Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Bangkok Life part 13

This week agian as been fairly mad, what with my birthday last wednesday and then going out out on friday night with my mate Kim and three of her friends, Thanks Kim! Great night. We had a Korean BBQ, not what you think! In the middle of the table there is a open charcoal pit with a vented lid on it. A slab of steak is put on the lid and cooked, just as its about finished, the Waitress comes and cuts it into smaller pieces, these pieces are then dipped in spices, chilli's and salts, very nice.
Sunday saw Nuch and I venture out of Bangkok with two of her friends, it was Pla's birthday so we went to her home town to a massive Wat (Temple). The journey did not start to well, first of all it was 6am and then we had the unfortunate privilage of seeing someone lying in the middle of the road dead as a door nail, he had been either shot or run down, you didn't need to work for CSI to work this out, the top of his head was missing and his brains were splashed all over the road!
The Wat was very impressive, as big as Lincoln Cathedral, and resplendant in gold. It is a very popular Wat and the crowd was huge. First of all you buy Lotus Flowers, candles and insense, then you put the Lotus in water, light the candle and then light the insense. From there you visit the many statues of Buddha and put some gold leaf on the statues, As i've said many times, a very uplifting experience. I bought a Lottery Ticket, as it is supposed to be lucky to buy next to a Wat. Also at the Wat was a large Market, there they specialised in deep fried food, as you can see, the crabs did not look to appertizing, although I had some deep fried prawn balls which were lovely.
In the evening Nuch and I went to the Cinema, we saw "Stealth", not too bad, the first 30 minutes is nearly as bad as Top Gun, but then the rest of the film is Ok. We sat in the Emporer Class seats, it is a two seater settee, they bring you pillows and blankets and then a cocktail, very civilised.
Just when I thought the Rainy season was coming to an end, we've just had two evenings of huge rains, temperature during the day is always in the very high 30'sC with high 90's% humidity, night brings a little relief, the temperature drops to around 30C. You dont acclimatise, you just get a little more tollerant to it. You have to get used to whatever clothes you wear they will be ringing wet through in 10 minutes outside of aircon. I must shower at least 3 times a day and change clothes the same number of times.
This weekend i'm going to Penang in Malaysia, I will tell you all about it next week.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Birthday Party

At night on my birthday, Nuch and I met up with two of her friends from work and three former University friends, and for all of you single guys, at least two of them are looking for boyfriends. We met at a Restaurant called Leewadee, it is a Thai Restaurant on a road call Ram Intra, there are loads of real smart restaurants on this road, 99% of the customers are Thai, its almost a secret kept from Tourists, a palce where Thai's can enjoy themselves with other Thai's.
The food is also mostly Thai, which isnt a problem to me, there are loads of staff, almost one waiter to one table, the surrounding are very upper class as most of the customers are.
There was a live band, which turned out to be one of Thailands best bands doing an accoustic set, so when they sang happy birthday to me, I cant imagine an english equivilant doing the same.
The food was fantastic, I had my favourite, Fried chicken with cashew nuts in a chilli sauce, we had crab Curry, deep fried Tiger prawns and some Dim Sum. loads for everyone. We all had copious amouts of cocktails and at the end of the night Nuch surprised me with a Birthday cake. Nuch really showed she cared on my birthday, I had a fantastic night. Especially when the bill came, the total amount for seven people including drinks by the galloon loads of cocktails and Irish coffee's - £70! Not bad.

Birthday Blessing

As for the last Four years, I have spent my birthday in another country, Spain, Turkey and Thailand last year. the difference this year I have someone to share it with. Nuch laid on a small surprise when I got up, she had wrote a message on the mirror and set up my presents in a display on the table, simple but very meaningful.
We went to a large Temple near the River called "Wat Soi Thong" Yes the same Thongs that the guys wear at AMS Hydraulics!
We were ushered to this Pavillion were a real old and respected Monk gave me a blessing, while he was doing this he was weaving a band for my wrist, this was to ward off evil spirits for the day. We then gave him a bucket full of Food and Provisions we had bought. The only down side to this is all the time you have to sit with your feet facing away from him. very disrespectful to show him your soles, I was cramping up big time, not used to sitting like this.
He then drew on my forehead a pattern using a flour mix, dowsed me with water and that was it. Blessed!!!!
The Wat (Temple) is a huge place, a community in itself. it as lodging for the Monks, Schools for Monks and Children and a bit of a Market. Part of the Market included buying live fish and eels, which you then took to the river and let go into the water, I think a symbol of giving life to something.
The whole experience is uplifting, the more I get to know the more I think I could get into it, I like the facy Buddha was not a God, just a normal bloke who after a period of wandering and reflection discovered enlightenment on his way to Nirvana.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Natural Thai

Hello Everybody,
I've just put a new web site on the t'internet, on it i've put a few of the products and services I can get at a superb price from Thailand.

Hardly a profitable venture, but it'll keep me busy!

Who knows, you may see something you like.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Condo for Rent

When you do finally decide to come out and visit Nuch and I, I’ve made an arrangement with a good friend to rent his Condo on a daily basis.
The Apartment is right in the middle of the main tourist area, it is sighted on Sukhumvit Soi 6, which is about the best place to set up as a central base for exploring the whole of Bangkok.
It is within 100M of the Skytrain and only one stop by the Skytrain to get to the new underground system. Taxis go past the Condo every 30 seconds so are always available. Attached to the Condo is a Huge Pool at 2.5M at the deep end, there is also a childrens pool.
The actual Condo is on the 15th floor of a block of 28 floors, you walk into a kitchen area which is fully equipped with all mod cons, there is a toilet next to this and the living room, the living room as a large settee which could sleep two people, at the end of the room is a balcony with a fantastic view of the city, both by day and night. This room is also air-conditioned and as a full entertainment set up including – TV –DVD-CD.
The separate bedroom as a super king size bed, fitted wardrobes and fitted wardrobes, and a on suite bathroom which as loads of towels, the bedroom also as airconditioning.
When you arrive in Bangkok, you will be met at the Airport (probably by me) and taken to the Condo and given a quick guide to the area and the Condo.
The cost is only £20 per night and a 1000bht Maid charge when you leave, the Condo is the equivilant of a four star Suite, so very reasonable.
If you are interested, contact myself and I will sort out all of the booking, also if you require anymore details, just ask.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Bangkok Life part 12

Hello Everybody,
What a mad week it as been with Phil being over here! We met up last Monday at his Condo, I bought him a bottle of Red Horse, so you have to picture someone who as just been on a 12 hour flight, walking into to 38C heat and a hideous drive from the Airport. He’s going to be very dehydrated, so giving him a litre bottle of 6.9%abv beer was not the best idea. After the bottle he was pissed, obviously me being a harden drinker, I didn’t feel the effects! SO Monday night we go out, dinner at Gulliver’s and a brill night out at the Hard Rock Café. (Just avoiding a hangover).
Next day we go and see a Supplier way past where I live and back to my Condo. Nuch and I took him to the local restaurant to sample the 80p Thai Green beef curry and rice which he loved.
Wednesday more business, but on Thursday I got to have the day off so I went for a game of golf with my mate Kim, I hate golf, last week I shot a record 80 off the white tee’s this week I was back in the 90’s!!!
Not so much work over the weekend, on Sunday I treated myself to a pair of genuine Rayburn sunglasses at this retail park, it made Meadowhell look like a local grocer shop for size, we only managed one of three Halls in 2 hours.
A bit of work on Monday, but in the afternoon we ended up in a Pool Pub near his Condo, all the Working Girls in there are top pool players, they will scalp at pool before they scalp you in other ways, obviously after too many drinks we met up with Nuch and had a farewell meal at a fantastic Italian called Via Vai.
So off Phil went, see you next time Mate and I’ll pre-book the Body Massage for you again.

Phil bought me out the new Derby County shirt, just to let you know they are third in the Championship, “Up the Rams”.

Today is my birthday, so I’ll do a post on this later, but I’m going for a meal with Nuch and a load of her mates tonight.

Ok everybody, I’ll talk to you all soon.

Phil's 747

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


The other day I was trying out a short cut from The Sky Train to Phil’s Condo, I had never been down this way before, so was more than happy when I saw a few landmarks I recognised.
However, the sign above made me freeze on the spot; I had to do a double take to make sure that I had read it right. Sadly I had read it right. I immediately thought of a few Sheffield Wednesday supporters who would feel right at home in this establishment, I made a mental note of the address to pass on too them.
My horror was compounded when just as I took the above photo, who should walk out of the joint but my so called best mate Phil! Apparently he’d just gone in to use the toilet and once inside he remembered the old saying “When in Rome”. I will leave the rest up to your own imagination, but to help you we had to call at a pharmacist on the way back to Condo to buy some soothing Vaseline!!!!

Sunday, August 21, 2005

No Hand Carts

Just a quick post, something to show the different styles and pace of life. We are used to not being able to ride Scooters or Tractors on the motorway. We’ve all seen the signs just before the last exit before a motorway.
This one on the entry to an Express Way in Bangkok made me laugh, they seem to be more concerned about small mopeds (Chicken Chasers), Tuk Tuk’s, they should be banned off the road full stop. Bicycles which is obvious, lastly however they advise people who sell food from Hand Push Carts not to venture on the Express Way, The thing is if these signs weren’t here, the Vendors would be on the 80mph road selling their wears, and believe it or not drivers would stop to buy them. Maybe the Thai's way of doing things is correct and food stands on the hard shoulder are the future! Probaly cheaper and better tasting than any Motorway Service Station.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Bless this House!

Yesterday Nuch and I went around to her Aunties House, it is on the next project to where we are having our house built. The object of todays visit was a bit of a party to have their new house blessed by a group of Bhuddist Monks. We arrived about 9.30am, there was two huge marques, Nuch's Mother, Grandmother, Auntie and Uncle were hard at work making loads of food, there were curries, fish in chilli and cashew nuts, spicy pork stew and a whole host of food that I could not identify. After an hour the Monks turned up, they were bought in two big four wheeled drives, nine of them all together in their safron robes carrying their prayer fans, off they trotted into the house and soon they started about an hour of prayer chanting.
While this was happening, the guys who bought the Monks turned out to work with the son of the house, they were all Fireman at the local Station. These guys sat outside and straight away started on the beer! Proper Blokes. Nuch gave me a few disaproving looks, these guys told me not to worry.
When the praying stopped, the Monks were the first to eat, no one can eat until they had finished, by this time the beer had kicked in, I had to drink more than the Thai Guys to keep the English end up, I think they were impressed. When the monks had finished their food everyone else tucked in, the food was fantastic. The Curry that Nuch's Mum made was well hot, it an Indian Paal tadte like a Korma. My favourite was the fish, never tasted anything so good before, large whole fish grilled, marinated in a sweet chilli sauce then covered with chilli's and Cashew Nuts! Whats not to like?
Then the lead Monk, a cool 85 year old came out and blessed everything in site, People, Children, cars the works, this involved him dowsing everything in water, me included. All of the Monks were given gifts of Orchids and food to send them on their way. Then everyone came around from the neighbourhood and started on the food, there were loads of it, like everywhere, the more of a spread you put on the more money people think you have. A thoroughly good day was had by all, I look forward to when our house will be blessed.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Bangkok Life part 11

Hello Everybody,
This week I said goodbye to Dave and hello and goodbye to Chris Cordall, as I’m writing this I’m about to meet up with my best mate Phil. We’ve got loads of business and loads of nights out planned, several companies and shops to see during the day. I’m going to make sure Phil will be busy. Nuch isn’t impressed I’m going out again, it’s a rare thing for Thai guys to go out without their wives, alas I’m English and its expected of me, I’ve adapted to most things Thai, now it Nuch’s turn. Next week a full review of a week with Phil. (18 cert)
During this week I’ll be visiting many restaurants in Bangkok so I will try to do a review of them. I’m going to work out a bit of a key to give you some idea what they are like, including environment, value and quality of food; I will also do it for the Hotels that I’ve stayed in. ( Phil in his Fave hat )
Remember if you know anyone who is coming to Bangkok or may be interested in this site, please pass the address on.

This week I have the results of my Thai Beer Poll, the first three places are all Thai Beer’s, not Thai made imports. Thai Beers are generally stronger than UK beers; they don’t have to pay massive duty excess on beer over 5%abv. One thing to remember about this poll is that not of these Thai beers can hold a candle up to Marston pedigree or a top pint of Bass!

Best Taste 1st Beer Chang
2nd Red Horse
3rd Heineken

Ease of getting Pissed 1st Red Horse
2nd Beer Chang
3rd Singha

Value 1st Beer Chang
2nd Singha
3rd Leo

The Best Beer in Thailand 1st Beer Chang
2nd Singha
3rd Red Horse (Not 2nd, too hard to find)

See “Bangkok Life Part 4” for a full review.

Let me tell you about Thai TV, I have to be careful what I say because Nuch works for UBC TV which is the Thai version of SKY. Actual Thai Channels are terrible, loads of game shows, talent (non) Shows and real awful Soap Operas, at first I thought these serials where comedies, but no, they are deadly serious, one involves a Ghost, you know he is a ghost because he wears eye liner, the Thais are Shit scared of him, I sit there pissing myself with laughter. Every program will have at least one lady boy, and most of the main actors are of Thai/European origin, because they are better looking. Another bad source of Soap Operas is from other Asian countries, these are dubbed into Thai. One recently from Korea is a huge hit all over Asia; it was called “Full House”. Basically it goes like this: Actor as best friend, best friend as girlfriend, actor wants girlfriend. Actor marries a common girl to get at girlfriend, girlfriend leaves best friend, actor starts to like wife, then girlfriend, then wife, then girlfriend, best friend starts to like wife etc etc etc! In all this time no one as kissed, slept together, died or come back as a long lost twin. “Utter Shite”. When the actor character visited Japan recently, reserved middle class women through their knickers at him.
There are ten channels in English, there would be more if you have satellite, but most people have cable. The channels are film channels HBO, Cinemax and Star Films, crap American sitcom channel Hallmark. I have sports channels ESPN and Star Sports and lastly the usual hotel channels CNN, BBC World and CNBC. The sports are ok, but when live premiership comes on they switch to Thai language, if you have satellite you can get English language commentary. One thing that does impress me is at 8am and 6pm, an all Thai Channels they play the National Anthem. Respect! Can you imagine that in the UK? Just think of all the human rights we would infringe!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Chris Visits Khao San Road

Saturday evening saw Nuch and I meet up with an old workmate from Reckitt Benckiser in Hull. Chris Cordall was in Bangkok as a prologue to his tour of Laos and Cambodia. He was staying at the Prince Palace Hotel in the old quarter of the city. We decided to visit a restaurant down one of the biggest tourist traps in Bangkok, “Khao San Road”. This is a part of town that is inhabited by the backpacker fraternity, not a part of town I usually frequent.
The Backpackers, despite their attempts to fit in with the local community and being cool are only just tolerated by the locals. The main reason is they don’t spend enough money in the economy, they want £5 a night rooms, they want 15p meals they want £1 T-shirts, all this they get but they also get all the crap. Shitholes to live in, crap to eat and cheap rags to wear. The locals would rather be making more money on quality gear with tourists who aren’t afraid to spend.
Khao San Road is about 400M long and up and down it is packed with shops and stalls selling everything from silver through to fake degrees from Warwick University, it is packed with young kids on their year out doing the Asia thing. It’s a traffic free zone at night, and in all fairness it’s worth a look, but you’ll soon be anchoring after your four star in the better part of town. There are a few things to look out for, if you want drugs in Bangkok, this is the place to get them! All the stories you hear about people being caught with drugs in Thailand are true, avoid them like the clap. Even if you’re in a room with someone smoking, leave the room and leave the building. The Thai Police take a dim view of westerners doing drugs. Pick pockets are rife, so always take the usual precautions and lastly don’t buy anything; the crap that is sold on Khao San Road is available in most other parts of Bangkok at cheaper prices.
Some of the Restaurants are very nice, and one called “Tom Yam Kung” the three of us visited, it was very busy, but we managed to get a table. We started with Tom Yam Kung, which is a very spicy soup with whole prawns, mushrooms and vegetables, very nice, we also had Green Beef Curry a bowl of something with eggs and crab in it, again very nice. Wash this down with three or more San Miguel’s and you have a good night.
After a couple of hours and a few tales from Reckitts we put Chris into a taxi bound for his Hotel. It was good to see him and I hope he as a great tour of Indo China.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Ko Kret

Today was Mother’s Day in Thailand, so it is was a National Holiday for everyone; it is the day you don’t drink, smoke or attempt any other vice for the sake of your Mother. Yeah right! My Mum knows me and would expect very little from me in that way.
Nuch and I decided to go to the northern edge of Bangkok to a small Island in the main river “Chay Phao”. The Island is called Ko Kret; apparently it was inhabited 300 years ago by migrating Burmese fleeing an evil Dictator. (Nothing new there, look at Burma today). It’s about a mile square and is famous for its terracotta pots, and boy do they do pots. You have to take a ferry across the river, for a huge cost 3p. Once there, there are loads of terracotta stands, also stands selling Thai Desserts, before some of you get excited! We aren’t talking bread & butter pudding or Meringues. No, all of the desserts feature egg yolk, syrup water and cooked in hot syrup water, there OK, but not my cup of Tea. Talking of Tea, we ordered two coffees, ice coffee for Nuch and a normal coffee for me, we then had to pick a terracotta bowl to have the coffee put in, we got to keep the pots and all this for 27p each had this together with some lovely, spicy fishcakey things for 15p and we had a cheap lunch.
We walked round the Island, took about one hour, this was quite a wild side of Bangkok, not like the wild west, but more like the Jungle, I saw snakes, big fish and loads of different fruits growing wild, stuff like bananas, papaya and coconuts. The wild flowers would cost a fortune at any specialist grower in the UK. I was going mental when ever I saw something new, convincing Nuch that a few screws short.
Some of the Temples were well cool as usual; one of the Golden Buddha’s was just so what you would expect in a Temple. Again should you ever be in Bangkok, keep a day free to visit Ko Kret, it’s a real slice of normal Thai life.
The only thing to be careful of are the Soi Dogs!, I have never seen such a bunch of knackered, mangy dogs in my life and the one in the picture is quite the ugliest dog I’ve ever seen, more like a pig than a dog.

Gran Tourismo

When I saw the above headline “64 illegal street racers arrested” I figured it was a bunch of Thai Chav’s bombing round the local estate in their Nova’s, Corsa’s or Citroen CX. Full 12” wide tyres, amazing body kits, fluorescent undercarriage and unfeasibly large exhausts. Or could it be a bunch of Yuppies driving round in their GT cars, Thrashing their Porsche’s and Ferrari’s, just like in Gran Tourismo.
Alas the truth was no where near as exciting as this, it turns out that couple of local Moped gangs had got it into their heads to race up and down a road called Ratchadaphesik, unfortunately they did not know that the “Boys in Brown” (Police) were a bit short of funds and had set up a road block to extract a few fines (Bribes). So down the road they came, the law must have thought it was Christmas and Birthday’s rolled into one, all of this “Tea Money”, sorry fines to collect.
You must bear in mind that for the average Thai youth earns not much more than 5000bht per month (£75), a moped is the same sort of investment as a Audi TT is in the UK, they look after them, and new bits, and amazingly add these large exhaust’s to them! What is it with exhausts and young men? Anyway, unlike the UK, In Thailand you aren’t given a tap on the wrist and sent on your way. Oh no! These guys were made to sit on their moped’s at the side of the road with no shirts, no water and had to endure public humiliation for the rest of the day, then their parents had to come and collect them. The worse part is the (bribe) fine, probably about 1000bht and another 2000bht to get their bikes back, three weeks wages for doing a bit of racing, one thing, they won’t do it again.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Bangkok Life Part 10

Hello Everybody,
What a mad, mad week! Dave, an old mate from the UK arrived in Bangkok on business, I met him at the airport on Thursday afternoon and after he got settled down in another mate’s Condo, off we popped for a few beers in one of the best drinking holes in Bangkok. “Gulliver’s” is in the Sukhumvit tourist road on Soi 5. It’s a large Pub/Restaurant, does pretty good food and loads of staff to keep you from waiting. There are a fair few Working Girls for anyone looking for alternative entertainment. Anyway after 4 or 5 beers I made my way home, promising to meet up on Friday night.
Friday night began at a fairly slow pace, a few beers, some good food and a chat with a few friends who came in later and the night progressed splendidly. Later we went to the Hard Rock Café in Siam Square, this is one of the doing-it places in Bangkok and I will do a post on it in the near future. The Girls in here are very attractive, what you would call “High Class”, but me being a good boy, I didn’t notice! To cut a long story short and a bottle Jim Beam later I had to go back to the Condo, I was absolutely slaughtered. I got back to the Condo, Somehow? Nuch was disgusted with me! I don’t blame her. I was sick as a dog all night and had to write Saturday off through a mother hangover, I will never drink again. Luckily my best mate Phil is over next week and he enjoys quiet nights in with a DVD and a pizza, Not!

This week’s beer is probably the most popular beer in Thailand, Singha Beer is a very sweet lager beer, when ice cold it’s just about the most refreshing drink that I’ve tasted, the sweetness can get a little much, but by this time you’ll be to far gone to worry. Out of respect for Singha I’ve tasted it out of a bottle, the only way it should be drunk, it can be bought in half pint cans for about 27p per can and at 6% is 29% stronger than Stella girls drink, this also puts it at only £2.02 to be something approaching me on Saturday morning. Next week I will be announcing the winner of the best Thai Beer (according to me).

Taste 8/10
Ease of getting pissed 7/10
Value 9/10
Total score 24

A few pictures of some animals I’ve come across this week, first picture is of Gordon, and Gordon is my pet Gecko. Every home in Thailand as one of these little lizards in their home, they help keep the insects down and aren’t that much trouble, one thing to remember is, don’t pick them up by the tail, their defence is that the tail will come off in your fingers and he will run off to grow a new one.
This second picture is of a couple of kittens on a stand at the Border market I went to, where ever you go in the world, people enjoy pets, no matter how poor and this Cambodian woman was well impressed that a Farang like me would like cats.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Cambodia in a Day, Not!

Today I planned to do a Roadtrip to Cambodia, apparently there is a huge Market on the Thai Border, run by Cambodians and is incredibly cheap. I went with a good friend from Bangkok, "Aon" and a mate over from England, "Dave". We set off in Aon's car at around seven in the morning, unfortunately Aon had forgotton the way, by some fluke of nature we headed towards the Border and hoped to find the Market. While we where there we planned to go over the Border to Cambodia, a country I'd vowed never to visit again, but hey, it was a day out.
We stopped at a Garage half way to answer the call of nature, here I found the worst toilets ever, worse than any Dodgy Turkish restaurant or portacabin at Glastonbury, luckily I only had to go for a pee, dave on the other hand had to Squat and suffer the smell and mosquitoes. No Way! it wasn't even funny.
Five hours it took us to reach Rong Rean Market and set about getting over the border and into Cambodia. Unfortunately the que was full of Backpackers and Ex-pats on Visa Runs, it was going to take an hour to get out of Thailand, then another hour to go to Cambodia with probaly another hour to get back in Thailand, all for the sake of a visa stamp and another country ticked off for Dave, we took this photo of Cambodia and began to do the Market. I was pleased, I dont like visiting third world countries.
The Market is Huge, so big, it's best to hire bikes to get around the place! However as always happens, not everything goes to plan, 90% of the market is second hand clothes, Given to Cambodia by charities from the US, Christ there was some shite, Shoes, underwear, shirts and trousers. It was a whole cottage industry at this place, the Cambodians are happen to work for Bugger all and a poke in the eye pie, everything was so cheap. I made my only purchase of the day from the Handicraft part near the top side of the Market, a fantastic handmade hemp Hammock, cant wait to set it up. It cost me a whole 70bht or £1.00. Dave made the purchase of the Day, a whole corn on the cob, freshly cooked and buttered for 5bht or 8p. You could'nt fault it. We found a loads better way back, even though a torrential storm folloed us all the way, but a cool 3-1/2 hours later I was back at the Condo, just another day in Thailand!!