Foreign Correspondent: Michael Delargy, Pattaya, Thailand
Name: Michael Delargy
Age: 40 (and thanks for asking!)
Occupation: Hotel Manager
Where do you live and how did you get there?: At the moment in Pattaya, Thailand.
The route was a bit roundabout, from Dublin via London (where strangely I was introduced to Australian culture!) then into IT forsome reason and off to China. I stayed with IT, unsure that anyone else would have me and ended up on the road doing projects around Africa and the Middle East for Starwood Hotels & Resorts for a few years. My final IT role was responsibility for Asia Pacific with Starwood based in Sunny Singapore. After that I went back to hotel operations and joined the pre-opening team of Sheraton Macau, but when this halted temporarily I transferred to the wonderful Sheraton Pattaya Resort! And so here I am.
Why did you move there?: For work, General Manager at the Sheraton Pattaya Resort and loving it.
What do you love about your town/city?: So many people just think of red-light district when you mention Pattaya but I love the diversity. 25 minutes from Walking Street you can be watching a Royal Thai Polo tournament, be flying across the treetops on ziplines, watching the Pattaya tennis open or walking the dog on an empty beach as the sun sets over the ocean. I think it’s the great variety of activities on offer here.
What is the most frustrating thing about your town/city?: Probably the reputation of Pattaya. When I tell people where I live and work, there tends to be a brief moment of silence while they quickly make some assumptions about me!
What is the predominant faith in your area?: Buddhism
How does it affect your day-to-day life?: It really is inherent in the everyday life of Thailand and Pattaya is no exception. It is refreshing to see people carefully scoop up a stray ant and place it outside rather than roll up a paper and give it a smack. The worship of spirits is also intertwined with Buddhism and can be seen every day with the Spirit House rituals and prayers.
Please describe typical local food: While you can get almost all cuisines in Pattaya, some of the more famous dishes involve seafood since we are on the coast.
Are there any major attractions in your town? If so, what are they?: Walking Street tends to be on everyone’s itinerary, but people also add the Tiger Zoo, Nong Nuch gardens, all the sea sports, trips to the islands, Elephant Park, go-karting and golfing. The Flight of the Gibbon adventure flying through the mountains on ziplines is a must-do!
What do the locals do for fun?: Pattaya is definitely a party town both for tourists and locals alike. As well as sports and artistic pursuits, Pattaya people like to party. It’s not unusual to see people still laughing and dancing in bars and clubs at 6am.
Any tips or advice for people visiting your area?: (In addition to staying at Sheraton Pattaya Resort, the leading world class luxury resort in the region?) I would advise to keep a smile on our face, be open to meeting some very nice people, try the food, don’t get stressed and always make an effort to watch the glorious sunset. You’re in Thailand, and it really IS amazing.