Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Bangkok abortions and monkeys in Lopburi.


Six and a half years ago I left Northumberland to go on the adventure of a lifetime. I was 32 and bursting with enthusiasm to explore some unseen corners of the world. Iceland, Japan, Burma, Mongolia, Tibet and Borneo were places that captured my imagination. I set off endeavouring to experience these exotic destinations by land and sea as much as possible. It was an exciting prospect, however, the challenges of travelling through these lands are negligible when compared to the situation I have recently faced here in Bangkok. More on that later.

Austrian Armin

On Armin's last night in Bangkok we went for a walk around Lumphini Park. We walked two circuits while observing the action inside.

I have never seen a man lifting a car axle complete with tyres. Perhaps he's entering a Strongman competition?

A typical dusk scene in any park in any Thai town. Hundreds of women doing aerobics. We watched this for longer than was healthy for two middle-aged men.

Is this art? The title is "Women in the next three decades." Does this mean they'll all be fat bitches with no head? I just don't get it. Perhaps that's why I teach maths.

Nights oot

Here I am with Rajan my fellow maths teacher in the school canteen. He's originally from the North of India somewhere west of Nepal. He's been in Thailand for a while and has a wife and kids here. The noteworthy thing here is the time. It's about midday on a Friday afternoon in October.

Here I am in the same outfit although slightly more dishevelled and massively more drunk. It is now about 0900 Saturday morning on Sukumvit Road. I have absolutely no memory of this photo being taken although I remember the girl's name was Jep and she inexplicably took a fancy to me.

Here I am with Geordie Neil on another Sukhumvit night on the plastic chair bars. This is right outside Nana BTS station at around 0500. There was a Thai bloke with a guitar who took this photo. Again I'm still in my work attire.

Earlier on in the night I saw this poster that made me laugh while I was having a jimmy riddle.

Gangnam Style

Gangnam Style is a Korean pop phenomenon that has swept Asia. A dance accompanies the song and these two lasses were attempting to do it in a shopping mall. They were crap!


On my way to work where I have to stop for the slowest train in the northern hemisphere. When this happens I have to stare at Wayne Rooney in a Man U top since he's painted on the side of a massive skyscraper. Stuck in traffic and having to endure Man U? Is this a deliberate ploy to piss people off?

Week off

On the 11th October we got one and a half weeks off work for half term break. This is one of the best things about being a teacher. I packed my little Burmese tribal bag and tied it to the back of the bike as above. Half an hour later the heavens opened and drenched all my stuff inside. How stupid of me to think it might not rain in October in Bangkok? I wanted to visit Lopburi which is the only province I haven't been to in Thailand.


When one first arrives in Lopburi it is not the beauty or tranquility of the ancient ruins that grab your attention. No, it's the thousands of monkeys that infest the place. They are everywhere. In the above pic they are actually inside a shop, hanging from the telephone cables and sitting on motorbikes.
A few more hanging around Wat Prang Sam Yot. This temple is known as 'Monkey Temple.' This is quite an impressive Khmer temple in its own right but it's the monkeys who steal the limelight.

Just for the taste of it? Monkeys defecating all over a Coke van. They were trying to rip the rubber seals off the windows and mirrors. The locals are very tolerant of these highly annoying creatures. The next morning one of them stole an old woman's breakfast and the lady simply shrugged. I might have lashed out at the little bugger. I guess it's all down to Buddhist attitudes. Reminds me of that place in India where they tolerate thousands of rats.

Lopburi? Temples, Monkeys and Porn? I was shocked to see this as porn is rare in Thailand.

What? There's only one like?

My room at Noon Guesthouse cost 100bt or £2. It didn't have AC, plasma, fridge or even a toilet but it did have WIFI. I love budget travel. I met some canny German tourists here who were the only foreign tourists I encountered.

Packed up and ready to go to Nakon Sawan to see my American buddy Matt.

Roadside stalls are always intriguing in Thailand since people sell the strangest things. This particular stall has massive hammocks, kites and barbed-wire. Are these three things in any way connected? Are these things related to transport? Why are motorists your target customer? Sometimes in Thailand it's best to not "Tink too mut".

Nakon Sawan

My three nights in Nakon Sawan involved of a lot of beer with Karl (from Aranyapratet) and Matt. As we slurped cans of Leo in a shop Karl's lass pulled nits from this little girl's hair. A little too close to me for comfort. I've been scratching ever since!


I was very excited when this happened in the first few minutes. If only Tiote hadn't got sent off it might have remained like this. Other bar customers thought it was weird that I was taking pictures of a TV.


I used to hang around with young Jamie in Phuket so it was surprising to run into him in one of Bangkok's mega-malls. He was eating with a lass in a posh restaurant as Matt and I walked past. Here we are enjoying a beer in my local. I like the way their tops are both white but one is England and the other is the USA. I wonder if Matt is happy that Obama got re-elected? Jamie now works in Petchabun.


Here's all the teachers at my school discussing medical insurance. I can answer questions on calculus easily but figuring out which insurance policy we need is a different matter. I'm sure NASA engineers have the same problem. Look how posh our meeting room is. I love to come out with inane comments in there.

This little blue book is a work permit. All foreigners need one of these to work in Thailand legally.

This document technically allows me to pay Thai price for National Parks. However, it's not exactly convenient to carry this everywhere you go. These are difficult to obtain and many foreigners don't bother with them.

The school even issued us with ID cards. I am so proud of this it brings a tear to my eye every time I look at it. Next week I have to go and extend my non-b visa until the end of my contract which I think expires in July 2013 - 4 months before my 40th birthday.

We had some great costumes for the Halloween party. Today one of the kids asked me if I was going with them on their field trip tomorrow. I said no and they all cheered. They reckon I'm the strictest teacher here? I disagree with that. This is Toh, Momo and Jojo.

Birth Control

Ice is 23 and she is my ex-girlfriend from Phuket. We first met in August 2012 and broke up in December 2012. However, she visited me once in Pattaya and once in Bangkok this year. She went back to Phuket after we'd decided to call everything off. Therefore, it came as somewhat of a shock when she called me one Friday afternoon where we had the following conversation in Thai:

"Hi Steve."
"Hi Ice, what do you want? I've got no money."
"No, it's not money, it's......well.......I'm pregnant!"
"...........................what?...............................sure?" I suddenly sat up alert.
"Of course I'm sure."
"Is it mine?"
"I haven't shagged anyone else."
"You sure?"
"Yeeees," she said slowly as I felt my world falling apart.

A week later she came to Bangkok and did one of those pharmacy pregnancy tests which confirmed she was definitely pregnant. She initially wanted to abort but changed her mind once she saw the results of the test and saw that this thing was real. She asked for 3000bt and off she went to see her friends in Korat. Three weeks later she'd changed her mind and decided she wanted rid of it after all.

Here she is back in Bangkok ready to go for the procedure.

I took her to this place on Sukhumvit Soi 12. Like prostitution, abortions are technically illegal in Thailand although the government seems to turn a blind eye to both issues.

This is the room where it happens. The procedure costs 2300bt. I gave Ice another 4700bt for her to get well after the deed. I felt the least I could do was accompany her and pay for the service. It felt awkward being the only bloke in a waiting room of women getting abortions. Where were all the other men?

The three weeks from Ice's initial phone call informing me she's up the stick until the abortion was done have been, emotionally, the roughest of my life. We talked, argued and cried over the phone. We both weren't sure what to do although at the end of the day I think we both favoured abortion since we had already broken up and clearly didn't love each other. Ice was making ludicrous financial demands of me and threatening me with denying access to the child. Things were emotionally heated and very messy. At the end of the whole thing I feel emotionally empty and still unsure whether we did the right thing or not.


I met this lass a few times during the Ice debacle. Her name is Giggs, she's 20 and she's half Thai and half Vietnamese. She worked at Tesco in Prapradeng on the other side of the river. Last week she quit her job to go whoring in Pattaya. She hasn't answered any calls since. This is a shame as I really like her.

JB and Dr BJ

So after all this heartache Matt came back to Bangkok to offer support and watch the new James Bond movie. Afterwards we went to Dr BJ's on Sukumvit Soi7/1 where we tried to fathom out what actually goes on inside. To this day we have no idea? But I guess it's along the lines of what got me into all this trouble in the first place.


kemnguat = strict
pitgotmai = illegal
toong = pregnant

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