Killing time, avoiding Songkran and catching up with Jonas

As much as I like Thailand – I love the UK. Wasn’t always like this. But now I have come to learn to appreciate my homeland.

The cold weather? Love it. The dark mornings/evenings in winter? Love it. Springtime? Love it all.

So I welcome the opportunity to get back to the UK when I can. I usually make 3 or 4 trips per year.

Miss Tim joins me for the Summer and Christmas visits. Any other time and I am a lone traveller.

She doesn’t understand why I like the UK, and doesn’t understand why I like visiting if I have no reason to go there.   ‘What do you do there” she often asks?

Well,  I have a fairly decent set-up in the UK.  I am a bit of a petrol head, so like to spend time in my man-cave. One week at a time should just about do it.  Spending a month in Thailand at a time just makes me frustrated and angry.  I need to get back to civilisation every now and then.

So, a few weeks back I popped back to the UK for the old mans B’day – and to collect a load of motorbike gear for my Motorcycling tour over the Himalayas in a few months.

While I was in the UK, the timing was perfect for Jonas to pop over from Sweden for the weekend.

My place in the UK is in Norwich. I am not from there – but I ended up there somehow. I like Norwich. It’s a nice place. I have a very cool, Riverside apartment. It’s right next to a huge pub, cinema, bowling ally, restaurants etc.. it’s the number 1 place to live in Norwich. Not too shabby for Graham.

Home sweet home…

Norwich city is a nice, clean place.  People are friendly and there are plenty of bars and restaurants.

I picked Jonas up at an airport late on Thursday night and brought him home via a kebab house. We LOVE kebabs.  Probably the most unhealthiest food on the planet – there is just something about it.  Mostly enjoyed when you’re drunk of course.

If only they had these in Hua Hin

Why is it I have not seen these in Thailand?  I’ve seen that horrid beef wrap/shwarma shite.. but never a proper Doner kebab.   Maybe that could be my next little project?  The Mango Doner?

Friday morning we headed over to my man cave to swap over some cars and move some stuff around. Jonas likes the man cave. I can spend hours in here – cleaning bikes which are already clean.  I wish I could have a collection in Hua Hin – but the roads are shite and every other driver on the road can’t drive for shit.   One day, when I return to the UK for good, I shall be able to enjoy my toys.

The man-cave.  This is half of the collection.

By lunch time we hit the streets of Norwich and visited as many bars as possible. The trend at the moment seems to be ‘Cocktail Bars’. And why not?  A cocktail afternoon it was then.

It was good to have a drink with Jonas.   He is doing good in Sweden. Has a good job, his Thai girlfriend is now living there – with Jonas and his kid.   Life is pretty good (normal) – and he has no regrets of leaving Thailand.  Yeah he misses some things.  All of which can be sorted with a holiday which may come next year?

Gangsta-Cocktails?

Around 7pm – we jumped on a train for the 30 min journey to a little sea-side town to visit a pal and continued drinking with him. Several drinks later we were pretty hammered from the days drinking.

We had consumed quite a bit.  The UK booze is cheaper than Swedish booze, so Jonas felt like it was his duty to drink more.  Of course, we all know what happens to Jonas when he goes drinking.

Next to the train-station – Is a kebab house. Well, it’d be rude not to right?

Jonas…. nuff said

Saturday morning… after Jonas finished throwing up – we headed into the city again for more cocktails.

One of the bars we came across is an America style Sportsbar. It looked great. TV’s all over the place. For us – the owner of this bar absolutely nailed it.

The walls had some pretty cool artwork on them too. It’s very refreshing to go to a bar done properly.

(have to say, I am impressed with the Camera on my iPhone X)

We hopped from bar to bar pretty much all day – with the intention of hitting the table dancing club later that night. Feeling pretty drunk we headed back to the crib for a little nap, ready for the evenings shenanigans.

Top tip.. NEVER GO FOR A LITTLE NAP if you are heading out later! At 7pm.. we had a little doze on the sofa. When we woke up around 10pm.. we were grumpy and a little hungover. We got our shit together and made the effort to get out.

Just 15 mins and I’ll be ready.

Heading into the city.. it was drizzling with rain. The feeling of heading out and getting (more) drunk had passed.

I felt nothing short of relief when Jonas suggested we just got some food and head back home! That we did.

Sunday morning was an improvement on Saturday morning – as Jonas was not throwing up. He slept good.

A bit of a lazy morning.. lying on the sofa watching Cop shows on TV. I swear that if there were not a height restriction back in the day – I’d have been a cop. Obviously a traffic cop, driving around really fast and chasing baddies. That’s all they do anyway right?

Out for a spot of lunch and it was time to take Jonas back to the airport.

A good relaxing weekend. Some drinks and some good food. I guess this is a far cry from what we are used to (in Bangkok) but still a good time none the less. We spend most of the time in the bar – laughing and reminiscing over our previous escapades in Thailand.

With Jonas gone – it was back to the crib for me. No more kebabs.  – it was also a good chance to give the crib an airing.  Jonas + booze + kebabs = a very stinky toilet.

After spending the morning cleaning the remains of Jonas from the bathroom, covering up everything my  crib with dust-sheets and turning everything off – I headed off out the UK again.

Being a little savvy on flight times – I was sure that a morning flight to Dubai would be quiet. Not sure why? Maybe people don’t like getting up early?

I didn’t bother upgrading myself – instead I chose to save my air-miles for a better occasion. Flying Economy can be o.k in certain situations.  If the flight is not full then a few empty seats puts distance between you and the scumbags.

My assumptions were correct.- the plane was half empty. I had a row of 3 seats all to myself. For me – this is the equivalent of a Business seat. For a fraction of the money.

Dubai was a business lunch with the team. Best behaviour.

Another night in Dubai

I’ve stayed in many hotels in Dubai – they’re all pretty much the same.  My fave at the moment is the Four Points Downtown.  A couple hundred bucks a night – but well worth it for the view at night.

Saturday was time to head back to Thailand. Songkran was coming to an end so I would have missed all the stupidity.

Once again – the flight was empty. I guess no one travels to Thailand for the end of Songkran? And when I say empty… I mean there were less than 30 people. At first I thought I had missed the flight as the departure gate was empty.

On the plane – the cabin crew just said to go sit where we want. Amazing.

Breezed through immigration and was home by midnight.

Miss Tim was back home with her family for Songkran and would be home in the afternoon. I was free!

I purposely went away for Songkran.  I am not a fan.  I just arrived back in Thailand on the last day when all the stupidity had come to an end.  Phew

Sunday saw me head into town to the Irish bar to watch the F1.  Really good (pub) food. The owner is useless though. He just sits there playing on the computer while his 2 staff scramble around trying to serve a full bar.

Probably the busiest I have seen the bar in a long time (during the day). Full of guys watching the Rugby and the F1. All drinking beer and eating food.

It amazes me why this bar has no aircon on during the day? Instead the doors are open and the place is a sweat box. Full of flies too. Why not close the doors and stop the heat coming IN! Put the fans on as a minimum. I can understand he is probably trying to save on cost – but with a bar full of people – there is justification to turn on the AC’s.

It took more than 15 mins to get served. It wasn’t the service girls fault – she was run off her feet.

Even though I had to wait a long time,  I went over to the service girl when I left – and gave here a few hundred baht tip.  She was shocked.  I said that she deserved a tip as she had not stopped running around, taking orders, serving drinks and carrying food.  All on her own.  I don’t recall any of the customers giving her a please or thank-you when I was there.  All they did was raise an empty glass in the air and point to it.  Tossers.

With the F1 over and a belly full of food – time to leave the tossers and head home.  I was still worried there were buckets of water waiting to be thrown at unsuspecting people like me.   Many cars were still covered in white power from Songkran but thankfully it was all done and dusted.

The plan was to have a few relaxing days at home – and then head back to work.  All was going to plan until Miss Tim presented a pile of empty boxes and asked me to pack all my shit ready for the move in a few weeks.

Damn.. I thought I would have escaped that.

After my month at work – I shall be stopping off in Dubai for a few days.  I messed up (again) as it will be Ramadan – so not as lively as it should be.

From there, I’ll be heading to Bangkok for a few days and then back to HH and straight to the new house.

I am hoping Miss Tim would have everything unpacked and settled by then.  Time for me to just kick back to the month and do nothing.

That’s the plan anyway.   But plans change……

 

On the move again…..

We looked at a house the other month. The photos looked great. Real nice and relaxing.

A bit of me that….

When I went to view it – I was shocked. They had obviously used photoshop to make it look appealing. The whole area is a building site. There was no road to get to the house – just a muddy/dusty path. Not impressed. Not impressed at all.

What will that be like during rainy season?

Real Estate agents here are stupid. Why do they waste so much time and money – showing people houses which are nothing like the houses advertised? Do they think people will accept something which clearly is not as described?

Building site view

Who is paying the bill for the Agent to show me around? The fuel, the car, the insurance, phone calls and the physical time? Who pays for that? How can they expect to cover these costs when showing people houses which they are not expecting to see.

The house we currently have is showing it’s age. The paint is falling off all the walls around the pool/garden. It’s not something I like to look at.

Two of the three bedrooms are not used – except for somewhere for Miss Tim to put her clothes and shoes.

I want to down-size. Two bedrooms and no pool. I am fed up with the pool cleaners / gardeners in the garden more than I am. I am the only one that uses the pool – so I think it’s a waste. If there is a 2 bed house with a Communal pool then I’d be happy.

So.. we asked the Agent…. Two beds and no pool. Easy right?

Not long after, we got a call about a house… 5 beds and massive pool. What is it I am doing wrong?

The houses which the Agent gave us info on were all rubbish. Honestly, I don’t know how these people are in business. This sub-standard would not be acceptable in the UK that’s for sure.

I took it upon myself to find a place. An hour later I found it.

New(ish) house. three beds (2 beds and 1 office). Communal pool which is a 30 second walk and also has a gym/club house.

Rent was not a lot which is also a bonus.

TAKE MY MONEY!!

Deal done 10 mins after I saw the house.

Had to handover 2 months deposit because we have cats.  As we all know, it’s rare to ever get a deposit back, so I was not happy about this.  Having said that, my cats are little bastards and will probably wreck the place.

They’re ready to wreck the new house.

Looking forward to next month when I can sit in the Jacuzzi with my ice-coffee and kick back for the month.

Hanging in Dubai and Bangkok….

Where does the time go these days?!

A little catch-up….

I am fortunate that my company flies me Business Class to and from work. When I am paying from my pocket, I’ll fly economy. Luckily that due to the amount of flying I do, I usually have plenty of air miles to upgrade myself.

After a month away at work, I thought I’d treat myself to 1st class on the Emirates flight to Dubai. And why not?

The best part of 1st class (apart from the doors you can close for some privacy) is they give you Dom Perignon. As I was the only passenger at the pointy end of the plane, it was down to me to polish off as much as I could of it.

Embarrassingly, I could only manage 6 glasses and I was sizzled. That stuff us rocket fuel.

Forget going out on the Thursday night…. Straight to my pit as Friday I had a Brunch to attend.

For those not familiar with the Dubai Friday Brunches.. they are somewhat a bit of an institution in Dubai. Most expats head out to one of the many hotels/bars/restaurants for several hours of stuffing your face with food and booze. Depending on where you go, you can expect to pay from 2000 to 6000 bht.   It may seem like a lot, but I am sure you lot can eat and drink that much in 4 hours?

I prefer the cheaper end of the scale – as everyone just gets trashed and has a really good laugh.   Everyone gets dolled up and look as glamorous as can be. After 4 hours it’s a different picture entirely.

Value for money….

Not really sure why they call it Brunch – as they run from lunchtime – to around 4pm. So not really a Brunch at all?

After Brunch you are so wasted that when some idiot suggests we all go to another bar –you think it’s a good idea. (o.k, it may have been my suggestion).

We headed to a lounge type outside bar. You know the sort – where the music has no words and everyone thinks they are cooler than they are.   I think these places are awful if truth were told. All the people there are false. They are only there because they think it’s cool and want to plaster facebook with as many pictures of themselves being ‘cool’. Twats.

Of course we were cool. So cool so that we got ourselves a VIP table/sofa at a mad cost of a large bottle of Grey Goose.   Being in the VIP section kept us away from the rif-raff. Or so we thought.   Oh no, we were like moth to a flame. Many, many Brit trash came over to us – trying to snag a corner of the sofa or a cheeky drink.   The pretty girls managed it. The lads… well, I think I need not explain what happened to them.

After getting needlessly more trashed and losing several people from the group, my pal and I decided to head elsewhere. The bill was just over $2000. Again, total rip-off. I really hate these places. When I think of what I can get in Bangkok for $2000. That’s like a whole night on the town – not just a few hours.

At this point I realized that we had mistaken ‘drunk’ for being ‘cool’. When I look back all I can think is what a bunch of twats we were for doing that.

Luckily for me – the people I was with are not cheap bastards – and were good for their share, so it’s not like it was all down to my pal and I. It makes a change from having to ‘sponsor’ so called mates in Thailand as they drink their own bodyweight in booze and then reveal they’ve no money.

Out of the VIP Club – into a waiting Tesla. My god these things are fast. Charging down Sheik Zayed Road in the Tesla with a buzz-on. That WAS cool.

Groovy dash in the Tesla

Some more bars, loads more money – the usual.   It brought back memories of my time in Dubai but really hit home how false and expensive the place is.

I enjoyed my time when I was living in Dubai – but thank fuck I am no longer there. Too many tossers and wannabes there. Thinking they’re the nuts when they’re scraping to get by.

Thank fully the night passed without me throwing up. Quite rare these days.   10am on the Saturday morning my Emirates car picked me up and took me to the airport – heading to Thailand.

I was meeting up with the boys in Bangkok that night.

My pal Russ (the guy I worked and played with when we lived in Dubai) has moved to Thailand, so he was waiting for me in Bangkok.

Another pal ‘Brooklyn’ (guess where he is from?) met us at a bar and we all had a few scoops.   Probably too many. We had to take it easy as Sunday we had all arranged to meet at Hooters for the F1 opening race.

Keeping it sensible… we all headed home at a reasonable hour.   Except for Brooklyn that is. He went off into the night to fight crime. Or fight for Crime. Or maybe just fight?   We don’t really know what he gets upto after hours into the deep dark night. What we do know is, that Gotham is a much quieter place since he moved to Bangkok.

Staying at Sukhumvit Grande on soi 6 (not bad – except for the Chinese have taken it over). Nice big comfy suite. Lovely big bed. The only thing to spoil it was the sound of Miss Tim chucking her guts up in the bathroom.   Lightweight.

Miss Tim was out the previous night with her little girl-gang. I believe Jaigermeister was involved.

Hooters at 12.

This place seems to have gone down the crapper a bit.   We had to ask if we could watch the F1 – on one of their many, many TV’s which were showing other sports which no one was watching. Surely they would have arranged to show the opening F1 race instead of some old golf tournament?

Food was mediocre and over-priced – as always.   Gamblin Man, Russ, Brooklyn (+ wives and girlfriends) all joined.     We watched the race but were soon more interested in having a drink.

From Hooters, we headed to the new Raj Hotel complex. (is there a name for this area?) Hilary 19 or whatever its called was our 1st stop.   Sitting inside for a bit of aircon – but soon wished we hadn’t. One of the units was a bit worse for wear.. and was making a hell of a racket. They have loads of AC units, so why not turn the knackered one off? It was so noisy that we didn’t stay long.

4pm sees some of the old Mango Bar patrons meet up in soi 8, so I thought I’d be cool to meet up. ‘Spats’ had hung out with us Russ and I in Dubai, so thought it’d be good to have a catch-up drink.   And it was.

Sunday afternoon drink with the chaps was good. Good laugh and good to catch up.   In true form, Spats had to go home to the wife after a few hours.

Another old face from the past ‘BP’ was also out – celebrating his anniversary. We persuaded him to keep going and off we went to soi 20 (I think?) to some of the bars down that little soi.

It was good to see BP again – and good to see that he is doing well. There are SO MANY people from the past which turned out to be a bunch of spongers and losers – that it’s good to see people that aren’t.

You know who I am talking about.. the people who would opt for an expensive drink if they’re not buying, the ones that go to a bar because of the free food and not any other time.   The list goes on.

For some reason BP (I think?) ordered shots of Single Malt Whisky.   I am not sure why? I can’t/don’t drink Whisky.   I drank it.   I would regret that later.

A few bars later – we were all drunk. BP headed off home but was replaced by Brooklyn who had disappeared for a few suspicious hours.

Russ who has the drinking capabilities of a 12 year old girl (I imagine?) was worse for wear and needed taking home. GM was missing his girlfriend in the flesh – as his Live Facebook chat was not enough for him so off he went.

After throwing up in the bar toilets (thank you whisky), Russ and I headed back to the hotel.   Tomorrow we were off home to Hua Hin.

I emptied out my pockets and to my delight there was a load of cash. Cash I wouldn’t have had if I had been out in Dubai. Money I wouldn’t have had if I were out with spongers and losers.

I was happy to be back in Thailand

– for now.