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29 March 2011 ~ 5 Comments

Discovering Trust in Thailand

This is part 5 of the story An Adventure in Thailand.

I should tell you the story of the westerner from England who met his girlfriend in Pattaya as this is a relevant story. I am telling you this because jealousy can creep into a relationship if you do not have the right sort of heart.

He was a retired man with a healthy bank balance (or that is what he was telling his girlfriend) who I was introduced to when we went to have a Sunday lunch in the town of Nongbua Lamphu. We were introduced to him and his girlfriend as he was from England, as am I. Well my wife and I had drinks with him and his girlfriend, we also had several meals in different restaurants, had drinks at our home and also drinks at her home near Nongbua. We talked about building work because at the time I worked in Thailand for a building company. I tried to help him with his Thai as he spoke little and understood even less. I gave him DVD’s of movies and music and he confided in me his thoughts on his girlfriend seeing someone else when he was out playing golf or just being away from her home.

Anyway one day my wife and I returned from her mums house (only a walk from ours) to find a black car parked across our drive. This westerner had come to ask us some questions, well actually his girlfriend had brought him, her mum and a friend to clear up his strange thoughts……intriguing to say the least. He asked me if I would be honest with my replies to his questions, “no problem I said” and he then asked me if I was meeting his girlfriend at a resort!!!!!! Well do I laugh or get angry?

Of course he is somewhat crazy I am thinking, but he felt sure I was. He asked if my wife would talk to him in private and she did. He felt sure she did not know I was seeing his girlfriend, but as she said “Paul (me) and I are together everyday”, as we were. Now I can understand jealousy to a degree, but I had done only good for this man from the time we had met, so this was a strange thing to behold. It turned out his girlfriend had said I looked like a fun guy, whether or not anything else was said I do not know, but from that he had got it into his mind that I was seeing her.

Now as this all unfolded we had drinks and I said it was no problem for him to ask these questions. So all long evening and a few laughs later they were all gone. It did not occur to me that this would not be the end of the situation, but it was not. It went on for sometime more, but what I hope this will tell you: that if you don’t have a good heart jealousy will rear its head…you have to trust many things and some things you do not understand and long distant relationships need more trust….trust me I know

Well that is about all I can remember about my journey of discovery. A discovery of who I really am and my adventure I guess…….It turned out I am much more of a different person than I was when I lived in England.

Read the Conclusion of An Adventure in Thailand

24 March 2011 ~ 5 Comments

Thailand Adventure Moves to Issan

This is part 4 of the story An Adventure in Thailand.

As a person who rarely gambled in his home country it was fascinating to see how so many people (mainly women) play a game called Hi-Lo in the northeast, however this fascination led to frustration. Can you imagine a life that revolves around going to someone’s farm in the middle of nowhere, then gambling for eight or nine hours, only to come home broke!! Well I have seen it with my own eyes and it was heart breaking because it was nearly the end of my relationship with Thailand and Nusang.

The northeast is as we know a pretty poor area and when there is no rice or sugar to harvest there is little else to do, other than working in Korea or going to Bangkok to find work in bars, clubs or shirt factories I am guessing. When there is not that you have to find ways to live and support the family or your children. This can lead to so many people borrowing and that is the start of the downward spiral to doing whatever work you can get. Yes bars and clubs are near the bottom of that spiral. That gorgeous woman you want to have relations with, or even marry will not tell you about how much they have borrowed to survive before they met you, but be assured many have borrowed and it does have to eventually be paid somehow.

I have seen this first hand and I have helped enormously (mug I hear you say) which is alien for me having lived in England all my life. I view it like this: I want to live in Thailand, I want to be with my Thai wife, in our home and I do not want people calling asking for money every day and if someone else’s need is greater, then I as a person should dig deep into my heart to do the right thing.

Those times are long past since we had long discussions about how to do things and the fact that everything, including home, land, car and bike are all paid for. Now over the years of going to Thailand and living there I know I have given an enormous amount away, sacrificed staying there for a full holiday to make sure the family can pay for things and this is just something you may come across. If you do and you think this is not for you, then I would suggest you walk away. If it is for you then you will see the rewards 10 fold. As I am typing this to you I have just had a call from Thailand (I am working in England at the moment) saying she has no money because the money I sent did not get a good percent when it arrived at her bank. She gets money every month and this is just one problem you may face, so think hard about what you are doing when you want to live the Thai life.

Think hard about it and consider that weddings and funerals will also be possibly so different than in your country…..I did not consider anything at all when I chose my path to Thailand, so when Nusang’s pa became ill it was up to me to make it as easy for Nusang as I could. This meant that we had to take him to hospital at anytime of the day or night, sleeping under/beside his bed to care for him. To take him home when he became so ill he wanted to die at home. To seeing him die in our car as I was driving him home. To making sure Nusang could do all the right things for her pa’s funeral and the week long celebrations of his death. This goes for weddings also as it will possibly be the westerner who is expected to help as most Thai ladies who have children want to see their children have a good wedding.

Read Part 5 of An Adventure in Thailand

22 March 2011 ~ 3 Comments

Songkran in Chiang Mai

Once A Year Chiang Mai Erupts Into Watery Mayhem

There are water fights and then there are water fights, and then there is Songkran. Describing Songkran as a water fight doesn’t really do it justice, it’s more or less a civil war fought across the whole country with water and it rates as one of the most spectacularly fun festivals in the world!

Songkran in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is arguably the best place in Thailand to experience this festival, which takes place during April in order to celebrate Thai New Year. The city explodes into action with thousands of people heading to the moat surrounding central Chiang Mai to soak one another using water guns, buckets of water, high power hoses and anything else that can carry the liquid. The celebrations last for three days and the endless drenching barely stops except for a brief respite in the evening, but this isn’t a rule set in stone so it’s not recommended to put on your favourite jeans before heading out into the night. Amidst the chaos of open hydrants, foam machines and pick-up trucks performing drive-by soakings, street food still manages to make an appearance to keep everyone’s energy levels up; although alcohol helps too! It is worth considering that cheap hotels Chiang Mai book up very quickly in the run up to the festival and it is essential to reserve in advance to avoid disappointment.

Aside from the endless fun, there is a serious side to Songkran and throughout the three days Thais will make merits at the array of historic temples in the old city. Often visiting these temples early on the third day is a great opportunity to witness these rituals first hand and with the cultural box ticked you can make the most of the final day. Choosing carefully from the Chiang Mai hotels is recommended as some will be in the thick of the action whereas others will be more secluded allowing you to break off from the chaos.

Wat Rong Khun Chiang Mai

After the dust settles on Songkran and the streets dry up, heading further north towards Chiang Rai for a change of pace and some recuperation is a great way to recover. Here, life is slower and the wild landscapes of the region help restore the balance in your mind after 72 hours of sheer thrills. Travelling all this way and not making it to the market at the border town of Mae Sai would be a shame as some incredible bargains can be had. Cheap cigarettes, alcohol and DVDs from as low as 10Baht can be purchased. Post Songkran all Chiang Rai hotels should be fairly empty and finding a good one won’t be a problem.

21 March 2011 ~ 9 Comments

The Joys of Motorcycling in Thailand

Mark Damaroyd’s THAI TIDBITS No.4.

Personal observations on matters of great, little, or no importance

The joys of motorcycling in Thailand.

Warning: Ignoring this means you rate it as being of no importance.

I know there are many motorbike and scooter fans in Thailand, all highly skilled, safety-conscious and well trained. I’m referring to locals, resident farangs and tourists alike. My amazement and admiration is endless when observing the prowess of riders confronted with imminent danger. This standard explains the remarkable accident rate figures, no doubt.

Until I moved to Thailand, I avoided bikes – riding them, at least – like the plague; except as a teenager back home, proudly roaring around the country on my gleaming chrome and red BSA 250. The ego trip turned out to be short-lived following a series of disasters, including hitting closed railway crossing barriers due to skidding on black ice, suffering a lightning strike in heavy thunderstorms during a pleasure trip to the seaside, and ramming into the back of a school bus, conveying some jeering former school pals.

My introduction to the two-wheeled phenomenon in LOS occurred in Pattaya. Sticking with my vow never to mount one of those machines again, depending where I lived, I either trudged to work, or hopped on a baht bus. On the very first day of a new job, I arrived late because my baht bus was involved in a collision with a scooter. Thankfully, no one suffered serious injury, but by the time the police had finished their inquiry, my packed lunch had gone soggy. Next day I decided to walk. I’ve never worked out those so-called pedestrian crossings. After tentatively risking a few bold steps into the road, I realized I was dicing with death; ducking, diving, weaving and backtracking as thousands of bikes sped on. Thoroughly shaken, the advance continued until I collapsed, exhausted on the far side. A friendly motorbike taxi man kindly heaved me off my knees and offered transport.

A couple of years later, somehow having managed to avoid a nervous breakdown or injury, I moved on to Koh Samui. On this wonderful island getting around without a scooter is nigh on impossible. Reluctantly, I negotiated a long-term rental deal on a smart and nippy bike. Being understandably cautious, after an early breakfast, I crept along a quiet lane – even cleverly avoiding dozens of Samui’s notorious potholes – to a deserted beach offering a training strip by way of a paved promenade. I managed to kick my way through to second gear, shooting off at an incredible twenty-five kilometers per hour. With hindsight, I should have checked how to operate the back brake first. The police station at the end of the strip seemed alive with alert and enthusiastic law enforcers, all rushing to be first at the scene where I’d collided with a tree. The first to catch me gleefully waved his fixed penalty booklet in my face. The few hundred baht fine for no hat and no license seemed reasonable, and helped make the police officer’s day. The bill for bike repairs hurt more than my head after making contact with that badly placed tree.

Drinking and riding needs addressing here. Never do it – not even a single drop, especially on Koh Samui roads in the dark. My house stood high on a hill with sweeping views over a spectacular bay. The nearest bar, at sea level, happened to be about half a kilometer along. The toughest part of the journey required careful negotiation down the steep, twisting drive. I walked there once, but the struggle back up killed all the fun of being in high spirits. Each time I freewheeled down on the bike, I played safe when parking outside by pointing the monster back up. One particular night, I seemed to go slightly over the limit, so one of the girls kindly rode back up, with me hanging on for dear life. I forgot to warn her about a huge rock and pothole outside the house. Too late, we tumbled off, the bike tipping over with its hot exhaust pinning my leg. These motorbike burns are commonplace on the island – affectionately called Samui Tattoos. I managed three at once because each time I crawled out, I seemed to go dizzy, letting the lethal weapon fall back for another go. I’m happy to report the girl leaped off quickly, unharmed, to enquire, “You okay?”
Off to take the riding test now.

16 March 2011 ~ 50 Comments

Sex in Patong Beach

This is part 3 of the story An Adventure in Thailand.

Well the following year (2005) we decided to go back to Thailand once more. To see how everything was since the tsunami, to see friends and just enjoy Thailand.

Now over the years we had had some problems and my wife was not getting better, in fact after a couple of attempted suicides the relationship was changing which probably led to that fateful day in Patong. We saw all our friends again including the ladies at the bar. On the walk home from the bars my wife suggested we take Mar to the hotel saying “she needs money for her children”… That evening we all met up and I was supposed to have sex with this lady and she would have money for her family. As I said before nothing goes to plan and that evening was no exception. Sure we all went to the hotel but as we lay there about to have sex I looked into this beautiful ladies eyes and knew she wanted more than just a quick wham bam and thank you ma’am. I saw into her heart and soul and although (honestly) we had never talked about anything she wanted I knew it was time to change my life and plans. Well the short of that was we did not have sex, my wife and I had huge problems because I would not have sex with this lady. All this led to me leaving the hotel, walking the beaches at night and sleeping on the beaches when I was tired.

In a strange country, speaking little Thai with only the clothes I stood up in, money and my passport…what was I doing was a thought that came to mind. Late into the night and still walking on the beach I got a call from this lady asking if all was okay as my wife had been to the bar and poured out the story to her. She had just finished work and said she would come to talk and we sat and talked for hours. I wanted to throw away my passport and vanish into the back of beyond in Thailand thinking that will solve everything, ha ha ha. This lady had a wiser head on her shoulders. The short of it is we had sex that night and without condoms (I hear you all) which is a strange thing to do I know. There was something about this lady and how she was living. She lived in a room with a corrugated roof, no kitchen as we would imagine and when she told me to take a shower I was shocked how it was not surprising to find a big black bucket of cold water and a scoop was all to shower with. Many years on I know that so many girls/ladies in Thailand live like this just to be able to send hard earned money back to the family.

Anyway she told me if I wanted to come back to Thailand I should deal with all the problems I have in England, did I want to hear that…..not at all but she made sense.

Now at this point I had to find somewhere to stay for the rest of the holiday, so we searched for a hotel. That was a fantastic two weeks and we enjoyed going around the island, eating at inexpensive roadside restaurants, but it had to come to an end. Now this may come as a surprise to many people who think they have found the perfect Thai lady. They do not think they love you even though they tell you it, “love you longtime” I heard many people say, but actually Thai love is something that will grow or so I am told. It is possibly money that many people love firstly and then love for you will grow, well that is depending on how you treat them and their family. That is what happened with Nusang and myself, Mar was her nickname.

Since the tsunami it has been an ongoing adventure back and forth to Thailand. I have spent a week up a mountain in a cave with a monk in Kathu, living as he did. I have been accepted into the village, not as a farang but as a Thai, we have land and have built a beautiful home (building managed by me). I spend time doing all the things Thai people do including going to the temple, giving alms to the monks who pass the house every morning…paradise it is, but even in paradise there are problems.

Read Part 4 of An Adventure in Thailand

15 March 2011 ~ 4 Comments

The Go-Go Bar Chrome Pole That Behaved Badly

THAI TIDBITS No.3.

Personal observations on matters of great, little, or no importance

The go-go bar chrome pole that behaved badly.

Due to the hush-hush content, this falls nicely into being of no importance.

Some years ago, I worked in a temporary office – like a shack, really – in Pattaya.  Visualize a crumbling parade of shops and bars, with rooms, apartments and office space on the next floor. The small company put up with it while waiting to occupy a plush new office in a high-rise block across the road.

A go-go bar happened to be located directly beneath our office; one that opened early to catch trade when deskbound staff from the prestigious development opposite wearily began spilling out onto the street. The exodus began at around three o’clock for the more privileged workers. The go-go girls on the sidewalk below us, parading back and forth with placards informing ‘Happy hour for three hours only’ and ‘Enjoy nice time before go home’ always brightened the day. Not surprisingly, the generous offers and scantily clad beauties enticed more than a few inside. That’s where the problem started. Let’s go back to the office for a moment.

Some readers may not be aware that soundproofing installations aren’t always to the highest standard in a few Thai structures. Apparently, before the go-go changed hands, it extended to the roof of the building, with decorated steel girders providing support when the ceiling disappeared. Now it consists of two separate units, one up, one down. Surprisingly, rooms where the girls can – um – chill out are located four doors along the back alley. Unfortunately, the flooring in our office consists of thin wood planks. One didn’t need a clock or watches to know it was three-thirty; the DJ downstairs blasted earsplitting rhythms from that time. Our boss, sufferer of nauseating migraines and nervous twitches, usually reacted by wrapping a towel round his head, standing up, jumping up and down, and bellowing requests to turn it down a little – in slightly more colorful language. Sadly, his pleadings went unheeded, and his mood became malevolent. By around four-thirty, the first troupe of dancers attacked the chrome poles mercilessly. Now this soundproofing problem revealed something else. Some time before, workmen discovered the anchorage points at the top of the chrome poles actually protruded into our premises, bolted securely through our floor.

At five o’clock, the boss waved us off, muttering something about having a little job he needed to finish. We found that strange, given he usually stood the first round in the bar a few steps from the go-go. With a couple of bottles inside him, a buddy – I’ll call him Patrick, to protect the not-so-innocent – announced his wife could wait a while longer, and suggested we all visit the go-go. Only a few minutes of the three-hour happy hour remained.

Inside, the show was in full swing – I mean full swing; some of the lasses had assets to be proud of. One girl hung upside down, ankles fastened in a strap at the top of a pole. Suddenly, the pole started collapsing, lurching dangerously sideways. The agile dancer managed to free herself, gliding gracelessly headfirst, flipping over to land on her backside in the middle of the stage just as the length of chrome crashed down beside her. To this day, nobody knows if it was sabotage or a case of unstable fitments. All we do know is, next morning, our boss had a smug look on his face.

The story doesn’t end there. Patrick had been going through a bad patch at home. His wife couldn’t understand why he arrived exhausted two or three times a week. She had a notion that he might be participating in the ‘Enjoy nice time before go home’ scenario. Eagerly plying a newish star dancer with drinks, completely unaware that this vivacious person happened to be a ladyboy, our Patrick almost died with fright when his wife burst in, wielding a nasty-looking knife. Double entendre?

So much for the good old days; it’s time for my Ovaltine. I’ll pop in again soon.

14 March 2011 ~ 1 Comment

How To Escape The Phuket Crowds

Would you believe me if I told you seclusion still exists on Phuket? Probably not, but the steamrollers of development and tourism haven’t reached all corners of this stunning island quite yet.

Up north the drone of jet skis doesn’t exist, the beach loungers aren’t lined out in their hundreds and the prices don’t make your eyes water. Here the beaches have been largely unaffected by the dramatic transformation Phuket has experienced but they still boast the paradisiacal qualities of those further south. Soft sand underfoot, inviting warm blue water and gentle cooling breezes; get here soon before the hordes come knocking.

Nai Yang is the most built up of these beaches although I use that term loosely, very loosely. There are a few Phuket hotels set back from this beautiful stretch of sand and these range from classic bungalows to five star resorts. A smattering of restaurants and local street food options will keep you fed and to top off the simple life, night time entertainment usually involves admiring the stars and reading a book. Although the beach boasts glorious swimming, further ashore the winds pick up enough to make kite surfing possible too. For those without thrill-seeking tendencies, a walk to Sirinat National Park is an alternative and here Phuket exists at its most isolated. The beach on Sirinat is a reminder of how this island may once have been.

Mai Khao is another sparsely populated beach located just further north and stretching over 11 kilometres long. The big hotel chains have started to get wind of this currently unspoilt area but their impact has been minimal so far. This is the tropics as you imagine them in your head and you would struggle to believe that you’re on the same island as the bustling Patong. Despite the solitude there are plenty of Mai Khao Beach hotels to choose from and access from the airport is remarkably easy thanks to the close proximity.

Phuket’s southern beaches aren’t all go-go bars and sun burned skin though and with closer inspection there are some lesser known places worth visiting. Nai Harn strikes a nice balance between quiet beach resort and fully developed tourist area. Fortunately the beach is owned by a nearby temple and this has prevented the gangs of hotels from planting their flags and ruining the natural beauty. Small bursts of night time entertainment still exist among the selection of Nai Harn Beach hotels to make this beach a superb all-rounder.

13 March 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Thailand Adventure Phuket 2004

This is part 2 of the story An Adventure in Thailand.

This second trip in December of 2004 was to be the second turning point in our lives, even though we had not realised we had already had the first one on that first trip to Thailand. Of course we stayed at the same hotel on Patong beach and went to see the many friends we had made on the beach (hair braiding, henna tattooing and massaging). These people seemed to remember our names and our children and seemed to enjoy listening and talking to us. We found these people so nice due to the fact that they would always stop and talk, take care of my cameras (over £1000 worth) when we both wanted to swim at the same time and all they wanted was for us to have an enjoyable time on the beach and of course buy what they were selling to eat and drink or go home with a memento of braided hair, tattoo or massage. What we could not foresee as with many other holiday makers in Thailand was how in 2004 we would be caught up in the tsunami.

Well as we all know devastation befell parts of Thailand as well as other parts of the world. The Patong Merlin and many other hotels, shops and other people’s livelihoods and lives were washed into oblivion on that day. I count myself lucky that on that day I had for the first time not gone to the beach to take pictures, partly due to my wife rocking in bed in pain (that actually turned out to be a tremor to the impending tsunami that morning) and waiting for her to get ready to have breakfast or I may not be here typing this story.

We were lucky our friends came running in to the breakfast area and pulled us out of the way on that morning or we would have been another statistic of lost life. We saw over 100 bodies taken from the shopping mall next to the hotel, we had people die in the hotel, including the little boy who was washed into the hotel and did not survive even though my wife gave him CPR. So with many people including us being transported up the mountain to safety and then being relocated to another hotel I would guess it would be hard to imagine that it would not have a profound effect on us. Now it was time to leave and like everyone else who wanted to leave, but could not for a few days we decided to help out before we carried on our next leg of our journey with was to Australia and then Singapore.

Read Part 3 of an Adventure in Thailand

11 March 2011 ~ 13 Comments

The Trouble with Trying to Cook Farang Food

THAI TIDBITS No.2.

Personal observations on matters of great, little, or no importance.

The Trouble with trying to cook farang food.

I rank this as being of great importance.

If you happen to have a good Thai partner who can be trusted in the kitchen, there’s no need to worry about this. I showed my lovely missus once, and once only, how to make things like chili con carne, beef stew, liver ‘n bacon casserole, and Indian curry. Admittedly, I sweated over a hot stove for hours during the training period, but what a result!

The first bonus materialized when she banned me from the kitchen, declaring she had mastered the art of making farang food. Not wanted, I dutifully trotted off to the bar for an hour – okay, hands up, it might have been a wee bit longer. On returning, my satisfied grin quickly melted to a frown when the most pungent aroma of cooking chilies and garlic hit me. Don’t get me wrong; I love the stuff, but this was way over the top.
Holding out a huge dish containing a mountain of chopped onions, with tears streaming down her cheeks, the wife asked, “This okay, darling? Plenty onion?”
Then I spotted a black garbage bag full of tomato skin, and the empty packet of dried red kidney beans that would’ve been enough for a banquet. If only I’d taken a peep inside the pot where the soaking process took place overnight; this extravagance could have been prevented. She’d also hand-chopped at least three kilos of prime beef too.

After emptying a can of air freshener, together, we watered down the overenthusiastic concoction. Eventually we had three giant pans full of the stuff. One thing I’d overlooked to suggest in our culinary lessons was the fact you can freeze some foods. I dined on probably the best chili con carne ever for a whole week – perhaps longer. It seemed longer.

Another farang dish I yearn for sometimes is ‘toad in the hole’. Wait! It’s probably not what you’re thinking. I’m not sure if non-UK citizens are familiar with this dish. Originating in Yorkshire, England, a substance known as Yorkshire pudding is the basic part of ‘toad in the hole’. Mix flour, milk and eggs in a large mixing bowl until light and airy. Bake in the oven until it rises, light, crisp and brown. It’s supposed to come out rather like a shallow dish. To create ‘toad in the hole’ you shove a few tasty raw sausages into the uncooked version, then cook it all up.

We don’t have a conventional oven, so I nipped into the supermarket and bought one of those little tabletop jobs. Once again, the wife assured me she could handle this delicacy.

While relaxing in front of the TV, a loud thud from the kitchen stirred me to action. The door of the miniature oven had burst open. A creeping mass of gunk menacingly advanced over the work surface and down to the floor.

With hands clamped to mouth, my beloved gasped, “Me not know what happen.”
“Oh, maybe a touch too much flour, eggs and milk, Honey.” After scraping up the mess, and binning the electrical marvel, we decided to risk chicken and fried rice.

Well, off to McDonald’s now. See you.

10 March 2011 ~ 215 Comments

Why Farang Get the Wrong Type of Thai Girlfriend

I see many on here who tell of stories about how they have been cheated by their Thai girlfriend. Some have been left disappointed and confused when their Thai girlfriend just leave them…some have been online and things have broken down, often they have sent them money…some have had relationships where they have lost lots of money, maybe she left when the money ran out…there are many stories like that. And I know many of you reading this have your own story of heartache and pain.

I want to share an honest and open post here with you all. I have spent many months now writing on here and reading your comments, your stories and reactions with much great interest. I have learned a lot by reading them.

I want to ask you why do you think this happened to you? I want to ask you do you feel that it was all her fault and that you had nothing to do with it apart from being there. So you are the victim of a heartless and cruel Thai woman?

I say this not to make you feel bad but because I really always believe that in some way we are always the cause of everything that happens to us. I read so many negative stories and comments which I know many will point to as evidence that Thai women are bad.

But do you think its possible that just some Thai women are bad, just like some western women are bad and some western men are bad and some Thai men are bad and that there might be some reason why you got mixed up with her in the first place? We know that there are Thai women just out to take money, but that does not mean you have to get involved with one.

This doesn’t mean you are bad because you attracted something bad

I believe we attract to us that which we hold inside…this doesn’t mean you are bad because you attracted something bad (although that is possible too) but in some way you attracted it and you took yourself to the place where you could get what you really wanted. You don’t have to be conscious of everything you want for it to happen. Our subconscious mind is in fact much more powerful than our conscious mind and it is that mind that really creates your life.

This is a difficult thing for all of us to accept sometimes  because we will say I did not want it to happen but the point is that nothing happens without reason. Where there is cause there is effect and where there is effect there was a cause and in your life you are the cause.

I have written a much deeper article about this on my website and you can read it here if you are interested in this part but I warn you it is very sensitive although I hope it will help in the long run. Read it here at Thai Girlfriend Advisor.

We also know that Western and Asian people are different cultures. We maybe the same underneath with a heart and a soul and a mind but on the surface we are different. We speak different languages. Our environments are often different, our belief systems, our childhoods and our whole way of living. This means we cannot expect too much from each other. We cannot expect each other to change culture because it is all these things that shape us on the surface.

Perhaps what Western people see as one thing Asian people see as another? What is acceptable to us is not acceptable to you and what is acceptable to you is not acceptable to us. From what I see there are many things that we have to accept about each other and not expect about each other because I believe it is this expectation that causes the problems, not just between cultures but in many relationships.

If a man eats green leaves all his life because in his country the green leaf grows and his culture always eats green leaves and then another man from another culture comes along and doesn’t like the green leaf because his culture does not eat it or even like it does that make it wrong to eat green leaves? Perhaps he tries the green leaf and it makes him sick and so now he tells his own culture do not eat green leaf because it makes you sick. But to the first man and his culture it is no problem. But now the second man decides he likes the look of green leaves and wants to eat it because it looks nice so does he now expect to change the taste of it so he can eat it?

I know it’s just a simple analogy but I think sometimes simple analogies are better to point out things and as you may know in Asian culture we like simple proverbs like that.

I will share with you my thoughts that there are many things about Western culture that I must accept to be apart of it. If I am involved with western people and their culture than I must learn to accept and not expect while still retaining respect for my own culture. Some things I do not quite agree with in Western culture because they are different from my own but I realize it is not for me to judge because to western people they are normal.

They are what they are and they have their own reasons for being that way

So for me and in my opinion it is this expectation that can cause many Farang to get caught with the wrong type of Thai woman. First they attract into their lives the situation and the conditions and then they expect to be able to change them. Now please don’t get me wrong. I don’t want you for one moment to think that I accept what some Thai women are like because believe me when I tell you they embarrass me and make me sick but then I cannot put the blame all on them. They are what they are and they have their own reasons for being that way. They will also face their own karma at some point.

What I believe is if you really don’t want to get caught by women like that then simply…don’t get involved with them because that is their way. If you don’t want to get eaten by sharks then don’t swim where sharks are and if eating green leaves makes you sick then don’t eat them.

Everyone has the choice.

As I said I talk even more about this subject in another post so feel free to read on here at Thai Girlfriend Advisor For now I hope you will all stay safe and well and be careful of sharks and green leaves…!

Sawasdee

09 March 2011 ~ 1 Comment

An Adventure in Thailand

We all have our own stories about how we came to Thailand, what attracted us to the country and what makes us stay (or leave). Woven throughout many of the stories are similar threads and I’m sure many will be able to see parts of their own Thailand adventure in this story that I received from a long time reader of Thailand Musings. Because the story is quite lengthy I’ve decided to break it up into segments and will be posting them over the course of the next few weeks.

Thanks Steve…………….. below is really just some of my adventures in Thailand from 2002/3 up to now. I hope this makes for interesting reading not just for you, but for many people who have gone to or are thinking about going to Thailand in search of love. I hope the full story is good reading and will make people understand we have to sometimes change to make things work !!!!!!

My adventure started around the year 2002/3. We were planning the trip of a lifetime (for my wife and myself), but it didn’t start out as a trip to Thailand although in the end that’s what it was. For many reasons the trip we wanted to take was not working out the way we wanted it to when we were deciding on the details for the trip and so the Asia trip was born. Firstly though, we had to get all details finalized with the travel agent due to my wife being disabled. That was not a problem on any count as we were told the Thai Airways flight team would make sure everything would be dealt with for my wife to have an easy trip. I have to say at this point they were fantastic and always on my subsequent trips back and forth from England or Thailand I try my best to use Thai Airways. However we did not consider if it would be easy to use a wheel chair on the coast of Phuket or anywhere else in Thailand, but when we eventually arrived in Thailand it was lucky my wife was able to get around without it as roads, curbs and pavements were not really suited for wheel chairs.

Having never been to Thailand or any Asian country this was going to be an adventure to tell the grandchildren (yes we have two) and probably never do again we thought, however we can never know what is around the corner…can we!! Unknown to us was the adventure fate had in store or how it would have an amazing affect on our lives which would change so much for us both. We arrived in Bangkok late afternoon around Xmas time (we decided it was time for us to use the Xmas break for our adventure as the children had grown up and Xmas time was always stressful).

The 2002/3 Xmas trip was an amazing assault on our senses in every aspect possible. The beauty that is Thailand was overwhelming to say the least, but no more so than the first steps after getting off the long flight from England. My first steps were greeted with what can only be described as “the feeling of someone walking straight through my body” and at that point it was as though I had returned home…An epiphany would probably sum it up, but why now and why me!! The 3 weeks we had from that point was amazing, we met lovely people (almost everyone at the hotel, but none more so than Orropan and Siriwan) at our expensive hotel the Patong Merlin in Patong Phuket, we had awesome food, went on beautiful trips and of course did the tourist bars and pretty much most things associated with going to bars and clubs, as my then wife was very liberal minded due to the fact that our love life was slightly lacking due to her being disabled. This enabled us to have special friends whom we had great nights with, so as you can imagine I was given my cake and allowed to eat it, so to speak.

Anyway let me go back a little to Bangkok…. Our package deal gave us beautiful hotels and the one in Bangkok was no exception. We stayed just three days in Bangkok or as I know it now as Krungthep, this allowed us time to get around the summer palace, winter palace and all the sights one should see when you go the first time. Of course this meant Patpong market, bars and clubs and I have to say it just made the senses tingle with a feeling of electricity surging through your body!!! This from a man whose wife would pretty much let him have sex at anytime and with anyone as long as she knew about it and was there. Yes were cajoled into bars and clubs, but in the best possible fun. We saw ping pong shows that left us in disbelief of what people would do for money, we bought many things from the market, fake or not who knows, but whatever they were and for how long they lasted it all added to the great Asian/Thailand adventure, so after drinking at several bars this was the first time I had ever had sex (I was going to say “been to bed with”, but you cannot call 20 minutes going to bed) with an Asian girl/lady. Even then we all agreed condoms (2) had to be used. At that time (so many years ago) I am guessing my wife paid a few pounds, although I am not sure. Afterwards I talked with my wife and said I am not sure it should have happened, but as all of us were consenting adults she said it should not be a problem.

Three days later and we were heading down to the coast of Phuket/Patong and that fantastic hotel Patong Merlin on the Patong beach. Not an inexpensive hotel by any means, however the staff was the best we had met on any trip we had made in all the other countries we had been to in the past. Staying in one hotel for a long time and you will strike up friendships and probably more so with Thai people as they are the friendliest people we have encountered in our trips. Orropan and Siriwan tried to teach us little words in Thai as I am sure they did with many other guests and even today almost 10 years on I still have contact with them and other people you will encounter in this adventure. As a keen photographer I would go out every morning and walk the beaches and streets to capture something of everywhere we went and Thailand was no exception, but with even more beauty to excite the camera lens and myself. We would go out most nights by tuk tuk and see more of the island during the day and then go to the red light/bar area of Patong in the evenings. At this point I have to say I was in paradise, good food, great beaches, fantastic people, great scenery and a fun nightlife. So it was no surprise to us to sit in a bar watching a show and end up chatting to the girls/women about our children, their children and their lives working in bars. It was there that we met a lady called Mar who with her friends danced at this bar in between the shows they would put on. Entrancing I would say she was as she danced (if you could call dancing against a pole dancing) on the stage; we chatted with this lovely lady and showed each other photos of ours and her children. Now at this point you could not imagine the turmoil that was going to befall ours and our families lives from that very first trip to Thailand.

Well the trip of a lifetime was soon over, the 3 weeks passed and we were on our way home and planning the next trip for December 2004.

Read Part 2 of an Adventure in Thailand

07 March 2011 ~ 2 Comments

Where To Be Seen In Bangkok

There’s one street in Bangkok garnering a reputation for fun and fashion like no other. It stretches almost two kilometres long, has a strange fondness for wedding shops, is connected by canal and BTS and all Bangkok’s young and trendy are flocking to it. It goes by the name, Thong Lor.

The essence of Thong Lor is neatly captured in the swanky pedestrianised inlet about half way down the road called J-Avenue. Here well dressed boys and girls wielding iPads sit around in the cafes drinking ice lattes thinking about how much they enjoy their lives. Ferrari’s and other expensive cars linger in the parking lot and a glut of sumptuous Japanese restaurants prepare for evening patrons. Despite this recently emerged image of Thong Lor, delving a bit deeper will reveal a number of fantastic sides to the ever evolving street which is easily accessible from most Sukhumvit hotels.

Bangkok - Thong Lor

On the corner of Soi 13 is the celebrated Thai restaurant Thon Kreung which has made a well deserved name for itself over decades of service. Very reasonably priced, the food is as authentic as it gets and customers come from all over the capital to savour the lively cooking. Providing it’s not a school night, heading to Soi 10 for some Thai nightlife is a great way to start your evening. This Soi is loaded with extremely popular nightclubs; expect to see bottles of Johnnie Walker Black wherever you turn, a loud Thai band playing crowd pleasing favorites as well as dance floors bizarrely obstructed with tables ensuring no one can actually dance. These are nightclubs Thai style.

Few may know it but Thong Lor still holds onto small pockets of traditional Thai street life and the onslaught of modernity hasn’t taken away all traces of character. Near Soi 17 are a string of rice and curry shops, noodles stalls and made to order restaurants. Similarly right down the end of the road hidden next to the canal is a charming outdoor market selling anything from pig ears to pyjamas.

Bangkok - Thong Lor Traffic

Catching the little red bus which splutters up and down Thong Lor is a great way to take in the whole road. If you see somewhere you like, hit the buzzer and hop off. Despite the increasing sophistication of Thong Lor there are still a range of cheap Bangkok hotels to stay in nearby.

04 March 2011 ~ 10 Comments

The famous little blue pill – or any of its derivatives

Today’s post is a guest post from mark Damaroyd. He moved from the UK to live in Thailand six years ago. Happily settled in Isaan with his Thai wife and family, he enjoys writing about The Land of Smiles. A novel written by him and called Pursuit to Paradise, released in 2010, is also set in Thailand. He should be a regular contributor here and I believe his musings are much wittier than my own.

I expect to be fairly quiet for the time being as we get everything in order to make our move to Thailand finally this July. You’ll be hearing more about that as it gets closer and much more once we are ensconced in Bangkok. Enjoy!

THAI TIDBITS No.1.

Personal observations on matters of great, little, or no importance

The famous little blue pill – or any of its derivatives.

Let’s start with this important traveling companion for many men.

A guy I know from the UK, well into a romance with a Thai girl in Pattaya, stocked up with what he thought were good value pills, purchased online. In fact, he considered them excellent value, so doubled the order, ending up with enough to take on holiday, and leave backup stock at home, ready for use when he returned with his girlfriend. To be precise, this trip happened to be specifically to marry his girl.

While in Thailand, he received an email from his employers, informing he no longer had a job. He managed to find work in Thailand, obtained a business visa, stopped paying rent on the UK house, and arranged for a relation to clear out personal belongings. When asked what should be done with a large padded envelope containing masses of blue pills, he flipped somewhat. His reply doesn’t take a lot of working out, but I wouldn’t recommend it – could have nasty side effects.

It seems the new wife wasn’t too pleased on discovering she couldn’t go to England after all. To add fuel to the flames, the blue pills didn’t work either. The marriage lasted three months.

Pity really, because I could have directed him to a homemade aphrodisiac that some say works. Take a watermelon, cut it up – skin as well, and smash it in a blender. Boil the liquid until reduced to next to nothing. When cool, strain the residue into small bottle and drink. According to an alleged pharmacist, it actually works. However, after all that preparation, the reason for making it doesn’t make sense anymore.

Well, I’m off to buy a watermelon. See you next time.

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27 February 2011 ~ 20 Comments

2 Interesting Thai and Farang Stories With a Twist

Sawasdee ka

I want to share 2 interesting stories with you concerning Farang and Thai women. They might seem negative but there is something very interesting about both and I like what can be learned from them. In fact I find them heartwarming and at the end of this post I am going to ask you to do something for me……but first the stories.

Thai and Farang Story Number #1

Firstly there is a man I have consulted with a few times now called David. David is an older gentleman from England and has now had a few experiences with Thai women. These experiences have not really worked out well for him though because all 3 relationships have ended in a sad way.

She was not being sincere about her intentions. It wasn’t really about money but she was playing a game

The first was because of such a large age difference and that the young Thai girl involved really had never considered a relationship with an older man and a Farang. She wasn’t against it but she was not positive either and in the end David ended it. His second experience was a bit of a disaster. I shan’t tell the exact detail here and I will tell you why at the end of this story but it ended because she was not being sincere about her intentions. It wasn’t really about money but she was playing a game. It was a game of revenge for something he had done even though he was not aware of it at the time. When her game was revealed obviously the relationship ended.

Their relationship just broke down, along with David’s heart

David’s last relationship started very well and continued for some time. He visited her family at one time who were all very genuine and not poor and he had since kept in regular contact and planning to go to Thailand again. However it really faded as she had some misconceptions about David and what he was prepared to offer her. Yes she became a bit greedy and started to see bright shiny objects which were not really available, meaning David is not a rich man at all and was not able to give her all the things she thought she wanted, including him being able to spend more time in Thailand at that time and so their relationship just broke down, along with David’s heart.

He has been heartbroken and disappointed 3 times with Thai women all for different reasons

Now I know many of you will have all sorts of opinions about these girls and David. Some of you might say he is lucky to escape and some may think he is stupid. What I can tell you is David is a very genuine and caring man. He is intelligent. Yes he is older and so he understands that he doesn’t have the luxury of plenty of time to find a new partner for the rest of his life. This can make him a little desperate and now he has been heartbroken and disappointed 3 times with Thai women all for different reasons.

None of these Thai women have been bar girls or are in anyway scammers. Even the one who was playing a game with him. So what is heartwarming about this you may ask?

Well the answer is his attitude!

You see David still has a positive attitude about Thailand and Thai women. He doesn’t blame everything on them and come away with the attitude all Thai women are after money, bad or trying to cheat and lie, he doesn’t paint all Thai women with the same brush.

He still dearly wants and intends to have a genuine and loving relationships with a good Thai woman

What is truly good about his attitude is that he accepts his own part in each of these relationship failures. He sees that he made mistakes, he had expectations that maybe were not realistic or possible just yet and he has taken the view that he will set his life up in a way to be more able to find the right partner. He still dearly wants and intends to have a genuine and loving relationships with a good Thai woman. He is not being negative but he does realize that there are dangers and he has to take care. I personally believe that with his attitude he will get what he wants eventually.

Now I have not revealed all the detail of David’s story because I shall be posting it in full on my website Thai Girlfreind Advisor very soon so if you would like to read all the details of what happened to him then please keep a look out for that because it is really interesting!

Thai and Farang Story number 2

The second story is about a dear friend of mine. I have known Steve for many years and whilst he is from England he has lived in Australia for many years. Steve has recently got married to a Thai woman from near Phuket. She lives in Australia and has done for about 4 or 5 years and I know her personally too. I can tell you that Steve is a very spiritual person and also very intelligent. His Thai wife is a country girl but she is hardworking and loyal and has learned a lot in her time in the West.

Steve is also not a rich man, far from it but he and his new Thai wife still offered to help her parents with extending their kitchen

Last year Steve went to Phuket to see her family and they stayed for a few weeks and in that time they got married with all the things that comes with it which I know Steve really enjoyed. He is very happy with his Thai wife and she is with him. Steve is also not a rich man, far from it but he and his new Thai wife still offered to help her parents with extending their kitchen. Steve and his wife have also bought some land behind her parent’s house and intend to build a house there and spend half their time in Thailand and half in Australia.

Steve told me recently that it was funny because her parents had now said to them can they build another story on top of their house now that the kitchen is done, which of course Steve and his wife will need to pay for.

Now I know again many of you may quickly jump and say oh there you go see, they are after his Farang money just like all the rest of them and that perhaps now Steve has been caught and might be in trouble now.

They don’t have much money but they have a lot of love and kindness

But let me tell you what Steve’s attitude is about this. When he was telling me this he was smiling and just said that both he and his wife had said to them….woah just hold on. First we want to build our house. He said he is happy to give them money and to help the family and he knows when the house is built they will all be in it all the time. But he said that’s all ok, they are now his family and that is their culture. They are not bad people they are very good people with big hearts and they would do anything for him and his wife too, they don’t have much money but they have a lot of love and kindness and that is all he wants from them.

He accepts that is just part of the culture and their way and that is what he has now joined by marrying their daughter

He is happy to help out, maybe he just need to control them a little and not get carried away with thinking there is an endless supply of money but he does not blame them. He is not negative in fact he said its quite funny and cute really and accepts that is just part of the culture and their way and that is what he has now joined by marrying their daughter.

My thoughts on this……

I love the attitudes of both my good friend Steve and also David because they both show an ability to accept people for what they are and not judge everyone with the same standard. They are willing to look at things from many different perspectives and also take responsibility for their own actions and what may come from them. They can take what might look like a negative and turn it into something positive, they see there is always two sides to everything.

It is for those reasons I have a warm heart about their stories and I believe they will always meet with good fortune even though sometimes they may have to learn along the way.

Once again I very much welcome your comments and thoughts about these but this time as I said at the beginning of this post I would like to ask something of you.

This time I would like you to see any negatives you might at first think about this post and the stories and try to see the other side. What is the positive side of what you might think, what can be learned from it? Try not to go with your first instinct but rather try and peel that away and see what lies beneath it.

Until next week I hope you stay safe and positive in your life

22 February 2011 ~ 24 Comments

What Am I Going to Miss (in the US) When I Move Back to Thailand?

Soon my accustomed standard of living in the US will become my past. One minute I would say I miss Thailand so much and could not wait to go back to my homeland, but the next minute I start to feel stunned and don’t know what it’s going to be like to leave this country. I will probably miss you so much America!!! So today I’m thinking why won’t I write about what am I going to miss when I’m not here anymore :) .

US family and friends – We usually go to Steve’s parents’ house every Friday to have dinner together. And since I quit my job to be a full time mom we’ve been so close. They’re all so good to me and my daughter. I have no doubt in my mind about why my husband is such a wonderful person, just because his parents are such a great people also.

Friends: I really don’t have many friends here beside my Thai friends who live in New York, Chicago, Texas. Other than that would be friends from the places I used to work.

I will miss their company!!!

The best (junk) food I ever ate – 4 and half years ago when I moved to this country, I didn’t really care for junk food that much. I weighed about 128 lbs when I first moved here, but since I’ve been living in this country I have to admit I LOVE JUNK FOOD!!!!! And of course my weight has mirrored that clearly ;) .

Pizza – I’m a big fan of pizza now and so on, especially from Lombardi’s in New York, they have the best Pizza ever in my opinion! And even around where I live there are several places that have decent Pizza too. Of course in Thailand beside Pizza Hut and Pizza Company, there is nothing else that I ever tried. When we started dating Steve and I used to try pizza from one of those place together, and he said its taste sucked! I didn’t believe him at that time because my opinion was that was how Pizza should taste. Up until I got a chance to try pizza in the U.S. and I thought to myself that Steve was totally right and I don’t know that I’ll enjoy eating pizza from those places again. The weirdest thing is Pizza Hut in the US and in Thailand don’t taste the same, but McDonald’s does.

Burgers – I wasn’t crazy about burgers either, but I had to change my mind as quick as I could after I have tried burgers in the U.S. I don’t know how am I going to deal with this issue when I move back. Probably end up have to make my own burgers after all.

Other than that would be..

Good Steak – I’m talking about $20 and up (per person) in general and decent restaurant. I know that here we can afford it once in a while and on special occasions. Hmm…in Thailand I can’t see that happening quite often at all. Steve told me in Thailand we have to import beef from Australia and the price would be double for what we would pay here. Plus it doesn’t taste the same as U.S. beef anyway. Nonetheless we will not be able to find in general restaurant or from the street vendor for sure!

International food – First impression would be Italian food. I’m pretty sure if I do some good research about it I can probably find some good Italian restaurants out there somewhere in Bangkok. One bad thing is they don’t have the family style restaurant like Olive Garden, Buca di Beppo or anything like that with decent food and reasonable prices.

Mexican food – it is kind of awkward to talk about Mexican food in the US, but c’mon looks like half of this country is Mexican people anyway. It is impossible if we can’t find good Mexican food all over the place. I definitely will miss it and once we move back to Thailand, I don’t think we will get any Mexican food unless we will make our own. There was a Mexican restaurant on Convent Rd. around Silom area that we tried. We ordered Nachos and what we got was a dish with big pile of chips and a **it load of cheese on top of them. And something else I forgot what it was, but everything turned out to be awful and it’s not worth it to remember. When we went back to Thailand last time it was closed already and that pretty much proved my thoughts. So if anyone knows an awesome Mexican restaurant please let us know!

Japanese, Korean, and South East Asian food – I have no doubt in my mind that it will not be a problem for those kinds of food since Thai people are pretty much into these cultures with all the Japanese and Korean trends right now.

Bye bye Snow and see you Flood!!! – I used to ask this question to myself and my husband, Steve. We are still not sure which one we would prefer the most. Neither of them are good. Snow will be nice and cool to just stay home and watch all the pretty snowflakes falling down, playing outside with the snow ball fight, making snowman (but mostly for the young kids would enjoy that anyway), but once again I HATE the snow storm and hate even more when I have to drive in the snow season (wouldn’t mind so much though when it doesn’t turn to ice on the road).

Flood: Bangkok is the low land so whenever the raining season or big storm hits Thailand, Bangkok will be one of the cities that is effected by that. And the drain pipe systems in some area aren’t that good to drain all the water down. Even some provinces in E-sarn and the south of Thailand don’t escape as they had big floods last time.

Drive thru – OMG! I LOVE the drive through…it’s so so convenient for everyone who doesn’t want to step outside their car, who has no time, who wants to pick something up quick, etc. I love to use the drive thru bank because it’s so easy and no need to carry my baby in and out from the car seat, so it works out perfectly for me. It seems like they have drive through for almost everything at all from bank, food and restaurant, liqueur store, grocery store (not in my town though, but Steve said in some states they have it), or even pharmacy.

I definitely will miss it very much and I wish Thailand would have something like that..LOL

Returns and customer satisfaction – I came from a country where we usually buy things outside the store; as you can see they have the street venders, weekend markets and night markets all over Thailand. The seller will get the stuff for wholesale price from somewhere else and sell it at retail with their own price. So maybe you will find exactly the same T-shirt with a different price in the different shops (that Thai people and foreigners who live or used to live in Thailand familiar with). But that does not mean the seller will have the right to accept the return of the stuff.

I happened to have this experience for myself with several things I wanted to return in the past. Some of them were stuff from the outside shop. The seller will say NO to you as soon as you are just about to open your mouth. He/she will talk to you like you have never been to his/her shop before even though you just walked out from that shop like 5 minutes ago, they would say they have so many costumers and they don’t remember you. Some of them would say you can buy the stuff from somewhere else and want to return at their place, etc. That’s why when I buy the stuff from outside the store I will make perfectly sure that I like it, it’s in a good condition, etc. It will be even better if you buy stuff from the shop that they let you try it on (but barely that type of shop exists anymore). Nowadays some of the shops they are smart enough to have the sign up for “no return”.

Another experience happened with the big chain store when I bought an MP3 player and it didn’t work right so I wanted to return it. I don’t remember what happened to be exact, but turned out that I can’t return it but they were willing to exchange for a new one. I wasn’t happy about it, but hey…at least I got a new MP3 player not a broke one. And I bet they didn’t really care that I was happy about it or not.

So I was so shocked when I was treated differently about returning things in America. Almost everything the customers are not satisfied with…even food! I remember last year when my mother-in-law ordered take out from one of the franchise family restaurant here. They screwed our order up big time so we called to complain about it and ended up that they were willing to not charge for anything and besides that they also gave us a coupon discount for the next visit. I was like…are you serious? Because the price would have been almost $120 but we got that meal for free. If that happens in Thailand what would that be??? LOL

I think that is pretty much everything that I can think of for the time being. I know even those things are still missing in Thailand, but up to this point nothing will change our mind from moving back to Thailand :) ). Nowhere in the world will have everything perfect. We just have to get use to it…and the most important is be happy with it.