Sunday, February 26, 2006
Bang Pa-In Palace is located around 50 miles from Bangkok. It is an old Palace that is not used anymore.
The grounds it is set in are fantastic, lovely gardens, lakes and lawns. There is a main Palace which gives you an idea at the opulance the King's must live in. There was something about the place that was familiar! I finally put my finger on it, Carpet. It was probaly the first time that I had stepped on a carpet since I arrived in Thailand. The stuff that comes to mind! Maybe i'm loosing mine.
The King who built the Palace was Rama V, this was the king Yul Bryner played in the "King & I". A story the Thai's hate and which it seems bares no semblance of truth. In all fairness, now I know some of the facts I agree with them.
All around the grounds are little bungalows, very nicely furnished and set out. I asked "what was this Bungalow?". "The Kings wife", came the reply. "Whose house was the house next door?", "The Kings wife". I then asked how many wives the King had had? The reply was not exact, but around 180! Mix this with the near 600 children he had and then you'll see what litttle time the King would have had for a divorced, frumpy middle aged victorian Farang woman.
The best place on the site is a Chinese Temple, full of gold and black furniture, Gongs and again, carpet.
Thursday, February 23, 2006
On our way back from Pattaya on sunday we overtook this posy of riders. They were all on spammed up Honda C90 Chicken Chasers.
Most were decked out in the original colours and looked a treat. The work that went into doing them up must have taken a load of time.
From the pictures you can see that there is always one who as to make a fool of himself. The Ape Hanger bars and the fire paint job looked a little out of place, the guy seemed to like it and smiled for a later photo. Not realising I was taking the piss!
A Brother in need. The last photo shows what happens when you break down miles away from home. No AA to bale you out, just a mate with a strong leg.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Near the house we are about to move into, I found these two little numbers.
Three bedrooms, two Bathrooms, Huge reception room, Utility Room and a massive kitchen. All the floors are solid wood, there is a balcony with the master bedroom.
The garden is a fair size and they are on a project that only as 45 houses and its own security.
The asking Price:
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
We have the usual suspects,
We have birdday, who is the obligertary Homosexual, who camps it up at every opportunity. Not sure how many of the women are cross gender, but i'll gaurantee at least one is.
Then there is "Oh" This twat is pierced and tattooed in about every place you can think of.
However, this is were all similaraties end. There is no alcohol, no smoking and definately no sex. Any form of touching on TV is not allowed, the amount of repressive sexual tension is astounding!
Like the UK BB, at the end of the day, who gives a toss who wins?
Sunday, February 19, 2006
I dont mean the Spandau Ballet Olympic Balad, but near pure gold. From the Middle East through to China Gold is almost as good as currency.
Thailand is no different. Gold is bought by weight, very similar to shares. Buy Low, sell high. Thai Gold is measured in Baht. One Baht is roughly 15.5g of 23.9 karat gold. It is a yellow colour because of its purity.
The Chinese Community seems to have the gold business sown up, China Town being the best place to buy gold. The piece above is a two baht necklace, it cost me 14400baht last april, that was £200 back then. Gold is now 10400baht per baht, and with the exchange rate the way it is the necklace is now worth £305. A nice 65% investment over nine months. I wont sell, or rather I will when i'm skint!
You should treat yourself to some bling when you come over here, even at these high prices. It still works out cheaper than the crap from Argos!
Thursday, February 16, 2006
The cars as given us a great amount of freedom, Last weekend we went to Chom Phon Caves. These are 180km west of Bangkok and only 50km from the Burmese border. Unlike Cambodia, Thailand as a fairly good road system. Some of the signs are not in english which isn't nice, but all in all very good roads.
We found the caves easy enough with the help Nuch's superb map reading skills. Once in the car park we were greeted by a woman putting a stuffed fluffy crocodile on the roof of the car??? We looked at her, then she pointed to a 100 strong troop of monkies moping about the place. The Stuffed crocs stop them from demolitioning your car through fear.
The cave was fantastic, a short walk down some steps to a huge cavern with a 500m walk into the mountain side. There were bats everywhere and at the bottom of the cave was a Buddist Shrine, the roof had a gap and gave a superb photo opportunity with the sunbeams. There was a large reclining buddha and a monk on hand to take prayers. A really cool place.
Outside it was time to run the guantlet of hungry monkies, they were spaniel size things with huge teeth. In return for the monkey scarecrow on the car, the locals liked you to buy some food for the monkies. Christ! it was a feeding frenzy, they were in your pockets, pulling hairs on your legs. If you didn't give the boss food first there was hell to pay for the poor lower monkey who took the food. It was great.
The price of admission was the 20 baht for candles and insense in the shrine and 20 baht for monkey food.
Saturday, February 11, 2006
Another trip took me to a Cambodian Army Barracks. Obviously I was a little concerned when we entered. The thought of being kidnapped did not appeal. Plus no one I know would pay the ransom anyway!
Luckily I was here only to fire some of the hardware the army as. You are given a menu. On it is the firearms you can use and the amount the ammo will cost. I paid US$100 to fire two 25 round clips from an AK47, 20 rounds in an M-16, 20 rounds from a 9mm Handgun and fire a Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG).
The AK47 was a fine assault weapon to fire. I blew one magazine off on automatic, didn’t hit a thing. The next magazine I fired single shot, you can see from the target, the first dozen shots whistled over his right shoulder. After I adjusted the sights my aim was noticeably better, getting one in the bull. Well chuffed. The 9mm Auto is easy to fire. I put 20 shots in a 250mm circle at 30M. It’s great shooting guns.
The RPG is a different set of rules. The target was a huge concrete block 100M away. My shot just skimmed the outside of the target and went in to a load of tyres. The explosion sent 4 of the tyres a good 30M in the air. You would not want to be on the receiving end of one of these kiddo’s.
I'm sure the target looks like Alan burns from Reckitts!
That was the highlight of my trip to Cambodia. Like I said, not my favourite place.
Friday, February 10, 2006
On my recent visit to Phnom Penh I met up with a very friendly Rickshaw Driver. Never caught his name, but he was a very happy go lucky bloke who had no time for any highway rules there may have been.
He took me too a sight just outside of Phnom Penh. It was the sight of one of the elimination camps that the Khmer Rouge set up in the 70’s.
A quick overview of events is like this;
1975 Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge take over Cambodia and rename Kampuchea.
All dates start from Year Zero and the mass evacuations of urban areas begin.
1976 Forced Labour camps are opened to imprison the Teachers, Artists, Middle Class and Landowners.
Kills them All!
1977/78 For no conceivable reason he then begins to exterminate 2 million of his people. Young, old, men and women. Rape centres were started for the military. The atrocities equal the second world on the same time scale.
1979 Vietnam invades Cambodia and the full scale of the killings is now in the open. Pol pot fights rear guard action for the next five years till he is caught.
This site only had 9000 deaths! At first they were shot, but when they ran out of ammo, the inmates were butchered with machetes. When they were blunted plastic bags were used to suffocate them. Children were the easiest to get rid of. They were just picked up by there feet and smashed into a tree.
I’m not renowned for my deep thinking, but what the fuck got into these people. At the start of the war there were only 13,000,000 people anyway. Kill 2,000,000 off and you’ve got a population crisis. It beggars belief that the guards could do it anyway. When I think back to the reports at the end of the 70’s about the Cambodians starving. I never gave it a second thought. I only remember some of the jokes!
There is now a shrine that is dedicated to all the dead; it contains all the skulls from the site. Some have bullet wounds; others have deep gashes from axes. A mad place, it opened my eyes. When you walk round the site there are still loads of bones and old clothes lying around.
Thursday, February 09, 2006
I cant beleive it, i'm nearly on the far side of the world in a third world country. What do I see plastered all over the streets of Phnom Penh.
I spoke to my Rickshaw driver about football. They dont support teams like we do, its more about supporting individual players. Beckham is by far the most popular player, closely followed by Owen, Gerrard, Henry and Ronaldiniho.
So thats 3-2 in favour of the Premier League over La Leage.
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Phnom Penh is the capital of the Kingdom of Cambodia. It’s my second visit to Cambodia, and like the first I can still say I don’t like it. It is by far the poorest country I’ve visited.
Obviously in the very near past it as had a lot of problems. Starting with the overspill from the Vietnam War, the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot and through the year zero and the killing fields. To use a soccer analogy, Thailand is sitting comfortable mid table in the Championship of world countries; Cambodia is finding its feet in League Division Three. Some of the kids definitely look malnourished and the smell of shit is everywhere.
Including the back streets of Havana and even the Parks Estate in Belper after nightfall, Phnom Penh is by far the most unsafe city I’ve been in, it would not be fair to call it the wild west, but there cant be many worse places for crime, certainly not in Asia. The Hotel told me to be careful walking round during daylight, and to travel by Taxi at night. Not that you’d want to walk around, the traffic is shocking. They drive on the right, mostly! Other than a few traffic lights, there seem to be no rules on the road whatsoever.
I found a really good Mexican restaurant on the riverside, I had to share it with beggars, hawkers and glue sniffers, but the food was good and I got talking to guy who now lives here after serving with U.S. Special Forces during the war, he likes the frontier way of life, he also liked to drink incredible amounts of beer.
The picture of the Oxon pulling the cart was taken across from a car showroom selling brand new Mercedes, BMW and Lexus Motors. Sort of said it all really. The rich are stupid rich and the poor are destitute. The whole country relies still on charity handouts. Anywhere outside of the City Centre, you’re pretty much on dirt roads.
I went there to renew my visa, it’s a shit hole! I’ll try not to bother again.
The latest model ready for a test drive.
Fancy a whole pig instead of McDonalds?
My Taxi, A Rickshaw tied to a motorbike!
Whole duck, incuding head and feet. Yummy!
Sunday, February 05, 2006
I had read about this Restaurant many times, but never visited it. Now we are living at Phils, it is only about 400M away. It is located on Sukhumvit Soi 12 about 100M down the Soi on the right.
The concept of the Restaurant and project is to increase the awareness of safe sex and birth control in Thailand, particualy concerning the plight of the working girls some years ago when HIV hit the scene. All the profits go to very good causes all over Thailand.
The surroundings are the best thing about the Restaurant, there are works of art made from 1000's of Condoms, Condom Shaped lanterns and a whole host of stuff based on this theme.
The food and service is top rate, the menu is Thai food, but is done very well. Most of the staff can speak very good english and a meal for two with a pitcher of beer will come to less than £10.
This is a must to visit in Bangkok, a good introduction to Thai food and a good place to eat.
At the end of the meal, instead of the customery mints with the bill, you are given two condoms.
Saturday, February 04, 2006
Last weekend Nuch and I drove to Ayutthaya, It as a small city around fifty miles north of the centre of Bangkok. Ayutthaya is the old capital of Bangkok.
Local Taxi Service
The City is full of old Temples, and you can really see what the place must have looked like before the capital was moved to Bangkok. Some of the Sites are vast! There are also many old sites of western origin, such as the Portuguese Settlement and St. Josephs Church. These were like the Embassies of the day.
Ayutthaya is famous for a kind of dessert in Thailand. It comes in two parts, the first looking and tasting like a coarse version of candy floss. The second part looks like a tortilla flour. You put the candy floss in the flour and then roll it into a cigar shape and eat. Very tasty.
There are plenty of Restaurants on the river, and unlike Bangkok the water is clear and doesn’t smell like a toilet. If the food had not arrived when it did, I fancied taking a dip. The temperature was in the high 30’sC.
Seafood Curry, served in a coconut.
Although a couple of hours drive, Ayutthaya is definitely worth a visit.