Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Farewell Mad Dogs

The final game of the season and the Mad Dogs rose to the challange. Fittingly it was against our arch-rivals, Southerners C (no digs about them being the C team please). Our opponents were surely surprised by our sudden skill and determination and I chuckle about the look on their faces when we were up at half time. They came out fighting. They pushed, shoved and fouled and yet our goals kept going in. Words were exchanged. Bruises created. My fists were clenched - the Rage was brewing. This normally calm and collected girl just wanted to take that black and white clad girl out. Ah it would have been poetry in motion. However, my massage must have worked and rational decisions over-ruled. However, the damage had been done. Concentration was broken. On the final whistle we were 2 goals down. :(

So I salute the Mad Dogs. Girls it has been a pleasure playing with you - thanks for making this time in Bangkok such a giggle. I'm sure there will be plenty more socials before I leave and I wish you good luck for next season. Gggrrrr. Come on Mad Dogs.

Spa-tastic

Had such a gorgeous relaxing day on Sunday with a little visit to Suk Spa. Started off with a body scrub designed to restore my equilibrium and allow me to make rational decisions (am I irrational?). I'm not sure if it has had the intended outcome but if felt damn good. Have to admit though I was a little peturbed when I wasn't even offered paper panties or a net thong which although doesn't exactly leave much to the imagination does make you feel a little less exposed. So once my skin was silky soft I relaxed into my aromatherapy massage, I am reliving the tension disappearing just thinking about it. And to perfect the afternoon we cracked open a bottle of champagne on Rachel's roof and watched the sun go down. What a way to spend a sunday!

Saturday, 24 March 2007

Fair Trade

Have just had a bit of a shop-a-holic day! Finally went to the Fairtrade Craft fair at the ambassador and have to say thank god I didn't find it when I first got here. It is fab and I love the fact that there is no middlemen - all the profits go direct to the workers. I have some very tasty coffee (and it even comes in a pink bag - how perfect!), a basket made out of recycled newspapers and a silver necklace made by the Karen. Luckily the voice of reason which very occasionally pops into my head reminded me that large purchases are probably not a good idea when I will just have to ship it to KL in 4 months time.

There ws some amazing items for sale. Gorgeous pashminas and throws, bamboo plates/bowls/etc, lamps, silver, candles etc. Everything is good quality and reasonably priced. However, there were a couple of things that stood out from others.

While perusing a stall I noticed that the woman behind it was knitting. There was no wool or thread. She was knitting with a ripped up supermarket plastic bag to make a new one. Amazing. And remarkably strong! This was the same stall where I got my recycled newspaper basket - I love creative and practical recycling!

There was also another stall selling cards and paintings created by autistic hill-tribe children. All the proceeds from the sales go to supporting them and their families.

So if you haven't been to this craft fair yet then get yourself along. Every month at the Ambassador hotel.

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Violent South

On my way to Big C on Sunday for a bit of shopping I was delayed by a procession along Saphan Kwai. Dressed in the obligatory yellow 'I love the King' shirts and waving the thai flag I assumed it was a display of affection for the esteemed monarch of Thailand - and as I was feeling a bit grumpy and didn't feel like asking in my pigeon-thai what it was about I thought nothing more about it. Then a lovely, grinning old lady gave me her flag as she passed which put a smile on my face but then gave me a bit of a dilemma. I was about to do a big shop and was going to need both my hands - however - I didn't want to dump the flag in case this would be seen as disrespectful. So I hung on to it while I posted some letters, popped into the pharmacy and finally into the bank. I had noticed some surprised looks but I put this down to 'Oh the farang has a flag - how cute!'.

Once in the bank though the guy waiting next to me asked why I had the flag and I explained. Did I know what the procession was about he asked. Not a clue was my reply. He then pointed out that the people parading through the street were calling for the government to send the army into the south of Thailand to once and for all wipe out the violence and terrorist activities going on there. Not wanting to be seen as inciting civil war I stopped merrily waving my flag around but still not wanting to dump it for fear of retribution I took the cowards way out and gave it to a little kid.

Not trying to make light of the situation in the South I would agree that the government does need to find away forward but hopefully all out military occupation can be avoided. However, on Monday the papers reported that the New Years bombs have now been declared to be the same as the bombs being used in the south (previously denied) and unlikely to be the work of disgruntled ex-politicians (oh how Taksin must be smiling). I assume this will strengthen calls for further military intervention and I can only hope that a peaceful solution can be found soon.

West Wing

After going cold turkey having watched series 1-3 of the West Wing back to back I have reunited with my old friends for series 4. It MUST be the best series on TV. Not only does it treat the viewers like intelligent adults - not 3-second memory fish who need unending flashbacks and repeats - but I love the characters. I watch it and I want to: be a dinner guest with the president, date Josh Lyman and, above all, I want to be CJ Craig. Possibly my love affair with this programme has gone a little far (I am in mourning again as have finished season 4 and awaiting season 5) but surely I am not alone in this? Any other West Wing addicts out there?

Sunday, 18 March 2007

It's a bowl?

Well last week I took Hels and a slightly dubious Simon to t Chatuchak for some souvenir shopping. Our trip definitely highlighted the differences between boys and girls approaches to shopping. While Hels and I happily browed in one stall (yes we broke all chatuchak rules from previous post – although did end up in Vivas) Si had scoped the wares of at least 10 stalls in the same time.

Hels was looking for a nice wooden salad bowl and asked Si for his opinion on 2 possibilities. He looked confused “It’s a bowl” was his response.

So while boys don’t get the importance of purchasing the most aesthetically pleasing salad bowl I’m never going to be able to understand how spending hours in electronic and gadget stores can hold them in such thrall. For me a TV is a Tv or a phone is s phone in the same way that a bowl is just a bowl for Si. Maybe it isn’t ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’ but ‘Women are from Chatuchak and men are from Pantip Plaza.’

Chatuchaked

When I got on the skytrain yesterday, ready to enjoy respite from the heat, I entered a carriage full of exhausted tourists returning from the travelers right of passage that is Chatuchak weekend market. Their faces were red, sweat dripped down the faces, their limbs hung limply at their sides, some clung to the purchases that had cost them so much energy. Bless! I thought remembering my first foray to this shopping mecca.

For those of you who haven’t experience the delights of Chatuchak let me enlighten you. As the name suggests this market happens every weekend. It is truly immense and people flock there by the thousands. I doubt there is anything you can’t buy there. You can find stalls selling anything from puppies to pashminas and everything in between.

I love Chatuchak but have learnt some lessons for practical shopping.

1. know what you want – vague wanderings with get you no-where – Nancy Chandlers map shows the different areas and highlights some top stalls.

2. don’t forget to haggle – always entertainment in itself. Knowledge of thai numbers helps immensely in this department.

3. solo shopping is best – others get lost in the crow quite easily and it saves having to hang around in the roasting heat.

4. Time it well. Either go very early to avoid the heat or go late - do your shopping and then reward yourself with a drink at Vivas. A jug of margheritas will revitalize you after your strenuous day and you’ll soon find yourself dancing away to the fabulous bands that play here.

So I propose that we add a new word to the dictionary: Chatuchaked – to be well and truly knackered.

Thursday, 15 March 2007

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Bangkok Ali no more!

Well its been decision making time and I am pleased to announce that Bangkok Ali has got herself a new job! Hoorah! I will be moving to Kuala Lumpur in August, and while I am sad to be leaving Bangers the job is fantastic and I can’t wait to get there.

Mind you was a little surprised when I got the call – for some reason as I walked into the interview I morphed into Tony Blair. I lost complete control of my hands and they developed a life of their own. Each time I started to answer a question my hands started gesticulating and the more I tried not to do it the worse it became. Then as I finished the question they meekly lay back down in my lap, only to leap up once again when I resumed speaking. This totally unnerved me and I could see my bemused interviewer was pretty distracted by it as well.

So if I am Tony Blair then Debbie has to be that King of spin doctors Alistair Campbell – but the less said about that the better – eh Debs!

Sisters in the Sun




Had a lovely long weekend with Hels and Si in Krabi the other weekend. Despite the fact that hels had been stung to bits in the sea the previous day, poor thing, she was able to put a brave face on and enjoy the nightlife of Krabi. And Si did pretty well with us sisters gassing continually, but I've found if you find a boy a bar with football on and a drunk guy to shout abuse at the ref with they will generally put up with the girly chat. Had a gorgeous day on the beach - pootled round to Rai Leh on a long tailed boat, found a nice spot under a tree and drank in the scenery - man it is beautiful around there.


Monday, 5 March 2007

Blind School Trip

Last Saturday I organized a group of students from school to take a group from the Blind School to the cinema ( I am hoping that you guys don’t need me to explain that blind people have other senses and can enjoy a movie as I had to with some of the parents!) There were 90 of us altogether, so it was quite an undertaking, but all the students were fantastic and we had a great day. We watched King Naresuan - the big Thai epic out at the moment and I have to admit that my heart sank when I realized there were no English subtitles. But is seemed quite appropriate – the blind kids couldn’t see the movie and, effectively, I couldn’t hear it. Mind you when I spotted the totty on offer I settled back for some sword-wielding, knight in shining armour fantasizing – not a bad way to spend 3 hours.

A Suitable Boy

While on the beach I read A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth. It was unputdownable (and virtually unpickable – it is huge!). Thank goodness we don’t need to go through the same pantomime to find a husband. Poor Lata is dragged right across India in search of an appropriate match. She had to sit through interminable introductions with her family as prospective suitors were paraded in front of her and she was required to make appropriate chit chat –how mortifying! I had my definite favourite contenders for her hand and have to admit I was a little disappointed with her choice – which probably means she made a good one. Mum has offered to find my a suitable boy- I declined, however she did confide in me after several singhas – that it is not so much a suitable boy that you want as “all boys are rubbish you just have to find one whose annoying habits you can put up with the most”. Straight from the horses mouth! However, I think it might be more the case of finding someone to put up with my habits!

Speed Demons


While in Lanta we did manage a little exploration and one evening had dinner at a fantastic restaurant I found over Christmas. Although we got a taxi there I managed to talk the parents into a motorbike taxi for the return trip (this was easy after all the Singha imbibed). Admittedly our transportation struggled with our combined weights and we had to get out and walk the final leg after a steep hill proved too difficult. But it is all worth it for this piccy….

Narima

Spent a fantastic week in Koh Lanta with the parents. We stayed at Narima a small, quiet resort towards the south of the island. Our friendly hosts Khun Wan and Khun Yodchai have managed to build a gorgeous resort while managing to disturb the natural environment as little as possible – pretty good going in a country where it seems ok to bulldoze the greenery and then erect uniform breezeblock buildings. I found a wonderful spot beneath a tree to laze around and read my book, occasionally taking a dip in the pool or wandering on the beach. If you are planning a trip to Lanta I would highly recommend staying here. What more could you want? Pleasant surroundings, kind hosts, a hammock and fantastic food. I will certainly be going back.

Where is Ali?

What a social whirl – Ali has been a busy bee – but thankyou Mark for noticing my absence – you have motivated me to get blogging so the deluge of posts are all your fault! Well where have I been? It has been a busy month. The folks came out for a couple of weeks so we relaxed on Koh Lanta and Mum and I shopped in Bangers (I am now proud owner of a Chloe purse and lovely jewellery) Needless to say we wined and dined pretty well too. Then the day the folks left Helen and Simon flew in. We have experience the electroncs delights of Pantip Plaza and challenged the boss at the Bulls Head. And I have literally just got back from Krabi where we sat on the beach for the long weekend – man life is hard!

However, the lack of bloggage is mainly down to the fact that I am currently job hunting so spare time has been spent sending off applications. Keep your fingers crossed for upcoming interviews please!!!