The world that is Pattaya

Trip Start Sep 03, 2006
Trip End May 23, 2007

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Thursday, September 7, 2006

We arrived in Pattaya on Monday afternoon.
We had been booked in to a room in the redempterist centre which was a far cry away from the surrounding streets that we intially saw.
We got a lovely room with Air Con, tv etc (plus vouchers for breakfast,lunch and dinner) with a lovely view of the church outside the window.
The area we were staying in was like a small wee village and it was still being built up.
There was security guarding the entrances and the centre also composed of the block of rooms where my Mum and Stepdad were staying, Library, classrooms, play areas etc etc.
There was also a few ponds which were absolutely loaded with Carp and a few turtles, and you could buy food to feed them (10bhat - 15p)
The first night we just caught up with everyone. We went to a local market and bought some meat for dinner and then had an early night.

On Tuesday, still recovering from jet lag, we were introduced to where my Mum and Andrew worked and the people they worked with. Although the majority had very little English, they were very friendly.
We had a relaxing day and went out to some markets and the local Shopping Centre - Carrefour.
For the evening we had an unbelievable and surreal experience. The 4 of us went to eat in a restaurant called Cabbages and Condoms.(not very enticing when you hear that name)
It was about 10 mins away by Song Tow (A Thai taxi which looks like a pick up truck with seats in the back - Although we now call them a Bhat Bus)
When we arrived we walked into what can only be described as a Rain forest.(
Apparently the place is owned by an American Millionaire (probably eccentric) and all profits go to loacal charities etc.
W walked by a wishing well, a waterfall, through a rainforest to our seats which were situated right on the beach at the waters edge.
The food was absolutely gorgeous and at a very reasonable price(if you are a westerner. The average Thai person would never be able to afford this)
We had 3 courses, trying everything different on the menu that was Thai and sharing it about the 4 of us.
After dinner we took a Bhat Bus to Walking Street, which is the famous, seedy part of Pattaya that is covered in western men (you will very rarely see a western woman) looking for Thai Ladies/girls.
And you cannot miss them, as they are everywhere you go. Pimps offering "menu's" every 10 metres. To be honest we found it quite sad. From the point of view of the thai girls as it is the only way they can make a living and also from the westerner point of view where they feel the need to travel this far to get someone they can call a "girlfriend", plus the extras.
After we walked up and down the road, we got another Bhat bus home.

Wednesday started off in anticipation as we were going Elephant riding.....
After waking up yet again with a bit of jetlag, we were on the road. We arrived at the Pattaya Elephant village after calling in where my Mum worked at the Street Kids Centre.
The package started at 10.30am.
After being giving a brief talk and buying a massive bunch of bananas we were ready to go.
It all started by watching 2 Elephants taking dumps... and the fun began.
My Mum and Andrew mounted the first elephant with us just behind. In total there was about 30-40 people on the package.
What a wonderful experience it was - Firstly wading through water - where Ciara dropped her hat and then a trek along roads and fields.
When that was finished we were greeted by Tony, one of the resident gibbons and later by Patrick. These mischievious animals set about jumping from tree to tree and person to person as we went along the next part of our package.
After going through the forest and learning about different leaves and fruits (one with possible cure for aids - currently being looked at), We then were shown how silk was made.
After that we took a short raft, still with the 2 monkeys along a small pond, whilst feeding the cat fish.
After this we then were brought back by Ox Cart.
Lunch was then served followed by a traditional thai show part of which wur Ciara took part in a sword fight with Thai Warriers.
An unbelievable experience for the day out.(
That evening we had dinner with the Street Kids - where my Mum works... The wonderful feed was topped off by........ wait for this one.............. Ciara ate Chicken feet, which are a Thai delicacy. Well she sucked off the toes off the foot and whilst in her mouth she took the meat (yeah, what meat is what i thought.) off the toes and swallowed them, spitting out the toe bones.
And yes like all good experiences, we do have this on Video and it will be on the travelpod soon.

On the Thursday, we had a bit of a lie in just to catch up on that all important sleep.
On Thursday evening we went to show, along with the 3 sisters that my mum worked with. The show was called Alangkarn, which was a history of Thailand.
We arrived at the place - which is where the previous week Miss Thailand 2006 was staged.
As we walked in we were greeted by stalls with fun fair games, Elephants dressed in Pink - which could virtually do anything and Thai people walking around dressed with these massive big heads.... All very surreal.
We had a buffet dinner first, which like all food in Thailand that we have eaten, was absolutely gorgeous, and then went back out to play some funfair games.
Ciara also got to do a traditional dance, which involves jumping over moving sticks (like skipping... sort of) which of course she was a natural at.
We entered the show at 8.30. To be honest, the majority of the time we had no clue what was going on but the stage presence, the elephants (As they are the symbol of Thailand), the lights etc was a sight to see...... oh and i ended up on stage doing Thai dancing, playing the bongos (which Andrew videod).
Yet another wonderful night. (
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