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October 26th 2005 

I had finished my email duties and had given my Australian friend, Tony, a call to see if he would join me for a late breakfast. His being almost always ready to get away from his computer he was up for it. I picked him up at his Condo in central Jomtiem about 10.30a.m. and we took the Beach Road along Jomthien. The sky was overcast but it didnít look much like serious rain at that time. Up from Beach Road we climbed the hill between Jomthien and Pattaya, past the enormous Buddha, no doubt complaining about the Thai driving antics as usual; certainly nothing strange about that. The Thai people ride the chicken chasers (small motorcycles) like they have a death wish, most foreigners believing that Buddha takes care of them because they sure donít take any care themselves. 

These small motor bikes are becoming more and more popular these days with many large, very posh, motor-cycle outlets springing up all over Thailand not to speak of just in the Pattaya area.   The reason I have figured out is the finance requirements are so very cheap for the time being and that a Thai person in employment can get finance and ride one away for a deposit of  as little as 990Baht, about $24.75USD. The driving test in order to get a license is a breeze, as you can see if you read my story about the Thai Driving license Ė if, indeed, they bother to go through that process at all. You see very young children driving these things now who I am sure are well under the required driving age for a license. Kids make a 125cc Honda chicken chaser look like a Bonneville 750cc under them. What do they get up too you may well ask? Well that is not the question. The appropriate question would be what do they consider dangerous and the answer is, sadly, very little.  

Turning left (we drive on the left here) out of a side street without the slightest regard for what may be coming is a favorite trick. They seem to believe that this is fine so long as they keep well in to the left.  This is despite the fact that just about anything can be coming along these small dusty side roads that only a few years ago were merely farmers tracks with most of them little more than that today, often with scant (mainly broken up) tarmac laid down. My belief is that if Buddha didnít take care of them, there would be little piles of bones every few yards where they had been killed in one accident after another and the authorities couldnít be bothered to clear them away. 

Our destination as usual that day was The Sportsman in Soi 6 run by an Englishman, Ron, who in a former life was a Ďsparksí (electrician) back in the UK. So down the hill on the Pattaya side past all the new very nice looking shop-houses, under the seldom used flyover, into the Arab area. The smell is always foul in this area, no doubt due to drains that are well not what you would expect in the west. Then along Pratumnak Road and into Second Road over the traffic lights, which they seem to have switched off more often than not these days. There are a lot of new traffic lights going up but a lot of the original ones seem to be disregarded, hmmmm. Most likely someone in the local council has a seat on the board of directors of a traffic light manufacturing company? Second Road, named because itís the next road up from the beach, is a wide road one-way heading north, more often than not near blocked with copious, empty Baht Buses. A Baht Bus is a pick-up truck with bench seats in the back. Far too many of them in Pattaya, with many surly drivers.  

There have been a few attempts to put on a real bus service in the past but all have come to nothing having been burned and even a driver killed on the last attempt. There is supposed to be a new bus service now with even real bus stops but I have never actually seen a bus yet. Perhaps they canít find even Thai drives that are willing to take the risk. The other problem with the Baht Buses is the drivers, there is a set price you pay no matter where you get on or off but these drives like to charge non-Thais twice or three times that price, so much so that a Thai will complain because they wouldnít stop for them. Answer: get your own chicken chaser and learn to ride it. 

Second Road at the south is full of shopping malls, even one that is made to look like an aircraft of WW2 vintage has crashed into it. Maybe he was watching the Thai drivers?? There are many new buildings in this area as well lots of very nice jewelers and a like. Over Pattaya Klang or Central Road, are the big hotels and Soi 6, our destination. This runs from Second Road to Beach Road and The Sportsman is halfway down on the left and is located in one of the notorious Pattaya red light areas, frequented before lunch, by mainly kateoys or lady-boys. I have to say they get up early and seem to work very hard at their trade. Tony reckons it should be legal to shoot them. Yeah, Iím OK with it all so long as they donít try and touch. There are so many of them they must get trade at some time or they would all starve. They are much more accepted in this part of the world by the straight population, apart from, perhaps, the upper class Thai population but tolerated by the peasant classes, something like 95 percent of Thailandís population. You see them portrayed in most Thai soap operas and comedy programs on the Thai TV. The kateoy is not a product of the sex trade in Thailand and has been around long before this flesh trade became known to the west at all. Also, not only in Thailand, but all over south and south east Asia.  

Many slanted, so called documentaries I have seen, produced to make money in the west, have the sex trade in Thailand all developed and as a result of visiting foreigners. This includes statements made by Margaret Thatcherís daughter after she visited Bangkokís notorious Pat Pong red-light area on a three days visit to Thailand in 1984. Sorry, girls, itís just not true.  The sex trade in the whole of south east Asia has been here for as long as there have been all three sexís. There are three principal areas in Bangkok frequented by non-Thaiís and, yes, on any given night they have many young women in their tens of thousands who are more than eager to participate in this trade. They are the aforesaid Pat Pong, Nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy. I estimate that this is may be, perhaps, only 10 percent of the total flesh trade in Bangkok. There are other outlets in the main only frequented by Thaiís and other Asian men that cover the other 90 percent, ranging from massage parlours, karaoke joints and coffee shops. Also in the non-Thai areas, the girl can reject the man whereas in the Thai areas itís much more common that the man will select a girl and she will have little if no say about it.  The non-Thai is not the cause of this trade nor are they even the reason for the tradeís continuance. The flesh trade has merely been westernized for their consumption in a few small areas.  

The documentaries I have seen portray a young Thai Girl in some grotty hotel room who is very upset with her lot in life, she doesnít want to be there and she certainly doesnít want to be with this man. If itís a non-Thai man, then she chose him not he chose her. She came to work in the bar; she could have stayed back in the fields of Isaan working in the 100 degree heat of the day, bent double planting rice. No they love going back to their villages dripping in gold and lord it over all the other girls who they consider foolish for remaining in the village. The clever ones buy a bar and become their own bosses. Unfortunately, this is in the minority. They are more likely to spend all their cash supporting the family or, as is very common, their bone idle Thai husband Ė usually referred to as her Ďbrotherí - who will spend all their cash on drink and other girls that have remained back in the depths of Isaan. I see queues of them at the beginning of each month in the post office sending their cash back home. 

Documentaries have to be sold to the TV corporations in the west. They have to portray an image that will get them watched by the populace. This populace consists of 50% women, so, therefore they have to portray an image that will be accepted by the ladies. Whilst I canít say that they tell outright lies what I can say is they give a totally false impression overall. How do you think a documentary that portrayed a land of happy hookers would go down in the States?  Thatís right.  There would be an outrage - the TV channel would be ostracised if not shut down totally. Sorry, ladies, you will not be told the truth Ė well, not by the documentary makers anyway; not on this subject. Are these girls happy always? No, not at all. They are human just like you, but if they are nah beung (not a happy face) itís far more likely because they have not received the amounts of cash they thought they were going to get than for just about any other reason. So much of this is factual, I have wondered many times whether I should write about this subject or not. Will all the ladies out there think either I am lying or if they believe me, or will they just decide not to buy from me because of where I choose to live. Well I think my friends trust me enough to let me tell them the truth that is being hidden from them for many obvious reasons. I believe that they know enough about my life out here to know I am only the reporter of life as it is out here. 

Breakfast was as good as always with toast, butter, jam, bacon, beans, fried tomato, sausages and eggs all for the princely price of just over two Dollars. Then the rain came down, a steady downpour.  We couldnít stay all day but waited about half an hour after the rain started, to see if it would subside. This was a mistake in retrospect. We had left it long enough for the floods to build up. Turning left out of the bottom of Soi 6 on to the Beach Road over the lights at Second Road and we were in it. Not quite up to our necks but it was as deep as I have ever seen flooding here. Having passed through that with only a few hold ups due to non-diesel vehicles breaking down because of the water, it was up to the top and right on to Sukhumvit Highway. The traffic was being stopped and redirected to the left through the side streets and foolishly I obeyed the locals who were directing us away from the massive very deep flooding between Central Road and South Pattaya Road. This took us to little Sois that Iíve never been through before - in the main tarmac but some still just dirt, to a place where only four wheel drive vehicles were going to pass alongside the elevated (at this point) railway. I waded through two feet of water in places to see what the depth was and the condition of the ground beneath. In a non-four wheel drive this was not to be, with the water having built up on the other higher side of the railway track and running through gullies under the embankment. 

This created a torrent of water not unlike you see in disaster documentaries so we had to turn about and take another route. Back through the side Soiís and down into a far worse hollow than we would have met on Sukhumvit. The water now two inches from the top of the hood or Bonnet as we would say in the UK. The water was coming in thought the bottoms of the doors, there were gates and fencing floating away past the front of us with the way blocked in front by other cars etc. We eventually got out and opened the doors to let out the worst of the water, one fear was that I would run out of diesel while waiting to get back out on Sukhumvit, so we stopped at the next filling station. Tony decided he would get a coffee while the truck was filled up, but he was not amused as this cost more than breakfast. The weather had turned during the last few weeks with a few downpours of rain but this was the worst I have ever encountered here. Yet the reservoirs are still not nearly full. The thing was how was it going to be for the next day, the 27th and the kidís from Fr, Giovanniís orphanage trip to Nong Nuch? 

October 27th and Nong Nuch.

I am not going to repeat the story that I have already written about Nong Nuch you can read all about the show the elephants there on this link http://www.jadeisus.com/ebay/TIT8.htm   

The day began overcast and I feared we would have a repeat of the previous day as far as the rain goes. I had first to do my emails so I had gone to bed particularly early the night before so I would wake at dawn. This I did and once done it was just a matter of waiting for Black and Noi. It was back to school the following day for Black so this day we had to pick up his test results from before the holiday. I was looking forward to more coffee and fresh croissants from Rudyís cafť opposite the school but that was not to be as I discovered, place was closed.  Later, I found that he had made a visa run to Malaysia. How inconsiderate!! Anyway it took only minutes for Noi to see Blackís teacher and collect the exam   results, which where good but not very good.  Itís all in Thai, so I know no more. So now it was round to collect Tony and his girlfriend, Tukta. I said I would get there before 10-00 a.m. but now it was barely past nine as I had not managed breakfast in Rudyís so now I was really early. Anyway Tony got his act together and we had a little breakfast at Yorkyís Jomthien Beach on the way to Nong Nuch. This venue didnít come close to The Sportsman of the day before. I chose a toasted sandwich which, when Tony asked how it was, I said it was like Crocodile Dundeeís comments about the bush tukka.  If you donít know what I mean, see the film. It had begun to rain a little while I was waiting for Tony at his condo so I gave Georgina at the orphanage a ring suggesting that they stop and buy all the kids a rain coat on their way, if it looked like continuing. While in Yorkyís she rang to say that the rain had cleared there and was looking like it would carry on that way for the rest of the day so they would take a chance. 

We had a little rain on the short trip to Nong Nuch but it appeared to be passing from south to north so that would leave us clear for the day. We were waiting outside the main gate for the truck loads of kids to arrive and the guards had taken the deposit slip I had paid earlier the week before and were very busy stamping tickets they just love to do that out here. I tried to explain that we were waiting for the main party to arrive and that I was uncertain just how many people there would be in total but stamping away they were. OK let them get on with it if it made them happy. I had the name card of the lady I had dealt with in the office with her mobile number on it if there was going to be a problem.  

The children arrived on time and the teachers should have known how many people they had on board each truck but it was nearly down to taking off shoes and socks because there were not enough fingers on hands. Never mind, this is Thailand and for the people in charge to know before they set off how many people they had Ė well, it doesnít matter, Buddha will take care of them. After a little while it was settled; there where 14 adults and 40 children. Well that was their count and what I was going to pay for. I called up the lady in the office and I have to say despite the confusion at the gate she accepted the figure and asked me to meet her in the restaurant where we were all to have lunch. The extra cash was paid and I have to say they were arranging lunch in the nicest restaurant I have seen in a while. It was open air, but that is normal in Thailand, overlooking the very splendid lake with the flower gardens all around and the beautiful flower display on the island in the center of the lake. For the meagre price I was quoted I expected a packed lunch on the benches in the center of the park.  

Oh, no, this was to be real posh, where the more well off would be normally be seen. Fifty four people for lunch plus the park admission, the shows, the lot at the best restaurant for only 170 bucks I call that a real treat and I have to compliment the management of Nong Nuch for providing us with such a good deal. The cash paid over and the kids were away to see the elephants, the ponies, the ostrich and everything else there is to see before our one oíclock lunch appointment. We had about five minutes of light rain before lunch, as myself and Tony had seen the gardens before, we had installed ourselves in one of the nicer cafťs for a drink of soda. Lunchtime arrived and so did all the kids at our cafť.   The rain stopped when it was time to leave for the short walk down the hill to lunch. It rained for a while over lunch but cleared for the rest of the afternoon. I told you Buddha takes care. Lunch was splendid with pork ball soup, chicken legs, a sausage salad, squid salad, and some crab dish, naturally with rice. Followed by fruit. I expected the kids to be somewhat more raucous but, no, they were happy, well feed - there was little left and they were all very well behaved.  

There was time for more strolling before the shows began and they all took full advantage of coming up to us and telling us of this and that which they had seen. I had asked them to all meet me at the entrance to the show hall 15 minutes before the show began and within five minutes of that time every- body was there to my great surprise. There was also no nonsense by the ladies on guard on the gate she just accepted there were a lot of us and just tore off the tickets without wishing to count them and make sure that every body had one. This would have taken some time and I doubt that she and the other ladies there would have had enough fingers and toes between them anyway. Was this common sense I wondered?  I doubt it, not because itís Thailand but because I think instructions had been given from on high, no I donít mean Buddha I mean my lady friend in the office had most likely had a word with them. Anyway whatever it was, it was very well done and everybody had good seats to see the show. 

As I said I am not going to tell you all about the shows etc., again for that you can read in one of my previous stories. I am going to tell you as best I can about the faces on the kids as they watched the show. I was right at the front with them and they were quiet and as we would say in Liverpool Gob- smacked.  Sitting there still and quiet watching every bit of it, clapping their appreciation between the various parts of the show. To say that you would have been proud of them, both in the restaurant over lunch and at the shows would be an understatement to say the least. There were other adults there, not with us but who were much less well behaved. One shaggy headed old Ďfarangí biddy that pushed the kids in front of me to one side having arrived late but determined to soak up as much Thai culture as she could before she went home without giving a damn about people who had arrived on time. Having pushed the children up she was beckoning to others of her party to join her. At this point I was ready to give her a piece of my mind but, fortunately, her other friends did not appear so I kept quiet. She didnít know it unfortunately, but she had a let-off there. 

At the end of the cultural show there was the usual mad dash for the elephant show seats. The children ended up on the other side of the arena but I could see that they all very much enjoyed the antics of the show. Again adults in front of me in the front row decided that the normal behavior was not for them but they were bringing their very young children to a position of possible danger. When it came to the  time for the elephants to walk across people, the fathers of this group were right there, I have in the past not only seen this but taken part. On this occasion I couldnít help thinking that if the elephant were to make a slight mistake I would not be too sorry. 

On the way out of that show I was taken to task for my bad thoughts by nearly being trampled on by a 15 foot bull elephant on its way to the second cultural show of the afternoon. I was fine just patting its side as he passed until Noi, who I didnít realise was behind me, tapped me on the shoulder warning me to get out of the way and in tuning around I nearly fell over her and right in the way of the beast. Just a quick stumble. We had lost the kids at that time when Tony and myself decided that for our small party it was time for another soda. We had settled in the same cafť and Tony had just got to the table with the drinks for us when Georgina rang my mobile. They wished to say Ďthank you and goodbyeí. This, as I understood from the conversation was to be by the main gate. A long walk but they insisted and I was not going to make them all come back inside so we had a traipse down there; hell we both need the exercise. I got the message wrong and they were not 30 yards from where we had been sitting enjoying the late afternoon sun but in the shade, looking out naturally. Anyway as I say we both needed if not wanted the exercise. The song was sung and the thank youís said and the children were off for home, having, hopefully, had a day they can talk about for a while.

While visiting the orphanage on the 29th of December to pick up all the wonderful photo's that you see on the left I was told that the big boss from Noung Nuch had visited them over Christmas. At which time they said that anybody from the orphanage who wished to visit the park could do so at any time free of charge.

 

On our way down the hill for lunch. To see a full sized image just click on any of the photo's.

Out side the restrant.

Lunch and splended it was.

The Elephant show, it certainly looks to me that they enjoy themselfs.

This is where my T shirt came from.

The cultural show with elements from all arond Thailand.

The fantastic gardens.

The young lady to the far left is a volunteer from Denmark. She is spending 6 months working with the children before attending Medical School.

The Thai answer too Stone Hinge

Just one of the millions of beautiful flowers.

On the right is Ou, believe it or not this is the young man now 16 years of age that was thought to only have a few weeks to live back in the August of 2003. Since then he has gained in strength and even been on holiday to Italy as a guest of an Italian family in the summer of 2005.

For sure one of my sweet hearts.

   

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