The past week has seen me hanging out in Thailand for the October school holidays. Yea for a week away from my lovable, but needy, students! I've been visiting my Thai friend, Wow (yes, that is her name! Well, sort of. Her actual name is unpronouncable by very American me, so that's what I call her.), After a few days in Bangkok, where I am sorry to admit I did not see any temples or historical landmarks as I was too busy browsing through the innumerable markets and malls for cheap knock-offs, we headed out of the city for the beach.
Pattaya is about 2 hours drive south of Bangkok and felt like home to me. The beach town felt like a slighter poorer version of South Florida, excepting the hazy mountains in the background.
The surreality began with the amazing amount of foreigners inhabiting the place. After coming straight from Dhaka, which has a notable lack of foreigners, it was a shock to see so many fair skinned people like me. The difference was most of these foreigners were retired, and may I add unattractive, European business men walking around with their younger, also unattractive, Thai girlfriends. Wow informed me that if I see an ugly Thai girl, it's really a girl, but if I see a pretty Thai girl, it's actually a transvestite.
Apparently Thai plastic surgury is remarkably good.
This brings me to the next part of my surreal experience. The night of our arrival in Pattaya I was acutely sick with traveler's stomach and feeling out of it, so when Wow announced we were going to spend the evening at a world famous transvestite show I decided I was hallucinating. Yet I wasn't and we proceeded to watch the Tiffany Show, a Thai version of Las Vegas show girls, ahem, I mean transvestites, perform amazing imitations of Tina Turner, Whitney Housten, and Marilyn Monroe acts. They were good. Pretty darn good. What further weirded me out was I found myself envying their gorgeous hairstyles and perfect thighs.
Now I've just arrived back in Bangkok and am questioning whether or not that abnormal Pattayan experience actually happened.