After spending a night in Phuket Town, we decided that we needed to experience the manic insanity of Patong Beach. Let me say that Patong Beach certainly lives up to its reputation. The parties are loud, the drinks relatively cheap, and there are women everywhere. Imagine New Orleans at Mardi Gras mixed with Vegas glitz and a healthy portion of Atlantic City sleaze. But the first thing you notice about Patong Beach is how white it is. Apparently Germans and Scandinavians flock to Patong every year in droves. And the effect is readily evident: German biergartens, schnitzel on the menu, and lots of men in speedos -- *shudder*.
Unfortunately, what we couldn't get over was the obvious, in-your-face nature of the sex trade. Old, white men walking up and down the streets, in their hand was clamped the tiny hand of a Thai girl who could have been his granddaughter. In a word, it was revolting. Far be it from me to judge anyone, but let's just agree that if one can't get laid in one's own country, one should not fly to a different country and pay for sex. Good, now that we are all agreed on that we can move on.
Before summing up, I would be remiss if I didn't make some mention about the ladyboys of Thailand. These men are some of the most beautiful women Lizzi and I have ever seen. In fact, as we walked down an uncharacteristically sedated Bangla Road (Thailand holds dry elections, thus the night before it is illegal to serve alcohol, which is ironic, since it was the one night we planned to party, Patong-style), Lizzi noticed one exceptionally tall beauty, "He is WEARING that dress!" And he (she) was. Earlier that night, we had ventured in the Sphinx Theatre to see a cabaret show. In Thailand, a cabaret is an hour-long program of dancing and lip-synching to American pop hits. In short, it's wonderful and hilarious, and it was made even better by that the fact that we were the only two people in the theater. During the show, we would quietly ask each other which of the performers on stage actually had penises, and to be fair, we frequently couldn't tell, not that it mattered in the slightest, because the performance was phenomenal.
Patong Beach was just okay, although our hotel was outstanding, by far the best part about visiting Patong Beach. Like most beach towns, even in the States, everything is for sale, but the overaggressive touts for the restaurants, massage parlors, and taxis lost their appeal within minutes. Patong Beach was something we wanted to see for ourselves, and we did. I just wouldn't want to go back to see it again.