The women ExPats we met in Old Patong were usually strong ladies, physically and mentally that decided for one reason or another to reside in Thailand.
A few were from the Displaced Persons Camps in the north, several from Laos, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Singapore, China,Australia, New Zealand, England, USA,etc,etc,etc. All were able to carry on and do it with style in Old Patong.
Many hired local men and women in their various business’, often working as “General Managers”, which if it be known, never worked, but never quit working!
Some started up cafes/restaurants/bars, others sang, wrote, acted as travel agents,etc.
They ranged in age from early 20’s to early 50’s, most were on their own, a few married local Thai men. Most were college or university graduates, some graduated from the “school of hard knocks”,all had beyond what was considered “normal” common sense, all were able to handle everything that traveling/living abroad entailed/offered.
Several were former Peace Corp volunteers, after doing their 2 years overseas, one in Malaysia, another in Indonesia, ended up on Patong beach.
Having resided in sunny southeast Asia for several years, these women knew how to barter and negotiate, “Asian style”[while smiling], how to make $ selling various goods, often imported from India or Indonesia where things were and probably still are “Asian-looking” and could be sold to travelers/tourist/locals easily.
One lady was a singer in the big Pearl Hotel in Phuket town, another lady ran a weekly radio program that was located on a tower high above the city park near Phuket town. Another gal, former bank clerk from Singapore made the best cookies and breads that she offered off to the many local restaurants/bars along Patong Beach. An English lady, born in the Raj of India, often wrote articles for the Nation or Bangkok Post.
A few ran “tour guide” type business’, little trips to James Bond Island, or the Chinese Graveyard or local Zoo or whatever and where ever the tourist would pay to go!
One bright Lass actually started a small tourist newspaper called “Patong World”, but us “in-the-know” smarties called it “FarangWorld” cause there was very little local content to it, mostly about the ExPat community[like THIS blog,eh…:-)…]in Phuket. One inventive soul started a tourist magazine where she sold advertising to local business’,then had it printed in Bangkok and shipped all over the Kingdom!
Patong Patty & I knew all these ladies and over the years became friends with them, we all contributed to each others lives as needed, mostly cordialities and “meetings” were at various watering holes up and down the beach.
Occasionally we’d even rent a Jeep and wander around the island. Back then, most of the roads were fair, even the dirt tracks not too full of pot holes, but most transportation was either on the back of a motorbike, which I never did or the local Baht bus, which could be “hired” for most any occasion.
Over the years, we saw about a dozen ladies come and go, with 6 living permanently most of the time we resided in Old Patong.
These women were extremely resoureful, with the minimum expenditure[more often than not],they carved a place for themselves in Old Patong, which was largely fraternalistic!
I admired their “stuck-to-it” attitude, where anything and everything was possible. Unlike many of their male counterparts, not one of them ever asked to “borrow” any money!!
Old Patong, where a person with an idea could get by and still go swimming most of the day!
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