Sad tales in Pattaya
28.07.2007 - 28.07.2007 -17 °C
Pirosh is originally from Laos and It had taken him three weeks to travel from there to Pattaya. He told me that he had very little money and had hardly ate along the way; travelling on very cheap, or free, transportation he managed to make it to the 'promised land'! He stole rides that put him at great risk, and train jumping or hiding in the back of pickup trucks had almost got him in trouble with the police on many occasions, fortunately, he said, he got to Pattaya in one piece.
Three weeks in Pattaya and his money had run out, he hadn't eaten for a few days, other than the fruit he found, and slept on Jomthein beach. The night before I found him lent against the wall gasping for air, he told me, he had had a two hour asthma attack the night before. Can you imagine laying in the dark, and I mean pitch black dark, for two hours without being able to breath correctly! There's nobody around at the time of night his attack happened, so he's laying there all alone thinking he was going to die!
Of course Pirosh could have been fabricating his situation, as so many people can do in the hope of a few quid from a stranger, but I knew he wasn't - he looked drawn and pale, his eyes were so sunken and his pupils so dark that they told a story that his broken english only could touch upon, and besides, Pirosh didn't ask for money and I didn't give him any. I took Pirosh to the pharmacy and purchased the inhalers he required and bought him some food too. I'd have loved to have taken him for a proper meal, but you know when I hear the kind of story he told I just have to go away and cry.
I think the day I met Pirosh was probably one of the hardest days that I've experienced in Thailand.
It was later that same evening that I met two men that were so severely disfigured they couldn't even stand upright. I honestly don't know their names, but each day they would sit at a particular corner of the street and beg for pennies, or rather Bahts, from the passing tourists and locals. There are many many other people here who are also disfigured, people with missing limbs, the blind and the deaf, or simply those who have been cast from their villages because they're mad or schizophrenic. One thing that really struck me was that many tourists would walk by without giving these people a first glance, let alone a second, and many of the local money people would give quite generously.....kinda strikes me as odd!! The first time I gave some money to the two disfigured gentlemen on the corner was so funny, I gave them 100 baht each and they scampered off like two toddlers and bought themselves an ice cream. Each day, after my first encounter with them, we'd have a chat, share stories and laugh...other farang looked at me as if I was one of the schizophrenics!
The two men who couldn't even stand sat near a bar that I often frequented; I liked the bar because between 5 and 7pm it had a happy hour and I could sit and watch the change from day to night. The soi's (side streets) were quite quiet during the day, but when the sun was setting, and maybe it's because I love that time of day, there was a thrill and buzz that would uplift the spirit. I'd sit there with my jug of beer and watch the night-life begin. Sprawled in front of me, and to my left, I saw a variety of go go bars and restaurants, money boys and girls, street peddlers and street food sellers all selling there wears. I'd sit at the front of the bar and watch the fairy lights glow; I'd listen to slow tunes on my ipod and watch the money boys pruning themselves ready for a client or a go go show; I'd see the money girls do the same, they'd stand there flashing their lashes or dance swishing the braids in their hair. It looked as if they were real happy, and I know that to an extent they are, but the sad undercurrent that flows throughout this land is that, in general, white western men (farang) have perverted the minds and culture of the land that is referred to as 'the land of angels and smiles'! The smiles are here and they light up Thai peoples faces like a beacon in the night sky; they are an angelic race of people who are kind and gentle, and most are honest too. But it's no wonder that some, like in many parts of this world, are resentful of tourists and the tourists that just come here to use and abuse, those farang that I have seen treat some locals like pieces of meat that are bought and paid for!!
There's a part of me that wants to appologise for this sad section of my travelling journals, but if I just wrote about the happy experiences you, the reader, wouldn't get an overall view of Thailand. So the sad day continues.....
Several hours after meeting Pirosh and those who are physically challenged, I went back to my hotel and readied myself for a night on the town. I met up with Kitipong and my go go gang and we ate dinner in the Sunee district, a lovely dinner was had by all and I ate fillet steak that was cooked to perfection for less than a fiver.
The Sunee district is much like many other areas, areas that would make Mary Magdalane blush! Only, to my disgust it was worse, the surface of the establishments was friendly and offered a good night out to many farang, but its underbelly invited the pedophiles to indulge their perversions. As we ate dinner I started to notice younger members of the community sitting with old, large and ugly farang. When I asked Kitipomg how old these younger people were he told me around 13 - 16, and as I looked closer some looked even younger!
By about 10pm we had finished our dinner and polished off several beers, I headed back to my hotel and the go go boys headed off to do their show, I was shattered by my day and really needed an early night. As I was leaving Sunee I was approached by a man, I guess he was about 25, he offered me his younger brother (13-14 years old) and explained that they hadn't eaten for several days - needlesstosay I declined the offer, but I did buy them some much needed food and attempted to discourage them from further prostitution. I'd really like to think my conversation with the brothers did help them change their situation, but I doubt it very much - as sad as it may be, people got to eat!!!
I continued my walk back to the hotel and on the way was offered sexual favours from adult males and females, I was offered the same from underage children of both genders and was offered any and all kinds of drugs too. I felt dizzy from my day and nights experiences and decided to take a detour; as I sat on the beach I saw rats scurrying around scavenging for food and like a lady boy who had lost her lippy and powder, I'm not ashamed to say, I wept.