Saturday, 27 January 2007

Challenge Ali

Forget Challenge Anneka I have entered into the hardest weekend of my life! I have laryngitis and have been told I need to rest my voice and must try not to speak for 3 days. The doctor clearly does not know me and has no idea how hard this is – especially as I had a rocking weekend lined up – but have cancelled like the good girl I am. I’ve had a bit of a movie fest, but as you can tell the urge to natter has overtaken me so hence the hectic blogging – sorry.

So I think I will rate weekends movies so far:

1. Hitch – love it. I have to say Will Smith is damn fine in this one – great lines, super smile – and it would be nice to think that guys would ever go to such lengths to get a date with a girl. Where are these men?

2. Vanity Fair – Always going to be a hard one as the book is so fantastic – but very enjoyable. However, the lovely Reece Witherspoon is perhaps a bit too nice to play Becky Sharpe – she wasn’t quite bitchy enough for me.

3. Uptown Girls – wasn’t overly sure about this one when I read the back – and Brittany Murphy doesn’t exactly scream ‘must see’, however, I was surprised to have a tear in my eye at the end and several giggles in the middle. And of course Dakota Fanning rocks – hope she can escape the child actor curse and become an untroubled adult.

4. The Break-Up – Well have to say the funniest bits in this movie were the occasional Russian voice over from my dodgy MBK copy of this movie. I know it’s meant to be a comedy but it is sooooo sad. The things people do to each other. Makes me glad to be single.

5. Reign of Fire – the title says it all really – Dragons taking over the world and Christian Bales dodgy british accent – never going to be a winner. But still the gorgeous Matthew McConaghey still manages to look attractive despite the bald head and wild beard.

Well that’s it so far but it is only Saturday evening and I’ve got to get through another silent day. So I’ve got a little collection of romantic comedies donated by Rach to get through. Can’t wait!


Its mayfly season so as you are waiting for the skytrain or strolling along sukhumvit there are literally thousands of mayflies buzzing around any light. They’re not a huge annoyance although it is a bit icky when one accidentally flies down your top and gets squashed. However, I do like to keep my apartment bug free. That is until the arrive of Magnus who opened the balcony doors to pop out for a fag and let in about 80 of the buggers. Carnage. There was no way we could shoo them out without doubling the amount that came in so unfortunately the spray had to come out. But to my horror this only caused their wings to fall off and led to the little critters crawling wingless around the floor. Gross. A spot of impromptu morris dancing later and my gleaming white tiles looked like a truckers windscreen on a long-haul journey.

A Youthful Complexion

Aargh. My daily moisturizing cream has just run out. Not too much of a problem you would think – just pop out to boots (yes I actually have 2 in walking distance!) and get some more. But no it turned into a right palaver. Although they did have my usual brand it only came with WHITENING. If I wanted to be pale and pasty I would still be living in England. And while I do not sunbath at every given opportunity, I wear factor 50 and sit in the shade, I do like my healthy glow. I am not going to try and diminish this on a daily basis. A look at every variety of moisturizer confirmed my worst nightmare – yes they all had whitening. I had two options: a) look like a prune b) turn a ghostly shade of pale. But never fear help was at hand! A helpful assistant was able to go to the stockroom and find me a jar of (contraband?) non-whitening cream – phew.

It always entertains me that we brits are so eager to get tanned while our asian counterparts are desperate not to become darker. We had a fire drill the other day and all trouped out as necessary onto the football pitch. We western teachers were soaking up the rays while the thai department were huddling in the pitiful bits of shade or were cowering under folders held above their heads. Well I guess they will age better than we will!

Security Measures

Having got used to seeing military on the street after the coup security measures have again increased after the New Years Eve bombs. Bags are searched going into shopping centres, soldiers (with guns – which never ceases to freak me out) ride the skytrain, vehicles are pulled over and searched and there soldiers once again in evidence at major intersections. I have to admit that the (albeit undemocratic) government are taking the threat of further bombs very seriously.

It may be a London thing but bomb scares and bombings have been, if not part of everyday life, then certainly an accepted part of living in the city, right or wrong. Its not that I have been dismissive about the bombs or the threat of further ones but I haven’t been brought up to cower in my apartment and not get on with life. After all I’m more likely to die from my fridge catching fire - or allegedly those glade plug ins (you have been warned). Bangkok, on the other hand, has not had the same history of London and some of my Thai assistants have indicated their fear of going out and are naturally worried about what will happen next. It has been hard to quash their fears without sounding flippant about what has happened, but hopefully they will become less anxious as time goes on. The very visible security measures can only help.


It always surprises me that I do not see more accidents on the road here in gridlocked Bangkok. When the traffic is rubbish there is no end of weaving and lane changing without the use of indicators or seemingly mirrors. When the roads are clear no speed limit seems to apply AND there is no end of weaving and lane changing without the use of indicators or mirrors. In addition seatbelts are rarely found and motorcycle helmets are rarely worn – apart from as a natty accessories slung over the arm.

However, when you do see a crash it is horrific and it would be a miracle if anyone could walk out of it alive. But instead of removing the wreckage these mangled cars sit by the road for weeks after the actual event. I don’t know if they are left as a reminder to drive more carefully or to wear your seatbelt or maybe there are not the resources to remove them quickly but the one I have passed every day this term sends a shiver down my spine as I pass it. It is certainly a deterrent not to ride too frequently on the motorbike taxis.

Wednesday, 24 January 2007


I have always prided myself on my clear pronunciation, enunciation and diction (ho ho) but as I’m a bit coldy at the moment (it’s winter alright!) I had quite a painful conversation with Mr Can, my friendly taxi driver, explaining that I wanted him to pick Magnus and libby up and deliver them to my house. Poor mags turned up at the airport to find a sign for Mr Matwus! He he – I think it suits him – especially after the poor performance at dinner when he went bright red and had tears streaming down his face after his chicken with cashew nuts! I didn’t think there was any chilli in that particular dish! Wish I had it on video for his Kodak Moments.

Killer Heels

Last Saturday was the annual ozzie ball and the Mad Dogs were in attendance. We spurned the black tie outfits from last year and went all out for the 70s theme. I had visions of a disco diva, but obviously reality never quite adds up to the dream – somehow I’m always astonished when a new outfit doesn’t miraculously turn me into a goddess! I did have lots of fun shopping for dodgy gold material and sewing gold sequins into a heart shape on my shorts. However the icing on the cake were my fabulous new shoes. Yes I actually donned a pair of heels – oh and what heels! Gold, sparkly, incredibly high platforms. Unfortunately poor Debbie isn’t quite as keen on them after I managed to skewer her foot on the dance floor. Poor thing has quite a bruise which has been shown all over the staff room – I am suitably chastised and clearly should not be allowed out again. I'm pretty sure I managed to avoid the cameras this year so my dodgy dancing should not be broadcast on StarWorld – but then again that’s what I thought last year! Watch this space.

Thursday, 11 January 2007

Battle of Wills

I am currently sitting in the dark as my apartment has been invaded by a giant flying beast with what looks like a very long pointy stinging device. As it was clearly attracted by the light I thought I would turn the inside lights off and the balcony lights on. However, it seems to have gone into hibernation mode and there is no way I am trying to shoo it out with an old newspaper. Hey I swell when stung - I still remember my elephant knee from a bummble bee and this is a fair bit bigger than that! At least it is now still and not buzzing round my head but I keep having to glance up every couple of minutes to ensure it is not planning a new offensive. Just want it to bugger off so I can turn on the lights - clearly should have eaten more carrots when I was younger!

Winter in Bangkok

Not only is it dark when I wake up at the moment but there is a definite chill in the air in the morning. Admittedly the rest of the day resembles a good English summer and it is more than pleasant not to sweat out of your knees as can happen in April. So I will make the most of the fact that I occasionally want to put on a cardy, can walk places without melting and even sleep under a duvet!


Don’t be too shocked but I have actually cooked THREE times this week!!!! I know I can hardly believe it myself. I have been inspired by the cooking course I attended in Chiang Mai where I created delightful dishes to excite the tastebuds. It could be the start of a new era although I have my suspicions it won’t last for long.

Had a lovely time up in Chiang Mai (although a tad chilly – I had to sleep in my hoody and get extra blankets from the guesthouse!). The first day we went to Ratchapruek – a huge flower festival in honour of the Kings 60th year on the throne. Without trying to sound too much like my Nana it was a lovely afternoon, and I particularly enjoyed the orchids – don’t worry I won’t post the numerous pics that I have.

We also went to visit one of the hilltribes and rode an elephant proving yet a gain what a total wiener I am – it got very close to the edge of the steep bank down to the river and was more than a tad stroppy - I must remember that I do not like getting on animals! Whitewater rafting, however, was more my style and even the temperature of the water could not wipe the smile off my face. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, 9 January 2007

Down in the Dumps

Aaargggh! Post holiday blues. Have been total miserable cow for a couple of days - but have to say the smile returned to my face when Becks reminded me that there are now only 23 working days til half term. Hoorah!

Friday, 5 January 2007

King Taksin's Army

Up in Chiang Mai last week I was slightly concerned when I saw a lady in a yellow t-shirt. Nothing strange there you might think as no Thai wardrobe is complete without a yellow ‘I love the King’ T-shirt. However, upon closer inspection I saw that it was emblazoned with the slogan ‘King Taksin’s Army’. I watched in anticipation as I could not believe that the people around her would turn a blind eye. Yellow t-shirts are worn every Monday (and regularly on other days too) as a sign of respect for this incredibly popular King. I was sure that such a slogan would elicit some kind of response from those around us.

Although the t-shirt could have referred to the 18th Century King who, following an internal political conflict in 1782, allegedly became insane and started to regard himself as the second coming of Buddha, (He was deposed by his ministers, who then executed him in the custom reserved for royalty -- by shackling his hands and feet with gold restraints, sewing him into a velvet sack so that no royal blood touched the ground, then beat him to death with a Sandalwood club), I thought perhaps it could have heralded renewed military support for the deposed prime-minister.

Despite allegations of corruption and a series of demonstrations last April calling for his resignation Taksin still has an amazing amount of support both within in the cities and in rural areas. One friend in Bangkok recently told me that he would vote for Taksin if he returned as he did not feel there was a viable alternative.

I asked our tour-guide in Chiang Mai if he knew anything about King Taksins Army and he just suggested that the woman was a bit crazy and didn’t seem too concerned about the fact that the Kings colour was being used. So amid rumours of a second coup and the threat of further bombs I will be looking out for more evidence of such an ‘army’.

Real Men

I like men. Men of the Aragorn son of Arathorn, Indiana Jones, Rhett Butler variety. Swashbuckling, larger than life, twinkle in their eyes rogues. Tall dark and handsome. Silent and brooding. Rescuers of damsels in distress. Admittedly this probably limits me when comparing them to non-fictional men, which could be where I am going wrong. So I am happy widen my sights to those who hit drums and strum guitars. Somehow even the dorkiest guys suddenly develop sex appeal in a superhero-esque transformation from geek into rock god. So although I have managed to cope with the fact that Thai men may not be the most macho (Katoeys aside there is a lot of handholding and male hugging goes on here - even the police look like they are auditioning for they YMCA video!) I was more than distressed when upon entering a bar with a live band belting out some classic rock tunes I found that the lead guitarist had a baby pink Hello Kitty guitar!

Monday, 1 January 2007

Eggy Bread Love!

Sawatdee Bpii Mai

Happy New Year to you all. I hope you all celebrated in suitable style and had a fantastic night. Not to be deterred by bombs going off around Bangkok I headed out to Winks for the festivities. Avoided all contact with Sangsom but this did not stop us from getting on the mic and some rather stupid dancing.

Have to say I am looking forward to 2007 and I hope it brings you everything you could wish for. Have a wonderful year!

Tom and Ian find themselves in Thailand

A picture says a thousand words..........

Christmas in the Sun

Just back from a lovely week in Koh Lanta and Koh Phi Phi Tom and Ian. Bit of a blast from the past as it turns out Ian and I were at Digby Hall together all those years ago! Spent Christmas day soaking up the rays and a bit of Turkey Pad Thai for lunch. Our Christmas dinner was pretty amazing, if a little spicy for Tom, washed down with some v. dodgy ‘champagne’ which tasted disturbingly like Sangsom.

Randomly walking around Phi Phi when a picture caught our eye outside a tattoo place – a picture of none other than Jamie! – how weird.

I’m sure Tom will fill you Ealing bods in on our island exploits so to pre-empt this: 1) Yes I fell off the boat, 2) it was dodgy prawn alright, 3) Pole? What Pole?, 4) No I am never drinking buckets again.

Bonkers in Bangers

Not only were Tom and Ian staying in Bangkok but we also hooked up with Nick and Caro. Needless to say this involved endless trawling of bars. We drank sangsom at Cheap Charlies, sang carols in the Ice Bar at Titanium, and consumed vodka at Q bar. Yes this led to the most hideous hangover and I have to admit the trip down to Lanta was pretty horrendous – serves me right!