Pattaya, “The People’s Paradise” in Time

Not a perfect article, but evocative of Pattaya and rather amusing… the author, as usual, overplays the seedy side. It’s a lot of fun for other reasons, and incredibly inexpensive by US standards. Brief clip after the break, or better still check out the full article at their site.

From Time Magazine: The People’s Paradise
Love it or loathe it, Pattaya is where Asia’s mass tourism started

BY ANDREW MARSHALL
Asian Journey 2005 / Culture

If you’re reading this at one of Asia’s many spectacular tourist destinations, please spare a thought for the Russian city of Chelyabinsk. Isolated in the Ural Mountains, this military-industrial center once produced half the Soviet Union’s tanks—its nickname is “Tank City.” It has also been called the most contaminated place on earth. Chelyabinsk’s million or so citizens have endured three nuclear catastrophes, one caused by an explosion at a waste-containment unit, which spewed Chernobyl-level doses of radiation into the wintry sky. One of Chelyabinsk’s advertised tourist draws is “a visit to a treatment center for victims of radiation poisoning.” Spare a thought for Chelyabinsk, but for God’s sake don’t go there.

Very possibly the most beautiful thing from Chelyabinsk is a 24-year-old English teacher called Zhanna Balagurova. She is tall, blond and positively glowing—not with radioactivity, thankfully, but with the sheer, unalloyed joy of not being in Chelyabinsk. Zhanna is holidaying with her boyfriend Oleg in the sun-drenched Thai beach resort of Pattaya. It is her first foreign vacation.

“This is a great place for a Russian,” she beams. “It is warm, it has a nice sea.”

“And the whiskey is cheap,” winks Oleg.

Zhanna laughs. “And the Thai people are so funny and friendly and warmhearted. Not like at home. They seldom smile in Chelyabinsk.”

Zhanna sounds like she’s died and gone to heaven. But this is Pattaya, which is not only easier to get to, but with about 5 million visitors every year, probably a lot more crowded.

Much more at the URL…

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