Teaching English in Thailand: Days 52- 54, A Few Hours in Party Town Pattaya

Friday 14th August

Not quite Hollywood..
Thank God its Friday!!

I had a half-day at school because Kanang wasn't at school and Teacher Ju took me home at lunch, meaning I missed my afternoon class. It was the first time I had really got speaking to Ju properly, but she was incredibly caring and kind! On the way home she stopped off and bought me melon because she was worried I was hungry as we missed lunch. I told her that I was going to Pattaya that night, so she offered to take me back home to collect my bag, and then take me to Central Plaza to avoid me having to get a taxi later! I insisted that she didn’t have to do that and that I could get a taxi, but she wasn’t having any of it. She suggested we stop in at her house so I can meet her farang husband- a friendly Australian man. She showed me round her gorgeous house and directed me to the room I was to stay in with my friends next time I come and visit Thailand! So sweet! She took me to Central Plaza which saved me so much effort, ad I really appreciated it, especially because a non-Thai speaking person like me who doesn't know her Thai address has problems with organising taxis!

Once at Central Plaza, I sat outside in the sunshine as it was a beautiful day! ETAs Heidi and Iman were due to arrive anytime soon, so we could have some lunch before Heidi and I left for Pattaya, and Iman went her separate way to visit a friend. A cheeseburger and chips later, we were in the mini van on the way to Chumpae to meet Jess and Gwen. We were greeted by their mentor's friend Nang Za, who pulled up in her flashy white car and told us to get in. Soon, we had Jess, Gwen and their mentor Daina in the 5 seater car with us. “Queen, get on my lap!” demanded Daina. She’s hilarious.

Nang Za bought us ice lollies!
Every night they take Jess and Gwen out for dinner (and pay) because they are absolute legends. They took us to the walking street evening market as we had a few hours to kill before our 9pm bus. We had dinner at the same place we went the last time I visited Chumpae because it's so good there! After, Daina took us to her house where she lives with her parents and extremely fluffy little dog, so we could get ready for our 10 hour journey. Soon after, we were on the double decker bus, kitted out with blankets and free snacks. The journey went pretty fast for me because I managed to sleep for a few hours here and there. Poor Jess didn't sleep at all, so when we arrived in Pattaya at 6.30am, we headed to find a comfy place to drink coffee and relax! We found one a little while after walking through walking street, where last night's party was clearly not over for some! Dressed up (or down) ladies strutted past us in their 7 inch heels and 3 inch long hot pants, as men sat drinking beer, gawping at the 4 backpack-clad farangs sweating their way through the street.

Saturday 15th August

Walking to the ferry on the pier with Gwen and Jess
Such comfiness
The coffee shop wasn't actually open at 7am when we approached it, but the look on our tired, desperate faces made them pity us and open the door. We sat on the balcony overlooking the sea, in big hanging chairs for about 2 hours, drinking coffee, spilling coffee, and buying more coffee. We decided we'd go to the nearby island of Ko Lan at 10am via the ferry taxi that cost only 30 baht per person; bargain! Once we got there, we had to hop onto the back of two motorbikes so we could get to the nice beach. It was my first motorbike experience in Thailand and nobody died! 

The sight of the beach was tear- worthy: A beautiful long stretch of white sand and clear blue waters. During the day we bumped into more ETAs that I hadn’t met before but only recognised- what are the chances!? They joined us at our sun beds and we shared the usual stories of our experiences of TET.

Most of us grabbed all the sun that we could, as we all seem to agree that we haven’t tanned since being in Thailand! This is because we are teaching indoors all day long, so it is quite hard to catch the sun without it being an inappropriate lunchtime- sweat- session. The three boys somehow roped three of us girls into going on a banana boat ride. I had never been on a banana boat because I was always scared of getting knocked out by my older brothers on family holidays. I bit the bullet and threw myself into it (literally) and the next thing I knew, we were frantically holding on for our lives before being thrown into the water, each consuming about a pint of the ocean. It was quite a shock to the system, and I never imagined the impact would be that forceful. So, once we caught our breaths we all struggled back onto the inflatable banana and off we went again- this time, slightly petrified about the fall that was about to come. It came with more force than before, with an unfortunate blow to the head from a friend’s flailing limb. ETA Donna shouted “is everyone OK?!” as we all shared the same sense of shock and pain.
Time of our lives! 
"I'll go slow"... Not!
I unwillingly got back onto the banana of nightmares, with a throbbing lump on my head. Gwen was struggling to get back on, so rather hilariously Jay threw himself into the water like the hero he is, to help her on. She wasn’t having any of it, and I took that moment to also throw myself back into the water to join her in safety, away from that hellish banana! We struggled onto the driver’s jet ski, perhaps flashing a bit too much bum (and showcasing my terrible upper-body strength). We took an unsettling ride back to the beach, and I was worried that Gwen was in shock and that I was going to black out at any moment. Who knew a banana could cause this much trouble? The boys had a great time, and Gwen and I were afraid that we cut their ride short by being such pansies. Back on the beach, Jay advised me on my growing head lump and helped me to track down some ice, as he seemed to think he was a doctor.

After staying on the beach for a while longer, we decided to get the boat back to the mainland. The boat took about half an hour, even though the island looked so close. We all jumped into the back of a songtaew to go back to our hotels. Somehow, the Shakespeare hotel we thought we were checking into turned out to be a different one that we had booked. This meant that the boys were in one Shakespeare hotel, and we were in another, a few streets away. Some of the others were also in different hotels, as there were so many of us. Even though we were absolutely hanging after getting very little sleep the night before and having a fairly active day, we somehow managed to get ready and drag ourselves out for a night on the town. A quick pasta stop was followed by some games of pool as mine and Jay’s competition continues, and I beat him again a few more times since Hua Hin. The score now is 3-1 to me, muahahah.
Heidi with the list of events that we witnessed (all apart from the top two)
We headed to walking street in order to try and find some of the others. They had been to watch the cabaret while some of us didn’t fancy it. The night flew by, accompanied by strong drinks and abnormal sights. Three of us ended up going to a ‘ping pong show’, in which they didn’t only play ping pong. Above, Heidi displays all the weird and wonderful things we watched them squeeze in (excuse the pun) in an hour’s show for 200 baht each.

Busy Pattaya walking street. Photo creds: Jay
It was hilarious, uncomfortable and sad all at the same time. I wont go into too much detail, but there were cucumbers, razorblades, darts, whistles, ping pong balls, flowers, cigarettes, pens and liquids, all being used in unconventional ways. Fortunately for you, we weren’t allowed to take pictures. I kept a dart (that was launched at the balloon in my hand) as a souvenir. It smells clean, thank goodness.

Pole dancers in a club
After the show we were enticed by a free drink into a huge club. We found the RnB room and had a jolly ol’ dance to a bit too much Pitbull. I thought we were there for about 30 minutes but Heidi tells me it was 3x longer than that! It was getting pretty late by now, and we still hadn’t found the others. We grabbed a McDonald’s and headed home, dreading the 9am start that was due in just a couple of hours.
Look at the size of that disco ball!
Sunday 16th August

It was surprisingly less of a struggle to wake up than I thought. Maybe all the red bulls I had drank the night before were starting to kick in! We had a quick slice of toast before getting a songtaew to the bus station for 9am. We bumped into ETAs Jodie and Hannah at the station who were also getting the same bus as us. A life saving fruit stall pulled up as we were waiting for the bus, and a fresh coconut’s rehydrating properties were definitely appreciated by me. The 10-hour journey was less horrific because we could see where we were going, whereas we could only imagine ourselves careering into oncoming traffic on Friday.

Halfway through the journey we stopped for 20 minutes to grab some food. Our free meal ticket bought us some extremely tasty noodle soup, with no scary stuff in it! YAY! The second half of the journey wasn’t so good for me as it was hard to sleep with the sun beating down through the window. It seemed like we would never arrive at Chumpae, and when we did finally arrive (an hour and a half later than expected), we had to leg it to catch the last van of the day at 8pm. A welcome sight of Daina and Nang Za greeted us at the van station- even though they didn’t need to be there. They are so kind, simply making sure that we arrived safely! I’m definitely going to miss the pair of them, as we always have such a laugh together.

We got the hour-long van back to Central Plaza in Khon Kaen, and although we had planned to get some food as we were all starving, I decided to go straight home as I was so knackered! I even managed to explain where I lived to the taxi driver, who was absolutely mental and kept laughing at everything I said like:

“Turn left”
“It’s not that funny!”

So, after travelling for 22 hours this weekend and spending 26 hours in Pattaya, it is safe to say I had another great weekend, and that I am exhausted.


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