Old Patong has it’s share of beach boys.
Some were the guys you still see walking through the sunning tourists, most selling hammocks, Thai novelties, and sometimes GEMS!
Waree, a Muslim trader we’d known for years in Old Patong always made a good living with the tourist trade. Once in a while he’d find a tourist green or greedy enough to buy one of his GEMS. These “jewels” are the colors of the rainbow, which were usually secured inside of a metal throat lozenge box.
Watching Waree was always fun, we’d make bets in Thai Gardens or Paradise restaurants as to who might be Warees next “paying” customer[ie:victim].
Waree, ever smiling, casually approach the suntan oiled mark, his beautiful hammocks stretched out from arm to arm, saying “hand made, high quality as he reached the hammock into easy view, saying “sure, touch it, feel the workmanship”, many did, this was only Warees intro, soon he had his bundle of goodies laid out carefully on a big beach towel[which we had brought him from travels abroad], finally, Waree would catch the intended eye and looking carefully left and right, out the Sucrets box full of jewels!
The jewel sell was something to behold, any that have seen it would “know” these are real “precious” stones.
First Waree would take some cigarette lighter fluid and douse a stone, setting it ablaze, thereby proving it was not plastic, next Waree would pull out a small piece of glass, using one of the many stones to “cut” the glass with, then Waree went for the final sale with the incredible pricing of these “fine” gemstones which were available for “only” $500 for a rock the size of a rambuttan! Naturally “negotiations” would dramatically drop the price of anything Waree offered, from the 100 baht hammock to the priceless “diamonds/emeralds/rubies”, the sapphires were actually real,Waree said he bought them wholesale in Bangkok for less than 100baht per stone.
Every once in a while there was a fish to take the bait, one such “customer” was a worldly stewardess, she actually paid $500 for a rock and had the nerve to later complain about it to TOT. Course this made the Bangkok Post, bringing many giggles.
Other beach boys in Old Patong were the kind that had those flashy Thai good looks, wind surfers,etc, the tourist adored these guys and short pants romances bloomed along the shores of the blue Andaman Sea towards the bars and bungalows for a weeks holiday from the drudge of reality. One such beach boy we’d known for years, got married each tourist season, sometimes the nuptials lasted through another tourist season, but not usually…
While most of the beach boys were locals, some expats were certified beach boys and lived, more or less, off the kindness of strangers.
Old Patong, where everything wasn’t as it seemed and where the hand could be quicker than the eye…:-)