Hired a driver through my new friend Tia (who owns the New Cowboy dart bar) to transport me from Bangkok to Pattaya, about a 2 hour drive. The driver spoke no English and arrived 30 minutes late, but no biggie. We got to Pattaya with no problem, but then he couldn’t find my hotel. Well, I’d written the address down in English, but apparently he didn’t read English so much. Anyway, he actually stopped and asked for directions 5 or 6 times, but we eventually found our way to the Mareez Lodge.
Worst fucking hotel I can recall ever staying at. I’d compare it to a Motel 6, but that’s probably not fair. To Motel 6. Actually, the room is better than the service, so there’s that. I chose this lodging because of it’s central location and based on the recommendation of Lunian, a nice Romanian guy I met at my hotel restaurant in Bangkok. I guess our taste in lodging differs. Anyway, for 20 bucks a night I can suck it up. It’s not like I’m spending a lot of time in the room anyway.
Anyway, after checking in I figured I’d take a hike and reconnoiter the area. I was walking pretty much randomly but came upon the infamous Walking Street.
A typical Walking Street venue.
So, I headed back to the hotel via Beach Road but then I totally lost my bearings. Nothing looked familiar and given that all the street signs were written in a language that looks like scribbling to me, my English language hotel map on the back of a business card was useless. In desperation (but not panic) I approached a motorcycle taxi driver and asked him if he knew where my hotel was. Although he spoke no English he seemed to indicate in the affirmative and offered a ride for 40 baht. I guess the last time I rode on the back of a motor scooter was in Phnom Penh. I was drunk then but it was still a scary ride. Totally sober like yesterdayfelt like I was living life on the edge. Without a helmet to boot. Well, we rode around for awhile and still nothing looked familiar. And then he stopped and asked for directions. Then took me to a place called the Marin, and I tried my best to explain that no, this is not where I’m going. When he stopped for directions again I finally just gave up in frustration, paid him and started walking again. I found a neighborhood I’d seen before, but still had no clue as to where my hotel might be. So I asked another moto-taxi guy who consulted with another driver and he told me to walk 50 meters and turn right. And sure enough, there it was! I did manage 17,000 steps on my adventure.
So I stuck close by my lodging last night. Fortunately(?) there are multitudes of bars to choose from within a 3 block radius. I chose several. Dined on street food, although I didn’t go Thai–an egg burger and a chicken kabob. Both were good, at least as far as my drunken palate was concerned. There’s a massage place next to my hotel, so I popped in there on my way home. As I perused the menu I was told they were offering a “two for one” special. I asked, ‘what’s that?” and was advised four hands for the price of two. I’m never one to refuse a bargain! But truthfully, those extra hands were a bit distracting. I’ll stick with one set in the future.
Got up this morning and took my dirty clothes to a laundry service. Because it is hot and I sweat a lot, I normally have to change twice a day. Rather than carry a big ass suitcase I generally just take advantage of getting them washed and folded for less than I hand out in tips to bargirls. Then I went out in search of breakfast. I took careful note this time of where I was and identified specific landmarks along the way to ensure I’d find my way back without incident. And at Jolly’s hotel and restaurant I ordered up a ham, cheese, and mushroom omelette.
After consuming about 2/3s of that monster I commenced to walking. Found my way back to Beach Road, which led me to Walking Street. Then I walked down a long ass pier. Here’s some of what I saw along the way:
Made my way back and although I didn’t leave any bread crumbs along the road, I feel confident now that I can manage to get home tonight without being lost. Even when I’m drunk, and odds are good I will be.
After a nice long walk it is important to re=hydrate. And so I did.
Kevin asks in the comments to my previous post if I’m going to be doing anything more interesting than drinking beer, such as riding an elephant. Probably not. When I travel alone I don’t usually go for the touristy stuff. Mostly because it underscores the fact that I’m, well, traveling alone. I’m content to just go walking about and taking in whatever I come across. Although I do prefer to avoid getting lost. And the drinking helps me forget about being alone. And as long as you are buying lady drinks you can pretend that you are not.
Stay tuned for a report on Walking Street at night. God help me!