Saturday, October 2, 2010

Then And Now: Pattaya

Pattaya in the mid-1950s

For hundreds of years Pattaya was a sleepy little fishing village along the Eastern shoreline of the Gulf of Thailand, no different than many others. The image I touched up from the internet (above) was identified as being taken in the mid-1950s, a mere handful of years before the first group of soldiers on leave from Viet Nam were turned loose on the unsuspecting natives on April 16, 1961. The place has never been the same.

Pattaya from Phratumnak Hill, 1970

George Bernard Shaw said "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man." That has proven true almost anywhere tourists have begun to regularly visit to see any exotic place and expect it to have all the familiar comforts and trappings of home.

The view in 1975

Bob Dylan said "Money doesn't talk, it swears obscenities" - and that is also a regular truism, but it's not my place to say if Pattaya has been spoiled by military groups on R & R, tourists of all stripes and/or the Thai themselves who share the responsibility for encouraging still more to come to town.

My photo from Buddha Hill in 2004

I'm not pointing a finger at anyone, but while I gladly return to some of the more tranquil parts of Pattaya its my own opinion that on the whole tourism hasn't been altogether the best thing to happen to the place.

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