Time to go back to work…….

It’s been a few weeks since leaving Dubai.   Settled back into my sleepy life in HH pretty easy.  It’s now time to head back to work so I thought I’d reflect on my few weeks of being back in the mix….

Is it just me that wants to grab the phone of anyone that is playing that stupid bloody Pokémon go game and stamp on it?

I lost count of the amount of times the person in front of me was either walking slower than a pensioner or just completely stopped in front of me.   I’ve given up taking evasive action now and just barge into them.  Unfortunately, they’re so engrossed in their little game they hardly notice.  DICKS.

I upset one girl yesterday as I congratulated her for catching the nastiest, ugliest, fattest Pokémon monster I’ve seen.  Turns out she was just taking a selfie.

Bangkok

Staying in Grand Swiss Hotel – pretty nice.  Good location, great little room (although they call it a suite for some reason?) and real cheap.  Between 2-3000 per night which I didn’t think was bad.

IMG_7221
Grand Swiss…. good views!

Have a Zeed (Thai Restaurant T21)

Have a Zeed is one of our favorite eating houses.  Good food.  A good stuffing was just what was needed.  The only issue I have with this (and most others) is that they bring the food as its cooked instead of bringing it all at one time.

You may think it’s better to bring it when cooked – but I’ll have you know that most (good) Chefs are aware of their orders and know how long each dish takes and can time them so they’re already at the same time.  There is nothing worse than sitting – watching other eat or waiting for other dishes to arrive.

Breakfast… where is the best?

Breakfast was included in the room – but we were feeling like a good feeding and not feeling too excited about a buffet style breakkie.   We headed for the Queen Vic on 23.

I still think this is the best breakfast going right now.  The only complain (if you can call it that) is that the butter is always frozen solid.   Excellent food.   Just what was needed.

Still think it's the best out there....
Still think it’s the best out there….

Pantip Plaza

Had some stuff to do in Pantip Plaza.  For those of you that know it – they’ll know its absolutely fantastic.  Full of all sorts of crap that you don’t need, but you do want.  Anything and everything computer related can be found there.

However, it has not gone a little upmarket.  The ground floor used to be filled with little stalls selling all sorts.  They’ve now all been relocated to little shop units on other floors.  The ground floor is now used for promotions and presentations and the like.

Don't worry, they still sell porn
Don’t worry, they still sell porn

Too Easy Bar

I mentioned this in a previous post –  but wanted to give it another mention.  Was in there earlier tonight (Wednesday) and it was heaving.  Big (golfing) crowd.   Great girls in there.  A little more ‘mature’ that what we’re used to, but these girls do seem to be nice people.

When I got the bill… I left a 200 tip – which the cashier promptly handed back to me thinking it was a mistake.  I waved her off and she said thanks – and then told the others.

Now,  this tells me that most people in that bar don’t give much in the way of tips?   Don’t get me wrong, if you don’t have a lot, then you don’t go giving large (or any) tips.  That’s understandable.  But for people who are retired here – with only golfing to spoil their good walks – then I am sure they have a few quid to spare.  And it is only a few quid.  Shame on them.

Hua Hin

I have a little routine that I have fallen into.

Each morning, up around 7am and into the pool to get some morning sun.   Read the (UK) papers and have a bit of tea and toast by the pool.   In the background I have a UK radio station pumping out the midnight tunes.    I can’t think of a better way to spend my early mornings.

My radio controlled submarine was not as much fun as I thought it'd be.
My radio controlled submarine was not as much fun as I thought it’d be.

After some lounging around… Miss Tim and I will head into town to ‘do something’.  That ‘something’ could mean a visit to the Mall, ATV’s, walk along the beach or some other activity.

After that, it’s a spot of lunch somewhere then back home for a little afternoon nap and maybe another dip in the pool.

By the evening time, we’ll crack open a bottle of something and have a few sun-downers.   It’s then off the town for dinner and then a crawl around a few bars for some drinks.

By 10pm we’re usually worn out and head home.   In bed fast asleep by midnight.  Lovely.

It’s a bit of a change of pace of my former life and that of my life in Dubai – but I/we like it.

Thing is…  after a few weeks,  things start to piss me off and get my blood boiling.  Things that I never noticed before – are now all I can notice.  So going back to work about now is probably a good thing.

So what could possibly be so bad?   Well, my neighbor has a dog.  This bloody dog likes barking as the owners leave him all day (outside) and he likes nothing better to do than bark.  I am not a dog person.  I hope no one lets the dog out when the owners are not there……

Apart from the dog, there is a ringing of cow-bells.   Behind my house there is a large field.  In that field are cows.  Some of these cows have bells around their necks.  Again, I know that shouldn’t piss you off, but when you’re having a nice little snooze and all you can here is ‘the bells’…. Well…   it gets to you.

Add all that on top of my internet, tv and power going off when it starts raining in Cambodia – I can find myself climbing the walls.

Other than that – it’s the usual idiots driving but I am used to that and have come to accept they’re all useless.

Oh, and why is it, when you walk into a clothing store – the sales assistant comes and follows you everywhere?  Surely they must realize if you want their help… then you’ll ask for it.  Nothing worse than someone watching your every move and making comments every time you pick something up.

I do understand these are not exactly ‘real’ problems.  Just gripes from a grumpy old man – I get that.  But these do piss me off – so I am not too put out about heading back to work for a month.  I think it’s a great balance, being able to come and go for a month at a time.

Back to work tomorrow……   nothing but sun and sand.. but not in a nice way.

Visa Run……

It’s that time again.. time to do a visa-run.   No.. not for me,  but for Miss Tim.   It’s UK visa time.

Her last 2 year visa expired last month – so time to apply for a new one.

Now, we’ve never used an agent.  I personally think they are a rip-off.  I have a pal who used an agent to facilitate the visa for his gf – at the cost of around 40,000 – and he still didn’t get it.  Maybe it’s because she was more than 30 years younger than him?

Anyway,  I am unsure of what an agent does exactly?   It’s not like they can ‘create’ information / documents for you – as surely you are the ones with the information in the first place?  Surely, all they can do is collate information which you give them in the firstplace?

I can understand the first ever application can be a bit of a learning curve, but if you are to follow the instructions on the Visa Application form – then there is nothing you can’t do yourself.

I have heard horror stories of people having to provide bank statements and flight tickets as accompanying documentation needed for their application.   I have NEVER included any of these – and never refused a visa.

The first application can take upto 2 weeks – as they need to conduct all their checks.   This is fine.   Visa applications after this can be ‘fast-tracked’ (for a fee) as they can waiver the checks as they’ve already done them.

This again, seems to me to be a bit of a rip off.   I am paying extra money for them to do less work?    Who am I to argue.

This time,  we opted for the 5 year visa.  I wrote a letter of invitation stating Miss Tims 2 year visa has just expired and we wanted to renew it.   We go to the UK several times a year to see family and friends.  None of our other circumstances have changed.

Filled out the application form – appended our house lease (showing both our names) and that was more or less it.  No bank statements… no flight tickets… no DNA samples.

Submitted on Monday morning at a cost of just over 30,000.    Tuesday afternoon we received a message saying a decision has been made and we can collect the passport within 48 hours.

On Wednesday we got another message telling us to come get the passport.

This morning we got yet another message – telling us we have not yet picked up the passport!

Miss Tim collected it at lunchtime – with shiny new 5 year visa stuck to it.

Easy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

British Indian Food comes to HH!

Back to Normal in HH….

We arrived back in HH yesterday.   Went into town as per the norm and all was not well.

I am not referring to the explosion at the weekend, as that’s all cleared up and forgotten about it would seem.  Although, the town was probably the quietest I have ever seen it.

No, the problem was, there is a new ‘British Indian Restaurant’ recently opened.  Which means my new regime of healthy eating has now gone out the window.

I / we love Indian food. Well, not the pig slop they eat over there, but the UK’s take on Indian food. You know what I mean. Good quality cuts of meat. Diced Chicken breast. No bones. Food that isn’t 70% fat and won’t make you puke.

So we had great expectations for this place and headed on in.

Now, the thing that pisses me off about places who ‘claim’ a theme, is that they should know something about that theme. If the theme is British, then please, do some research. Don’t just have a cushion with the Union Jack on it in the corner and claim it’s a British restaurant.

For starters, the lights were way too bright. So bright that we could feel the heat from above us. The spotlights made us feel like we were on a sunbed. We requested they turn them down a little (they were dimmer switches) – which they did for all of 3 minutes. What we assume to be the owner – then turned them back up to full flood light mode and cooked us more.

There were a few other customers who ordered food – but were later told the dish they ordered was out of stock. Again, this pisses me off.   At the start of the shift – the Chef/Manager should tell all waiting staff what is no longer on the menu that night.

The waiting staff were all new. I don’t blame them for being useless – as it’s down to the Manager/Owner to give them sufficient training. These poor girls were just doing what they were told – which wasn’t a lot.

A few appetizers to get us going – saw us order the Onion Bhaji and a Chicken Pakora. Easy right?

Wrong. The Onion Bhaji was just onion rings in batter. So an onion ring then.   I like onion,so happily ate a few. Couldn’t eat them all as they were drowning in oil and grease.

The Chicken Pakoras were just chunks of chicken in batter.   Again, soaked in oil and grease. Little did I know this was to be the best dish of the night.

Now, being British… I have been to an Indian Restaurant in the UK more than once. I know what the usual/standard dishes look/taste like.   We all know a Lamb Rogan Josh and a Chicken Tikka Massala.   However, it seems the cook/chef in this place does not.

The two dishes looked the same. Tasted similar. Well, the dark brown sauce did. I refused to eat the meat as it was that wobbly, jelly looking fat which turned me right off.

The chicken was not much better. It was a complete disaster.

The Nan bread was not a Nan as we know it. More some kind of crispy pitta bread.   The only thing which looked like it could be served up in a British restaurant was the rice.

With the meal virtually untouched – we got the bill and left. There was no one coming to ask us if our meal was o.k or ask why we had left it all.   Crap customer service. Crap food.   Total amateur showtime.

I can only assume this to be a bunch of Thai’s that have read somewhere that the most popular British dish is infact Chicken Tikka Massala – and therefore opened a restaurant.  The Chef (cook) is probably Thai and has never been to Britain, let alone a  British Indian restaurant.    If any of you have – then you’ll know what to expect.

I’ll eat street rat before I ever venture back in there.

I am now embarrassed that any non-British people visiting this place will think that is what the British eat.

It isn’t.

Back in the groove

The 4 big suitcases in my spare room which I brought back from Dubai had to remain unpacked on Thursday when Miss Tim and I arrived in HH.

Queuing up to board the plane in the Business Lounge in Dubai – some tall guy asked me if I was the previous owner of the Big Mango…  I recognized him as AndyUK. One of the old guard.  Glad to see his is doing well.  I told him I was meeting Jonas at 2pm on Friday – he should join!

The 3am flight got us into BKK around 13:30 and we got to HH around 5pm.  No time to waste.  The food (breakfast) on the Emirates flight is the worst I have ever had.  I told them not to wake me for it – which meant by 5pm I was starving.  Off in to town we went for dinner – via Village Market to pay some bills.

It’s been a few weeks since Miss Tim had eaten Thai food, so we went to one of our regular Thai restaurants directly opposite the Hilton.  Good food and it feels great to not pay way over the top for food (and everything else).  The 2 years in Dubai has now put me in the habit of comparing prices and working out the exchange rates.  I need to stop as it pisses me right off.  Dubai is such a rip-off.

Around 8pm we had finished stuffing our faces.  What to do?  I suggested to Miss Tim that we go bar hopping for the rest of the night.  She replied that I am too old for that and should go home and have a nice cup of tea.  Must admit – she was right.   Home it was!

She also reminded me that I was off to Bangkok the next morning – so should save my energy.  Good point.

I woke up in the morning to find several text messages, skype messages and e-mails – all asking if I was caught up in yesterdays bombings.  I knew nothing about it?  I had Miss Tim make some calls to find out the skinny.  Where it all went off.. was where we hang out.  I am glad we made the decision to go home when we did.

Seems like its a good time to get out of HH and at 10am our driver picked us up.  I was going to Bangkok and dropping Miss Tim off at her parents on the way.

Arrived in Bangkok at 13:30.  Staying at the Grand Swiss Hotel on soi 11.  And very nice it is too.  Very impressed so far with the rooms.  Three nights for under 10k.  Not bad at all.

Jonas was already in Morning Night.  Probably since the night before.   We met up and headed to the Stumble Inn that Dave raves about.   10 mins later, AndyUK showed up!

Dave has been here a long time.  I have a lot of time for him and listen to what he has to say.  However,  his position of Marketing Manager means he has to promote the bars in a positive way.  Totally understand that.  But I do wonder if Dave has something in his job description whereby he can receive feedback and channel that back to the bar owners to make improvements?  Dave?

First of all.. I never knew the Stumble Inn was being called a British Pub.  Apart from dark colored furniture – I wasn’t seeing much that resembled a British Pub?

I was expecting the place to be full of people playing Pokemon Go… as the bar was full of monsters.   Typical bar/service girls.  All sitting around chatting – not keeping an eye on customers levels of drinks in their glasses.

Speaking of glasses – Jonas and I were drinking Grey Goose and Coke.  A premium drink at 180bht (happy hour) and 220bht (unhappy hour).  I don’t have a problem with this – but I do however have a beef about it being served in what I can only describe as a lady drink glass!  Come on…  please serve drinks in a proper Tumbler.     After 3 sips the drink was gone.

Next up was the food.  Lots on the menu, but we just wanted a snack.  Jonas went for Bangers and Mash and I went for a Sausage sandwich.

Jonas didn’t rave about his – and I was disappointed to receive the sandwich as ‘toasted’.  WTF?  In Britain, a sausage sandwich is served on fresh soft bread.  Toasting the bread just tells us the bread is not fresh!

Sorry, but it wasn’t a patch on Chequres.   Room for improvement me thinks.

To be brutally honest – the Stumble Inn is no different to any of the other bars along the street front.  To me they all seem like the same generic bar – only separated by walls.  Maybe they should think of ways to make it a little different – if the theme is indeed a British Pub?  This thought was shared by Jonas AndyUK and myself.

Moving on…   Off to Soi 20 or 22… I forget.  Too Easy bar.  Or little friend Ya is a partner there and I met up with PRP and another pal.  Great service in there.  Good crowd.  Grey Goose in big thick Tumblers!

The host ‘Ya’ is a nice girl.  I bought her a drink and she insisted on buying Jonas and I one back.  I told her not to as we are 2 people and she is 1.  Business is Business.  I rang the bell.  For a small bar – they have 9 girls working there.  Business must be good?

In the toilet – they have little (fresh) clean flannels to dry your hands.  A nice touch that.  Who in their right mind has ever dried their hands on the scabby looking pink tea-towel that is found hanging in most bars?

After Too Easy – we headed to the Robin Hood.  Very busy when we entered.  After an hour it was dead.  I am guessing that people are following the Happy Hours these days?

We were pretty drunk by this time.  We headed to Soi Cowboy.  Stopped in some bars on 23.  Don’t remember too much about it.. other than there is no shortage of ugly women in Bangkok.

We all bailed around midnight.  After throwing up in Crazy House – I thought it was time to go.

Miss Tim is arriving shortly – so time to be on best behavior.   Eat and then hit the cinema.

Tonight.. I’ll have an early night with a cup of tea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time on my hands…..

Now into my last few days in Dubai and to be honest, I cant get out of here soon enough. In fact, I have changed flights to get out of here 4 days earlier than planned.

As I am no longer working in Dubai – I find myself at a bit of a loss.  I’ve walked around the Mall, sat in the park and visited the pool.  What else is there to do?

Having always been in the office during the daytime – I never got to fully appreciate the fucking noisy bastard construction site going on outside my window where they are building a bridge across the Business  Bay.  For 18 months they’ve been pile driving.  Can’t see much in the way of progress.  Lazy basts.

Some friends and I went to a Brunch the other day at the Marina.  Ruth Chris Steak House.  It has to be one of the best brunches I’ve been to with regards to quality of food.  Really good.  Atmosphere was non-existent and there were only 4 tables out of the 20 which were occupied.  Not sure why that is?

Anyway, with the free flowing Champagne – we were all pretty well wasted.   Ended up at a local Irish Bar after which was absolute carnage.  Don’t remember too much about it – but Miss Tim and I ended up home by 9pm.  One of us was throwing up everywhere and talking gibberish.  O.k.. that may have been me.

Now just twiddling thumbs and waiting to get the hell out of here.

I’ve some pals visiting Hua Hin next week – so that should be good.  But before that – I am heading to Bangkok for the weekend while Miss Tim goes to see her Mother on Mothers Day.

With GM now in Manilla and Lomeo is in training for the Iron Man competition – it’s down to Jonas and I to drink our bodyweight in booze.

Roll on Friday…