There is untold violence and intimidation happening in the sois of Thailand which threatens to destroy all the other beautiful things about the country and its people. It used to be that in a place like Pattaya there would be a cacophony of noises, from bars, from street vendors and the ever-present motorbikes. The noise level would be tolerable and most of the music emanating from the bars would be over by midnight, thus making it possible for the hard working tourist to get some sleep.
This has changed, though. The Thai fondness for loud noise has reached new heights _ or decibels _ and their respect for the well-being of others has reached new lows. This has resulted in loudspeakers the size of small houses being erected outside bars in narrow sois, blasting noise (formerly called music) with a heart-thumping bass that makes walls reverberate and beds shake. What it does to the hearing of the people close to the loudspeakers is no secret and one can only hope that they will be able to communicate by sign language later in life.
Sometimes, specially rigged trucks will even be parked in front of the bars with the power and sound level of small atomic bombs. They terrorise the neighbourhood, with all its hotels and paying guests, until well after midnight.
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