Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Bangkok Post: Day 12

I had waited for this sunday for the whole week; the sunday when we had planned a trip to Pattaya, the tourist destination famous for its beaches and night life. Starting the drive from Bangkok at around 7:45 am, we reached Pattaya in about 1.5 hours.

Nong Nooch Tropical Garden & Resort

This was our first destination in Pattaya. Its a huge garden located in the midst of hills on all four sides with acres and acres of plants, flowers, trees, gardens & a variety of vegetation. The greenery around coupled with colourful flowers, birds and buterflies makes it a truly mesmerising experience. The trees are maintained and grown intricately, with careful considerations of their shape, size and expanse. With a mellow breeze for our company, we took a 'skywalk', an elavated walk around the place... enjoying the view from the observation points, a vantage point for shutter-bugs like me!! We enjoyed places there like the Orchid Garden, Palm Garden, the Cactus Garden, etc.

Elephant certified!!

The place also had other attractions for tourists like elephant treks and a Thai Cultural show depicting dances and other cultural performances of Thailand. But the best of them was The Elephant Show!! The show with a variety of performances by the elephants, with all types of tricks up their sleaves...er...trunks! Here you can expect all kinds of performances by the elephants... riding tricycles, playing darts, football, basketball, bowling, dancing and even painting. The show also had performances where volunteers from the audience were called. In one such performance, I jumped in to be the part of the act. The act consisted of people lying in the path of an elephant at certain distances from each other. The elephant then walked over the people, teasing them while he crossed over them. While coming across one such lady lying in the path, the elephant raised his trunk and started thumping it on her chest quite a good number of times! The audience was laughing and clapping. Lying there at the last end with my head turned sideways, I was seeing this act of the elephant & was laughing while awaiting my turn. Laughing because it almost looked like an A-rated movie with hordes of people young and old watching it as a funny act!

Finally it was my turn. The elephant came to me, and raising its trunk, brought it down on my pelvic area and started tapping it (yeah yeah...not thumping it ;-)) After doing a little tapping till it was 'satisfied' with the apparent 'check' there, it raised its front right leg and teasingly brought it over me as if it was going to bring it on me, then circled the leg a few times in the air, with its trunk following the same motion and then crossed me. I dunno whether this was in appreciation or that the elephant was doing this action so that it would ward off evil eyes (in India we have a practice of warding off evil by doing a similar action, called 'nazar utaarna'). Mama, mami and mom were laughing out loud. Mama quipped in saying that I had been thoroughly checked and certified by the elephant and that she made sure to ward of evil eyes from me. I then wondered if the elephant was 'he' or 'she'! I told mama that I didn't notice that aspect, to which he replied that if it was a 'he', he would have tapped you and then put his foot on your pelvic area! Males hate competition, he added! ;-)

Mom shot this whole series of action I just described above, but I can't put the video here for 'obvious' reasons. I will share the video with my friends in person and then again laugh out on the elephant's 'seductive' prank!!! he he he...

The beach!!

After moving out from the Nong Nooch Garden, we came to Jomtien beach, a little away from the main Pattaya beach. The Pattaya beach is a crowded one with tourists flocking it, so mama made a decision to bring us to this beach. We had our lunch at a joint on the opposite side of the beach road & then came to the beach. We booked beach chairs for us and left our belongings with mom and mami. It was time for mama and me to hit the water. It was such a good feeling for me... being in the sea water after so many years. Even though Mumbai has a long stretch of coastline, I never feel like even putting my feet into those waters. Bombayites would know the reason why! We enjoyed an hour's dip in the blues and while we were about to come out, mama felt something under him. Reflexively, he put his hand out there and the next moment his palm surfaced with a starfish on it! We both were thrilled and decided to take it to the beach to show it to mom and mami. Mom took photos of us and the starfish (see picture above) & it was quite an experience for us. We again went back and left it where we found it and returned to take a shower & change for the rest of the evening.

The Pattaya Nightlife

Mama then took us around the Pattaya beach road to show us the town's night life. Pattaya is world famous for sex tourism and the town thrives on it. Here you can find all types of 'entertainment' for yourself. He showed me the street-side pubs and beer joints, acquanting me with what goes around at such places. Girls deck up the chairs at such pubs which are covered in pink light, which would give anyone a spooky feeling. If you go into one such place and order a drink, and happen to talk with the girl next to you, it goes without saying that her drink is on you. And then I need not specify the 'services' you can have from her. Such 'pick-up' places are all over Pattaya's beach road. There are regular sex parties, foam parties and all kind of sexually explicit entertainment. Sex tourism is rampant and even for the blind to see. The food joints here also have names in accordance with the theme of Pattaya's night life. For instance I came across a restaurant named "Cabbages & Condoms"! I later came to know that its one of the best places for food in Pattaya...whew!!

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