Wow! A month has passe. Times flies when you’re having fun. Not been posting anything as, well, I just can’t be arsed. So what’s been going on then? Well, not too much.
A few times a year
Miss Tim and I head to the UK to shop, eat and drink. Turns out that it’s cheaper drinking in the
UK now than it is in Thailand. Lots of
things are cheaper in the UK than Thailand these days. Gloss over the expensive flights – but it’s
probably cheaper to spend time in the UK than HH.
When I fly on my own.. I hate it. Everything and everyone pisses me off at the airport or on the plane. Miss Tim calms me down and the flight is fun, and we laugh a lot. Food isn’t bad either. Whatever it was?
The food in the UK is
great. I am not talking ‘Fish n
Chips’ – but Chinese, Indian, Italian
and of course Doner Kebabs.
A few minutes walk from my place is a bar which offers 2 for 1 cocktails. Can’t turn that down right?
After a few hours on
the cocktails – we’re ready for food.
There is so much available in the City that we have a tough time
Although, when drunk,
the only food worth tucking into is a Doner Kebab. It has to be done.
After a night’s drinking
and eating… it we head out each morning before the sun comes up and walk
through the city. We love the peace and
quite of the early mornings.
A few weeks of abusing
ourselves, eating, drinking and shopping too much – it was time to head back to
Thailand, stopping off in Bangkok for a few days before returning to Hua Hin.
I like the UK more and
more these days. It’s a pity the weather
was crap – as we would have liked to take the bikes and cars out – and drive on
roads without the fear of imminent death or kamikaze bikers nosediving towards
All in all.. a good
time was had. Looking forward to my next
1st Day back in Thailand – and a few days in Bangkok was on the agenda.
Miss Tim wanted some (Thai) food, so we headed
to an old fave ‘Have a Zeed’ in T21.
The problem is – not
matter what time of day, there is a queue out the door. So much so now, they have seating, tickets, a
screen and a speaker to call you when your table is ready!
One you’re in, the food comes as and when it’s ready. There was a 10 minute gap between us getting our meals. Yes, the food is good, but I am over it. The restaurant is rammed full of Chinese people. There must be some Chinese trip adviser that had this place as the no.1 place to go. Not that it’s a problem… but have you ever sat next to a hungry Chinese man with a bowl of noodles? Say no more.
A night out on the
town (soi 4) – it’s hard to find a bar that I like much. There are maybe 3?
Opposite the Raj Hotel
Carpark is a nice-looking bar called Red Zone.
It’s clean and the few staff are really good. It is a great location, great for people
watching and oddly enough – empty?
The only problem is….
The people that do seem to enter – are from the middle east. I’ll let you guess which country. As soon as they spot the pool table, they
ask if it’s free. They then ask for the
cheapest drink on the menu to share between 4 of them. That’s my cue to leave. Peasants.
If I were a bar owner,
I’d hoof them out. Then again, I’d hoof
most people out. Balloon chasers, happy
hour hunters, leaches and plain cheap fucking arseholes (you know who you are)
– the lot of them.
When I think back to
the Mango days, I can’t help but think of all the cheap bastards that were
lurking around. Didn’t notice at the
time as I was enjoying myself. But
looking back, jeeez…..
That reminds me.. the Indian Lounge & Club on the top floor of the building opposite has now closed down.. . wonder why?
Fancy a spot of people watching? The little corner bar next to what was once Liquid, opposite Blanket and Bean.. great place to watch the weird world go by. Just how tall is this dude? Surely the girls must run when they see him approaching and licking his lips
A few days in Bangkok was o.k. Any longer and I’d go nuts. Soi 4 is just like a street in the Middle East now. Lots of smelly, hairy people in groups, dragging their flip-flops along the ground.
Can’t say I care for the place or the people.
Next off to Hua Hin.. I am starting to like Hua Hin more these days, that’s because it’s nothing like Bangkok.
No, I am not talking about when you and your girlfriend got frisky and didn’t have a condom to hand. I am talking about these Thai fucking idiots on bikes who just pull out of a side road – onto a main road without looking or even slowing down. DICKS. I see this on a daily basis when riding in Hua Hin.
I don’t even notice all the idiots not wearing helmets anymore. That is almost as common as riding around at night with no working lights. At the risk of offending the Thai authorities… THESE THAI PEOPLE ARE IDIOTS.
I arrived back in HH last week. After being away for 4 weeks, the 1st thing I did was head into town, say hello to some people and have a few drinks.
I should have pulled the plug when I got my buzz on. I didn’t. I kept going, and had various bar owners buy me drinks. I don’t remember leaving the town. I do remember the next morning feeling like hammered dog shit.
Hua Hin right now is pretty busy. The start of the high season?
Trying to stay away from the bars each night – we headed to the Cinema to watch some gratuitous mindless violence. Rambo Last Blood.
Why am I telling you this? Well, sat a few seats away from me were a Chinese Family. Mum and her 3 kids. THREE kids. I can only guess at the ages – from 6-9. Really not the age group to be watching people get an axe in the face or a sawn-off shotgun in the ball sack.
After 15 mins, they left, but what I didn’t understand is what on earth possessed them to come into the Theater in the first place? Maybe you can forgive them, thinking Rambo was a cousin of Dumbo? But that’s no excuse for the Thai people on the door selling the tickets. Is there no duty of care here? No morals? Certainly no fucking brains.
After the movie – we headed to Prime for a bit of Steak. The Waiter greeted us and said he’d not seen us for a while. Well, there is a reason for that.
The food in Prime is good. Really good. The service though – is shite. I am sure the owners and staff think they are doing great – but as a seasoned diner – let me tell you a few things about the general public…
Don’t stand 3 feet from me – and watch me eat.
You don’t have to refill my glass after each sip I take.
You don’t have to ask me 3 times if my meal is o.k.
Don’t stand over me once you present the bill.
Or am I just being a grumpy old bastard? All I ask is that you leave me the fook alone so I can eat my dinner and talk to my gf in peace.
Luckily for me – I am off back to the UK again in a few days. A week here is about as much as I can take without wanting to go all Rambo myself.
Two weeks in the UK. Driving my cars, riding my bikes, shopping for clothes which are not made for Asians and more excitingly, eating food which is not deep fried.
I’ve been asked why I’ve not been posting much these past few months. Reason is, I have nothing nice to say about much these days.
The world sucks. Each day I find myself getting wound up about something.
In the UK.. there are now footpath’s dedicated to people using their mobile phones. The phone zombies can walk along in a world of their own and not worry about holding others up or bumping into people. Assholes.
The only good thing I see in that – is that robbers on motorcycles now have the ideal place to go and snatch phones. Good.
Over in America…. everyone seems to think ‘Gender Neutral’ is a real thing. Well let me tell you.. it’s not. You are either male or female. End of. That’s like me saying I don’t want to be known as border-line midget.. I want to now be called a tall person.
And what the fook is it with Thai’s and their fashions? I am still yet to understand the teeth braces girls wear ‘for fashion’. When was this a good look? I remember being at school and making fun out of all the ‘cheese grater faces’. Do women (and men) think this is attractive? What is wrong with this world?
But this one makes me really mad. Girls wearing Glasses with clear lenses because it’s fashionable. I don’t get it? I thought glasses are an aid to help people see.?
One girl I saw, was wearing a pair which didn’t even have clear lenses?! WTF?
Again, at school.. we’d go pick on ‘four-eyes Edwards’ just because of his face furniture. And now it’s a fashion? What’s next, are we going to start wheeling around in wheel-chairs – before going for a jog? Why not get ourselves a guide dog even though we can see. Don’t stop there, let’s all head to the hospital and get some Chemo… as we don’t need that either. I could go on.. but I get mad. The world is a fucked up place right now.
People are idiots.
If ever there is a plan to send people to Mars – but it’s only a one way ticket – then put my name down. I have only 1 condition though……..
It’s been a while I know. I’ve been off radar. Why? Well, I have not anything to write about.
All my moans and pains.. you’ve heard. More than once. It’s just more of the same.
I am getting bored, so was looking for new adventures. Hmm… what about America? I have some pals there and one of my best pals (Russ) who I spent most of my time in Dubai with – is settling down in America. So.. why not venture over there? I also arranged with Russ to do the Route 66 with him.. so it all makes sense. Or so I thought.
Before I get carried away, note that I am a fan of America. Love the food, the cars, the service, the shopping, the people… most things. However… America… can now fuck right off.
To go to America, us Brits need an electronic visa thingy. It’s called an ESTA which can be done online and you get an email that says you are good for 10 years or so. Simples.
There I was filling out the little form – all going well until the question ‘have you visited any of these Countries in the last 5 years – Syria, Iran and Iraq. Hmmm.. that’ll be a big fat yes then. I ticked ‘yes’ and continued. The site went on to take my money and went off for processing.
That was months ago. It’s still ‘pending’. I then found that if you have been to one of those countries, you need to apply in person for a visa and have a little interview. Now, I’ve no problem with that, but why didn’t it say that on the ESTA form? Why did it let me continue and why did they take my money – knowing full well I was not eligible for the ESTA? I’ll tell you why, because whoever came up with the system is a complete twat.
After huffing and puffing I went the long, long route of applying for the visa online. For those of you that have done this, will surely agree with me that the site/form is the most user unfriendly site and looks to have been created by a 12 year old. And this is mean to be the U.S of A? shite.
Several hours later – I had my application in and an appointment arranged in London for last week. 10am was my appointment time which cost me $200. I had my photos, passport and application form ready. How hard can it be?
I got to south London – the US Embassy at 09:15. Went to the little desk (outside) at 09:30 and signed in. I was then told to stand in another queue. After half an hour – we were told to join another queue, then go through security.. then join another queue. Around 10:30 we were in the building and in the ‘hall’ which had loads of people sitting around. Along the side of the room were a bunch of little kiosks and Embassy folk behind thick glass.
An hour passed and my number came up on the screen. I went to a window where I handed over my papers. The lady asked the purpose of my visit to the US and how long I’d be going for. I said ‘vacation’ but have no idea of the duration? Lets say a couple of weeks, 3 times a year for starters. The lady then asked is that why I’ve not used the ESTA system? I explained to her that I am not eligible because I have been in Iraq. It’s also shown on my application form which I assumed she was looking at as they’ve had it for 2 months. She told me to go sit back down and wait for my number to be called again.
I sat. I walked around. I sat again. At 13:30 I saw the numbers on the screen were not changing at all. I got up and had a walk around. All the people in the kiosks had fucked off for lunch!
By 2 o’clock I had enough and walked out. Stamping my feed and muttering obscenities to no one in particular.
What is the point in having an appointment system if it means nothing? Why could then not inform people they can expect to be there the best part of a day?
I had to get back across London to a train to head home for another appointment.
So I don’t have a Visa. I did not have anymore time. I just assumed that if my appointment was 10am, I should have been done and dusted by 11 or 12.
Why did I think that? Well, I have several colleagues who had to do the same – only they applied in Dubai or Bangkok – and were done within the hour of their appointment.
I sat around for 5 hours for nothing. So fuck America. I am not going. I don’t have time to sit around so I can persuade them I want to go to their country and spend the average national income in a weeks visit.
This means I now have to find somewhere else on this planet to go hang out. So that’s America, India and China all on my shit-list.
I am not a fan of the rain in Thailand. Apart from hitting the ATV park.. there is nothing much to do. And no matter how much it sounds like a good idea, I just cant sit in a bar all day.
The plan was to pop over to Manila for a week or so, but as GM was in Thailand for a few weeks, that idea was out of the window.
So what’s been happening? I’ll give you a brief update of what’s been going on…
Met up with GM for a few nights. Stayed at the Die-Nasty Grande Hotel on soi 6. Nothing special. Clean, cheap and great location. I have been staying at the Citrus Suites next door fairly recently, but am fed up of all the Chinese getting under my feet. I am also not impressed with the ‘egg-station’ being outside the restaurant. I think there is something not quite right about having to walk from the Restaurant, through the lobby to the front bar (and back) to get your scrambled eggs?
Soi 4 is still a dump. Mostly Middle-Eastern groups of blokes now. Talking of which, what is the problem with 1) washing or 2) using deodorant? Seriously.. if I can smell them from 6 feet away, what must it be like for the poor girl who’s face they’ll be sitting on later?
Walking along soi 4, behind a middle-eastern chap and a street walker, I could hear him say ‘1100, no more’. She looked quite normal. She did reply ‘you promise to pay’. No word of a lie. And yes, he stunk.
Waaaaaay down soi 4, just past a Hillary Bar, there is an Iranian Lady plying her trade. As I walked along the path, there was a Middle-Eastern chap talking ‘not-so-nice’ to her. I stopped infront of him (he was blocking the path) and gave him a look that made him wish he had all his pals behind him. The Lady very politely and gently said (to me) ‘sorry my dear, and moved him out the way to let me pass’. He then carried on ranting. I stopped for a moment, wanting him to kick off at me but he just walked off. I was drunk I admit. But was still up for ruck. Next time.
Note to all – if ordering Breaded Fish n Chips from Hanrahans/Fitzgeralds – make sure they understand what BREADED means. Twice we have ordered BREADED fish and twice we have received a fish that has been battered more times than a retired ladyboy’s arsehole. When this was mentioned to the Waitress, she just shrugged her shoulders and told us to speak to someone else?!!
I have lost count of the times I have gone to ‘Have a Zeed’ in T21, only to find people (Chinese) queuing out the door. I can only assume ‘Have a Zeed’ is on some Chinese tourist website. Amazing. The food is good, but not good enough to have me stand in line with 30 chinese tourists.
The bars of soi 4 are getting a bit tedious these days. I remember the days where we’d be deciding which bars to visit 1st, now, we sit scratching our heads, wondering where to go.
At one point we ended up in Hillary 2. They had a Live Band on. Sorry, but watching / listening to a bunch of Thai guys murder every Bruno Mars song is just not my cup of tea. Neither is watching a bunch of drunken Farrangs all sign up for Pool, thinking 1) they are the greatest pool players on earth and 2) girls are impressed with their pool skills?. Dicks.
Into the Plaza… we paid a visit to Pretty Lady or whatever it’s now called. One drink and then ran away. Ugly old hogs. Mental note made to never return there again.
There were other bars… which names elude me right now, but they’re all pretty much the same. I find these trawls pointless these days. If you want to see some hot girls – then just go straight to Bill Board. Are they more expensive? I don’t know, but think of the money you’ll save, by not having to buy a drink (and leave half) in all the bars which are just safe houses for monsters.
You could say I was not too impressed with my short visit. I know, unlike me right?
Back to Hua Hin.
A new restaurant has recently opened up. Complete new build on the main road, beach side between Market Village and Bluport. Siam Restaurant. Nicely done out. Some friends and I visited for the 1st time last week. The 1st (and last) visit.
Inside it was brightly lit up. Too bright. Like a hospital. Remember, bright lights kill atmosphere. Not that there was much atmosphere to be lost. For some bazaar reason they were showing the Cricket on the big screen. With commentary. Sorry, but I am sure the other group (with kids) were not interested in India V’s Pakistan playing cricket. It’s not a sports bar, it’s a restaurant.
Half way through our appetizers the service lady came over and asked if we’d like our main courses now. Erm.. no thanks, we’re still chowing down on these spring rolls and bruschetta’s.
5 mins later, our plates were empty so were taken away and our main course promptly served. Steaks! Steaks look good. Tasted good too. However, they were just warm. Not hot. These leads me to believe they had been sitting on the kitchen counter for the last 10mins cooling down. Not impressed.
There was a farrang manager/owner sitting in the corner talking with a pal/Thai business partner. I was hoping he’d come over and say hello (the place has only been open a week). I could have told him about the lighting, lack of background music and food temperature but he never came over.
Another pet hate of mine is that as soon as I had put the last bit of food in my mouth, they lady came and took my plate away. I’d not even finished chewing. I hate that. Of course, the others at the table had not finished – and any chance of me relocating food from their plates to mine had gone out the window.
So that’s another restaurant never to return to.
Hitting the bars… well, it’s rainy season, so that always puts a dampener on things. One of the bars on our ‘circuit’ is Murphys. We like the food. Not much else is good about it. Music is crap, service was so-so and there is no aircon on in the daytime. However, the past few month’s things have improved. The staff are better, there are more customers and on Tuesday nights they have an acoustic band! They used to have a band most nights, but not sure what happened to that? The Acoustic band is just a bloke and a girl. Pretty good. Worth a visit on a Tuesday night for sure.
Along the road into our little friends bar.. ‘DEEP’.. after a good few hours of drinking, we noticed a table of Chinese folk. Two guys and a girl. Everyone enjoying the evening… they raised some glasses to us.. we did the same.. ‘cheers’ and all that. They then sent us drinks. We returned the gesture. Then more drinks were bought for me and the Chinese dude came over to try and communicate with me… hugging me and taking selfies with me…. Now, I know I am a handsome man, I hear the girls in the bars telling me all the time.. but never attracted any Chinese men before. The more drunk and happy he became, the more he wanted to hug me. It reached the point where he said he wanted sexual relations with me. That was my cue to leave (not with him). I paid my bill and left via the back door. That was the only back door action that was happening with me that’s for sure.
Nothing much else happening in HH at the moment. It’s pretty quiet due to all the miserable bloody weather.
Last night was no different. Thought I’d hit the town but it was raining. Shite. We darted into ‘Green Onion’ – a little BBQ rib place we like. It’s under new management and the new owner is struggling to find decent Beef in HH. I did tell him to find a decent on in Bangkok (there must be one?) and get it delivered. He is losing a lot of custom (me) by not having the Brisket he is showing on the menu.
Anyway, with no Brisket on offer, we had the pulled pork and a half rack of ribs. Nice Very nice indeed. If you like your BBQ / Ribs stuff and are in HH, give it a look.
Saturday night is going to be the last blow out session for me for the next month. Back to work next week (thankfully). Off to Dubai for a few days first for a bit of sun.
But tonight is Friday night… hmm… might have to check out soi 80. It’s been a number of years since I ventured that way. If the rain holds out.. I’ll do a bit of research.
To sum up my last month in Thailand? Well, I would have had more fun in the UK that’s for sure. Next month I think I will head there instead of here.
This will come as a bit of a shock to some, but today is a happy day.
Last night we walked into ‘Booze Bar’ in Hua Hin for a drink. We’d not been there since April.
Booze Bar is a nice little bar on our rounds. When out for the night, we stop by for a couple or more drinks. They remember us and what we drink.
As soon as we sat down, the Cashier/Manager lady came over to us and apologized – for making a mistake on our last bill. She had the (old) receipt and showed us. Apparently there was another bill added to ours by mistake.
She handed over 400bht!
We made them double check as we had no idea. Looked through the receipts and the drinks one of the bills were our, and the other was totally different. However, we had no idea.
A good lesson to check your bill? Am I mad they got it wrong, or am I happy they put it right? I personally am impressed they kept this aside and waited for us to return.
Many people don’t understand the time and effort involved in running a bar. Yes, there are a lot of people out there who think they know everything about the bar business, but until you’ve done it yourself, you’ll never know the reality.
Just so happened that Tuesdays (and other nights) are ‘Ladies Nights’ – where women drink for free! Again, it’s not often you hear of those deals?!
I was with 3 girls, so thought it not fair for me to be the only paying customer. The girls opted for the drinks they wanted rather than claiming the free drinks, which I was happy about.
The reality is, I could have gone into Booze Bar with 3 girls.. had 2 or 3 drinks each, and still come out with more money than I went in with!
Booze Bar is certainly a bar I shall continue to drink in – and recommend to all visitors.
Now, it’s not often you’ll hear me saying something nice about somewhere!
Having recently gone through the process of applying for a U.S Visa – I found myself having to list all the Countries I have visited in the last 5 years. As I cast my mind back, I couldn’t help but surmise the place up in a word or two.
Kicking off in no particular order…
Spain – Shit. France – Shit. Netherlands – Shit. Germany – Shit. South Africa – Shit. Vietnam – Shit. Laos – Shit. Philippines – Shit. UAE – Shit. India – Really shit. There are a couple of Middle Eastern Countries to go on that list.. but I’ll leave those off.
A pal of mine recently said to me that maybe… just maybe it’s me is the problem? I don’t quite know what he means?
I am currently sitting in Bangkok airport in the Emirates lounge. I am not happy. No happy at all. The reason for this is I’ve just my tiny powerbank confiscated. The same powerbank that I have carried with me more than 100 times through this airport. They can’t determine the power size which means it’s not allowed. The thing is small. Very small. Obviously not as small as the girls brain who nabbed it.
No point in trying to explain to them to look it up on the internet to find a datasheet.
Just another thing to add to my ever growing list of bad experiences in this (and every other) Country.
I’ve been in Thailand less than a week and can’t wait to leave. I arrived last Friday and stayed in Bangkok for a few days to show a work colleague and his kid some sites at the weekend. A bit of culture that I had heard about.
After the touristy stuff was done, I headed to soi 4 & cowboy to meet up with the lads. It had been a while – so thought it would be really exciting and all the women beautiful. I was wrong.
I had to drink my body-weight in Vodka before I could get in the swing of things. And when I did, I ended up fuming – again.
Ignoring all the bloody lady drink glasses I keep getting served, we ended up in Twister upstairs in Nana.
I was half past drunk and some bint on stage made an effort to interact with me. I like a bit of banter, instead of the usual hanging onto a pole. So I slipped her a brown sheet for tip. She got excited and came down from the pole. She asked for a drink. O.k I tell her. Small chit-chat for a few mins. Where you come flom? What’s your name.. the usual. The drink was slammed in one.. so the service girl on standby prompted me for another. Go on then. Service girl also asked for one. No. Fuck off.
The girl talking to me then had her two drinks delivered. Tequila & Coke. Not sure how much that costs, but I am sure it’s way more than the shite vodka and syrup cola I have been served in a lady drink tumbler.
Then… another girl appeared with a tray of potato type snacks on little trays. She looked like she should be serving in a Cinema or fairground. I wasn’t interested. The girl with me however grabbed a couple of trays and then another girl on the stage started chowing down on them. I was then asked to handover the 100bht to pay for it. I argued that I had not asked for them, didn’t want them and maybe they should ask the girl on stage who has a gob full to pay? I was not impressed.
I didn’t want to embarrass my pal who has ‘friends’ there so did only what I could. I voted with my feet. Check-bin the fuck out of there.
I made sure I pocketed all the change and was just about to storm out when the girl with me asked me for a tip?!! She’d had 1000 out of me. 3 or 4 drinks and 2 trays of crap all inside 5 mins. And now she wanted a tip. I told her I had to go to the ATM – as I wanted to barfine her and needed a stack of cash. I’d be back shortly… cow.
That’s another bar on my long list of bars never to return to.
Back to Hua Hin. It’s quiet. Really quiet. Good. No people to piss me off. It’s rainy season so there is nothing to do in the daytime. In the evenings we headed out to catch up with some people we know. One night out of the 5 was a good night. I don’t like them odds.
I am glad to be heading out of Thailand. Off to Dubai where it is roasting hot. I’ll spend the next week relaxing in a nice hotel. Hooking up with pals and work colleagues. Do a bit of shopping and hangout at the pool. Of course, that all sounds well and good, but I am sure in the next week I’ll be bitching and moaning about something.
I really need to find something that gives me happiness.
I have just added up the stamps and visas in my passport and count 304. My passport is just approaching 5 years old. That’s a lot of travel.
So you would think that having traveled as much as I have – I would be more tolerant of the ‘behavior’ of others. Or at least be used to it enough that I don’t even notice it?
Wrong. Each time I travel, I am filled with rage and hatred. I know you think there must be something wrong with me, and you’d be right. My problem is I am not a revolting fucking pig. Believe it or not, (and you should) – I am extremely polite when traveling. When speaking with airport staff, hotel staff, chauffeurs, Concierges waitresses and chefs. – I am extremely polite and courteous. You have to be as these people ultimately can ruin your experience. Just think about that one for a minute.
My travel is more often than not a good experience. The thing that spoils my experience is other people. Other people, morons, assholes, tossers, scumbags, pigs, riff-raff and plain smelly bastards.
Which brings me to my trip to Vietnam recently…..
Many people have suggested Vietnam to me, so have wanted to go for a while now. I contacted the Internet to see what they had to say. After a few clicks I saw some amazing pictures. Ha Long Bay. Wow. I started searching on a hotel with fantastic views… voila… those people at the Internet provided me with the name of a hotel with a suite overlooking the ‘Bay’ all for about $300 per night. Very nice I said to myself. Looking at the pictures, I could even see some little islands from the balcony. I was excited if I do say so myself.
For a little more confirmation I visited Trip Advisor Liar. Glowing reports. Not too shabby for Graham.
When I landed at Hanoi airport – I instantly thought the pilot had landed in the wrong place. I was sure I was now in Beijing.
I was on holiday – I wasn’t going to let a big crown of flag following people piss me off. Even if they were pushing past me and shouting at the tops of their voices. Breathe in… Breath out… it won’t be long until I am in the car and off to my luxury hotel suite.
The 2.5 hour drive from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay has to be one of the most boring drives ever. Long straight roads. Nothing to see. Not much traffic.
When I got to the hotel, my first impression was that my driver took a wrong turning and took me to Shanghai. The place was packed with Chinese.
Check-in was pleasant enough – and the room I had was on the top floor. There were not many people on the top floor – as not many people in the hotel were tall enough to reach the top button. Bearing in mind I am borderline midget.
It was a long day, I just want to sit on the balcony, order up some room service and have a nice drink overlooking the bay.
Note to self… never believe anything the internet tells you.
Nice enough suite – but tiny balcony (no outdoor furniture) and the view of the islands really needed the help of telescope. Those people at the Internet and Trip Liar have some kind of deal going on with Photoshop. It’s all one big scam.
I’ll not give you the full daily itinerary – as that’ll just piss me off even more. I’ll just note down the main events which you can then take pleasure from my misery.
First of all, let me just point out (as I’ve said previously) I work alongside many Chinese folk. Some fantastic Engineers. One of my circles of friends is a group of Chinese who I have had many great times with. My good pal Russ is married to a Chinese girl and we are close enough that I was trusted to teach their 2 year old daughter how to stick her middle finger up at people in restaurants. O.k… Maybe they didn’t want me to teach her that, but I thought it was funny.
Breakfast – or better described as Feeding time at the Zoo.
The first thing that struck me was many, many of our little Chinese fellow guests were all wearing the Hotel slippers. I find that odd. I thought they were wearing when you get out of the shower/bath, so you don’t slip on the marble floor and split your head open. Resulting in lots of paperwork for the hotel.
But no, they are indeed a fashion accessory and an acceptable item of footwear for walking around the whole hotel whenever you like. O.k… Understood.
The second thing that struck me – is that my new friends appear to be very hungry in the mornings. So much so, that they don’t have time to queue at the ‘egg station’. Oh no, they have to push past you to get their order of 25 eggs in. They may even eat a couple of them.
As per usual, I was very polite to the young girl at the restaurant reception desk. She led us to our table for 2. There were about 3 tables for 2. There would have been more, but we could see that lots of tables has been pushed together. Probably to get the full overcrowded prison experience.
Breakfast was mayhem. Complete chaos. Our little friends don’t shut up. They don’t talk, they shout. They also don’t let eating get in the way of shouting either. It’s actually quite impressive to see how many croissants they can stuff in their mouths and spray across the table whilst not slowing down in their morning shout.
What was more impressive was how much food they stacked on their plate – was left over. Even after they had filled their handbags and pockets with bread rolls, hams and noodly type things.
They’d then abandon a table which was almost immediately set upon by another gaggle of my new friends who then demanded the poor waitress girls cleaned all the croissant debris immediately.
And what’s with the sneezing over everyone? I remember from being a kid ‘Coughs and sneezes, spreads diseases’! These people were just spraying their mucus all over the place. No covering of the nose.. just point and aim. Revolting.
Now, I don’t have kids, so maybe I am being a little ‘over-pedantic’ here – but is it acceptable to let all your Ferrell bloody monsters to just run around the place, shouting, screaming, fighting, biting, crying, farting and generally pissing me off? Is this normal? I would like to point out that I was the only Western person there. And I am guessing the only person who didn’t have a horrible bloody kid with me also. This is probably why not one parent asked their little shits to shut the fuck up, sit down and eat the food that the hotel has been preparing for you hours before you had chance to put on your hotel slippers.
The staff were amazing. Demand after demand, the staff carried out all duties with a smile. I couldn’t do that. If you were to offer me $10k per month on top of my regular salary, to do that job, I’d tell you to poke it.
Easy one this. There are none. There is nothing to do in Ha Long Bay except get on a boat and go for an overnight cruise. More on that later.
We walked into the ‘town’. Which we never found. The beach opposite was literally a building site. We found no shops to mooch around in There was a row of street restaurants and crap bars which had music blaring out at an incredibly loud volume. Why? There was no way you could talk or hear anyone there. Which as bad as that sounds, I think I’d have preferred breakfasts at our hotel to have the same approach.
Hours of searching turned up nothing. We did spy a Cable car which ran parallel to a massive bridge – it went somewhere. It must go somewhere interesting as there is a massive queue for it.
We queued. Eventually we got on board and I was surrounded by people taking selfies with their Huawei phones whilst I stood behind some guy holding a flag. So this is what it’s like to be in a Chinese Tour group?
They all clapped and cheered when the cable car took off… and once again when the car arrived at its destination. The destination being some kind of Zen Garden. Or as I call it ‘a load of shit’.
We spent the next 30 mines looking for an exit. Trying to avoid falling over little Chinese girls having their photos taken… whilst pulling faces in the background of as many photos as possible.
Couldn’t find the exit. Back to the cable car to get us the hell out of there. What a waste of time and money.
Back to the hotel to drown our sorrows at the bar.
Most evenings were spent in the bar. There was nothing else to do. Unfortunately, many times we were joined in the bar by the ‘other’ hotel guests. Now, everyone is different I know that. But for me, a bar is a place to have a drink and a chat… or maybe even read a few chapters on your kindle and relax.
Oh no…. there are so many other things to do. For starters, you can take a seat on the sofas… remove your shoes and socks and put your stinky wet sweaty feet all over them.
Then, when you are comfy enough – you can open up your WeeYap app and watch movie clips. Not before you turn the volume up full on your Huawei that is. Order a drink? Noo….. no need. You can just drink the water provided by the hotel or one of the juices you’ve stolen from the breakfast bar.
We decided to head for boat cruise. Overnight. After a recommendation from a pal – off we headed to book. We thought we’d actually go to the ‘port’ and have a look round first, as we couldn’t trust anything the Internet had to say.
We used Grab taxi to get us there. 140k dong. Fine. Found a Cruise and booked it for the day after the next. Called up Grab taxi to take us back to the hotel. Within minutes, a taxi pulled up and in we got. The App said it was 140k but the driver waved a receipt in our faces saying he was charged 30k to enter the port to come and pick us up. (it took him 2 mins to reach us – which told us he was already in the port). Odd, as we never saw anyone getting charged when we came to the Port 30 minutes earlier. Hmmm.. a scam me things. Now, 30k might only be a quid so why care? It’s the principle. We gave the driver on the way in 200k… which is what we’d have given this guy if he hadn’t tried to scam us.
When we pulled up at the hotel, he asked for the extra 30k. I asked for the receipt. As I was paying the charge – then that paper is now mine (and he can’t use that again). He started talking gibberish and I kept insisting to see the receipt. As this was going on, the hotel staff saw and opened the door and asked me if I wanted any assistance. I said I was fine and was just dealing with a scamming little bastard.
He promptly gave us our change from the 200k note and off he went. I gave the change to the door staff as I walked by.
Weather – Crap.
It was cloudy and overcast. The hotel staff kept telling us that it’s not normal for this time of year. It should be sunny and clear. But oh no.. it was dark and wet. I guess that’s global warming for you?
Luckily when we turned up for the boat trip – the sky was blue and bright. Sun was shining. The other passengers on the boat seemed to all know each other. I guess they all stay in the same retirement home back in New Zealand. Pleasant enough people – not that we spoke with any of the old bastards.
According to my pal, the Chinese prefer day trips only on boats and no overnights. This is because they have paid for their hotels in their package tour. They’re not about to pay for another hotel (boat) and not use their already paid for hotel.
My pal was right. There were however a couple of Middle Eastern lads (not sure where they were from?) but the amount of food they put away, I guess they came from, or are going to a Concentration camp. Filling yourself with that much food surely can’t be good for you?
We went kayaking… we went to some poxy cave (which was rammed with Chinese day-trippers). Single line walk through of a cave with these little fellas and gals barging past. I managed to get some elbow digs in, stood on a few feet and even managed trip one person up. The thing is, this is nothing to an Asian. They are so use to it – they take it in their stride.
Back on the boat – it was happy hour. Two for one drinks! What we found odd – was that Happy Hour was for an hour?! We made light work of that. Long into the night we kept drinking. This was the 1st day that was enjoyable of the week. We were looking forward to the next day – where we visit some beach and go swimming.
Next day… rain. Lots of it. Swimming was cancelled due to the rain. Didn’t want people getting wet now. We couldn’t stand out on deck – as it was pissing down. The boat went back to shore but had to ‘park up’ for a few hours as it was unsafe to dock. So we sat – in misery. In the rain. On a boat. Shite.
When we got back to the hotel – we went straight to the bar. We did laugh when the barman asked where we’d been the previous night – as we were usually there.
Well, we were there now. Drink in one hand, iPad in the other. We had a few days to go but screw this. I searched for a new flight back to Bangkok. Thai Airways to the rescue. Flight the next morning. Done.
I asked the reception for a driver in the morning. 5am. No problem sir. Great. Upstairs, pack our shit, lick our wounds and put this down as a shite holiday – and never to return.
04:30 we checked out. The receptionist was a little confused as it was a few days early – I just said we have stuff to do. The driver set off at 5am as requested. Normally, I’d fall asleep. But I thought at least one person in the car should stay awake. The driver was a nightmare. Yawning, slapping himself in the face, putting his window down… swerving all over the (empty) road. At one point I was going to ask him if I should drive.
Luckily we made it to the airport without crashing and dying.
Checked in at the airport…. A cheeky Burger King for lunch… (sick of hotel food) and off we went to get on board the plane. Thinking everything was now fine, I heard that familiar sound of someone clearing a load of phlegm in their throat – and then hoiking out a big ‘greeny’ onto the carpet in the airport. Sure enough, you can guess what nationality they were? Revolting fucking pig.
Back to BKK (Beijing)… I had to queue for an hour to get through Immigration but was soon on my way back to HH.
We hit the town that night to reflect back on our week. We should have still been in Vietnam… watching shite TV in the hotel. We had made the right choice in abandoning the hotel and flights – and paying for our early return.
The only things I will take away from that whole experience is that the hotel staff, whatever it is they get paid – it’s not enough.
As for the driving – I can only liken the driving to kids/adults Ice-Skating for the very first time. They kinda have an idea how it’s meant to be done – but have no clue how to actually drive correctly. If you just go with the theory that every day there is the 1st day these people have ever driven, then you’ll be more understanding.
Back to Hua Hin after seeing the freaks of Bangkok for a few days.
Bit of normality. Or so I thought?
First of all – I went to look at a new house with the Estate agent had told us about. Two bed with pool. Looked great on the photos. Bastards.
The photos were taken 10 years ago and the Villa cut a gloomy picture. Estate agents just don’t get it do they. They don’t realize that viewers will be disappointed from the moment they see the property, having just seen the nice new pictures. Back to the drawing board.
Out on the town.. we’d heard that one of the restaurants we like has re-opened. ‘Green Onion’. An American BBQ Rib joint. They slow cook the ribs all day. It’s pretty good. Or it ‘was’ – until they closed down last year and put a ‘for sale’ sign in the window.
Fast forward a year – a chap who had a bar in Bangkok (soi 23) has moved to Hua Hin and taken the place over.
The place is (supposed to be) as it was before – specializing in BBQ stuff. The night we went, Ribs were not on the menu. Not much was. The owner said they had only been open 8 weeks, so were still finding their feet. They were struggling to source Beef/Pork in Hua Hin.
This is where I take issue. Eight weeks is two months. They should be in full swing by now. And as for sourcing meat? Bangkok is a 3 hour drive. You can get all you need there.
What I did notice is that the owner kept promoting the Thai food to everyone that came through the door. I don’t think he realizes that people go to an American Rib joint – for ribs! There are over 100 restaurants within a mile selling Thai food. If people want Thai food they know where to go. Concentrate on the product that attracted people to you in the 1st place!
Into the town for a crawl around some bars. One of stop-offs is a bar called Booze Bar. The staff are friendly enough and remember what we drink each time.
They’ve clearly spent some money on the bar – but what I am disappointed in is their posters/menus which advertise the Saturday Happy Hour. They have spelled it ‘Sataurday’. How is this possible? Surely someone had the job of checking this either before it was sent to the printer, when it was being printed – or when it was delivered from the printer? Fools.
Soi Bintabaht is now referred to as ‘Walking Street’ in the evenings. Vehicles not allowed. The sign reads ‘No car for all kinds’?! I think they mean no Vehicles. Again, it was some idiots job to make sure that sign made sense.
As you can see – it’s policed by a Security Guard. They are hard at it.
Why care I hear you say?
Well, apart from not being a fan of incompetence – all bars in ‘Walking Street’ have to pay a fee for this. There is no exception. When you add up the money – and then the service/product you get in return? It’s not quite right.
We’ve a good little circuit in HH which see’s us have a good time and end up pretty drunk by the time we hit the last bar(s). Not as drunk as this fella. Laid in the gutter – with (Thai) people sitting around him. It’s walking street.. not crawling street. You’d have thought one of his fellow country men would have shoveled him up and at least put him on the steps rather than the rat infested gutter? What am I saying? This is Thailand.
The next day we headed to the Irish Bar El-Murphy’s. We do like the food in that place. The bar itself is tired and old. Could do with an injection of life into it.
Some months back, with custom going down the pan – someone (have to be Thai?) came up with the idea to have the Monks perform some kind of ceremony. So the night before – a huge gazebo was erected, horrendous Thai music was being played on a speaker with too much base – and a bunch of ‘not so friendly’ Thai blokes were sitting around drinking out of a bucket.
I assume it all went as planned for the next day and the Monks came and did their thing… blessed stuff… got fed and paid and off they went.
Now, if the bar suddenly became popular…. the Thai’s would be taking credit for their Buddhist powers.
The bar didn’t get anymore popular. What they did get is several thousand baht worse off for their troubles.
So why is it when I tell a Thai it’s complete mumbo jumbo what they did – they ignore me? Facts speak for themselves.
But I digress…. into ‘Murphs’ for a spot of lunch and to watch the F1.
There were a bunch of guys sitting around with bottles of water. It was a no booze day. (another thing I don’t understand? Why not just ban Thai’s from drinking? It’s not like foreigners can vote?)
Sitting opposite me was some Scando asshole – with his foot on a chair. His sweaty stinking wet foot. Revolting fucking pig.
Seriously, is it just me that thinks this is disgusting?
The bar was full of cheap old bastards. All drinking water. One or two were eating. These people would never usually come to the bar – but came to watch the F1. I hate people like this. Freeloading assholes. Takes me back to the Mango days when certain people would just come to the cheap nights – or would only drink when I was buying. The more I think back, the more I realize what a bunch of parasites they were.
On a positive note… I was invited out to a BBQ the other night, where I met a couple of other guests. They’re Brits, (Hubby, wife kids) lived in HH a number of years ago, went back to the UK and have now moved back to HH. Successful business back in the UK so are enjoying life. Good on them.
I got chatting to the husband is a few days younger than me. All he did was complain and moan about life in Thailand so far. The housing, the driving, the Indian Tailors. For hours he was drinking vodka and moaning. You could say I liked him from the start.
So in a non-gay way – we’ve exchanged numbers and plan on hitting the town to get drunk and see who can moan the most. I reckon I can take him.
On a serious note – it’s good to have someone I can hang out with other than Miss Tim and her pals. Everyone in HH seems to be in their mid-100’s. Maybe that’s why I am miserable a lot of the time. No male company to hang out with, swear, spit and scratch my (own) balls with.
One last moan….
Don’t be fooled by pet ‘Groomers’. Once again I have fallen victim to these blithering idiots that try to pass themselves off as professionals. This lot have gone all in and got themselves a nice big shop / surgery, signage and even a company van.
We handed over the cats and asked for a little trim.