Pattaya Always Pattaya

Back in the 1970s Miami Beach was a neglected beach resort populated by ancient retirees in moldy art-deco apartment buildings. Elderly snowbird males dine at Wolfie’s Deli sporting Sta-press shirts, plaid trousers, and gleaming white shoes. Attired in their polyester finery these septuagenarians trolled Miami Beach for blue-haired widows with a little extra income.

The tropical sun set early in Florida. Darkness was not an old man’s friend. Females in their 70s looked 50 to a man with poor night vision. Desire youngified every senior female on Collins Avenue. The sidewalks emptied after dusk and the windows female compatriots in looked better than good after dusk and the sidewalks were empty by the end of dusk. Hotel windows glowed with TV lights and the ACs hummed to frost the bedroom to the temperature of the Belleville morgue.

That somnambulant elegance was vanquished by the trendification of South Beach in the 90s. The decaying hotels were renovated by New York hoteliers, the decayed rooms were filled with hipsters, and the night was animated by bars and discos for the first time since MIAMI VICE.

The city was re-born as a super-cool destination. Nothing kills a city faster than a hipster.

I lived in Pattaya from 1998 to 2008. The population was 90,000. A good mix of thai go-go girls, drag queens, and fugitive farangs. It was good fun and citizens avoided the Costa de Mafia like we had the pox, then Pattaya was discovered by the squares.

Luxury condos replaced decrepit beach resorts with hopes of replacing the its faithful clientele of European sex tourists with more fashionable tourists from the Pacific Rim.

Gucci instead of tee-shirts.

Prada took from knock-offs.

Upper-class Thais from Bangkok besmote by the need to flaunt their success with au courant styles have exiled the lager louts and steroid juice monkeys from Walking Street the same way Madonna pushed Meyer Lansky’s widow off the throne of Miami Beach, however this transition will take time in Pattaya, for the city on the Gulf of Siam remains the most unfashionable city in Asia.

Dressing well is considered a sign of respect for yourselves and those around you, so Thais can’t understand why farangs dress so badly in their wife-beater t-shirts, soiled shorts, and grubby sneakers. I expect nothing better from retired postal workers from South London and divorced accountants of Berlin.

Slobs are always slobs.

It’s in their blood.

And they will save Pattaya for the scourge of the good.

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