Of Ladyboys and Letchery

Trip Start Feb 26, 2006
Trip End Sep 16, 2006

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Flag of Thailand  ,
Saturday, April 8, 2006

You may think you know all about sex.

You might reconsider if you haven't been to Pattaya.

Prostitution is offically illegal here, as it is in the city of Las Vegas, but the law is similarly ignored. However here the prostitutes are not hiding behind the venue of an escort service. They are siting at open air "beer bars", touching and calling out to every male-ish lifeform that isn't attached to some type of female.

It's practically the city mantra. "Hey sexy, wewcome," they repeat in their Thai accents as all the beer bellies, grey hairs and double chins stroll by.

Pattaya has a deserved reputation, having cultivated it's formidable sex industry during the Vietnam war era when our boys came to this onetime fisherman's village for some much needed R&R. The place caters nearly exclusively to sex tourists, mostly from Europe.

There were the occasional non-sex tourist types, as evidenced by the odd elderly or middle-aged married couple holding hands (or as we saw once, a couple holding hands with a Thai girl in the middle). And of course there was Eva and I, not there for the prostitution, but looking as if we were. Well, looking as if I was.

It was a little disconcerting walking down the street holding Eva's hand, knowing that the local people were probably making not-so-wild assumptions. I did my best not o make eye contact with the other white men surrounding me, partially because it was too much to handle (like the man with hearing aid nibbling on some pretty young thing) but mostly because it just felt so icky-sticky-wrong.

One time I made eye contact with one of the middle-agers who gave me the knowing nod, as if to say "Good going, mate. Have a great time!" Yeesh.

I told Eva often how I felt, but she retained a truly remarkable outlook. "Don't you care that everyone here thinks you're a prostitute?" I asked her. "Nah, it doesn't matter. I like it here! Let's go see some ladyboys!" More on the ladyboys in a moment.

Now there were some things to like about this town. Although considered one of Thailands ugliest beaches, it was overall quite pleasant with semi-clear blueish green bath temperature water. You plop down in one of the beach chairs (50 cents each for the whole day) and the parade of vendors stroll past you. "Foot massage?" "Pineapple?" "Ice cream?" "Tattoo?" You want it, you got it. Right there under your shady umbrella in your cozy beach chair.

The big reason Eva wanted to come here was that she had been here before, and she had seen the ladyboys. It's a funny contradiction here-- you often see effeminate boys dressed in makeup in various stages of cross dress. Sometimes your only clue is the pink hairband that they wear. But Thai people are overall an extraordinarily tolerant people (thanks to the tradition of Buddhism), and while these things are not fully accepted, they are not actively discouraged either. In Pattaya, the ladyboys have taken their game to a whole new level.

We went to the Alcazar show, a flamboyant ladyboy lipsyncing extravaganza. There were flashing lights. Fabulous costumes. Wildly elaborate sets. And ladyboys... ladyboys... ladyboys! Some of whom were so convincingly modified that it was impossible to tell that they were not men (or were not once men). I mean there are just certain things that you can't hide when you wear a litle red bikini. (see photo)

We intended to stay just a couple of days in Pattaya but unfortunately my insulin pump malfunctioned (I am diabetic for those who do not know) and have been in Pattaya for 8 days (which is about 6 days too long.) However the issue is progressing slowly and I am healthy. Soon it's back to Bangkok, to follow the trail of my replacement insulin pump....

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