Being foolish, going crazy or just plain drinking too much is nothing new, it certainly was a common topic in Old Patong.
Abuse through booze, drugs, jealousy, envy, or even food would relegate the mighty to the meek over time.
Seeing a continual parade of those seeking something different from the “normal” was Old Patong.
Be they from the village or the throngs of tourists, travellers, and ExPats that frequented or actually lived in Old Patong, the stories are many and the souls and lives lost mounting up.
The common approach was “not my problem”, most stayed out of others dramas, the consequences of trying to “help” at the wrong time were just an excuse for the malcontents to move in and take advantage.
Greed and envy seemed to be the number one problem, often fueled by booze. Most knew who the bad dopers were and stayed away from them, most of us were heavy drinkers, but few were the “mean drunks”, the majority just being happy go lucky pub crawlers.
I always thought of the those that got drunk and mean, beat up their wives or girlfriends, bullies in general, the majority would live to rue the day, in the end, most went insane or woke up with beer bottle bruises to their noggins.
At the time, the Thai rock band Carrabao[?]had a hot song out: “Made In Thailand”, it was sad that there was a need to acquire “foreign made” items by the locals, even if that item was originally made IN Thailand!
As the decade rolled on, my old Addidas or Reebok shoes had worn out, imagine two pair of shoes lasting 10 years! but, we mostly went barefooted in Old Patong, only wearing shoes when we went for the 90day Visa run or to the Immigration Office or into town. I went to Phuket town and bought a pair of “local” shoes of the same type/style, they were as good as any pair of sports shoes I’d owned, I also greatly liked that fact that they were 150baht!! I left my old shoes on the side of the road, but really, how many locals have size 11 feet?
Many were the tales of fools and their sanity going haywire in Old Patong, we knew most wouldn’t be around too long, the know-it-alls in particular were often the quickest to depart the area, we could see them coming, made bets on how long it would be before they were either arrested or exiled, there seemed to be a “leveling out” of things in Old Patong, sifting through the sands of the blue Andaman Sea, their time finally up, we didn’t miss them! Most of them, that is…
The day they found Dutch Jeff hanging from his balcony was sad indeed. The big Dutchman, like so many before him, fell victim to cruel depression. His saga was a mix of drinking, divorce, etc, in the end, another happy smile was turned into a crying frown.
His “bereaved widow” sold his giant book collection for a few months in front of Thai Garden, the circle repeated.
We had left Old Patong several months before this happened, things were rapidly changing there, the great influx of building, the beach road now little more than a race track, many of our old friends, local and ExPat had moved to greener pastures, gone home, been exiled or arrested or simply settled in Bangkok. Our decade in Old Patong was ending tragically and things were rapidly becoming another Pattaya or …worse. The insanity level had risen to oblivion, our hearts broken, we never returned…:-(