Back in Thailand…

Day 1 & 2

After a 3 month break from Thailand, I should have been more excited to return. In the last 10 years, the longest I have been away from Thailand is 6 weeks. I have always been excited to return.

For some reason I am just not excited this time. Why? Not sure. Yeah, I wanted to see Miss Tim of course, but all the other things that used to attract me no longer do. All the things that didn’t used to bother me, now suddenly do.

Arriving at the airport – I went for a taxi. The new system is in place where you get a ticket/number from the machine and head to the parking bay of that number. I got the ticket with number 29. Went the bay of 29 to find a locked car with no one in it. Stood there in the heat for a few minutes until a driver arrived with a load of passengers – waving a ticket with 29 on it. Can’t be bothered to argue – no point. Just another typical Thailand trait.

Back to the ticket machine and off to find bay 40. Once again, no one there so I had to wait by an old pile of crap that looked to have been built in the 80’s. Some old duffer arrived and opened up his 4 wheeled skip. He tried to fob me off by asking me if I knew about airport taxi and the 100bht surcharge and no meter. I told him to put the meter on, I am not a tourist and I am not paying the 100bht surcharge. Off he went. Had the twat not tried to scam me, I’d have handed over the usual 500 I normally give taxi drivers to take me from the airport to Sukhumvit. Not this time.

Breakfast

After checking into the Hotel S15 – we decided to have a little breakfast at the Black Swan. The BS breakfast has always been good and as it was just across the road – it was a goer.

I had forgotten. The Black Swan has moved. Doh. Not too far though so off we trekked to Soi 19. Bit of a hike to be honest but sure it’d be worth it. Or so we thought.

One thing that kind of pissed me off, which highlights how lazy the Management/Owner is…  there was a sign on the door of the old venue that read ‘We are moved to soi 19’

Being this is an ENGLISH pub with prodomantly UK or Western Expat customers, you’d have thought the notice to all customers would have been written or checked by someone who’s English is their Mother tongue?!

Has the management changed? Certainly the staff have.

Inside the new Black Swan is much smaller than the old. At 10am, they really don’t need to be playing dance/house music videos. As is most (British) Pubs, you have easy listening music in the mornings.

We were the only customers so we thought service would be quick. We were wrong. Kept waiting for quite a while – I ordered the full monty English breakfast that I’ve had many times in the past.

While waiting, I dropped a pen top on the floor, under the table (we were in a booth) so put on my phone torch to have a look for it. What a shock! Under the table there were chunks of old toast, the odd chip, the usual hairs and dirt and a coin or two. It didn’t look too clean that’s for sure.

One thing I prided myself on at the Mango was each night (or morning) the stools were raised off the floor and the floors were mopped. There is no excuse for having dirty floors if you have a cleaner.

The food was not like it was or how I remembered it. I shall not be returning, leaving The Queen Vic and Chequres my only places to go for breakfast when in Bangkok now.

Headed over to Pantip in the afternoon to have a computer cleaned and filled with new software. I really do find Pantip a fascinating place. The work carried out on my computer would have cost 100’s in the UK. Here… 500bht. I am sure I could have got it less than that but hey, its only 500bht.

For those of you who have never been to Pantip, it’s a place where you can get pretty much any gadget, computer, accessories and DVD’s. After looking around various little stalls, Miss Tim asked what I was looking for. I told her an ‘under water smoke alarm’. It took a minute or two before she realised I was pulling her leg.

Hotel

S15 has been a fave hotel of ours for a little while. Conveniently located, clean, good value. Ticks all the boxes.
This time… things are different. I am not going to acknowledge the maintenance going on in the lobby or the lift being out of action – this is a necessary evil and can’t be avoided. However, I don’t excuse the chambermaids chatting to each other at the tops of their voices to each other from one end of the corridor to the other. Hearing Thai’s speaking (fast) is not exactly soothing on the ears. A few time I had to open the door and ask them to keep the noise down.

The reception staff were efficient as ever – filling out all paperwork for us which other hotels seem not to do.
Through the night, I could hear music. Thought it was coming from another room, so was all set on knocking on peoples doors and giving them what for.. turns out it was the hall speakers and their piped music. I guess they forgot to turn it off at night?

I guess we’ve outgrown S15. The next one to try is Terminal 21.

Friday was wedding day. No, not mine. Miss Tims best friend Nok. Miss Nok married a Spaniard last year. She has been living in Spain a few years now. Nice girl. The main wedding took place in Spain so it was time for Miss Nok to have her Thai party.

It was my 1st Thai wedding (party) and I am hoping my last. It’s just not for me. Had it have been anyone other than Miss Tims pal, I’d have made excuses not to go. I totally understand that it’s important for the Thai girls and how much pleasure/excitement they get from it. I do. I get it.

It was all about Miss Nok and I wasn’t going to spoil it by being the grumpy farang sitting on the table looking miserable. Well, I was going to try not anyway.

I wasn’t the only Farang. There was a table of about a dozen Spaniards who came over for the party in support of the Groom which was good for him. How many farangs have to do this on their own without any other white faces there to chat to. Sorry, but it’s Thai. I am not Thai so have no interest in this.

The day started at 7 with all the Monks blessing them with good luck. I did point out it was too late – as they’re already married so his luck is all gone. No one gets my jokes.

At 9am they were serving Thai whiskey and all sorts of food dishes. At 9am! I’d have much preferred a boiled egg and some orange juice, but as I said – it was all about the Thai’s.

First time I've had red wine for breakfast.

First time I’ve had red wine for breakfast.

There was a band – which had two male singers and a separate female singer. Is it compulsory for all male singers to be gay? Anyway, when the music was on, the farangs got up to dance. I can’t help but think this was due to them starting drinking at 9am. They danced to the Thai music. Only them. All the Thai’s sat there pointing and laughing.

 

One old guy kept giving me shit about me going up and dancing. I politely smiled and said it wasn’t for me. Behind my recently professionally cleaned pearly smile I was muttering that if he keeps it up, he’ll be needing to visit a dentist soon too. The old duffer just wouldn’t let it go. Why was I not keen? Well, lets face it, farangs can’t dance to Thai music. It was plain to see to all the Thai’s and me. I was not about to have this lot poke fun at me. Put on a bit of Bee Gee’s Stayin Alive and I’d have been up there bustin my John Travolta moves – but as they didn’t, I sat firmly in my seat.

All was going well until things started to wrap up around 2pm. This is where things went a little dark. Again, it’s a Thai thing, but in this day and age I’d have thought things would have moved on or evolved a little. The old Thai’s were badgering the Bride and family about how much money the Groom had paid. It all came down to money. This upset Miss Nok and she was in tears. On her wedding day party of all days. There was money there – laid out in some golden bowl which was photographed by many people, wrapped up in some golden cloth which was then carried by the mother with a big smile on her face. How vulgar. I know, I know, it’s a Thai thing. But when you break it down and point out to them that all they are interested in is the physical cash – it’s vulgar. If it were me and I was asked what money I was bring to the party so to speak I’d be saying, well, there is the houses, the cars, bank accounts, living expenses. What the fuck have YOU ever given anyone?

Nope – it’s all about the visual of how much cash you can sell your daughter for. Horrid.

Soi 4

Back to the hotel for a quick change and head to soi 4 to meet the rats. The rats this time were – Rick Masters, Spats, Lomeo, Aussie John, Khun Jim and GM. The girls were with us but they were off to do their own thing.

One thing I noticed more so than I have in the past is how dirty and untidy soi 4 is these days.  The garbage on the side of the street, the smells, the general grime of the place.

It was good catching up with the rats. Bit or reminiscing about the old days. Many of it in the days of the Mango. What has become of the old Mango? We thought we’d take a look.

Under the name of iDarts, the old Mango has some Electronic Darts machines. Never played on them or wanted to. Still, they have booze so off we went. One of the 1st things you’ll notice when approaching the Mango is a small group of girls at the end of the soi in little pink figure hugging dresses. Not a bad start. They walk with you to the bar and hang around. The bar is pretty much how it was when it was sold as the M Bar but a few minor floor changes.

The hostess came over to us, took our drinks order and asked us if we wanted any company. Perfect. Not pushy, very polite and friendly.

We all had a little chat with her about the bar and it was all good. There are some plans in the pipeline for a ST hotel upstairs – which was on our plans back in the day. Good luck to them.

iDarts is certainly a bar you should include on your crawl of soi 4 with the rats.

Next up was the Plaza!
As per usual – the 1st stop was Pretty Lady, I mean Spellbound. The girls greeted us like superheros as per usual and a good time was had by all. DavetheRave looked to have the worlds problems on his shoulders and was trying to figure out the owners next step. He told me the show-girls had walked out as the shows were cancelled by the owner. To be honest, I had forgotten all about the shows. I go there because of the staff, girls and of course Dave are a great bunch.

Out the door and up the stairs to Mandarin. It’s not a place I like going to. I HATE it when an aging, pug ugly Mamasan marches a couple of girls upto you and offers them up. If you’re not in the mood or just don’t fancy them you tell them ‘no’. How does that make those girls feel? Some young girl getting rejected by fat old men more than twice their age? I’d like to think that we are more than capable of flagging down a Mamasan, waitress or even the dancer in person should we want to engage with them?

This time was different. There seemed to be a different vibe inside. Upstairs was even open as they had so many girls. Looks to me like they have a fresh stock of girls. The girls who have been there a while were mulling around – not looking too happy. I find it funny that the veterans of Mandarin are still only very early 20’s!

Where to next? Well, this is where it gets tricky. We regrouped outside and openly asked ‘where is next’? There was a time we had a full menu of venus to visit in a night. Now we found ourselves scratching our heads.

Rainbow 1 was close by so we went in there. Non-descript. Can’t remember much about it. It’s just another generic gogo.

Out of there and into Erotica. Not too many customers but plenty of girls in good spirits. There was even a boob or two to be seen around the place.

Drinks finished… approaching midnight, we had our fill. There was nothing else in the Plaza we wanted to see.

Is this what it’s come to? Standing around trying to think of places to go? Sign of the times?
We called it a night.

Watches synchronized, the plan was to meet at Hemingway’s the next day.