Tag: bangkok

  • Same Same, but Desperate

    Post by The Bounceologist on February 17th, 2012

    The Bionic Salesman
    A Journey around Thailand

    So that’s the end of another tour of Southern Thailand. We arrive back in Bangkok for a final three days. A month’s accumulated junk litters the baggage carousel. As if this is not enough, Misty heads straight from the airport to Chatuchak Market in search of more, coming back with bagfuls, including, for me, three pairs of unusual shoes and a dozen T-shirts.

    None of the tourist T-shirts with the lame English slogans (Same Same but Different, iPood, etc.), these are tasteful shirts with arty Thai squiggles on them. I wore the first one around Bangkok for hours before some kind soul stifled her guffaws long enough to point out that the squiggles meant something along the lines of, “I’m a sad mug who’s desperate for a girlfriend”.

    “My wife bought me this,” I said by way of explanation. The shirt came off.

    It has been an amazing trip. We’ve got into the habit of using the car to take us away from the main beaches and then shopping around for bungalows. We were almost the only guests at a great place on Bang Rak beach in Samui.

    Sabai Resort

    Sabai Resort: Little Scandinavia's Little Italy

    Ao Nang in Krabi is Little Scandinavia, but we found ourselves in Little Italy at the Sabai Resort, where Italians come on their scooters from all over to air kiss, drink wine and punctuate their conversation with vigorous hand gestures. The owner looks uncannily like an Italian Basil Fawlty.

    In Phuket, we took a random turn off the coast road and found ourselves at the Baan Armeen, a new and pleasant little resort on Bang Tao Beach. I find the Phuket beaches from Kamala up far more attractive than the most famous beaches – Patong, Karon and Kata – and we particularly took to Surin Beach, with its string of beachfront bars.

    From Samui to Khao Lak, it was good to see the Waboba Ball selling so quickly, but disconcerting to see how often it goes out of stock. We arrived in Koh Samui to find only one shop with balls.

    If you have had difficulty finding a shop that has stock, you have our sympathy. This is a problem we are working to resolve.

    Meanwhile, in Bangkok, finding a Waboba Ball is a bit like playing Where’s Wally. The ball is available in Supersports, but the shop apparently won’t allow the product displays to be rearranged, so Waboba is often included as an afterthought, balanced on top of some other display. But if you find yourself near the Mares sign, you’re probably getting warmer.

    The Pro Ball is particularly hard to find. Our Thai stock sold out in the time it takes to say “bounces on water”, but we should have stock again in about two weeks, and this time we are also getting the baseball glove to go with the Pro, so you should watch out for that.

  • Driving by Numbers

    Post by The Bounceologist on April 30th, 2011

    The Bionic Salesman
    A Journey around Thailand

    So much for the rain. The newspapers were full of flood warnings as I set off on the second leg of my journey around Thailand, but it rained only three times on a three-week trip.

    Those three rain storms all came on the first day as I drove down the east side to catch the ferry to Koh Samet. The rain came in blocks of sky, an aggravated shout that soon ran out of breath. For a while it was like driving through a liquidiser. Mostly, there was brilliant sun. (Read more…)

  • Salesman Sees Red on Trip to Khao San Road

    Post by The Bounceologist on January 28th, 2011

    The Bionic Salesman
    A Journey around Thailand

    The Redshirts came out in force on Sunday. I noticed it first at Ratchathewi, where every third vehicle was a wriggling octopus of scarlet revellers from all the generations.

    Children, parents, grandparents all crammed into pick-up trucks so full that their legs dangled off the back. Grannies held up their flags as they stood against the truck cabins. Children sat bewildered or played with their toys. Cars were just as full, with Redshirts sitting in the opened boots, with their legs dangling.

    I was on my way to Khao San Road, and it was immediately obvious that shouldn’t take a taxi. I walked the full distance from Ratchathewi to Khao San Road, with the traffic beside moving in stops and starts, so that every few minutes I would hear the same blast of music and the same cheers catching me up from behind. (Read more…)

  • Siam’s Squawking Man from Xi’an

    Post by The Bounceologist on January 25th, 2011

    Xi'an Man in Siam

    Xi'an Man in Siam

    The Bionic Salesman
    A Journey around Thailand

    “Two cliches make us laugh but a hundred cliches moves us because we sense dimly that the cliches are talking among themselves, celebrating a reunion.” Umberto Eco

    It must be homesickness that makes me use this quote again. Readers of my other attempts at blogging will recognise it.

    You need to remember that I live in China, where they have no fear of cliches, embrace them, cherish them, even.

    This is nowhere truer than with the conversations you have with people you’ve just met. These conversations are like reading from a script. The pattern never varies but people never tire of it. It is at once both cliched and profoundly comforting. In China, you’ll never be lost for words.

    I mention this because I found myself having this same conversation with an old beggar on the pavement at Siam in central Bangkok. (Read more…)

  • Trail of Two Bangkoks

    Post by The Bounceologist on January 14th, 2011

    The Bionic Salesman
    A Journey around Thailand

    Ah, Thailand at last – land of beauty, smiles, elegant beaches and unfathomable ways. I’ve been here a few days now and I already feel I know something of the country’s fine traditions. I know, for example, that at four thirty every Friday, the people of Bangkok like to get in their cars and park them in the streets with the engines running. I’ve already learned not to go anywhere on Friday afternoons.


    I’ve taken a liking to the little streets of boutiques and restaurants opposite Siam Square (see pix). This is the city’s good side – indigenous, young, vibrant and creative. I walked there for ages. Bought some crispy pork and an Itchy (or is it Scratchy?) T-shirt. Couldn’t resist a smirk when I got to “Miss Puke’s” massage parlour. (Read more…)