Archive for February, 2009
Khun Surichart was arrested for a bag snatch and subsequently admitted that he had regularly lured women to a room, had unprotected sex with them and then stolen their possessions. Khun Surichart is HIV positive.
The local media reported that he had posed as a Middle Eastern Prince to lure high society women to his infected bed.
This morning the incensed and incarcerated Khun Surichart filed a complaint with the chief of police. He complained that he had never posed as a prince to attract high society women; and had “only” targeted prostitutes on the beach, as if this somehow made his behaviour more acceptable (which sadly may well be considered to be the case by Thai society).
Whatever, he’s still scum.
If I had to name my most treasured possession, it would be the stamp in my passport that allows my to live in this fine country. Every year I have to renew the stamp and it is always a time of mild tension. Not because I expect to be refused, but because if I fail to provide the correct documents, I could be in for several hours/days of queuing and frustration.
The immigration office is not a place where you want to spend much time; not because of the staff, who do an admirable job of remaining helpful and cheerful, but because of the crowd of variable humanity that throngs through the doors every day, many of whom try their hardest to piss off the staff.
There are signs asking people to dress properly and show respect to government servants, to which a common response is a scruffy singlet and a smell that indicates a lack of shower for several days. Couple this with an arrogant and belligerent attitude, and it makes me ashamed to be a foreigner in Thailand. Some of these retards get rightly thrown out, the rest stink out the place and cause a scene. Sigh.
Anyway, here is how you work things to your favour in immigration:
Firstly, get all the documents you think they need, plus all the documents you can’t possibly imagine they need, plus documents you definitely know they don’t need. Copy all of the documents twice and sign all the copies.
Dig deep into your wardrobe and pull out your smartest shirt and trousers, or dress (the latter only works for females). Shower before wearing.
Immigration opens at 0830, be there by 0800. Half an hour queuing in the morning air is better than up to three hours queuing in the fetid interior, sat next to Boris who is picking his toenails and flicking the extracted waste over your smart trousers. Trust me on this.
At 0830, or usually slightly earlier, you will be waved inside and the official greeter will ask you what service you want and give you a queue ticket. Being first in the queue, as I was yesterday, you are then called to a desk at exactly 0830 and your visa application considered. It is at this point you give a big smile, wish them sawadee krap, and unload the mountain of paperwork onto the table. Doing this with a flourish is not helpful. The clerk spends a few minutes working through the pile and extracting what he considers is required. This varies from year to year. The unwanted documents are returned to you and you can keep them for resubmission the following year when they might suddenly become vital.
You pay the fee, get a receipt and then move onto the senior official who peruses the selected paperwork, puts circles round apparently important information and stamps everything with red inked stamps. Then you get a numbered piece of plastic and are told to pick up your passport the following day. Another smile and a khop khun krap, and you are out of there. Yesterday this whole process took me twelve minutes. When I left, a man in a dirt-stained T-shirt was pointing his finger at a hapless official and shouting. I expect he would be there for a while and would leave with nothing.
Today I picked up my freshly stamped passport, which means that she who must be obeyed is stuck with me for another year. And I don’t have to start up “Wigan Days – a doomed life in a less than ordinary place.” For that I am thankful.
For reasons I will not bore you with, I had to make a trip to Bangkok today. Hot, sweaty and loads of traffic; so I was glad to get home around 1600 and decided to take my camera to the club for some fresh air and late afternoon relaxation.
Point a camera at people and they start to show off. First into the frame was Pierre who has the hand drag and the body drag cracked, but had a little more trouble retrieving himself from the head immersion.
Craig just jumped at every opportunity:
Shooting into the setting sun always results in compromises; but as the evening draws in, the colours are worth capturing.
Guy taking his pet parrot for a walk on the beach this evening, as you do.
The owner would run down the beach and the parrot would fly along behind him. They did this several times and the parrot certainly showed more stamina than the owner. I think I will buy an eagle and make she who must be obeyed run down the beach to exercise it, will do her the world of good. Then we can grill it on a bed of saffron rice.
After three days of good windsurfing, my back is complaining somewhat, so I decide not to sail today and instead take my camera to the beach. Not a good idea as the windsurfers are all playing out in the bay, and only the occasional kitesurfer does anything interesting, like making a big hole in the sea.
Not as good as shots I have taken previously.
We have a couple of very comfortable leather armchairs in our living room. We like to sit on them, the cats like to leap onto the back of them while we are sitting on them; arriving in a flurry of outstretched claws and ripped leather. They find this amusing.
We get our revenge by pushing the chair back quickly and launching a pussy across the room. We find this amusing.
So, everyone is amused; the only losers being the chairs which are gradually being shredded.
Dinner at the new Central Mall, after which she who must be obeyed indicates her intention to go stationery shopping. From bitter experience I know this will involve at least an hour trailing round stocks of coloured pens while she makes her selection. I dislike this activity because I have no interest in coloured pens, and because some of the stationery aisles have a smell (erasers and wooden rulers) which take me back to my schooldays, enough to make me shudder.
So I leave her to it and head off to the books section to browse titles I have no intention of buying. Then I discover a small book of photographs by Henri Cartier-Bresson, with this image on the cover:
I look at this simple photo, perfectly composed, somehow portraying menace and offering as many stories as you could invent around it; and I realise (not for the first time) that there is a large gap between the stuff I snap, and the artistry of people like Cartier-Bresson.
The book contains 60+ of his photos, but it is shrink wrapped so I can’t look inside. But 695 baht later it is mine and I take it home to wonder at how this man managed to be at the right place at the right time to capture slices of real life.
I give up, anybody want to buy a camera?
A slow day in the office for she who must be obeyed, and she fills in the time by sending me a series of e-mails, some containing disturbing images; like these:
What makes these images disturbing, other than the obvious reasons, is the heading on the accompanying e-mail which reads:
“She used to be a man”
There is a point when you are windsurfing when everything comes together. The sail powers up, the board accelerates onto a plane, your feet slide into the foot straps, and you are suddenly flying across the water faster than the wind. When you reach this planing moment after weeks (or in my case, months) of learning, you suddenly realise why this sport is so great; and from that moment you are hooked. It’s the orgasm of windsurfing, except it goes on for an hour or more and you get more wet and (ED: that quite enough of this analogy thank you).
Anyway, after two tentative post-accident sailing outings, today I went out with my new Element sail, and suddenly found myself in the footstraps and planing. There followed much whooping and screaming with the sheer exhilaration of the experience, my first windsurfing orgasm for four months. Was out on the water for a couple of hours and tonight my muscles and back are complaining; but I am not.
The windsurfing orgasm: good exercise, you don’t feel like rolling over and going to sleep afterwards, and no risk of unwanted children (ED: I told you to stop this).
P.S. The gold spray in the photo is from the setting sun. Just in case you thought I Photoshopped it.
Haven’t had much in the way of weather for the past 2-4 months. Blue skies every day, with only the occasional passing cloud to add some interest, and certainly nothing as vulgar as rain.
But with everything getting extra-dusty, extra-smelly and extra-dry, what we needed was the first downpour of the new year; and today we got it. Whether you were travelling by car, bike or on foot, there was plenty of water to negotiate.