Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Made it to Pattaya.....

We made it to Pattaya.  The first part of the trip from our home on the Myanmar (Burma) border went well.  We packed up the few things we were taking back to America and closed up our master suite with second floor kitchen. 

We said our good-byes to the family and drove the 50 kilometer to the airport in Chiang Rai.  The check point just waved us through.  I think they are starting to recognise us.  Daeng says that is one of the reasons we always need to be nice.

We dropped off our luggage, which Daeng stayed with while I parked the rental car close to the rental car office.  We checked into Air Asia ticket counter and our bags were exactly what we had paid for, 30 kilograms.  My suitcase weighed 17.9 kg and Daeng's bag weighted 13.1 kg.  They were nice enough to round down on weight.  We had put all the heavy stuff, like the jade and bronze chess sets in our carry on bags. They probably weighed over 15 kg each.

After we checked in we went over to Thai Car Rental and turned in the Nissan March.  The nice lady went out and checked the car, coming back in and said everything was okay.  I had hit a metal post when I over compensated for driving on the left side of the road.  It was very minor and in the same place that the car had already been struck before we rented it.  That was a good thing for us.

A short wait for our plane and 1 hour and 10 minute plane ride later we landed at the old airport in Bangkok.  Our bags come out in the first few and we headed out the exit to meet our driver.  He was waiting for us and took us to the underground parking.  Although this is the old airport it is still huge and when it closed was about the 18th largest airport in the world.

When we left the underground parking it was poring rain.  Our driver said it had been raining here in Bangkok for over two weeks.  The water on some of the roads was half way up on the car tires.  Well, it took us three hours to make the trip from the Don Mueang International Airport to the Honey Lodge Hotel in Pattaya

Daeng rubbed it in by saying: "Why are we coming to the beach when it is raining?"  I, in turn, told her that we brought the sunshine with us from the Burma border so it would stop raining tomorrow.  By the way, the next day the rain stopped and the sun came out.  I told Daeng: "See, our positive attitude brought out the sun."  She, in her usual stance, said: "I don't think so!"

We like Pattaya for the diversity.  Pattaya is the second most visited city in Thailand by tourists, Bangkok being first.  You can read more about Pattaya by just going to google.com and type in Pattaya.  Over 50,400,000 results will come up about this interesting city.  You can read about things like the scuba diving, parks, entertainment center, temples, shopping, restaurants, huge crocodile farm, zip line entertainment center, night life with 10,000+ bars, 50,000+ sex workers along with the beautiful beaches of Pattaya and Jomtien Beach.

The bar and sex worker number is my estimate and may be a low estimate.

We slept well in the room we normally stay in at this hotel.  They put us, at our request, in room 113.  It is at the back corner of the hotel on the ground floor so it is very quite even though this hotel in right in the middle of the "Fun Zone".  Walking Street is less than 100 meters from our hotel.

The day we arrived was Loi Krathong.  Loi Krathong, a light festival held during the full moon of the twelfth month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar and which usually falls in November, is celebrated in Pattaya, as in the rest of the country, that evening with people floating krathongs (small, candle-lit floats made from elaborately folded banana leaves) on the waters, as well as releasing khom loi (candle-fired hot air balloons) in to the night sky.

It is always fun to watch folks putting the lighted floats into the water as well as trying to get the hot air balloon to fly.

November 30th and December 1st is the International Fireworks Festival here in Pattaya.  I'm told it is the largest display of fireworks in Southeast Asia and maybe the world.

During the day, Daeng pre-booked some chairs at the ocean edge. 

Then we arrived about 8:00 PM as the fireworks were starting.  I got tired about midnight and we left.  To leave a fireworks show before it is over must mean I'm old.

There is a lot to do here or a lot not to do, which ever way you want to think about it.  One of the great things is the $5.00 USD massage. 

That is correct.  You can get an hour long Thai massage at the temple massage for 150 THB  is a little less than $5.00 USD.  That does not have a happy ending as it is at the temple.

Interested in having a little hair removed from the lower area.  You can have some artistic waxing done of just take it all off for 800 THB, around $26.00 USD.

Would you like a heart, landing strip, Mohawk or martini, just to name a few.  Or, just take it all off.

Now, about 2km south of Pattaya Beach lies Jomtien Beach, a long, straight 6 km stretch of sandy coastline that is a lot less chaotic and crowded than Pattaya. New hotels, resorts, condominiums, shops and restaurants are rising fast, but they are more spread out and, for now at least, haven't plundered Jomtiens quiet down-to-earth charm. It's much more peaceful and laid-back than Pattaya Beach too.

That's partly why you find more Thais here. Native holidaymakers from Bangkok and beyond come to enjoy cool sea breezes and cheap seafood under the shade of large parasols and the pine trees which fringe the sand.

I also like this part of Thailand as most people speak English.  The folks that live here are very friendly but the tourist, especially the Russians, are very dis-courteous.  It was the French that were always talked about but now it is the Russians.  Americans are consider very nice compared to the Russians.  It is to bad because they pay a lot extra in the end.  

We are staying here until Wednesday and then we take the long flight back to America.  We take off at 5:05 PM and land in Los Angeles, California at 7:15 PM.  Yes, that is 2 hours and 10 minutes later.  That always messes me up, mentally.