Two Peas in a Pod
One sunny day on the island, after being startled by a falling coconut on the roof of a nearby car, I somehow flashed on an expression my mother used many times.
Explaining in practical vegetable terms the similarities between two identical people.
Despite the recent strike by Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales, I managing to manoeuvre around the wonderful Web of useless information and found the term could be traced back to the 16th century.
Or so the Internet said. Do you really believe everything you read? Well, I guess some people do, the ones who watch Fox News or believe that politicians never lie.
But my two P's in this case are Phuket and Pattaya; by the numbers Thailand's two leading resort destinations. Phuket last year had more than 4.2 airport arrivals and Pattaya recorded over 7 million visitors.
We could go acronym wild with the key demand driver of the 3 S's – sun, sand, and sea – but let's face it (sorry, Chiang Mai), if you aren't in Bangkok the great leisure escape in Thailand remains the beach.
With global warming, there are those who are currently buying up land in Isaan, betting on a gigantic rising of sea levels, but somehow they might have been confused by the recent flooding.
A few weeks ago on a research trip to Pattaya… Actually, let's stop there. Somehow, just saying that phrase puts you on your back feet, stammering and feeling the need for further explanation. Frankly, no one believes I was there conducting any type of legitimate daytime activity. But I was. Really.
Meanwhile, back on the Eastern Seaboard the towering high-rise monsters are astonishing. Sales decks of condo projects teeming with customers, all queuing up to buy 22-square-metre condos for just under Bt1 million baht.
I remember the hordes of prospective buyers in Phuket in the mid-part of the last decade. But they were spending a good amount more money and much larger spaces.
Has the world turned upside down?
Well, yes and actually as one developer put it mildly – "22 square metres is too large, we want to move down to 20, that'll do".
Market mixes in broad terms seem overly simplistic – 50 per cent Thai and 50 per cent Russian buyers. I hate to generalise but bizarrely enough I can't count on all my fingers, two and whatever else is laying around how often I heard exactly the same thing from project sales staff.
Perhaps it's choreographed or they all attend the same night school. Though arguable, in Pattaya night school may be out on spring break.
Certainly Pattaya is on a parallel course given supersonic access on the expressway and attractive shiny new malls like Central Festival. Thais love to come down, stay a few days, have a seafood dinner and apparently buy a miniature condo.
Returning to the other P – Phuket – it's a bit of dj vu, as Sansiri launched its second dCondo project, supersizing from 28 square metres and yes, of course, prices start at under a million baht.
Is it coincidence or is this a case of two peas in a pod? I'll let you decide.