Archive for April, 2010

I’ve Just Purchased a Durian

April 30, 2010

It’s spiky, smells a bit strong and is banned in many hotels and taxis. At time of writing I have no idea what do do with it.

My wife suggested throwing it away.

Tomorrow I will recruit Khun Den’s kids to help me peel it and this Blog will let you know what subsequently occurs.

Red Weapons Update. Stinking fish paste.

April 30, 2010

Stinking fermented  fish paste. This wasn’t a winner. The plan was to chuck it over the military. Make them gag and retch and withdraw. During the lengthy Siam square seige the fish paste throwers decided to use it to enhance their noodles. I’d have to say it works! Gives a nice twitch to the soup. But you wouldn’t want a bucket load of the stuff in your face

Catapaults and Bamboo Rocket Launchers, Guns And Spears: Ancient and Modern Urban Warfare Bangkok Style! Plus Beans And a Rotten Tomato

April 30, 2010

Hugh Paxton’s Blog is cleaning its act up and deleting things. A lot of posts are of historical interest but are out of date. I’ll erase many, re-blog a few. Here’s one of them. It was Thailand then, when I wrote it. It isn’t Thailand now. We have the army in charge and the following is no longer relevant. But they were interesting times. If you missed this one it might merit a read. But the Red Shirts are gone along with all their innovative urban warfare materiel. Calm has returned to The Kingdom. It just needed tanks and smiling soldiers and arrests. Here’s the post from that time.

Cheers!

Hugh from Bangkok

BAMBOO ROCKET LAUNCHERS

When I was in Sabah (Malaysian Borneo) I watched a duel fought by children with home made bamboo rockets. The Kinabatangan  river, just upstream of the delta, separated the combatants. At this stage of flow, the river was wide – perhaps 200 yards.

The missiles were coke bottles slotted into chopped bamboo stems. The impetus for the projectiles was a combination of lighter fluid and a few secret ingredients that I won’t describe. No bomb making tips available on this Blog. It’s policy!

Back to the rockets! It was harmless kid’s fun. Like stone fights or snowballing. Only with rockets. The things that made a lasting impression on me were 1. H ow far the missiles flew. 2. How simple the bamboo devices were  and 3. How incredibly excruciating it was to be injured by shrapnel.  One of the little swine on the far bank zapped my veranda. Glad he missed my head.

But it was one hell of a shot!

The reason I am boring you with yet another “How I escaped death by mere inches” travel writer anecdote is this.

Central Bangkok is currently awash with larger versions of those Sabah bamboo rocket launchers.

MODERN WEAPONS

Some of the Red Shirt anti government protesters have modern weapons  – Methi Amornwutthikul, a prominent screen actor, has been busted for supplying M79 grenade launchers to mobs, and police Sgt Major Prinya Maneekhote, has a bit of explaining to do after he was discovered carrying 63 grenades and assorted mortars to a Red Shirt rally. He might be a…

TOMATO!

Yes things are getting even sillier in the Thai Fruit and Veg political department. A Watermelon is a soldier. Green uniform on the outside, but his heart is with the Reds. A Tomato is a policeman who is Red through and through.  Or Sgt Maj Prinya  could be a…

PROFITEER!

Mortars are currently going for 1,200 Baht a pop.  Prinya took 600,000 Baht out of his bank account. My guess is that those 63 grenades he had were a taster and that he wanted to make lots of money helping his fellow Reds kill lots of people. My take on Prinya is that he is a…

ROTTEN TOMATO!

Shame!

BACK TO BIZARRE WEAPONS.

The Reds have bamboo rockets of sufficient size and punch to bring down a helicopter. Or so they claim. They have also planted bamboo stakes to reinforce their barricades. Very primitive. But history attests to their effectiveness. Bamboo is tough stuff. Stands survived the Hiroshima bomb and large shoots deflect bullets.

GREEN BEANS.

Unboiled Thai green beans are being scattered in front of the Red positions. The rationale is that they will make soldiers slip and take a tumble.

UNIMAGINATIVE URBAN WARFARE.

Smashing shopping mall windows, spraying oil or acid on soldiers, burning rubber tyres, buying mortars from policemen, annoying everybody by causing traffic jams.

OPERATION SHOCK.

Worth a mention but I can’t really help you on this one. It was allegedly announced on Red Shirt Radio. And allegedly is full of new and exciting ideas. But it was broadcast in Thai and my radio is still in a ship’s container (along with a lot of other stuff) in the Andaman Sea.

I missed Operation Shock.

But watch for the deployment of Bamboo rockets.

TRAVEL ADVISORY: More than forty countries have advised against visiting Thailand. This Blog says don’t fret. Most of the country is trouble free and wonderful. Nobody has deployed war elephants. The airport is functioning well. The trains aren’t on time but who needs Mussolini?

That’s it for now. Stay safe! And don’t write Thailand off as a war zone. Compared to real war zones such as Congo or a Newcastle pub at closing time, it’s a cake walk!

Cheers!

Hugh

Brigitte’s Pick: Life in South Africa

April 30, 2010

Sipho, driving the latest BMW, was pulled over by a Gauteng policeman at a roadblock.

‘Congratulations’, said the cop…’Because you are wearing your seat belt you have just won R5000 in an Arrive Alive safety competition’.
Sipho could hardly believe his luck.
‘What are you going to do with your cash?’ asked the traffic cop.
‘Well I guess I’m going to get a driver’s license,’ Sipho answered.
‘Oh, don’t listen to him,’ yelled Dipuo in the passenger seat. ‘He tries to be smart when he’s drunk.’
This woke up Ndlovu in the back seat who took one look at the cop and moaned, ‘I TOLD you stealing the BMW was a bad idea. A Mazda would have been better.’
At that moment there was a knock from the boot and Zakeles’ voice said, ‘Are we over the border yet?’
The cop said … ‘Okay, my brothers. How are we sharing this R5000?!’

Brigitte’s Pick: Dancing Goat

April 29, 2010
Polka goat

and why not?

Things Thai: Coups

April 28, 2010

A BIT OF BACKGROUND:

78 years ago Thailand adopted the democratic system.

Since then there have been 18 coups and a number of serious student uprisings. One constant however has been the monarchy. Most Thais have portraits of the King hanging on their walls, not because they have to (as is the case in many African countries) , but because there is genuine reverence for him and all things royal. Some Red Shirts have the abolition of the monarchy on their agenda.

Bangkok Transport Chaos But Still No Reason To Stay Away From Thailand

April 28, 2010

My daughter, Annabel, and I, spent a fantastically boring three hours in a taxi this afternoon covering a distance that would normally take thirty minutes, or, on a good day, less. The driver, had spent two hours taking his previous fare less than half a kilometre. He kept muttering “Red Shaart! Traffic jam! No good!”

Annabel utilised her time in the taxi by practising a number of essential phrases she has picked up during today’s Thai language classes. One very useful one is “Do you like drinking water?” Another is “I’m a shark.” Repetition aids memory and there was a lot of repetition. If I ever need to ask a Thai if he likes water and then inform him or her that I’m a shark I won’t be left wanting. Thankfully the Annabel Thai lesson concluded after thirty minutes. She fell asleep. When we finally reached Phrom Pong and I woke our language instructor and bundled her out of the cab, the driver made lots of gestures. He was apologising for everything and wishing it was different. I gave him a hefty tip and said “Good Luck! Do you like water? I’m a shark.”

The ‘Good Luck’ was in English.

He answered in kind. “Good Luck!” He didn’t mention sharks. But we were treated to a wonderful smile as he eased his car into the fuming grid lock.

ENOUGH TAXI ANECDOTES: The causes of congestion are Red Shirt political demos, a seriously unhelpful attempt to block Sky Train services by theatening to block tracks with tyres (yesterday), and an exchange of fire between the army and Reds today.

TRAVEL ADVISORY: A number of governments have issued advisories. Most say don’t go anywhere near Thailand.

THIS BLOG’S TRAVEL ADVISORY: If you’ve booked your ticket and it is a holiday ticket, come. The airport is fine. The resorts are functioning (skip the Foot Scrubs), most of the country is fine, and none of the political activists are targeting foreigners (apart from the Islamic dickheads in the deep south but they dislike everybody including themselves).

Down town is clogged but the country is still working. Don’t panic!

Want to be Alone? Try Thai Citronella Spray! Results Guaranteed!

April 28, 2010

Designed to repel mosquitoes, this little condensed citronella spray does so much more! It repels everything! Wives, children, any living organism down wind … and yourself! I administered a healthy dose ten minutes ago and I really want to go away from myself. Sadly this isn’t possible. I can run, hide, but I’ll still be able to smell.  

Amazing stuff.  The only thing it doesn’t repel is a mosquito.

Brigitte’s Pick: March Motivationals

April 28, 2010

These will make you smile!

Thai Political Update: Bloody Red Shirts! Travel Advisory!

April 27, 2010

This post is a bit nasty. I have learned that the young lady who died after receiving shrapnel wounds while trying to get home from work might still be alive if she and other “Multi-coloured Shirts” also wounded by the grenades hadn’t been denied entrance to the nearby hospital by a Red Shirt barricade. They knew she was in trouble but they wouldn’t let her in.

Some  radical Reds subsequently forced their way into the hospital looking for injured “Multi-coloured Shirt” leaders. They wanted to kill them. Hospital security evicted them. But that sort of thing isn’t Red Shirt. Its Khmer Rouge. The lady was a commuter.  

Nobody needs the Rouge back. If you’ve seen The Killing Fields you will understand why. Thailand won’t go that way but some of the Reds wouldn’t mind if it did.

ON A BRIGHTER NOTE: BRINGING THE BOYS BACK HOME!   

On a brighter note, flights to Europe from Bangkok are underway. We’ve just said farewell to our BBC friend, Andy Luck, who was stranded for a week and will be catching a red eye at one AM. I don’t think he suffered much while staying with us! There are worse places to be stranded. Although the baby sitting duties could have broken a weaker man!

TRAVEL ADVISORY: Some people have pitched tents in Bangkok airport. It makes a point but your tents are in the way. A special waiting area has been set aside with beds and airport comforts. Use that facility.

And HERE COMES THE SERIOUS TRAVEL ADVISORY: if you want to get a flight be polite! Yelling, while understandable, is utterly counter-productive. Stay calm. Bob your head slightly- it indicates that you are appreciative of the work going on – and smile. Thais love smiles and smiles work wonders. Better still don’t wait in the airport. Visit it once in person, make friends with a THAI employee, make sure that you have her name and number and make sure she has yours.  The Thai employees are dilligent. The general switchboard is overwhelmed.  Forget it. If you have sufficient funds stay somewhere nicer, put in a call to your people at home, enjoy your extra days. 

That’s it for today!

Cheers! Stay safe!

Hugh

Bon Voyage!


%d bloggers like this: