We returned to Bangkok for a day and bid farewell to Kelvin, who had to fly to New York on business. Interestingly, his work took him to Stonybrook, which is right near where I lived as a child. I’m sorry I couldn’t show Kelvin around my old stomping grounds the way Jaa showed us around hers; maybe someday I can do that, but I don’t think I can top Jaa’s famous half-day walking tour of Trang (see the earlier posting The World Decides To Amaze Us Even More).
We considered ourselves on vacation from the honeymoon—basically, taking a break from scenic and cultural highlights. Sometimes we stayed inside the cool apartment, resting and writing and eating Thai dessert treats for breakfast. Sometimes that meant restocking depleted toiletries, fixing things that were broken, and running other errands. Sometimes it meant going to a beach selected for its convenience rather than its aesthetic values. So, no photos from this period (the cover image of this post is actually from Railay Beach).
The weather was very hot, so we headed out again, this time to spend a few days at the beach in Pattaya.
Pattaya is a coastal town, only two hours drive or so from Bangkok, that was once a very popular beach destination for families escaping the city for a holiday. But there is another side of Pattaya. It has long been a destination for tourists with particular tastes in the bedroom. This kind of thing is now illegal in Thailand, but that seems to impress everyone about as much as the traffic laws. Inland, Pattaya is a fairly normal Thai city, but almost the entire coastal strip is the province of bars and clubs catering to an unsavory crowd with sordid habits. Even worse, the Russian Mafia gained a foothold here in the 1990s; now they appear to run the town.
So, what are we doing here? Karel found a lovely, family-friendly resort with a private beach. It was reasonably priced and close to Bangkok, and we had Jaa with us to help us avoid stumbling accidentally into some place we really didn’t want to be. It was a very nice place, operated for 12 years by a couple: Mr. Rabbit is a Thai gentleman, and Mrs. Rabbit hails from Florida.
Of course, no one mentioned anything to me about the seedy aspects of Pattaya, and there weren’t many outward signs of it along the route to the resort in the mid-afternoon, so I was clueless. When we stopped at a 7-11 (yes, they have those in Thailand) for a bottle of water on our way to dinner, however, I got a very bad vibe from the tourists in there buying toothpaste and snacks. Back in the car, I commented to Jaa that it sure was a skanky crowd in there — and that’s when all was revealed.
Rabbit Resort was an oasis of wholesomeness, and I was happy to stay put. We ventured out for excellent seafood and to swim in the ocean. We also attempted to find a music jam, which didn’t work out, but did result in a meal of delicious street food. There was only one negative incident, which requires a little background, so here comes the back story:
Karel and I brought along our iPhones on this trip, not for making calls or data usage, but for other functionality that they offer. We also brought along Karel’s old iPhone, which we were using to alpha-test the GPS tracking app that provides the green line on the maps on our blog. Karel’s iPhone was stolen while we slept on our flight from Los Angeles to Fiji. Mine disappeared from the bedside table in our (locked) bungalow while we were on a boat ride in southern Thailand. We’re convinced the housekeeper didn’t take it, and we have several theories about what happened, but my preferred explanation is this one: that monkeys, which were all around the place, made off with it while the housekeeper was cleaning. The idea that a person stole it from our room just makes me feel bad, so I’m sticking with the monkey story.
At lunch one day in Pattaya, Karel noted that we’d been traveling now for three months. “Only six weeks left,” he said. “It’s a good thing,” I quipped, “’cause we’re running out of iPhones.” Yeah, we all had a good laugh at that, especially when Jaa’s iPhone rang at that moment.
When we returned to our resort, Jaa checked the time on her phone and realized she was supposed to be on a Skype conference call. She grabbed her laptop and went down to the swimming pool area, where the wireless connection was strongest. When she returned a short time later, she was going to hand me her phone so I could call my friend Mew, in Bangkok, and realized she must have left her phone on the chair near the pool. Guess what? It was gone.
Here’s the stupid thing. You can try to locate your phone with apps like Find My iPhone; you can send instructions to display messages like “I’m lost. Reward for return. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.” You can try to lock it remotely so no one can use it. But all these measures only work if your phone is on, activated, and has service wherever it is. If it’s in airplane mode (which mine and Karel’s were when we lost them), if it’s out of battery or turned off, if you didn’t happen to activate service or data roaming while traveling, these measures won’t help you.
Does anyone know how to overcome this problem?
I felt terrible about Jaa’s phone, but she was philosophical. It’s just a thing, and it’s replaceable. That’s the right attitude.This entry was posted in Honeymoon 2013