Bangkok: A truly terrifying egg

I know it’s been a while since I’ve written a blog (oh, how I still dislike that word) when I have to read through my last blog in order to remember what I have and what I haven’t written about…

So, it’s been over a month since I last posted something… Well, I’ve posted stuff, obviously… We live in the world of social media after all… I’ve just not posted anything worth reading… Here’s to hoping THIS is worth reading eh?

We’ve been living in the new apartment for a while now, and dear friends, I am loving it… I honestly wish we could have found this place when we first arrived in Thailand, a little under two years ago.

Two years.

In a few days time, I will have been living in Thailand for two years.

It feels so unreal… Had you asked me three years ago where I would be living in the future, I would have given you one straight answer “I’ll be living in Dudley” I had no realistic option of moving away, I honestly believed I would live all of my life there and that one day I would be buried there… I did have a fantasy of one day living in the English seaside town of Great Yarmouth but as I say, it was a fantasy… I even had a beachfront house that I used to look at every time I visited… I’d look at it and say “One day I’ll live in that house”… Well, it looks like I will never live in that house in Great Yarmouth… I do however live in Bangkok, a city I love… Not a bad trade-off eh?

For the record, we visited Great Yarmouth one night just before we left for Bangkok… Place out of season is, in fact, a bit of a shit hole… Sorry citizens of Great Yarmouth!

I still find myself driving through town in a taxi (Jesus Christ, you will never find me driving a car here, it’d be too scary) looking out of the window when suddenly it will hit me “YOU LIVE IN BANGKOK!” A city I knew of, but a city I never dreamed of visiting, never mind living here… And yet here I am… I don’t know if I will ever truly get over this “pinch me, am I dreaming” state… Maybe I don’t really want to… I don’t want to be someone who takes this city, and what I have here for granted.

*Squeal of brakes*

I paused for a while and found myself looking back at previous blogs… My very FIRST blogs to be exact… I only intended on looking at the first one, but found myself reading the first six…. Bloody hell, I’d forgotten most of the stuff I’d written about! (shameless plug for my previous blogs)

Where was I?….. Oh yeah… I live in Bangkok!

We love our new apartment, our last place was great, but I have to say I love living here so much more…

I may have mentioned it before but our new place is right in the middle of one of Bangkok’s red-light districts, we have beer bars, massage parlours and freelancers walking the streets… Our local bar (a great place by the way) is a beer bar, we’re pretty sure all the girls “work” there but that does not take away from the fact that it’s a great bar, the drinks are reasonably priced and we get amazing service there… Being a “regular” drinker at the bar, you do get to know the girls… “Jaeb” is friendly and seems to have built a strong friendship with Jo… Amy is friendly and outgoing, but is a terribly moody drunk… She will be the life and soul of the party one minute, then she’s slumped over the bar looking angry the next… There’s a younger girl who works in the bar who after a few weeks of drinking there, I have noted she has three facial expressions that she pulls when she is with “customers”…

Smiley face — She has a huge smile when she is face to face with “customers” (for customer read, a man who has bought her a drink and therefore has bought her company)

The grimace — This is when the customer is not looking in her direction or is otherwise occupied… It’s when the fake smile just can’t be held anymore.

Misery — I’ve seen her pull this face as she wanders to the rear of the bar and collects her bag just before heading off into the night with her “customer”

I don’t like it when she’s with customers… I hate to see her face change, I hate to see how uncomfortable she looks… Mostly I hate the men I’ve seen her sitting with… They all look the same… Slimy looking Europeans, old enough to be her dad… But… It’s the line of work she (and thousands of girls like her) is in… It pays the bills… I do however silently breathe a sigh of relief when I walk into the bar and see she’s ok.

Other drawbacks…. Beggars.

We have two “regular” beggars near our apartment, we have “one-legged Joe”, a beggar who as his name would suggest has only one leg… He sits near to the BTS station and politely raises his hand as you pass, if you give him 20 baht, he’ll smile politely… Don’t hand him cash and he’ll also smile… Just maybe not as much as if you had given him money.

And then we have “Captain Jack”.

I hate Captain Jack with a passion… I first encountered “Jack” a week or so after moving into our apartment… I was walking back from our old apartment when I walked past him, “Money! Money! Hungry!” He shouted while waving his plastic cup in the air… Now, I don’t take kindly to having people shout at me… Especially when they proclaim to be hungry while having a half-full bottle of Hong Thong whiskey with them… “Mai Dai” (cannot) I said but still he continued “Hungry! Hungry”… A short time later both Me and Jo walked past him… “You! Give me money!”… Fuck you, Captain Jack… Fuck you.

This week Me and Jo were walking toward our apartment and we encountered a woman who seemed…. How shall I put this…. Off her tits on drugs.

She walked past us then turned and ran toward the BTS station, straight to Captain Jack… They exchanged words as we passed… Bickering like an old married couple… Maybe the good captain is funding her habit… Fuck you once more Captain Jack… Fuck you.

Our friends’ group here in Bangkok means a lot to us both… The COVID lockdown would have been a much darker experience if it hadn’t been for our weekly online meetups… Thankfully now Thailand is pretty much COVID free our meetups are now in person and usually alcohol-fueled…

Our friend Nicola’s murder mystery birthday night out was an absolute delight… a group of us all sat in a bar playing characters, trying to solve a mystery… Great fun… Even if I did find that solving mysteries really isn’t my strong point… I am currently trying to write my own murder mystery tho… Let’s see how that turns out, shall we?

*Squeal of brakes*

I wrote a bit about a night out that didn’t go according to plan… A night that promised so much but actually turned out to be boring and complete letdown… However, I decided to delete it, businesses are struggling here and they don’t need people like me slagging them off via keyboard… I will be making my feelings known tho as soon as the elusive “feedback” form appears in my email inbox.

From a night that didn’t go according to plan… To a night that far exceeded everything we could have hoped for…

Mine and Jo’s Halloween/Housewarming/Birthday party for our friend Xaviera.

We invited people, they turned up in varying styles of fancy dress… Vampires, candy skulls, various movie characters… And my friend Henry dressed as a truly terrifying egg.

Our maids (you would have never thought you’d use that phrase before you came here) mom cooked food for our party (delicious by the way… The food… Not her mom… A lovely woman but I’m pretty sure eating her would be frowned upon) I think we decorated the apartment “just enough”… Halloween is a weird one, it’s so easy to overdo it when it comes to decorations… I had one of those strange occurrences when a throwaway idea I had happened to work perfectly… Yes, you CAN hide a projector in the head of a Grim Reaper and project images of ghosts onto a wall! And an even better level of success when we hid a speaker in the bathroom randomly playing spooky sounds throughout the night… Everyone seemed to have a great time, so much so that in the early hours of Sunday morning Jo suggested we all move to our local bar (the noise levels in the apartment didn’t seem to be going down)… At 5 am Me and Jo left the bar… I think we can call that a good night… Right?

I suppose I wouldn’t be writing these things correctly if I didn’t approach the subject that has dominated Bangkok for the past few weeks… Amazingly it’s not COVID… It is, however, something I have to tread carefully around…. I’ll explain… Or get arrested while attempting to explain.

There are things we cannot do here in Thailand that we can do quite freely in the UK.

Back in England, I can freely proclaim that I feel that the British Royal family is a waste of time, a waste of money and should be gotten rid of.

IF I had those same sentiments here, about the Thai royals… I couldn’t do that.

The king holds a level of respect and everyone here is expected to respond accordingly… The king’s anthem plays in public? You stop what you’re doing, stand up and wait for it to finish.

The king does something that you don’t agree with? You sure as shit don’t go on Facebook and slag him off.

We have witnessed news programmes being blacked out if they are running a story that sheds a less favourable light on the monarchy…

A bit like the classic 90’s dance track by SNAP!… They’ve got the power.

There has been an uprising of late… Younger Thais have taken to the streets to show how they feel… They have issues with the government and with certain aspects of the monarchy, one protest… A PEACEFUL protest was met with a level of force that I feel was unacceptable, police used water cannons against these protesters, most of them being high school kids… It made for unpleasant viewing… Will there be change? I really don’t know… Do I think there should be change? As an ex-pat here I honestly feel it’s not my place to say… But the kids taking to the streets seem passionate about change and after all, it will be those kids taking this country into the future.

See? It’s not all beers and gogo bars here in “The land of smiles”…

So, until next time…

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Ade Cox

A working-class man from The Black Country, plucked from the factory and now living the best life in Bangkok