Nok Bin Ma
It has been a while (several years) since my last sub and in the last five years I haven't visited the kingdom or anywhere else for that matter. You might be thinking I've not got much to say however just because I haven't visited in a while doesn't mean I will never return or that I don’t think about it. I do a lot. I also spend a fair bit of time accessing Thai-related sites and still mess around learning the language although not as much as before.
Well, what has changed in that time. Stick is no longer a resident for one and yet still has managed to report on comings and goings from afar. That would never have been possible 15/20 years ago which is around the time I first began my journeys out there (mid 90s) or the golden period as I like to refer to it. At that time I was spending two three-week periods every year for many years on a budget of (drum roll) £1500 all inclusive. That’s £500 per week including flight price. So there's one thing that’s changed. Pre 2008 there was a long period where the baht was steadily valued at around 70/75 to the pound. Golden times indeed. Nowadays it's just as steadily around the 50/55 baht level. So, overnight my budget is reduced by between a quarter and third and that’s before the inevitable price-hikes on rent, food, drink etc at the Thai end. So overnight I am no longer able to justify going there. But that’s ok. I'm playing the long game.
I would like to hear how this has affected guys that perhaps retired there pre 2008. Surely this will have affected their budgets too. So you are in your mid 50s and retired in, say, 2007 with enough income/capital to last 30 years when suddenly you realise that you only have enough to last 20 years and who knows if and when the goal posts, or perhaps aptly, the rugby posts (not the correct term I'm sure) are going to move again. I guess if you have a backup or plan B then there's less fallout. OK not possible for everyone but in my case I would keep property rented back home.
I hear a lot about guys (not just in Thailand) buying property out there. This is not an option for me. Ok if you can afford to drop 40 – 50 K on a condo but I just feel it's too risky. Renting for me would be the way ahead. At most, if you need to run to the hills you're only going to lose a month's deposit as opposed to some 5 million baht plot out in Isaan owned by your Thai partner. All it takes is an argument or a minor falling out with your ‘family’ and you're on your own. Ah, I hear you say but she was the one and a great lay too (and don’t get me started on that ass). Not worth it.
Which brings us inevitably to the main subject. Women. Well as far as I am concerned, apply the same rules in the above paragraph here. Renting for me would be the way ahead. Now I know that may be easier said than done, however I am living proof that it is possible. In the last five years I have more or less lived the life of a monk. What an admission to make, you might say. Well it's not as hard as all that (that’s what she said). Seriously though, what's the big deal? It's just sex, right? At least it is for me and always has been. I don’t do relationships and never have done and this is MY CHOICE whether in Thailand or here. Once the act is over, quite frankly I want to get on with my own shit thanks so see you later! Now this is where Thailand wins hands down and is the conclusion I have come to so far. Things might change when I reach a certain age (let's call it HHH syndrome) where I may need to be taken care of but by that time, who gives a shit, right? Now you all know that this makes sense surely.
As far as marriage and kids etc is concerned I am not interested and never have been. That’s not to say I had a bad childhood or anything, it's just not on my radar. Now I'm not a psychiatrist, I'm a green keeper but really, why would I be interested in a fifty-odd year old woman and all her inevitable baggage? I won't rule it out completely but she is going to have to bring an awful lot to the table to get any interest from me (I'm talking Halle Berry here), you know fifty but looks about 30, financially independent as opposed to being in-depth, no immediate family (I don’t want to meet her sisters or brothers) and no kids. Now I know that this is fantasy and doesn't exist but I won't compromise nor do I apologise for it. Rant over. Besides, the planet has got too many people anyway.
There have been some great subs recently. I particularly enjoyed the Korean one as I've always been fairly keen on visiting South Korea. I did wonder what the guy was doing there for a living. And of course Harry's adventures were brilliant. Harry, you have got to ask yourself one question : Do I like children? as it seems to me that most of your encounters were with spoiled pains in the ass who wanted something for nothing. Again, I say not worth it. As I think someone has already said hire a cook/cleaner/gardener and in Hua Hin like most of Thailand massage is easy to find whether with a happy end or not. There was a massage place near the palace in Hua Hin run by blind people which I visited years ago. I remember asking one of the guys how he knew the difference between a hundred and fifty baht note. Apparently he could feel the difference in the notes themselves. Incidentally, Harry did a sub just before his epic 20-part trilogy on general life as a retiree which was very informative just general day to day living in Hua Hin.
Around the time Stick left for home several months back, for some reason I lost connection with the site i.e. couldn't connect to it and genuinely thought it was gone for good. It was probably a technical issue such as the server going up and down and I may have done a rebuild on my own system, I can't recall exactly. So for a couple of months I had no Stick fix. It was this period where I started to Google around for alternative Thai centric entertainment which I had never really done before. To be honest I never really found anything that matched this site and saw a lot of one-upmanship and bitching on the forums. All quite boring really and I am not really surprised he wanted out of all of that. For sure, the scene there is not what it used to be but to be honest the entire bar thing is a drag after a while and if Nana becomes a new shopping centre it will make no difference to my life. I'm a bloke and I don’t do shopping in upmarket places. Give me Panthip back in the day anytime when you could haggle for software (or is it apps like they call them now). I'd be interested to know what the deal is at Panthip now. Back in the day I got all my recording packages at a fraction of UK prices. Not sure if that has all been cleaned up or not. I hope not but I'm sure someone will keep me right.
I was relieved to re-connect one Sunday and realise the site had been up all along and I was able to enjoy a backlog of Stick weeklies and readers' subs. It also seems now that every man and his dog with a camera is uploading to YouTube and an awful lot of it is fairly drab with one or two exceptions (there are a couple of US ones where at least the guys can speak a bit of Thai and a couple of UK ones which are a bit less informative but the characters are quite amusing) – I won't mention names. Are these guys actually making money from this via the subscribe here policy? Again, if anyone knows then please share.
I do sometimes wonder what has become of some of the old-hand writers from the sites early years like Korski, Phet and Dana and wonder where they all are now. I think I am right that Dana has written a book which if confirmed I will get a copy <The SPCA lobbied to have it banned – Stick>. As for me, I have a music website which I am promoting called yorlum.com. There are a few Thai references on the site, specifically a Thai song written and played by myself with Thai lyrics which hopefully says more than anything here about how I feel. It may sound a bit corny but for me my music is my relationship and my songs are my children. There are more than twenty songs on the site. I've been busy.
I hope Stick can keep things going but I guess it’s a bit like keeping up a long distance relationship and I am ever the pessimist when it comes to relationships right. I would be interested in knowing how he feels about integration back into life in NZ. <Will wait another month or two and write about that; it's on the to do list! – Stick> I'm not sure being there working for the last 15 years is going to look good on one's resume. That’s Western thinking for you, not my personal thoughts. I take my hat off to anyone who goes against the flow. What would you rather be – a sheep or lone wolf?
I always remember returning back from a 3-month trip and immediately on arrival in Europe feeling ripped off ROE Rip-Off Europe syndrome. You could probably rephrase that RIP Europe now what with all the political nonsense here. When I arrived back in my hometown having paid £25 for the taxi from the airport which was about the same distance from my lodging in Bangkok to Don Meuang / Swampi (cost around 300 baht), again I felt completely ripped off. I would usually do some shopping at the local supermarket and again I had that same feeling. I would say, however, that since the oil price has lowered in the last year, food and obviously petrol prices have come down significantly – as they should. Equally, oil stock prices have gone down. So if you have oil stock it's a double-edged sword. What worries me is what happens when and if the oil price goes back up.
One last thing I dislike more than anything on this planet (apart from death and cowards) – read terrorists is mobile fucking phones. Rant begins : Britain – The phony nation. OK I know that this is a global phenomenon and you might say I'm a bitter old twat who wishes he had invested in mobile phone tech rather than oil etc back in the swinging 90s but WTF is going on? Who is buying this shit? Everywhere I look I see sheep on their mobiles, mostly younger people and women but it has to be said guys too! It's pathetic, it really is! Are you trying to tell me all these people are checking their busy schedules and appointments, making huge financial decisions affecting global political affairs? No, what they are mostly doing is CHATTING and playing silly games. Now I am all for computers and technology but these are phones, ok?! It rings, you pick it up and reply. End of discussion. Computers stay at home under your desk and I always thought chatting was for girls. Nuff said.
(Please note the last paragraph was added having consumed half a dozen strong cups of coffee but it needed to be said).
And just one other thing guys. If you find yourself with a companion whom it would seem prefers her mobile phone to your company, do the following:
1. Ensure the phone is NOT on vibrate mode.
2. Take the phone and ram it up her ass.
3. Leave the premises and return home to your desktop where you sensibly keep your phone.
4. Text her to tell her it's over.
Will I return? All I can say is listen to Nok Bin Ma here: http://www.yorlum.com/new-song/4587119196
I am hoping my next submission will be a trip report.
Happy new year when the time comes,