Enjoying life away from the
misery guts back home in Derby
Thailand's capital of fun is how the pocket guidebook to the town describes the place, which attracts a million visitors a year. A less kind, but more accurate, description would be one huge brothel.
The average visitor appears to be male, 40 or more, probably losing his hair, frequently fat, very likely British and there for one reason only - to buy sex with young Thai women.
Though there are many other nationalities there, the town is geared to the Brits. Pubs offer heart-clotting all-day breakfasts and giant portions of toad in the hole to set up holidaymakers for a long night cruising the streets crammed with massage
parlours and bars, many with names too crude to mention.
There are two kinds of bar in Pattaya. Bird apparently preferred the quieter sort, the oddly named bar-beers, over the brasher go-go bars.
[Beer bar prices start] with the bar fine. The man pays 300 baht - £6 - to the bar owner to take out a girl, and before that she earns about 60p for every drink he buys her. To make real money, she has to offer sex.
[bar fine details corrected]
Short time in a room over the bar costs £20. To go back to the man's hotel for long time will cost around £30. One long-time customer will earn half of what a girl would make in a whole month of ordinary bar work.
One of the unexpected things about Pattaya is that there's nothing threatening or violent about the atmosphere.
Sat at a crowded bar at 2am is Peter. He's a quietly spoken, neat man in his early 60s from Derby. When one of the BGs asks if he 'wants to play', he nods enthusiastically. As a regular visitor, he knows what will happen next...
From under the bar she pulls out a game of Connect 4 and the pair of them giggle away while she thrashes him at noughts and crosses.
He might pay for 'short time' a bit later, but many evenings he just sits and chats. He says his wife is irreplaceable and: Britain is going to the dogs - can you imagine if this was Derby on a Friday night?
And in many ways he's right. In most British cities, the street would be full of girls brawling, sprawling and spewing. In Pattaya, they're smiling, decorous and attentive.
Clearly all sorts of men go there as sex tourists, not just social misfits.
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