December in Bangkok

After Returning Home

December 1-7, 2003

Monday, December 1, 2003

A hint of things to come ... maybe not ... even probably not.

PS: Probably the best place to live in Bangkok.

PPS: Bangkok indulgence is having four massage girls at one time. Hey, I mean a real massage!

Tuesday, December 2, 2003

Do you remember Sa? The girl with the diamond in her tooth? Sure you do! Back in September we met her and her sister at one of Bangkok's malls. She was clutching a brass Buddha that must have weighed in at 10 kilos; something that she wanted us to bring to her older sister "P'Kig" ... the one who lives in Florida.

Remember, dear reader, "P'Kig" is Watcharee's Thai friend in Fort Lauderdale. We had dinner with her in June ... at Max's Place on the beach.

"What are you getting at, Alf?"

Well, I guess I did wander off the point. Anyway, "P'Kig" wanted Watcharee to bring Sa some jeans and some perfume from America. She did. And, today was the day that Sa and her other sister came to our place to take delivery of them.

Can you see the diamond?

"Not really ... but she is pretty. Can you give us a close-up?"


Wednesday, December 3, 2003 (pre-journal)

Logs being pulled up the Chao Phya River, toward Burma ...

Or, young fashion models at Bangkok's Shangri-La Hotel ...

Something for every taste.

Wednesday, December 3, 2003

Tonight we had dinner at the Pen's new Thai restaurant with Watcharee, Pom and Golf.

PS. Golf had to do some ironing before she ventured out.

Thursday, December 4, 2003 (pre-journal ... and maybe the 'only' one as we have guests coming for dinner)

The owner of this vehicle always does this to his tires. [And, he has been doing it for the four years that I have been passing by his machine ... on my way to the market.] No one else in the neighborhood bothers with this chore ... well, maybe there is one other copy-cat. But, do you know why he does it? Yes, there IS a very good reason behind it.

Does this billboard push you to order fries?

Thursday, December 4, 2003

Reader H. Thornquist of Gransden House, Wateringbury (near Maidstone), Kent, England writes:

"Can you give us a higher resolution picture of that fashion model at the Shangri-La Hotel [Bangkok] ... the one with the gorgeous lips?"


Friday, December 5, 2003 (Father's Day in Thailand - The King's Birthday)

The King is the most highly respected person in all Thailand. His birthday is Father's Day (*).

His picture is displayed all over the country ... including over the entrances to some of my closest neighbors: Assumption College, The Shangri-La Hotel and a local curio shop.

(*) Mother's Day is the Queen's birthday

Saturday, December 6, 2003 (a pre-journal)

Reader D. B. from Canada writes (in response to December 4th's questions about the wheel covers):

My guesses are:

  1. Prevent small animals and insects from climbing into the chassis of the vehicle and either nesting or chewing up the carpets and electrical systems.
  2. Prevent the local bobbies from marking the wheels to see how long the vehicle has been parked in the spot.

I can't imagine anything else that would find those bits of wood a barrier since they're held on with bungie cords.

His answers were pretty logical ... and #1 was not too far off. However, the real purpose of the wheel shields is to prevent dog urine from damaging the rubber and the metal rims, caps and lug nuts. Thai dogs like to piss on exposed tires ... perhaps it is the satisfying sound that it produces ... or maybe it is the absence of handy trees and fireplugs that move the dogs toward car wheels.

PS: Reader P.F. of the Northwest Territories writes:

Damn, I was actually correct in my guess about why those protectors were strapped to the tires!! And yet I neglected to submit an answer!!!

His next chance to win a Christmas trip to Bangkok will come ... later.

Saturday, December 6, 2003

The Leading Hotels of the World has named The Peninsula in Bangkok as the best hotel in Asia.

Last night we had dinner in its newly opened River Cafe and Terrace. As we live just dock-to-dock from The Pen it is a very 'fast food' destination for us. Watcharee's uncle, Pom and Golf went with us.

Sunday, December 7, 2003 (Pearl Harbor Day ... Japan and USA)

Today the Shangri-La Hotel was the host site for "Survivors And Loved Ones Of Non-Survivors Of Pearl Harbor" [SALOON-SOPH]. It was decided by the event organizers to hold it in a country that was neither an enemy nor a friend of either of the two participating December 7th 'players' (USA and Japan); Thailand was thought to be the only country to so qualify (*).

Santa Claus costumes were deemed to be especially appropriate for this December holiday event as the "Jolly Old Man in Red" is held in high esteem not only in Japan and the USA ... but also here in Thailand. As Christmas is purely a secular and commercial holiday ... (much loved by merchants, children, bartenders, whores and golfers) ... in the enlightened world, this old bearded man's "Ho, Ho, Ho" (**) would surely have a particularly unifying sound to both American and Japanese ears.

Apparently, the Thai employees in attendance were quite happy to wear their Shangri-La company issued uniforms.

Meanwhile, over in Patpong, Santa's Elves are probably pulling their seasonal costumes out of the closet ... just as they did four years ago.

(*) Not long ago THOCBDC noted that Japanese retirement homes ... and the children of Japanese elderly ... had requested that Nanking (Nanjing) residents need not apply for eldercare service positions in Japan. Thai applicants, however, were welcome.

(**) Asian ears usually do not register negative thoughts when hearing "Ho" ... nor do elderly Americans from the middle-west think that a lone "Ho" could be anything more than a diminutive of three consecutive "Ho's".

"But, Alf, I noticed that there was a least one Santa (or Mrs. Claus) of 'color'."

Lay off the footnotes.

PS: Reader H. S. from Prescott, Arizona faxes:

"I was standing in front of the Shangri-La Hotel when you took my picture in my Santa Claus 'memorial' outfit. Thank you for thinking of all the folks who went down on the USS Arizona. Actually, I didn't know anybody who died in that war as I was too young ... but, our tour group organizer said that we looked cute dressed in red. I wore it to the Patpong area that night ... people just laughed ... I guess I don't look the type."

Next: Part II

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