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Pattaya, Thailand

Thursday, March 10, 2011 5:08 PM By Stephen J Christophers

Paris and Shanghai, in the 1890s; New Orleans and Chicago, in the 1920s; London and L.A. in the 1960s; New York, in the 1970s; Amsterdam in the 1980s and 1990s; such is, Pattaya City, in the year 2557/2014.

The bohemian nature attributed to this city and its night-life grew from a combination of elements: a sleepy fishing village once frequented as a holiday retreat from the bustle of Bangkok; a rest-stop for servicemen fresh from the jungles of Vietnam; and a mecca for those people who drove the advancement of its [now] draw-card lifestyle. Pattaya is a city that houses an abstraction of cultural elements, a formula for a vibrant cultural scene; and those who contribute to the abstract city lifestyle, sex, the arts, leisure and entertainment. From cabaret shows at the infamous Tiffany's, to the delicacies of the roaming bug-wagon; street art and merchandise among a twisting labyrinth of alleyways behind Walking Street; the Soi's (streets), where one might revel in the action of low market strip joints, and where modern classics by Lady Ga-Ga and Rihanna move the young and the restless into hitting each other with rubber bats. One should not forget - and it is the trick of the town - the street theatre that is walking, Walking Street, after midnight. A commercial gallery of freelance personalities, whose performances and attachments, leaves one hunting for adjectives.

The city inhabits a level of existence all of it's own, after dark. Somewhere between a cartoonist rendition of modern pompas extravagance, and the neolithic period. Pattaya delights in that contrast, all too well. Deferred by societies of more moral under-tones, and being, in states of more relative advancement one presumes them to be in comparison. Being of the wisdom, social immoralities are exclusions, one prefers to hint at amongst the moral elite in an attempt to sell you pop-corn chicken, diet supplements and car insurance. Pattaya does, teasing social moral values, rather than indulging them. While more modern cultural trends have less of a benevolent view to such eccentric behaviors. Pattaya culture seems to take light of it, while also being so normal. One can indeed, if one wishes, cruse the trendy shopping malls for Prada or Hello Kitty. On most accounts, with all their worth, beyond here sees cumbersome replication, farcical and parody to say the least: the fancy dress party; a group of footy players in drag - you get the picture. And when compared with the goings on amongst the glitterati and in-formalities which occurs on a daily basis here, a sense of reality occurs, no longer a detachment, as uniformed show girls sporting provocative and racy Cosplay attire shop for noodles and Coke at the local Family Mart.

In Pattaya anyway, the make-believe becomes reality; make-believe is the undercurrent of the town and the norm. If not a function of high art in being, or the exclusiveness of venue, the fortunate place for revilers, the rich, the poor, the parliamentarians, have all been caught up in it. And thus, in the search for words, those that one might craft, with giving respect to its cumming and goings - and the like - might hitherto meander the pavements of Walking Street after midnight to experience the enchantment of it all, this compelling city, a continuum of abstract-reality better experienced than alluded to.

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