Stickman's Weekly Column February 12th, 2006

Post Tsunami Phuket



The plan was always to live and work in Phuket, only for a year or two, before returning to Kiwiland. It never happened. While I never really liked Bangkok at first, the place sort of grew on me and as I started to carve out something of a life, the dream of living and working on Phuket slowly faded away. In fact after starting work in Bangkok it took me three years before I even had a chance to visit Phuket.

I made it back down to the pearl of the Andaman this week, only my fifth trip to Phuket, which compares poorly with what must be 30 or 40 odd excursion to Pattaya. In many ways that's to be expected as Pattaya is so much closer to Bangkok and so much easier to get to.

I've grown to like Pattaya and have been impressed the way the city has grown up over the last few years. For someone living in Bangkok it offers a great get away. Now Phuket sure has nicer beaches but it is a much longer haul to get there. Is the journey worth it? This weekend I made it to Patong Beach, Phuket, for the first time in four years. I wondered how it had changed since my last visit. Would the bar scene have grown, like it has in other seaside resorts? Would there still be a lot of construction and repairs taking place since the tsunami? Would it be even more expensive than it had been in the past?

Patong Beach is the most developed of the beaches in Phuket, the beach with the biggest bar areas and the place where most people gravitate to. It is not the best beach on the island however, and at least 3 or 4 others could lay claim to being more aesthetically pleasing, to say nothing of being less crowded. But for many, Patong Beach IS Phuket.

Approaching Patong Beach, I saw the familiar signs in one or other of the Scandinavian languages and throngs of Western tourists and knew I was back in the southern farang capital of Thailand, Phuket.

I had no idea how busy Phuket would be. One hears all sorts of stories of really low occupancy rates in the hotels on the island – and this was verified when getting a hotel room which was very easy. But actually getting a flight down was a real problem so I could not work out quite how busy it would be.

During the day, I might have believed all that I'd heard about the place being quiet, but at night Phuket is well and truly alive. The taxi very slowly made its way through Patong to the hotel, and all we could see were farangs. Farangs, farangs, farangs. Everywhere! The area around Bangla Road was just packed with people.

At night Soi Bangla really comes alive and its like a huge collision of cultures, ages, and persuasions as seemingly the whole world descends on Phuket's busiest strip. Aussie teenagers on their first trip away from home, bloated elderly Europeans and Asian tour groups all there to have a good time. Most countries had a representative or two present.

But I couldn't help but notice the agro in the air. A lot of guys were off their face early in the evening, staggering around bumping into people and generally doing a pretty good job of making an ass of themselves. There 's no doubt in my mind that Bangla Road sees more than its fair share of fights.

With so many people around the bars were thronging with punters and tourists. Bar owners must be rubbing their hands with glee, having what seems to be a booming high season. Even some of the smallest bars must be pulling in huge money. Bars with 10 or 12 seats often had 30 or more customers. Soi Crocodile was packed to the point that even if you wanted to enter the soi to try and make your way to a bar, you couldn't! Soi Eric was not much different. Soi Tiger was doing very well. Soi Sea Dragon was not enjoying quite the same level of business but was still doing ok. And all of the bars on Bangla Road itself had people spilling out on to the road.

But just why were the bars doing so well? Probably one very clear reason. The girls! The girls in the beer bars of Phuket are, I have to report, vastly superior to their sisters in Pattaya. In fact as Mrs. Stick said, "Many of the girls here are beautiful. Is Pattaya the place where bargirls go to retire?" Ok, sure, there are a heap of pretty girls in the gogo bars in Pattaya but a lot of the girls in the beer bars are not quite so pretty.

The armies of women in Phuket seem to be, girl for girl, younger than those you find in Pattaya and where in Pattaya you get a lot of girls still in their bahn nok uniform, the girls of Phuket look like they are there to party! Hot pants, ultra tight jeans, racy tops, everything needed to turn the average guy on. Many of the girls really looked seductive.

Drinks prices are dearer than the beer bars of Pattaya but not by so much that it hurts. Patong's beer bars are generally more colourful and better kept than those of Pattaya. In addition to this there is dancing on small stages in many of the beer bars too which gives the bars the feel of something of a cross between a gogo bar and a beer bar which helps to make the drinks prices seem fair.

One of the things that made me laugh, or perhaps cringe would be a better word, was that a number of the restaurants in Patong Beach listed the prices in both baht and Euros. The prices in Euros would seem low to most Europeans, but in actual fact, by Thai standards, the prices in many of the restaurants at Patpong Beach are on the high side. I remember a few years back and everything was listed in dollars and baht, but with the Euro stronger these days, and with the huge number of Europeans who visit Patpong, using Euros might be more relevant. But I can't help but think that if the dollar becomes stronger than the Euro again, then prices will once again be listed in dollars – because it sounds cheaper. Or maybe, just maybe, they'll start quoting in pounds sterling – and then everything will seem really cheap, yeah?!

There is one thing which I was seriously disappointed with at Patong Beach and that was that they had not seized the opportunity to redevelop the waterfront / Beach Road area into something a bit more, for want of a better word, pleasant. Too many of the major tourist areas in Thailand are exactly the same. The beach stops and then suddenly you are in what may as well be a slice of Farangland with pushy Indian tailors next to internet cafes with bored staff who know little more than how to turn on a computer, next to travel agents pushing day trips you don't want and elephant rides at four times the cost the locals pay. This is all while the traffic is snarled up and motorcycle taxis frequently use the footpath as their own personal expressway, just metres away from a sandy strip of beach. Patong Beach had the chance to improve itself, but it didn't, which is a shame.

Just think that they could have made that area into a Walking Street, as per Pattaya, but not just a walking street at night, but rather a full 24 hours a day thing. Encourage business owners to open up a heap of cafes and small eateries. After all, Phuket is a magnet for Europeans, holidaymakers from places with a lively cafe culture, and people who I am sure would happily spend an hour or so a day sipping their Illy or Lavasa, with a view of the beach.

As far as traces of the tsunami go, the major reminder is that every second street vendor seems to be selling a DVD of the disaster. Apart from that, a casual visitor who hadn't been in touch with what was going on in the world probably wouldn't even know that there had been a disaster here. Obviously Patong Beach was not hit nearly as hard as other places.

So much about Patong Beach has not changed since my last visit. The gay area still has the fastest and cheapest internet cafes. 7 Eleven still doesn't seem to have infiltrated any locations near the beach meaning most minimarts can and do charge what they like and unsuspecting tourists who are offered to have their picture taken with katoeys outside Soi Crocodile are still shocked by the demands for 50 baht the moment the shot has been taken (must be a REAL good earner, this!) Like so much of Thailand, any scams or questionable practices where the victims are farangs are seldom fixed.

The other thing I didn't like was that too many people in business or who offer services to farangs pull on your heartstrings and keep referring back to the tsunami. Yes, we know it was terrible and yes we feel for you and the hell you must have been through, but it was so bad that even when negotiating a tuktuk fare, you would try and be reasonable with the ridiculous prices they quoted you. Asked for 100 baht to literally just take you around the corner, to which you would ask substantially less, they would come back with "tsunami, my life no good" and give you one hell of an evil look. Sorry, but that sort of carry on won't win too many friends. I guess it works with some people though so they will continue to use it.

One can't help but laugh though at the way the nightlife has got way out of hand in Phuket. The authorities have always said that they do not want Thailand's reputation damaged through prostitution but frankly, it is so incredibly visible and out there in the open in Phuket – and it was what everyone was talking about on the beach chairs, that the authorities simply cannot be serious about eradicating it. At Sharky's Bar in the complex of beer bars below Tiger Disco, the girls get up on the bar and dance in a sexy manner as people line up with their digital cameras and literally hundreds of pictures are taken.

It also has to be said that the girls in the discos in Phuket are WOW! Some of the hottest looking women you will see. I've got a couple of Swedish friends who come out to Phuket every year and swear by the girls in the discos here – and it is not hard to see why!

It is nice to see that things at Patong Beach seem to be largely back to normal and it remains the same as it ever was. The beaches are great, if a little crowded. The seafood is good, but a little expensive, but if seafood is not your thing, you can find almost anything food-wise – and most of the time it is pretty good. The girls are present in what seem to be greater numbers than before. Most importantly, tourists seem to be going back to Phuket. With a bit of luck everything will be completely back to normal by the time the next high season comes around.

WHERE IS THIS PICTURE Competition?

It was the cafe at The Amari Watergate Hotel.

I think few will get this…central Bangkok it is!

Last week's pic was of the cafe outside the Amari Watergate. The picture also showed one of the entrance ways for the excellent Henry J Beans, the sort of Hard Rock Cafe style pub / burger bar. What's the bet that people struggle to get this week's pic?! The prizes are only available to people in Thailand now – either residents or tourists, and must be redeemed within 2 weeks. You MUST say that you are in Bangkok and able to claim the prize or I will consider you ineligible.

FROM STICKMAN'S EMAIL INBOX

Make as much as you can today, tomorrow is so far away…

I was down to visit a friend who used to dance at Soi Cowboy and has since moved to Rainbow 4. I think she will be back in Cowboy shortly. Anyway, I bought her some drinks and some drinks for her friends and for me and some cigarettes, etc. and as it got to be around 12:30 I decided it was time to head home. Mind you, I was not being constantly hassled by the over-aggressive and avaricious mamasans because I had already barfined my friend (it was her first night at Rainbow 4) and paid her bar fine separately from my bin, as is the custom so we could sit together, etc. So around 12:30 I ask for checkbin and one of the tie-wearing guys comes over, goes through my check(s) (I had already skimmed them) and unbelievably, without the use of a calculator, turns the last one over and writes down a total. Now, I was shocked. There must have been 10+ checks and I thought to myself…what is a mathematician doing working in Rainbow 4?! To my point, he wrote down 2,035 baht. I immediately motioned for him to send the checks to the cashier…and what do you know? They came back with a price of 1,735. Now I am not a cheap Charlie and I am in Rainbow 4 regularly if for no other reason than to show my friends what 200 girls look like. But what I don't understand is 300 baht is not a small mistake. Is there a new service charge I am unaware of? I brought this up to one of the older, fatter mamasans and she immediately dismissed it by just repeating "Ok", "Ok". It's one thing to try and gouge tourists but I live here and have lived here for over a year now. Why try to gouge a repeat customer?

Despicable behaviour in Rainbow 4. Yaba induced, perhaps?

I thought I should drop you this email about something I saw in Rainbow 4 the other night. A mate and I were sitting by the stage and noticed that the guy next to us was reaching up to one of the girls to put a 100 baht note in the side of her bikini. She proceeded to take it out and throw it back at him before moving to a different pole in disgust. A few minutes later my mate went to the toilet and on his way back to his
seat this same girl asked him for a tip. He said no but would buy her a drink. With that she went off to get her drink. She then came and sat down with 2 cocktails which was taking the piss. Without taking a sip she then asked my mate for a tip. He said ok and went to give her 100 baht. She stood up and ripped the note up in front of him and threw it to the ground. She then picked up one of the cocktails and crushed the glass with her bare hands and threw that to the ground before storming off. It obviously attracted attention to us which wasn't too comfortable to say the least, but where do these girls get off behaving this way? This girl has been there quite a while and wears her hair draped over one side of her face. So I would suggest to all and sundry to steer well clear. I would have thought it would be in the interest of the bar to get rid of girls like her?

There is honour amongst thieves!

After reading Tall, Tasty & Thai I recalled a story several years ago of an acquaintance who was in Singapore and was going to deposit around $8000 US in his offshore account. He got liquored at Orchard Towers and brought a Thai girl back to his hotel. After finishing his pre-activities shower he noticed the girl had vanished. He went to his money belt and noticed she had removed $1,000 before fleeing, thoughtfully leaving him with $7,000.

30,000 baht? You mean, per day? What?!

I know many of these poor souls. Endlessly chasing a dream in Bangkok induced by their tilac or by the possibilities of getting one. Some backpacker sons of a friend of mine, who can barely speak English, and with dishonourable degrees from a Western Australian high school, are scoring B30K a month to teach small sprogs English. It's certainly a profession abounding in contradiction. Another friend has a brother here, living with his Thai wife, again on the same sort of package. B30K always sounded like a daily rate to me.

Having a bubble.

When I read that teachers in Thailand are earning an average of 30K baht / month my initial reaction was "you're having a bubble…" (If you know your cockney slang you'll know what I mean). I earn ten times that amount in Hong Kong after tax & get a 25% housing allowance on top. Further, we get a 25% biannual gross salary gratuity. Now, Hong Kong is a much more expensive city than Bangkok, but it's not 10 times more expensive. The cost of living is only really made more expensive due to housing and drink prices. Food, clothes and transport etc are all about the same price as Thailand. Housing is very expensive. I pay 60,000 baht / month on a 550 square foot apartment. However, I live in the most expensive part of town – I could live in a much less salubrious area and get away with about 30,000 baht / month.

Illness in Bangkok.

Just an observation on your mention of your friends getting sick in Bangkok. From my experience, most farangs suffer an inordinate amount of throat and other upper respiratory infections in Bangkok. This is most probably due to a combination of air pollution, the constant drifting between air-conditioning and oppressive heat and the over crowding on public transport. Also, antibiotics are often abused, and are over prescribed by unqualified pharmacy staff which often leads to the patient developing a resistance to these medications. Unless people have particularly bad infections, plenty of water and rest are probably the best thing. Excessive alcohol intake with a subsequent decrease in nutritional status is a common anomaly among farangs spending time in the tropics.

A new bar is soon to open in Pattaya called Suckers. I'm sure I do not need to insult your intelligence by telling you what style of bar it will be…

The Covent Garden Complex in Pattaya is picking up. In at least one of the new bars in that newest of Pattaya bar areas, things are going well and turnover is above expectations. However, the bar owners of all of the bars in that area should not be counting their chickens as come May / June it may well be a different story. One of the major concerns is the location when the rain is pissing down. In years past, even bars like Happy would be quiet on rainy nights as many punters stayed around the Soi Diamond area where they could hop from bar to bar without getting wet. With Boesche and Catz both doing well, X-Zone doing OK and Babewatch starting to get its act together with the arrival of Ricky, people may be more willing to brave any rain as that would make four bars worth visiting without getting a soaking. Time will tell.

And speaking of X-Zone, Phil, the manager from the just closed Club Electric Blue on Walking Street is about to join the team.

In certain neighbourhoods of Pattaya, gogo bars have been closed by 1:00 AM and the customers told to head back to their hotels by authorities, while in other neighbourhoods the bars are closed much later. All very confusing!

Tropical Bert’s which was located on Beach Road for the last year has moved to make way for a new hotel. Bert has relocated to a brand new commercial complex on Second Road opposite the Bangkok Bank (immediately before Soi 6/1). The bar is bigger, has 4 TVs, high speed internet for customers, NO bar girls, and the food is even better than before with the acquisition of a new chef (Josh ex Shenanigans and Queen Vic). Oh, and he has 4 rooms for let upstairs. The beer is cheaper than most beer bars. A good place to chill out away from the chaos that is much of Pattaya.

The Bus Stop has opted to open the new front sooner than later. They were moving in on Thursday night at which point they said the new front should be open within 3 days.

In what seems to be a fast developing trend in all bar areas, the cost of a lady drink just leapt 20% in Raw Hide. A splash of Coke now runs a princely 120 baht, up from 100. Beers are also 120 baht. One of the funnies in this particular bar is that there are coasters on every table advertising Asahi Beer – just don't go asking for it because they don't have any in stock – did they ever? Soi 33 seems cheaper by the day, doesn't it?

But I'm afraid to say that it doesn't stop there. It would seem that Soi Cowboy is trying to outdo Nana Plaza….in the competition to see who can charge the most for a beer! At least one bar, one of the most popular bars, is now asking 130 baht for a beer, and spirits seem to be the same price. This is not a significant increase over the previous price, but it remains an increase nonetheless.

But bargain hunters can still find some good deals around town. Up the road at Nana Plaza there are a number of bars with good happy hours, so Soi Cowboy does have to be careful. The Big Mango has 60 baht drinks, Farang Connection 75 baht, and both Cat House and Silver Dragon have a buy 1 get 1 free deal.

With all of the price increases in recent times, I will tempt fate and ask the question about when the Soi 33 bars start to increase their prices? When I was first taken to Soi 33 some time around the middle of 1998, drinks were priced at 80 baht in happy hour and 150 baht after happy hour, meaning 9:00 PM onwards. That was just a fraction under double the prices of a drink at Nana, and about double the prices charged at Cowboy. These prices in Soi 33 remain today, meaning that they are only 20 – 30 baht dearer than the major bar areas.

A couple of recommendations have been made by readers, one for a budget place to eat, the other for a budget place to stay. Not far from the entrance to Soi 8 is the White House Cafe & Bar, owned by a Aussie from Perth. He has farang breakfasts from 70 baht, including Vegemite (no Marmite – so sad), and farang style evening meals from under 200 baht. From the number of expats at breakfast and in the bar in the evening it is not the best kept secret but it is great value and has really friendly Thai staff. The other place is the Bangkok Suite Hotel. 650 baht a night includes breakfast and free wi-fi internet access. This is a very good deal!

As mentioned earlier, Electric Blue Pattaya will close this Saturday and the girls and staff will relocate to a new club on Soi Diamond next to Casino Club. Club Electric Blue Jr. opens Tuesday 14th. Table dancing is the theme and special VIP party rooms will be available. Andy hopes to see both old and new customers there. The new club on Walking Street will open early to mid July.

The Fun House on Sukhumvit Soi 11 will be having a grand opening party on Saturday, February 18. They will be serving FREE BEER from 8:00 PM until 1:00 AM along with a buffet. The Fun House has a spray tank wherein you throw a ball, hit a target, and a shower turns on with a couple of dancing girls inside it. They also have a Spin & Win game, pool, fun house mirrors, and other carnival games. It is located at the end of Soi 11 on the corner between the Bed Supper Club and Q-bar (formerly the Corner Bar). Sounds like it will be well worth a look.

Reports have finally made it into the mainstream press of what many have known for quite some time – that visa run buses are being targeted by police. A number of companies in various spots around the country operate a service of taking foreigners to the nearest border crossing, expediting them through immigration and then returning them to the original location, all as fast as possible. The locations they go to and the fees charged vary, but generally the price is no more than 2,000 baht. This is a bona fide service. However, a number of people who have already overstayed their visa choose to use these companies, which in some cases may be a mistake. Police are stopping these buses and checking everyone's passport. Notwithstanding that they're on their way to the border for the very purpose of getting a new visa, if anyone is found on overstay, they are in big trouble. A group was caught this week, a third of the passengers were overstayers, and they are all about to be deported – that is not before they spend a few days in the local monkey house which from all accounts is not particularly pleasant. The moral of the story is very simple. Whatever you do, DON'T OVERSTAY!

And speaking of farangs up to no good, be very careful in the bar areas around Big C in Pattaya. There is one beer bar there that has one 16 year old and three 14 year olds. Unknowing Westerners are barfining them. If in doubt as to whether ladies of the night are of legal age, ask to see their ID card. Better still, move on to another bar.

I am seeing and hearing more reports of down and out farangs in Bangkok. Recently I spotted a guy who looked really rough on Soi Covent. He was semi lucid on the ground outside the convent itself, opposite St Jospeh School. He was what could only be described as emaciated and his clothes were that of a homeless person. As I walked past, I wasn't even sure if he was alive but it was almost as if he sensed my presence, propped himself up and took a slug from a large bottle of Singha! My best guess is that he was Eastern European, he just had that look about him. And then there was a report from a friend who saw a farang passed out on Soi Thonglor of all places. How did he end up in that flash neighbourhood?! Thailand can be a very unforgiving place if you are down on your luck.

Westerners in Thailand don't always have the best reputation in the world, and it is those guys in Thailand who, rightly or wrongly, get a lot of stick. Proof that there are a few dodgy geezers down that way comes from the wrangles involved in a couple of internet discussion forums which have resulted in death threats! To cut things really short, a gent was fired from FLB as he was going to set up a rival bar / hotel. At the same time a disgruntled board member set up his own online board, Pattaya-chat. The Pattaya Secrets board was set up to keep people aware of his coming venture. Since then the guy behind Chat has had death threats etc. He has now stated he is closing the board and is he contacting the Thai authorities about the people behind Secrets. Fortunately the Bangkok discussion forums have never seen this sort of hostility before.

Quote of the week comes from a workmate. "Many Isaan women seem to be allergic to work."

The national anthem plays at many spots around the country at 8 AM and 6PM and most people will stop what they are doing when it is played, although foreign tourists may not realise and unwittingly continue about their business. But sometimes it mightn’t be easy to stand still, and sometimes one might just find themselves in an awkward situation, like one of my workmates did this week. He usually gets to work early but he had a bit of a sleep in and found himself about to exit the skytrain station at 8 AM. He got on one of the long escalators and was going down just as the national anthem started. Everyone at the bottom of the escalator stopped and stood at attention, but there were still people going down. A traffic jam developed at the bottom and from all accounts ended up looking something like a 50 man rugby scrum as everyone who had got on the escalator could not get off, nor could they go backwards, and all ended up piling into those people at the bottom. Oops!

Rumours have been circulating about a wild tattoo that one of the local bar girls had just gotten. Last night it was spotted at long last. I interviewed the young lady in question and she said it is NOT a typo, she wanted it to say that. She has had it for 2 weeks and thinks it's great. Can you just imagine going at it with this little tilac and asking her "how long will you love me" and her replying silently but pointing to the tattoo.

The internet brought the Dollhouse's former #33 to fame and she was Bangkok's first internet queen. While some girls get a good mention on some of the discussion forums, particularly Bangkok Tonight, no single girl has really been brought to fame in the way that #33 was. Even now, about 4 years on from the period when she was really popular and incredibly well-known (as well as VERY busy), she is back in business. The unforgettable silicone still swing in tandem together and that nose job still looks kinda out of place on a girl hailing from Isaan. If #33 brings back fond reminders for you, make your way down to Dollhouse in Soi Cowboy and keep a look out for #46. It's not a look-alike. She's back. Actually, she has been back for quite some time, after a punter who tried to rescue her was unable to make it work.

This appeared in yesterday's edition of The Nation about a bargirl and her purported boyfriend attacking an American tourist. Salt of the earth, these girls!

Ask the Sticks

Mrs. Stick is here to answer questions surrounding anything that confuses you in Thailand, particularly issues of the heart. Please note that for general bargirl related questions, Mr. Stick might answer them. It has to be said that Mrs. Stick is not your stereotypical Thai woman. She is not Buddhist and she is not shy to criticise things about her own country and culture, although having said that, she remains proud to be Thai. Mr. Stick will try and answer the questions which Mrs. Stick is not so sure about. Please do try and limit the length of questions to Mrs. Stick to about 100 words. We get many questions that are entire stories of several hundred words which I'm afraid are just too long to run here.

Question 1: I am a western professional woman who has a friend who is a Thai professional woman. My question concerns friendship. I have many western friends. I value them. With my Thai friend, I am not sure. Something seems lacking. Any insight would be appreciated. What are the "standards?" She is visiting me here in the west.

Mrs. Stick says: I think Thai people are not really that different when it comes to friendship but values, culture and beliefs are all quite different and this can result in some things being misunderstood. Once that you have realised this person is genuine and that a friendship exists, just try to enjoy it! If she does something to upset you, you need to look at what she does and if you don't understand why, ask her about it. If you don't have a strong friendship then don't confront her as most Thais do not like confrontation.

Question 2: I'm a long time reader and big fan of Stick's site. I can remember in the old day his mantra was "You can take the girl out of the bar but you can't take the bar out of the girl", meaning that marriage to a bargirl was doomed before it started. He doesn't have a mantra these days but the ever repeated comments are something along the lines of "Westerners and Thais are so different that expecting a happy marriage is perhaps asking for too much". I am very curious as to whether you, as our agony aunt, and Mr. Stick's wife, agree with what he says.

Mrs. Stick says: I am lucky to have met a guy who understands Thai culture very well and who is prepared to make some compromises. Even though I have a farang husband, when I go to work or go out with friends and see and meet some farang guys – many of my friends date farang guys – I cannot help but think how difficult it would be with many of these guys. Given that I speak the language and have a fair understanding of farang culture and ways, and given that I would like to think I am open minded, I still think it is very difficult. And I have to say this, that every time I see a very incompatible couple, such as an executive guy with a woman who was obviously a bargirl, then I cannot help but feel sorry, sorry for her! In situations like this I have seen that it is the girl who has to make all the compromises. Girls like this really need a guy who is compatible with them but actually look for a guy with money. Why is it that these bargirls who supposedly have such a good farang happily go overseas with their men and then have affairs with Thai men? I know and have seen enough of such relationships to know that these couples are so horribly incompatible, and this manifests itself in many ways. So I guess that I do agree with what my husband says.



If there is one thing about running this column that I am proud about it is the fact that it is always on time. Read that. ALWAYS. If it is ever late, there will be a notice on the main page explaining clearly that it will be late. This notwithstanding, I was inundated with complaints last weekend that the column wasn't up on time, some people quite heated about it. Almost everyone who complained was local, and almost everyone had ADSL. I can only deduce that there was a problem with a local ISP and in particular, their cache server. Believe me, it's True!

And if you hadn't figured it out yet, the address of the column each week is sequential, meaning that the address stays the same, except for the number, so where last week's column was weekly 248, this week's is 249. So, if you think the column should be up online, but you only see last week's column, then simply add one to the number of the previous week's column. Easy!

Your Bangkok commentator,

Stick


Thanks go out to Bkk Grasshopper and Claymore