Monday, August 18, 2014
Monday, July 22, 2013
Much has happened this past year. Pie shops moved and moved again, always in the right direction, but it has kept me pinned down. We've moved from Phuket and Khao Lak and are now firmly established in Bangkok.
Life is interesting and fun all year round, hence less time on the blogg. Lots of new friends and customers have been made and since I discovered the 9 ball pool league, I've had a whole new social circle.
Next move coming up is going to take us to the big time.... or keep us at our happy cheerful shop type of business.
I still have many stories ready to go, but they lack humour. Until I can put this right, they'll stay as drafts. Plenty written, but not to standard. Bear with me please on this, the humour will come back as the stress of success abates.
Meanwhile, the only way is up!!!
Sunday, September 9, 2012
Much talk of Chili this week, mostly concerning how hot they are out here and how many of us discovered that "Spicy" in Thailand means don't eat it unless you are Thai.. even if we did grow up eating Vindaloo curries, Kebabs with chilli, or extra spicy pizza after every visit to the pub on a weekend. I have some friends coming over this season looking forward to trying our spicy Thai food so it should be interesting.
I remember making family size meals in England where the teaspoon of chili powder spiced up a whole kilo of meat. Here, I've had dishes that were a good 15 - 20 percent chili once you had added the powder at the table and the side serving of raw chilli's.
My first experience with the Thai "Salad" was in a hotel in Bangkok when I arrived on my second visit. I say second visit as my first stay was on a 90 day return ticket and I spent one day recovering from jet lag and the other 89 days drinking. But on my second visit I had matured as I was now 40.
So on my second visit, by the time evening fell I had managed to lay off the booze for an entire half day and was enjoying getting a feel for the sights and sounds of the city from my hotel balcony. The terrace restaurant looked ok and I wandered downstairs and decided a Salad would be a nice healthy western option for me. Wrong.
I noticed the staff looking at me when it arrived and should have known something was amiss. It was, by far and away the hottest chili dish I could ever imagine and the staff were watching to see me flinch and sweat. I tried not to show my cowardice in the face of this dish and soldiered on with a second mouthful.
At one stage, I pretended there was something interesting happening outside. I made an exaggerated surprised face and peered hard to the road outside. It worked. They all went to have a nosey at it and I took the opportunity to gargle a bottle of iced water, mop my brow with half the box of tissues on the table and regain my posture before they looked back round. This at least gave me the appearance of having survived a full 2 minutes eating without wimping out.
I settled for this respectable length of time and gave in, saying it was perhaps a tad on the hot side for a westerner. I can eat hotter food nowadays but do tend to use it as a dietary aid... the burning sensation stopping me from over eating. And, if nothing else, it always gives me an excuse to reach for the chang when I am out with the missus.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
I do love a good wedding, and in Thailand they are good. Three good friends married or marrying this year and I am enjoying watching their preparations on Facebook. Facebook being my friend in times of need, ie when I am living alone on the 4th floor in the Bangkok Pie Shop.
Dave and Wan at Songs Bar pulled off one of the most relaxing days out I can ever remember. Great atmosphere there on Bang Niang market, cooled of nicely in the eveing... eventually, and the kids also had a fantastic time running wild amongst the empty stalls.
Up now is Bubble Bee and we are having a great time with still 2 days to go. Made a bit of a road trip out of it... so thats a diet of toasted sandwiches again, quick stop off at Khun Sarai which is the stop we hope for on the night bus journeys.
There was a full blown storm with flooding and traffic grid lock when we arrived, so to get out of it I dodged into the car park at Central Chid Lom. When we started the Journey we were in Bang Biang in Phang Nga and dressed as we locals do in 10 year old shorts, free t-shirts from our days as divemasters and flip flops that have lost all of their flip and can now just about manage the odd flop. Central Chid Lom is the complete opposite end of the spectrum with very expensive shops and lots of very rich suburban Thai's. We made quite an impression!
What is most impressive is how the Bride and her family run the show. Bubble as we know and love her is of the formidable type and was our manager many moons ago. She is used to deciding what is going to happen and we are happy to delegate all resposibility to her and just do as we are told.... so long as it involves beer and whiskey.
Great pics to follow as we have some very good photographers and videographers here from the Dive boats. I, as per usual have no camera. I did get it out ready, cleared the memory card and placed it on charge..... then forgot it in the mad rush to get on the road.
Never mind. There is always next time. Good luck Bee and Good luck to my friend Charlie who will be here in the North of Thailand later in the year doing the same.
Video of Dave's (Songs Bar) children miming to an old hit of his fathers. Great views of bang Niang Market and our local village.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
But for not having a camera I fancy I could have been quite a reasonable photographer. I've seen plenty of interesting and amusing things, mentally framed the shot... then left without it. A few more of my own pics and videos would have helped the bog along as well... That said 400 reads yesterday and made the dizzy heights of 37 on blogtopsites!!! Must do some SEO sometime.
Anyway, this is set to change with the purchase of a new camera. The practicality of it not being able to photgraph itself is all that prevents me sharing its beauty with you. It will make a difference and the less seen parts of Thailand will now be brought to the screen. The cafe's behind Sai Tai bus station, the towpaths of the Sead Saeb canal that runs through Bangkok and that insane footbridge that bisects 22 lanes of traffic on 3 levels at Lad Prao and the area around Bang Sue which I discovered when I got off the train at the wrong platform and got lost.
All in all lots of out of the way places that nobody is interested in enough to photograph. I'll leave the half billion other travel blogs to fight it out for best review of Chiang Mai Hotels. I get so many bloggers say they will mention me etc. etc. and do I have a special price seeing as I am getting a mention. The answer is yes... you can pay twice the price for wasting my bloody time. Here's a map, there's Yorkshire (God located it centrally in the UK so everybody has easy access to it!), now google tight arse capital of the world (which we are) and go blog there.
I've walked most of Bangkok and, like every where else, without a camera and believe I have taken in a lot more than I otherwise would have. I'll probably miss loads now with all that clicking and flashing distracting me... in which case, the bin awaits.
My old camera that rarely works will have a mounting fastened to the front of the motorbike and I'll attempt some moving footage of a pie delivery through Patong on a busy day. I have the old tripod so that is easily done. If it decides not to function, at least I know I have punished it well by tying it to the bike. Teach it a lesson if nowt else.
So, back to the baking. I am a pieman after all and it's steak and kidney, chicken and mushroom, mince and onion, cheese and onion pasty - with mash, gravy, mushy peas or liquor. See you at weight watchers.
Def Leppard! I was never a big fan but I did like this track and coming from Yorkshire we do look after us own!
Monday, August 20, 2012
A warm welcome is always assured in Thailand..... From the Thai's that is.
When it comes to pleasing us crusty expats, it's a different matter altogether. If you are here on Holiday, we won't notice you, and other than the excessive drinking and lack of fashionable clothing, you won't notice us either. I'm thinking of when these visitors are family, friends, ex-colleagues or just general free-loaders.. You know the ones...
"ah Hi Sam, erm I mean Steve, yes that's it, Steve, my mum worked near the Council Office in Harrogate and says her boss, Don, or was it Peter? once asked you to serve some Court Papers for him!.... told me to look you up (bum off you) if ever I was in Malaysia, sorry , Thailand"
Ok, come on in then... but you pay for your pies!!!.
For visiting family and friends it's easier to get off on the right foot with that long lost loved one if you follow the rules. Using myself as an example, the first rule is..
"The welcoming smile and hospitality due are directly proportional to the amount of Yorkshire Tea bags, Sainsburys's mature cheddar, squeezy branston pickle, & tins of custard (Birds) delivered"
The details will differ across nationalities but the basic rule stands.... Come loaded. Clothes can be easily and cheaply purchased when you get here and you will not need that Arran Sweater in Thailand (dad!). Two pairs of shorts (old if you want to blend in with me) and T-shirts will suffice and perhaps one nice shirt in case we have to go to the Police Station for any reason. Other than that, the suitcases should be packed with goodies.
Duty free is not such an issue out here as we don't pay too much for it here anyway. Yes, we'll drink it, and by all means bring it, but please ensure it is in addition to the above items and not instead of any of them. Especially the cheese!!!
Rule number two. No, and I repeat NO, as in "not any ever" photos of us at school when we had nick names such as chubby, spotty, fudgey faggot ( I really had a mate with that name), etc. This will only see you swiftly vacating the spare bedroom and checking into the local B&B next to the Karaoke bar and opposite the all night market. Don't.
This will ensure a happy and pleasant stay in the Land of Smiles and if all goes well, you may even be invited back before the cheese runs out!!!
Not mentioning anybody by name here!!