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About Kerryd

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  • Birthday 04/27/1961

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  1. Lol - back in the late 90s/early 00s, bars could stay open until 6 am and re-open again at 10 am ! I think the 4 hour closure was meant to allow all the other businesses a chance to bring in new stock, get rid of garbage, clean the streets, etc, etc. I remember leaving bars at midnight to go back to the hotel and then jogging past them again at 6 am. (I was still in the military and needed to keep in some kind of shape so I wouldn't die when I got home !) The same girls still working at the bar and in some cases, the same drunks still anchoring the same bar stools ! Many bars had 2 shifts of girls. The 10am-8pm crew and the 8pm to 6am crew. (I'd noticed that the "day" staff tended to be mostly women that either didn't want to be bar-fined or would rarely even be asked while the "night" crew usually had the better looking women who tended to be more "available".) Many bars never actually closed. All they did was put the customer's "bin" cup below the counter. If the police came by they'd say the customer was just finishing his last drink (even if it was 2 hours past the time they were supposed to be closed). In Western bars (at least in Canada) it used to be that come closing time, they'd turn off the music and turn on all the lights. In Thailand they would turn the music down and the lights off to make it harder to tell that they were still open. I stayed at a hotel down there once, close to the "Buddha Tree". They built a roof over the soi the hotel was on, then they put some stuff in the middle of the soi, then closed the soi off altogether and now that area is basically a bar. (You can still see where the soi used to be by the gap in the sidewalk across from the Sir Marlow clothing shop close to the tree.) Used to be a lot of Arabs in that area for awhile as well. The hotel was having problems as they could only rent rooms on the south-west side of the building. The north side rooms were exposed to the very loud (blaring) music from the various bars on Walking Street all trying to outdo each other and the rooms on the south-east side had the same problem from the Arab bars. The only time anyone could get any sleep was in the 4 hour window from 6am-10am and without fail, within a minute of the clock hitting 10, the loud music would start blaring again. That was before they decided to change things and make everyone close at 2am. They sort of enforced it for awhile but within a few months a lot of places were open to 3-3:30, some were quite "open" about it while others at least pretended that they were closed. (Honest ! It was just that their staff were very tired and were taking a long time to clean up, change and leave after their shifts ! Jing jing !) We used to ride down to Soi Diamond and park the bikes in front of a go-go owned by a friend of ours. We'd tour up and down Walking street until the bars closed, then move down in front of a restaurant owned by another friend. Some guy had one of those portable "bar carts" that he'd set up in the entrance way to the restaurant (and we could still use the bathrooms which was a bonus). Then we'd watch the stream of girls going home and maybe try to pick up the odd cute one (weren't too many left at that hour of the morning). It was better than watching TV as well ! Downright hilarious at times. Round about 5ish, things died down to the point we'd usually call it quits and ride home. Yeah, that was before all the police checks and "20,000 baht" fines. It was also back during the times when 95% of the customers on Walking Street were Aussie/American/Canadian/Euro/Scandanavian. I seriously doubt extending the bar hours is going to attract more tourists, especially if they are targetting their tourism campaigns at the Indian/Chinese markets. You know, the people that AREN'T going to the bars and spending money in the first place ! (But some of them do seem to like "shopping" along Beach Road in the wee hours of the morning !) But of course, they (the authorities) DON'T want the people that DO go to the bars and DO spend money, because they are also the ones that all those poor farm girls from Isaan tend to fall in love with (right before the family buffalo suddenly falls ill) ! It's a double-edged sword. 10-20 years ago, Pattaya was making money like they were printing it on every soi. Many of the malls, condos and other establishments built recently were planned, designed and started back in that "era", when it seemed that there was no where to go but up ! I remember when I first used to hang out on Walking Street, there was barely a dozen "go-gos" and the street basically ended at that Big Buddha tree (wasn't anything past that worth seeing except a few shops and restaurants back then). A few years ago there were over 75 go-gos I think it was, not counting places like LK Metro. It was a big thing when the first "go-go" started up outside of Walking Street (at the beach end of soi 7 I think it was). Just like when the first one opened in Jomtien and on Soi Bhukhao. But things changed. It wasn't the bar hours that screwed things up though. It was the "demographic". A whole different type of tourist started filling the streets. Ones that either travelled exclusively in tour groups and spend almost no money at all, or travelled in small groups and spend even less. Friend of mine used to run 3 go-gos and 4 beer bars on Walking Street. He's down to one beer bar now (dropped the leases on the rest as they weren't making money anymore but the owners wanted to jack up the price anyways). Another guy sold one of his restaruants, which turned into an Indian restaurant which has closed and that area is now something completely different. Couple other guys closed their shops as they simply couldn't afford to keep them open anymore. When I talk to people that still have businesses down there, it's the same thing every time. Lots of people on the street - but almost no one spending any money ! And the ones that are spending money are from the "demographic" that Thailand doesn't seem to want coming here. (Contrast that with the crowd you see on soi LK Metro every night. I don't go there very often but when I do it reminds of what Walking Street used to look like.) I'm still waiting to see what transpires. On one hand, things could slowly, painfully, progress towards the "family friendly" resort that some envisage. However, there are already a plethora of those places around and Pattaya doesn't offer anything that those other places don't already have. Or there could be a shift in the upper ranks (of the "authorities") and some subtle changes that start reviving the "night life" aspect that made Pattaya famous in the first place. Look at Amsterdam. Or Hamburg (the Reaper Bahn). Or Budapest. They all have their "nightlife" and "naughty" sides, but also have an array of other attractions. Enough so that you can ignore the "naughty" stuff (or pretend to ignore, depending who you are with at the time) and still have a great time. Years ago we compiled a list of over 60 things you could see and do in Pattaya without going near Walking Street or a go-go/beer bar. I'm sure there are dozens of more things that could be added to that list as well by now. So basically, you don't have to kill of the the "naughty" side of Pattaya to make it successfull or to attract more tourists and changing the bar hours isn't going to help a lot either. You basically have to identify the demographic that is going to spend the most money while on vacation and target them with your promos. You don't even have to mention the "naughty" stuff. They'll find out about that on their own once they get here ! And then they'll probably be wishing they'd known about that sooner (as they start to make plans to come back again as soon as possible). It's been mentioned before though, targeting "quantity" over "quality" isn't going to cut it. Going after 10 people that might spend 1,000 baht in a week (combined) instead of going after 2 people that might spend 3-4,000 a night (each) might make your "Arrivals" numbers look good, but it sure ain't going to help your GDP ! But hey, read enough threads on TV and pretty soon you'll believe that all the "expats" have already left and that's why there's no one spending any money any more ! (Nevermind that all the people who claim to be leaving or to have already left are doing so - or did so - because they couldn't afford to be here in the first place and therefore probably weren't spending much - anywhere - to begin with !) I just hope it doesn't take another 10 years for things to get back to the "good old days" again ! Would be like winning the lottery - when you are too old to enjoy it anymore !
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