Thailand Temptations

Thailand is the kind of place where after a day or two your brain switches gear and starts thinking crazy things, like whether you are too young to get a retirement visa (you have to be 50, for the record), or if there is some other way you can get a visa to stay there…

Bangkok Family Fun

Thailand’s crowded, traffic clogged capital, Bangkok, is not exactly the first place that comes to mind when you think of family friendly activities. Shopping, yes. Food, yes. Night time ‘entertainment’, ladyboy cabarets, street markets, definitely. But family fun? Yes! You would be surprised to learn that in the past ten years, this mega city has…

Low Season in Lamai, Koh Samui

It’s early June in the idyllic paradise of Koh Samui, and the mood is nothing short of subdued. We seem to be the only ones staying at this gorgeous, cheap hotel across the road from Lamai Beach. The Swedes and the Germans and the Russians are long gone, having returned to their homelands to enjoy…

Chilling in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand

Far removed from the raucous, sweaty, half naked beach bars and Carnival atmosphere of places like Phuket, Pattaya, and Koh Samui in the south, much to my surprise Chiang Mai was the most ‘normal’ place that I’ve been to in Thailand.

Whitewashing

Ironically, the white tourists in Thailand are trying their best to get as brown as possible while all the Thais are hiding from the sun.

Passports and Pampers – baby gets her first stamp

A few nights ago I slapped my 9-week old daughter right in the face. Now before you accuse me of child abuse, let me say I did it for her own good. See, she was lying there in bed fast asleep, all plump and innocent with her wonderfully soft and powdery baby skin, and a…

Escape from Samui

They say that lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice, but apparently flooding does. Last year we got caught in what, at the time, was considered the worst floods ever in Koh Samui’s history. Everyone thought it was a freak event, including me. Which is why I should have known better when one day the…

Stuff Thai People Like

A while ago I stumbled upon a very funny and surprisingly accurate website called Stuff White People Like, which pokes fun at the “typical” things that left-wing white North Americans are into. It includes stuff like Teaching English in Japan, Bob Marley, Camping, Hummus, Having Gay Friends, Expensive Sandwiches, Sarah Silverman, and Riding Bicycles. So…

Jim Thompson’s House

Not nearly as flashy and cosquelle as the Grand Palace, not nearly as crowded as Chinatown, not nearly as rabid and flea-infested as Khao-san Road, Jim Thompson’s House proved to be a lovely and peaceful excursion in Bangkok. In fact, for a second I really forgot I was in the middle of a mega Asian…

The price of a tan

About a month and a half ago, I woke up one morning to find a white splotch on the skin by the collar bone. I touched it — didn’t feel rough or itchy. I shrugged it off, thinking perhaps I had accidentally put a streak of sunscreen on that particular spot. After all, I had…

Pee

Sometimes taking care of your most basic body fluid can be a real balancing act. Toilets across Asia — and I’ve been told also in many areas of Europe — are often the squat type, meaning the toilet is a flat porcelain basic set in to the ground over which you squat down to pee….

Never a dull moment

It’s about 6 pm, and I’m sitting on a bench outside one of Bangkok’s fanciest malls, Siam Paragon, waiting to meet my husband and his friend who are on the train and running a wee bit late. It’s a nice cool evening, so I sit down to do some people watching. There are lots of…

Sanitised

Ahh… more adventures in Engrish… Sanitary Host Spray? 100 Baht to anyone who can tell me what that is!!!! .

Grand sights of Bangkok

One of the best ways to avoid getting bored and/or lonely after you move to a new place is to make an effort to get up and go explore what’s out there instead of sitting at home alone. So today I set out to get some of Bangkok’s more famous tourist traps out of the…

Home is where you rest your head

My good friend Aleesha always used to say that the concept of ‘home’ can be fluid. She used to say ‘home is where you rest your head’. And thankfully, finding a place to rest my head in Bangkok has proved to be a pretty good experience. Either that, or I am getting better at researching…

Bangkok Bound

  It’s high season here on the wee island of Koh Samui, which means the whole place is overrun with a lot of tourists, particularly from Russia and China. The beaches are covered with topless European sunbathers and men in speedoes, the restaurants are full (for a change), and at the night market down the…

Trash the house

  Every Thai property — be it a humble hut or a giant mansion, a bank, a disco, a brothel, a farm, or even a rubber plantation up in the mountains — has a Spirit House somewhere on the compound. The Thais are an incredibly devout and superstitious people, and big believers in not only…

Life is but a dream

The picture above demonstrates exactly why so many people come to Thailand and go on a non-stop drinking binge. I just went up the road to the 7-11 to pick up a few things, including four big cans of Heineken, four cans of tonic, and one bottle of Gilbey’s gin. Know how much it came…

Just kill me

It’s 1.37 am in Bangkok, and I am sitting in the very appropriately named OK Place Airport Hotel (because it really is just ‘okay’ — it’s not good, it’s definitely not great, in fact, it’s barely passable), a stone’s throw away from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport, trying to ignore the noise outside the hotel coming…

Here comes the sun

Well, as quickly as the floods came, they began to recede. And now with the sun shining, it’s almost business as usual. In fact, the flood recovery has been so good that for the last few days I was busy at work helping my father set a Hash. What this entails is a lot of…

More flood pics

This is Day 3 of the tropical depression that has hit the region, and finally some of the water has subsided. Some areas still underwater. Here are some highlights of the flooding around the town where I live, Lamai. . This is getting to be really frustrating but thank goodness our house is all right…

Samui Underwater

Yesterday we survived the worst flooding that Koh Samui has ever seen. It started with a full day of rain on Monday which carried on into Tuesday. Yesterday we lost electricity and then lost water and were wondering how much worse this storm was going to get. My father showed up in his car and…

Old friends in a new place

Our first house guest finally came to stay — an old friend from Trinidad whom I have known since I was in diapers. Now living in London, Katie flew to Koh Samui for two weeks for some much anticipated rest, recuperation and retail therapy, and I was more than happy to play host. Having a…

Walking + Eating = Happiness

Sundays in Lamai mean one thing — the “Happiness Walking Street”. About four blocks are turned into a pedestrian zone of food and shopping and entertainment for the evening and everyone comes out to enjoy all the action. Surprisingly, the market is, for the most part, extremely local and not necessarily for the tourists. The…

Visa burger in paradise

Well, I am proud to say I survived my first visa run cross de border and lived to tell the tale. It was in fact quite an interesting experience that was, dare I say it, at times good fun. The trip that I took is known as a ‘Herbert Visa’ because it is organised by…

Cross the border

I may have made it sound like living in Thailand is easy. You can show up, walk around, ask a few people about houses for rent, and next thing you know, you’ve got yourself a home. But anybody… no, I take that back… everybody who wants to live or stay long-term in Thailand has to…

Hashing it out

Every Saturday, the Koh Samui Hash House Harriers meet in the middle of the afternoon to run around in the jungle like maniacs looking for the right route, and afterwards gather around in a circle to drink beer out of coconut cups and talk a set of shite. You’d be amazed how much fun this…

The learning curve

Whenever you move to a new place — and this is country #6 for me — there is always a period of adjustment as you figure out how things work, and start to understand the ins and outs of the new culture in which you live. This learning curve can, of course, at times be…

At home in Koh Samui

So here we are, in our new home in Koh Samui, Thailand. It’s a nice little house in a compound of about 10 houses, and it is blissfully quiet, but in walking distance to all the action. Because Koh Samui is such a popular tourist destination, there are loads of houses for rent and they…

One week and counting

  Well this is it — my last week in Hong Kong. In seven days I’ll be boarding a plane and bidding farewell to the ‘Fragrant Harbour’ which has been my home for the last three years. Anyone who has ever migrated or even moved house knows that the process of packing up and moving…

Birthday bash in Bangkok

I never thought that I’d be going to Thailand twice in the space of one month, but that’s exactly what happened as Chinese New Year gave us the opportunity of five days off, and our friend Dan was turning 30. Since you only turn 30 once, we all felt that it was an occasion that…

A green curry Christmas

Since the moment I first set foot there, I really liked Thailand. There is something special and unique about the place that really pulls you in. On one hand it’s kind of third world, a bit underdeveloped, with dirt roads and poor drainage, stray dogs and dirty street markets… But on the other hand, it…