To the Philippines and beyond…..

(For a detailed account of what Angeles City is like… these old postings are spot on)

At last – made a trip to the Philippines after lots of whining from GM and Bubba…..

GM is a big noise at some Casino in Manilla.   For years he keeps saying I should pop over there for a weekend.  Thing is,  he seems to come to Bangkok most weekends, so there was little point?

After a lot of planning (abusive whatsapping) we came up with a plan.  Just so happens that GM was in Bangkok (again) so we both flew to Manila together.

The flight with Flip-Air was about 3000.    I usually fly with Emirates (work) and am fortunate enough to be able to use the Fast-Track route – and not have to queue with ‘other’ people.

However, I am no snob (really… I am not) – so was happy enough to queue with the peasants at immigration.    Is it me, or has anyone else noticed the Asians (Chinese this time) are rude little bastards when it comes to queuing?   As I moved forward one place, the person behind me didn’t fill the gap immediately – resulting in a little Chinese girl abandoning her queue and slot in behind me!  Amazing.  If I were the one behind, I’d have picked her up and thrown her across the hall to the back of the queue.  And I could have done it.  What gets me is… she was parallel to the queue she jumped into.  She probably only saved herself 30 seconds?  Odd.

When walking up the gangway onto the plane – again, we were over taken by some other Asians (Flips) who seemed to have a semi-sprint on to get to the plane.  I don’t get it.  It’s not like we were walking slow.  They just walked around us as we reached the plane door and had to queue.

It’s odd behaviour.  I would have loved to kick off.. call them all a bunch of idiots and even give a few (a lot) a slap.  But this wasn’t my Country.   Not my rules.   Instead, all GM and I could do is shake our heads and laugh at them.  Flips English is good – so I was hoping to offend one at least – so they would engage in an argument where I could at least beat them up verbally.  Nadda.

Nothing of interest about the fight or airport.  Usual.    Outside into a taxi pretty quick.  Same as Bangkok, it’s hit or miss getting a cab where the aircon works.   There was a little trickle of air but I am unsure if it was aircon or the driver farting.

Luckily the 1st hotel I was staying in is about 10mins from the airport.  The Golden Phoenix.  Sounds grand.  It isn’t.

The staff seemed uninterested – handed me a key-card and let me figure out for myself that I had to take the escalators to the second floor – then walk along a corridor to find the elevators.  Thanks.

The room was…. Well…   crap.   It was like a sauna when I opened the door.   Old room – quite long and a tiny little aircon in the corner.

It was only one night.. how bad can it be?

Quick freshen up – water stuffed in the fridge, aircon on to cool the room down and out I headed to meet GM before heading to Meklati – where all the action is.

Who needs aircon?

Action he says.    For some reason I was expecting something quite grand.  Something like Walking Street or Soi Cowboy.  The only connection I could make with Soi Cowboy – was that Meklati was like the Wild West.   Sleazy, dirty and grubby.

We trawled a few bars – meeting up with Bubba and Bruce (Aussie).  Bubba & Bruce live/work in Manila.

The 1st few bars we visited were pretty nondescript.   I was shocked that all the girls are mainly ‘plump’ and in need of a good orthodontist.  My only experience of Flip women – is the flips in Dubai.  The service staff, girls in the office, airport, restaurants etc.. all of whom seem rather pleasant.  I was expecting the Philippines to be filled with much of the same.  I was wrong.

It was apparent to me that if you are good looking, well presented and in shape – then you leave Manila.

The last bar we went to was a significant improvement.  Bruce and Bubba seem to be well known there and were getting all the attention.  It reminded me of me.. back in the day when I’d visit Pretty Lady with a fist full of dollars.   Times change….

I was the newbie here. Didn’t know the rules (although whoring is universal, I wasn’t there for that).

A few girls spoke with me – I was polite of course.  Drinks are very cheap so we bought some.  Then we were asked for more as the girls slammed each drink. Then they asked if we could buy the Mamasan, Pappasun and Daniel-sun a drink.. and then the waiter… and the door staff… the beggar on the street etc…  hmm.. sounds familiar?

We couldn’t get smashed – as we were heading to Angeles City the next day.

Time to call it a night.   Can’t say I was impressed.   But, it’s my 1st time there so I am not going to pass judgement so quickly.

Back to the sauna at a respectable time.   I slept under the aircon. It was still hot.

Couldn’t wait to check out the next morning.  After a long trek I managed to find the Reception.

Now, I travel a fair bit and have stayed in many hotels.  Many.  Many good and many bad.  After a while you get a feeling of what level of service to expect.    For example,  on check out I am used to the Receptionist to ask if my stay was o.k.  Do I need a receipt.  Would I like a taxi etc….

Not this place. Nope.  Nothing.  Apart from asking me for my credit card – there was no interaction whatsoever.  That’s the last time I’ll stay there.    When Agoda e-mails me asking if I’d recommend the phoenix hotel to a friend.. they’ll be getting a big fat NO.

Angeles City was the destination.   I’d say AC was the Pattaya of the Philippines

Well done to Bruce for sorting a minivan and not a shitty taxi..

The hotel (ABC) was a blast.   Everything you could ask for.    That is, if everything you asked for has an adult theme.

The receptionist was a pleasant and friendly girl.   Forget nettle juice and a cold towel, they gave us a welcome Tequila shot!

Hats off to GM – he took the Tequila (with me) – Bubba and Bruce declined.  I had no choice.. I am the artist formally known as Daywalker.  I had a reputation to protect.

I had chosen the best room they had available.  It had it’s own dancing pole, hot tub, sound system and a selection of litre bottles of booze.

The Suite…

We had planned to meet at the roof bar of the hotel in a few hours – to cash in on our free drink vouchers.

bring your kids….

The bar is very ‘adultish’.  There was some girl gyrating on a guy who was on a sunbed.   How rude.

After a few cocktails of pure sugar and a feed – off we headed into the night.

There is nothing I can really say, that hasn’t already been said.   The bars were average and the girls were below average.  What was fantastic though, was the price of drinks!   As the booze was so cheap, after a while we didn’t care about the place being a crap-hole.

Maybe I am being a bit hard on Angeles City, but I don’t like the amount of street beggars (kids), I don’t like the copious amounts of street vendors trying to sell me fake crap and I really didn’t like the amount of males trying to beckon me into a bar.

We hit many bars – none of which sticks in my mind.  The last bar we ended up at seemed to be the most popular.  Atlantis.   They had a group of pole dancers, coyote dancers, break dancers and ugly dancers.   Something for everyone.

I tipped the pole dancers as they actually put on a show worthy of Philippines Got Talent.  I noticed that no other customer offered any tips to any of the show-girls.  I guess they were saving their money for their next Hyundai.

Anyway, when I offered them a tip – they were all extremely appreciative and all left the stage and joined GM and myself for a drink.  They were a good friendly bunch.   I assume they were all P4P – but that wasn’t discussed.  I was genuinely impressed with their pole dancing abilities!

GM and I drank well into the night – making us drunk and hungry.  Time to hit the road via a food house.  I can’t be sure – but I think I may have thrown up?  Time for food.

Joliebee!  Is a popular (I assume that because they’re everywhere) chicken place.  Off we stopped for a bucket of chicken. Each.

Having ordered some chicken – and being told to wait 15 mins for it (I guess they didn’t plan ahead – knowing people would come into a chicken house and ask for chicken?).  While sitting there with GM, we noticed a little Security Guard darting all over the place.   He was wiping down tables,  moved some chairs around,  bagged up a load of buckets for customers and was generally doing whatever it was he could do to help.   This guy also had a gun.  What a fantastic worker!  This guy couldn’t do enough and it was fascinating to watch him.

It did however get us wondering if he was employed a general assistant – and told he is also the Security Guard,  or was he taken on as a Security Guard and told to help out serving Chicken?

The reason I wonder – is because I’d like to think that Armed Security Guards would undergo some sort of firearms training.  And I don’t just mean point it and squeeze.  Before pulling the trigger on your ‘piece’ and unloading your magazine clip – there are many things you have to analyse. I am not going to claim I know all there is – but I do know you have to conduct a risk assessment.  So I am hoping this guy has had training – and isn’t just a cleaner with a gun who will shoot you if you don’t clear up after yourself.

We staggered back to the hotel   Bubba and Bruce had long since gone.  Once again GM and I were the last men standing.

The plan was to meet at 11(ish) for breakfast……

To be continued…

At last.. a Hotel I like!

Last month when travelling through Bangers I stayed at the SM Grand.  Never again.  What a crap hole.   When I left, my driver pointed out the Citrus hotel on soi 6.. informing me it was a new hotel.

Within 5 minutes of frantically tapping on my iPhone app…  I had booked a room there for the following week when I would once again be travelling through Bangkok (in the way to the Philippines)

Who doesn’t like a new hotel?    Everything works, the TV is not the size of a washing machine, the power sockets take USB’s, the wifi works and the knobs on the toasters are still in place.  Yes, we like new hotels.

The Citrus was (for me) perfect.   I didn’t have to fill out loads of forms or wrestle with the porter to take my bag.    The staff were all still under the influence of a ‘new fresh atmosphere’ that a new business has.  They were all keen and enthusiastic.  Long may it continue.

The room was surprisingly good too.  Decent size – everything was new of course, so it’s expected to be nice and new looking.

There are hotels which you plan only to be in while you sleep for 8 hours – so all you want/need is a clean room with a bed, aircon and a fridge – and there are hotels where you will spend some of your waking day in – so you want a nice environment.   For me, I do enjoy kicking back in a (nice) hotel, ordering up some room service, watching a movie and surfing the odd website.  That’s how I relax.

The Citrus was suite was perfect for that.   No need to describe it – you can see by the pictures.

Everything you could want – it’s there.

The staff were great.   The breakfast was surprisingly good.   Usually the buffet breakfasts are just a load of cheap crap – but this was different.  A large selection of all the usual breakfasty type stuff, but cooked eggs/omelettes were cooked to order.  Perfect.

Again, pleasant kitchen/dining staff.

This is now my fave hotel.  O.k, so it’s not the Landmark or the Marriott, but it’s not the price of those.

We had only one night there – but will certainly spend more time there next month for sure.

If I had to think of one thing I didn’t like about it?  Hmm….  I’d say it was the other guests.  Every hotel has them… the assholes that don’t respect the meal times.

Breakfast is something like 07:00-10:30.    We were checking out at 11am and could see some ‘Asians’ still turning up, sitting down and keeping the staff from clearing everything away.

Why does it bother me?  Well,  I am thinking of the Staff.  They have many things to do.  We would complain if they didn’t open the restaurant on time, so why should we delay them in closing?  Some people are just ignorant assholes.

At check-out, I was asked if I needed a taxi.  I did.  I told them I wanted to go to the airport – but didn’t want a scumbag taxi off the street.  For some reason each time I flag down a taxi,  after HE has decided he will take me to where I want to go, having argued with him to use the meter and then listen to him telling me about how he needs a tip,  I then have to negotiate with him to put on the aircon and turn down his crap music.  That’s assuming the cannon he is using as an exhaust isn’t drowning it out.   No….   I’d rather pay a few quid more to ensure safe passage to my next destination.

I asked the hotel for a car to get me to the airport.   They said it would be 400bht.  PERFECT!

A new Toyota pulled up 5 mins later.  It was spotless inside, the driver never said a word for the whole journey apart from ‘thank-you’ when he dropped me off and I gave him 500.

So ignoring the breakfast douches… the hotel stay was great and I thoroughly recommend staying there!

Next stop… the Philippines…..

Settled in… now time to get back to work.

Another month flies by… so what’s been happening?  What is currently pleasing me and what is pissing me off?

First of all, it’s now been over a month in the new house and all is well.   Internet / TV all works as it should.  Aircons nice and cool, the cats have identified the furniture where scratching will do the most damage and the gardeners have made it known that they shall be in the garden most days for no reason that I can understand.

I no longer have a pool.  This was by choice.  I wanted to down-size.  The last house was rather big and cost a lot to run – and considering I am only physically in the house for around 4 months per year – I thought I’d do the sensible thing and get a house more suitable (cheaper) which meets my needs.

The new house has a communal pool and a gym – which is pretty good.  We also get to see people in the day – walking around, walking dogs and generally going about their business.  The little ‘hood’ seems a friendly bunch and we must get around 6-10 ‘Good Mornings’ as we sit out the front having a coffee in the morning.   Am I pleased?   Yes I am.  Good job Miss Tim in sorting all that for me!

What I am not too pleased about it the Letting Agent.  Star Property.  Not only have they failed to retrieve our Deposit on the last house – they are also ignoring my e-mails.    Miss Tim doesn’t share my anger – as ‘This is Thailand’.   Which means we have to accept incompetence?

It’s about 7km into the town centre of Hua Hin – which isn’t too bad.  A tuk-tuk costs us 250bht each evening we go out and have a few drinks – which is most nights.

After 5 years, we still like Hua Hin.  We have our regular restaurants and bars.  We have our lunchspots, parking spots and hiding places.

One of the bars we have recently been visiting is Father Teds.  A bar that we have over looked for many years because of our 1st visit (5 years ago) saw us being seated in a crappy stool upstairs with crap service.  That was a long time ago and our latest experience is much better.    So much better that we must visit at least 4 times a week now on our nights out in the town.

The food is fantastic, the prices are really good and the fit-out of the bar is so much better than the other bars of Hua Hin.   My only complaint (and there was always going to be one) would be some of the staff are useless.

What really pisses me off when eating is that as soon as I put my knife and fork on my plate – showing that I have finished, the staff come and grab it and clear my place.   Even though other people at the table may still be eating.   This pisses me off.. as Miss Tim and I often share food.  So just because my plate is empty, it doesn’t mean I am done eating.

But also,  if they clear my plate away – that means I am now left looking at the person still eating.  This makes them uncomfy.  Can you imagine 4 people at a table watching you eat?

Thai’s are not fast eaters.    So more often than not, Miss Tim is sitting at the table, stuffing her face while we all watch.   I don’t like it.   I now make a point of telling the service people to leave my plate alone.

As we were impressed with the food – we thought we’d give the breakfast a go.   As the board says breakfast is available from 9am.  By the time we got there – it was 09:56.  When we arrived, there was a service guy outside wiping down tables.   We walked in only to be told they don’t open until 10am and to come back later?!!

Breakfast starts when?

Now,  if he had just pointed at a table for us to sit at – by the time we had settled in – it would have been 10am.     But, as he just said to come back later – even though we were standing next to the sign that says breakfast from 9am, we walked off and found another place.  I should not have to plead with people to spend my money at their place.

However, this is the Thai staff.  I have come to learn to expect this (and less).  There is an Irish chap there in the evenings (Owner or Manager) who always makes a point of saying hello/good bye and gives us a smile.   Pity the Thai staff doesn’t have the same attitude?

We did visit a  new (to us ) bar called ‘East’.  A rooftop bar.   It sounds better than it is – as the view is mainly a bunch of tree-tops.  You can just about see the sea – but it’s nothing of interest.  They have made an effort to be a bit trendy I guess – so we gave it a go and hit the cocktails.  Can’t remember how much they were?  I think around 350bht but I could be wrong.   Can’t say we enjoyed them.  They were just coloured sugar water.

These sugary drinks have removed more teeth than Mike Tyson

Another favourite of ours is the Tapas Bar ‘Cool Breeze’.   Really good food and amazing bread.  The (Thai) staff always mess up an order or two (to be expected) but again, the Brit Owner/Manager more than makes up for it by coming over and saying hello – and always thanking us and shaking my hand when we leave.  Real good service.  In my old age, I have come to appreciate good service.

Speaking of Service…   I have asked Miss Tim to take the PCX in for a service.  This time I have asked her to get details of what they do in this ‘service’.    We take the bike in every 3 or 4 months for (as Miss Tim calls it) a ‘check-up’.    This check-up/Service seems to only take them about 20 minutes so I am not exactly sure how much they are really doing?

As I said the other day – I can hear a difference in the engine.  It could be the rings on their way out and I can definitely hear some worn bearings.  For sure,  there is a problem.  A trained ear should be able to identify it straight away.  So I have told Miss Tim to have them give it a thorough check.  If they say it is fine – then I shall go to the shop next door and buy a new bike – having made sure I tell them they are a bunch of incompetent idiots.   If they can identify the problem then I shall let them fix it.

Hopefully they can fix it – as Miss Tims parents’ house is getting full up with old  bikes we keep giving them each time we buy a new one.

Recently I have been over to the Philippines and Pattaya.  Had a good time.  I’ll pen down anything that may be of interest over the next week.

I have also found an absolutely fantastic hotel…..  must be the best one yet……

Carry on….



Frustrated in Hua Hin

Still waiting on the house deposit.   The Agent has informed us that filling/painting the drilled holes in the wall which mounted the TV will cost 2500.  That’s fine.  They will prepare an invoice for us.  That’s fine.

I am interested to see if they actually give us the invoice and expect us to pay that before we are given the 40k+ deposit.    I almost hope they do – so I can go nuts at them.

It’s been a month since we moved out of the old house.  Each time we ask the Agent, they say they’ll ask the Landlord.  I have repeatedly told Miss Tim to TELL the Agent that we want our deposit back.   I have a tin of paint and a bottle of fairy liquid waiting just waiting to be chucked in the swimming pool if they refuse.

Hua Hin is pretty quiet at the moment.  Rainy season seems to be upon us.  Can’t say I am impressed.  Luckily I am off to work next week.

Last week I headed over to the Philippines to see GM.  Good time.  I shall write up a report when I can piece it all together.

Tomorrow, I am heading over to Pattaya for the night.  Ferry booked tomorrow afternoon, returning on Saturday afternoon.   A one-night blow out.  Can’t get into too much trouble in 1 night surely.

In Hua Hin – with the weather being a bit cooler – Miss Tim and I have taken to early morning cycling.    There is a nice little Bakery down the road – about 10km away.   The idea is to set off at 7am (it opens at 8am)  – get some fresh bread and come home and have coffee and french bread (bacon butty) on the veranda.

As we were making good time – Miss Tim suggested we took a side road for a bit more of a ride.  Bastard road went 20km before joining a main road.

Eventually when we got to the main road – there is a very nice cycle path which runs for miles alongside the main road.  Plenty of signs that say ‘Cycles Only’.  It’s safe and smooth.

Of course, this is Thailand.  So this Cycle Only path is full of asshole Thai’s on their motorbikes.  This really made me angry – so I made sure I got in their way.  I then hurled abuse at them, pointing at the Cycle Only signs.   What good did that do?  None.

Miss Tim doesn’t see what my problem is.  I tried to explain that as a motorbike can ride along a cycle path, then is a bloody great lorry also acceptable?

After an hour of failing to get anyone of these assholes to engage in some unarmed combat – we reached the Bakery.   It was closed.   Of course it was.  It was a Wednesday.  Just because the website says it’s open at 8am every day, and the sign on the door says it’s open every day – who are we to assume it’d be open?

Off home we went.  Just under 40km clocked up.  No bread and pent up anger for these assholes riding their motorcycles on the cycle path.   I often hear people just say ‘this is Thailand’ – but I don’t think ‘TIT’ is an acceptable excuse for being an idiot.

Not much else on the agenda until I go back to work (via Dubai) next week.  Except for trading one of the bikes in.    Five years ago we purchased a new PCX150.  Great little bike which has never let us down.  It’s now got 17000km on the clock at gets serviced every 3 months.  Not sure what their ‘service’ involves – as they seem to do it in 15 minutes, so I just assume they squirt oil on the right bits.

5 years of my ownership – and it’s better condition that 1 year of Thai ownership.

The PCX is still in fantastic condition.  Why trade it in?  Well,  I can hear things.  Worn rings, things knocking and blowing.   It’s not the quiet sewing machine sounding engine it once was.   I could just have the engine re-built.  If I had the tools and could be bothered, I’d do it myself.  But I don’t.   As for putting it in a shop here, well, I just don’t have the confidence in these people.   That just leaves trading it in for a new machine.

The way I see it, a new bike versus another weekend in Angeles City…. hmmm.. it’s a close one…