Living in Pattaya in 1969
by Jerry McFarland
(Danville, Indiana )
a friend on Pattaya Beach
In 1969 I was stationed at U-Tapao airbase but actually lived in Pattaya. A longtime friend of mine and I worked opposite 12 hour shift and were able to schedule our actual departure so that we could live in Pattaya and commute by bus to the base.
In those days there were only small hotels at the beach with the Nipa Lodge being the nicest and most expensive at about $12 per night. There were a few others like the Nipa Hut. I remember the Nipa Hut well because it was impossible to light your own cigarette inside. Four waiters would all rush trying to see who could light it first. The Nipa Lodge was a great hangout for single guys who like to try to pick up foreign guests (including stewardesses) who seemed to enjoy the break from Bangkok tourist areas.
In those days, my favorite pastime was to pick up a couple of local girls (who worked as waitresses etc. in Pattaya) and grab my friend and rent a small fishing boat to take us out to the Islands off the coast. We would take box lunches, a few beers and soft drinks and picnic for an afternoon. We also would go skinny dipping saying we were looking for exotic fish or whatever we could makeup. At the end of trip we would let the fisherman who took us out fish on his way back. He told us if he didn't at least try his wife would kill him.
Lastly I remember Suthep Iemisakul who at that time owned the Outrigger and Coral reef restaurant and night club right on the beach. He was a great guy and I can't tell you how many Irish Coffees I drank inside his establishments. I went back in 1973 and Suthep, of course, was still there, I understand as of just a few years ago,he is still there.
I would love to come back but I know it just can't be as good as it was there before.