Friday, November 25, 2005
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Last weekend in Kato Kinabalu I went on a Jungle Safari, it was actually pretty cool.
Most of it involved a trip down this river in the heart of deepest darkest jungle, as you can see from the first picture the jungle was pretty dense, there were seven of us on the trip so the boat was not too crowded. After a short talk about the do’s and don’ts o while on the trip we set out.
The first wildlife we saw were Long Tailed Monkeys, these were the size of a Cocker Spaniel, I would like to say they had a wild free look in their eyes, but it was more of a look for food from the tourist’s. One tried to jump on the boat but missed and got very wet, it wasn’t amused.
We saw loads of Water Buffalo, these suckers are big, we were told not even to engage in eye contact as this would piss them off. When they are pissed, they’ll come in the water after you, and at over a ton are capable of over turning it.
The main idea of the trip was to get a glimpse of the Proboscis Monkey. These Labrador sized monkeys have long noses and some of the males we saw also had other large protruding members! They were fairly cute, but very shy. The light was failing, which is the best time to see them. This meant it was very difficult to get a good picture.
As darkness fell we made our way on foot to the Lodge were we had a very nice Malay Buffet, full of spicy curries and fried meat. Very Good.
The trip back to the bus was done on boats and at night, this was well spooky, it also proved to be the highlight of the trip, as we were in a real dense part of the jungle there were lots of fairy lights in the trees. I thought it was a guide for the boats. Actually they were fireflies, hundred’s of them. I put out my hand and one landed on it. About the size of a bib moth, but at the end of its tail it gave out a luminescent glow. Amazing! All the way back to the Bus we were treated to a natural light show.
Well worth the fee, a good way to spend eight hours.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
I have played golf three times this week and as usual the game of golf is never predictable. Yesterday I had one of my best front nine’s ever, if I could have continued it on the back nine, a best all time score would have been a sinch. As anyone who plays this level of golf they’ll tell you that what you want to happen never happens. After four no returns and five mediocre holes all I finished with was sun burn. I hate Golf!!!
The weather at the moment is fantastic, because the rainy season is over the humidity levels are dropping, the days are fine and sunny. Very Mediterranean. Average daily temps are 33C and very pleasant. At night time temps have been slipping to below 20C. This is so nice, I almost feel cold. People tell me I’ll miss the English winter, err! No I don’t miss it in the slightest.
Whilst I was in Borneo last week I came across these two beers. Beer is not so easy to get hold of. The most readily available is Carlsberg and Tiger Beer (They call it beer not me). I came across these gems. Export Guinness is a very strong 8% abv. It tastes fantastic and goes down very well. The Anchor Beer is a weird tasting beer, tastes like a wheat beer put in a pleasant way. Obviously I needed a second, third and fourth opinion. Very Good.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Last weekend I had to leave Thailand to get my visa stamped. This time I was on my own, Nuch was up in the north of Thailand with her work. On the map it is on the right hand side level with the South China Sea title.
I chose Kota Kinabalu, before last Friday I had never heard of it. KK belongs to Malaysia and is in what we used to call Borneo. The fight is around 2-1/2 hours. I flew with Air Asia which is very similar to Easy Jet.
I arrived at around 21.00 Malay time; this is eight hours in front of the UK. After a very bumpy landing I looked out of the window and it was pissing it down! Great!!! By the time I got to my Hotel it had stopped raining. My Hotel was the Barjaya Palace Hotel. It was a very nice Hotel, a little bit too far out of town, but my room was very good and at only £18 per night including breakfast, not a bad deal. When I went down for dinner I was greeted with the sight of the bar. AND NO ALCOHOL! After a few minutes of shocked disbelief and the thought of the mistake I had made coming to Muslim country, I asked the waiter if there was any chance of a beer. Luckily the alcohol is kept out of site and is for foreigners only. Carlsberg too, things were looking up.
The next morning I took a taxi to the main beach, the beach was superb, clean and empty. The South China Sea is clear and warm, with loads of Islands just a short boat trip away. I walked round the Peninsula and was greeted by someone tried to sell me a deep sea fishing trip. I had a few hours to kill before I had another trip to go on, so off I went. We went all the way out past the Islands. We dropped anchor and got the fishing rods out and got fishing. Two hours later, not even a bite, the Skipper had caught three big snapper fish. Bastard! I returned to the Hotel and got ready for my Jungle Safari trip, which I will tell you more about in my next post.
Kota Kinabalu is a perfect holiday destination for anyone wanting sun and sand, but if you want anything more than a few drinks, the nightlife is a little sparse. It does however have lots of ideas for day trips;
Orang gutan Sanctuary
Hot Spring Waterfalls
One more thing, the Airport as you can see from the picture is very, very small. The facilities are shite, no Duty Free, no working toilets and no proper security. (Very Worrying).
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
To make matters worse, just across from us they have begun to build a new apartment block. Great, from 8 – 4 o’clock every day. Drilling bloody holes, making a noise and generally pissing me off. The guys sleep on site in this corrugated steel shack affair. So just to get my own back in my small mind, just before I go to bed, I turn the lights off in the Condo, stand on the balcony and lob half a dozen chunks of soil. The noise is amazing; it must sound like a mortar hitting the roof.
You may remember the small Gecko that as taken residence in the apartment, the other night I took a picture of it, Gordon as tripled in size. Nuch doesn’t like cats or dogs, but geckos don’t bother in the slightest. They serve a purpose, they eat most insects so keep the mozi’s down. I’ve worked out that if he keeps on tripling in size every three weeks, by the time I leave in January I’ll be calling him Sir.
As I write this I’m going to a supplier again, it is a four hour round trip, plus the time I spend there. I don’t mind, it must mean that I’m doing something right on eBay.
Talk to you all next week, I will have been to Borneo on my three monthly visa run, so I should have some good pictures for you.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Last week Dave from Huddersfield came to Bangkok on a holiday. He usually comes over only for business. This time he bought to friends, Jeff and Julie.
We met up on Sunday night after they had settled in to their Hotel. Jeff and Julie stayed at the Royal Benja. We walked up to Gulliver’s, a real good Bar on Sukhumvit Soi 5; it was good to meet up with Dave. Gulliver’s is a good place to start off in when you visit Bangkok, the food is OK, the beer is cheap and there are loads of working girls to keep your eyes busy. By the end of the night I had agreed to show them around a couple of the sights of Bangkok the following day.
On Monday I met Jeff and Julie mid morning and took them to Wat Po, via a rip off taxi ride. This involved getting a taxi to Wat Po, the taxi driver asked if we would like to go on a river taxi. We said yes, we arrived at the Pier only to discover they wanted 500bht per person to take us there. After a few chosen words we got in a taxi and finished the journey.
I think Wat Po is the best Temple in Bangkok, it is home to dozens of small Pagoda’s and more famously, a 40M gold reclining Buddha. If you visit one Temple then visit Wat Po. Its only 20baht to get in. Dave nursing a hangover met up with us there. I hope they were impressed with the Buddha.
We then used the river ferry to cross the Chao Prah river to visit Wat Arun. It is probably the most famous Wat, featuring on all Thailand Brochures. By this time I think everyone was getting Wat Sickness, so we headed to the shopping area off Pratunam. Jeff wanted a suit making. I took them to my Tailor at the Indra Regent called Madams. He was size up and
material chosen in about 15 minutes. Here I said goodbye, the following day they were headed to Pattaya and Chang Mai for four days.
The following Saturday Nuch and I met up with the trio in the Hard Rock Café, unfortunately their camera had been left in the taxi, all of the pictures from the holiday had been lost. Luckily it was the usual good night in the Hard Rock, there is always a top live band on. Tonight was no exception.
On Sunday I took Jeff for a game of golf at The Army Golf Course, he beat me hands down; despite a huge downpour and very slow play we had a good round.
Monday, November 14, 2005
If you come in as a tourist you automatically get a thirty day Tourist Visa, at the end of thirty days you have to leave Thailand through a passport control, enter another country and then return for another thirty days.
I managed to wangle a Non- Immigrant Visa. Thia lasts for a year and you only have to leave the country every ninety days.
This is still a real pain! Last time I went to Penang in Malaysia. I enjoyed Malaysia, so i'm going back shortly to renew my Visa. This time i'm going to East Malaysia, what we know as Borneo. The city is called Kota Kinabalu. It is next door to Brunei. For this trip I will be on my own. Nuch is away with work for the weekend.
I will do a full blog report after I get back.
Friday, November 11, 2005
Pattaya is really two different resorts. The Pattaya Beach part of the resort is where you will find most of the seedier parts of town, don’t get me wrong! It is a good laugh and you can definitely have a good night. (Especially if you’re a single bloke). However it might not be somewhere you talk your family, Pattaya beach is quite polluted and the beach as seen better days.
Just round the bay, Jontiam Beach is very different, it is more family friendly and the watersports are fantastic. The other month on a trip to Pattaya the accommodation we should have stayed didn’t materialise. We were forced to find accommodation in a rush. The Jontiam Beach Resort Hotel is right across the road from the Beach, although it was 21.30 when we booked in, we were given a warm welcome and also an excellent room rate. Only 2000bht per room per night. This is less than £30 to stay in a four star hotel and it included a buffet breakfast.
We had a huge corner suite, enough room to swing an Alsation round. There were Tea and Coffee facilities and a well stocked cheap mini bar.
In the morning when we opened the curtains, the view of the Beach was fantastic, as far as you could see the beach stretched into the distance.
I can only recommend this Hotel highly, the cost, service and location were first class.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Chinatown as the name suggests is the part of town where a lot of Chinese came to live and now call home. They have transformed it into a district that would not look out of place in any major Chinese City.
You know straight away you are in Chinatown, all the shop and street signs change, instead of being in Thai, they are in Mandarin. There are two main long streets, and between these run a warren of small streets full of markets. The Markets sell everything from food, hardware, dried goods and of course fake goods. Chinatown is a large wholesale area for all the fake goods, if you go to Chinatown, you will get some goods cheaper than you would get in the centre of Bangkok. The watch in the picture is a very good copy of an Omega, this retails for around £30.
Chinatown is most famous for its Gold Shops; most of the shops on the streets are jewellers. Gold is taken very seriously in Bangkok. All the pieces are the same price, they are sold by weight. The gold is 23.78carat, nearly pure gold. The weight is in units of “Baht” one “Baht" is 15.5oz of gold and at the moment costs 9100bht (£130) Quite expensive. The gold I bought in March only cost 8000bht. The idea is you buy as an investment or even an insurance policy. You buy when it is cheap or you have money and you sell when it is expensive or you are skint.
Some of the Chinese restaurants are fantastic, I guess very authentic and very reasonable. The food that is sold by the street vendors is equally nice and a fraction of the cost.
Chinatown isn’t the easiest place to get to and can be overwhelming with so many people in one place trying to make a living. Try to visit it though, the experience is worth it.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
This week as been very busy. Dave from Huddersfield briefly visited on Sunday and on Monday I showed Dave and two of his friends Geoff and Julie around a couple of the Temples of Bangkok. I will tell you more about it in a later post.
Nuch had Friday off work so we could go to the house and finally sign over the house to say that it was completed. This is the 4th time we have been up. It is silly things like windows sticking and settling cracks in a couple of walls. I also got chance to see how they actually build the houses. Across the road from us, they where building Town Houses. Basically they put down the foundations, then all off the walls and floors are pre-cast on site and just craned into place were they are bolted down. The roof is then welded in place and the tiles put on, Voila! The quality is not as good as a new house in the UK, but it is still very good, also a three bed Town House would cost more than £12000. We hope to be in by the end of December. We began to think about the garden, as you can see from the picture, its quite big. So we are going to have lots of fruit trees like Mango, Banana and Papaya.
I discovered a new fruit this week. A Salon looks like a peach and is the same size, it as a core like an apple and also a texture more apple than pear. The taste is more pear than apple and they are very juicy. Gorgeous!
My eBay is going well, if your into cycling or skateboarding, you will like it. You can find it on;
My eBay Page
Speak to you all soon, I hope Bonfire Night was not too noisy!
Saturday, November 05, 2005
I looked at my watch this morning and realised it was November 5th. Guy fawkes Night! I have not heard a firework in ages.
No Chav's setting them off four weeks before the date, no dogs barking and no idiots throwing bangers down my Alleyway trying to create a huge explosion. Oh how used to laugh at them.
Nuch can't grasp the whole concept of Bonfire Night, and in fairness I can't either.
So here is a competition: Why do we celebrate Bonfire Night? Is it to celebrate the fact that Guy Fawkes tried to blow up The Houses of Parliament or the fact that he was stopped?
First correct answer will receive a packet of dried squid sent to you by post.
Friday, November 04, 2005
"MAX" is by far the strongest that I have come across. Even though it looks fairly plain, like any other pick me up on the market the ingredients tell you your drinking a heady brew.
Glucuronoalcetone ( Sounds Interesting)
No natural shit in this drink, just pure get up and go. and all for a poultry 18p a can.
It also tastes great with a large Vodka on the rocks!!!!
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
What a strange week this as been, we heard that we were able to get a mortgage for the new house, which is a huge weight of my mind.
We spent most of the weekend looking for stuff we are going to need in the house. When we get the house it will be an empty shell, so basically we will have to buy everything. I’ve done a preliminary budget and I reckon it will cost around 200,000 baht which is just under £3000.
We visited a kitchen place and had a kitchen planned, a little shocked when it came out at nearly £2000, this was a hand built kitchen, not a flat pack budget number, but that figure would eat up 60% of the budget! We’re looking round for a cheaper version.
I’ve listed a few things below for comparison below
JVC 29” Flat Screen - £125
Samsung upright Washer - £110
Mitsubishi Aircon - £200
Samsung huge Fridge Freezer - £130
I’ve enclosed a picture of the show home; this is something like we want to do with our place.
A new beer as hit Thailand. “Cheers” (I kid you not) is a new budget beer that is 5.2% abv and comes in at 21p for half pint can. Unfortunately it taste’s worse than Tiger Beer. To say it tastes like shandy would be doing a shandy a dis-service. I bought two cans and still have one in the fridge.
The other day I had to go to the furthest side of Bangkok away from me, I went to see a bicycle component supplier. After a two hour journey I arrived. It went to show I really need to knuckle down and learn more Thai. I can survive on public transport and in restaurant. I understand more than I can speak. So from now on I’m going to knuckle down and get my head and get conversational Thai by Christmas.
Also Check out my new eBay Shop
Talking of Christmas, anyone who would like a card from Thailand, email me your address and I’ll send you a card, a few of you have and I’ll get them on the way in a few weeks.