Bangkok Enters 2004, Part II

Between Part I and Part III

January 8-15, 2004

Thursday, January 8, 2004

Bangkok's Lumpini Park has had a facelift; its main entrance ... at the bottom of Silom Road, near the Dusit Thani Hotel ... is now a wide pedestrian 'reserve'. Every evening aerobics classes draw hundreds. The park is also the home of the Bangkok Marathoners (a running club).

The park 'greeter' ... a statue ... is King Rama I.

Across from the entrance to Lumpini the Silom Line's Sky Train track makes a curve toward the Siam station where it meets up with the Sukhumvit Line.

"Alf, how about returning to the 'off-beat' sites ... you have been sort of boring of late. Actually, more than 'sort of' ... rather a lot."

Friday, January 9, 2004

Golf lays out dinner for five.

Local man has ghastly death.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

This is the notorious Nana Entertainment Complex as seen at night. More than two years ago I posted some daytime photos of the place; by comparison you can see the night is kinder to the place (and the people).

"Well, that's a start, Alf."

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Yesterday started off with a search for a "cheesy bar set" that had a strange corkscrew in it. Apparently one of Don Bull's friends bought a "Made in Siam" bar set while he was in Thailand (no date given ... the date of when he was in Thailand, that is).

Anyway, we began out search for James Quality Jewellers (*) ... [using Don's 'road map'] (**) ... by attempting to visit the company's branch location on Phangi Yotin Road. We called ahead to see if it was open, but the phone number in Don's URL was for the Capital Hotel (***). The voice on the other end of the line was ambiguous about our intentions. So we decided to just take a taxi to James' address and ferret about on our own.

James Quality Jewellers is no longer there ... there is no forwarding address ... and the place where it might have once been is now tightly bolted shut.

Next, we tried the main office of James (****) ... over on Petchaburi Road. However, it was even more nonexistent than the branch. And, no amount of inquiries found anyone who had ever heard of James Quality Jewel(l)ers or of James Quality Jewelers.

Does this mean that Don's 'cheesy' Siam bar set is now worth a fortune? Probably.

But, dear reader, the morning was not a total loss: we found the office of a plastic surgeon who is right up there with Mr. Ben and the tattoo/dentist when it comes to innovative service and window signing.

(*) Thai spelling of English words is many times quite eccentric.

(**) "James Quality Jewellers Branch Office: 1383 Phangi Yotin Road, Near Capital Hotel, Tel. 70991 75518. Beware of stores using a similar name."

(***) "James Quality Jewellers Main Office: 542/13-14 Petchaburi Road, Opp. Metro Theatre, Bangkok, Thailand, P.O. Box 2144, Tel. 55979 58010."

(****) The Capital Hotel is a 'curtain hotel: one that caters to anonymous short stay trysts.

PS: James follow-up stories: January 13, 2004 | April 13, 2005 | November 3, 2005

Monday, January 12, 2004

Yesterday ... being a Sunday ... Lumpini Park was very active: aerobics and concerts.

See also: 639k .avi movie and 487k .avi movie

Meanwhile ... and a little later in the evening ... Sukhumvit (near the infamous Nana Entertainment complex) was preparing for the night crowd. This panorama also shows the underbelly of the Sky Train's 'road' above the road.

This afternoon the quest for the Siam corkscrew will continue, thanks to some additional address clues provided by Don Bull.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

At Don's urging we set out yesterday afternoon for C.H. Jewelry which was reputed to be at 45/11-12 New Petchburi Road ... opposite the Olympia Hotel. Eleven Sky Train stops and one transfer from our home station (Saphan Taksin) we got off the train at Thong Lo and took a taxi to the Olympia Hotel.

The Olympia has apparently fallen on hard times: it has a deep and dreary 'curtain' feel about the place. The office, guarded by a fierce dog, is bare save for a desk covered with a colorful spread of room keys. No tenants were in sight. The woman manager told us that what once might have been C.H. Jewelry is now a club of sorts that promises 'dreams'.

Telephone calls and the interrogation of taxi motorcycle drivers proved unfruitful.

John(n)y's Gem Building (Don's other 'source' for the Siam corkscrew) no longer goes by that name. In fact the building may no longer even be in Bangkok.

But, we did find a driving school that appeared to be signed so unambiguously as to leave no doubt as to its services.

PS: James follow-up stories: April 13, 2005 | November 3, 2005

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

The Christian cemetery adjacent to Silom Road seems to have had some visits from 'body snatchers'. The absence of bones and teeth suggest that the intruders were not just looking for gold.

Of course, maybe the bodies were just reclaimed by families for a more upscale burial.

Meanwhile, just a few blocks away this daytime panorama of Patpong 1 doesn't look any more inviting than does the cemetery. But, trust me, after the sun sets Patpong 'shines'.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004 [Late Edition]


My friend, Derek ... the man who created our immensely popular left-margin sidebar; the one so loved by THOCBDC fans all over the world ... has designed something else for us. Tailored especially for THOCBDC, this Hero Of The Soviet Internet (HOTSI) award will be only given to site owners who richly deserve it. The first person to receive this highest of Internet honors is Mr. Don Bull of

Thursday, January 15, 2004 (Law Day)

It's only appropriate that THOCBDC visited Mr. Ben's World Headquarters on Laos Law Day (*).

For starters we asked our driver to make a quick pass by Mr. Ben's 'upper' Silom Road office ... which today still accounts for the bulk of his walk-in trade ... even though it is not the flagship of the firm. Having a corner location it is able to attract traffic from intersecting streets; the right angled building also makes it more convenient for motorcycle parking.

Moments later we were at the Citadel itself ... the throne room, so to speak. Mr. Ben himself was at the desk (the only desk). Pecking away on a manual typewriter he allowed my questions: Yes, he is Thai ... despite having a 'farang' sounding name (he was vague when pressed on why ... muttering something about his past). Yes, he welcomes all types of business. No, the pretty girl in his office is not one of his children ... she just helps him. Yes, we should go out to dinner sometime.

(*) Even though this is not a universally recognized celebratory day.

PS: The other day THOCBDC 'exposed' what appeared to be an invasion of body snatchers. Actually the cracking open of the graves was not as insidious an act as THOCBDC first thought.

According to this 'tacked up' notice, the bodies were removed to higher grounds ... to prevent the corpses from becoming damaged by seepage. The transfer had nothing to do with the fact that this old Christian cemetery sits on (lies under?) very choice property.

Next: Part III

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