"Pattaya. Good for man. Not good for woman."

Pattaya is hardly at the top of tmost people's list of must-visit places. As the jolly taxi driver said pointedly on my way here from the Bangkok Airport: "Pattaya. Good for man, not good for woman." That pretty much summed up why men flock to this little Thai enclave. Here, the most typical scene one sees is that of a bar, with red light glowing, music of the seventies and the eighties blaring from the loudspeakers, and under a wideTV screen showing a recorded Premiership football match sit many middle aged Western men with one arm around the shoulders of a Thai girl and one hand holding a beer. Around them are other Thai girls who are either twisting to the rhythm of the music or waiting to flirt with other Western men passing by. Somehow, I feel a little sad for those merrymakers - men who look lewd and lost.

Somehow, the tropical and very affordable way of life here seems to work for many Western men, as there are lots of settlers here, many of whom appear to have a happy family - a young, docile woman for a wife and some kids too. There is definitely something in the laid back and very accommodating culture of Thailand that attracts some Westerners like honey attracts flies.

The way I see it, this is a culture that is almost an antithesis of the Chinese culture. While many Westerners would happily make Thailand their second home, how many would so consider China or Hong Kong?

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