There are many more tourists in town than a week or two ago. The night market street is now as busy on weeknights as it has been on weekends. Guesthouses and restaurants that have had their steel security doors rolled down since I’ve been here have opened, cleaned up and are attracting customers. Restaurants that have been getting by on the patronage of local foreigners now have adorned their tables with flowers and candles to attract passers by. The bar area in the tourist district is the busiest I’ve seen it, by a factor of 3. Two weeks ago the staff in a bar usually outnumbered the customers, now many of the places are at least half filled on a Friday night.
The mix of people has changed also. Fewer retired Scandinavian couples, more small groups of mates and pairs of older couples. Not as many tanned people and more who have gotten too much sun lately. Even the backpackers are different. Before they were usually seen in twos (M/F or F/F), dressed like they wanted to be extras for the movie The Beach, and with a cool that has come from having seeing it all, or pretending to have seen it all, or the permanent change in brain chemistry from too much weed while too young. Now it’s ordinary young adults who just happen to be carrying their stuff in a backpack.
Hasn’t had any effect on me other than having more businesses to choose from. It’s been too cold and windy to lie in a beach lounge chair and read, so I’m curious to see how well known my seemingly little known spot is.
Back in July I wrote about changing my life long tipping policy and it’s positive effects on the waitresses and myself. They remember I want no ice with my water, only a little garlic with the greens, to bring beer with the food and not before and so on. One coffee place usually has a paper for it’s patrons but I often bring my own. On the days we both forget to buy, one of the servers heads across the plaza to pick up the Bangkok Post for me. Now that places have gotten busier I wonder if my patronage is going to be rewarded with any sort of preferential treatment. I’m not hoping for or expecting it, it’s just another opportunity to learn something about Thais.