|A vertical panorama of some of the trees along Beach Road, as they looked earlier this year.|
One of my favorite walks when I'm in Pattaya has long been the uninterrupted path along Beach Road, upgraded to a paved walkway a few years back. It's somewhere along about a four kilometer (2.5 mile) walk, depending on where you start and stop.
Earlier in the morning and early evening are my favorite times, but if it isn't too hot later in the morning or afternoon would usually work, too.
Until recently, I hear.
Some time back the city of Pattaya began another of their well-intentioned but inexplicable public work projects: "trimming" the trees along Beach Road.
When I first heard about it I figured they'd just be clearing dead fronds from the palm trees or perhaps some of the lower-hanging branches that can be inconvenient for those who regularly use the walkway, but that wasn't it; they hacked almost all of the shade trees down completely, leaving precious little shade anywhere along the way. Many palms remain, but they don't give you much shelter from the sun.
|Photo from a post on the Thai Visa Forums|
I haven't seen it yet myself, but I'm not looking forward to it. The best picture I could find to illustrate the decimation was one posted on the Thai Visa forum, a site I thank for use of the image and freely recommend as a reasonably sane place to ask questions, do research for a Thailand trip and discuss all topics Thai. The link is now in the reference section to the right.
I've heard several opinions as to why they essentially clear-cut the area, and those tended to lean toward security. Evidently the closed circuit television camera (CCTV) viewpoints were being blocked, as was the light from the streetlights along the way, but it would seem to me that it would have been a much better idea to just lower the level of the lights, move the CCTV points or simply trim the branches that blocked the cameras.
It'll take decades for the trees to grow back again, even if clearer heads do prevail in the future. One of the less pleasant aspects of "Amazing Thailand," I'd say.