Month: December 2014

Drinking in Thailand

bucket-girl-with-sign-in-khao-san-road

You should be drinking lots of water while in the Land of Smiles. I have trouble with cramping if I don’t make myself drink a couple of liters a day. It’s hot and thirst isn’t a good indicator of dehydration. You can’t drink the tap water, so I bought a few 5 gallon plastic jugs from the water man (he delivers) and a caddy for pouring. Five gallons of water cost 10 baht ($.35). I pour the water from the jug into a half gallon container and keep that in the kitchen. I recycle and refill half liter plastic water bottles rather than buy new ones. I clean them and occasionally use some bleach for a thorough cleaning. I also take a magnesium supplement for the cramping. If I forget to take the magnesium and drink water, cramping comes back. Tonic water and Gatorade are good for cramping.

Fresh milk is available everywhere and comes in different flavors. I once mistakenly bought mint flavored milk. I won’t do that again. Coke is the number one pop drink. Fanta has many different flavored sodas. There are few diet drinks to choose from. Diet Coke and Pepsi are about it. I mix a little lime juice and artificial sweetener with water for homemade diet limeade. I always have a liter of that in the refrigerator.

The high caffeine Red Bull drinks are popular with the Thais. Thais have a number of their own brands, half the price of the Western brands. Anything imported is taxed, thus more expensive. This is especially true of alcoholic beverages. You’re probably going to pay twice as much for any known brand of booze. A bottle of Bacardi rum will run $18. Fortunately, for the drinkers there is Thai whisky. Sang Som is my go-to drink. It’s dark rum made with sugar cane and probably the most popular liquor in Thailand. It cost about $8 a bottle. I order it in bars with Coke for about $2. That’s a deal when drinks with call liquor run twice as much. There are numerous Thai whisky blends available for under $6 a bottle. Most of them are an acquired taste.

Beer is available retail for about $1 a bottle, $2 in bars. Heineken is more. Singha is the most popular Thai beer and is a little more expensive than some of the others, Leo, Tiger and Chang. All taste a little different with alcohol in the 5% range. Not much of a selection on light beers with San Miguel Light and Singha Light being the two I usually see.

There are a few brands of wine cooler and Bacardi Breezer kinds of drinks. Bars usually make very good Mojitos. All the better known cocktails are available.

The sad story in Thailand is wine. Thais don’t drink wine. There are a couple of fledgling wineries in the North making bad wine. I’ve never tasted a Thai wine I want to taste again. Since all wine has to be imported, it’s taxed heavily. There is some Australian wine in the $10 range that we settle for. There are wines from all over the world available, it’s just expensive. I rarely see an American wine. I used to make my own wine in small batches and was a wine enthusiast. When I had a drink in the US, it was a glass of wine. With the poor quality and the expense, I’ve just given it up. The go-to wine that’s available almost everywhere is a boxed South African wine with little character, in red or white. I wouldn’t drink it in the States. Whenever someone comes for a visit from the US, they know what to bring me…a decent bottle of wine!

A lot of the social life revolves around the pub. Even in my small town, there are 40 bars. They usually have a happy hour. Many have some kind of farang food menu. When you order a drink, it arrives with your bin. This is a cup with your receipt in it. Walking around socializing, I’m forever losing my bin. At the end of the night when it’s time to go, you say “check bin” and they total up your bill. It’s always a good idea to check what you’re paying for. There are often inadvertent mistakes. Tipping is optional in Thailand. Some cheap (keeneow) expats never tip. My policy is to always leave a 20 baht ($.70) note. I leave 20 baht if I’ve had one drink or 10 drinks.

Thailand can be a never ending party, but never ending parties get boring after a while and I’m getting old. I have my share of nights out, but most nights I’m home these days.

Cheers! Or as we say frequently (too frequently), choc de krap!

2015 Honda PCX 150 vs Yamaha Nouvo Elegance

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My six month old 2015 Honda PCX 150 died as I was driving it one day. It took a week to get it repaired, so I was back to driving my five year old Yamaha Nouvo Elegance. It reminded me just how good that old bike was and how great my new one is.

Chob Gets Pulled Over

Thai_Police_road-check

Chob is an Australian expat.

I’m doing maybe 80 mph. In the distance I can see what resembles a tiny ant crossing the road, but it stops in the middle and starts waving its arms. I’m focusing on it and start knitting my brows. The South Thai girlfriend gives me a look too and furrows her forehead and stares ahead. The ant is a man in what looks like a black uniform and he’s now very vigorously waving his arms as we start to brake hard. He’s still standing in the middle of my lane as I brake ever harder.

“What the bloody hell!” I mutter, as the South Thai lady presses her hand on the dashboard and the toddler rolls off the back seat onto the floor. These Thais won’t wear their seatbelts.

It’s now clearly the Tam Ruat, a Thai policeman and he’s got some sort of death wish. We’re almost skidding and he’s not gonna crack and run. He’s just blowing his whistle wildly and waving for us to stop with frenzied motions. The brakes fight hard against all that forward momentum, the ABS kicks in and we grind to a halt only a yard in front of the whites of his eyes. Thinking it dangerous to have stopped in the middle of the fast lane on a highway, I whine down the window and point to the shoulder to park and say, “Jot tee noon mai?”

He shakes his head and looks into the car. The South Thai Lady is not at all happy about this intrusion. Having once had a Thai policeman as a husband, she is not in any way intimidated either. In fact the very sight of a uniform seems to raise in her all the defiance she can muster.

It was all in Thai, but she barks, “What you stop us for?”

He says, “Sister, I stopped you because you drive too long in the fast lane.”
“Hah! We go fast; you want us to do that in the slow lane?”
“No, um, but you were going fast sister.”
“Urr! We were going at 100. You have a problem with that?”
“Well sister, I think you go faster.”
“You have a machine to show me that?”
“Well…no, but…”
“What do you REALLY want, huh? Speak man!”
“Sister, not speak bad about me, but I am hungry…”
She looks at me.
“You hear that my hubban’? Him say him hungary!”

I try not to look at anyone.

She looks at the Policeman with smoldering eyes.
“So what you want nah?”
“Sister, maybe you can give 200?”
“TWO HUNDRED ($6)! TWO HUNDRED! You can eat 200 you must be elephant! HAH! Policeman my country can eat 200, huh?”
“Sister…not speak bad.”
She looks at me, “Give him 100!”
I get out 100 and go to hand it to him.
He looks dejectedly at the South Thai Lady.
“Sister, maybe 200, I can get drink?”
“Drink? Ahh, drink, that’s why you have no money for food. DRINK, HAH!”
She looks at me, “We go!”
He nods and makes the prayer sign Thais call a “wai”.

We pull away. “Sheesh, my country!” the South Thai lady exclaims.
“TWO HUNDRED for lunch, HAH!”
Then she looks behind, “Where’s the baby?” she exclaims!
“She’s asleep on the floor, Nung,” I reply.
She looks down on the toddler with a loving smile.
“Och, leave her nah? We home soon.”

High Season 2014 – November Pics

I’m amazed at how consistantly great my iPhone 5s camera is. The saying is, “Your best camera is the one that’s with you.” If that’s the case, the 5s it is the best.

Photos from around Kamala and Surin during the month of November.

Thai girl across the klong
Thai girl across the klong
Kids and Sand
Kids and Sand
North End of Surin Beach
North End of Surin Beach
Brother and Sister
Brother and Sister
Castle in the Sand
Castle in the Sand
End of Another Day in Paradise
End of Another Day in Paradise