Monday, 17 September 2012

Geordie online media tycoons (unlike me).

Bangkok

I have now acquired some elusive wisdom. Going anywhere by road in Bangkok is absolutely hellish. So much so that it actually puts you off going out. In the sticks one can happily potter around on a scooter and be anywhere in 5-10mins. In Bangkok you have to figure on about 1hr to go 5km in any direction. One issue is the immense volume of traffic. This is compounded by the traffic police who decide to control traffic lights during peak times - the resulting chaos can be spectacular. One evening it took me one hour to ride 2.5km from my school to my room. I was stuck at a red light for 40mins. I switched the engine off and put the bike-stand down. Some people stood in groups chatting and smoking cigarettes. The policeman was probably asleep in his little hut, oblivious to the pandemonium outside.


Exacerbating the above is the apparent lack of urban planning that seems to have occurred in this city. Bangkok is like a giant living mutant organism that has evolved chaotically over the last century. This alone might explain the lack of pavements anywhere in Thailand. It certainly explains the seemingly random manifestation of chaotic road junctions.

As you sit sucking in cubic meters of toxins from car exhausts, one can't help but ponder why innovative humans can't produce a superior transport system to the status quo? To have a million engines running while the vehicles remain stationary is grotesquely inefficient. This at a time when oil prices are rising etc. How is this madness allowed to continue? I do like to watch the kamikaze motorbike taxi drivers taking calculated risks by jumping the red lights and weaving through oncoming traffic. Quite a sight I can tell you. Equally captivating is the way the police just let them get away with it.

On a walk about I spotted these two Spidermen hanging around. I think they were painting a part of wall that nobody can actually see. MMmmmmmm? I stood both transfixed and perplexed trying to think of more words with 'x' in them?

Further into my Saturday excursion I spotted this lad. When women find themselves wearing the same dress at a social gathering they get embarrassed. When men do the same thing we bond in a primal way. This lad is from Bahrain but I didn't let that stop our tribal affiliation. Shortly after this we got down on our knees and started chanting - praising Mike Ashley and thanking him for changing the stadium's name from St James' Park to The Sports Direct Nike Adidas Arena. Well done Sir.

Geordie Online Tycoons

Near my school is an unsuspecting office with an unassuming plaque on its door. Nothing special about this right? Wrong. On t'other side of t'door you'll find a small, tidy office housing two of the Northeast's finest entrepreneurs.

Meet Geordie Neil (back) and Geordie Dan. These lads are from South Shields and Cramlington respectively. I know them from Phuket and was surprised to discover that we now spend our daily lives less than 1km apart. Their office is literally a 5 minute walk from my school in a trendy area of the city.

I've been out for a few beers with them both where I had them explain exactly what their business does. I always get confused about business affairs but I found their website to be very professional and succinct: http://www.mediacake.net/ . They basically design and improve peoples' e-businesses. Their office was very cool with big Apple machines, comfy sofas, plants and most importantly a kettle with Tetley tea bags and fresh milk. We enthusiastically shared a cup of tea and talked about Phuket, Bangkok traffic, Newcastle, teaching, website design and tea.

I really enjoyed my visit to their office as I've never been in anything like it before. I loved the way they were informally dressed - it lent the whole atmosphere a relaxed yet professional vibe. It was then that I thought about my own little blog website thingymagic and Neil reckons it has the potential to provide a small source of income. I explained how I've already installed google-ads but it has only made $5 in 4 years (hence the title of this post). They talked about stuff like meta-tags etc but my head started hurting. Perhaps I'll try and develop this idea in the future. This whole blog thing has been a hobby about documenting my experiences for when I'm old and providing what I hope might be valuable information for anyone who might want to follow in my footsteps.

If only Geordieland had more lads like this. It could be a dynamic place that could finally realise its potential. Casting off reliance on the public sector and embracing the innovative wealth-creating private sector.

Visa

After last month's trip to Malaysia to obtain a tourist visa, I had to go to the massive Jeng Wattana immigration department in Bangkok and convert it to a Non-B visa. We all did this the other week which cost us a day at work and 2000bt. One issue this day was a local bloke who was supposed to lubricate the whole process but actually ended up being an impediment. Why the school entrusted him with an important bureaucratic process was beyond me. He was useful in that he filled in the forms which are way beyond a teacher's ability?? As Matt and I like to say this was typical "Thai Staaaaaaaal".

Trang Mike

Here I am eating some noodles while a woman operates a sewing machine across from me in my local Michelen-rated eatery. I was waiting for Mike to meet me so that we could go to Soi Cowboy and Nana to gawp at naked women. He was dithering so I walked up to his room. He was staying in a hotel called The Sea of Love. Class or what?

Here he is lounging on his bed. As you can see this room has been very tastefully designed. I like the way the soft porn accentuates the colour in the cushions. We had a hilarious Thursday night going around the famous Bangkok haunts. I don't think Mike and I will ever forget these Thai terms: AjimHuaLan and PlaDoa. He was actually in Bangkok to visit the Saudi Arabian embassy so that he can work there next month. I think he is making a wrong move choosing Islamic Saudi over Buddhist Thailand. Mike has a wife and kids here. He can speak Thai fluently having been here 11 years. I am certain he'll miss Thailand once he changes his name to Achmed. Then again, money can be a powerful motivator. Best of luck to Mike. He'll be a loss to Trang.

Nakon Sawan

I left school last Friday to go to Nakon Sawan to meet Matt. It took me 5 hours to get outside of Bangkok. Why? I hear you ask. Well, because it rained. When it rains in Bangkok people can no longer drive. From Bangkok to Nakon Sawan took 3 hours (half way up the country). But it took 5 hours to simply get out of Bangkok. I was tired when I arrived at 2300hrs after a busy day at work and when Matt said I had to meet the lass he's lined up in a loud disco I wasn't too enthusiastic. However, I persevered and battled through this beer-drinking bird-meeting torture.

The next day I met Brum Mike and London Nancy who were both visiting from Trang. We walked around a lake before they pointed out how high last year's floods rose. Mike is about six feet tall and the line is another 3 feet above him.

This little bar is called The Container. It's a Nakon Sawan Farang hang out with BIG LEOs for 60bt. That's more like it - Thai Staaaaaaal. On Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok small street-side hovel bars set themselves up on the pavement. They have plastic chairs and are completely crap. They charge 100bt for a small Leo! For drinking, give me the sticks any day. This bar was completely submerged last year. There were crocodiles swimming around inside! Here I am sitting before an onslaught of Leo drinking is about to commence. My little red bag is the Burmese style bag I bought in Mandalay in 2007.

I did meet one guy from the South of the USA going by the name Raymond. I think he could be the smartest man I've ever met. He spoke such sense until he started going on about religion. He has created his own sect where he is the only member?? Great crack though until he mentioned robots taking over the World. Hehe.

Ice

My exgf went back to Trang last week. She's talking about coming back to Bangkok to live permanently although I'm unsure if I want it to be with me or not.

Budget

During my 3.5 years in Thailand I've pretty much lived on 30,000THB/month. I've managed to keep this up in 2012 and am now hoping to bank 40,000THB every month. So far so good but last weekend's drinking binge in Bangkok nearly undid me. I spent a fortune as I drank with all the lads from work in the expensive bars. On Saturday I spent loads in trendy roof top bars with Neil and Dan. I have to rein that kind of behaviour in!

Rainy season

Is here again and the downpours are immense. Just now there was a crack of lightning and thunder causing the lights to go off. I'll just have to sit in the office until the rain stops - could be a while.

Mondays

Just like the Boomtown Rats I still hate Mondays. Always have, always will. Last week was horrible as I still had a hangover from Saturday's excesses. Today I feel fine but there's still that Monday moroseness lurking in the background.

Lingo

This week's lingo comes coutesy of Trang Mike:

AjimHuaLan = shaved pussy
PlaDao = starfish

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