Ade Cox

Nov 3, 2019

15 min read

Bangkok: If Clark Kent can do it, why can’t I?

I’ve not written for a while… Actually, that’s not strictly true… I have written… But was that writing worth showing to the world? Probably not.

So here I am… Typing…Again.

Since the last time I wrote… Blogged... Whatever… The rainy season has been and I think it’s now gone (well, almost gone at least), the rainy season is a strange time, a hot sunny day will suddenly descend into chaos as (what feels like) a months worth of rain suddenly falls from nowhere, turning the streets into rivers… Those with umbrellas are lucky, those without, either get very wet or they improvise… Young girls dressed in party dresses running through the streets with a plastic bag on top of their heads is quite a sight to behold… But, as I say, the rainy season is coming to an end… Short bursts of rainfall are followed by blazing sunshine, making short work of any puddles that may have been left behind… We are, however, enjoying daily thunderstorms, the storms here are amazing, I’ve never seen electrical storms like the ones we have in Asia anywhere else, but, as we head toward Christmas the weather will become dryer and the temperature will rise.

Life here in Bangkok is still amazing, I honestly can’t see me getting to a point where I see life here being anything other than amazing… There has however been a downside to life here and more accurately, MY life here…

While living in England I worked five days a week in a physically demanding job, living here in Bangkok, I’ve not worked at all… As a result, I am not as physically fit as I would like to be and indeed as physically fit as I SHOULD be… A medical check-up at the hospital a few months back showed that not only was I overweight (I knew I was overweight obviously… Almost every person who saw me when I visited England the last time would tell me I’d put weight on) but, in addition to that, my blood sugar was at a level that was pre-diabetic, my cholesterol levels were high… Basically, I was not in good shape and I had to make a change… So I made a change… Or I’m making a change… Each day I walk Jo to work, when I get back to the apartment building I spend 20 minutes on the X-trainer, followed by some work on the weights, every Wednesday I go for a long walk around some parks in Bangkok, averaging a 14 K walk every Wednesday…So, here I am… A few months later, my most recent check-up showed I’d lost some weight, my blood sugar levels are now normal and my cholesterol levels are also normal… I’ve lost 5 inches from my waist and I’m feeling a lot better about myself… I still need to lose weight and I know it’s not going to be easy, but I have to do it… If only to stop people in England telling me I’ve gotten fat… I joke… Or do I?

[NOTE: I went to England, nobody called me fat… But, nobody said I lost weight either… Make of that what you will]

I decided a while ago that even tho I only need glasses for reading, that may be getting a pair of varifocal glasses would be a good idea… No more of that put the glasses on, take the glasses off nonsense… Maybe it is time to embrace being a glasses wearer and keep the glasses on all day… If Clark Kent can do it, why can’t I?… Well, actually Clark doesn’t keep HIS glasses on all the time…But I think you see what I’m getting at.

So, after a visit to a mall, I finally ordered a pair of varifocal glasses, anyone other than Jo who has seen me since acquiring the glasses could be forgiven for thinking “I’ve not seen him wear those glasses” and yes, they’d be right… I haven’t worn them… I trying… I really am, I find myself walking, constantly adjusting the angle of my head so I can focus… I’m hoping that given time I will eventually find myself able to wear them all the time… Here’s to hoping eh?

Jo had to go to India to do some work, I was left to my own devices and did what any man would do under the circumstances… I spent most of the week playing the Playstation.

I’m finding myself getting increasingly angry with the motorbike taxi riders here in Bangkok, I hate the way they treat the roads as if they own them, I hate the way they ride down the footpaths when the streets are too busy, I hate the way they sit around in their little groups, blocking the footpaths and giving you a dirty look if you walk through them without stopping to hop on a bike… Bike taxi riders are dicks. There. I said it. But… Without them, the city would grind to a standstill…. Rock and a hard place really, isn’t it?

A friend of ours here in Bangkok was celebrating her birthday at a rooftop bar, here in the city… We’d arranged to attend but as the time grew closer to leave our apartment I found myself getting stressed, I struggle in social situations… I was aware that people I’d met before would be there, but the fact people I didn’t know could be there put me into a little inward spin… It’s a part of me I hate, every time I’m due to meet new people my anxiety goes through the roof, I worry that I’ll (which I have done before with these same people) sit silently in the corner as conversation flows, that I’ll come across as an anti-social (which. let’s be honest… I sort of, am) Jo walks into these situations and (even tho deep down, she’s not as confident as she seems) she just jumps into the conversation and enjoys the night… I, on the other hand, don’t… I wish I could be more like Jo… SO, we arrive at the bar, our friends are there with two people I’ve not met before… Amazingly I didn’t do what i usually do… Well, maybe I did for a short while, I’m aware that at some point early on in the night I found myself staring off into the distance admiring the Bangkok skyline… But Eventually I did interact, and by the time drinks had begun flowing I was having a great time, the night was brilliant, again as most nights out in Bangkok are, a truly international affair, British, South African, American, Thai and Macedonian... All chatting, all enjoying each others company… Conversation swapped and changed between such topics as our joint birthday celebrations that could end up being some golf-themed drinking game, a traditional Christmas dinner, The girl from Kentucky who actually doesn’t like chicken and… Have we been pronouncing the word “Jesus” wrong all these years (maybe it was J’esus after all)… The night moved on from the rooftop bar to a bar in the Nana area of Bangkok, a bar I’ve been to a number of times but never this late at night, the conversation continued, the drinks continued to flow, I was looking out over the street as we chatted and drank, Nana is one of Bangkok's red-light areas, gogo bars are everywhere and freelancers (street prostitutes) tout for business everywhere… Where we were drinking I could see a number of freelancers standing outside a hotel, I have no issue with the girls who “work” here… I do have issues with some of the men who cruise these areas… I see a group of three Asian men talking to a freelancer, trying to make a deal… She is not having any of it and sends them on there way, sadly tho, this group of men will eventually find a girl desperate to make some money who will end up going back to a hotel with the three of them… Another girl appears outside the hotel, she stands, she waits, she’s watching every single looking man that walks past… Then, from out of the hotel appears an Asian man, he stands behind her, then simply pulls out his mobile phone and proceeds to point it at her videoing her… I hate the way some men treat the girls here, yes they may be prostitutes but they’re still people after all… Treat them with some level of respect. The freelancer becomes aware of what his man is doing and walks away, he puts his phone away and with a smirk wanders back into the hotel… God, I hate some of the people in this town.

Our night comes to an end, we hug and go our separate ways….Another brilliant night out in Bangkok.

We had a trip back to England planned, we have two concerts to go to, plus we have family members to visit, SO, Halloween in England it is!

The day before we flew out however did not go quite according to plan.

I’ll rewind a little… To give the following a little context…

A few months back, while waiting for a taxi outside our apartment building, a taxi arrived with a lady in it… A middle-aged looking Thai lady wearing (what looked like) a black plastic mini dress and a black plastic cap, we immediately decided she had been hired by someone for a night of middle-aged plastic-wrapped fun… Then from inside our apartment building emerged a blonde-haired Europen man who took the plastic-wrapped woman into the building, before our taxi arrived, he re-emerged with the woman and they walked off together away from the building… We thought that he was a bit “quick” when it came to sex and that he was walking her off to a taxi…. So, back in the present….

Me and Jo had been out doing a little bit of food shopping, we were walking through the lobby of our building when we saw a small Thai woman sitting on the sofa in the lobby… People sit there all the time so we paid her no attention… As we walked past her the doors to the other side of our building opened and the blonde Europen man emerged and ran over at the woman, he grabbed her by the shoulders and began shouting at her… For a split second I thought they were play fighting (I’ve no idea why)… Within a second or two it was obvious they weren’t playing, he was shaking her, shouting at her…. At this point me and Jo got involved, We shouted at him, he turned on us shouting at us to “mind our own business” what followed was us telling him to leave the woman alone, while she just sat there…. I think it was plastic wrapped girl… I’ve no idea what had gone on, I’ve no idea why he was so angry, all I know is, men shouldn’t be aggressive with women under ANY circumstances… The arguing between the three of us continued until eventually security from our building appeared and escorted him outside… We walked away, he then began shouting back at us to “go to our apartment and mind our own business” Jo turned back and I thought she was going to fly at him, I told her to leave it and we went to our apartment.

Getting involved was the right thing to do, I know that… Had we not gotten involved I honestly believe she would have beaten that woman up… I spent the night stewing… The whole thing bothered me… I’ve been in Bangkok for almost a year and I’ve witnessed no aggression at all… Until this… I don’t understand how someone could act like that, I really don’t.

A restless night of sleep for both of us, maybe it was the events of earlier. maybe it was nerves about our flight back to England… Either way, neither of us had a good nights sleep.

We finished packing our cases and headed off to the airport, standing in line waiting to check our luggage in is always fun here in Bangkok, there is always a wide array of people to observe, to watch… To try and guess what bought THEM to Bangkok… The old man with dyed brown hair with bandages on his face, did he get some plastic surgery while here? The two odd-looking middle-aged men, one in jeans and shirt, the other in matching beige trousers, and beige jacket outfit… What did they come here for?… And then the obvious tourists… Still wearing the elephant print trousers they bought at some outdoor market here in the city… So many people, so many stories…

We boarded our plane and got ourselves comfortable, Jo had booked us in premium economy, the seats were comfortable and the food was excellent…. However, even tho I tried I simply could not get any sleep during our flight… This was a pain, but I did manage to watch a couple of films during the flight… I do wish I could have gotten some sleep tho.

I am puzzled by the actions of some people during flights… On this flight, it was the actions of the Asian passengers every time the seatbelt sign was illuminated.

The seatbelt sign lit up partway through our flight, the stewardess informed us in various languages that the seat belt sign was on because we were experiencing some turbulence, and we should return to our seats… Simple right? No. At this point, an old Oriental man a few seats down from us decided this was the perfect time to stand on his seat and start messing around with his luggage in the overhead compartment…. Eventually, he sat down… Only to get back up again and mess with his luggage once more… Then we got to the landing… The seatbelt sign went on, we were informed (in various languages again) that we were preparing for landing, we should put our seats in an upright position, put our seatbelts on and get ready to land… Everyone did as they were told…. Except for the Asians! Seatbelt sign lit up, they all jumped up and started getting bags out of the overhead compartments, one girl ran off to the toilets… Eventually, they settled, the stewardess told the old Asian man to put his seat in the upright position, which he did… Until she walked past and he immediately put it into the recline position again.

I know why we are required to do certain things when the plane is due to land… I know we have to open the window blinds so the aircrew (in the event of an emergency landing) can see clearly if either engine is on fire, thus allowing them to guide us to a safe exit, I know the lights are dimmed so as if we do have to leave the plane quickly, our eyes don’t take to long to adjust to the light… I know we shouldn’t have bags on our laps or blocking the aisles, again just in case we have to leave the plane quickly… These facts seem to have evaded these people… It’s like flight safety means nothing to them… All they can think of is “let's get off the plane first!”… Which is pointless when you’re in economy class (premium or otherwise) being as they let business class and first class off first anyway. Idiots.

So, we exit the plane, go through passport control and collect our baggage, we have to get to terminal 4 (Jo has booked a hotel for night one) we were waiting for the train to take us to terminal 4, the train to terminal 5 is at the platform and the girl on the platform has informed us all that the doors are closing and NOT to board the train… This message evades one couple as they make a run for it, his wife gets on the train, the doors close on the man's bags and he’s forced to retreat… His wife goes off on her journey, her husband is left looking like a bit of a dick on the platform.

We eventually get to the hotel near terminal 4, we drop our bags off in the room and head out to get some food… We walk across the landing and I notice that this hotel is designed in such a way as when you walk across this particular part you can see inside other peoples rooms… I see a pair of bare legs, I jokingly say to Jo “There's a naked man there!”… Jo looks and the man moves closer to the window… Yes... He was indeed naked… “He’s got his dick out!” Jo giggles and we head off for food…We spend about an hour in the restaurant, eating food, chatting and having a couple of drinks, the plan is to go to bed about 10 pm UK time to try to reset our internal clocks… We finish food and head back our room, jokingly I wonder if the naked man is still there…. We look... And yes, he was still there, flashing his penis out of his hotel window. Welcome back to England.

Resetting our internal clocks did not work… I think we managed around two hours of sleep…Not good.

We picked up a hire car and headed back to the West Midlands, we visited my Mom and spent a short time at our old house before heading to the Air BnB we had booked in Birmingham.

Air BnB…. Yeah… That didn’t quite go according to plan.

Our first impression was good, the property was actually an annexe of a much larger house in a nice part of Birmingham (yes folks, there IS a nice part of Birmingham), on entering the property I was surprised to see there was no TV, never mind we thought, if we want to watch anything we’ll just log onto the Wifi and watch stuff on the laptop… A quick email to the owner and we had the wifi password… Sorted!

We went out into Birmingham to see our son play drums at a gig, a few drinks later and we headed back to the Air BnB for some much-needed sleep…. This also did not go according to plan.

The bed was too small and I’ve never heard a bed make so much noise whenever you move in it… Turn over.. CREAK! Pull the duvet up over your body… CREAK! every single movement resulted in noise… As a result, we both had a terrible nights sleep… Jo had to pop into the office in Birmingham to do some work so I was left to my own devices, it was then I discovered a number of things about the Air BnB…

The Wifi was next to useless… Every few minutes the signal dropped out, the main house had a front door right next to the adjoining door with the Air BnB, which due to the homeowner having deliveries all day resulted in a terrible BANG BANG noise echoing throughout the Air BnB... Relax? I don’t think so… The majority of this blog was written (is being written) while I was alone in the room, had there been a television or a decent wifi signal you may have been spared the horror of reading this. By the time Jo got back from work, I was hating the Air BnB… You too at this point may also be hating that particular Air BnB too.

The following days followed… As following days do… And the Air BnB was getting no better… The bed seemed worse, the family living in the main house showed no consideration to us in the adjoining property… The final straw came on Friday night, we had been out throughout the day but when we returned Jo discovered something had gone missing from the bathroom, noting of value but still, something had gone missing… Jo had no sleep at all Friday night due to the bed and the noise coming from the main house… On Saturday morning we packed our bags and cut our stay short, we travelled to Kent to visit some family members and booked a new hotel for the remainder of our stay while we were there… A two hour drive back to the midlands and we slept soundly in our new hotel… Bliss!

We won’t be staying in any Air BnB any time soon.

Our trip to England was not what I’d call 100% successful… The trip wasn’t terrible, it wasn’t a total disaster but things happened that made us both think at times “why exactly did we come back”… There were, however, some high points, We met up with some of my old workmates in a local pub (always a pleasure lads!), we went to a Halloween event at the Black Country museum , we saw two live bands, we got to see some friends we’d not seen for a while and of course we got to see some family members… I made a few decisions while back in England… My collection of random comic book related items will soon be changing, I’ll be keeping some of my collection but a portion of it will soon be packed away to make way for more higher-end collectables, I think it’s time my collection “grew up” a little… The second decision I made while away was that even tho I’ve slipped from being fully vegetarian to flexitarian (eating meat every so often) I’ve found that I don’t feel as healthy as I did before, meat makes me feel sluggish and tired, l’ve decided that once I’m back in Bangkok I will be back to 100% vegitarian…. And once I’ve weaned myself off milk and cheese I’ll more than likely be vegan by Christmas.

We were directed toward a Netflix documentary by my Mother-in-law and Brother-in-law called “The game-changers”… Game changers is the name of the show, not my Brother-in-law (Just to clarify) which gave an interesting insight into the health benefits of being vegetarian/vegan, it was eye-opening stuff and well worth a watch…Also, a delicious vegan soup made by a good friend of ours and some good vegan/ veggie (among other topics) discussions over the dinner table helped me see what actually is best for me and my health… Vegan me will not be one of THOSE vegans tho, don’t worry… I’ll not bombard you with images of animal cruelty, guilt-tripping you into dropping the bacon sandwich and helping yourself to a bowl of muesli…No, it’s up to the individual, you want a burger, go get one... Enjoy! Me, I’ll just have the veggie option from now on… Yay me.

Where was I?

Oh yeah, England.

I’ll not waffle on about the negatives, I’ll just say that I was happy to be in the car heading down the motorway going to Heathrow airport, ready to fly back home…

{Squeel of brakes 1]

[Squeel of brakes 2]

Not actual brakes, there were no mishaps on the journey.

[Squeel of brakes 1… again]

Don’t you just hate how shops, restaurants etc are so bloody eager to shove Christmas down your throats? By November 1st Costa coffee at the motorway services had swapped the normal cups for a Christmas themed one and menu was now Christmas themed…. It’s November for Christ's sake (J’esus Christ)

This blog seems to have been a bit of a long one… So, friends, i’ll give you a break while I type up the next one…

SO until next time…