Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Ratchaburi. The future?

Seven years ago I was about to leave the UK and embark on an unknown trip around the world. Six years ago I was living with tribal folk in the central mountains of Vietnam. Five years ago I was flitting between Taiwan and The Philippines. Four years ago I had just moved to Trang in Thailand after an aborted attempt to return to China. Three years ago I had just moved to Phuket. Two years ago I was still living in Phuket but working at a new school. Last year I was on an 8000km motorcycle trip around Thailand. This year I am living in Bangkok weighing up the options for my future.

Our students at SPIP have been having a nice time of late. They had another day off school to compete in a swimming gala. They then went to practice surfing at the Flow House right in the middle of Bangers. It looks pretty good although I never bothered trying.
The Buddhist shrine at the entrance to Nana Plaza, one of Bangkok's red light areas. This is where prostitutes pray before they start looking for potential victims. I used to think prostitutes where the victims of exploitation but now I'm not so sure. Many a foreigner has been exploited in Thailand by these ladies. Things are never as simple as they first appear. I'm sure Buddha keeps an eye on things here and inflicts generous amounts of bad karma as required.
Mr Sateeb enjoying the hedonistic vibes. Another red light area is called Soi Cowboy and it's right next to our school. I hope none of our female students are aspiring to work there (as lucrative as it can be).
The woman who hires me to tutor her daughter works here. The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation. I wish I could get a job there - they must pay well. This is in the Backpacker's district Khao San Road. Khao San means rice that is still in the husk.
Those two blue pallets bought back memories. I worked for this company (CHEP) in Sighthill, Glasgow after I left the Navy in 2001. As a Production Engineer, one of my areas of responsibility was the painting and stamping area. I'd often return home after a night shift covered in blue paint. I was the only non-Glaswegian in the factory and suffered a lot of stick as you could imagine. My most vivid memory was that Sighthill is a total shithole that I never want to visit again. Nice to see the pallets end up going all over the world!

I love these little petrol stands. This was in Petchabun where I went for the Easter holiday. Our Easter overlaps Thailand's traditional new year celebration - Songkran. This is the water-fest that I now try and avoid as much as I can. One day is enough for me but Thais love 'sanuk' (fun) things and drag it out for days. Having buckets of icy water thrown over you gets old pretty quick.

I went to Petchabun with Dave and Annie (Dave's ladyboy girlfriend) for Songkran. I videod the trip and made a 12 minute documentary which can be viewed on the video page. Dave is also back on SkyTV in the UK with the second series of Ladyboys!
There are a lot of these stickers on cars in Thailand. Unfortunately I have no idea what they are meant to represent. I don't even know if the woman is taking her knickers off or putting them on? Feminists have banned these in England.
They haven't banned this yet though. Noo Na or BBQd rat. I bought half a kilo of BBQd rat from these guys for 80bt. It smelt pretty bad and I only had a nibble. However, if you chopped them up and threw the meat in a regular Thai dish I don't think you'd be able to tell you were eating rat. Look at the video on the video page for more details.
Back to Bangkok and it was very hard to sit through the home defeat to the Mackems. It got worse and finished 0-3. Someone got so upset that they went straight outside ..............

and drove their car off the edge of a cliff. This was right outside my local bar and I missed Sunderland's third goal as a result. It took about six lads to 'rock' the car back onto terra ferma.
I then went for a walk around a shopping mall and spotted this 70inch flat screen TV for £3000. I might buy one of these to watch Newcastle's impending Championship season. Newcastle away to Dogshit Rovers will look fantastic in HD.

As I continued through 'just another Bangkok mega-mall' I noticed a whole glass room devoted to cheese. I was very excited as cheese is one of the things I really miss from home. I rushed inside.........
to find cheese at £50/kg. I checked UK prices using ASDA-online and found cheese to be around £5/kg. Ten times more expensive in Asia. Gutted! You gotta really really want some cheese to pay that.
To mitigate my cheese disappointment and seeing how I was still on holiday and that the Songkran water madness was easing, I jumped on the old bike for a 590km tour through Petchaburi and Ratchaburi provinces. This is a beach north of Cha Am. That statue helps Thais to gain 'face' and 'boon' at the same time. My video explains those terms. 
It looks good but is it art? Another Petchaburi beach.
I then turned West and headed inland to Suan Pheung in Ratchaburi Province. I came across this snake that had recently been squished. I approached tentatively as these things really put the willies up me.
This is the Thai/Burmese border. I had to ride some off-road tracks here which my bike is not really suited for. It reminded me of my attempt to find the Sakeo tribal people in the Trang/Satun jungles a few years ago. It reinforced my dislike of off-road riding. Still, a nice pic looking north-west into Burma.
This was just before the tarmac petered out. Some vicious chunks of road simply missing. I love the way the crash barrier is just hanging there.
Ratchaburi border checkpoint.
These lads were mint. They were manning the checkpoint and made me a coffee (free!) as we chatted for half an hour. Nice folk. Gave me some good information about where to go next. It's at times like this that I'm glad I learnt Thai. 
So those lads recommended I visit these hot springs. They were just what the doctor ordered after a long day on the bike. I paid my 10bt (no dual pricing) and relaxed for 30 minutes in the steaming waters. Other than a few locals I had the place to myself. Veeeeery relaxing in a tranquil setting. It's good to get off the beaten track and having a motorbike allows you to do that.
Back to Bangers and I fell off the wagon after 18 weeks. I got pissed four times in a week but thankfully didn't smoke. I'm delighted that I didn't succumb to the tabs; in fact I barely noticed any urges at all which is good. I went out last Friday and the hangover caused me to waste Saturday and Sunday. They are still gruesome. I still can't drink sensibly:(
I often stroll around the Uni campus after work around dusk. This young lass shyly introduced herself. I taught her in 2009 when she was in M6 in Trang. She is now 22 and about to finish her degree at the University I work in. I had no idea who she was but she remembered me!!

I have been thinking a lot about the future. I have no idea what I'll do. I am considering leaving BKK, selling the bike and continuing on my global journey. I can always come back here in the future. I found a flight from Brisbane to LA which would serve me perfectly in my quest to conquer Central and South America along with the Spanish language.

I am in the middle of investing more savings into a Hong Kong litigation fund which returns 12%pa over three years. This in addition to other investments will, I hope, pave the way for my early retirement. 

One of the keys to achieving early retirement from modest beginnings is to remain a bachelor. This, along with living a spectacularly frugal life makes it a difficult goal for many people. Luckily I have managed both and hope to reap the rewards in the next year or two. I will write about this in more depth in the future but all the info is out there online.

One of the results of a hungover weekend is that I have just spent three days reading about feminism's hold over western civilisation. Marriage, women and children are heavily forced on us from all angles in society. It doesn't have to be that way.  What kind of mangina wants to be a monogamous financial slave to one woman? Stay single, stay free and live the dream.

Adious Amigos


  1. Hi, I really like your blog. I'm teaching in Bangkok, can you give me any advice about investing? I'm interested in the Hong Kong fund you mentioned.
    Good luck with the blogging!

    1. Thanks Jonathan,
      I actually found this opportunity through a friend in Phuket who happens to be a financial advisor. In fact you can only invest in this through an agent. Contact http://easyqrops.com/ for more details.
      Best wishes


Please be nice.