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23 May 2011 ~ 14 Comments

How Not to Handle Girls in Thailand’s Bars

No.7. How Not to Handle Girls in Thailand’s Bars

This time I’m sharing with you a tale about a guy who invited me to tell his story. He’s happy to have me write it up because he prefers to lurk in the background. We’ll call him Hank.

The aircraft touched down bumpily at the old Don Muang airport in Bangkok. Unable to contain his excitement, Hank leaped up to retrieve his hand baggage from the overhead locker. He’d planned this first trip to The Land of Smiles a long time ago, and was determined to have the time of his life – after all, his mates who’d been many times had offered him sound advice.

Fighting his way to the line of taxis, he accepted a deal from a shifty character who promised careful, expert and swift conveyance to Pattaya – at a price that sounded reasonable.

The ancient car juddered along the freeway, dodging in and out of lanes at breakneck speed. Hank unbuttoned his shirt to mop up perspiration caused by the malfunctioning air conditioner, and sheer fright on discovering he’d hired a road rage specialist. Arriving in The Extreme City four hours later, after suffering a burst tire – or   tyre, depending on your native spelling – a boiling radiator and a couple of police checks, the surly driver dropped Hank outside the small but friendly hotel recommended by his pals. Handing over a few thousand baht notes, insisting the man keep the change, he marched into his residence, anticipating a warm greeting.

The gloomy interior reeked of stale tobacco smoke, even staler beer, and overpowering perfume wafted from a dozen or so girls lounging about. A Thai man behind the bar – there wasn’t a reception area – instructed one girl to assist with Hank’s bags while he checked in. Following the rather well built lass up the dingy, narrow concrete stairway, he wondered if he’d arrived at the right place. Stepping inside the room, he knew he’d made a bad mistake. Tipping the makeshift porter a thousand baht, he dumped his belongings on the uncomfortable, suspicious looking bed, trying to convince himself it wasn’t really that bad, and may seem more inviting after a beer or two. As the shower delivered no water, he bravely returned to the bar to report the problem, and sampled his first Thai beer. His spirits rose when several attractive girls befriended him, all seemingly thirsty when they suggested, “Little drink for me?” A number of little drinks later, the boss enquired if he’d like to pay now, or have the bill added to his room account. Agreeing to bill it, Hank found himself drawn towards a particularly beautiful young lady who insisted on clipping his fingernails in-between supping little glassfuls of a very heady concoction. Time sped by as his new friendship became more meaningful, with the caring lady enquiring if he happened to be hungry.

Delighted to accompany her to a plush, expensive restaurant, they indulged in all manner of good food before returning to the – er – establishment. Hank ordered two very special drinks in order to consolidate his intimate friendship with the best girl he’d ever met. Unfortunately, the girl’s other farang boyfriend had arrived, and greeted her warmly while Hank sipped his drink alone.

Postscript: Hank decided to rethink his plan of attack before revisiting Thailand. He’s still working on it.

19 May 2011 ~ 6 Comments

Monavie in Thailand

Point taken. Shame on me.

10 May 2011 ~ 4 Comments

The Thai Village That Never Sleeps

No.6. The Thai Village That Never Sleeps

Only important if you support noise abatement.

Don’t get me wrong, I love living in my Isaan village – most of the time. It’s just that hardly an hour goes by without disturbance, distraction or disaster. Come join in and experience this typical day.

The all-night wedding party across the road is in full swing, and the bass boost on the speaker system purrs out an enchanting lullaby in earsplitting distortion. Even wrapping the pillow around my head fails to sooth. Ah, time for karaoke now; does the young girl think she’s a superstar? Please give it a rest. I must have dropped off for a few minutes because now a man who thinks he’s funny insists on bellowing some witticisms into the microphone. Now it’s time to dance – a war dance judging by the hooting and hollering. Perhaps diving under the bedcover will bring relief.

It’s not daylight yet, but the public address speaker, mounted on a pole a few meters along the road, crackles to life with the village Head Man presenting his personal choice of a chirpy traditional song that’s bound to precede his important announcement. Yes, it’s about how many baht, or how many kilos of rice locals have donated to the temple. Does he need to read out the names of everyone in the village? Oh-oh! He’s now switched on number two and number three speakers located in other areas of the community. I had no idea so many people live here. That’s set the dogs off, yapping and howling like demented wolves. How can my missus sleep through this? Wait a minute – she’s not here. That must be her bashing sticky rice and pulverizing chilies in the kitchen. It seems the disturbance has roused the party revelers over the road.

Now they’re competing by finding out just how much volume the music system can cope with. Even the flapping cock perched outside my window is unable to make his voice heard above the din. Hmm – the neighbor must be having trouble getting his tuk-tuk to run properly. He’ll blow a gasket if he keeps revving it up like that.

I’m suffering with a headache, nervous twitch and indigestion now I’ve mopped up my breakfast. Fresh air should help – a gentle stroll along the lane, and a brisk jog round the peaceful temple grounds. Ouch! Those huge gongs and drums are taking a pounding. Here comes the first in the usual line of trucks announcing a variety of onboard goods for sale via roof-mounted megaphones. Ah! I’ll stop this one – he’s offering painkillers. Oh dear, the young man on the motorbike really shouldn’t be riding with only one hand on the handlebars. Why can’t the phone call wait? Oops! Too late – he has smacked into the back of our brand new refuse collection truck. He’s okay; a headlong catapult into the garbage container broke the fall. Might as well chuck his bike inside too.

Maybe a few of these will brighten things up.

04 May 2011 ~ 91 Comments

Why do Western men still want a Thai woman even though they are bad?

Sawasdee everyone and I hope you are all very well

I haven’t written a post here for a while “Did you miss me“? lol. I was having a bit of a break to be honest with many things in life to do. But I thought I really want to write a new post and say hello to everyone at Thailand Musings.Thaivisa.com

So what I want to share is an interesting conversation I had recently  with a friend from Australia, he is a friend of my husband actually and what he talked to me about made me want to ask all of you Farang readers here a question.

The question is, even though many Western men have had a bad experience with Thai women what is it that still makes them want a Thai woman as a wife or girlfriend.

Now I do know some of you don’t think that way and wouldn’t want another relationship with a Thai and some have had a bad experience but still happy with a Thai woman and that’s what made me curious to ask.

What was interesting with what my friend told me was that he had experience in relationships with Thai woman that had left a bad taste in his mouth. He had not really been scammed for any money but he had been cheated and lied to when they had other boyfriends, usually from different countries. He told me how a girl he had met would not return phone calls and would make very strange excuses for not being able to answer the phone when he would ring her, like she had lost her phone, or it was broken or she was in the shower all the time, yet when you see many Thai women they have their cell phone glued to their ear every minute.

I have heard of this many times also…this is how they behave and is normally a good sign that something is wrong and they are not sincere and usually means they are with another man.

My friend made a good comment that why could they not just love one man and be happy with him. One day they will grow old and probably be alone. But I suppose that does not really enter their mind when they are young and think they have everything they need because they make easy money. I must confess that it does make me wonder too.

So when he told me that one day he hopes to find a good honest Thai woman it just hit me that why would he still want a Thai woman then, what is it about Thai women that make him forget about his bad experiences like that? If Thai women make him worry so much about whether he can trust her or not why bother to look for a Thai woman again. Wouldn’t it just be easier to find a woman in his own country?

What he told me was he loves Thailand, he loves the food, the culture and Thai people and would want to live in Thailand when he retires, he is early 50’s by the way. So this really made me think because I hear this quite a lot about Farang who even though they have a bad experience they still want to find the right Thai woman and live in Thailand.

So that is why I would very much like to hear what you think here because I know there are so many of you with different backgrounds and opinions and experiences.

So the question again is, even though many Western men have had a bad experience with Thai women what is it that still makes them want a Thai woman as a wife or girlfriend?

I look forward to all of your interesting comments in the meantime stay safe and be happy for Easter.

Sawasdee

20 April 2011 ~ 2 Comments

The Conclusion of An Adventure in Thailand

This is part 6 (final) of the story An Adventure in Thailand.

To sum it all up

I returned and met up with this lady, no not a young girl, this lady was in her late 30s and had two children. Now at this point in my life I have given up everything, my family, home and pretty much everything I/we owned including our £160,000 home, however I was as skeptical about Thai ladies as the next Westerner.

Yes I had heard they only want your money or just want a good time on the Westerners money, so it was a little strange that I had met this lady who did not seem to want much from me. Yes the occasional meal, some clothes when we went out shopping and of course gold, but she did not like drinking or even going out to bars or clubs even though she was working in one. We would eat out whenever I came back to Thailand, but nothing would ever cost a lot and she would never ask for anything expensive. This was not the norm of what I had heard from other Westerners or read about in books about Thailand.

Well since those fateful first trips to Thailand we have bought land, built a home, have had two cars and several bikes. Okay so as we all know the land is in the wife or the girlfriends name, but this is where it can all go wrong, or not!! Coming from England I too was focused on money, material aspects of life and that what I bought was mine, just to name a few things. All those years ago I was lucky to have a girlfriend/wife (Thai) who would teach me right from wrong when it came to the Thai culture and the ways of Thai life and living. We have had many problems, but they have been on both sides and due to the cultural differences as well as the game they call Hi-Lo that is played in the northeast (Isaan) and probably other parts of the country. I have probably spent in the region of £60/70,000 in the few years I have been living in Thailand and a big part of that was given to help my Thai wife’s family. I still love life in Thailand, we have a beautiful home, I have a gorgeous Thai wife (same lady) and of course when things don’t go well for us, for whatever reason I get stressed, but I think about where I am, who I am with, how she now loves me unreservedly and I know however many things or people test us and sometimes to the limits I am living in paradise with my Thai angel.

13 April 2011 ~ 19 Comments

Thailand Driving License: The REAL Road Rules finally available!

by Stu Lloyd www.thailandjingjing.blogspot.com

It is hoped that this definitive list will be soon be adopted as the official driving code of Thailand, in the absence of any other such known publication, so that all drivers on the road will act in strict accordance with it.

# 1. The Mercedes Benz always has right of way.

#2. The more wheels you have, the more right of way you have. (Except when Rule #1 applies.)

#3. Anything with two wheels or less does not count as a vehicle and should be disregarded completely. Even if it’s a 1800 cc Harley Davidson the size of the average Thai house.

#4. If you need to turn off, then turn off. If that means a right-angled swerve across three lanes on two wheels so you don’t miss your turn, please go ahead. We’ll just fit in with your plan. No need to indicate your intention.

#5. If in the process of executing that turn, you cause three motorcyclists and a tuk tuk to end up in the ditch, add 5 points.

#6. Indicators should only be used in the following fashion. If someone is behind you and wanting to overtake, put on your right indicator. This means either a/ it is clear and safe to overtake now or b/ don’t overtake now a bus is coming over the blind rise at a speed approaching 130km/h. It will soon become apparent which meaning was intended.

#7. Do have as many Buddhist amulets on the dashboard as possible. If you’re involved in a fatal accident, never mind — there’s always another life, and another …

#8. Traffic jams can be frustrating, so, as soon as you get any open space at all, get your vehicle to its highest possible top speed. As a guideline the rpm counter should be kept in the red zone in event of any open road.

#9. When joining a busy main road from a small side soi, proceed directly into the intersection without stopping – or even pausing – for other traffic. This selfishly indulgent act of stopping and checking will only cause confusion for those behind you, with the possible result of them rear-ending you.

#10. When on a motorcycle, do not wear a helmet, and ride as fast as the bike will possibly go while using cars, buses, elephants, and chickens as slalom course markers. Irrespective of traffic conditions, possible dangers lurking around the corner, and pedestrians foolishly crossing the road at a marked pedestrian crossing, maintain this speed (once again, the red zone on your rpm gauge is a reliable indicator). After all, in the event of some other idiot doing the wrong thing, you want to be killed outright, not maimed.

#11. On the subject of pedestrian crossings, these are known to farangs as ‘zebra crossings’. There are no zebras in Thailand. Ignore. Proceed as usual.

#12. Do not wear a seat-belt. This will delay you when you stop at 7-11 to buy more beer for the drive, resulting in late arrival for the party. This is not acceptable to your thirsty friends.

#13. In the event you become completely, utterly, motherlessly drunk when drinking with your friends do not — repeat: DO NOT! — leave your vehicle there and attempt to walk home. In your drunken state you might be tempted to actually use a pedestrian crossing on foot, without observing the golden rule of crossing any road in Thailand: look Right, look Left, look Up then look Down before you cross. The buggers will get you from anywhere!

#14. Red lights. This is merely an optical illusion – all traffic lights in Thailand consist of three different shades of green. What you think is red is actually just dark green. Proceed as usual.

Stu Lloyd is a Chiang Mai based travel writer, author of the best-selling HARDSHIP POSTING series. He blogs at THAILAND JING JING. See www.thailandjingjing.blogspot.com

10 April 2011 ~ 2 Comments

Once Upon A Time In Thailand… An Adult Fairy Story

No. 5.  Once upon a time in Thailand… An adult fairy story.

Rated absolutely of no importance whatsoever.

NOTE: For the benefit of international readers who may not use English as their first language, you’ll find the name of this story’s hero, Shooda Knownbetter, translates to ‘should have known better’. To continue…

Once upon a time in faraway Thailand, there was a big giant called Shooda Knownbetter; a strange name for such a clever person who boasted about having plenty of money. One lovely sunny day he gazed from the window in his budget hotel – well, after wiping away grime that he kept forgetting to mention to the management. Glancing down, he sighed contentedly, running an eye – only one, the other happened to be glass – over the merry scene unfolding in the busy city. Motorbike contraptions, handcarts and people squatting in the road vended all sorts of tasty morsels with strange names and even stranger aromas. What appealed to Shooda more than the food, were scores of lovely young Thai maidens, colorfully dressed in eye-catching outfits of every description; short skirts, low tops and high-heeled shoes. Feeling compelled to be part of the action, he quickly showered under the gurgling specially colored water, despaired when it ceased to splash, toweled himself dry, shaved, cleaned his few remaining teeth and carefully spread the thinning hair over the bald patch. Glancing in the mirror, he knew he looked his best. The king-size, brightly decorated shirt flowed tastefully over his beer gut. Slipping into baggy shorts and floppy sandals, he ventured forth.

A trifle hungry, he headed to a bar offering ‘buy one, drink two’. Half a dozen bottles later, he remembered he hadn’t eaten for ages. The succulent burger and French fries appeased his craving and he embarked on social chitchat with a group of youngsters swarming all over him.

“Hello handsome man. Where you from?” one cheeky – but honest – lass enquired politely.

Feeling pleased his magnetic appeal worked so quickly, he replied, “Over there, see?”

Scowling in the direction of the tumbledown dwelling place, she gasped, “There? Why you stay there?”

Swelling with pride, Shooda replied, “I can afford it, yer know.”

Now something he must have let slip lead to Mamasan ringing a very noisy bell. It made an awful din. With whoops of delight, a stampede broke out, with dozens of girls lining up assorted drinks on the bar. Shooda Knownbetter reckoned he’d cracked it; drinks on the house as well. He even had an invitation to try his hand at Connect 4 – an exciting little game involving dropping green and red buttons into a plastic frame in blocks of four vertical, horizontal or diagonal lines. Quite how he lost every game baffled him.

“What your name, handsome man?” one member of the staff asked, prodding his beer gut affectionately.

“Oh, they call me Shooda – Shooda Knownbetter.”

“Ooh! Velly nice name, I like too much.”

“Oh, you’re just saying that,” he murmured dismissively, collecting yet another bottle from the stack in front of him.

As time blissfully sped by, Shooda wallowed in his rapidly increasing popularity. More and more lovely girls showed their appreciation of his generosity, charm and wit. Mamasan very kindly kept shoving little bits of paper in a pot beside him – no doubt personal thank you notes about her appreciation of having such a delightful customer. After all, she’d wasted no time in providing free drinks all round, announcing her delight to do so by even ringing the bell again.

Good times sometimes seem to fade away. Shooda Knownbetter, feeling the happy bubble had burst, managed somehow – loyally gripped by two girls from the bar – to stagger to the nearest ATM machine. The wonderful piece of equipment threw some money at him, to the great amusement and lack of understanding of his gleeful companions. After agreeing to empty his wallet back at the bar, he decided not to outstay his welcome, so went off in search of more entertainment.

Just popping out to amuse the Thai men in my local village bar. They may not understand, though.

06 April 2011 ~ 12 Comments

Miss Universe 2010 – Ximena Visits Thailand

The video by itself is pretty funny especially in the beginning where Ximena states “I don’t have a visa” and shrugs her shoulders as if to say “so what…I’m Miss Universe”. What an arrogant attitude to take when coming as a visitor to another country. As amusing as the video is though the comments are much better and it seems to me as if MANY Thai people have very little love for Miss Universe 2010. Take a look and see what you think.

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.