Monday, October 31, 2005

Health & Safety

Thailand is a very industrious country, there are loads of capital projects cost billion of Baht. Near our Condo there is a project putting three flyovers over a main junction, there is the project where our house is being built. All these and the other smaller one man band operations have one thing in common. There is no “Health & Safety”

The first picture was taken from my balcony; it shows a guy painting the fascia of a house next door. Nothing to strange there! You have to bear in mind that instead of getting a Council Permit to put up a full scaffolding he just put three bamboo poles up against the wall, then lashed a couple horizontal, followed by two more until it was the right height. In Thailand, personal responsibility is the order of the day, if he wants the business, he as to supply the means to do the job, his health and safety is his own responsibility.

The second photo is a common sight in Thailand, people in the back of pick ups is a common sight. British Coppers would have a heart attack at some of the sights like this you see on the roads. Not only is the van probably overloaded, no MOT! It also as loads of people on the back. Seeing three people or even a whole family on a Moped, all with no helmet is a regular sight.

The last picture is a typical one too, the electrical cabling is fantastic, as you walk up the steps of bridges on pedestrian walk ways and the cables hang down touching the hand rail. Thai people tend not to touch the hand rails. It seems that when people need electricity that just seem to tap into the main cable, every so often the Lecky Board comes round and read what electricity as been used.

All of the above have one thing in common. None of the people involved ever wear safety boots, all they ever wear are flip flops. The Health and Safety Officers at some of the places I’ve worked would fit. Maybe, just maybe though. People are big enough to take their own decisions.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Time Waits for no one

The last saturday night in october always signals the clocks going back one hour in the UK. I hope you all enjoy your extra one hour in bed.
The clocks in Thailand stay the same all year round, so now Thailand is seven hours in front of the UK.
So remember when you phone or text me, its probaly best not to do it after 3 o'clock in the afernoon. After this time I will be safely tucked up in bed. Any of you guys who I talk to over MSN or Yahoo, i'm not being ignorant if its early afternoon in the UK, i'm just sleeping.

As I write this, Utd are being Thrashed by Middlesborough and Derby have lost at home to QPR, the insects and frogs are being super noisy ouside and a mammal type monkey thingy is giving gusty somewhere in the distance.
The temperature is 29C, i'm going for my third shower today and then to my airconned bedroom. I'll miss setting the boiler up this year!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Bangkok Life part 21

This week was a little quieter than last, basically that means no Phil to go and get pissed with in an English pub!
The good news of the week was the birth of Nuch’s niece, a bonny 2.8kg bouncing baby girl. I saw her at around 5 hours old, she was super cute. Her mother is fine and everyone in the family is happy, this is the first girl in this generation. Nuch as chosen the nickname for the baby, “Ban ban” which means very cute.
Most days I ride to the Post Office to send my eBay parcels, on one ride I found a new route. By one of the rivers there is a path alongside. I don’t know where it goes, but I’ve been down about 5 miles, hopefully it will lead to some open countryside. It can get a bit smelly; it is used by some as an open sewer. Also along the way, the houses are built so close to the river it feels like your riding through people’s front rooms. I just nod and say “hey up” and get on my way. Most of the people look at me with a look of disbelief, that someone should be riding a bike for pleasure.
Although we’ve just had a couple of gloomy days, the weather is getting better. Daytime temperatures are steady at around 33C, nigh time it’s slipping to 24C. In the north of the country were they have had floods, the temperature dropped to 8C, I bet it was madness. People staying in their houses, thinking they would freeze to death. The picture from the Condo was taken at around 16.00, the colour could only be described as orange, and I thought we were going to have the mother of storms. Nothing happened! Well weird.
On bit of excitement was a huge fire about 2km away from the Condo, a factory that made tyres burst into flames, there were some mega explosions, the Expressway from the Airport was shut for a few hours, the traffic must have been chaotic.
Just off for the final look at the house. Making a final sweep of it before we sign it over as complete.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Hull 2 - 1 Derby County

Marc Edworthy (Who touched a Hull player to give away a penalty)

Yesterday, the glorious Rams played Hull City. I have affection for Hull City, over the last three years I have seen them as many times as I’ve seen Derby. They’ve done very well to get from Division 4 to the Championship in two years.

Unfortunately, the Rams lost! Or should I say robbed. A deserved Hull goal saw them go one down early, but after that Hull were on the back foot. Luckily Hull had the Referee in their pocket and a Stern John goal was disallowed just after half time.
We managed to get a penalty in the second half that Idiakas put away. Then normal service was reduced. The Hull players gave a (unusual for them) fine acting performance in falling at every opportunity and raising their arms if a Derby player sneezed. Predictably, Hull got a penalty and got the winner with 10 minutes to go. To add insult to injury, Derby had another goal disallowed and hit the cross bar. Travesty!

Here are some quotes from the Hull City Website;

“Derby finished the half strongly though and were unlucky not to go in level at the break, with Stern John's shot that hit the crossbar the closest they came to equalizing.John found the net 8 minutes into the second half, but his header was disallowed for a foul on Damien Delaney.The warning signs were there, and when Leon Cort brought down Seth Johnson in the box minutes later, Idiakez drew level for Derby County with the penalty.There only looked like being one team who could win it as the Rams continued to dominate, but against the run of play City stole a late goal. Chris Brown was brought down by Hall for a clear-cut penalty, and substitute Stuart Green put it into the bottom corner.The visitors had another goal disallowed in the 86th minute. Cort was challenged unfairly by Davies as he headed in, and the Derby player was sent off for protesting his innocence.”

“They had what looked a good goal disallowed 5 minutes before they equalized. Cast Iron penalty after Cort brought down Johnson. Following our inner, they had another disallowed (form which Davies was sent off for his protests), Boaz made 2 good saves and Tudgay put two just wide. It was a battering.”

About 30 minutes after the game finished I got a phone call as I do after every game from some of the Derby Lads. This phone call was different. They wanted to know how to get out of Hull. On the way up it had taken them one hour to the edge of Hull, then nearly two hours to get to the ground because of road works. So for the next 30 minutes I had to give him an alternative of how to get out of Hull. He missed the first 20 minutes of the game and couldn’t get a drink at half time due to the lack of speed of the kids behind the counter. Bizarrely he’s crossed this fixture off his away list for next year.

Ignore me though, its just sour grapes!

Saturday, October 22, 2005


Shopping for groceries in Bangkok are a little different to the UK, most locals still shop from stalls off the street or small markets, everything from food to clothes.

However Bangkok is now getting loads of options, the lower end of the scale are the 7/11 Stores, then come the local Supermarkets like Tops. Tops are like the local Co-ops, stocking a good selection of everything at cheap prices. Tops are the one we use the most. Then come the larger supermarkets like Carrefour and Tesco. These are big affairs with loads of syndicated fast food joints and their own markets outside.
Even though they are big, each isle contains pretty much one thing, oil in one isle, water in the next and noodles in the next. No where the choice you would be used to in England. There is also a Makro, which like England sells quantity very cheap. If you smoke, you can pick 200 cigs up for £6.80.

What Bangkok does best are the Shopping Malls. These are huge affairs, Rangsit Future Park as the same floor space as Meadow Hall but as five stories. There are two close to us, Central Lad Prao and The Mall. You can get everything you would ever need, they usually have a multiplex cinema and Bowling Alley attached.

At a recent visit to The Mall, Nuch was after some top of the range make up. So we went to this stand, and from behind the counter this gorgeous assistant came out, Body of a model and the demur of a Lady.
Then things started to go Pete Tong. Her voice was deeper than mine, and other things began to fall into place. Big Feet, Wide shoulders and just that bit to tall for even a tall Thai Bird. A Lady Boy and a very attractive one. Nuch asked if I liked the make-up so I said “ I don’t ask you questions about football, don’t you ask me about make-up”. I paid for the make up and was handed the receipt my the girl/boy and then there was a conundrum, do I say “Cheers Mate” or “Cheers Love”. So being the modern bloke I am said “ Thank you in a non cross gender fashion, Mate”.

Anyway enough of my Lady Boy tales. (I’ve got loads of them). These big Malls are top to go round; you could easily spend a day in one easy.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Bird Flu

Bird Flu seems to be hitting the headlines back in the Uk. 13 people have died of bird flu in Thailand including the only reported case of human to human transfer. In rural Thailand most homes keep chickens for eggs and food and in Bangkok there are huge Battery Farms. The RSPCA would have a field day over here.

Most parts of the chicken are eaten over here including the feet, beak and knuckles. The only bit you see rarely is the white breast meat. At KFC when you order say a "Zinger Burger" you dont have the nice white meat! No all that is sent to the west for you lucky sods to eat. I end up with the chewy brown bits, the bits your never sure which part of the chicken they come from. I dont eat at KFC very often! I much prefare the chicken below.

I see the EU is imposing more restrictions on poultry, they must be coming in their pants, all these new laws they can pass. Thailand is doing its usual, the Press is full of the precautions other countries are taking over Bird Flu and all about Malaysia sticking their oar into Thailands business over the terrorist problems in the south of Thailand. In Thailand if the suck up Press don't report on a subject, it means it doesn't excist. So if I need to know anything will someone tell me please.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Bangkok Life part 20

Phil being here always brings one thing home to me. Talking to a fellow Englishman about English stuff! Things like sport, TV, products and places in the UK. No matter how good a Thai person can speak English or if you talk with an American or Aussie, there are something’s only an Englishman will understand.
Like taking the piss for instance. Half the things I say to Phil (About his sexuality) would get me pummelled by another Farang. They wouldn’t know how bad the traffic can be to Birmingham Airport or how cheap beer is at the Standing Order in Derby. This is probably the thing I miss the most about England.

Just as I begin to get home sick, Phil rubbed it in with a visit to the Robin Hood on Sukhmvit Soi 33, I had Steak Pie and mashed potato with several pints of John Smiths to wash it down. Then onto The Bulls Head, where they had Speckled Hen on tap. Great night, great Pubs.

Thailand easily gets its own back! Just a two hour drive to Pattaya, where you can sit on a tropical beach and soak up the sun. There are loads of resorts along this part of the coast, Rayong, Koh Samet and Chonburi. Anyone who is looking to buy a place in the sun as an investment. If you look in the right place, you could pick up a 1 bedroom Condo starting at £25000. Not a bad investment, when you consider that most of these places are rentable 52 weeks of the year.

On the subject of buying Condo’s, check out Phil’s new web page about his Condo

Phil’s Condo

Now its back to my eBay, I heard from the people at the job I got the other month, he as decided that he can’t afford my services, so as flicked me. I remained very calm on the phone when he told me. So remember if for what ever reason you have dealings with a Prick from a Thai Company called Future Engineering Consultants, tell them to F*** off! And remind them how they shit on me.
Oh well! Not all bad, I’m selling quite a bit of gear on EBay, so the wolves are being kept from the door.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Pattaya, again!

Phil being in Thailand usually means two things, long hard days and even longer nights. After a couple of days of business, Nuch and I took him to Pattaya. We borrowed a car and Phil drove. On a good run it is about two hours.

We stayed at the A-One Royal Cruise Hotel, this is a well mental Hotel, the two blocks are shaped like Cruise Liners and all the rooms are like cabins. A very nice Hotel that worked out at £38 per room per night. As usual in Thailand accommodation is very cheap, unlike in the UK where you would be lucky to get a Travel Lodge under £45.

Unfortunately it rained on and off Saturday afternoon so we didn’t get down to the beach. In the evening just before 7.00pm we went to a local bar and had a beer, then onto a German restaurant for some snap. It was in the German that we discovered that after 7.00pm, no alcohol would be on sale!!!! The reason being there was an election in Chonburi District so no ale until the election was over on Sunday afternoon.
It took Nuch an hour to revive me and Phil.

We hunted round Pattaya until a friend told us of a bar that was serving booze. It turned out that the bar was owned by one of the Politicians in the following day’s election. Ahhh! An Oasis.

The following morning after checking out we headed off to Jomtiam Beach for a spot of beach life. Phil showed off his feminine side by having a Pedicure off one of the Hawkers who come round the beach. The poor woman had to cut his toe nails, scrape about a kilo of dead skin off his heel and cut some off a corn he as. To round things off she then painted the Lady boys Nails. I worry about him sometimes! For this she was given the princely sum of 350baht £4.80.

Phil and I then had a brill time on some 700cc Jet skis, they are without doubt a fantastic piece of kit, you can really rip on them, and all it cost was £8 for 30 minutes.

Unfortunately the good times can’t last for ever and it was back to Bangkok.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Soi Cowboy

Soi Cowboy is one of the three red light areas of Bangkok; it is also probaly the most blatantly obvious. It is on Sukhumvit Soi 21 near the Asok BTS and Sukhumvit MRT Station.
At the opening of the Soi there is a huge sign telling you where you are, all the 200M road is one bar after another, lit by neon and loads of girls outside the Bars. The drinks are a very good price. During a research study for this blog, I happened upon a bar that had a happy hour with half pint draught beer for 40p. The Dollshouse is one of the most famous Go-Go Bars in Bangkok. For 100 baht you get to throw ping pong balls at the girls dancing, in return for the sport, every ball they catch they receive 20 baht. A good laugh when you’re pissed.

The small photo was taken by a mobile phone, the quality is not so hot, but you can’t take pictures so it as to be done very discreetly!
Soi Cowboy unlike the other two entertainment areas, Pat pong and Nana Plaza, this probably is more hard core, so if your easily offended, don’t go!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Bangkok Life part 19

What a mad busy week, at the end of last week my EBay listings went mental and I was going to the Wholesalers in the morning, then a five mile round trip by bike to the Post Office. There are loads of little Post Offices near me, but they charge a commission to send a parcel. Being as I was sending 4 – 5 parcels a day it was worth the bike ride.

My eBay Page

Over the weekend we had two of Nuch’s teenage cousins to visit, they are from the South of Thailand and on their summer holidays. They are both Muslim and being as we are in Ramadan they have to fast during daylight. It seems really harsh, but First, a 14 year old stuck to it religiously. Nuch had to get up at 4.00am to give them their breakfast before the sun rose. Great! After they had breakfast they went back to bed, I didn’t get up anyway. At around 10.00pm there was a knock on the door, it was Nuch’s Father. It’s only the third time I’ve met. I don’t know how impressed he was as I walked out of the bedroom looking like a sack of shit having been up late watching the England v Austria game.

Autumn is coming, some of the trees are shedding their leaves, but at the same time other are in a boost of growth, the temperature is holding steady at about 34C, going down to around 28C at night. It should get a little cooler, but more importantly the humidity should begin to drop. I’m going to miss scraping ice off the window screen and falling over on ice. Early nights aren’t really an issue, because I’m so close to the equator, pretty much all year round it gets light at six and goes dark at six all year round. I will miss the Christmas piss ups, but I’m looking at spending Christmas at one of the top hotels in Bangkok, I’m looking to see which as the best deal.
Talking of Christmas, if anyone would like a Christmas card from Thailand, send me your address and I’ll send a card from Thailand.

Lastly, on Monday Phil turned up and obviously by 3.00pm we were on the beer. We went to a Pool Bar, and bizarrely I won three out of four games, I was amazed! Later we went for dinner at the Hard Rock Café. Always a good night in the Hard Lock, top band and top food. The picture of Phil is with Aon, Cake and Pu. All of them good Mates. I’ll do a more in depth post on Phil’s visit later.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Busy, Busy!

I’ve been getting bored waiting to hear about the new job! So i’ve been keeping my self very busy with a few new projects of my own.

Bangkok Greeter is a new Tour venture that I’m having a go at, if you know anyone who is due to visit Bangkok anytime soon, show them this page.

Bangkok greeter

Natural Thai is my Sales Weblog, I’ve added a few new items.

Natural Thai

I’ve been very busy on EBay, most of the goods are skate related, but keep an eye on the page, there might just be something for you.

My EBay Page

Saturday, October 08, 2005


MK is one of the largest chains of Restaurants in Bangkok; they are modelled on a very successful Japanese version. Thai kids go mad for it and all the advertising is aimed straight at Kids! This isn’t why it’s my least favourite place to eat, you will see why shortly.

When you are seated at your table, and I must say by very good staff. You will notice a large cooking pot on the table with a heater under it. In the pot is a very light soup made from vegetable stock.

You order your food from the menu as normal; this is where it starts to go Pete Tong. The food is bought to you raw! All the lovely bits of steak, prawns, seafood balls and even liver are frickin raw. You then have to add all of the contents of your food trays and some vegetables to the boiling pot. So if you like meat boiled then MK is definitely for you. You do get some very nice dipping sauces which give things a bit more taste.

On the good side, you can get side dishes like roast duck and Dim Sum for very little cost. The Duck comes in at under 80p and is fantastic. You also get free water throughout the meal, when it is poured it is the same colour as piss, this is because it as a little amount of tea in it to give it flavour, very refreshing.

So remember if you want gorgeous roast beef and grilled prawns, don’t go to MK.

Unfortunately its Nuch’s favourite!

Le Gourmet

“Le Gourmet” is a very up market French Tea Café on Sukhumvit Soi 33, very close to the Phlom Phong BTS Station. Before any of you say “What’s Chris doing there?” The Manager Gee is a good friend of mine. Le Gourmet must have 100’s of different teas for you to try, everything from fruit to chocolate flavoured tea. A lot of the hotels in Bangkok serve their tea in their Cafes.

The cold Jasmine tea they serve is so refreshing. They also do a good selection of coffees from around the world. There is a counter full of chocolates that you can take away, you must also try one of the many cakes that are on display. The service is very good and the price for this very good experience is reasonable.

Le Gourmet is also a good source of French, Spanish and New World Wine. Bangkok is not renowned for its abundance of wine, so this is an oasis for good wine.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Bangkok Life part 18

Hello Everybody,
Been a very busy week. Last Wednesday we said goodbye to the Burns party, despite being a knackering experience showing Jackie around the shops, it was very good to see them and once again thanks to them for treating Nuch and I to our Dinners.

On Sunday we went to see the house,(Above). I was surprised to find out it was almost ready, we had to give it the once over before we sign for it later in the year, their were a few little niggly things that needed to be put right, sticking doors, a cracked lamp shade, stuff like that. I must admit I was very pleased with the house, it as a good size garden and loads of potential. We can’t move in yet because the infrastructure of the Estate is not ready, so we are looking towards the end of December, you will all be invited to the house warming!

I’m really having a good go on EBay, through boredom really, still not had my starting day for the new job, so in the meantime I’m going to have a go on EBay. If there is anything you need, just let me know.

On Monday night we had the biggest lightning storm I have ever witnessed in my life, some of the strikes seemed to stay in the air for seconds, the thunder that followed broke windows and set off car alarms off all over the place. It carried on for hours, while laying in bed the room was lit up like a disco; it was fantastic, although at times a little alarming.

Next week will be very busy; my best mate Phil is back in town, so late nights will be the order of the day.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Ronnie Barker RIP

It was sad to hear of the death of Ronnie Barker, he was without doubt in my opinion the most talented British Comedian Actor in the UK ever!
As I was growing up, the The Two Ronnies had me in stitches, with sketches like "Fork Handles". Then in series like Porridge, Going Straight and Open all Hours. He will be missed.

Monday, October 03, 2005

The Robin Hood

The other month I reviewed the Bulls Head on Sukhumvit Soi 33, and I mentioned that there was also a pub called "The robin Hood", so out of a sense of fair play here is what I found.

This looks like a very traditional Pub, wooden chairs and tables, a small bar stocked with spirit optics, it sell John Smiths, Kilkenny, Guiness and Strongbow on draught and have a full english Pub grub meal. I elected for several pints of John Smith. Top Hole! It tasted fantastic and works out at £1.75 per pint.

The food was very good, I had a Ploughmans Lunch, lovely cheddar, crunchy bread and Branston Pickle, it doesn't get any better. There was Sky News on in the corner and a good pub atmosphere. Definately go there again.

The best way to get there is on the Sky Train down to Phrom Pong Station, get off the train and go down the left hand steps. Robin hood is around 50M down the road.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

The Royal Benja Hotel

Royal Benja Hotel , a place of luxurious facilities on 30-stories tower,offers you a high standard of service hospitalitly, home-like comfort of appointed rooms, various kinds of facilities and uncomparably delicious dishes from our restaurant outlets which you could not resist your appetite. Located on town-centered Sukhumvit Road Soi 5 in the vicinity of the Expressway entrance and exit, ROYAL BENJA HOTEL is a perfect starting point of taking off the reach any surrounded destination with in just a few minutes,i.e., big shopping center such as World Trade Center, Siam Square or business area on Asoke, Silom, Sukhumvit Road and Queen Sirikit's National Convention Center. Just 30 minutes from the airport, you would be refreshed by our cold welcome drink. A most upsetting trouble for people nowadays is car parking space particularly in such a busiest town. Being aware of such frustrated inconvenience, we have prepared you a visit area of 500-car parking lot. For us at ROYAL BENJA HOTEL. you are a truly exclusive one.

The above is what The Royal Benja says about itself on it website, I have to say this is the best hotel that I have stayed in during my visits to Bangkok, its only listed as a three star, and you can get a room for around £22 a night including a superb buffet breakfast. The rooms are massive, and as I was on the 29th floor you get a fantastic view of Bangkok.
Its about a five minute walk up to the BTS Skytrain, and from there all the city is excessible.
The pool is as good as you would expect from a hotel of this standard, with a good towel service.

It is best to book on a Bangkok Hotel website like;

Rather than go through the Hotel own website, I will give this Hotel 8-1/2 /10, I would stay there anytime.

For any of you who caught the latest Auf Fierdesien Pet this christmas when they were based in Thailand. The hotel they stayed in was the Royal Benja.


In all parts of Thailand and especially in Bangkok, there are 1000's of the convenience stores "7/11". They are the Thai version of the corner shop, except there is one every 200M or so. Their all pretty much the same inside! Lots and Lots of sweet things, cheap beer and cigarettes and the basic groceries that you may need.
You can pay bills here and buy the all important phone cards. Outside there is always a ATM machine and probaly a vendor selling food. They are great shops are are open 24 hour a day.