Home again… Christmas is all over.

I have just left work for the next 4 weeks. Can’t say it was very ‘festive’ at work – but that was down to me being a miserable bastard. Our Iraqi colleagues made a great effort in making things festive for us.

All the expats brought in ‘stuff’ for Christmas and laid it out on the Conference room table for us all to gather round in the afternoon. Obviously there was no one coordinating this – as we ended up with about 30 blocks of cheese, 20 Chorizo sausages and some crackers. Still… it’s the thought that counts.

When you’re at home – tv or Christmas music on, a glass of sherry in hand, stupid hat on etc… it’s an easy time, standing around chatting to friends/family.. but when you’re at work, grabbing a chunk of cheese and a glob of chutney whilst talking about Technical Bid Evaluations is about as good as it’s going to get. Still, there is always next year.

But don’t go feeling sorry for me too much. It’s not like I do this for free. I may have missed Christmas – but will not miss buying myself a Christmas Present. I just need to figure out where I am going to park it.

The plane ride home was o.k.. via Doha this time. The airport lounge is pretty good and not busy. Just like every other airport lounge, the food is crap.

On board, there is no longer a 1st-Class. I guess they realized it’s a waste of cash as who in their right mind would pay for that? Most people in 1st are there because they have to use up some airmiles or they got a free upgrade as the cheap seats were full and people got bumped up to Business and Business got bumped upto First.

Flights at the moment are pretty expensive. Which is probably why the plane was empty? I am sure there were still the half million Chinese at the back of the plane – one of them carrying a flag.

Just how I like it….

When we landed – the airport was empty. From leaving the plane to being in the car driving home was no more than 15 mins! Amazing. I didn’t even bother with the Premium Immigration as the one person who works there was not going to get through as many as the 10 immigration officials in the normal line. – Which was empty.

Only took 2.5 hours to get from the Airport to Hua Hin this morning. Home by 06:30 – no traffic.

So far so good. A lazy day to relax – and then head out tonight on the lash with Miss Tim.

Of course… my trips always start off well. Then go down hill fast. So this might be the happiest post you see here for the next month.

Fingers crossed.

Christmas is coming….

Tis the season to be jolly tra-la-la-la….la-la-la-laaaaa

That’s enough of that festive nonsense. This year I shall be working. A few days after Christmas I will be going on leave for a month. Where to go?

Usually I prefer to spend the Christmas period in the UK. I like the cold, dark Christmassy atmosphere. However, as I’ll be in the middle-east for that, there is no point going to the UK after its all just finished.

New Year in the UK is a nightmare. It’s cold. Damn cold. Which is o.k – except in bars (if you can get in) they are packed and really hot. Leaving you to dump your nice coat on the back of a chair and hope that some oik doesn’t steal it.

No, the UK on New Years Eve is not that much fun (when you’re old like me)

Lots of my pals are all married with kids – so there will be a number of House parties to choose from. However, all the people in attendance are the wrong side of 40, talk about bloody kids and bore me senseless. All the women talk to me about how all Thai girls are boys and that it’s time I settle down, get married and have kids. All the blokes want to know if I have ever been with a Lady boy and what was it like?
(for the record – I have not and never will go with an LB as I am not gay)

So what shall I do? Well, all my UK friends are no longer my kind of people.

I guess I’ll just head back to Thailand and try to avoid the Christmas Speedos on the beach.

I’ve a small circle of friends in HH which I like spending time with.

Most of the people in Bangkok I used to knock around with have long since gone after I pointed out hat maybe once in a while they should get a round of drinks in instead of leaching off me. That separated the men from the wasters.

There is also a group of people in Bangkok that I don’t want to be near – incase someone gets hurt – and I don’t mean me. They may be taller and older than me – but I still get the urge to punch them in the face if ever I see them again.

Worst case scenario is I get arrested, have to fork out a few bucks and have my picture taken of me pointing at their broken nose.

– totally worth it.

But no – it’s back to Hua Hin, stay out of trouble and try to find some of the festive cheer that maybe still lingering around.

That’s one thing we can count on in Thailand – is the Thai’s leave all the Christmas decorations up until Easter.

Christmas? Poke it.

Another month done. Time to get back to work (thankfully)

In a few days I shall be heading back to work for another month. Quite looking forward to it.

I’ve pretty much spent the month – relaxing by the pool and cycling around HH and doing little else. I am bored. Sick of this shit.

A round-up of the month…..

My mid-trip to Bangkok was o.k.. but not good enough to make me want to return for another anytime soon. I will visit when I am back from work, but won’t be there for longer than a few days. Too many undesirable people there.

One thing that did stick out to me was how ‘aggressive’ the street beggars were. They didn’t kick-off, but did hold out their plastic cup, give it an angry shake and thrust it in my face, following me as I walked past. They can fuck right off.

But what really wound me up was when I was in Terminal 21. There was some kind of Circus show on the ground floor. Loads of people gathered round to watch. Curiosity got the better of me and I had a look.

I could see performing monkeys. The bastards running the show were getting this poor little monkeys to JUMP THROUGH FLAMING HOOPS. With loads of people watching and cheering. How sick is that?

If I were Dwayne Johnson I would have waded into all of them and shoved them through hoops of fire. Unfortunately I am more likened to Danny Devito – so I just barged past lots of people whilst calling them all a bunch of arseholes.

Back in Hua Hin – I hit the beach and went for a swim in the sea. Beach was clean, water looked clean and no jellyfish so be seen. Then again, I’d rather look at Jelly-fish that some old Scandinavian wearing speedos. Why do they do that? Maybe Jonas can tell us?

4 weeks is enough.

At night – we hit our preferred bars. One of them used to have a Filipino singer who was pretty good. Always drew a good crowd. Unfortunately one of the patrons would get up on the little stage and (attempt to) sing. His wife would obviously clap and cheer. The guy is tone deaf and thinks he is hot shit. That was 2 years ago and last night when I walked into the bar – the old bastard is back here again. After 5 mins – he was on stage knocking out a dreadful noise. Some people just spoil it for everyone else.

The other week – Miss Tim and I bumped into Aum & Yo. Some of you may remember them from the Mango days. Good girls.

We saw them in town – and had a drink. Then another drink.. and so on.

Three hours past our usual staggering home time we ended up in what I can only describe as the secret alley of bars/clubs. Who knew it was there? I’ve been here years and never knew about it. The bars don’t open up until after midnight apparently. Absolutely heaving. Loads of little bars, music pumping and a great atmosphere. If you’re a single bloke… you’d love it!

The secret Alley….

For the 1st time in a long time, we have been out until 4am three times in the last few weeks. I have to remind myself that I am not 21 anymore.

Apart from that, nothing much to report here. Looking forward to getting back to work. I like the thought of speaking to people who have brains. People who understand logic. People who don’t cut me up on roundabouts. People who don’t stand by my table and watch me eat. People who don’t drive their cars along a cycling/jogging path which has a sign saying ‘NO CARS’.


I could go on. I won’t. Getting wound up again.

Better wrap this up now before I get into a rant….

On the plus side.. in January, Frank Bruno is coming to HH to give a little talk. Evening drinks n stuff. I am a boxing fan so should be interesting.

I wonder if he’ll get pissed at all the Thai’s calling him Flank Bluno?

Flank in town.

Another night out in Soi 4 / Plaza

Hitting the streets of soi 4…. It was drizzling with rain. Soi 4 cut a pretty miserable sight.

First up was Hooters. Yes it’s over-priced and the food, well, if you like chicken wings everything deep fried – then you’ll like it.

The main reason I go is because it’s a prime stop to sit and watch the going on of soi 4. There are other bars across the road – but their views are ruined by the street vendors.

Ever wonder how fresh the frying oil is on those street carts? My guess is not very. I know this as I once found out that old staff at the Mango used to sell our ‘old’ oil to the street food sellers. And probably the new oil too. And the cutlery. And anything else that wasn’t nailed down and could fit in their handbags.

But anyway, as it had been raining and the seating area was a little wet – everyone was sitting inside in the dry. I grabbed a roadside view seat and waiting for the service girls to come over and wipe down the table/bar – which they did minutes after I arrived. Perfect.


Straight onto the overpriced Grey Goose and Coke. GamblinMan arrived shortly after me and we had a catch up in-between getting hassled by sun-glass / iPhone / Viagra sellers.

Tip – if you go to Hooters around 6pm when the evening shift arrives – prepare to have to wait around 15 mins to get served. For some reason the new shift has to assemble along the bar whilst a Hooter girl in black sounds off to them.. they all then break out into a dance.

So, while the last shift is hitting the streets having fended off advances from customers, the new shift is dancing around like cheerleaders – the customers are left waving hands in the air trying to get served. At one point there were 3 of us waving our hands in the air. If we had Hooters T-Shirts, I am sure we could have been mistaken as staff.

After a paying for 2 hours for the price of 3 hours – we headed over to the newly fitted out Big Dogs.

Great re-fit! Really good. Excellent use of space. Good layout. The only gripe would be the ugly dogs still serving. Maybe it’s just my personal taste – but I am sure I am not the only person who doesn’t like being surrounded by old fat women in tight dresses?

In Hooters, you have girls with big Hooters. In Big Dogs you get…….

The bar is now at the end wall – where the toilets used to be. I do not envy the builders jobs when demolishing the crappers. That place was horrible. The stench of cheap bleach was not match for the nasties that went on in there.

So where do you go to the toilet? Well, under the Escalators – there are public toilets. Ish. Ish? Well, if you need the toilets and are in Big Dogs, they will give you a key-card which you are to present at the toilets (troll) to gain entry. I don’t understand why? Surely the toilets should be available to everyone? Would the Nana Plaza not encourage everyone and anyone to use the toilets rather than just pee up the wall in the stairwell? It doesn’t make sense to me.

What also doesn’t make sense is the ‘Security’ at Nana. Just what in the fuck is that all about? What is the point of the ‘show’ of checking peoples bags coming into the Plaza? Are we to believe there is actually security protocols in place? I ask this because I was in Big Dogs which I entered from Sukhumvit Road… and I exited Big Dogs inside Nana – using the side entrance/exit. Thus – bypassing the ‘security’ check-point. Really? What is the point?

We ordered a drink and the serving girl who knew GM was also offered one. She then prompted her fat ugly mate to come join us at the table and also hinted at a drink. As soon as I saw her move into the position of attempting to give me a bar-back-massage I stopped her in her tracks. ‘Don’t touch me’. The back Massage does nothing for me. Ugly fat cows touching me does even less. Now, if it were Kate Beckinsale – then bring it on. But sadly it wasn’t.

I asked for a Vodka & Coke which arrived in a tiny little lady drink size tumbler. This is one of my pet hates. It’s was so small that the drink was still pretty transparent as there was so little coke in it. After 2 swigs, it’s gone and tastes foul. I told them for my next drink, I would like it in a tall glass. Of course, the one benefit of drinking quick is that the trogs were not in a position to ask for another as their glasses were still full.

Leaving Big Dogs, and the bar, we thought we’d try the Beer Bars in Nana. I say beer bars, but it’s now just one big bar. Only thing was, there was no seating available. There was outside seating opposite at Pretty Lady (or whatever name they are calling themselves this week). Our intention was to watch people coming in and out of the Plaza. The usual tourists with their farang girlfriends appeared. Walked past with smiles on their faces and then walked back with only the guy smiling and the girl with a face like a smacked arse.

We found it’s more fun in the beer bar than the gogos.

Sitting directly opposite us were a couple of Chinese lads with a bar girl in-between them. She was playing pocket billiards with them… having a good old feel of their nether regions. I think she was trying to figure out who was the smallest?

Time to hit a gogo. The closest one being Lollipop. Not that we are lazy. In we went and what an eye-opener. Have you been? EVERY girl on stage had their phone either tucked in her bra-strap or down their shit-catchers. And they were not small iPhone 5’s either. These were all iPhone pluses and Samsung note thingys. They looked absolutely ridiculous. What on earth is the Manager/Owner playing at, letting them do that? I can only assume they are all volunteer fire-fighters or paramedics on call?

Next up was Diamonds. Owned by old friends, we thought we’d pop into say hello. Much better line up than before – loads of girls. The thing that struck me though is – they have a bunch of girls outside which entice you in. They are even happy for you to stick your head through the curtain and check it all out before committing. But once you are inside, they have the fattest, ugliest trog in Nana come over and take your order and ‘try’ to chat you up to get a drink. Sorry… but this is just an incredible turn-off. At least have one of the human girls keep the customer company while the trog takes the order. Otherwise, your 1st 30 seconds in the bar is spent with a hound and that’s all you are going to remember.

As all I can remember is the fatty serving me… I’ll move onto the next bar.

Bill Board. Heaving as always. I bumped into one of the old Pretty Lady girls who we used to have attending at the Mango Parties. I ended up chatting/drinking with her and didn’t really notice any of the 100’s of scantily clad women dancing around the place. It was that busy that we were asked to stand at tables already occupied by other people. Wasn’t really a problem though. It’s rare to find people in bad moods in good gogo-bars.

We were several drinks in by now. So headed to the gogo upstairs. Butterfly’s? The one with (or used to have) cages? I might be wrong?

Great line up – I think. We were having fun until some (sorry Kevin) American woman (a little on the big side) thought she was hot shit…walking around the place with her glass of wine – ogling at the girls. Why is it all Lesbos think all other girls are attracted to them? Anyway, this one was exceptional, as she has a wad of 20’s which she was screwing up and chucking them on the dance floor. Sorry, but I just think that is plain rude and arrogant. She could have swapped the money for pingpong balls… and was offered that chance more than once.. but oh no, she preferred to screw up the money and chuck it. Horrible… horrible creature.

We got a little tired of each service girl asking for a drink for her and her friend. And her Mamasan , landlord, neighbor, doctor, Auntie, Sister, Cousin, worst enemy, meth dealer and financial advisor so we paid the extortionate bill and left.

It was late so we headed back towards Citrus Suites where I was staying – and picking up GM’s GF & Miss Tim who were somewhere in Soi 4.

Passing Melody UK (or whatever it’s called this week) we bumped into Robin – an old Mango customer. We had a catch up and another drink. My words were now slurred so it was time I headed to my pit.

After navigating through the Chinese tourists at the hotel lobby I made it to my bed.

Soi 4 this time was ‘o.k’. But I was not left with the feeling of wanting to go back any time soon.


‘Beijingkok’ – is what the ‘Sukhumvit’ sign should say which I saw when we pulled off the highway into to Lower Suk.

Chinese tourism is booming!

Last weekend I visited Bangkok. Booked into the Citrus Suites on Suk soi 6. Stayed there a few times since it opened earlier this year.

When arriving – I had to wait for a bunch of Chinese tourists to check-in. Then ask questions. Then ask more questions. Then just hang around for good measure.. and then take a few photos.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not moaning about all Chinese… I have close friends who are Chinese. I work with some exceptional Chinese Engineers… hell, all my trainers are made in China. But when it comes to (young) Chinese tourists… some are a pain in the arse.

It’s not all bad – I mean, if it were not for young Chinese Tourists I am sure Cannon would have stopped making cameras by now.

Breakfast was 06:30-10:00. We went down for feeding at 06:30. Already our ‘friends’ had descended on the buffet. At one point I thought I had entered into a Japanese endurance contest as they piled all the food on the plates and then devoured it making as much noise as they could. Of course, they had to take the usual 20 photos of the food first.

I may have just been in a foul mood – as the people staying in the next room to us seemed to be talking at the tops of their voices most of the night. I could hear every word. I don’t know what the words were.. as it was Chinese.

After a little walk around T-21, tripping over a bunch of idiots who always hesitate before stepping onto the escalator. (Why do they do that?) we headed to Take a Zeed.

Walking along the Skywalk we passed a restaurant ‘Dining in the Dark’.. which made me wonder if the dark restaurant is constantly lit up with camera flashes as people photograph their dinner?

We like ‘Take a Zeed’, it’s a great Thai restaurant. However it was over-run with Chinese. We had to queue. Eventually we got in – and sat very close to a table full of… well, you can guess.

Maybe you can also guess how I handled the eating of my neighbors? I don’t get it. They had a fork. I saw it. All they had to do is lift the fork to their mouths and eat. Easy.

But no[, to hell with eating normally, they put the food on the fork and instead of lifting their forks, they bowed their heads until they almost hit their chins on the table.

At one point I thought they had dispensed of the cutlery altogether and just started sucking the food right off the plate.

I guess it’s just me being odd right? I mean, why should the way other people eat bother me right? Maybe I need to just walk it off?

(I’ll cover the evenings out in another post)

It’s been a while since we were at Lumpini Park – so early Sunday morning we headed along the footpath with stretches from Soi 10 to Lumpini Park. It’s just how I remembered it.

The only people we saw were some young Chinese girls taking early morning photos – standing next to lamp-posts. I guess they call it artistic?

Speaking of art.. a lot of the ground had been written on. At first I thought Rolln and his gang were in town having ripped off a Sharpie store.

Rolln had upped his game….

Lumpini park was packed. It was of course, packed with Chinese! Hundreds if not thousands. Wow.

7am – park was busy

So, the weekend to me was a sure sign that Bangkok/Thailand is a popular destination for the Chinese.

I assume it won’t be long before all the accommodation signs will be in Chinese. Staff will be speaking Chinese and food will be… still rice with everything.

Maybe it’s not such a bad thing? I’ve never known the Chinese to be aggressive or abusive. No, quite the opposite. Can you imagine what Bangkok would be like if, instead of Chinese they were Nigerians or Russian? Or Middle Eastern?

I was glad when I arrived back in Hua Hin – back with all the old wrinkly Scandinavians walking around in Speedos. Reminds me of Jonas.

Safety First….

I could spend all day bitching and moaning about what I see on the roads here each day.   What’s the point.

The drivers/riders on the road are idiots and I would happily argue this with anyone and everyone.  Total fucking idiots.   From carrying babies, to 5 people on the back, on their phones, no helmets and the latest peeve of having no lights.   Really,  how much is a tail light bulb? 50bht?

I was this fool on a bike yesterday.  His jacked said ‘Safety First’ which leads me to believe he works for a Company that that has Western influence and preaches to the employees about safety.  He has probably even had some kind of safety training.

So it makes me shake my head when I see this guy with his ‘safety first’ patch on his back riding along with a hard hat on his head.    Does he think this is a sufficient crash helmet?  Does he think it will stay on his head if he were to crash?  The only thing that hat is protecting him from at the moment – is bird shit landing on his head.

Why do I care so much?  Well, I am thinking of all the other services that have to clear up the mess when these pricks end up under a truck (driven by a drunken idiot).

The ambulances, police, hospitals…  I wonder how much time/money they are spending cleaning up these people who could have prevented the situations by using half their brain?

Now I have that off my chest… I am heading to Bangkok.  It’s raining, so that means traffic will be bad – because people still drive as fast as they can and as close as they can to the car in front.   I am sure I will see many cars that have crashed on the way.  I just hope I am not in one of them.

Hooters here I come…..


More frustrations….

As I am away for 6 months of the year – Miss Tim has a couple of cats to keep her company.  As much as I try to encourage her to shack up with some Juan or Pedro to help share the shoe bill, she insists the cats are all she needs as company.

But no ordinary cats.  These are Persian. They were not cheap.  They’re not like normal cats.  They don’t like fish.  They don’t like cat food.  They don’t like milk. They don’t like me.

A few times a year their fur coat gets so long – that we take them to the local Groomers to give them a little pampering and a hair cut.    We tell the Groomer – ‘just a little trim’ only to find out that 5 hours later when we come to collect them, they’ve been shaved.

Happy Cats

We were not happy.  Neither were the mogs.

It’s now that time of year where they are hairy.  Too hairy.  So we phoned around Hua Hin for the Pet people – who offer a Grooming service.

The 1st one said the Groomer will not be in until tomorrow – so they will call back and give us a time.

When they called, I told Miss Tim to confirm they cut hair and not just shave.  ‘We shave/clipper’.

Really?  You need a ‘Groomer’ for that?  I can do that myself.

Calling these people ‘Groomers’ is the equivalent of calling a Military head shaver a ‘hair-stylist’.

We called around 3 or four ‘Groomers’ – all claiming to be experts, but only shave.

I tried to explain to Miss Tim that these people are useless fucking idiots. There are proper Groomers – and these people are not.  Typical fucking Thailand.  Selling a service which is not what it should be.

Not a happy cat

I was all  set to drive the little fury bastards to Bangkok when I stumbled across a ‘Dog Groomer’ – which had photos of cats in the window.     In we went and could not have been more pleased.  This place actually had photos of all the cats they had ‘Groomed’.

Perfect.  All booked in for tomorrow.

It ended well, but for the most part of the day I was in a fit of rage at having all these places who claim to be Groomers tell me they just shave the felines.  I wanted to punch them all in the face.

For many people they just say ‘This is Thailand’.  Well for me,  This is Incompetence’ and I am sick of it.

I am now struggling to see what the attraction of Thailand is.   It’s just shit.









Didn’t take long….

Well, that took all of 2 days before I am wound up and hating the world.  And when I say ‘world’… I mean the idiots in Thailand.

Can I get in trouble for saying Thai people are stupid?  No, not all.. but the ones that race past me on a motorbike with no crash helmet.  Yes you…. you are stupid.

Why should I care right?  Because I think of the people that are affected if some twat without a helmet has a crash.  The person they hit or got hit by will be worse off than if the idiot wore a helmet.  What might have been a fender-bender, could instead be a death. All because fuck-face thought they were too good to wear a helmet.

I like being 1st at the traffic lights.  When some fool in a car behind me is flashing his lights for me to get out of the way.  Even though there is a sign (in Thai) that says you must wait to turn left – these fools still think all Left turns are o.k on a red.

Another thing that annoys me…  when following a pick-up truck,  why is it they slow down to a snails pace when going over a speed ramp?

Anybody that has been to a Thai cinema will know that a D-Max can race up a mounting, saving the water supply to a village whist drinking a bottle of ice-cold Pepsi.

Yet when it comes to a little tiny speed bump… they have to crawl over it.  Dicks.

Unlike Stickman who couldn’t hack it in the real world and had to come back,  I can’t hack it in this world.   I have been putting all my pieces into place.  In a year or so I shall make the move back.  The move back to normality.

Yes, you could say that Farangland is expensive and the politics are mad.  However, in my little world – I don’t worry about all that shite,.  My little world is great.

I shall be in Bangkok to next weekend.  Let’s see if I am overwhelmed with it all as I once was, or if I can’t wait for it to all end?








I am back… with nothing planned for the month…

I arrived back in Thailand/Hua Hin yesterday after a month away.    Nothing much to report from Iraq.  All good there.

Those nice people at Emirates upgraded me to First Class – so my month off got off to a great start.

At the airport I was not held up by a load of flag waving Chinese people and there were no smelly Indians in the fast-track queue.    I was in the car on the way to HH within 30 mins of touch-down.

Traffic was good for a Friday morning.  We didn’t crash and I didn’t see any crashes.  All good.

Bit of a relaxing afternoon and then headed out into the town. It’s only been a month so I would expect everything to be the same, and it was.   The only difference is the place is packed!   It’s good for the town, the businesses.  Lots of tourists.  Lots of old Scandos.

We sat in a bar and watched the world go by.  Where there are tourists… there are girls.  Only problem is, they are all fat and ugly old girls.  Screaming ‘weeeeeeelcome’.  It’s such a turn off.   Has that ever been attractive?

There is one bar we go to – which we know the owner of,  there is a big fat ugly girl there who insists on chatting up all the men that go in there and tries to get a drink off them.  I have repeatedly told her to naff off – and not gone in that bar if I see her there patrolling the floor.   I told the owner that she needs to be kept in a cage at the back of the bar.  Horrible ugly cow.

So all was going well until that fat cow spoiled my day.   Yes,  I am easy to upset.

After hitting another bar I soon forgot about fatso.

A month of not drinking (apart from the Champagne in 1st Class of course) I was soon pretty drunk and we headed home around 11pm.

Slight hangover this morning but nothing I can’t handle.

Nothing really planned for the month.  On a health drive.    Except for next week – heading to Bangkok to meet up with some of the chaps.

With high-season well and truly underway, I expect the bars to be full of 2-week millionaires and old bastards.   Let’s see if the ‘weeeelcooooome’ screeches are any better in Bangkok.











My Unlucky Streak…….

I am writing this on the go – as I’ve not had any time to just sit and chill out for a while.

When I left work and arrived in Hua Hin,  I sulked for a week as it pissed down with rain.

I went off to Pattaya for a weekend (with GM) – and it rained.   My return ferry trip to Hua Hin was cancelled a few hours before departure with only 40% refund given (more on that later).

Off to the UK – which had been planned for a while.   I had a lot of things to do with my cars and bikes.    I bought a Lotus Esprit Turbo for my b’day and had a light restoration done on it.   It was time to pick it up.   I also bought a motorcycle which needed collecting from the shop and booked my Harley and Ducati 916 in for a service too.  Lots to do, little time to do it.  I planned, organised and arranged everything down to the specific hour.  Planned for months.

Why did I bother?   The Lotus wasn’t finished.   Won’t be for another week.  The motorcycle wasn’t ready – won’t be for another week.    The Harley shop was closed on the day I took it in and when I called the owner, he informed me he had forgotten and was away for a few days!

The Ducati was given a fresh bill of health and I had a ride planned with a pal.   I even ordered a bright yellow Ducati Leather Jacket to wear so I looked the part.

All was going well for about half an hour – and 1) the fuel cap vibrated lose and covered me in petrol (I only noticed when my balls were stinging) and 2) the poxy thing broke down.  Battery dead and not charging.  So that cost a few bucks to get recovered back to my garage.

The next day my Jacket arrived… 3 days after it should have been.

Nothing.  NOTHING has gone right so far.

You thought I was miserable in Hua Hin?  Well that’s nothing to compared to my misery here in the UK at the moment.

At least the weather is good.

Miss Tim and I have managed to go for a ride on my new KTM for a few hours – and today we’re off to London with the roof down to go drinking along the River Thames.

We’re out of here on Sunday.   I am not looking forward to getting back to Hua Hin, but more so I am looking forward to getting back to work.

It’s a sad state of affairs when you have a better time at work than you do on your time off.

I am putting this all down to one bad month off.  The next one will be better.  I am off to Angeles City in November.   Surely I can find some happiness there?









Soi 4 with Stickboy

Gone are the days where I get excited about soi 4.  O.K, it may have taken 10 years, but we all knew it’d happen eventually.

For me the appeal went when all the fun went.

The people are different.  I don’t want to hang out in a place over-run with Middle-eastern folk.  They are not fun to be around.

And I don’t particularly like spending time in bars which is full of old hags trying to ponce drinks off you.  No,  soi 4 has changed (for me) and it’s not a place I enjoy like I used to.  It would take a special occasion for me to show my face.

That said, the opportunity arose to embark on a drinking session with Stickboy.  Stickboy and I have crossed paths on the odd occasion before, we know many of the same people – and share a lot in common when it comes to a night out.   Yep,  I’ll happily head to Soi 4 to hang out with Stickyboy.

The plan was to meet in Morning Night at around 18:30.      I arrived with Miss Tim into soi 6 (Citrus Suites) at lunchtime.   Still liking this hotel – although I see it’s fast becoming a favourite for the Chinese.

Time to stuff our faces.   I used to like Chequres.  LOVED their sausage sarnies.   However, as we approached we saw the kind of people sitting at the front of the bar who I don’t like to be near.  They were the old failed expats who drift from one happy-hour to the next.   I’ve no desire to be around these people.  I can now identify these losers by their footwear.  If they wear flip-flops, then they’re a knob.

I thought I’d give Hanrahans a look.   Food has always been good when I’ve been there.  Service was absolute shite but the food was o.k.   One thing that pisses me off though… is when the staff come and just stand near your table.  Why do they do that?  Is it only me that feels uncomfortable when having staff standing very close to you when eating?  Maybe they are fascinated by my ability to use a knife AND fork at the same time?  Or that I have an amazing talent whereby the prongs of my fork never face upwards.  Yes, even when eating peas.  Come on people, were you brought up or dragged up?

Back to the hotel for an afternoon nap with Miss Tim.   She’d arranged to see her pals so I was gf free for the evening.

After a shower and head polish I headed to Morning Night Bar.  Stickboy was going to be 10 mins late.  No worries.   Morning Night was pretty busy so I was ushered to a middle table which I had to share with some ugly trog.  I would have preferred a road side seat – but they were taken by girls who were also glued to their phones.  I didn’t feel like complaining. Instead just sat quietly and drank my drink.

I did notice that lots of the girls had pictures of their kids on their phones – and a lot of those kids looked like Jonas……

Stick arrived.  After a few kisses and cuddles (not with me) – he let go of the waitress so she could go get his drinks.   We had a catch up and downed more than a few drinks.

The trog that was sitting with us made no attempt to cadge a drink from us.  She did provide an ashtray and did wipe up some drink that I spilled.    I can’t remember what she did now, but she said or did something that had both Stick and I in agreement that she deserved a drink.  She was most appreciative.

We prefer this type of attitude.  If a girl is nice and polite, friendly but not pushy – they’ll get a drink.  Just like you would any of your pals.   Think about it ,you  (well not all of you) freely offer your pal a drink if you see them, but if your pal walked up and demanded a drink, you’d probably tell them to ‘do one’.

Anyway – 4 or 5 drinks in, we headed to the next bar.   It wasn’t far – it was the Stumble Inn!

Now, I’ll admit I have not always been a fan of the Stumble Inn.  On the past occasions I have ordered a top shelf vodka and been served it in what I would regard as a lady drink glass.  A small, thin glass tumbler.  No.  Premium liquor should be served in a thick glass tumbler!     The last 2 visits I was disappointed.  This time – no such issue.  Big fat chunky glass full of Grey Goose.  Perfect.

We sat and chatted to the English Manager. Nice guy.  He was having dinner which looked pretty good.  In fact, very good.  I thought the Stumble Inn was just deep fried shite and rice – but oh no, this looked like a home cooked meal.  I shall give it a try next time I am there.  It’s on my radar.

It wasn’t just the tumbler and the food that I noticed was different.  The staff were pretty good too.  I don’t mean the girls that sit on stools glued to their phone and expect a drink for doing nothing – I am referring to the waiting / service staff.   I stand by my previous comments that I was less than impressed with Stumble Inn in the past – but will say now that it’s a place that I will venture in next time on soi 4.

Like most conversations in soi 4 these days… we chatted about the ‘good old days’. When men were men – and so were the women.  No, that’s not right.   We spoke of how much fun is was in the past, and the atmosphere/buzz that many bars had.

We laughed that every customer in the bar turns into a Bar Manager/ Expert as soon as they’ve had a drink.  I can’t be arsed to tell all the stories I have to go with that – but let me put it this way, unless you’ve had or have a bar, then shut yer face, you just embarrass yourself.

With that on our minds… we decided we’d head to the K&S Bar.  Where?  Exactly.   K&S has to have the shittiest sign in Soi 4.  It’s pathetic.   It looks like a kids school project.   That bar is prime real-estate –opposite Hooters and they have a faded crap little sign which just doesn’t stand out or attract any attention. Oops… I am sounding like one of them wannabe bar managers now…?.

Surely you can do better than that?

Inside K&S – it was pretty much like the sign.  Unappealing.  We had a service girl come and take our order.  Then come back and ask again.  And I think one more time after that.  We had sympathy for her as I think she was not used to use just ordering 1 bottle of the cheapest beer they have during happy hour – which is what most of their customers are probably there for.

Great location – drinks were good, prices were good (I think?) glasses – and not a pushy waitress.  The staff looked like they all had kids – who probably work in Nana.  We had a few drinks and decided to head elsewhere.   K&S was nothing to get excited about – and could be so much better.

Speaking of crap signs,  there used to be another crap little sign for Melody UK Bar.  Those battle hardened soi-4 warriors will know of this bar.   In we popped.

They have a new sign (new name?) but can’t remember what it is.  Same bar inside.

The customers look like they’ve been going there for years – although there was a good mix.  Some of the girls looked to have captured some young guys and were playing pool.

Friendly staff – asked us if we wanted to be included in a game of pool.  Not a bad little bar.. pleasantly surprised.

Can’t remember the name of the little corner bar.  It’s small – and a little quirky.  I like this bar. Drinks were pretty good, no one hassling us and a live singer.  I am not sure if he was a live singer or a mime artist?  As we watched him playing guitar, then stopped to move a cable or tie a shoelace.. or whatever.  Point being, he took his hands of the guitar for at least 30 seconds but the guitar/music never stopped!

Had to laugh. Busted!

From Corner-bar (or whatever it is?) we headed to another crap bar which we would not have thought about going to on a normal day.  Hindenburg, Heisenberg?  Whatever.  You know the one I mean.  It is a pretty big wooden bar inside.  If I had to sum it up in one word… it would be ‘shit’.   It was torture.

Drinks downed and out.

If memory serves me correct – I think we went into Witches on the corner. Not 100% sure about that. It was either called Witches or was full of witches.  All that vodka was taking it’s toll.   I had to step up the drinking pace as Stick drinks beer like it’s free.

By around 11pm, Stick was getting restless and wanted to hit his favourite haunt in Nana.  Some little (gogo?) which we have probably all walked past 100 times and not noticed it.  Second floor – out of the way.  It’s a little bar that has its regulars.   The staff are well fed, not kids and well experienced in making their customers feel like part of the furniture.   Stick was at home and was treated like a Don.

Stickman never gave me a shirt.

Not my cup of tea – but then my fave place isn’t one that many other people are fond of.  We all have our own tastes after all.

I think around 1 am we headed to Butterflies?  Is that the one that looks like a prison?  Lots of cages?  I’ve not been there for a long time.  Pretty good.  Each time I go though, there are not many punters.  Is that because they’ve grabbed a girl and taken her away?

Not a bad line up – I think?   It was at that point Sticks drinking ability had way overtaken mine and I was left worse for wear and needing to get the hell out of dodge.

To some it up, it was good to have a drink with an old hand – who understands the scene.  Someone who is too long in the tooth to be amazed by everything. (not to mention wasn’t scared to put his hand in his pocket!)  For me Soi 4 is not what it used to be.   Just writing this made me realise how much I have gone off the place – as I can’t even remember the names of most of the bars we visited.

Ten years ago, I could name all the bars, the owners, the rent and half of the girls. (the other half were dating Jonas).  Those days, as is my love of soi 4, just a distant memory….




Riding over the Himalayas – Pt 4

If you’ve read the other parts – you can tell that it was a pretty tough slog.

Accommodation, food, weather, bikes roads… all shite.

So what was good? It can’t be all bad right? Well, the views were amazing. The photos don’t really capture the awe you get when standing on the edge of a cliff.

Here are a collection of some of my photos which you might like. And if you don’t, then let’s see your photos shall we?

I would love nothing more than to drag these Truck driving assholes out of their windows and beat them with their own flip-flops.  Assholes, the lot of them.  Can’t drive for shit and were driving as fast as they could.  Total lack of consideration for any other road user.  It’s no wonder they call these the most dangerous roads in the world.

They’re all in a hurry.

Not sure what was going on in this one.  It was like a game of chicken.  They both came to a halt and just stayed there.  Luckily we could go round the side of them (just).  Just a normal sight on the roads.

Clean your windows mister?

We passed many waterfalls.   At one point I got off my bike and washed all the shit off my boots and bike trousers.  It was no colder than the showers we had in our tents.

I thought it was quite resourceful when I saw a group of people cleaning their cars under one of them.  All well and good, but having seen that, there is no excuse for them smelly bastards to not get under the water themselves.

And not one Polish person in sight

There were stages of road which had a view that made you just stop and take it all in.  This long ride along a valley was just amazing.

Where is the nearest 7-11?

With all the riders at different paces.. we all took photos which captured other riders in the distance.   The shot below is pretty cool.  Could be any of us.  Except Huggy.  He always had the Sweeper vehicle close behind him.

Could be on MARS…

One of the rare pictures taken behind Huggy.  He did like to take things steady.  Don’t know what he was scared of?  It’s only a little drop over the side….

Watch out for bears.

The guy below ‘Samba’ was the Point man.  He would lead us the way.  He drove like a nutter and it was hard keeping up with him.  One of the afternoons on a long fast run I thought I’d give him a run for his money.  I stayed right on his tail and he couldn’t shake me.  In the end he went down – smashing his lights, mirrors and bent his handle bars.  The main damage was to his pride though.  I picked his bike up for him while he got himself together.    I promised not to tell the other guys in the support group about his crash.

Another day at work

The mechanics were pretty good.  However,  I had some problems with my bike which they struggled with.  A couple guys from the group test rode my bike and said it was dangerous and unrideable.  They couldn’t figure out how I was riding it (so well!)  I complained to the mechanics – that it was either fuel starvation or electrics.  Try the HT Leads from the Plugs I told them.

They checked it out – and hey presto – the leads were faulty.  At mid-high revs the bike would splutter and cut out.  The only thing I could do was use a higher gear and chose different riding lines.  This was a little on the dangerous side as bike was going faster in places that it should.  Anyway, once it was fixed – I was a happy bunny.

Wheel change in under 4 mins.

And we’re done.   Ride over.  No one died.   We had a days rest in a craphole called Leh.  Russ, Huggy and I all had a drink with the gang and spoke of the ups and downs and what tours/challenges we faced ahead of us.

They were a real good bunch of people.   Since the ride we’ve all been ‘group’ e-mailing and sharing photos.  Once we have all the photos, of course we’ll all forget about each other. That’s how this normally works.

Done.. I want to go home now.

With the ride over with – I couldn’t wait to get to a decent hotel.  All I wanted was a big fluffy white towel and a hot bath.  And food.  And wifi.   And a shave.

I’ve been asked if I was glad I did it – and would I do it again?

Yes, I am glad I did it.  It was a fantastic experience.  I loved the riding.  The rest was shite.

Would I do it again?  No.  Even if it were free.  I don’t see the point in doing it again.

What was the best road of the entire trip?   Easy….. the runway!

I flew 1st Class back to Bangkok.  I needed it.  It was the best sleep, food, shower, and wifi I’d had in a while.

Home James…

Most of my bitching and moaning were mainly for comedic purposes.  I couldn’t help making sarcastic or derogatory remarks when really I should have been overwhelmed by it all.  That’s just me.  I am not easily impressed.

So it was only right that when I was given the menu, I took a photo and sent it to Russ and Huggy with the caption “I hate Caviar”


Russ, Huggy and I are now planning our next trip.  Route 66 with some detours.   Starting in NYC – and ending up in Santa Monica.   There will also be a visit to Roswell, Huntingdon Beach, Vegas and Malibu.  Of course,  the last day will be spent drinking in L.A.

Who’s in?

That’s all folks!













Riding over the Himalayas – Pt 3

O.k, so each day we’d get up around 6am. Drink some ‘Masala  tea’ (milky tea with 15 sugars) and wait for breakfast at 7. By 8am we were suited and booted ready to roll. We had a 5 min briefing and off we went. Meet up for lunch somewhere along the way and then head off again until the hotel.

That was the script.

Let give some details of some the challenges we faced.

Hotels /Guesthouses/Home-Stays.

For me, the accommodations are what spoiled the ‘adventure’. I am no snob (honestly) but I do expect a certain level of standard. Especially when I am paying premium prices. If I can stay on the QE2 for £50 a night, then I am sure the budget for accommodation on the trip would cover something a lot better than we were given.

Reminds me of home – in Iraq.

Most of the time there was no hot water. Some of the time there was no water at all. On the few times we had electricity, it was for a limited time only. Wifi? Forget it. 8 days with no cellular/data network.

o.k, so the tent had a good view.

One of the hotels was ‘acceptable’ – but still not a place I’d stay if it were anywhere else in the world. On the last day when there was wifi – it didn’t reach my room so I had to go to the lobby to connect. Even then it was dog slow.

The bathrooms…well… let’s not go there. No… let’s do. Here are some photos of the Toilet and the Shower. I know I am short, but even I couldn’t get under that (cold) tap.

The toilet or the shower?


The majority of the roads were gravel/stone. There were some days where it was nice tarmac – but mostly it was gravel. This would send shocks / vibrations up your arms for hours. After a days riding – you certainly felt it.

o.k… so they were not all bad.

Ever get your knee down on an Enfield?

We passed many locals on the side of the (mountain) road – breaking rocks. With sledgehammers. All day, just smashing up the big rocks and turning them into smaller rocks. If you ever think you have a bad job – then spare a thought for those poor bastards.

Hard day at the office.


We got caught in a few storms – which lead to some land-slides. One afternoon there were several sections of road which got washed away. We had no choice other than to cross the section which was now a flowing river. It was tough. Real tough.

Riding through flowing water with no idea of where the rocks were beneath. I went through the water and hit a rock. I couldn’t see it and the bike was going nowhere. Several attempts to free the bike were unsuccessful. Exhausted as gasping for air – I had no choice other than to hand the bike over to a fellow rider and go catch my breath back.

15 mins earlier – that was a road.

This was normal. Some were fortunate to not get caught on the rocks. Others got stuck. As a group, we all pulled together to help out.

Once me and the bike were across. I’d park up and walk back into the water/mud and help out the next person who got stuck. This for me was actually quite a good part of the trip. All working together no matter how wet, muddy and cold we got. No one was left behind.

There were other crossings which were dry – bit still an absolute nightmare to cross. Just large boulders and rocks where a road should have been. The bikes took a real hammering. Amazed they made it.

Going nowhere


Everyone on the ride all got the shits. That was – except for me! I avoided most of the food.

Breakfast was safest. Toast and Marmite. Vegemite for the Aussies. Can’t go wrong with that. Load up as much as you can so you’re not hungry come lunchtime.

Lunchtime was usually a regroup for everyone. We all descended on a roadside stall/café. There was no way in hell I was eating that garbage. I’d watch the old ladies cleaning plates from a tap using just their hands… no thanks.. not for me.

When asked if I wanted lunch – I politely told them to shove it.

I would instead chow-down on Cereal bar. You can poke your Dahl and whatever shite was on the menu.

Dinner was usually served at 8pm. By this time we were all hungry. 8 out of 10 nights it was Dahl on the menu. Rice of course and some other poo coloured crap. Again, I’d swerve all that and grab any bread that was on offer. There were nights where I just walked away from the table in disgust. Surely they could have put on a better offering? A good way to lose a few kilos though.


We climbed to over 5500 meters . 17500 ft. Not much oxygen up there. Very hard to breath. Small things like putting on your socks would see you get out of breath. Sleeping? Hell.. I thought I was suffocating all the time. Horrible. Unpleasant and I didn’t like it.

When will this be over?

Didn’t really notice it when riding along – unless you got stuck and had to drag your bike over a rock. I did see the Doctor with a large oxygen tank and was hoping he’d give us all a shot on that but he never did.

The Bike Gear

I got fully kitted up. The helmet was my Union Jack lid! Easy to spot in a group. Drone footage and photos – I wanted to stand out a little. The usual tough waterproof gear with protection. Great set of boots and extra body armour for good measure.

Our luggage was carried in the Support vehicle, so I made a point of packing as much clothing as I could. 12 pairs of socks, 12 pairs of skiddies, jeans, shorts, t-shirts etc.. I didn’t much fancy having to wash my clothing in the local river like the rest of India.

Always be prepared!

My plan paid of tenfold. Many of the group had to wear wet, dirty clothing from the day before as there was no means to wash or dry their stuff. As all boy scouts… I came prepared.


We were given the GPS coordinates which were downloaded to my iPhones. I carried the 6+ to use as a GPS and the iPhone X for my camera. Neither were any use as a phone or internet access up there.

Day 1 – when I pulled over for a rest with some other bikers… a little car pulled up with two Indian chaps and called out to us. Our Indian leader approached the car. I didn’t like the sound of this – as I thought they’d seen one of us break down or even crash.

Amazed I was when they called my name! Turns out that my iPhone 6 fell out of my pocket and landed in the road! Several 100 cars and lorries drove over it – as the screen was cracked. It still worked though! Luckily, in the cover I had a business card and also a photo of a bike on the screen – so they must have put 2+2 together and realised I was a foreign biker and pulled over when they saw us.

Of course I gave the guy loads of Rupees for being a good Samaritan. – The phone still worked and you couldn’t notice the screen when looking at the GPS. Lucky boy! I got the screen replaced back in HH for 2500bht. (bargain!)

Where the fuck is my bike?

I think you get the idea of that it was all about.

I have some other cool pictures which I’ll share on my next instalment.

Carry on




Riding over the Himalayas Pt.2

Pt 1

And he’s off.

The traffic was mad. Why the guide would set us off into lunchtime traffic in the city is beyond me. To add insult to injury, it started pissing down with rain 5 mins before we set off. This was shit.

The weather got worse – and we hit fog. All we could do was follow the bike in front. The biker at the front of our group was following ‘Samba’ – the lead guide. He was a local, and rode like one. Over-taking as many vehicles as possible, no matter how dangerous. Which meant us lot had to ride like the clappers to keep up.

Of course, no one wanted to say ‘hang on a minute, this is a bit tough isn’t it’? – in fear of being ridiculed by the rest of us. At least that’s how I felt.

We hit the guesthouse several hours later. We were told that soon there will be no cellular or data network, so make the most of it.

Russ by this time had his visa and was heading to the Dubai airport to catch the overnight flight. A car was picking him up. By the next night – we’d be reunited with him.

The hotel may have been a nice hotel in the 30’s… and was still (locally) referred to as a plush hotel. For me, it was shite. Food was shite, service was shite and the room was shite. There were Monkeys outside sitting on trees. Even they preferred a tree to one of the bedrooms easily accessed via the open windows.

Fog, clouds…whatever…

The following day I had a positive attitude. The rain had stopped and I cleaned my bike. Positive attitude.

As soon as we set off it pissed down with rain. The fog came in, the traffic was horrendous and the roads were shite. So much for positive thinking.

Another challenging day trying to stay alive.

When we arrived at the hotel after a days riding – Russ was there waiting. Looking fresh, dry, clean and relaxed. The only one in the 17 strong group. The rest of us looked like we’d been living rough for the last few days.

I later found out what living rough was really all about.

With Russ now in the team – Russ, Huggy and I decided to ride together going forward. The rest of the group also split up into their little packs/teams.

Each morning we were given a 5 min talk about what lay ahead and where the rendezvous point was. We’d be told about a check-point where we could get lunch (And re-group) and where the next hotel was. Apart from that – we were pretty much left to fend for ourselves.

We set off. After 5 mins of being stuck behind Huggy and Russ – I nailed the throttle and gave it some beans. And when I say beans… 110kph is all the Enfield had to give. Still, going around hair pin bends and over gravel, it was quite hairy. I soon caught up and over took everyone. This gave me chance to stop off at various places, take some snaps of the view and also the other bikers as they rode by. For this reason, I have many snaps of other bikers – but none taken of me! No choice but to take selfies.

I guess I’ll take a selfie then lads

After lunch – the Aussies asked me if I wanted to join their group on a fast ride. The roads were gravel/stone.. hard terrain. The tour guide kept everyone else back as he didn’t want them following us – as we were identified as the better riders. He was worried the other might over-stretch themselves and fall off. So with our new riding skills firmly acknowledged – off we went like scalded cats.

The Aussies were good. Very good. They were moto-cross riders with great bike skills and no fear. I was purely running on ego. I rode in second position, making sure I was filling up the leaders mirror. The guys behind me we not far off. It was good riding and very tough.

When we hit the black top road, I found my mojo… hanging off the bike, scraping footpegs as I hit the apex of the bends…. I was showing off. It was great! When we came to the checkpoint – they said ‘good ride Rossi’! I had earned their respect. But man, these guys were good.

Later that day – the rest of the group met up with us at the camp. I told Russ and Huggy that I’ll not race off again – and that we can ride together and share the experience. They just need to speed up a little.

Hotel / Guesthouses were now getting lower in quality. Internet had gone – but we could use our Cellular Data on our phones. Hot water was now a luxury in the evenings.

This wasn’t in the brochure..

Next day – we were getting into the Mountains, less traffic but larger vehicles wanting to run us over.

That’s what I came for

I can’t remember the full scenario – but a lorry was bearing down on Russ.. he took evasive action and clipped a big rock. He went down and twisted his ankle. We picked him and his bike up. He seemed o.k. I told him to man up and just walk it off and off he rode. All in his stride.

Turns out it was a little more serious – and he was unable to stride by the end of the day! So much so that he could not walk on his foot. A few of us had to carry him to his (now) tent where the Doctors examined him and told him it was a bad sprain. We asked for an ice pack – which arrived 4 hours later.

Russ couldn’t walk – and certainly couldn’t ride. Once again he’d be in the car and one of the support guys would be riding his bike. 25% through the holiday and the support guy had done more riding on Russ’s bike than he had.

Russ rested for a day and a half. With his bike boots on, he was able to limp enough to get around so was allowed back on a bike. For any river crossings – he’d give up the bike and have someone else cross on it. There was no way his ankle would support his weight and the bike in a river….

And this is fun right?

And so it went on like that for the next week or so. Tough rides. River crossings, land slides, dirt roads etc… crap hotels.. no water.

Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.

You have a rough idea of what the days were like. For the next post, I’ll detail some of the challenges instead of giving a day-by-day account.

Riding over the Himalayas – Pt 1

What was I thinking? What on earth possessed me to spend more than 5k to go on ‘holiday’ to India?

I did keep a journal, but I’ll not repeat it all. It’ll take too long. I’ll give you the start and then a few more instalments of what it was like – with a bunch of photos which I think are pretty cool. Expect it over 3 or 5 posts.

Some background…

The Tour – it’s an official organised company tour. If you’ve ever seen the Top Gear Vietnam Special – well these are the guys that actually ran that tour.

It’s for experienced riders. Have no doubt about it – this is one of the most challenging rides you can do. For a biker, this is probably the ultimate in bike tours on the planet. I kid you not.

The Bikes – Royal Enfields 500 Bullets. Shite. Although – I can’t think of any other bike I would have done it on.

Indias finest…..

My Gang – My pals Russ and Huggy joined me. (Russ is a good rider at speed, but slow manoeuvres…., well, he is 9 feet tall so that doesn’t help. I was worried about him) Huggy, he is cautious (slow). Very cautious. No off-road experience at all. Only sleepy village riding. Me – well, fast riding, motocross, stunt school, pretty much all round super-hero.… I’ve a stable of various bikes – I know how to ride.

Happier times….

The other Gang – Good bunch of people. Three Aussies who were ‘proper Aussies’. They were cool and good experienced riders. Some old Kiwi’s entering the final stages of their lives, a Techie guy from the States who was on his own and a Husband and Wife from Idaho who are both Doctors. We made a mental note to not be far away from them. We also had a Husband and Wife who were riding on the same bike. Hats off to them. It was tough fighting with the bikes and terrain. To have your nagging wife on the back also takes real guts. In total, there were 17 riders.

Accommodation – this was all part of the package, some tents, home-stays and guest-houses (read that as ‘shite’) Rooms were for 2 persons and any singles had to pay a $500 extra fee. We split the $500 and took turns in having the single room

Terrain – some normal roads, but most is gravel, stone, mud, river crossings, landslides.. basically everything you are not used to.

Food – crap.

The Support – All our luggage was carried in a 4×4 van which followed. Another couple of pick-up trucks carried bike spares, water, tools etc. In the Support Team were a couple of Mechanics, a Doctor and some other guys who I’ve no idea what they did. One guy rode a bike at the back of the group – and behind him was the ‘Sweeper’ truck. He would make sure the last man (usually Huggy) was not left behind.

And we’re off….

To this day, I still do not remember agreeing to this trip. I’ve looked over old e-mails and messages with Russ and I can’t see anything where I agreed to it. I can only assume it was a drunken night where Russ said “instead of paying you the $500 share of last night’s bar-bill, I’ll pay your deposit for the India trip”. That is the only scenario I can think of.

This deposit was paid last year. There was a lot of prep-work that went into this trip. We had to buy all new ‘bike gear’, obtain visas and permits, insurances and flights.. not to mention rearrange our work schedules so we are all off at the same time.

Roll on 9 months, a few trips back to the US and UK to get our new bike stuff and we were set.

A night in Dubai to synchronize watches. Checked in at the airport at 2am only to be told that Russ’s visa was no good – as it was in his old passport (he got a new passport a few weeks ago). Now, every other Country in the world will accept a visa which is in an expired passport. It’s normal. For example, a Thai has a 10 year UK visa – but the passport is only valid for 5 years. You can still use the visa in an old passport).

Anyway, this was India. They were having none of it.

Russ was going nowhere – except the Indian embassy later that day to get an emergency visa. I did offer Russ to try and use my passport – and I stay behind but that would require him shaving his head and cutting his legs off at the knee.

Huggy and I proceeded to India – and Russ to find a hotel by the embassy. If the visa takes any longer than 3 or 4 days – will the extra expense (visa and flights) be worth it? Will we see Russ again?

Coming into land… well.. I can’t say I was impressed by New Delhi. If this was New Delhi, what was the old one like? Madness. Total chaos. What had I done?

I’ve seen better views…

Straight to Claridges Hotel. That doesn’t sound too bad now does it? It’s Claridges after all!

Now, I could list everything that pained me. I could moan about all the little niggles and issues I have with all the things in my daily life that make angry and grumpy.. but what’s the point? All I am going to say is – from my 5 star hotel window – this was my view.

Getting a funny feeling about this….

We met the team who were on the trip. The tour guide was not much of a guide if I am honest. He just started talking about random things. It was then I interrupted him and suggested we all introduce ourselves so we all know who each other is. That’s basic meeting people protocol right?

The next morning was a 5 hour coach ride to a place where we’d meet our Royal Enfield’s. Driving through Delhi, I came to realise how well off I am. And not just me – I am talking about anyone who doesn’t live in Delhi. My god. What a place. Words do not describe this place. Well, there are some words, but I am trying to cut down on the swearing.

At lunchtime – we arrived at a carpark where our bikes were waiting. Each had a sticker on the tank. That was to be our ride for the next 12 days. Except Russ’s bike. That was to be ridden by one of the support team until he arrived.

My bike didn’t seem too bad. This is the best it will ever look.

My Noble Steed…

Speaking of Russ – he was still in Dubai – going back and forth from immigration to the embassy, trying to sort out his visa. He was told he would receive it the following day, so optimistically booked his flight for the next night. As soon as he touched down in Delhi, we had a car waiting to drive him to us. By that time – we would be 10 hours away.

After changing into our bike gear in the carpark. We saddled up and got on the bikes. It was then we were given a form to sign and told the following.

• Rules of the road are – bikes don’t matter. Get out the way of any truck/car.

• Expect a car on your side of the road on a blind bend.

• There is no cellular network where we are going, so if you crash – you’ll probably die.

• Emergency services are more or less non-existent up in the mountains – so if you crash, you’ll probably die.

• There are roads which have rivers flowing across them – so if you fall off in them – you’ll probably die

• Be careful what you eat – you’ll probably die.

• The mountain roads are single lane – if a lorry is coming, hug the cliff wall rather than going off the cliff – as you may die.

• Beware of falling rocks. If they hit you – you will die.

• Expect Cows in the roads. Try and avoid them.

• You’ll be at high altitude. We have a doctor who will monitor your oxygen levels. It’s hard to breath up there – you may die.

There was a pattern developing here. This was not in the sales brochure. I was getting a little worried.

That was it…. We were told to ride as a group for the next 4 hours and meet up at the hotel for the night.

Then.. having no time to get used to the bike – we set off into the city which was heaving with useless fucking bastards in car who can’t drive for shit.

It was then I realised – I may die.

This is where it will end…