Thailand

EMILY: This is either the greatest steak I’ve ever eaten, or I’m so hungry, I’m delirious. Pass the horseradish, please.

LORELAI: I never knew you were a spicy girl.

EMILY: Oh, believe me, I can handle my heat. One summer when we were first married, your father and I stayed at this little village in Thailand where we spent two weeks eating viciously hot chillies and skinny-dipping.

Emily and Richard would have visited Thailand in the late 1960s, considered to be during the Golden Age of Tourism in Thailand. Westerners had been travelling to Thailand (Siam) since the 19th century, but it was only in 1947 that the first flights from the US to Bangkok began, when Pan Am offered it as part of its around the world ticket. By the 1960s, flights to Bangkok were cheaper and shorter.

The “little village” the Gilmores stayed in was almost certainly Pattaya – originally a fishing village with a perfect crescent of beach, only 99 miles from Bangkok, on a decent road. That made it very attractive to tourists, and by the early 1960s, some development had already begun. Today it is a modern city of more than 120 000 people with a very seedy red light district, and a major pollution problem. The once-pristine beach is now considered poor quality due to sewage dumping.

It’s interesting that Emily remembers skinny-dipping with Richard for two weeks, as he later has quite a different recollection. It is just possible that it was on this summer vacation in Thailand that Lorelai was conceived – she was born in late April 1968, meaning that she could have been conceived in July-August the previous year.

Note that Emily’s enjoyment of hot horseradish on her steak parallels Rory eating her French fries dipped in pepper and hot sauce. (And her love of Indian curry!).

[Picture shows Pattaya in 1965].

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