Apart from being the title of a Jack Reacher film, Never go back is an adage I’ve tried to apply to my life – not always with complete success, it should be admitted.
In the main I have tried to follow it in terms of employment. But on the two occasions I have broken my personal “rule” and each time I’m reasonably happy that the decision to return to a former employer has worked out.
On the second occasion I had left a company as head of design and returned as managing director for more than double the salary. Given I now earn about a third of what I used to I hope that this is not mistaken for gloating. More a sad reflection of where I find myself now. How the (once) mighty are fallen!
Still with the never go back theme … I have also tried to avoid returning to holiday destinations on the premise that if the location was great the first time, the chances of it being as good, or better, on a second visit are much diminished.
I have, of course, ignored the above in the case of Thailand. I started visiting in 2000 and returned several times before deciding to try to make a living in Pattaya. The adventure lasted about a decade. A very pleasurable decade, it should be said.
It was around this time last year that I decided that my time in Pattaya was coming to an end – at least for the time being. It wasn’t the easiest call I’ve ever had to make. I didn’t really want to leave, but finances dictated there was little or no alternative. A year down the line, I still feel it was the right call to make.
That said, back in June I opted to revisit the scene of past indiscretions and return to Pattaya for a holiday. And very strange the experience was, too.
For the first few days I felt like a fish out of water. Then, once my sleep patterns had adjusted to Thai time it felt like I had never been away.
I caught up with a few old friends and it was as if I had been gone for 12 days, not 12 months. It was good to catch up on the familiar groans about the daft acts of those in authority and their illogical decision-making.
The underpass at the top of Pattaya Klang, for example, looked very complete but it still hadn’t opened. I hope that by the time you read this that situation will have changed.
Why had it taken so long? Maybe TiT (this is Thailand) is the only credible
answer one can put forward.
Speaking of that underpass the signs seemed to indicate that motorcyclists will not be allowed to pass through it. Bet that’s a popular decision given the thousands of bikes on the city’s roads.
Several places I used to frequent had disappeared; some for purely financial reasons, one or two linked to salacious stories about wrongdoings on behalf of their owners. Of course, to avoid falling foul of libel laws I can’t repeat them but I suspect many farangs based on the Dark Side of the city are familiar with them, anyway.
Little had changed.
I’m a little unsure that I felt as if I was on holiday. I was in Pattaya. The thing that felt strange was that I didn’t have to go to work.
I did spend one really nice holiday-style day when a colleague from the magazine and I went down to Mae Phim for an overnighter. A few cold ones on the beach followed by a nice meal in the company of an old mate from Finland, followed by a few more cold ones. Bliss! Not even being bit on the bottom by my mate’s German Shepherd dog could detract from it. The skin wasn’t broken and no harm was done.
A different old pal had won all his court cases. I can think of three off the top of my head. Lord knows what he will do with himself now.
Another is considering upping sticks and heading to Majorca. A third is wondering if he will ever be fit to play golf again.
It was good to catch up.
I managed to tidy up a few loose ends that I hadn’t been able to do from 6,000 miles away. A weight off my mind.
Of course, the time passed far too quickly and, before I knew it, I was having farewell drinks once again. A band of about eight ne’er do wells gathered for the occasion. One hardy soul who shall remain nameless tried matching our bottles of drink with a pint of lager every round. He was distinctly worse for wear by the end of the evening. Word has it that, apart from getting up to shout Huey and Ralph at the porcelain (look up Billy Connolly on the net for explanation), he spent the whole of the following day in bed.
This is absolutely par for the course in Pattaya. Not leaving your bed for a day because you’re too ill … and the problem is?
My how I miss my time in Pattaya and envy those who have weathered the downturn storm. Will I ever return? Sure, at least for holidays. Permanently? Well, never say never…
• Footnote: During my trip I failed to catch up with several friends simply due to lack of time. I intend to put that right next time I visit.