).

This is (also) Pattaya

This is (also) Pattaya

I went to visit Pattaya again, but this time I did not get the orange bus (that stops about everywhere) but took the official government aircon express bus, which goes straight to gay Pattaya in little under 2 hour, arriving in the bus station rather than being dropped somewhere in the middle of nowhere…

Ideal for retirees and wheelchairs - hm

Ideal for retirees and wheelchairs - hm

In Pattaya I wanted just to walk around like I did 6 years ago, to find some hotel. I did come across the APEX hotel, where I stayed when I came to Thailand my first time, because I remember it as one of the cheaper ones around. It seemed very luxurious in those days, 6 years back, when I came from 3 weeks workcamp, sleeping on the floor, sharing a room with 7 other volunteers. In those days a private room in a hotel, even with hot water and TV was heaven. But now it seemed like a place that I wouldn’t even want to put a youth exchange in (hehe, after a mail from a co-worker, my work past pops back to my mind)

Over 100kg or over 60years

Over 100kg or over 60years

So I settled for a hotel a bit further down the Second road: Diana inn – it seemed to have all I have grown accustomed to (raising my lower limit of acceptability) – swimming pool, international TV (even BVN – the Dutch language international channel – so I’ve been stocking up on info on Belgian/Flemish politics for the Belgian elections in a few weeks time – to instruct a friend who will be voting by proxy for me), breakfast buffet (so I can eat for the whole day), wifi, hot water, aircon, visitors allowed…

Notice the contrast

Notice the contrast

When I had checked in though, I see a sign on the wall saying that Diana inn is the perfect place for families, retirees and wheelchair users… Oh oh where have I landed??? And the next morning, breakfast is served in a garage style buffet restaurant, with UK premier league on big screen, and the population either male, white, either over 100kg or more than 60 years old – or Thai female, in mini skirt or hotpants, high heels and most likely under 30 and just earned 2000 Baht for the night.

The local guys showing off...

The local guys showing off...

So I went to the gay beach in Jomtien, where I went to the same umbrella section as last time. The people were different, but still the young, tanned, slender beach boys were showing off their muscles or mannerisms in their skimpy outfits. They preyed on older white guys (going lobster red), mostly well endowed in the stomach area, or full of life experience (50 and up) – but certainly with a happy wallet. So again the guys come up to me with the same questions: ‘Where you from’, ‘what’s your name’, ‘how long in Pattaya’ etc before setting their hands loose… I just smiled at the sameness of things.

Me at sunset at Jomtien Beach

Me at sunset at Jomtien Beach

Since I fell in love with sunsets in Siem Reap, I stayed on till the sun was setting (and the mosquitoes were coming to eat me). On my way back to Pattaya, I thought I’d stop in the bar where my 2003 travel companion and I went for a drink some years ago. The décor hadn’t changed a thing, the boys had. They are still under 21 (I am not anymore) and they still come and talk to you and entertain you (because that’s what’s in their job description) – even though I just wanted to blog a bit on my lap top. And like 6 years ago, the boys working there were very happy to have someone not as old and heavy weight as the other customers. To the extent that the French guys at the table  next to me exclaimed: ‘oh celui là, il va se faire sauter’ (they will jump on that chap)…

  • Some things never change – hehe
  • (or maybe it will when I am in the 60+ age bracket)
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