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Red's Return Part I


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Day Three at home has just begun and it's a struggle.. Got to get organised for work in the morning.. at least it's a late start..

I've never been a big trip report writer, at least I've never been much good at them, but this trip I believe deserves at least a run down of what happened. The good, the bad, the ugly - or something like that.. I don't know if I'm writing this as a confession, or just a way to get a few things off my chest. I guess my psyche would say it's therapeutic.


It all started with an idea for a few lads to meet up after 7+ years. A lot of us used to drink together at the King's Head in London, as well as bars in and around Bangkok and Pattaya, and Melbourne. My plan (which I stuck to) was to be phone-less. I didn't want to "meet somebody" and have them calling me all the time. I also didn't want to be fielding phone calls from home when I didn't want to be disturbed. My home life is complicated to say the least.

This I guess I didn't make clear to one ex board member who I emailed a week or so before departure - "I'm meeting one of the lads at Big Dogs Thursday night around 930pm. If you can't make that, email me a time and place for Friday night, I'll text you before I take off from Melbourne."


Which I did - and his reply was to buy a Thai SIM when I got there... Mai Pen Rai, we didn't catch up... Guess I'll use a phone next time.





The GF looked like she was fighting tears as I was about to go through the gates. She'd never been overly emotional before, at least not since the sex slowed to a trickle. Did she think I'd be playing up while away? Is that what she was hoping for? Was she sorry we'd become just friends over the years? We'd had a big lunch and she'd slipped a Valentines Card and note in my luggage which I was to read later. The note told me to be careful, and she'd be thinking of me while I was away, would miss me, and is looking forward to making our own memories when I get back.


The Jetstar flight went well - we didn't crash, and made it into Bangkok on time. I must admit, I was impressed with the new airport when we landed, but thought it amusing when I exited customs, it looked old and run down out the front... TIT hey?





Hotel- shit shave shower... nothing to report, so I strolled down to Big Dogs to meet my old mate (board member here - I am sure he will identify himself if he feels inclined). Haven't seen him in 7 years, but through the magic of facebook, have kept in touch for the past few years. The "Hello handsome man, welcome, where you go?" comments made me grin like the proverbial cheshire cat - I was back. Loving Bangkok already...


Big Dogs 9.30pm

"Hello sir, welcome. Sit down over here please." Were the words of this angel. Drop dead gorgeous to a lad who hasn't visited in so long. On second though, drop dead gorgeous full stop. Red don't do anything drastic before the first drink... please.

"Actually love, I wouldn't mind sitting at the bar, I'm looking for an old friend."

"Lady? OK, I go over here, what's her name? She working here?"

"No, no, a farang man. English. Tall dark and handsome, about my age. Me him same same brothers but haven't seen each other in 7 years. So I'll sit here and keep an eye out."

"OK. You must be excited.... is that him?"

"No, love, thanks anyway."

"How about him?"

I shake my head




She really was looking, and doing a good job, and she spotted my old mate, as I was about half way through my first beer. Don't know it it was Tiger, or Singha - but it went down well, as we reminisced about old times, old friends, and what we'd been up to over the years. The girl (I'll call her Thani, as she was from Surat Thani), occasionally joined in the conversation, and thought it fun we were meeting up in her bar when I realised she didn't have a drink in front of her..

"Sorry Thani, have a drink.. My bad - distracted, talking too much."

"It's OK, thankyou... "

As the rain came down, any thoughts of exploring the plaza were put to rest. It bucketed down, and we moved to a table more prominent for people watching, as passers by ducked into Big Dogs, or Lucky Luke's to escape the rain. Thani sat on that one drink for what seemed like an eternity. She really was a good laugh, so I told her to drink up as she was getting another - she had been quite attentive y'see, and a good laugh as well.


As the rain eased old mate headed off to find a love for the night.. I was quite content to talk with Thani. I don't think she ever finished that second drink, as we discussed everything from Thai politics, to what the Isaan farmers need to do to keep up with modern day farming techniques. I kid you not. She was a very interesting lady. She explained how she had leaned English, and was trying to teach the other girls how to converse in topics other that the usual, "Where you come from? How long you stay? I go with you..." Smart. Probably too smart for little old me.... She was around 35 (she says) and from memory had a child back home. Great figure though.


Fatigue eventually caught up with me and it was time to check bin, pay bar...

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Day two was pretty non-descript. After sharing breakfast with Thani, who insisted it was only worth it if it was free (she'd obviously had the buffet before!) I headed to MBK to buy not only some clothes for the trip but some camera gear which was so much cheaper than our outrageous down under prices. Found a taxi driver who insisted MBK was closed (fark!) but admitted it could be open when I told him I'd already emailed the camera shop owner about my purchases. For those interested I picked up the Canon 70-200 f2.8 L IS Mk II, and it rocks, as well as a little Tamron 17-50 - for just over half what I'd pay in Australia.


Old mate from England proved harder to find than a virgin in Nana, but I eventually found him with his new love early evening somewhere - where we had a good laugh, and as he was eager to "go back to the loom" I thought I couldn't do better than last night so dashed back to Big Dogs.


The four (or was it five) of us had a great laugh at a couple of bars along soi 4 - and since old mate can be hard to find at times we arranged to meet at the front of the hotel at 1230 the next day... we were heading south east for another long time reunion in Rayong.


We all hit the hay - but not before more mesmerizing conversations with Thani into the early hours.


"You have facebook?"

"No." I lied, "You're too dangerous."

"Ha ha - why dangerous, just a small Thai girl."

"I know, but I think if I spent more than these two nights with you, it could get complicated."

"OK - you have email?"

"OK" I relented, "but you told me your mum has some land down south?"


"Does she have any buffaloes? If so, do they ever get sick?"


She rolled around, clutching her belly laughing out loud. "Sure you have been here before Red, definately no buffaloes on my mum's land, only small land with trees, and vegetable plants."

"Cool, here's my email address."


Breakfast the next day was touching to say the least. Thani wished me all the best with the other reunions I was going to, and to make sure I keep in touch. I have.


In the past I was often prone to FILS - "Falling In Love Syndrome" - something I was keen to avoid this time round. This trip was about relaxing, having a laugh, and catching up with old mates. Doesn't stop the heart string tugs though does it?

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PART II - Rayong - Ban Chang - Ban Phe


Taxi to Rayong went off without a hitch... if you don't discount old mate's bad directions but we eventually found old Carew's place in Rayong (I think). From there we picked up exactly where we left off 7 years ago. Carew even made the comment, "Red, how long's it been? And we're just carrying on as if we last caught up yesterday!"


That night, three of us - me, old mate and a top yank I met along the way hit Ban Chang - I wouldn't call it the most memorable night in the world but a lot of beer was drank, and a lot of laughs were had.


The next morning - a taxi to Ban Phe where a few quiet nights were spent, in celibacy, just beer and chit chat. Met some funny characters from all parts of the world, as well as a few undesirables who always seem to pop up. Stayed at "Christies" - anyone who's been there would be familiar with the place, friendly staff, good service and plenty of laughs. Add to that Charlie's bar across the road and there was never a dull moment. Good old fashion fun.

Hired a motorbike - got some good photos, life's good...


One hitch - got bitten by something and could hardly walk for a couple of days... but recovered eventually in time to hobble into Pattaya.


- crazy taxi ride to Pattaya - 18 Coins.....soi Bukhao




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Keep the reports coming! thumbup.gif



i agree about the new airport,DM was not really a problem but the new one is easier for me after 3 visits.

i know i land at one level and then get the internal flight from another,easy to get in a lift to my next departure gate.

and being a smoker so many places to fill my lungs with poison before my connecting flight.

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thanks sayjann - smoker here too, and got to laugh at the thai smoking rooms, especially the one in Phuket International bit (I'm sure you've seen it). The good part of having to re-route my flight this time was I came home via Singapore. Their smoking rooms, even in the secure area are outside in little gardens. Easily the best smoking rooms I've seen anywhere.

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I strongly suspect that you were in Big Dogs or similar while I sat on the other side of the road in Golden Bar. The cure for FILS is to have a regular, but after 7 years I appreciate that wasnt going to be easy (nor particularly desirable), but its scary how quickly K. can pick up exactly where we left off. My crazy ex-GF was so jealous of this strictly P4P 'relationship' that she rang K. and tried to threaten her. Guess which one still gets to spend my money every time I fly into LOS ?


Hope you've settled back into work - I can sympathise, and its going to be every day of 25 months before I see Swampy again, but there wont be a return flight when I finally walk out into taxi mayhem.

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thanks sayjann - smoker here too, and got to laugh at the thai smoking rooms, especially the one in Phuket International bit (I'm sure you've seen it). The good part of having to re-route my flight this time was I came home via Singapore. Their smoking rooms, even in the secure area are outside in little gardens. Easily the best smoking rooms I've seen anywhere.


Phuket airport is pretty small and easy to have a cigarette before your flight.

departures are on one level and so easy to walk outside and have a quick one,only pain is having to go through all the security checks again when you re-enter.

but i always go into the bar/restaurant to the left when you enter(can't think of the name,something like Bill Baileys)and normally have a good fried breakfast and a beer or 2 and they have a smoking room in the place within 20 yards of any given table.

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