Monday, 30 July 2012

Moving from Pattaya to Bangkok and becoming a city-slicker.

End of an era - Pattaya

After three months in hedonistic Pattaya it was time to move on. One quickly tires of the dumbass-greedy-lazy-foul-mouthed whores, the tourists, the thieving, the police and the disingenuous locals. However, one will always miss the food. Pattaya's global cuisine has something to suit discerning palettes from anywhere.


On a drive outside P-Town I stumbled across this field of sunflowers.

I miss this little restaurant in Nakleua. Great English Breakfasts for 120bt.

So here I am again. Everything I own on the back of my trusty bike. I left Pattaya on a gloriously hot Saturday at 1000 after a breakfast with Matt in Buttsy's restaurant. I got to Bangkok around 1300 on the 14th July 2012.

Bangkok

It took me 3hrs to find a room in the Ratchada area of the city. I now live near the Chinese Embassy on Ratchada Soi 3 which is near Praram 9 MRT (subway) station. It took me ages to find a room as most places were full. The room I finally did manage to get was, conveniently, the cheapest at 3400bt/month.

You know you're in a big place when you see pregnancy test vending machines outside the men's toilet? I have yet to see anyone walking their buffalo which was a common sight in Trang.

Within walking distance there's a massive shopping mall containing an ice rink. I hadn't seen one of these in ages. I discovered this after watching 'The Dictator' in a multiplex. I was rapidly adapting to big city living.

I met Nui on Ko Lanta in 2009. She has been working in BKK ever since. I took her out for dinner in a posh Thai restaurant. Her whole family still lives on Lanta where they follow Islam. However, Nui does not subscribe the religion??

A view down the Sen Seb canal. You can ride about 7km down here to the Banglamu area of the city. These journeys can be thrilling as the boats travel quickly and the water gets very choppy. It's good to look at the canal-side shacks too.

I was walking down Sukhumvit when I bumped into this lass who teaches at HeadStart school in Phuket. She's also a Geordie even though she's lost more of her accent than me! Great curly hair.

A random shot of traffic and shiny buildings. I went on many walks around BKK. The longest was 9km from Ratchada-Asoke-Lumpini-Patpong. This took me past Soi Cowboy, Nana plaza and Patpong which are the (in)famous red-light areas. I still haven't had a beer in them since I need time-out after Pattaya.

The famous Patpong. Walk down there if you want to get ripped off and generally harassed by annoying touts. One bar was charging 900bt for a drink to watch a couple of birds whipping each other. Mai ao cap!

A view from my classroom. In Trang I could see the whole town from school. In Phuket I could see some greenery. In Pattaya I could see the sea. In Bangkok you can see densely-packed high rise buildings.

A view from my Condo's window. There is no glass, insect net or curtain. I am not worried because the staff said they would fix this 16 days ago. Everyone seems to be living in Condo's in BKK. I am still unsure what makes something a Condo? Is my shitty apartment a Condo? Somehow I think not.

There was nothing in the room so after I'd paid deposits etc. i had to run out and buy bedding, a fan and a bucket.

One advantage of this room is the cost. I work with a lad who pays 30,000bt/month for a Condo. I pay 3400bt/month. Admittedly I don't have a fridge or TV but I don't know what he gets for his extra 26,400bt every month. My deposit was only 4000bt whereas these Condo deposits typically want 2 months rent up front. One place I looked at was 10k/month but they wanted an additional 20k deposit. That's a one off payment of 30k. If I left before one year they said they kept the deposit????? Bollicks to that.

I have a kettle to make coffee. Awesome.

Pantip Plaza

One good thing about living in BKK is that I can visit all these famous places that everyone in the country knows about. One example is Pantip Plaza where you can buy anything electronic.

I'm not sure I'd want to buy a Poo computer!

The raft of shops on the 4th floor had me thinking I'd teleported home. Bizarrely, there were about half a dozen shops called Newcastle? I asked the staff at these places but, typically, they had no idea.

Is Mike Ashley moving into IT?

This is very peculiar.

Saturday's adventure with Chris

Sitting behind the driver on one of the canal boats on our way to Khao San Road - the decompression chamber for Western backpackers arriving in South East Asia.

We had to wait for the Princess to leave a building. Here's Chris admiring the awesome police escort bikes.

Chris trying to find a fake degree at one of the many 'fake-anything-you-want' stalls. In the ED business we call fake degrees (of which there are many) KSR degrees. They are blatantly fake but people using them can still gain employment!

Here's a dog sitting in a bowl of ice. Clever dog.

On the massive Chao Praya river from KSR to Silom.

Passing a riverside temple.

If you've seen 'The Hangover 2' you might recognise this building: It's where they had a drink on the roof-top restaurant. We wanted to go up but you need to be better attired than shorts and flip flops. This hotel is mahussive!

A random shot down Soi Cowboy not far from my new school.

Miscellaneous - skint

I have been skint the last two weeks after a run of bad luck. I had my laptop stolen. I had money stolen by ex-girlfriends and I lost my room deposit in Pattaya. However, at the start of the year I aimed to spend 30,000bt/month maximum. The last two weeks have been tough but I am on course to go a whole year on 30,000bt/month. This is quite amazing given the things I've done this year. I aim to continue this until the end of the year thus saving my extra salary to fund retirement in Cambodia in 2013 before I hit 40.

Dates

I've had a few interesting liaisons with members of the fairer sex recently. Pat came to help me move in to my new room and stayed the night before pilfering my pockets for 1000bt while I slept - that was on top of the 500bt I gave her anyway. I then had a night out with Nui the Lanta girl which was cool. I met Bee, my long term Bangkok-based friend from Isaan. I then met a Filipina lady at a shopping mall even though she turned up 2 hrs late. I then had a date with Rin, 26 from Thonburi before meeting Apple an old friend from Trang. I have two more lasses to meet - one tonight to watch Batman and another at the weekend.

Thus far nowt's happened but of them all I like Rin the best. She's small, thin, works, has a car and a sweet personality. We drank coffee in McDs for two hours. I really want to see her again. I am lining up all these dates from a website. I have given up looking in bars. I haven't even been to a bar all month.

School

So far I have really enjoyed my new job at SPIP. Today I did some Olympic-based activities with year 8. We get paid tomorrow and it is looking increasingly likely that I'll have to do a visa run to Malaysia next week. I have even been using the free gym here and managed to run 2.5km in 15mins. This was a big improvement on my first attempt of 18mins. I aim to get this down to 12m30s before the end of August. That's what you have to do to pass the RN fitness test as a 38yo. 22 years of smoking and drinking feel like they are beginning to take their toll.

I stopped smoking again on the 2nd July but lapsed twice when I drank a few beers. I really have to bin the booze if I'm going to bin the tabs!

I have started teaching a married couple some private English lessons on a Tuesday night. I do it for free if they can teach me a little bit of Thai!! They're a lovely couple.

Lingo

Rot mae nee bi ratchada soi sam chai mai? Does this bus go to Ratchada?

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