Little update….

It’s been a hectic week since leaving work last week and heading to Bangkok for the leaving bash.

I’ll write up the leaving day… some interesting things came out of that. Was a good day.

The following day I flew off to the UK, then headed to Barcelona and I am now sitting halfway up a mountain in the south of France.

Off to Barcelona again tomorrow then off to Malaga the day after and then back to the UK before hitting Thailand once again – for a whole 18 hours and then head back off to work.

No rest for stupid as they say…..

I’ll get back to it soon.

Incoming…. Friday is almost here!

I’m so exciiiiiiited, and I just can’t hiiiiiiiiiiiide it!

Yep, not long to go until our Farewell to Jonas party takes place.

Meeting at the Queen Vic at 09:30 Friday morning for Bloody Marys and will go down hill from there.

A good bunch coming so far – and a few have dropped through the cracks.

yuk, who eats Onion Rings at breakfast?
yuk, who eats Onion Rings at breakfast?

We do intend on going to Hooters and throw our void Hooters discount cards at them.

Anyone ever been to Strikers? That place is keeping a low profile… maybe we need to check it out?

What’s the betting if we went in, that some girl would yell… ‘Jooonas’?!

Another Rant about Visas…..

I’ve ranted a few times in the past that I think the whole visa application system in Thailand is a load of shit. It maybe the same all over the world, but my experiences are based in Thailand.

The whole ‘visa agency’ thing I think is a complete Con and I don’t see what they do which you can’t. Some might argue that they save time, but again I challenge that as they dont create the documentation that you need to submit.

All I see them doing is filling out an application form using the information that you’ve provided them. Which takes all of 15 minutes. At a cost of 20k+ bht. Not a bad gig that.

But as I said, you don’t have to use those clowns if you don’t want to.

Who you do have to use though, – is VFS. I assume the Embassy’s put these in place to filter out all the nonsense and idiots handing in unsuitable applications. I get that. But I am sure there are better Agencies out there who run a much more professional service.

Surely these people must get audited? When they submitted their business proposal to the Embassy’s – they must have detailed the kind of services they would provide?

Part of their service would surely be to provide enough seating? If you’re allocating appointments, then you know how many people you’ll be seeing an an hour. From that you can calculate how many people would accompany the applicant? Be that a partner, parent or agency facilitator. It’s not hard.

And if your business involves people filling out forms – then have desk-space for people to use instead of having to use walls.

If you demand that people make photocopies – have a decent photo-copier – and why charge more than double to photo-copy a page than anywhere else in the area?

The whole thing stinks. It’s a complete con.

Let me tell you of my latest experience. –

Miss Tim got her 5 year visa for the UK. Applied by us, not using a Visa Service, just direct, using minimal paperwork (no flights or bank statements) and all was golden.

Next up was the Schengun visa so we can visit some pals in Spain and France. As Spain will be the main country we visit, we applied for the Spanish (Schengun) Visa.

Went online… had a little read of the Spanish Embassy page. Similar requirement to the UK except as we have no address, they want to see that you have flights and hotels booked. Not a problem. Ten minutes later I had flights and hotel reservations.

I looked at the application form and downloaded it from the Spanish Embassy site. I took the initiative to type all the details onto the form – to make it a little easier to read for the person processing and also because I am a neat freak and I wanted it looking professional – and not like I had leaned on a wall to fill it in.

Everything present and correct. Copies made and off we headed to the Spanish Embassy (VFS) to hand in our application at the appointed time we had been given.

We arrived there 5 mins early, went to the reception and handed over the application ‘pack’ and 4000bht. They handed the application back and said it was the wrong form and MUST use their form. Which they handed over as a poor quality reproduction.

The form was IDENTICAL. FUCKING IDENTICAL. This put me into a fit of rage. If I were Bruce Banner, there would have been carnage and I would be taking up the opening piece of Stickmans weekly.

I had to transpose all the info to the new sheet. IDENTICAL. Then we were told to copy it. It just so happens they have someone sitting at a nasty old Xerox machine charging more for a copy than the copier is worth. Ahh… penny dropped. Making us photocopy it made them money. Totally pointless and a waste of my time.

Miss Tim went through a door which I was not allowed through so I went and stood next to all the other people waiting for friends/relatives/clients. I say ‘standing’ – as there were not enough chairs in the small cramped room.

After 30 mins Miss Tim came out and said they’d contact us when they have made a decision on the Visa.

I then flew off to work.

One week later Miss Tim got a call – saying her passport is now with VFS – in an envelope.

Now, why is it they can’t open it and let us know if there is a new shiny visa in there?

Oh, because that would be helpful and save people a lot of time and money that’s why. Heaven forbid for these people to use their few braincells and come up with a process that is helpful and justifies their existence.

We were pretty confident anyway. And – as we’re flying next week, if they did turn us down for the visa, then it’s too late to apply again – so we’ll just have to spend the time in the UK.

I told Miss Tim that we could pick the visa up on the way to the airport (the day before).

That would save her taking her life into her hands and getting a minivan to and from Bangkok.

But no, she wanted to pick it up asap. So off she went this morning.

Around 11am Miss Tim sent me a picture of her shiny new Schengun visa. She was happy.

Not so fast. Looking at the dates, I see the imbeciles have put the wrong month for it to start. It should start in September and not October. As shown on the application form and on the flight and hotel tickets. Marvellous.

I sent Miss Tim back to VFS to tell them. We can’t be the first people to ever have been issued a visa with the wrong dates. They must have procedures and processes of what to do in this event. These procedures would have been submitted and reviewed by official Embassy people when carry out the bid evaluation on the VFS tender for the contract. Or am I being silly by thinking some kind of logic was employed in this process?

Anyway, VFS took the passport back and said they’d go check the paperwork and see where the mistake was made. I still have my printed version of the application, so I know its not my mistake. And even if the application was wrong, doesn’t VFS check these? Would they not have checked the dates of the flights matched the dates of the visa request?

So I don’t see them suggesting that a mistake was made on the application, as they’d be shooting themselves in the foot.

But anyway, it wasn’t ours or VFS’s fault. It was the Spanish Embassy. However, mistakes do get made. I’ve probably even made a mistake myself at some point?

What pisses me off – is that when the passport was handed to VFS – why are they not allowed to open and check? They could then earn their money by getting it resolved.

Again, that’s logic.

Instead, they have to wait for the person to trek to the office and pick it up. This can take days.

So Miss Tim handed it back and VFS didn’t have any standard information on what would happen next or how it could be rectified. The just said they’d call in a few days.

Miss Tim went back to Hua Hin. She now has to sit and wait – and then go back down there to pick up a new, new visa.

Only when she gets there and opens it up personally, will she know if its correct.

So I ask once again, what the hell do those VFS staff do for their money? Because they’re certainly not providing a professional service.

Infact, because they are such incompetent clowns, I shall from now on look to visit Countries that we can access without having to deal with these halfwits.

Next week we’re going to the UK and ‘maybe’ Spain and France.

The next trip after that will be the Maldives – as no visa required.

**** UPDATE ****

Miss Tim received a call this morning from VFS – saying the passport has now been received back from the Embassy and Miss Tim is to collect it on Monday.

She asked if they can check it, as they have fucked up before and we don’t want to waste more time by going down there if it’s still wrong. But no.. VFS will not open the envelope and check. Thanks a fucking lot. Again I ask, what is it you are doing for your money?

It ‘should’ be o.k when she collects it Monday, but then, I have no confidence in their efficiency.

Joooooooooonas (said like a bar girl)

Farewell to Arms…

Everyone knows Jonas.  Whether you follow the blog, are an old customer of the Mango, are a bar girl in any bar in Bangkok, work at the abortion clinic, are a traffic cop or are my parents -you’ll have come across Jonas.

You can read all the books out there about life in Thailand – and you’ll still only know a fraction of what Jonas knows.

Jonas is like a Brother to me.  I know I can always rely on him to help me out if I need it – and have done on many occasions.   There isn’t much Jonas doesn’t know about Thai living in Bangkok.  He’s been there.. he’s done it all.  But now it’s time to move on.

Jonas is heading West.  There are many reasons to stay in Thailand, but at the end of the day, he has a Daughter who he doesn’t want growing up in Thailand.  The education system, the health system – are all better back home.   As I’ve said many times before,  our Countries have Law and Order.  They have systems.   That might not mean much to many of you, but it means a lot when you want a life style to a particular standard.

I for one shall miss him.  For more than 10 years we have been hitting the streets, bars, clubs and jacuzzi s together.   We’ve partied in Thailand, London and Dubai – and I look forward to partying in Sweden.

There are so many stories I can think of – involving us getting upto all sorts.  This isn’t the place to speak of them – but anyone sitting near us at a bar will be able to hear us recall them over many hours.  Usually in fits of laughter spilling of drinks.  Even as I type this, I am chuckling as I remember him turning up in my apartment one morning after I had farted – causing him to throw his guts up there and then.

There are so many stories.  Many of them are on the blog somewhere.  Many of them were in Pattaya and many we can never share.   Many of them have been forgotten – but only because we were so drunk at the time.

It’s no secret that when Jonas goes out for a drink – he will drink until he can drink no more.  Then he’ll continue to drink and fall asleep at a bar.  We shall miss him.

In a few weeks, we are going to hit lower Sukhumvit for a farewell tour for the Man at Arms.. Friday 16th.  One last round. Who’s in?

As per usual,  I’ll see you in the Morning Night bar at 8am for the 1st beer….

Godspeed Jonas.

A younger, innocent Jonas... sort of.
A younger, innocent Jonas… sort of.
Hangin in Hooters....
Hangin in Hooters….
Jonas straining one out...
Jonas straining one out…
Sleeping in the bar...well, on it...
Sleeping in the bar…well, on it…
In the restaurant.. when the Bill came.
In the restaurant.. when the Bill came.

Bars to visit on the farewell tour… (so far)

Queen Vic (Breakfast)#

Morning Night

Big Dogs

Bar 4

Jersey Bar

Gullivers

Shadow Bar

Looking back….

So…Last month finally left Dubai.   As I drank champagne on the plane,  I gave a little thought to the last few years of my time there.

Dubai is a fast developing place.  I often wonder how it has managed to evolve at such incredible pace and why so many people flock there?

I am sure there is a book which explains it all – how and why its become popular with so many, but I imagine it to have been something quite simple – which was planned by a bunch of people sitting around a big table smoking shisha and laughing.  – a lot.

First up.. Chief Honcho must have said to the Property planners… ‘ build what you want.  Get all the architects who are creative, ambitious, talented – and maybe even a little drunk… to create whatever the fuck they want.  No two buildings should be the same.

Then came the roads…. to the transport minister… build roads.  A big 6 lane highway that goes straight through the middle.  Great.

However,  with all the Civils people cashing in and working on the Construction of Dubai, this only left idiots designing the road network.     Which means there doesn’t seem to be any logic.   It’s a complete nightmare and one wrong turn can see you driving for an hour before returning to the place where you went wrong.

Buildings?  Hmm…  says the chief… we need people to build these wonderful creations.  But who?  Well, we’ll just ship in loads of Indians.  They’ll work 24/7 on very little pay.

Then all these good looking people arrived, living in their nice new cool looking buildings with modern surroundings.  All was well.  But then,  how do you keep the place clean and who serves all the beautiful people?  Hmm.. says the Chief, we’ll just ship in a load of Filipinos. They’ll work 24/7 on very little pay.

We have the nice houses, we have people to serve and keep clean – all we need now is someone to police it.

So the Chief says….  We can have our Emiratees do that.  Although,  we won’t have enough to police the roads.  No..  people who are driving in Dubai can do whatever the hell they want..  We wont have anyone paying attention and will let all the drivers be as dangerous as they want. In fact, we’ll come up with the saying that people who use their indicators are showing a display of weakness.

– and it was going all so well up until then.

There must be a rule book somewhere.  I’ve never seen one and I am sure it’d make interesting if not amazing reading.

I once got told I could not sit on a towel on the BEACH.   Which was next to my sunbed.  No, the towel had to be on the bed.  It was my own towel too.  Odd.  Sooo many stupid rules.

You can also be fined for having a dirty car.  Madness.   I’d like to know who or how it was decided to instruct officers to spend time identifying dirty cars and issuing them with a fine – instead of deploying them at road-crossings and MAKING the cars stop to let pedestrians cross.

As much as I enjoyed my time there.. I am glad to be away from it.

I’ve got the house, the pool,  the new cats and have the UK tv all set up.  Everything I need to relax.

The thing I need now – is some new toys.   I’ve already mastered how to crash my drone onto next doors roof, I have sunk my radio controlled boats and have smashed my radio controlled helicopter into a million pieces.  I need bigger toys.

Recently,  I saw a bike in the carpark called a Yamaha M-Slaz.  Crap name, but it did look fun.  I assumed it to be around the 250-300 size, but after some research – found it to only be 150cc which is very disappointing.

Still,  I like it – so I have told Miss Tim to go get me one.  And while she is there, she can pick up a new Honda Click too – to replace the little Honda Spacy we bought a few years back.  That’ll make 3 bikes.

My reckoning is this…

Honda Click – for popping to the local shops.
Honda PCX 150 – for both of us going into town for dinner
Yamaha M-Slaz – for me to hang out at the local bus stop with my Thai mates and practice stunts.   Or maybe just to ride around the back roads exploring when I get bored?

Some great deals on.. well, they’re not ‘deals’ but they are good prices.  51000 for a new Click and 90000 for the M-Slaz,

I thought it'd bigger...
I thought it’d bigger…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Which incidentally is cheaper than than the deposit of my Dubai apartment that I have just got back… so everyone’s a winner!

The little Honda Spacey we bought new 3 years ago now has 10k km on it.  It still looks like new but I doubt it’s worth anything – so will donate it to a family member back in the village.

I found that ‘up/down Country’ they don’t need things like Registration document, Insurance, road tax and least of all, a crash helmet.   But then,  when it takes a week to renew a renew the annual tax on a bike, then there is no hope.

Someone in the Thai Government needs to be investing in I.T.  Get an army of I.T nerds into putting everything online.

Silly me, what am I talking about?  How can you possible carry out your business online when the power goes off it its raining within 100 miles of your house?

Planning my next session in Bangkok which will be in a few weeks.  Any recommendations?