He is a tall man with white, closely-cropped hair and a neat white moustache. His demeanour is solemn and calm and his clothes, while old, are clean for a person who has been sleeping rough for several years.
Originally from North Carolina he always carries a worn-out back pack and a plastic mat.
"I have shorts and T-shirts in my backpack for a change of clothes," he told Spectrum.
"On the beach, I sleep on the mat and my back pack is my pillow," he said.
He says he spends 20 baht to use a bathroom to shower and clean his clothes. His groomed appearance has the benefit of him being able to use toilets in shopping malls and restaurants. It also helps him avoid the suspicion of immigration police.
Sylvester is one of the growing number of homeless Western men who have turned their backs on their own countries for a life on the streets of Thailand. Some have alcohol and drug abuse problems and suffer from mental illness, while others arrived in the Land of Smiles hoping to find a Thai bride and start life anew (see sidebar).
The Issarachon Foundation, a charity which helps homeless people in Chiang Mai, Chon Buri and Phuket provinces, said last week that the number of homeless foreigners in Thailand is on the rise with an estimated 200 Westerners living on the streets. A quarter of those are believed to reside in Pattaya.
The foundation's secretary-general Natee Saravari said they are seeing more and more homeless Westerners who have separated from their Thai partners who gain possession of property bought in their names.
Mr Natee said that while 40% of Thai homeless people suffer from mental illness, most of the foreign homeless people had alcohol problems.
Sylvester used to work with a private company supporting US military operations in Iraq. While he worked in Iraq, he visited Thailand, mainly Pattaya, many times on holiday.
In 2009, when his work in Iraq ended, he came back to Pattaya and fell for a bargirl. Sylvester said he spent most of his savings buying a car and a truck in her name, but he lost them when the couple separated in 2011.
Despite his tourist visa expiring, Sylvester decided to stay in Thailand and survived for a brief period on the remainder of his savings for a while.
He never thought of returning home as no one was worried about him. "I do not have anyone in the US," he said.
Sylvester ended up living on Pattaya beach, selling recyclable waste he collected from the street or rubbish bins.
From time to time, people take pity on him and give him food, money and clothes. "On the beach, I have friends who are homeless Thais," he said. "We share food, cigarettes and some alcoholic drinks," he said, adding the alcohol helps him get a good night's sleep despite the mosquitoes.
He goes to the temples to ask for food when desperate, but has never thought of sleeping there.
"I have stayed on my own for a very long time. I do not want to depend on other people," he said.
Sylvester said his health is good and he has never visited a hospital or health centre in Thailand for treatment.
He is even planning for his future and hopes to qualify for an early pension from the US. "Next February, I will turn 62 and I will be entitled to pension benefits," he said, adding that he does not know how much he will receive . "My passport is valid. I have to solve certain problems including my overstay as well as finding a permanent address so that I can receive my pension while staying here."
He says when he gets his pension he will move to Nakhon Sawan where it is more peaceful. For now, he is happy living on the beach where he believes he is well-liked. "I have a good heart, I share whatever I have and I have never caused any trouble," he says.
SEEN BETTER DANES
Alex, a 40 year old from Denmark, met Sylvester in April and they have since become good friends.
Unlike his friend, Alex hates it when he is forced to sleep on the beach at night because he has no money. "I had to sleep on the beach twice. I could not stand it," he said.
Alex considers himself lucky, as he has friends in Thailand who from time to time give him enough money to rent a small room.
Before falling on hard times he worked in Bangkok at a language institution and a software company. He said he lost his job after his Thai girlfriend stole his personal possessions as well as company property.
He came to Pattaya with a Spanish friend who later went back home. A Thai woman helped him while he was lying sick on the beach and another relationship began.
But he decided he wanted to go home and contacted his mother in Denmark, who sent him some money for the air fare. "At that time, I did not realise that I had to pay a high fine for overstaying. I did not have enough money. I came back to Pattaya."
Alex admitted he lives in fear of being arrested and sent to the Immigration Detention Centre. The fine for overstaying a tourist visa is 500 baht per day up to a maximum of 20,000 baht. If caught, overstayers are detained by immigration until they can pay the fine.
"I'm so paranoid thinking that I'll be detained for years," Alex said. "Every time I spot the police or even guards, I quickly move away from them."
Alex said all he wants to do is stay safe until he receives enough money from back home to pay the overstaying fine and leave Thailand.
"I really want to go back home and never come back here," he said.
His daily routine is dull and starts with meeting Sylvester at the beach in the morning. Once the beach is covered in canvas deck chairs for tourists, the pair move to other areas such as shopping malls.
Alex said he knows two other homeless Westerners staying on Jomtien beach, 3km from Pattaya beach, but they do not associate much.
He believed the number of real longterm homeless Westerners in Pattaya is not that high. He says some tourists get into financial difficulties by overspending, women problems or drinking too much, but sooner or later, they receive help from families or friends and return home.
The head of the Tourist Police in Pattaya, Pol Lt Col Aroon Promphan, agreed that the short-term problem of penniless, homeless foreigners was the real issue.
He said the majority of "out-of-control" foreigners in Pattaya have valid tourist visas but no cash, as they have spent their money on alcohol or women.
"Most cases we can't really do anything about because they haven't broken any law," Lt Col Aroon said. "They have a valid visa, they have all the required documents and have not overstayed the expiry date on their visa."
However, farang bah (crazy foreigners) sleeping rough in Pattaya is one of the biggest problems damaging Thailand's tourist image, said Lt Col Aroon.
"I see many crazy, drunk, high on drugs and homeless farang in Pattaya," he told Spectrum in a telephone interview. "As we speak, there is a farang man with messy hair walking along the street and collecting trash to exchange for money."
Social worker Sunanta, who runs a small shelter with the Bannitmaitree centre, said she had assisted 15 Westerners over the past two years.
She also agreed that the homeless Western men were a transient population who had fallen on hard times after losing their money to Thai girlfriends or wives or spending it all on alcohol. She said they usually stayed until financial help was sent from their home countries.
"They are from various countries; Germany, Austria, Russia, Italy, the US and so on. Most of them can survive on their own. I provide them non-prescription drugs when they are sick with cold or fever, diarrhoea or rash," she said.
To survive, they eat left-overs at food courts or beg for food and money on the streets. Sunanta said as Pattaya was a tourist town and busy for most of the year it was easy to panhandle from tourists. "One went back home with financial support from a well-to-do tourist. Another one was offered a job and moved to Bangkok," she said.
Lt Col Aroon said there are no serious crimes committed by homeless farang. "But there are many times that they are attacked by bar owners," he said. "They go to the bars and order beer but have no money to pay for it. So they get beaten up and injured. I feel very bad for them."
Lt Col Aroon could not say whether there was an increase in the number of homeless farang, but added that the problem was worse in high season from November to May when there were more tourists in town.
He also believes that illegal drug use plays a big role in foreigners becoming unhinged when they arrive in Thailand.
"When they enter Thailand, they are still normal," he said. "But once they stay here for a while they become crazy or homeless. I think it's because of illegal drugs; they may use too much so they become mentally ill and run out of money."
THIS IS NOT THE WAY HOME
Lt Col Aroon said he worries about the harm they may suffer as a result of their mental illness.
"If they become crazy or homeless and end up getting abused or killed, they will turn out to be a victim of crime. Eventually, that will affect the image of our country. Thailand will be looked on as a dangerous place for tourists."
Lt Col Aroon said there is little Thai authorities can do. However, in the long-term they should review the visa process.
"The Ministry of Foreign Affair should have a better screening process for foreigners who want to come to Thailand on both tourist and retirement visas," he said. "It is too easy for foreigner to come and stay long-term in our country. Foreigners never have to declare their financial status in order to get a visa."
When foreigners break immigration laws or are in need of help, often because of poor mental health, their embassies are usually no help, he said.
"There have been many times when we have seized these people and made them contact their own embassy," he said. "We report that the person is in a situation where he cannot take care of himself.
"I sometimes tell [embassy staff] that their citizen has some mental problem and they have no money left. I ask them what do they want us to do with the citizen. The answer I hear back is, 'You don't have to do anything. We are not responsible for this kind of person."'
Sunanta said her private shelter was small and catered for homeless Thais, especially young ones who run away from government shelters. She added it was unlikely they could provide shelter for homeless Westerners.
"Regarding the legal aspect, we cannot provide shelter assistance because most of them stay illegally on an expired visa," Sunanta said.
"We would have to discuss the matter with the local authorities. We need their understanding and approval if possible."
Lt Col Aroon said sometimes the Tourist Police have to track down an unstable foreigner's family overseas as they cannot do it themselves.
He said they wanted to see improved cooperation with all embassies in Thailand to better address the overall problem.
"We should work together to avoid any further problems," he said. "The current situation seems like the governments of these people are pushing these people to be in our country and they don't want to take any responsibility for their welfare."
Sunanta took a more philosophical approach, asserting homeless Westerners almost always go home.
"They do not form a homeless community or stay here forever," she said.