I spent most of my stay in Pattaya hanging out in bars and pubs in the evenings and going out on day trips in the morning… I had been to the Crocodile farm, the tiger zoo, and the Alcazar cabaret show… I have also been hanging out in the beach for a couple of days, just reading a book and eating sea food… I guess what I am trying to say is that I have had a nice, and relaxing stay in Pattaya till then… and what was synonymous with the phrase nice and relaxing was that I didn’t really step out of my comfort zone.. One night while I was having my dinner at one of the beachside restaurants, I realised the cold hard fact…Pattaya seemed a lot like home, ..safe.. I needed to do something different… something a bit more Thai…

The next day, as I left the comforts of my hotel, I decided to make a quick stop at the nearby tour desk and see if there was something a bit more different that I could do that day… but, nope… the tours were filled with the same old tourist crap…. cabaret shows, zoos, museums, amusement parks, temples and stuff like that… hopelessly, I bought a ticket to that evening’s Tiffany show, which is the rival cabaret show of the Alcazar… (in hindsight though, there are more or less the same..)

I reached the beach, took my seat and sat there for a couple of hours… it was hot as hell, Thailand usually is in June… It was around lunch time when I got up and went to the nearby 7-11 to grab a bottle of water, some food and more importantly, some air conditioning… I wanted to get back to my seat quickly because I didn’t want some 80 year old White guy hogging the seat with his 22 year old Thai escort… 4 days into my stay and I was already getting sick of these old men…

As I stepped out of the shop with my shrimp flavoured chips and a bottle of coke, something on the nearby wall caught my eye… It was the pamphlet of some Muay Thai event that night… Thai and Non-Thai Fighters will be in action… but the event was scheduled to start at 8 pm at Fairtex stadium.. I didn’t know where or how far Fairtex stadium was.. I went back into the shop and asked where the stadium was.. it was 25 kms away.. So, I stood there sipping on my coke and doing the math in my head… it went something like this…

“the event is scheduled to start at 8 pm… but this is Thailand, so probably the event will end up starting at 9pm.. now if the stadium is 25 kms away, it will probably take me half an hour by a moto cab to reach there.. lets say there is a queue for the tickets.. 15 mins for that… another 15 mins for finding the perfect seat and getting a bottle of beer… so, I need to leave at 7.30 pm… but wait, I bought a ticket to the Tiffany’s show… it ends at 8pm… so, maybe I should leave the Tiffany’s Show 30 mins early… but what if the show is awesome! And I sure as hell don’t want to be rude to the lady boys… Muay thai or Cabaret… Muay Thai is a manly sport, a true Thai experience, and will be a lot of fun.. but Tiffany’s has music, involves me sitting in an air conditioned auditorium, I have already bought tickets to the show and I secretly love the cabaret! yeeaaaahh…. fuck Muay Thai”

So, that evening I went back to the hotel, to take a shower before heading to the Tiffany’s … the pick up was supposed to arrive in 30 mins.. So , I took a nice long shower and changed into something clean and non sandy.. but 30 mins went by and the pick up didn’t arrive…

40 mins… nothing

The show was supposed to start in 15 minutes and I was already starting to sweat again…. I should have been in the auditorium by now… I decided to quickly go to the travel desk… a new person was sitting at the desk… seemed to be Russian because she was reading a book in which the alphabets seemed to be inverted… I told her my situation, and showed her my ticket… She was “haa-alarmed”…  Apparently the guy who booked the ticket in the morning forgot to book me a pickup… I told her to either arrange something in the next 5 minutes, or give me my money back… She said she can do neither… WTF! Worst travel desk ever…

I told her in my angry tone that I want to see the show from the beginning and clearly, I cannot make it in time tonight.. She called her supervisor and told him in an alien language how an Indian was bugging her over getting late for a cabaret show (I know I should be embarrassed about that)… I spoke to the supervisor and it was the guy who booked my ticket… He told me that he was sorry for the whole mix up and offered me tickets for the next day’s show.. I was a bit let down, but I agreed… So, I got my new tickets to the next days show and I was promised that the pick up will arrive at my hotel 30 minutes before the show.. (It didn’t… but thats another story)..

So, now that it was clear that I wasn’t going to the Tiffany’s, I decided to hire a moto cab for Fairtex Stadium.. So, we zoomed through the tiny little beachfront roads  and reached the Fairtex in 20 minutes… cost me 50 Bahts… but the driver got a cut out of my ticket price from the stadium… and yes, these people sell unreasonably expensive tickets to the foreigners.. the ticket cost me 1200 bahts…

I went into the arena and took ring side seats… I had my own little table.. and a waiter came instantly to give me a complementary bottle of water.. I looked around, the stands were packed with Thais… shouting at the top of their voices… betting! It was hot and I was sure the humidity wasn’t doing them any favours… they were sweating but they didn’t care.. all they cared about was to make the perfect bet and there was only one way of doing that… SHOUT! I didn’t really understand how the whole betting scene worked, but it seemed to be an organised mayhem.. So, I decided to sit back on my comfortable seat, stretch my legs on the small table and pantomimed the waiter for a bottle of Chang Beer… Ahh…I was Mr Burns for a night.. Excellent!

A big strong western guy was sitting at the next seat with his Thai escort… next to him sat a big European group of 4-5 people…(how did I know they were Europeans? They looked lost!) On the cheap seats next to the Thais sat a couple of white guys, taking pictures… On the far end, there was another white guy, sitting alone.. why do I remember him? He looked a bit like Leonardo di Caprio.. at least from my seat he did…

The loud bagpipe music started and the first two fighters entered the ring.. they were two kids… Boring! Second fight. Another kid fight! I looked at my watch, it was 10.30 pm… I could have been at the walking street having a Chang Beer watching a ping pong show or listening to some live music… 3rd fight… even worse, a girl fight… 4th fight.. a little girl fight…(are you kidding me?).. eventhough, these girls and kids were fighting as per the Muay Thai techniques, I really didn’t give a shit… I came to see a real fight… I wanted to see faces getting smashed, bones getting fractured.. I wanted to see blood…. I sure as hell didn’t spend my 1200 bahts to watch two little girls, who probably go to school with Hello Kitty lunch boxes, fight…

Then business started picking up.. 5th fight was between a Finnish guy and a Thai…needless to say, the Finnish guy got his ass whooped… Nice! 6th Fight- An Arab and a Thai.. the Arab guy’s coach threw in the towel because he hurt his leg in the middle of a round.. The Arab was pissed.. the whole event was evoking strong reactions from the people sitting in the stands… the noise was deafening.

So, it was 2.30 am by the time the event ended… and I had serious doubts on whether I will get some transport back to my hotel especially because, the Fairtex was located in a sleepy little corner of the city. I asked a Thai and he told me to check near the bus stop some 200 meters away… it was dark and there was no one else around… most of the people brought their own transport, and it seemed like I was the only guy in a shitty situation… So, I walked for a while through the dark alley and reached the main road and asked one guy where I can get transport… luckily he guided me to the right direction and I found a couple of moto taxis waiting… hired one for double the price I paid before and we zoomed off… Man, if you thought Pattaya was creepy during day time, it does not any better at 3 in the morning… the roads were empty.. the 7-11s seemed to be the only things that were  awake… I didn’t know which part of town this was but I never thought Pattaya ever slept… but apparently it did.. Then, we drove into the weirdest street I have ever been to … loud music, pink neon lights and people. Gay People.. surrounded by pubs with weird gay names, the whole street seemed like a male version of the famous walking street.. there were guys dressed in weird costumes roaming around the street trying to get people into their show.. All of it was a huge cultural shock for me because I have never ever seen gays in their element.. It was weird… thankfully, we drove off the streets within a few seconds and we were back to seeing big hotels, 7-11s, pubs and restaurants…

We reached the beach road within a few minutes and I was dropped off at a pub near my hotel and I went back to my hotel after catching a quick bite, and a drink… As I entered my hotel, the receptionist looked me and asked

“Walking Street?”

“No, Fairtex”

“What?”

“Muay Thai”

“Ooooh.. you want to order massage?”

“No!”

Disappointed, he went back to whatever it was he was doing on his laptop…

So, even though Muay Thai didn’t turn out to be all that I hoped it would be, it turned out to be a nice enjoyable evening…. I left two days later after getting sick of disgusting 90 year old white men roaming around with girls one-fourth their age… Fucking Farangs!

 

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